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Showing posts from 2016

Active Vocab Learning Challenges

This term has been hectic and has not quite turned out as I expected.  Nonetheless, despite all the unknowns and all the work the one constant and the one pleasing aspect to my role has been what has been going on in my classroom.  I make no bones about the fact that this article is going to have very little link to technology.  This does not mean that I have left technology behind.  On the contrary, I am still very much in favour of harnessing tools to enhance learning and marrying this with the most pertinent teaching methodology.  
In fact, methodology is where this blogpost begins.  With the demands of the new GCSE in mind I wanted and indeed, needed, to consider how best to enable my students to enlarge their vocabulary so that they could put it to use in writing and translation.  With Daniel Willingham’s Why Don't Students Like School in mind, I have worked hard to ensure that students have a large bank of words at their disposal so that they can build on this and apply it mo…

It's Quizlet - but not as we know it.

This past academic year I did not use my iPad in lessons as much as I would have liked.  Previously I have given out my one iPad and let students use it to create little digital postcards or books using the book creator app or using tellagami they made spoken presentations hiding their anxiety behind an avatar of their making.  Each student has then shown the next student how to make such a presentation using the prescribed tools.  This has been a system that has worked well and given all the students a chance to be creative and enhance their learning and demonstrate their knowledge.
However, this year, just past, I have focused more on a few tools such as google classroom, which you can read about here and here. I have also used Edmodo a great deal as my students have been involved in a collaborative project with students in France.  Edmodo is an excellent and safe platform for a project such as this. Both Google Classroom and Edmodo allow for collaboration and give opportunities too…

Twitter - how to make it work for you.

As you may know, I am a huge fan of Twitter.  I post something almost everyday and invariably it is to do with teaching and learning, although of late, since the EU referendum, I have become quite an angry political tweeter!  Of course, I also post tweets of encouragement and support for my fellow colleagues and I am always grateful when they do the same for me.  Indeed, supportive tweets can help you through those dark days that sometimes get you down.The reason, therefore, for writing this post is that I now have some colleagues who started to show an interest in Twitter but who clearly need some direction.  They have got as far as signing up and following a few people but they just don't get the point and more worryingly for me, as a staunch supporter of and believer in Twitter I want them to understand how to the make the most of this fabulous resource. So how should I encourage them to stay on Twitter? What can I tell my colleagues that will help them to see the value in this …

Google classroom - using the question feature

I have in previous posts shared my enthusiasm for Google classroom.  It is a perfect tool to enable collaboration amongst students, to ensure fast and effective feedback and at the very least to keep tabs on the work your students have and haven't done.

Google Classroom allows you to post an announcement or set an assignment attaching any kind of document you want, be it spreadsheet, document, picture or presentation. The attachment can be copied for each individual student in your class and they can then work on the document whilst you are able to keep tabs on the work they are doing.  Furthermore you can make comments on their work, having highlighted any particular issues and talk to them directly via the chat tool. Other options allow you to reuse any previous post if so desired. However, one element that I like but I have not really made the most of is the question feature. 
This is a very simple tool where you simply post a question,  set a due date (or not, as you wish) and …

Post-it notes for the tech classroom

YI love using post-it notes in my classroom.  They are the perfect place to jot down 'one thing you have learnt today', or 'one thing you wish you knew better'. You know the sort of thing I mean - a plenary tool that you can keep and peruse to guide you for your next lesson.  On occasion, I pull out the post-it notes a week or so later and challenge my students to tell me if they now know 'how to form.....?'.  In terms of AFL and a type of exit ticket, post-it notes do a great job.Why then, if this lovely paper tool works well, do we need to do anything else.  Why do we need to 'techify' it? 
For me, it's simple and this list might help you share my enthusiasm. 1. The ability to save the post-it notes electronically. 2. Order and re-order them 3. Re-organise them so as to highlight better a particular point.
4. Share the post-it's with the class as a PowerPoint or PDF via email (or google classroom if you have it). 
5. Highlight a particular issue on …

Email. Should we thank Ray Tomlinson?

On Monday, I am tasked with giving whole school assembly.  The theme for the term is current affairs.  There's lots to talk about but I have gone for something a little different. What follows is my talk.
Clearly, as Head of MFL I should stand here today and talk about Europe - should we be in or out? However, the papers are full of articles and editorials and I am going to leave it to you to read these and make these important decisions yourself. 
Instead I want to talk about this man.  Image courtesy of www.npr.org
On 6th March, Ray Tomlinson died.
You may not have any idea who this man is.  But his work has, even if you did not know it, impacted on the way you now communicate.  Indeed in my lifetime, which is not quite half a century, communication has changed beyond recognition.  As a youngster I recall people using fax, telephones looked like this and I used to send my Australian relatives airmail letters. On my year abroad in Russia I sent telegrams as it was so cheap, and when I…