Last term I decided over breakfast that I needed to do something to make my Year 7 scheme of work on celebrations start off on a more interesting note. I concluded that simply greeting my class at the door and saying “we’re going to be studying religious and non-religious celebrations for the next six lessons” didn’t truly seem to grab my audience, and so I went about thinking of a more interesting way to introduce the topic. By the time I had arrived at school I had decided on a way to ‘parachute’ my students into an engaging lesson. I grabbed myself two student volunteers on the way into the building (whom I bribed with the promise of Maltesers...) to help set up my classroom.
What are the essential resources for the supply teacher? Sharon Wood, founder of National Supply Teacher Week, takes a look at her absolute favourites.
On supply, normal rules don’t apply. You may be left a set of plans, fully resourced, for the day. Or you may turn up with five minutes (10 minutes after you received the call to go) before the children arrive, to an empty desk, a missing laptop, and no password for the photocopier. You don’t know that the children have some work to finish off in any spare five minutes. You need to make sure that the children are fully occupied and engaging with their task to help minimise fuss and poor behaviour. You may be warned assembly is a 9:30 sharp, only to arrive and discover that it has been cancelled for today. In short, you need help! From five minute time fillers, to whole session activities ideas on the hop, apps are an essential tool for supply teachers.
Capturing the attention of a classroom full of over-zealous students and making them want to learn more about your ‘pet subject’ is often something of a challenge and a source of frustration to all concerned, so any prop or piece of technology that helps is usually welcomed with open arms by the hard pressed class tutor. More often than not, however, such magical enablers have been hard to come by. This (in my experience, anyway) often leads to countless wasted hours of futile planning and crafting followed inevitably by the sullen after school destruction of exercise sheets, Powerpoint slide-shows and lesson notes all destined for that every growing bin that is usually filed as ‘My Old Lesson Plans’.
When James [Cain, Editor] contacted me and asked me to write a blog post about how I use Star Wars in the classroom, my first reaction went from, “this is awesome” to “uh… what am I going to write about?”. You see, I am an Advanced Placement (AP) World History teacher in Rocklin, CA, and although my classroom is littered with posters, toys and miscellaneous Star Wars gifts from students throughout the years, I questioned if I was qualified to write a post about Star Wars and my teaching.
Twitter is not just for the teacher, or even the school department. Schools can gain lots from having their own whole school account. There are many ways in which you can use it too. From reporting on whole school issues, passing out messages about snow days and much more, there are very compelling reasons as to why you would want to be a ‘tweeting school’. There are a fair amount of tweeting headteachers too, but this article will be looking solely at schools.
Apple have produced a series of ebooks to help teachers integrate apps into their daily classroom practice. The Apps in the Classroom series is inspired by Apple Distinguished Educators, and each book contains a collection of activities that allow students to utilize a particular app to demonstrate their learning.
We always hear about the squeezed middle in the press. They are hard done by economically. In education, I tend to think the squeezed middle equivalent are the heads of department who often find themselves in the line of fire from all directions but who can be overlooked when it comes to concern and care.
Office supply company Frillo has today launched a new online marketplace specifically designed for schools, academies and other public sector organisations. The Hull-based organisation’s Education Store, which is linked to Frillo’s online store for private sector businesses, provides public sector procurement specialists with a second-to-none choice of EU compliant products. This range includes IT equipment such as iPad and laptops as well as books and stationary supplies. All with no mark-up, meaning greater value for money.
If I had one resource I had to keep, a sort of desert island resource, it would be sticky notes. I’ve spent the last year or so coming to this conclusion, and it’s a brave one since I also love my mini whiteboards, yet when I think about the possibilities and uses, Post-its win. This led me to present recently at TM Sheffield, where I found a lot of fellow admirers and we started to swap ideas. I had told a white lie in the title of my presentation, ‘101 uses of sticky notes’ though I’m sure given enough time I could come up with that many. So instead, below is more aptly titled ‘The Power of Post-its’, some ideas to spark your imagination for the classroom.
I have never had an original idea of my own, but that hasn't stopped me from magpieing ideas from other people to use in my classroom. I am a millennium teacher, in that I qualified in the year 2000. I’m also lucky enough to love my job and the challenge of teaching Religious Studies… I mean, if you think about it, most people remember their schooling of RS. I certainly do, and it involved distracting the teacher as much as possible through getting them to tell inane stories about their own beliefs / children / views on (insert your own choice here!).