Plan on a Page

If you are involved in education and use twitter you can’t not have seen Ross McGill’s excellent 5 Minute Lesson Plan.  A great resource that supports teachers with planning effective lessons, in 5 minutes or less. This inspired us to produce a ‘Plan on a Page’, based on the great principles of the 5 minute plan: Saving precious teacher time Supporting teachers to plan for effective learning Satisfying the criteria for ...
1. Comic life - creating conversations as a comic. I remember being taught French at high school, and the first thing everybody had to do was a simple conversation with a partner. This is my third year teaching Spanish to Year 6, and I have always started with that same topic. To freshen up this tried and tested formula, though, I have the children create comic strips of their conversation. Most children ...
Sample questions from the Government's new “back to basics” grammar, spelling and punctuation test for 11-year-olds were released this week. Here are three superb literacy-related resources for all teachers - whether they're looking for a way to improve pupils' punctuation, a refresher course on comma conventions, or some intriguing information about where grammar came from and why it matters.     1. "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips" website Mignon Forgarty, otherwise known ...
I have it on good authority that autonomy is a problem when our sixth formers leave us for university life. Helping pupils recognise their learning and find ways to enhance their own exploration of the world in which they live, encourages autonomy; this must be developed earlier if we want to avoid spoon-feeding GCSE students and sixth formers forever, damaging their chances when their apron strings are finally cut. One ...
There has been a recent twitter exploration on deep understanding led by Peter Skillen, of www.plpnetwork.com. The thrust of the debate centred on the ways in which we can support pupils move from 'novice' learning to 'expert' learning. Skillen paints a picture of the novice learner as one that is unable to plan, monitor and reflect on their learning. With respect to metacognitive strengths, this might be the ...
The use of apps in the classroom is now commonplace. The challenge speech and language therapists face is knowing the best way to use apps in this environment. With the sheer magnitude of apps available, it can be difficult to sort through and find an app which targets specific communication goals. Many of the available educational apps can easily be incorporated into the therapy setting to collect data, record conversational ...
The Christmas holidays should be a time for mulling wine and pulling crackers. But many teachers will spend at least some of the festive period wondering - and worrying about - how well their pupils are preparing for January exams. To assuage the anxiety, here are six YouTube videos that should help your pupils maximise their memories.   1. The “Method of Loci” or memory palace In this video, Andi Bell demonstrates ...

Alternative reality

Isn't it curious that all of you and and all of your students use the internet daily but none of you exploit its potential for teaching, learning and creativity? Isn't it curious that schools force their students to inhabit this alternative reality for six or seven hours every day where the internet doesn't exist? Earlier this week I led a seminar for PGCE students at Nottingham University on the use ...
The ability to respond and adapt efficiently when under pressure is a skill that can make a huge difference to the future of secondary school students. Whether it’s having the strength to say no to a situation they are not comfortable with, the confidence to talk in front of a large group, or the aptitude to come through a difficult day smiling – mental toughness is key. It was a ...
The Government has said that calculators will be banned in maths tests for 11-year-olds from 2014. Here are five cool apps for Android and IOS that should help pupils to sharpen their mental arithmetic and learn how to do more maths in their minds. Math Workout A no-nonsense app with a plain but clean interface, Math Workout helps pupils practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, indices, decimals and more. Its “Brain Cruncher” ...
Last month our headteacher gave me the challenge of using an Ipod shuffle creatively in a lesson. The easiest answer would be to use it in a music lesson, upload some tracks that could have been used for a dance session, or to play during a big write. I wanted to try to think outside the box a bit though, and began to focus on using the gadget in a ...
My first take on 'special needs' is: Don't all students have special needs? Aren't we beyond the cookie cutter education that lines students up and feeds them from the same trough? Yes and yes, but for the purposes of this article, I'm going to reign my pen in and discuss what we traditionally consider 'special needs' and technology's effect on those students who function outside of the normal bell curve ...
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