5 MORE dates that offer unforgettable learning opportunities

Innovate My School

Innovate My School empowers educators to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead proactively and, most importantly, feel inspired. It now entertains an audience of 50,000 educators through its weekly content, with 1,300 guest bloggers and over 2,500 articles published to date.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Image credit: Alex Fairlamb. Image credit: Alex Fairlamb.

Two weeks ago we shared five key dates, from September to January, that schools can use to deliver lessons that offer something different. Here, we cover February to July.

Tuesday 6th February - Safer Internet Day


Image: SID


An unmissable event for all schools, #SID18 is a chance to delve into both e-safety and digital citizenship. Taking yesterday’s article by Tim Head as a jumping-off point, ask pupils if they think they’d pass ‘The Granny Test’ (as in, what would their nans think of their online behaviour?).


Another idea would be to use Classtools’ Fakebook generator and create several dummy pupil Facebook pages. Each of these will have digital citizenship faux pas (such as a phone number) littered throughout, and pupils need to identify what their fake peers have done wrong.


Finally, remember to follow both @safeinternetday and @UK_SIC.


Thursday 1st March - World Book Day


Image: Mat Galvin


The main highlight of WBD is, of course, the costumes. While it’s amazing that pupils get such a perfect opportunity to celebrate their favourite literary characters, why not go one step further and have them create new ones as well?


First of all, ask pupils to write down their favourite novel. Then, ask them to create a character who exists in the world of that book. Pupils can describe this person, discuss where they fit in within, say, The Tale of Despereaux and how they might interact with the novel’s established characters. To round the activity off, you could even ask pupils to have a go at drawing or painting these newly-birthed characters - a perfect opportunity for an English / Art collaboration. This fan fiction session will build both literacy and creative writing skills, and is an ideal way to get pupils even more invested in their favourite books.


Monday 23rd April - English Language Day


Image: The UN


One that’s ideal for both the English and History classroom. Form a session around etymology by having pupils each submit 20 words they love a week in advance (hopefully “onomatopoeia” will pop up more than once). Then, on English Language Day, discuss as a class some of the most fun origins. How did that word come about? In what context was it originally used? How has it evolved over time? Like with the case of Americans and the word “fall”, are arguably older terms used in English-speaking countries around the world other than the UK?


Another activity sees a crossover between English and MFL. As a class, take a look at what non-English words have informed the language we speak today. Once you get past the older Latin words (“this lesson will be a bona fide learning experience through exploring words ad nauseum”), you can give pupils carte blanche to see what foreign terms and loanwords they can think of being handy in daily life. The French gave us “entrepreneur” and “cinema”. The Germans, “delicatessen” and “rucksack”. “Moped” was coined by Harald Nielsen, a Swede. See how many links your class can find to other languages.


Friday 4th May - Star Wars Day


Image: Star Wars In The Classroom


It’s now ubiquitous, so you may as well make Star Wars work for you. The team at Star Wars In The Classroom aren’t half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herders - they’ve been educating via Star Wars for nearly thirty years. To ensure that pupils come back (and in greater numbers), they weave the science-fantasy saga into subjects like English, Social Studies, Science and History, and they’re great at sharing first-rate resources. For example, when it comes to robotics, pupils can create their very own R2 units with the R2 Builders Club. Meanwhile, English teachers can deploy Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare's Star Wars series:


YouTube link


In advance of May 4th, visit their site and @StarWarsinClass on Twitter!


Monday 18th June - International Picnic Day


Image: Mike Watson


Kids love a party - so on International Picnic Day, throw them an outdoor feast! Of course, this presents a ripe opportunity for outdoor learning. Weather permitting (you may need to do this on a day close to 18th June), invite pupils outdoors for an active learning session (Mike Watson covers alfresco Maths and English lessons in the new IMS Guide), or perhaps get them involved involved with some PE (get those appetites going).


For lunch, bring out the food - you could even liaise with your parent community and find some willing grub-donors (“doesn’t Sammy’s dad make some mean coronation chicken scones…?”) Remember those veggie and vegan options, and don’t forget to make sure you tuck in also! This is an ideal excuse to dine with the pupils in an informal atmosphere, to build those bonds and reinforce relationships.


After everyone’s been fed and hydrated, enjoy a more relaxed lesson. Sam Flatman has already written about how literacy can be taught outdoors - other options include art (chalk on concrete, paint on walls) or music if you’ve the right environment for it.


Friday 13th July - In advance of Emmeline Pankhurst Day


Image: Alex Fairlamb


Moss Side’s Emmeline Pankhurst was in 1999 named one of Time magazine’s Most Important People of the Century. It’s easy to see why; the suffragette leader founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), and was an integral part of women's suffrage being achieved in the UK.


With this in mind, you might use 13th July (Emmeline Pankhurst Day itself is on Saturday 14th July) to discuss some of the people who fought for the rights we take for granted today, and those who are still doing so. Alex Fairlamb has already written about how she loves to bring the suffragette movement into her classroom, and Emily Folorunsho has shown how she discusses Dr Martin Luther King Jr in her lessons. Other areas of focus might include Malala Yousafzai (fresh off her A Level victory), Oskar Schindler, Harriet Tubman, Liu Xiaobo, Maya Angelou and Raif Badawi. On Friday 13th July (or alternatively International Women's Day on Thursday 8th March), give your pupils some new heroes.


What dates would you add? Let us know below.

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now
Login

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"