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Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

Night Zookeeper – Teleporting Torch app

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 18.14.58Just before Christmas I wrote about Night Zookeeper’s Drawing Torch app , a brilliant app that encourages users to use their imagination and creativity to undertake missions, drawing with their magic torch.

I was therefore very excited this week to hear that Night Zookeeper has launched a new app – Teleporting Torch.

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The premise is similar – here’s the blurb!

Night Zookeeper Teleporting Torch inspires you to draw pictures and write stories about magical animals!
Do you think you could become a Night Zookeeper? Enter a world of Spying Giraffes, Time Travelling Elephants and scary Fear Monsters.
On your journey you will take on creative drawing missions to protect the zoo from monsters and care for thousands of magical animals. Can you turn one of your friends or family into a strange animal? Could you paint the ocean, if a monster has stolen the colour blue? It’s time find out!

Some of the features are similar to the Drawing Torch e.g. you still ROAR! to unlock the Night Zookeeper story, and the drawing panel is still as cool! Where it differs from the Drawing Torch is that missions are delivered on a daily basis “like a never ending activity book” rather en bloc and you can now create your own missions.

Here’s a video explaining it.

The ability to create your own missions is particularly exciting from my point of view. In the original post, I documented my conversation with @nightzookeeper about the possibility of having the missions in other languages. 

Now you can write your own missions on www.nightzookeeper.com, there’s nothing to stop you writing them in other languages. Accents work (always a worry!) and it’s really easy. You can use existing templates or write your own.

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I’ve written two in Spanish so far. I used the existing ideas and templates, simplifying the language a little and translating them. And i’ve only scrolled down a little bit – there are many more ideas that I have yet to read, and I’m sure I’ll be inventing my own ideas soon! So, there’s a food based mission, and a clothing based mission. Once learners have completed the mission, we could share them as a class with learners presenting their creations and then discussing them as a class.

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Another thing I love is that you can add as many zookeepers as you wish to each iPad meaning that I can do the challenges and so can my children; that’s great in the context of a class where learners are sharing iPads and can simply change the zookeeper to their identity and complete the challenge before passing on to another learner who can complete the same challenge or another!  You can also decide who will receive each challenge. So it’s easy to send different challenges to individuals, tailored to their interest, age or ability.

All pictures are saved in the Night gallery as well as on the iPad – here’s my gallery!

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The app costs £1.99 but I think that this is worth it as it is now so much more versatile and customisable. And it can be used across the curriculum, not just in literacy! Once I’ve played some more, I’ll no doubt be back with more ideas!

 

Night Zookeeper Drawing Torch app

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Being a fan of 64 Zoo Lane and having a wild imagination, when I discovered that there was someone called the Night Zookeeper on Twitter, I was fascinated and wanted to know more. And I wasn’t disappointed when I found that the NightZookeeper pr

oject was all about encouraging children to be creative and use their imaginations.

To quote the About on the Night Zoo Teacher website (companion to the NightZookeeper one)

Night Zookeeper was first delivered as a creative project in a Lancashire school back in 2007. It was clear from the beginning that the project had huge potential to inspire children to learn through the mediums of art,

creative writing, ICT and playground games. And so, from the children’s smiles, animal noises and magical creations, a Night Zoo was born.

In 2011 we launched the website (www.nightzookeeper.com) and the project has since gone from strength to strength. Support has reigned in from education thought leaders, governments and most importantly from teachers from all around the world.

The Night Zookeeper team consists of artists, storytellers, primary school teachers and creative technologists.  We are all united in our belief in the importance of fostering a child’s creativity in the classroom and at home.

I have to admit that, not having had a class on which to try it out, I’ve not explored as much as I might. However, following on from #TMTwist last week which was organised by @nightzookeeper (with @jodieworld  and @oliverquinlan) and held at NightZookeeper HQ (looked wonderful – wish I’d been there in person rather than virtually), I revisited and was particularly interested to hear of an app!

 

Night ZooKeeper Drawing Torch is a FREE app for iPads that is just amazing or as Apps Playground says ‘ A CREATIVE IPAD TREAT FOR KIDS’. Taking the premise that you are  a Night Zookeeper, you are set challenges or missions to look after thousands of magical animals and defeat the monsters that attack the zoo. And how do you do that? By drawing of course with your drawing torch! I am no great artist but that doesn’t matter – in fact, I find that it helps me in the classroom as no one can EVER be intimidated by my drawing being better than theirs! And because it’s a drawing app that asks for you to use your imagination, there’s no right or wrong answer so there’s no fear there. AND it’s all part of a story too, beautifully narrated! Examples of the challenges (I’ve taken them form the iTunes page as I don’t want to spoil the surprise by revealing more!) – “What do you think a Spying Giraffe looks like? Can you turn one of your friends or family into a strange animal? Could you draw a frog, if a monster has stolen the colour green?”

So far I’ve completed two missions of the 22 on the app, each a star in the night sky. I’m trying hard to ration myself and not do them all in one go but it’s very tempting! The naughty monsters are already being tricksy and making life interesting. Below are the first two drawings I made (told you I wasn’t very good at drawing!), saved to the CameraRoll of my iPad using the save option – you can also email. Very simple!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I said, I love any opportunity to get people thinking and exploring their creativity – whether young old or in between! And I’m having a blast playing with this app. In the classroom I can see this app as a great springboard to some brilliant imaginative writing, dancing, singing not to mention drawing of course. It could be linked to Science e.g. adaptation and habitat, to PSHE e.g. problem solving, and that’s just a few ideas for starters without a) exploring the whole story and b) looking at the resources offered on NightZookeeper Teachers page.

I’ve already tweeted @Nightzookeeper asking about the app in other languages – a bit impatient of me considering the app is only 3 weeks old! However, I like to get my requests in as soon as possible, especially when I like something! It takes Build your Wildself  (which I love and have mentioned before here and here ) a step further – so much further – and that’s just one aspect of it.

Two ways I might use it.

1. At the moment, I teach English to some delightful kids and over the last couple of weeks we (coincidentally) talked about animals and made up our own hybrids so I think this app will be a great next step – you can redo the challenges so that’s not a problem!

2. And although the challenges are written in English, there’s nothing to stop you using the Drawing Torch for things other than the official missions, is there? So I could set my own mission in Spanish for example and learners could carry it out using the app. They wouldn’t win a star but I’d find another reward! ;o)

I’m sure that’s there’s more to come from Drawing Torch in the future. In fact, there’s a competition for kids to devise a new mission and win an iPad Mini (closing date 4th January and you don’t need an iPad to enter!).

And I’ve just discovered that, despite only being 3 weeks old, Drawing Torch has already been nominated for Best Edu Mobile app in the Edublog Awards . Way to go @NightZookeeper!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How might I use Yo quiero ser – Nubeluz

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Thanks to Pat Sweeney on the Yahoo MFL Resources group for pointing out this group.

If you like Hi5, and you love a bit of 90s “cheese”, you’ll love Nubeluz.

As Pat writes –

“Many of Nubeluz’s songs seem to be innocent good fun and definitely have catchy tunes that make you want to dance and sing along.
However, some “carry a message “. For example “Papi, deja de fumar!”
( Daddy, give up smoking!) or “Cuidado ” ( Be careful!) which warns of being mislead by friends to get involved in things that are not right or good.”

She goes on to pose a question –

“I would be very interested to know what people think of the songs and whether they would deem them suitable for using as teaching aids..and if so..with which groups..how?”

So…here are some ideas for how to use  Yo quiero ser

I think this would fit well with the topics People who help us or Jobs people do that are part of EYFS and KS1. I think that the chorus is the most useful part.

Activities you might do:

  • ask learners to identify the jobs they hear in the chorus. They are repeated at the very end so there are 2 chances to catch them. You might provide a tick sheet with pictures for younger learners or the names in Spanish for older ones.
  • make a pelmanism game with job images and names in Spanish for matching first then for playing.
  • cut the lyrics (chorus) into strips. Ask learners firstly to see if they can match the jobs with the description of what they do. This uses their LLS as they will look for cognates, make connections between the word for the job and words in the description and so on. Then they can check their answers by listening and watching again.
  • I might use Amara (was UniversalSubtitles) http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/ to put Spanish subtitles on the video too. (See this example and also this post about how and why)
Moving away from the video, some further ideas –
  • I might use other video clip such as Los oficios which features a famous song, or this version with the words.
  • This clip Cuando sea grande would be a good step onto using the future tense. Seré dentista/artista etc. I also like the final lines – “Cuando sea grande, haré mil cosas/Porque estoy seguro que podré. Y mientras tanto llega la hora/Solamente niño quiero ser”
  • There is a whole unit of work on Udicom on Los oficios. These resources are intended for ‘alumnos de compensatoria’ or learners needing extra help in Spain so many are very simple exercises on copywriting, phonics, matching and writing words and short phrases. I particularly like the phonics sections and the use of little rhymes too.
  • This interactive site is useful for learning the names of jobs by hovering over the people, and clicking to see/hear a short sentence about what they do. Further forward (click on arrow bottom right) it talks about “profesiones” – professions as opposed to “oficios” – jobs.
  • Here’s a free poster that you can download – I believe you need to purchase the other posters tagged Los oficios but you can look at them for ideas!
  • I also found this blog with an image and short descriptions for 6 jobs/professions.
  • And this is a wonderful site with lots of ideas and materials for a wide age range. There are a number of stories at a variety of levels (primary and secondary) as well as comics and ‘information books’, all presented online. As this resource is aimed at social studies for Spanish learners, so you need to bear that in mind e.g. Look at the complexity of language rather than going by the age indicated. I looked at a few stories – Alejandro el canguro pintor (basic) is a lovely tale about a kangaroo that draws all the time, and Maria auxiliar de ayuda a domicilio is more complex and a home help who makes Grandma’s life better. There’s a teachers guide that includes ideas and some activity sheets. Well worth an explore if you’re looking to work cross curricularly at primary or secondary level!

 

So, Pat. Does that answer your question? 🙂

 

 

Join El Carnaval de los animales – Comenius Regio Conference 29th June

Friday, July 15th, 2011

I am so behind with posting things – rather a lot going on at the moment!

Apologies to those who have been patiently waiting for my presentation at the Comenius Conference at Newman College on June 29th – here it is!

It was a really great day and it was a wonderful way to finish this phase of the project.

 

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 pt2

Monday, November 1st, 2010

I’ve already blogged about Thunks and making kids’ brains hurt which were the key ideas in this session.

However, a few other things that were interesting.

1. A useful reference for philosophy for kids – SAPERE

2. When we ask questions, we’re not comfortable with leaving silence.  On average, we wait  0.9 sec before filling the silene with the answer.  Thus, ‘learned helplessness’ starts. Sometimes we need time to think and process, sometimes we need to struggle for an answer to stimulate our brain.

3. The 4 Bs for finding things out

Brain

Book/board

Buddies

Boss (teacher)

4. ask for three answers to a question – allows multiple answers, multiple contributions and multiple involvement.

5. Can you raise someone else’s self esteem?  Surely it’s their self esteem so you can only create the conditions for improvement to be possible.  As educators, we are literally moulding the brains that will decide the future by helping the neurones in brain amke trillions of connections.

6. The difference between the arrogant and confident person is that the arrogant person will make you feel worse about yourself.

7. Self esteem is determined by feeling loveable and capable.  Childen need to be hugged and praised.

More brain stuff

There are three parts to the brain –

Reptilian (lizard)  – fight flight hunt

Mammalian (dog) – emotions and memories

Neo cortex – the human bit

The PFC (pre frontal cortex) holds the key to our reactions.  The amygdala ‘calms’ it from its rashness.  So using STAR gives the amygdala a chance to work.

Stop
Think
Act
Review

Some quotations to finish –

To teach you need to contain, entertain and explain.

Intelligence is what you use when you don’t know what to do. – Piaget

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!