Pobble, the global literacy initiative recently named as one of the top-five providers of education technology in the UK in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, has announced that it’s opening up its assessment tool for external users. The tool allows teachers to create assessment files for pupils, and moderate their writing together with colleagues. A limited number of teachers can now sign up to gain access for free.
On Friday 28th October, Twitter will host the Digital Citizenship Summit launch event for US Media Literacy Week at their San Francisco headquarters. The Digital Citizenship Summit has a mission to unite people, organizations, and companies across the world committed to the safe, savvy, and ethical use of social media and tech. The all-day global event aims to work towards solutions, promote best practices, and empower citizens to “be the digital change”. The event is being livestreamed (or Periscoped) through Twitter’s @Safety account, and can also be watched directly at BeTheDigitalChange.com.
To celebrate the first international World Values Day on the 20th October 2016, the Human Values Foundation is inviting children aged from 7 to 11 years to take part in its global story-writing competition. All stories must be submitted by 14th October 2016. Schools and other organisations throughout the world can take part. The stories must be original and centred around one chosen value (a list of values can be found on the HVF website). Each entry should be no more than 300 words long and can be illustrated, though this is not mandatory.
For schools, getting children to engage with learning is the first step. However, some pupils struggle with this, including disadvantaged and looked-after children (LAC) pupils, with the Department for Education (DfE) finding the attainment of LAC in KS1 and KS2 is lower than it is for non-looked after children; only 63% of LAC at KS1 achieved a level 2 or above in writing in 2015 compared to 88% of non-looked after children. Although this isn’t the case for every LAC, many can become disengaged and their attendance at school may not be as good as their peers, so as a result, they fall behind during lessons.
Its was a with some trepidation and a little fear when our head said to us about teaching Shakespeare as a topic. This was shaped by my own experience with Shakespeare at school, which basically amounted to reading from a book and having little to no understanding of his fantastic language. After a staff trip to the Globe in London for CPD and some inspiring ideas shared I was happier, even a little excited about the prospect of teaching Shakespeare to 7 and 8 year olds. My class were called The Tempest - this was primarily the play I concentrated on - but many of the ideas I used could be used and adapted with any Shakespeare play.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a word nerd. I have always loved language - as a teacher and a writer. Vocabulary knowledge, I first noticed years ago as a young teacher, is the key to unlocking meaning for your students. It also gives educators insights into the world, as lifelong learners. How can we make learning interesting, colourful and complex words an exciting part of the fabric of classroom life? Or, how can we cultivate word geeks in our classrooms? And how can digital tools help?
During the course of last year I came across A Tale Unfolds and it fascinated me. A combination of English and Computing skills combined; an opportunity to really engage the children in their learning. I had looked at those teachers who had successfully used it, such as Graham Andre and Rachel Preece-Dawson, and naturally I was keen to give it a go. When I won a trial of the scheme I was over the moon. I took it with me to my new school and trialled it in the Autumn term with my Year 5s.
Writing and filmmaking maestros A Tale Unfolds have announced the early release of Frightful Film Trailer, their brand-new, free resource made in collaboration with The Literacy Shed. This week-long literacy project encourages teachers to use film and filmmaking in the classroom as a purposeful way to engage children with writing. Using animations from The Literacy Shed as well as original videos starring The Write Brothers, teachers and pupils are guided step by step in creating their own trailer.
Storytelling in the classroom can be a powerful way to support literacy. Children can be so absorbed in the tale, they are inspired to retell what they’ve heard to others, motivated to read it for themselves and encouraged to take it further and write their own parts or versions. The National Literacy Trust advocates that ‘speaking and listening skills underpin all learning’.
I love reading books, but fiction is a turn-off for many children. Lovingly crafted, descriptive paragraphs and character profiles have no relevance to their lives, and many are not interested. One of the problems is that fiction is long. Children are absent, miss a class and then are set to pick apart a paragraph on page 238. It doesn't work.