Pobble, the prize-winning global literacy initiative, has recently launched a new tool to facilitate lesson planning. Pobble Resources allows teachers to search content providers on Pobble and find the best teaching resources. They can then prepare the most engaging lessons easily, and share their lesson ideas, making collaborative planning really easy.
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 little incomprehensible, to me that young people who are able to access the fantastic imaginations of fab authors don’t show any inclination to do so - do they not realise that they could be fighting with ninjas in Chris Bradford’s books or travelling through magical realms with Garth Nix’s Lirael?
In June this year, 7-11 year-olds from across the country will descend on the BFI IMAX to attend LitFilmFest – a cinematic celebration of pupils’ writing achievements through filmmaking. Dominic Traynor, the festival’s founder, talks to us about the purpose of the event and how schools can get involved:
Outdoor Learning can be a powerful tool in the teacher’s rucksack. But like any tool, you need the right one for the job. You can cut wood with a screwdriver, but it’s tricky and messy! I want to share with you some ways that learning outside the classroom can make an impact on English and Maths, whatever age or phase, and how it can in turn impact on a wider school community.
If you’re a subject leader, you have to make friends in school strategically. If you’re the head of English like me, you firstly need to befriend whoever guards the gate to reprographics needs the bounciest, sunniest, most dribblingly sycophantic version of you that you can muster. We’re talking bottle of wine at Christmas, chocolate egg at Easter, flowers on their birthday. Because they can do something that you could never do since the highest qualification you’re likely hold is in English Literature (or the one pertaining to your subject), a degree that required you to pontificate on postmodernism for 2 hours a week – they can fix the photocopier, a machine so psychopathic, so actively engaged in the utter destruction of your soul, that it makes HAL 9000 seem like a Care Bear. “I’m sorry James, I’m afraid I can’t do that,” you imagine it says as it mangles your Year 10 mock exams in its hot, metal, inky gob.
While today’s young people (Millennials and Generation Z) are very much just like the ones that preceded them - rebellious, searching for meaning, keen to understand the world and their place in it - they are at the same time completely different than any generation before them. The near limitless ability to consume information, organise with others, and communicate one’s thoughts makes this group very particular, to say the least.
“The more you read, the more things you will know,
the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
That time of year is upon us, where our whole school approach to literacy takes a decidedly exciting turn. For two whole weeks, the children are encouraged to become pioneers in their own literacy journey; a fortnight where children are encouraged to truly see the importance of literacy in our culture and embrace texts they might not encounter through every day reading, writing and listening tasks.
One of the best things about being a teacher is the ability to make children cry.
Before you get out the flaming torches and pitchforks, I don’t mean that in the way you might assume. That sort of attitude has no place in modern teaching. Rather, the thing that I enjoy is when something you do as a teacher, a lesson, an activity, or an experience, causes your pupils to have an emotional experience.
Its was a with some trepidation and a little fear when our head said to us about teaching Shakespeare as a topic. This was shaped by my own experience with Shakespeare at school, which basically amounted to reading from a book and having little to no understanding of his fantastic language. After a staff trip to the Globe in London for CPD and some inspiring ideas shared I was happier, even a little excited about the prospect of teaching Shakespeare to 7 and 8 year olds. My class were called The Tempest - this was primarily the play I concentrated on - but many of the ideas I used could be used and adapted with any Shakespeare play.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a word nerd. I have always loved language - as a teacher and a writer. Vocabulary knowledge, I first noticed years ago as a young teacher, is the key to unlocking meaning for your students. It also gives educators insights into the world, as lifelong learners. How can we make learning interesting, colourful and complex words an exciting part of the fabric of classroom life? Or, how can we cultivate word geeks in our classrooms? And how can digital tools help?