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Archive for the ‘CPD’ Category

Birmingham Primary Languages website

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Today a new part of the Birmingham Grid for Learning (BGfL) website was launched. After a long wait, the Birmingham Primary Language (BPL) website was unveiled.

Offering sections of guidance, useful weblinks, documentation and training opportunities for coordinators and class teachers as well as a growing bank of downloadable resources including sound files, there’s plenty to investigate.  The site is in its infancy but will hopefully grow and grow, especially if the Primary Language teachers of Birmingham volunteer resources and ideas to add to the bank.

Cheltenham Apple Teacher Institute 2011

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

What I learned today pt3

Monday, November 1st, 2010

The final session today was focussed on learning styles and preferences.

  • Lighting – dark, small light, whole room lit
  • Seating – at a table, on the floor, lying down, standing up
  • Temperature – warm, cold, hot
  • Sound – silent, music, louder noise

All the above affect our learning if conditions aren’t ideal for us.
Personally, I like to work in daylight, lying on the floor or with my feet up, don’t like being hot and like a murmur of noise to learn best.

I loved Ian’s assertion that adolescents become ‘pseudo stupid’ as their brains adapt to all the changes going on in their brains. Makes a lot of sense!

We looked at VAK approaches and learned how to make history  RE and Geography more kinaesthetic.

People moved from country to city due to wealth, industry, education, a better standard of living and better housing. I remembered that by holding out my left arm, travelling from the country (my armpit) to the the city (my hand) and looking at my fingers.

The Linkword approach in the 80s worked on a similar principle to pegging, linking images to things you need to remember.  In language learning, masculine nouns were recalled with an image of a boxer, feminine with perfume.   Language learning skills that are a  key feature of current language teaching use ideas like this, encouraging making links to aid recall.  For example, la sandia – a watermelon is well stuck in my pupils’ minds as we talked about how you eat it on the beach and if you drop it, it gets sandier.

Looking at Gardner’s multiple intelligences, Ian assigned each one a famous person-

Carol Vorderman – mathematical logical

The A A man / David Beckham – physical intelligence

Princess Di – interpersonal social

Mother Teresa – intrapersonal / empathy

Picasso – visual spatial

Mozart – musical

Charlie Dimmock / David Attenborough- naturalistic

Shakespeare – verbal linguistic

How can we teach to all these people? Perhaps not every lesson, but on a regualr basis?

I had to leave early to fetch J from school, but by this stage my brain was really buzzing and quite full!

I hope I’ve managed to effectively communicate some of the ideas and thoughts from today!

What I learned today! pt1

Monday, November 1st, 2010

I’ve already blogged three times today about the INSET today with Ian Gilbert– twice during the INSET day and once when I returned home.

However, I haven’t even scratched the surface!

So, here is a summary of the key points I noted from session one.

“Nothing is as dangerous as an idea when it’s the only one you’ve got.”

One of the major points made was that we need to encourage thinking – that all too often we stick to closed questions, always searching for a single correct answer rather than asking questions that encourage thought and have multiple ‘right’ answers – or none at all!

An example of this was the picture below – what is it?


A gin and tonic?
A handbag?
A child hiding behind a wall?
A chair?

This sort of ‘pre-starter’ is a good way to get us in the right frame of mind for learning. And the state we’re in when we learn has a profound effect on our learning – our breathing, our surroundings, our frame of mind.
Laughter is a good way to get us in the optimum state as it releases dopamine – plenty of that today!

Next we thought about this – attitude counts for more than aptitude.
Employers are looking for creativity – people who break the rules, stand out, make a difference, to make a dent in the universe. The idea that school is just a phase you go through – important but not the be all and end all – seems obvious when you say it but that’s not often the view taken with our pupils.

I learnt a new word today – fungible (meaning digitized and sent somewhere else).
Many jobs are fungible – like accountancy; others are anchored- a nurse will be needed to apply dressings. Which led to the question – who needs a teacher when we have Google? With services like Tutorvista, are we needed?  However,  the teacher who leads children to learning is important, the one who doesn’t just drip feed  knowledge but prepares kids for our world.

Some interesting quotations at this point –

‘It’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.’

‘Every act of creation starts with an act of destruction.’  Picasso

‘To know and not to do is not to know.’  Buddhist saying

The brain.

95% of what we know about the brain we’ve learnt in the last 15 years.

Male and female brains are different. (see Why men don’t iron)

The RAS (reticular activating system) is particularly key, stimulated by physical activity and emotions. So things like fidgeting and fiddling could actually be ways of staying ‘with it’ in lessons rather than signals that people are not paying attention.  I know that I concentrate best when I am multitasking – I was making notes or on my iPad all day today.

We did some ‘fartlek for the brain’ – particularly liked chopping and sawing!

And discussed that pace doesn’t mean speed – it rather means that the ups and downs of your lesson are appropriate to learning – lots of starts and ends – mini chunks of action/learning.

Three things to make your brain happy and healthy

1- eat antioxidants – tea coffee red wine tomatoes strawberries blueberries

2- healthy body, healthy mind

3- use it or lose it.  For example – taste something new each week; brush your teeth with the other hand; listen to Late Junction

Final question of the session

Is our school a teaching school or a learning school?  Is it a thinking school?

(Image by Highwaystar on picasaweb)

Thunks.

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Found a Youtube clip of Ian Gilbert in action with a group of children, using thunks to get them thinking.

What’s a thunk?

Thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking question about everyday things that stops you in your tracks and helps you start to look at the world in a whole new light.

Now I’m off to think up a few of my own for Wednesday.

How to make kids’ brains hurt,

Monday, November 1st, 2010

One of my favourite ideas from this morning has been the idea of making our brains work by posing unanswerable questions – or thunks.
There’s a whole website of them here but here are a few we’ve considered this morning.

What colour is Tuesday?

What is a tree? Is it less of a tree in winter when it has no leaves?

Is a broken down car parked?

Where do thoughts come from?

What is a third of love?

Is there more future or past?

I love this kind of activity that has no right or wrong answer, and makes you explain and justify your thinking. Needs a bit of practice to get it going but well worth the effort. One of the teachers with whom I work starts each day with a question like this – last week they considered ‘what can’t you doing sitting down?’
Provoked a great discussion!

And if you’re on Twitter and fancy receiving some thunks -called #twunks – follow @itlworldwide

Latest #twunk below!

AQA – Creative and motivational language learning in the primary classroom. Part 2

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

On Tuesday I was in sunny (yes, it was sunny!) Manchester, delivering my AQA course.

Apart from the problems with the internet, I believe a good day was had by all – lunch was once more a highlight!

Rather than repeat all the links, can I refer you to my last post where you will find all the ‘new’ links about PLL, and also some recommendations from other delegates of sites and learning materials that they’ve found useful.

I forgot last week to put a link to a resource listing many many games and quick activities for the PLL classroom, so here it is.

#MFLSAT – MFL Show and Tell.

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Tomorrow sees the MFL Show and Tell event at Nottingham High School.  I blogged about it here and will blog after the event too.  Additionally, I will try to tweet my thoughts and impressions ‘on the go’ so to speak (although I may have my hands full with other duties!)

To keep you a sneak peek as to what I’ll be talking about, here’s a word cloud of my presentation!

Fancy two weeks in Spain, France or Germany?

Monday, June 14th, 2010

CILT advertisement that might be of interest to people – If you’re interested in this, the closing date is 15th September, so best to sign up before the holidays!  Find out more on the CILT website or by emailing ptp@cilt.org.uk


MFL Show and Tell

Monday, May 17th, 2010

A not to be missed event fast approaching is the 3rd MFL Show and Tell.

Following on from the inaugural event at the Isle of Wight conference 2008, and the second edition held in Coventry in November 2009 , José Picardo (he of the sexy Spanish accent and highly informative Box of Tricks) has volunteered himself and his school for the 2010 edition.

As José himself explains –

The idea of the MFL Show and Tell session is to give teachers an opportunity to share good practice on the use of technology in the classroom in a relaxed, informal environment.

The session will take place in our brand new 6th Form Centre, where there will be access to a networked laptop computer, speakers, Wi-Fi, a data projector and screen for presentations.

If you want to sign up for the event, either as a speaker or as an attendee, pop along to José’s school site

The event is by teachers for teachers, and is all about sharing experiences.  Whether you’ve been teaching since the Stone Age or don’t remember life without the Internet, YOU have something to say.

I’ll no doubt throw in my ‘euro’s’ worth on a yet to be decided subject – good to keep you guessing ;o)

Thanks to Nottingham High School and Links into Languages East Midlands, the event is FREE!

Bargain!