I was first introduced to Squaducation via Twitter, after a suggestion by a fellow History teacher to follow their account and check out their website. When I and three other History teachers came together to organise the first national Teach Meet for History Teachers, #TMHistoryIcons March 2016, we felt
I regularly use apps for teaching and learning. Apps that are quick, simple and easy to use but have an impact in the classroom. WordFoto does that. The app does cost £1.49 but in my opinion it’s a good investment!
I recently presented at the Jumeriah English Speaking School in Dubai, JESS Digital Innovation Summit, where I discussed and shared various WordFoto examples. I wanted to share on my blog different ideas and examples how this app can be used in the classroom across the curriculum. The app allows you to combine a photo with words, using different styles, fonts and features. The image will need to be on your camera roll or there is the option to use the camera in the app. There is a section “Add new word set” and then you add any words of your choice. There is a word limit of ten words. However, the fewer words used the more they will be repeated and visible in the image. I think that too many words can be lost in the image so for more impact input fewer keywords. Words are also limited to twelve characters, as the app states ‘shorter words often look better’. Despite those factors this is a very clever app that can create visually impressive and beautiful typographics.
I recently read an interesting article on the TES online by Alex Quigley, English teacher and Director of Learning and Research, entitled ‘How to plan for and teach tricky vocabulary’. Introducing pupils to new vocabulary takes place in all subjects and as Alex explained it is essential to the success of pupil progression. Grasping subject specific terminology naturally increases vocabulary and provides pupils with a deeper level of subject knowledge and understanding. In the Humanities subjects I teach pupils are regularly introduced to new vocabulary, it is a key feature and skill within the subject. Subject specific vocabulary can often be very challenging for pupils. Difficulties can occur with reading and pronouncing the keywords, which is why modelling is an excellent starting point such as repeating the words for pupils. Also, understanding the terminology in a contextual setting can be a struggle. Alex offers a lot of great advice and strategies. I wanted to share some resources that I have created and used with pupils, across the curriculum and with different key stages, to help expand their vocabulary whilst linking to their subject knowledge and further developing their Literacy skills. All of the resources in this post can be used and adapted for different subjects, as shown with my examples. Keywords within our subject area can also be particularly challenging for both SEN and EAL pupils. A useful strategy with EAL pupils is to encourage them to translate the word, using a dictionary to check if they are already familiar with the term in their first language. I am also working with the EAL department at my College, they offer so much support and have a wealth of experience working with pupils understanding of keywords. I have differentiated the resources to suit the needs of my pupils or seen differentiation by outcome in regards to level of depth, detail and understanding.
To be empathetic in life can be difficult. To be empathetic can also be a lovely quality to possess. As teachers we often feel and show empathy towards colleagues and pupils, as well as in our own personal lives. Many educators have blogged about the importance of empathy as a teacher and a leader. Empathy, compassion and kindness are important qualities that most, if not all, teachers demonstrate on a daily basis. However, the purpose of this post isn’t to explore or discuss empathy in the workplace. Empathy like creativity and curiosity is very important but how do you teach this? Instead we promote, encourage and create opportunities for pupils to be creative or curious and show empathy. I wanted to share a resource I created for pupils that has helped them to understand empathy, in different contextual settings.
Games and gaming has changed dramatically! Teachers often find ways to introduce modern games such as Minecraft into the classroom. I wanted to share some classic ‘old school’ style games that are great fun and can be played by students to help support teaching and learning.
I have written about #PoundlandPedagogy ideas before and more recently I collaborated with Mark Anderson writing about #PoundlandPedagogy of apps, which can be found here. This post contains some of my favourite ideas that have worked really well with my students, that I wanted to share and explain. The idea behind this is very simple; using cheap objects in the classroom in a creative way to aid teaching and learning. Isabella Wallace created the hashtag #PoundlandPedagogy. I am regularly inspired by and gain/adapt ideas from teachers on Twitter, sharing their Poundland resources, so hopefully these ideas can be used by others too!
Snapchat has become a popular phenomenon with young people. For anyone who isn’t familiar with this app it is very basic, it allows people to send pictures/selfies to their friends but the picture can only be viewed for so many seconds before it disappears forever. The snap can also include a caption with the picture. I know how much students enjoy using this app so I decided to bring something they liked and were familiar with into my classroom. A simple way to engage students and link to learning.
Classroom displays are a love/hate teacher thing. Some teachers take great pride in creating beautiful displays and enjoy creating their masterpieces. Other teachers can find it time consuming, especially when there is always a long list of other jobs that need doing, which are far more important!
Learning grids, also known as questioning grids, are brilliant! After experimenting with the resource I felt inspired to create learning grids that I could use with my classes. Learning grids appeal to students because they’re an enjoyable learning activity. The learning grids can be adapted for any subject and different key stages. Learning grids require a class set of dice. Students will roll the dice twice – to give them a number they can use for the horizontal and vertical line (for example 2 across and 4 down).
Keyword grids are so simple and easy to create, brilliant for teachers! There are lots of different ways the keyword grids can be used, again brilliant for teachers and students!
I created my keyword grids using the Moldiv app, with the photo collage feature and the text was created using the Typorama app. However, the grid can easily be created on Word, PowerPoint or Keynote.