Schools are being increasingly seen as businesses. However, many people enter the teaching profession precisely because they see school as something pure and untainted by the commercial world. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that schools shouldn’t adopt cutting-edge principles of marketing in order to meet the needs of our pupils.
Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up with Disney is back for a third summer to encourage children to get moving ahead of the summer holidays with fun 10 minute bursts of physical activity. The initiative from Public Health England launches as a new Censuswide survey for Disney, Change4Life and the Amateur Swimming Association reveals that three quarters of children aged 5 to 11 (73%) want to do more physical activity, and 56% of children miss taking part in school PE lessons over the summer.
I have always been keen to promote departmental work with an international theme, and was delighted last summer to be involved in a project linking my school with students in Ecuador. The venture was set up by Neil Emery, who has has organised two previous projects in Ecuador, visiting tribal groups and delivering technology workshops to pupils at local community schools. Further details of his achievements are detailed on his own IMS article.
My job as a Year One teacher is many things, but it is certainly never dull! I count dressing up, leaving mysterious messages and generally making a bit of a fool of myself as all in a day’s work! Luckily, my colleague is almost as crazy as me and fully on board for the ride! Faced with a lively and very enthusiastic cohort, we wanted to end the previous school year with a topic which would really engage them. Thus we began our topic ‘Do monsters live amongst us?’ by hooking pupils into Claire Freedman’s book: Monsters Love Underpants.
Project based learning (PBL) is perhaps the greatest resource hardly being used in UK schools. Teachers are increasingly being asked to do more with less, and there’s never been a better time to reinvent classroom learning than now. Despite the mounting pressures on schools, a huge advantage all still hold is in the freedom to deliver the National Curriculum by how they see fit. There’s also a wealth of research to support PBLs uptake in the classroom:
It has been suggested that in many cases student projects are little more than busy work, which fail to promote higher level thinking skills. Increasingly, however, new ways of thinking about project-based learning (PBL) are emerging. A great resource for PBL is the Buck Institute for Education (BIE). They suggest that there are eight essential elements for PBL, for example having open-ended projects that involve in-depth, real-world problems that are more meaningful and engaging for learners, and encouraging student voice and choice in which projects to do and how to approach them.
Pupils at Mayflower Community Academy are some of the latest inductees into a global writing project. By working alongside the team at LendMeYourLiteracy, the primary school’s teachers are enabling the kids to publish their writing work online, thus receiving feedback from other pupils around the world. According to the Plymouth Herald, the organisation operates in over 100 countries.
Innovate My School are teaming up with literacy / film champions A Tale Unfolds to run a film-making project for schools during the summer term. Aided by WeVideo, the initiative will look to improve literacy rates in half a term by at least one sub-level or two APS. It will also radically increase pupil engagement, through digital film-making and video-editing, by allowing them to make their own short films. The project is free to schools, and will be running until the end of the 2015 summer term.
Teachers at Swiss Valley Primary are launching an innovative gardening project. According to the Llanelli Star, the school’s pupils were yesterday selling seeds and seedlings at the town’s Indoor Market. This activity mirrors a school garden in Canberra, Australia, where the garden and canteen enjoy a cyclical system.