Here are just a few examples of free things that I have found and used from Twitter, I do hope that some of them are new to you and you yourself find them useful.
If you are not using ClassDojo for behaviour management, why not? This brilliant app is free and has excellent support and is being updated constantly. Not only can children be rewarded for good behaviour, but behaviours can be modified to suit you class or school, plus photos of children’s work can be taken with an iPad and sent home through email – great instant feedback and links with home.
Free School Radio
It was by chance that I met Chris Thomas at a TeachMeet in Bournemouth (which I found out about through Twitter) where he was streaming the meeting live. We got chatting in the break and he told me about www.myliveschool.org, a website whereby schools could setup a free school radio station. It seemed too good to be true, but I contacted Chris and started a school Radio Club. I could write a whole article on just this and probably will, as it has had a brilliant affect on those children involved and tapped into so many skills. You can see an interview my children had with Chris via Google Hangout here:
If you are interested in starting your own school radio please contact Chris on the weblink above or through Twitter @My_Live_School.
Marking always seems to be a bit of a bone of contention for teachers. We had several new members of staff and were in need of a new marking policy across the whole school, so I got my scouts out on Twitter and #RAG123 was mentioned by several people. It is simplicity itself, with RAG = red, amber, green for effort and 1,2,3 for understanding. It has been a hit with teachers, children and parents. Parents are able to look at a glance how their children are doing, if they see too much red then they know they are not working hard enough, children continually strive for a green 1, and my Year 3 pupils are a stage where they will RAG their own work. As for us as teachers, if we see that children have too many 3s then the work must be at too difficult a level for them, too many 1s and they need more challenge.
For more info on this go to Kev Lister’s Thoughts on managing variability.
I love Genius Hour, it was through the #aussieED chat that I found out about it and continue to find new ways to use it with my children. I have already written an article about Genius Hour so will not go into great detail here, except to say it’s where children are allowed one hour a week to create a project based upon an inquiry or interest that they may have. If you would like more info please contact me, as I could talk about the virtues and benefits of Genius Hour all day.
Links, Resources etc
I have received many excellent links and ideas from fellow Twitter users which I have compiled and put into a Google Doc. Hopefully there will be one or two that you find useful and haven’t seen before. I must also give a special mention to Michael Tidd for his excellent curriculum resource site www.primarycurriculum.me.uk, which is full of useful resources linked to the new curriculum.
I also found A Tale Unfolds through Twitter, noticing a tweet saying “Fancy no planning for 10 weeks and a great literacy resource?” Well, that was me sold. I contacted them through their website and, with my fellow Year 3 teacher, we used it during the Autumn term. The premise is that the children write, direct and film their own movie, which is then premiered at a big Oscars-style ceremony. My children loved the whole process; it covered many different writing genres and their attainment was raised significantly. I’m not sure if the free resource is still available, but if it is please give it a go, you won’t regret it. You can see my children’s finished movies here.
Get on Twitter
In conclusion, since using Twitter it never fails to surprise me with the free resources available which I otherwise would have been unaware of. I feel that these have helped to push and challenge my own classroom teaching and allow me to take risks I may not otherwise have done. Now your challenge is to get as many teachers that aren’t on Twitter signed up now. They don’t know what they are missing.
What good stuff have you discovered on Twitter? Let us know in the comments!