Latest articles from the Innovate My School community.

For November and December, we’re bringing you Leading The Way, a series all about being an effective school leader. We’ll be publishing articles on the likes of staff wellbeing, school communities, curriculum planning, CPD and networking. Then there’s the case of edtech, which offers schools a variety of challenges and opportunities.

“To state the obvious, technology is now fully embedded in our lives,” says edtech specialist Terry Freedman. “It therefore stands to reason that a school in which technology is not part of the very fabric of the place is likely to be seen as somehow not quite part of the ‘real world’.

“Being a technology-rich school is no longer merely a ‘nice-to-have’ - it is essential. Put simply, why would anyone stay in an environment in which their job is made harder because of the lack of time and labour-saving software, if they have the choice of working in a better-equipped school?”

With this in mind, enjoy these amazing articles, which are powered by edtech solutions provider Groupcall.

Top team crafting ideas

Charlotte Baldwin

Charlotte Baldwin is the operational manager for IQ cards. She is an active member of her son’s PTA and understands the importance of school fundraising. She now runs IQ cards and as part of the on-demand print and digital solutions provider The IQ Digital House, ensuring that all requirements and products are produced to the highest standards, delivered on time and at great value prices.

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Website: www.iqcards.co.uk/ Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Image credit: Flickr // kaboompics Image credit: Flickr // kaboompics

When we hear the phrase ‘team building’, the image of smartly-dressed professional adults reluctantly tumbling through an obstacle course or trying to construct a watertight raft on a muddy riverbank is hard to shake. We like to think that professional adults are already capable of working well in a team, and so to help make this the case, we can make the concept of team-building a much more child-friendly activity, and emphasise it in early formative years to give our children the skills they need to get on later in life. Arts and crafts are a brilliant way to encourage creativity and improve coordination and motor skills, as well as giving children the opportunity to work as teams and explore group dynamics.

Here are a few great ideas that combine art and team building for children.


Mosaic / Group Mural


Prepare a large space, like a display board or wall in a corridor, that you can dedicate to showcasing this final product. Give each child a ceramic tile, sheet of card or whatever material you choose, and allow them to get creative and make what they like out of it; if working to a particular “Give each child a ceramic tile, sheet of card or whatever material you choose.”curriculum topic, you may wish to assign a theme to the work. Make sure to supply plenty of different craft materials, like glitter and sequins, chalks and pastels, and allow imaginations to run wild. Once all individual works are completed, ask the children to help arrange them on the display and ask for input about why they have chosen the placement for their piece.


For extra team-building, you can split the class into equal groups, and assign them a theme or subject which each group member has to create a part of, and combine each child’s work to make one overall picture. This will require children to make arrangements between themselves, and test their organisational skills, as well as their ability to work to a plan and feed back to others.


Warhol-Style


Branching off slightly from the mosaic idea, why not set an Andy Warhol-style activity in which you pick a picture or painting for each child to make their own interpretation of. Pick out something that is not too complicated and gives room for adaptation, and make a large copy of it to stick on the board for reference. Then encourage the children to explore what they can make out of the image, and how they can make it unique and representative of themselves.


While they are working together to make a group piece, this will allow children to explore their own tastes and each other’s. Remember, colour is the key with a vintage pop-art style, so provide plenty of vibrant materials to make a really stand-out psychedelic display that communicates the personalities of your class. When the pieces are finished, arrange them in the standard Warhol format of two rows of three. If all children have worked from the same original image, why not ask them to help separate the works into groups of six, and ask why they have chosen to categorise the pictures in this way.


Decorations


An upcoming school event, like a disco, fȇte or play, is a fantastic opportunity to get children together to create something for a mutual cause. If a school production is underway, recruit children to help make scenery and backdrops. Give groups the materials they need, give them a brief overview of the piece they need to make and supervise them as they get creative, exchange ideas and put together a backdrop to be proud of. In this way, they will get used to working to a specification and sharing “Exchange ideas and put together a backdrop to be proud of.”responsibilities, as well as the organisation required by this sort of collaborative work.


Alternatively, fȇtes and discos are another great way to get children working together. If there is a theme, assign it to the children and provide them with all sorts of materials (again, don’t stop at paint - stickers, sparkly bits and other embellishments are always popular). Perhaps put children into groups and assign banners to one group, bunting to another, and streamers to another. Giving a group a common goal in this way will encourage them to band together with their ideas and techniques.


Blindfold Challenge


This activity is just a bit of fun, but it does well in proving to children what they can achieve with cooperation and effective teamwork. Choose a theme - perhaps designing a monster, a school mascot or their own amusement park. Then separate children into teams and give each one a blindfold. Children take it in turns to contribute to the picture while wearing the blindfold and taking instructions from their teammates. For a bit of extra fun, why not assign one round to outlines in pen, another to filling in with paint, and another to finishing touches like glitter and sequins? This always proves a popular and enjoyable activity with children, and encourages growth of their teamwork skills and ability to follow instructions.


As you can see, the phrase ‘team-building’ need not induce a shudder - it can be fun and it can be effective. Now is the time to encourage children to explore their abilities and work as part of a well-functioning team, and there are lots of fun and colourful ways of working it around arts and crafts.


How do you use crafting in your classroom? Let us know below!

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