What a great week!

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I’ve had a really great week – perhaps one of the best in my career – so that bodes really well for the rest of the year!

The class have continued to be fantastic – really hard workers and very keen to learn. We’ve had a lot of fun lessons including…
using straws to blow paint blobs to create a network of neurons in paint
using kinaesthetic activities to remember the names of parts of neurons
making up and singing “drill-style” marching songs for the 2 times table
working in groups to solve maths puzzles
silent maths and “multiplying fingers”
colour-coding and labelling pictures of the brain
creating storyboards of The Piano
children writing lesson plans then teaching each other skills in pairs

I’ve also been able to use some web 2.0 tools!
Tagxedo so each child could make a word cloud about themselves
Slideroll to make these into a slideshow for our blog
Wallwisher for sharing research about the brain
Google forms for creating lesson reviews

The lesson reviews are still going strong. After each lesson the laptop is set up with the form ready and early finishers come and do a review. It’s been so popular I’ve had to put out a mini whiteboard so they can sign up to do a review! Some children have even done them at home. So far I haven’t had a “no” to the “Did you enjoy that lesson?” question. Phew!

It’s been very interesting reading after each lesson. I’m finding a lot out about children’s learning preferences. Some enjoy writing, some like drawing and others enjoy discussing their ideas. Shows the importance of having a variety of approaches available where possible.

Following on from The Piano, I was asked if they are going to be able to make their own film. I hadn’t originally planned for this, but logically it does seem to follow – they study film structure and then make their own film using the techniques they’ve learnt. So I am going to add on an extra week on the topic and they can make and edit their own short film! I like having a bit of wiggle room in planning so we can follow the children’s interests! 🙂

Wednesday was my presentation on Talk for Writing! It went really well! Here you can see the Prezi I used: https://prezi.com/secure/b3d1bd03f899a06f928377f3f02850072126f5d2/

I also showed these videos – at the “Book-talk” and “Writing as a reader” points respectively.
http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/156176

http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/node/155803

I was really pleased with how it went. Everyone joined in at the right points and seemed very interested. I presented it all as something that can be easily fitted in to everyday practice – which it can be! If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of Talk For Writing, you simply must try it – the effect it has on children’s writing is just astounding! The video of “Box of Stars” is the best introduction to it. It shows how you can enhance writing by pushing for good vocabulary and sentence structure. I use it all the time in shared writing, and the children go on to use it when they’re writing independently. We use the phrases: “The first word is not always the best word” and “Think it – Say it – Like it – Write it!” I also encourage Magpie-ing of great vocabulary and ideas!

Another really good thing that happened this week was when I went to see the head and she said how impressed she was with my work this week – she said she could see a huge increase in my confidence this year. Now I put this down to a few things – one, my class this year are so lovely and have been taught so well last year that teaching them is amazing and fun! Two, my new boots! I’m making an effort to dress more smartly and I think that has helped me feel more confident. And three, all the CPD I have been doing on Twitter this summer! I’m convinced that sharing ideas day-to-day and particularly in ukedchat, and the giving and receiving of good advice, has really boosted my confidence. I definitely feel a lot better in myself this year. It’s really nice because this job can really wear you down and I’ve had a few tough years recently, but I now feel positive, enthused, inspired and excited about teaching all over again! So a big thank you to everyone in my PLN for helping to get me to this point! 🙂

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5 responses »

  1. Hey, sounds like an amazing week. Well done. I’m really interested in some of the ideas you mention in this post. You talk about your early finishers being able to get to the computer to add their lesson reviews. This raises two questions for me:
    1 – is this having a positive effect on those who you know to be less likely to complete tasks? Are they pushing themselves harder to finish because of the opportunity you are setting up?
    2 – how do those still not finishing add their feedback?

    I have written a post about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation tonight, and your reflections are addind to my pondering. thanks!

    • An interesting point! It’s hard to know so far whether it’s encouraging children to finish their work in good time as I haven’t known them long enough to know what they would usually do! I’ve stayed in class a few times at lunch time so a few more children could write their reviews, plus they did some in the ICT lesson, and the link is always on the blog for them to complete at home.
      Fact is though it’s bound to be the motivated and keen ones that fill in the review more often than not – perhaps i should make a rota instead so that I get to hear the views of everyone fairly! Thanks for the comment to make me think about that!

      • Sorry for taking a while to respond. It is certainly true that those who have self-motivation will respond to a new motivating tool (if it falls within their preferences?!). However, I am almost certain that this will have motivated some of the pupils who might have been less inclined to finish before (although you talk about having “that” class that we all hope to teach at least once).

        I suppose one of the problems we have as educators is that we can’t perform controlled experiments, as it is unethical. Therefore you have to trust your judgement and provide the evidence to back up your evaluation. I look forward to hearing more!!

  2. Really glad that things are going well. Especially pleased that the HT has commented. It is part of our role I feel! Finally, well done for decideding to smarten up (not that I thought you weren’t smart before!) but it does make a difference to the children & parents!

    altogether an A+ week!

  3. Wow, what an amazing a busy week. I love the idea of lesson reviews and will be interested to follow the progress of this. What I really like is how you are giving the pupils the sense of control, I think this will be a focus for my next placement. Thank you for sharing :0)
    Jenny

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