A lot of teachers have considered becoming an examiner for some reason or other. Some teachers will strongly recommend becoming an examiner whilst others will tell you to avoid it at all costs! I was a History GCSE examiner for three years in a row but now I have relocated to the UAE to teach I am unable to continue as an examiner in the UK. There are several pros and cons to becoming an examiner so I thought I would reflect and share my experience. Different examiners for different exam boards and subjects will have different experiences so it is worth asking around with colleagues or teachers online to get a broader view.
Teachers are busy ensuring pupils feel prepared and confident to sit their exams and achieve their maximum potential. Pupils will have their highlighters, post it notes and revision lists at the ready! However, I recently read an interesting article in The Guardian The Science of revision which suggests ditching highlighters, putting phones away, turning music off and instead eat breakfast, teach someone else and spread revision out over a longer period of time. A useful article, worth a read. In my opinion revision does need to be personalised and the sooner pupils realise what works for them the better! I often explore different methods to support pupils with their exam preparation and here are some of the techniques and resources I use with my classes.
Aim to thrive not just survive as an NQT!
After a very tiring and exhausting year as a PGCE student, I was very fortunate to secure a job at a wonderful local school. I was so happy. I worked at this school from 2010 until 2016. I have mixed feelings about my NQT year and I can certainly empathise with teachers struggling in the first or early years of their careers.
I love teaching ( hence LoveToTeach the very obvious and not so subtle title!) and exploring pedagogy, research, methods and so on. I am also very passionate about my subject – History ( my mum remembers me at nine years old and being obsessed with the Tudors!). Although I have taught various other subjects as well such as Geography, Religious Education, Politics, Drama, Social Studies and even Welsh! As well as trying to stay on top of my workload I aim to keep up with the latest developments in education. As a Historian I am always keen to delve deeper into a specific period or study another event/period/country that I have yet to learn about. Subject knowledge and pedagogy are both very important elements of continuing professional development for all educators. TeachMeet History Icons is a very unique event focusing on teaching and learning, specifically within History. It is a TeachMeet ( free CPD event) hosted and organised by History teachers for History teachers. I am delighted to be a co-host, organiser and presenter once again this year as we return on the 1st April in Chester! The idea has to be credited to my good friend Tom Rogers who approached me about organising this event and I am so glad he did.
In recent years teachers have started to take more control over their own Continuing Professional Development. Schools are also becoming much more creative as to how they deliver CPD to staff too. As educators we fully understand the importance of continuous learning and progression, therefore we really value and fully embrace CPD opportunities.
Professionally 2016 has been a very exciting and interesting year. This year includes attending and organising various CPD events, setting up my own educational blog to share/reflect and most importantly moving abroad to live and teach.
What is Green Screen?
Green screen is often associated with big blockbuster Hollywood films including many of my favourites such as Marvel Avengers and Harry Potter. However, many teachers have been using this engaging and innovative technology in their classrooms, adding a new and exciting dimension to their lessons.
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.