Blog : English

Learning for Life

Learning for Life

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We are currently working with the whole school at George Betts Primary Academy on a new and exciting creative learning project to highlight all the essential skills, qualities and attributes that are needed to make the most of  every opportunity to learn with a focus on learning for life.

Throughout the  two week project we’ll be working with children and staff  to create a brand new digital story book which will be the inspiration for animations, podcasts and   an innovative and exciting sculpture to support outdoor learning.

The project kicked off the project with years 1 and 2. Throughout a productive day, the children were able to let their imaginations run wild to create the characters for the story along with an outline plot, using the schools nature trail for inspiration.

It’s been a great start and we’re looking forward to seeing how the plot thickens! and to what else can be created by years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

iPads? Easy as A,B,C!

iPads? Easy as A,B,C!

Children of all ages at Hurst Hill Primary School have embraced their new set of iPads and are confidently working with them to learn, explore and expand their skills. This short video gives you a glimpse at how the children in Foundation Stage have been using the technology.

An iPad Lesson

An iPad Lesson

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At Kingsland Primary School today, the pupils have had their first iPad lead session. They are currently studying Thailand and today in particular, looked at the animals that can be found in the rainforest and the camouflage that they might use to keep clear of any predators!

We began our lesson today with a look at the kinds of camouflage that we might find in the rainforest…

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We broke off into smaller groups to do some group activities, including using our ‘window’ to get a closer look at the skin textures of the animals, camouflaging 3D model cows along with designing new colour schemes for some outlined 2D animals…

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After we have had a recap and a look at these specialist animals, we got our class iPad’s out and opened the app ‘Foldify’. This app allows us to create 3D models of animals, with our own designs of camouflage, from 2D ‘plans’ or ‘nets’ of shapes.

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We had lots of fun coming up with colourful new animals that we drew, coloured in and named on the iPad before sending our work to our printer…

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…We then collected our work and cut out our designs…

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…then we folded up the nets to make our own 3D animals!

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a dinosaur in manchester!

a dinosaur in manchester!

Year 5 at Broomwood Primary School and had an enjoyable time learning outdoors creating a story called ‘Terry’s First Day’. The story is designed to help new starters and highlights a dinosaurs first day at school. This story was a catalyst for a performance piece, a design and build workshop, an animation, some 3D model making work and finally a willow sculpture of a dinosaur that they shared with the whole school to enjoy.

The story has been illustrated and brought to life as in September the authors of the story will share the story of Terry’s experiences from his first day at school with the new children who join Broomwood Primary. This cross curricular innovative project ignited boys interest in reading and has given the school a lovely resource to help their early years new starters.

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Alien Picnic Celebrations!

Alien Picnic Celebrations!

It was a pleasure to be part of Kingsland Primary School’s Alien Picnic on Friday that culminated in a spectacular balloon launch! We were very impressed by everyone’s efforts to dress like Aliens and we’d go as far as saying the costumes were out of this world.

The Picnic was a celebration of another successful year at the school with the exciting creative approach to learning, as ever, at the heart of the school. We enjoy working alongside the Staff to help inspire the children and encourage them to believe in themselves and to strive for their dreams.

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Picasso Portraits

Picasso Portraits

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Our latest Saturday morning family art workshop at Hurst Hill Primary School focused on artwork by Pablo Picasso and was without doubt  a great success. The prolific artist and his unique style inspired a collection of fantastic portraits produced by the children and their families. We look forward to the exhibition opening later this week, we’re sure Pablo would be proud!

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Inspired by iPads

Inspired by iPads

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We are all familiar with the iPad, but more recently it’s increasing presence in the classroom has opened doors for Teachers and Learners to utilise it’s incredible potential to inspire learning. The rise of iPad collections in educational environments allows for a ‘hands on’ approach and less reliance on the need for the, “eye’s forward looking at the projector” mentality. Education is changing.

Embracing and immersing themselves in the device empowers the learner to control and lead their learning, initiating questions and intrigue that they can find answers to with the tap and swipe of a finger. What’s more, the process feels very natural and fun. These Personal Learning Studios can become a research hub, art canvas, music studio, science lab, video editing suite, library, video communication tool and much, much more. The App Store offers a wealth of affordable, and often free, resources that can be used to initiate and engage all ages and abilities.

iPads in Education

With learning spaces in School at somewhat of a premium why not free up the ICT Suite? You know, that dark, artificially lit lifeless room full of computers gasping for air that more often than not take half the lesson to switch on. Instead, appreciate the value of an ‘anywhere anytime’ learning tool with the battery life to match. Take your projects and learning out in to the school grounds, after all the iPad will accompany you anywhere and encourage creative responses, the likes you never thought learners were capable of. The era in which schools separate technology from everyday teaching and learning will inevitably be a thing of the past.

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In summary, the iPads features, it’s camera, apps and ease of use make it a device that every school should strongly consider investing in. You could argue that like Computers in the classroom 10 years ago, which were oversold and underused the same could happen with iPad purchasing. It’s this fact that highlights the importance of teachers who understand how to use an iPad to help children learn and to develop a mindset devoted to giving the learner time to create and reflect.

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The Art Of Families

The Art Of Families

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During this half term break I’ve reflecting on our work around engaging families and how we use a variety of approaches to help families play an active role in learning and teaching and support the life of the school community.

It’s a long time since I attended primary school (the 1960’s) but I can still remember the experience with clarity and there was not one single occasion where my (or any other child’s parents) parents played an active part in supporting teaching and learning. Parents could attend school fetes, sports days and collect poorly or injured kids, but other than that, they never participated in school life.

The primary schools we work with now all agree that children work best and learn most effectively when teachers and parents work together supporting the child on their learning journey so we have been helping create and deliver a variety of projects to help attract parents, grandparents and carers into school. If an adult is time pressured or hasn’t got very positive memories of their time in school, getting them to participate is a challenge. We have found a mixed approach offering everything from classroom learning, outdoor learning, creative projects and learning coaching roles works really well.

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The FLIP (Family Learning in Partnership) developed at Shireland Hall provides training for parents (at T/A Level) and focuses on curriculum areas that need additional impetus. The parents are viewed as colleagues rather than unpaid help and this level of respect is very much appreciated by parents. The results have been fantastic and in addition to helping the kids learn, parents and teachers collaborate on planning and delivery of content and some parents and used the opportunity as an entry into a career in education.

At Hurst Hill Primary we have been using Saturday morning family art workshops to help create a neutral territory where parents teachers and children can have great fun whilst creating fabulous artwork that they curate and install in the schools art gallery. It has been really successful in terms of relationship development and instilling a sense of shared ownership and pride in the school community. It has also helped many parents feel more confident about approaching and sharing with teachers and the school leadership team ideas, suggestions and concerns.

At Kingsland primary we regularly invite parents and carers into school to actively take part in the delivery of classroom learning activities. The parents participate fully and help deliver curriculum content with outstanding results. Again we have seen a dramatic improvement in the children’s level of engagement and achievement and parents and skilled and equipped with insight and enriched knowledge they need to support home learning.

Relationship management with parents can be difficult and for me the key is communication by whatever means necessary and trying to focus on the positive potential of the parent, just as we do with children. Not every parent wants to, or is able to participate in the life of their child’s school, but most do, particularly if they understand how they can get involved through clear communication in a language they understand and can relate to. The letters home, texts, emails and increasingly, the use of facebook and twitter all help the school remain accessible and seeing parents, grandparents and carers as a valued, rich resource is a great way of enriching the curriculum and increasing the chances of every child reaching their fullest potential.

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Be The Best You Can Be!

Be The Best You Can Be!

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As part of our Be The Best You Can Be! project Hurst Hill had a very special visitor  last week…

Danielle Brown is a multi-gold winning Paralympian who came in to share her inspirational story of how she became the athlete she is today. She brought in her gold medals along with her compound bow that she shot her way to gold with and the children then got to ask Danielle questions about her life and challenges.

We wish Danielle all the best in the future, you can follow her on Twitter to see how she’s getting on!

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Up, Up and Away!

Up, Up and Away!

Year 5 children from Kingsland Primary School explored the idea of space and used chalk to draw Alien portraits and spacecraft before sending their very own Space Tweet, inside of a helium filled balloon, high in to the sky and beyond!

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