Latest articles from the Innovate My School community.

For the whole of October, we’re bringing you articles from educators who are using amazing (and often strange) innovations for creatively bringing teaching and learning to life. This could be an exciting classroom activity, a tactic for saving time, or a method for engaging pupils of various ability. What’s more, the theme of Accelerating Creativity is being powered by Britannica Digital Learning UK, purveyors of online resources that bring classrooms and school libraries to life.

“Creativity is about thinking differently, as well as actually having the time to think,” said Khurshid Khan, managing director of Britannica Digital Learning UK. “It can be easy for teachers to simply plan a lesson, list a set of topics for students to read and have them learn the answers ‘needed’ to pass exams. However, engendering a love of learning through expanded content, personal research and creative approaches will lead learners into an appreciation of education beyond the strive for certification.”

Enjoy the articles ahead, and please do take away all the creative ideas you can!

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From my adventures running architecture sessions with kids, there is a lot I have learnt about creating the best facilities to support young creative geniuses. Here is a series of recommendations to create and manage an exciting hub of architectural discovery:
Project-based learning (PBL) changes how we look at education and the best ways to engage young people in learning. Learning is all around. It is in books, in classrooms, outdoors, at home, in museums and workplaces; everywhere all the time. We learn through reading, listening, engaging, but mostly by doing. When we apply what we learn to something tangible - something interesting to us - we remember it. We want ...
With many of the new specifications and examinations focussing on a greater volume of content, the challenge for some teachers is how to engage students and ensure deep learning. This is especially the case when curriculum time constraints play their role. One method to support deep learning, as well as engage lower ability, SEND or hard-to-reach students, can be using immersive and experiential learning experiences. This can be achieved using ...
I wholeheartedly agree with her majesty’s chief inspector of schools. That’s a sentence I never believed I would write. When, however, Amanda Spielman expressed the view that Primary schools who scrap most of the curriculum in Year 6 to focus just on English and maths could be accused of “putting the interests of schools ahead of the interests of the children in them”, it is difficult to see how ...
As teachers we are notoriously hard on ourselves. It’s a common trait amongst the profession. After all, how often do you hear a colleague say they are “really good” at something? More often than not they will be playing down what a great job they do, often in challenging and changeable circumstances. This feeling of “can I really get it right again this year?” often creeps into the consciousness ...
No matter what subject you teach, whether PE or quantum physics, communication will be part of your daily routine. As part of the English curriculum, the teaching of speaking and listening is mandatory. However, this does not always happen. Too often the group work, drama and presentation skills play second fiddle to reading and writing because, at the end of the day, reading and writing skills = exam passes and group ...
In the not-so-distant past I found myself sitting sleepily in 9th grade Spanish class; my head on my hand, staring out the window wishing for a fire drill, a tornado or perhaps the zombie apocalypse - though a quick glance around the room might have confirmed that the latter had already come to pass.
We have been using Word Aware as a structured whole-school approach to promote the vocabulary development of all our children. It is primarily focussed on whole-class learning and we have found it is of particular value for those who start at a disadvantage – including children with Developmental Language Disorder, Special Educational Needs and those who speak English as an additional language. It has had such a major impact on word ...
We are in boom times for children’s and YA literature, it seems, and more and more publishers are publishing books that are engaging for struggling readers to get them more motivated to read. I’ve often found it easier to ‘rev up’ the reading of those that have low literacy levels than to excite the interest of the ‘can read, won’t read’ crowd. It seems amazing, and a ...
Summative assessment is a dead duck. We all know this. Aside from a final examination, all of the assessment we do these days should be formative. It should enable the student to improve. Yet still we use written tests which give students a score, a grade or percentage. Now, of course a student can self-reflect on why they got the grade they did or the teacher can go through the ...
Working in an inner city school, History is often seen to be very irrelevant to students and therefore boring. I remember my first ever A level lesson with my Year 12s in 2015, I asked them individually ‘Why have you chosen to study History?’ The common answer was “to study Civil Rights”. The problem was that Civil Rights was part of the A2 course, which meant that they would had to ...
What is "Big" History? For me, it’s anything that captures the imagination, enthuses or even sparks inspiration for students in a History lesson. More so, when I think "big", I think outlandish, memorable and relevant. I've done all of these in various shapes or forms;they have worked well, and I’d love to hear yours too (please comment at the foot of the article!).
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