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Showing posts from 2018

More Emotional Literacy Through Music

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If you have followed my blog for a while, you will know I am a massive fan of using music in the classroom, especially for reading comprehension. You can read about other songs I have blogged here.
Here is another example:


Here is a lyric video to the song:


“Praying” is a song by Kesha believed to be directed at her long legal battle with producer Dr. Luke. It is believed the producer sexually and emotionally abused the singer over a number of years. While I wouldn't share this sensitive information with the class, the song has a powerful message about being positive when bad things have happened. Kesha described this song as:
This song is about me finding peace in the fact that I can’t control everything — because trying to control everyone was killing me. It’s about learning to let go and realize that the universe is in control of my fate, not me.“Praying” was written about that moment when the sun starts peeking through the darkest storm clouds, creating the most beautiful rain…

Enhancing our Mini Beast topic with technology

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Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of working in Year 1. Their topic for this half term has been mini beasts and so I wanted to share with you some of the work we have been doing through technology.

First, you may have seen the Hungry Caterpillar video we made, you can read about how we created this here.



The children have also been learning about different mini beasts, researching facts and information and then creating these videos using the app - Shadow Puppets Edu:


Last week, students were writing their own mini beast poems, focusing on the use of alliteration. To add an element of performance, the pupils recorded themselves sharing their writing using the app ChatterPix Kids. Here are some of their examples:


These are just a couple of example of how I try to promote the use of technology in the primary classroom. It is about children creating content through these creative apps. Each of these ideas can easily be adapted to any topic you are doing with your pupils. 

The Struggles for Teachers Administrating a Test

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If you're in the midst of testing season, I am sure you can relate to these videos:





This also made me chuckle, this chicken has nailed it as a teacher!

😂😂😂 Tag a teacher who walks like this! #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #teachers A post shared by Lee Parkinson (@ict_mrp) on Jan 13, 2018 at 1:25pm PST

I am sure every Year 6 teacher can also relate to this video from last year:


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Why Teachers have no patience by 9am

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Another video for you to enjoy. Can you relate?




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Which Teaching Avenger are you?

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With the new film breaking all sorts of records, I’ve put this video together looking at what the Avengers would be like as teachers. Which one do you relate to most? Let us know in the comments and get sharing with your colleagues if they remind you of anyone too!







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Making Dreams Come True Through The Internet

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I am always trying to promote the positive use of the internet. For me, it has changed my life in a way I never thought possible. Having my ideas shared and used all around the world is amazing and now to be able to visit and work with so many teachers around the country and beyond is brilliant. It is a tool I use a lot in class to add an authentic purpose to children's learning. Connecting our classroom to professionals and experts through social media has had an incredible impact on the quality of work we get from our students.

I have blogged plenty of examples of where the internet has created these amazing opportunities and experiences for our pupils, such as Blackfish, learning about our local area or a message for the England football team.

A couple of weeks ago, we had primary futures week where our pupils were learning about different jobs, had parents visit and talk about their career and discussion our aspirations.

I worked with Year 2 and challenged them to make some e…

Creatively Retelling The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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Who doesn't love this book?


An absolute classic! 
With Year 1 doing their Minibeast topic, I had to make a link and explore the book. We had read it through and used some of the brilliant Talk4Writing techniques to help us retell the story. To engage the children further, we decided to create our own version of the story starring Year 1.
To do this we used the masking tool with the brilliant Doink Greenscreen app. This short video demonstrates the process:

Once all the children had created their video on Doink Greenscreen. We put it all together in Apple Clips where pupils could also add emojis for all the food. This was their finished video:

I can't wait to use this idea with other areas of the curriculum!

Creating Interactive Guides to the Human Body

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You may remember a project I did with Year One last term:



I decided to do a similar project with Year Three for their science topic about the Human Body. 
We started with the Curiscope Virtuali-tee. This amazing augmented reality t-shirt never fails to create a lesson of awe and wonder! If you've not ordered one of their t-shirts, I would highly recommend it. Buy a t-shirt here.
As a class, we explored all the different parts of the body and used the guide to learn facts about how our body works and what each organ does. The children were then given a part of the body and given some more time to find other facts about it.
Using the app Chatterkids Pix, the children had to create animated videos sharing their learning.
The students also used Greenscreen to create images giving the illusion we could see inside their body. Using Seesaw, they labelled all the different parts of the body:

To link everything together, we used the app Thinglink. This allowed all the pupils to embed their…

Two Mr Ps in a Pod(Cast)

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I've just returned from the best holiday with my amazing family in Florida. We had such an amazing time.

While having a chat at night with my brother we got onto the topic of making a Podcast. My younger brother works as a HLTA in a primary school and from sharing stories about life in the classroom, we decided to give it a go. And so I am proud to introduce:
Two Mr Ps in a Pod(Cast) The idea of the podcast is to share funny stories from the classroom. What makes teaching one of the best jobs in the world is that no day is ever the same, and some of the things that happen and what children say keep us laughing through the current stress and pressure of our profession. We want to use this podcast to bring humour back into schools and show its not all doom and gloom. 
We want to hear from you too! What stories do you have from the classroom? Please share them here:
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So we have just released our first episode. If you have an Apple device, you can listen to it here:


It is als…

Bringing Picture Books to Life!

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Ever since John Murray (@ReadingExplorer) visited our school around 5 years ago, our school's approach to reading has changed massively. One aspect of the training which has really engaged our teachers and students was the use of picture books as a stimulus in English. It is something we have embraced right from EYFS to Year 6 and every class do at least one unit of English based on a picture book.

Since then, there's been a wealth of resources and support for using picture books to inspire English. One of my favourite people to follow on twitter is Simon Smith (@SmithSmm) who, for me, is like the guru of children's fiction. I was truly inspired by his session at Reading Rocks around the brilliant Arthur and The Golden Rope picture book. Click the picture to read Simon's blog post on this:



Year 4 have started looking at the beautiful book 'Flotsam.' Having explored the first few pages, we decided to create short videos telling the story in our own words.

To do t…

Removing Barriers in Reading Comprehension by improving Oral Speaking

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Recently, I was asked to write an article for Teach Primary magazine alongside John Murray (@ReadingExplorer.) The topic was to explain the pedagogy behind the Read Write Perform approach. You can read the article here:


A big focus with Read Write Perform is to get teachers to value oral speaking skills and demonstrate how much speaking and listening benefits other areas of the English curriculum. I see with many schools the constant accountability of work in books through Book Scrutinies is forcing many teachers to neglect this part of the English Curriculum. This was something I discussed in Episode 1 of Taking Teaching Back:

The obsession with work in books can create barriers for certain children if writing is something they struggle with. I have seen this in maths and reading especially. If the only way a student can show their understanding and reasoning is by writing it as a full sentence in their book, it may look like they are struggling if writing is challengeing. 
Through …

If they're into the craze, use it to engage!

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Viral crazes, you either love them or hate them. As a teacher, it is probably the latter. There is nothing worse than trying to explain the past progressive tense and spying a pupil trying to perfect the latest dance craze.


We've had everything - dabbing, bottle flipping, even the Harlem Shake... remember that?

The latest seems to be the Floss Dance. My pupils have been doing it so much they seem to have forgotten how to walk, they just floss everywhere. Dentists up and down the country must have been buzzing when they heard there was a floss craze. "FINALLY, people are taking our recommendations seriously" I could hear them cry. Imagine their surprise when they realised it turns out to be an awkward, Dad dancing move.


The look on their faces!
In the past, with some of the crazes, I have used them to great effect when it comes to writing in class. I truly believe children will do their best writing when they are writing about something they are truly engaged with. One o…