#fun – secret agent style!

8 02 2013

Tonight it was hard to leave school, i was having so much fun, and all related to the project I was not looking forward to teaching. I reckon if i can make it fun for me, I am more likely to enthuse those I am teaching.

Fun, for me, is a major consideration when planning lessons, second only to the learning intention/ target. We have all attended training/courses and which did we remember most? Which did we participate most in? Which made a lasting impression, which encouraged us to do our best? the ones which were carefully planned to meet the learning target in a FUN way.

So back to this afternoon… I have a team work project to deliver, where children have to collaborate and present information about a specific country. 21 hours of research. What it needed was a spin… A reason for being, and a fun one at that… Luckily i work with. Team of talented and creative likeminded teachers and we collaborated and came up with a plan… Mission 4367, where children are invited by James bond to help them research their country in a top secret mission in which agent lives across the world are in danger. I have downloaded ‘morfo’ on my ipad, grabbed a picture of 007 and animated him recording the initial briefing. Top secret dossiers have been created, secret agent cards are ready for laminating and a flipchart created for ‘retired agents’ (aka teachers) to model the learning and reinforce instructions.

All I need now are 23 willing agent volunteers! Roll on next half term!

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# purpose

24 01 2013

“What is the purpose?” Is a question i seem to be asking more and more every day as a class teacher. As Head of ICT I feel I know exactly what the purpose is , but as a class teacher, the permutations are much wider.. An easy activity with less real purpose so I can hear readers or a great activity that i cant move forward enough as I hear readers? An easy activity to build confidence or a tricky one to deepen learning… So many decisions to make!

As my first year back as a classroom teacher for a few years, it is interesting to see my beliefs and understanding change. Today I trained a new member of staff how to use activinspire. She had used activprimary in the past, but Inspire and the new wonderful features needed explaining. And On reflection, I feel my training was quite different now I am back with a class full time. Still the same tools were discussed, still the same activities described and given as examples, but a subtle change of emphasis has taken place, away from the teacher ‘wow’ing others by using tools, to the whiteboard being almost unnoticeable as the teacher concentrates on the main focus of the day… Children’s learning. No longer were the tricks the ‘highlight’ of the training, but the more subtle tools were taking centre stage in my training such ad changing the toolbar and adding personal resources.

The purpose has changed. Now. Want my whiteboard to blend into the background, to become secondary to the learning rather than the focus, an invisible tool rather than the shiny new one.
Many of the materials i worked through were the same ( the manual i have written and the ten minute tasks which are really popular with staff) just the purpose of the whiteboard itself had changed, but to try and make my whiteboard invisible, because I love it, was nit something I had expected…

Purpose, it’s all about purpose.