Online Signing in System

Long gone are the days of staff signing in on paper…


How many people are guilty of forgetting to sign in when your arrive or leave school. And of never being able to find the tatty book in which to sign in on..

That’s why this year I decided to move all of this online. How much more professional does this look in our entrance hall.

Using the website Time Station, all of our staff now log in via this iPad. we use an old iPad 2, attached to the wall and locked, via Guided Access, to the Time Station app. Staff then log in with either their own individual QR code which the website generates, or using a 4 digit pin (great for those members of staff who forget their lanyard..)


Time Station then gives you a great platform for analysing staff absences and for safeguarding issues of knowing who is in the building. Simple and effective!

Who said school-made calendars had to be boring?

It’s that wonderful time of the year where all teachers go into overdrive with Christmas cards, crafts and numerous other activities to keep the children busy..

This is our calendar idea for the children to produce..

Using Do Ink Green Screen, we asked the children to save 12 images on their ipads, one for each month of the year.

We then used the green screen in our Media Pod for the children to take photos.


Putting them onto coloured card and binding them together, creates this simple, but pretty cool calendar for the children to take home!




Apple School Manager

This is my view, and normally this would be a headache and a half, purchasing iPads in bulk and having to enroll and distribute them all into the correct year group profile and settings. Not this time..


As a school, if you are looking to buy iPads in bulk, I would recommend enrolling your school with Apple School Manager. Recently we put in an order to purchase more iPads and I decided to try and enroll them through Apple School Manager, alongside our Management System of Lightspeed. To say it was so much easier is an understatement..

The most lengthy part about this whole process is probably the initial activation, in which you have to be verified by your headteacher and apple ensures your establishment is actually in education. This takes around 5 days to certify, after that, it’s easy..

Once you’re logged on, Apple gives you the option to sync with your MDM server. If your not using a management system for the deployment of your iPads in school, I would highly recommend it. It’s the easiest way to link your VPP account, group your iPads, push out apps and amend their settings as required.


To do this, you simply need to download the key from your management system and upload it. Most management systems will have a DEP section under their settings where you can find the certificate needed to upload to Apple. Download that and upload that onto Apple School Manager.


Next you need to download the upload key form Apple and upload it back onto your management system. This will ensure the two are linked.


Once linked, everything else is easy. As soon as you have connected the two, you get given an Apple DEP number- make a note of this!! This is the thing that saves you lots of precious time.

Now you are ready to enroll your devices- I say you, but you don’t even have to do that! Any company that sells iPads for education will do this for you. We personally use Jigsaw24, so one quick phone call to them, giving them our order number for the new iPads, alongside our DEP number, and they automatically enrolled the devices to our Apple School Manager for us. In less than half an hour they were submitted by Jigsaw24 and assigned to our school..


Then, logging onto school manager, all I had to do was simply put in the order number and enroll.


After this, you’ll find all the devices from the order in your School Manager.



Once set up, they will be linked on your management system automatically. Logging onto your management system, you can deploy the school settings onto these devices.


No need to enter any serial codes, no need to connect to a VPP, no need to enrol each deivce separately. They are all linked.


As soon as you turn on the ipad, connect to the internet, you will receive a message as follows and it will automatically be enrolled into your management system.


Then, what you do next is up to you, I’m currenly adding them all to the right year groups. Easy!


Making assessments more exciting..


Over the past week, I’ve had the pleasure of introducing the app Kahoot! into classes in my school. If you haven’t heard of this before, or used it, it’s a definite must. It’s an online quiz, think socrative, but much, much easier. And much, much more engaging for pupils..

The concept is simple. One whiteboard with the question and multiple choice answers on, and devices as the ‘controllers’. Kahoot! have really nailed this app and made the game so accessible and child friendly. Trialing it in Y6, I pushed out the app on lightspeed, to which about two thirds of our devices worked. Normally I’d be pulling ym hair out now, trying to trail and app without it being installed, but Kahoot! can simply be accessed through safari if the app hasn’t downloaded. And it doesn’t fault with wifi- we just had 45 devices connected in one room, with no issues at all!

All you need to do now, is set up an account and get started. You can create your own quizzes online or use pre-existing quizzes that other users have made. Making a quiz couldn’t be easier on the website, or even easier, a quick search shows up all the quizzes already made..


The beauty of this app, is the options you have available when writing questions. It allows you to type in any question, or upload an image. The image option is brilliant when looking at questions from SATs papers, or problem solving. It also allows you to change the time limit for the responses for each question individually, focusing on those which should be quick recall answers.


The question will then appear on the whiteboard like so:


It shows the options for the pupils to choose, how long they have to answer counting down to the left and how many pupils have answered, in real time, on the right.

After each question, the pupils iPads are locked- they only work at the pace of the whiteboard at the front of the room. The iPads will flash up green, if they got the answer correct, or red if they got the answer incorrect, providing a great glance overview at how the class have done. Alongside this, on the whiteboard it will also show a graph of the number of answers for each option- a great way to assess roughly the class’ understanding. After a question, if you notice from the graph shown that lots of pupils got the question wrong, you can stop and explain. The game doesn’t move on till you do.


Even better though, all this assessment for learning, and specific assessment breakdown per question is not lost- Kahoot! turns it into a spreadsheet to be downloaded after the game.


This is a screen shot of out trial at a KS2 SATs revision quiz, and you can quickly see the questions which pupils got wrong. It also ranks your pupils in order, so you can see where they are in the class and those whom may need support.

Another great aspect, is the competiveness. After each question the top five pupils are listed on a leader board. This is a real time assessment, and motivator, which differs from question to question. Pupils get points both for answering the question right and for their speed. As you can see from our final results, the top scorer wasn’t one who answered the most correct, but gained extra points for her reaction time (something with the expectations for the KS2 arithmetic test that will bode well).


Now, I know what you’re thinking, for those that aren’t the top five there is no motivation. Well Kahoot! thought of that too. It pops up personal messages on individual pupil’s screens, e.g. ‘you were the fastest to answer’, ‘that’s four in a row right’ or ‘biggest improvement in that round’. This provides great individual motivation.

Overall, this is just a brilliant app for assessment. Whether it’s a pre-assessment, post-assessment comparative, working through some test questions, or even asking pupils to create their own quizzes, it provides excellent analysis.

A hit with both pupils and staff.

Our KS2 Maths and SPaG revision:

Our Y3 initial times tables quiz:


Learning Journals Transforming the Classroom

So, after a hectic start to the year, would you believe I’m only just getting round to writing this post. If you haven’t heard of the app Seesaw, you need to download it! I introduced this app to my school this year, and it has been revolutionary! Its changed teachers, pupils and parents attitudes to learning!


Seesaw is a learning journal for every child. It is an easy platform to share and store children’s work, in a safe environment. The beauty of this app however, is the connections it makes. It links parents to their pupils work and links the pupils to other peers in the class. Essentially, for the children, it creates a ‘news feed’ platform, think Facebook style, allowing pupils to comment and like on each other’s work. For parents it creates a bespoke file, just showing their pupils work. Parents are instantly notified when their child uploads or is tagged in any piece of work- something our parents love, they love getting a notification whilst at work, showing what their child is up to!

We invested in this system for two reasons.

Firstly, parental engagement. Today, we are roughly getting between 400-500 parent visits to the class sites per week. Per week!

stats500 conversations on what their child is learning. No longer the awkward ‘What did you do today at school?’ conversation. 500 parents helping their children, knowing exactly what they are learning every day and pushing their children on. Who could ask for more?

The second reason, was to change the way we view learning. How often do children complete work, in a book, for no one to see? How often to children see learning as a linear process, associated only with ‘school’? Seesaw connects learning everywhere, with the children accessing and posting from school, home and even when they are out and about. Children are able to make the connection that learning is everywhere and share their knowledge on Seesaw. Children can continue their learning at home when work is shared online, the beginning of what we hope to be a flipped classroom… (and an added plus- no more printing off worksheets, trimming them and sticking them in their books… what a waste of time. One resource. One platform. One learning centre).

I know we are only at the beginning of our journey; teachers, parents and pupils have embraced it and it has so much further to go. But here are some videos of what we’ve done, for a real life view of just a handful of the uses and benefits it can offer. If you want any help on how to get this excellent resource up and rolling in your classrooms don’t hesitate to contact me @missvilder

Year 5- Pupils Assessing each others work via video

Year 1- Sharing their phonics sounds with their parents

Year 4- Teachers leaving personalised feedback

Year 5- A flipped learning video explanation

Year 1- Assessing each others work against a success criteria

Finding capital letters, full stops and adjectives

Year 2- A way to link and share work completed online

Y4- Guidance videos- collecting and evidence bank for assessment

Year 6- Information videos after a D&T project

Year 2- Sharing food tech photos

Year 3- A snippet into the classroom during our virtual reality session

Year 5- A place to share extra work completed at home

Year 2- Sharing mathmatical methods with parents

Year 4- Sharing praise and highlighting excellent work

Year 5- A place to brainstorm ideas in a shared forum

Year 4- Interactively annotating Newspapers

These are just a few of the many things we use it for. Get on board!

Easy Animation

Want the children to get in the mindset of different characters? Maybe an interview with a famous historian? Sharing the viewpoint of a character from a story?

YAKit Kids allows you to bring any image to life. Simple, yet effective. You can add a voiceover to any image that you wish…


This video was merely a ‘hook’ for the start of a maths investigation. It took minutes to make and, to the children, ‘working’ for the chef from ratatouille was much more engaging than working for the teacher.

However, it can be used in numerous ways; an interview for literacy or history, an explanation for a character for an iBook, to act out role play conversations for PSHE, endless opportunities…

It gives you the option to have different mouth pieces, and to change the pitch of your voice, to suit the character you are animating.

All easy and all for free (French voice not included).

Top Tips from my Apple Teacher Training

Apple Teacher Learning Centre


I must admit, having worked with Apple and iPads for several years in the classroom, I thought of myself as quite savvy in the field. Completing the Apple Teacher accreditation, I found out there was far more to these devices than I once thought…

If you’runitse an avid apple fan, then I recommend signing up and becoming a recognised Apple Teacher.

In order to achieve this status, you must complete eight units based on content either for an iPad or Mac.

The great thing with this, is that you are able to access an iBook for each of the units, an excellent resource for teachers, for free.

Although already familiar with the majority of these apps, even the ones I used regularly, I learnt new shortcuts for.



Top 5 Shortcuts!

Number 5

It may seem a simple feature, but the Slide Over feature on the iPad has just made multitasking a whole lot easier! Using Slide Over, you can open a second app without closing the one you’re currently in (available on iPad air and later, iPad pro and iPad mini 2 and later). Simply swipe left from the right edge of the screen. This will give you a list of different apps which you can pick from.



Drag the app divider to the centre of the screen


You can even go one step further from having the two apps open simultaneously, you can Split View your screen. Just drag the app divider to the centre of the screen and both windows are active.



Not just great for us teachers multitasking, I’ve used this for children in class too. It gives them the opportunity to have Notes open whilst researching a subject on Safari. Or have a Photo open whilst using Notes to write a setting description. Simple but easy!




Countdown to be continued.. 

Google Expeditions- VR in the Classroom


Today was an exciting day for Linchfield, the day that Google Expeditions came to visit our school. If you, like most of our teachers, are wondering what this entails, then just watch the video of what we got up to…


Google Expeditions is a free educational programme run by Google, in which they bring Virtual Reality headsets into school for your children to experience. We were given an extensive list of different places from around the globe to visit, and by extensive, there’s over 250 different places to explore! These places are downloaded to their headsets and brought in for your children to step into!

To tie in with our current music topic, we chose a recording studio in LA; the children literally were stood where the Rolling Stones, Kanye West and Lady Gaga had once stood. The beauty of this VR is that is gives the children the opportunity to see a 360 degree view of the place chosen- giving the illusion that they are truly there.

Alongside this, the app also gives the teacher key notes for every place chosen. This gives areas to focus on, information, and even the option to direct the children to specific points of interest within their headsets. Just like being on a school trip and pointing things out along the way!

Obviously, I couldn’t just let my class experience just one place. It would be rude not to take full advantage of the many options. Today our ‘school trip’ consisted of a recording studio, diving underwater with sharks, climbing a volcano, visiting San Diego zoo and a trip to outer space.

I can’t recommend this visit into school enough, and, with this resource being free, you should most definitely book online now!

One thing that is worth noting, if that due to Google restrictions, headsets can only be used with ages seven or over- great for Key Stage 2. For Key Stage 1 however, they didn’t miss out. We used our iPads to have a 360 panoramic view, just on a 2D basis. This is something that could easily be recreated in school and done without the need for headsets, so if your school has any iPads, I would recommend giving this a go! Simply download the Google Expeditions on your iPads or tablets and you’re away. Set up your staff iPad as the ‘leader’ and your pupil ones as ‘followers’. Download the places you would like to visit and, just like that, take your pupils to another world.



Independence Day My Street

Just scrolling through Facebook tonight, I came across a link that one of friends posted. It’s called Independence Day my street. 

The premise is pretty simple, type in your street address and it turns it into the 360 view of the ruins of your town- it even worked on the sleepy Lincolnshire town of our school. The 360 image will allow pupils to have that virtual reality essence and the images are moving, with fires still blazing and even alien spaceships zooming around.

A great simple little tool to spark some creative writing or introduce a space or natural disasters unit. Will definitely be using this in class! 

Social Dummy

socialSo for my forthcoming assembly I wanted to make some fake profiles for a spoof featuring some of our teachers. I found a great little app called Social Dummy, which allows you to make fake posts on social media; Twitter, Instagram, snapchat, you name it.. Now, although these apps may be networks pupils shouldn’t yet be on, it is naive to assume their not, and even more naive to not hook into these as a stimulus for their writing.


Although not used for learning in my assembly..

Think about it, they so easily could. We’ve all done the persuasive text on your ‘headteacher wanting to ban break time’, but what if we had proof to show the children..

Or a tweet from Harry Styles?

Your inspiration is endless. And the children don’t need to know it’s not real now do they…

Quiver Augmentation


 If you haven’t heard of Quiver app yet, where have you been? It’s a fab creation that literally beings your designs to life, see their rather cheesy advertisement…


This app allows you to colour different templates, and augment your own designs. A great app for all different ages and can be used in a variety of ways. Doing a unit on mythical creatures? Bring a dragon to life. Planning a unit on wildlife? Bring some of the creatures to life as a stimulus for writing.

More recently in my classroom, we used the pretty basic version of augmenting a ball…



CaptureOkay, boring at first, but re-brand it with creating a 3D version of one of the planets, and it tied in with our curriculum nicely. In art, we had been looking at using different mediums to design the different planets. The pupils took their most successful medium and sketched their planet on a larger scale. Unknown of the app at the time, once completed, we brought them to life. The expressions of even the supposedly ‘older’ children were great to see. It certainly hooked them and led onto some great discussions, which fed into their creative writing.

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This is the app used on a basic level, but the possibilities are endless. Check out the website for a bank of free templates to use. Also, have a look at how Mr P has investigated if it has an impact upon writing.

Garage Band Music Composition

imagesToday, for the first time, we used Garage Band within our music lessons, looking at composing a short piece of music through the app. In previous lessons, we looked at musical techniques that effect the dynamics of a piece of music; focusing on how emotions can be portrayed through music. For the application of such knowledge, we explored composition through the app.

To do this, first I downloaded the videos from YouTube and placed them into the school Dropbox account. Our Dropbox is logged in on every pupil iPad, so after I had dragged and dropped it into the Year 5 folder, it was pushed out onto each of our pupil iPads (explanation of this process to follow). We then used iMovie to export the video into, giving the option to mute the sound. This was fundamental so they had no pre-conceptions of the vision of the music beforehand!

From there, we then explored Garage band, looking at what instruments would reflect different emotions and discussing about how the music produced needed to fit into the concepts of each scene. After a quick demo of the basics, I was astonished to see the pupils pick up the app so quickly. After only a short 30 minutes composing their music, some of the finished results were amazing.

You can clearly see the differing dynamics for the different scenes. It was equally as amazing to see each and every child so engaged in their music. To be sharing edits and drafts with other pupils and constantly asses and change their music was great to see.

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A brilliant stimulus I will definitely be using again! Nowhere near as daunting or complicated as it may first seem.

Instant Feedback

plickers2If you haven’t heard of an app called Plickers, it is definitely one I would recommend. AfL is always fundamental in lessons, knowing whom and where to scaffold, aiding progression. Plickers helps to make this easier.

plickersPlickers is a quick and easy way to check the understanding of each pupil in your class, anonymously. No more ‘intimidating’ hands up if you’ve grasped it or not. How this works is with each child having a ‘block’ to hold up with regards to how they’re feeling. As you can see, on each side there is a letter: a, b, c or d. You simply set the criteria, e.g. A- 100% confident to D- not a clue. Then, each child holds up the card with their response at the top, and you scan your camera around the classroom, with the app picking up each individuals response. If you’re worrying that you have to ‘scan’ each card like a QR code, then don’t worry, it recognises responses from a distance.

Have a look in this video:

plickers3The way I’ve set it up in my class is to associate each child with a number. As you will see on the example above, each ‘block’ has a number. On your online account you can edit each number to have a pupils name, thus when you scan, it will show you what each child voted. I have my class stick their Plicker ‘block’ in the back of their books. Then, at any point in a lesson, I can ask my pupils to hold up their book with a, b, c or d, and there- simple, quick feedback to use within lesson.

Temple Run- games to inspire

downloadUpdate: Click here for the resources and presentation slides used!

Following some inspiration from Mr Parkinson (again), I decided to plan a unit of work around the game Temple run. Our topic for the term is Survival, so this fitted in nicely.

I found using a game such as this, made the world of difference to the pupils: both on engagement and achievement. Tapping into the pupil’s popular culture is fundamental and this example highlighted this clearly.

download (1)We started off submerging the pupils in the app. I allowed them to play the game (and did throughout to engage and refresh) and then asked them to produce a mindmap on the topic. For this, I used a great app called Popplet. In an essence, this is an online version of spider diagrams: it’s great for linking and gathering ideas.

Here’s some of the examples which they produced:



From this, I planned a sequence of lessons, focusing on areas on which my class needed to work on, all based around the game:

  • First we looked at ambitious vocabulary, aiming to up-level- our verbs for how Guy was running out of the temple and adjectives for the setting
  • 2Next we focused on withholding information. For this, we wrote a story opener starting with Guy running away from the temple. I set them some rules of which information they could not tell the reader, merely prompt ambiguity in these areas. This challenged the way in which they used their vocabulary

‘Out of the blue, sharp claws cut my shoulder: I was running for my life. I could feel my heart skipping a beat, the tune loomed over me, protecting me from the luminous sun. It felt like the rest of the woods were against me. The wind targeted my ear and it seemed the plants wouldn’t stop taunting me. All that kept me from the end was an old rickety bridge’

  • 3The next lesson was on a Show not Tell lesson, i.e. SNOT. This was to develop children to extend their descriptions by implying and showing actions. For example rather than saying the character was nervous, we would show that he was sweating or trembling, etc. A great resource for emotion prompt sheets can be found here.

‘Sweat ran down my bright red face, my heart skipped a beat. Gloom overshadowed me. In the distance I saw a bright light. I took a deep breath as the light pulled me closer towards it. I hesitated and thought to myself, ‘what if it is a trap?’ As I released my breath, I knew it was the only way in.’

  • The next session was on character descriptions. For this we tied in Indiana Jones as our character, a good link to temple run. We looked at four key areas, focusing on movement, appearance, feelings and speech to improve our descriptions.

‘The sweat ran down his face as he cautiously crept through the damp, dark tunnels of the temple. His shirt was blackened: stained with the stories of adventures that led him to where he stood. His brave face masked the unknown fears running through his mind. Dr Jones took small steps as his feet trembled, where did the tunnels lead? With a suspicious frown take over his forehead, he cleared his throat, “This way, stay close” he softly murmured, trying not to attract attention.’

  • Lastly we focused on linking paragraphs, highlighting the importance of repetition, and connections using time and place. This lesson wasn’t specific to Temple Run but we used the story of Indiana Jones stealing the golden idol as a stimulus. I used a great video from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the lost ark, as suggested by Literacy Shed

Again some great work was produced. I asked the children to read and share a few extracts of their work which can be seen here:


These reflect only a handful of the amazing work produced by the pupils. It was extremely evident that using Temple Run as a stimulus had an amazing effect.

New to Coding- Hour of Code

Hour of code is a great resource for teachers that need a little help taking their first step on the computing curriculum. Hour of code provides lots of different activities, aimed to be completed within an hour. It is a simple and engaging way to get pupils motivated and show them they can code.

The activities are designed for pupils: so far we’ve using angry birds, plants vs zombies, flappy birds and frozen. Click on the pictures below to take you to each activity.

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The beauty of the Hour of Code, is that you don’t have to be a coder to know what you’re doing. Each unit comes with an introductory video and instructions for each level. If the pupils get it right, it will mark the level green at the top, providing a great assessment tool. If they get it wrong, it will provide hints and messages to aid them, ergo very little knowledge needed from teachers.

B1sskjbIEAAQa4sIts a great way to introduce coding to pupils in a simple format. The drag and drop instructions make it user friendly and I find this format lends itself well to progress onto using Scratch’s format, another great programme. Another brilliant aspect is after each level, it also gives the pupils a chance to see their code written. We have utilised this within lessons, exploring the written form of code.

As it’s winter/like the ice age outside at the moment, frozen is very apt. Using this is class recently, I found the extra level at the end to be brilliant. All the levels, in all games progressively introduce new concepts. With frozen, after everything has been taught, level 20 allows the children to create their own snowflake. Cue assessment of the pupils application. I asked the pupils to create their own snowflake and screen shot it. This gave me a perfect opportunity to see if they can then use code independently without any guidance given. Brilliant.


String: Augmented Reality in the classroom

If you’re thinking what? where? who?


Thank you Wikipedia, but no thank you. In a nutshell, it’s basically cool things, coming out of nowhere, providing one of the most engaging stimuli possible.

If you’re still unsure, then here’s your stepping stone to using augmented reality in the classroom. Try an app called String. String is a free app which creates augmented reality in four different forms: a dragon, an alien, a trainer to personalise and graffiti free writing.

IMG_2928    IMG_3128

You can find the pictures online here, and each print off provides the stimulus for the augmented reality to take place.

I’ve used this app in the classroom as a stimulus to inspire writing in English lessons. The best two images, in my opinion, are the dragon and the alien. Have a look for yourself…


The dragon I used within a Year 5 lesson: it’s great as a link on to another app used called Epic Citadel (post to follow).  It creates a portal to another world, through which a dragon then enters the classroom. In simplest form, we opened our story with a setting description. Here being some of the work the pupils produced…

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The alien I used last week in a year 1 class, as part of their topic of Space. This was used as part of developing their descriptive language. Above anything, their faces when they first saw an alien appear on their tables, painted a picture. If you’re wondering how to incorporate the slightly odd picture to be scanned, it was a postcard, obviously… We gave pupils the opportunity to look at the alien, have their photo taken with it, in preparation for a character description.

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I chose to use this app alongside Explain Everything, another fantastic app, creating a presentation for them to orally record their ideas on. I made this, shared it onto the pupil ipads via Dropbox, then the pupils simply recorded their ideas.

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If you haven’t used String before, I certainly recommend it!

123D Catch

An app that augments just about anything!

I love this app and recently used it with my pupils within a Design and Technology lesson. We were working on a project of making a volcano, with some fantastic models (no bias at all..), and I wanted to be able to share their work, thus, 123D.

In a nutshell this short video shows you about the app…


The app allows you to take photos of just about anything to produce a 3D online augmented model. The pupils took photos of their volcanoes to create their 3D versions, which, in turn, produced a link for each project. We went on to share our links on our blog, allowing parents to see the model. However, this app not only allows you to see the model, but to rotate around, zoom in and out, really bringing the pupils work to life.

Alongside this, 123D catch provides an online database for all models. This provide endless opportunities, from being able to look around prehistoric burial ground in Sweden when covering the stone age, or just looking at cupcakes..

The Sainsburys Christmas Advert

Christmas approaching, cue inspiring projects to hook the pupils. A Thursday morning, after a school trip the day before and our English lesson was based on recount writing (I know, how predictable). However, after seeing the Sainsburys advert whilst having breakfast that morning, I decided to go off -piste. I set their recounts as homework and took a punt. No WALT, no WILF, no plan, the children were my direction (which is really what teaching should be about). Honestly I can say the work they produced was the best so far this year, you can be the judge…

After teaching the lesson I made some notes for others thinking of using the advert as a prompt. Here..

First thing we did was to watch the advert all the way through, not speaking a word. There was no need to talk as the video speaks volumes Then we discussed what the advert was about, spoke of the war, that it is based on a true story, etc. As we had just looked into advertising as our prior unit, we also discussed whether Sainsburys should use this to advertise, evaluating the ethics.

After, I played the video for a second time I paused for questions, to ensure everyone had fully understood.

  • 0:05 Which side is this soldier?
  • 0:10 Which side is this soldier?
  • 0:12 How is he feeling to receive the package?
  • 0:20 Upon hearing the singing- what might he be thinking? Who is singing and what song?
  • 0:30-1:00 How have the soldiers expressions changed?
  • 1:15 Why does he clench his fists?
  • 1:20 Why do the Germans react that way?
  • 1:25 Why does he hold up his hands?
  • 1:27 What might the German be saying?
  • 1:40 What might they both be thinking or feeling?
  • 2:26 After the tackle look at their faces, is there any rivalry or hatred?
  • 2:37 How does he feel upon hearing the cannon?
  • 3:00 Why did they share their food? Did they know the other person was going to do this?

From there, once we had really taken in the message, we started to write our narratives. We wrote from the perspective of the British soldier. As the advert holds such a clear and powerful message, the children really took pride in matching the standard of their writing to meet it.

We broke the clip down and focused on writing short parts at a time, in thorough detail. Not exactly ‘slow writing’ but to that effect. Here are the times the clip was broken down into and the prompts we discussed.

  • 0:00- 0:20 Hearing the cannon, receiving letter and opening it
  • 0:20-1:09 Hearing a faint noise, getting louder, recognising the tune, joining in and how they’re feeling- hope.
  • 1:10- 1:18 Waking up, clenching fists, standing up
  • 1:19- 1:27 Hearing Germans shout, guns being raised, friend shouting no
  • 1:28- 1:44 Seeing the walls of guns, all the shouting and then silence, seeing the German
  • 1:46-2:36  Wall of Germans and English, shaking hands, football together-forgetting about war (discussed feelings- thankful, relieved glad, hope)
  • 2:38- 2:58 Hearing the cannon, the feelings, today together and tomorrow fighting
  • 3:00 Back in trenches, exchanging gifts
  • Thinking about one last line to finish.

These bridged over two lessons. Our first lesson we extended as the pupils were so engrossed, and why, as teachers, should we stop after an hour because it is ‘maths time’. I proposed the question to the pupil: that if Roald Dahl had scheduled lunch for 12 and he was on a roll would he stop? Interesting.

It was amazing to see boys and girls alike love to write. More interesting was when asked why they enjoyed it so much, they answered with because there were no restrictions for them, no WILF to tick. Of course, I modelled the language I wished for them to use, but independently they were including embedded clauses, personification. Level 3 writers were using level 5 techniques. You could argue that I allowed them to ‘work with someone you work well with’ and as such were mixed ability, but as seen from some of the video clips, they mostly worked independently.

As you will see, we used the ipads for the children to play back the advert- through uploading it to my Dropbox account (guidance on this to follow). We also used them to record our narratives over the advert, in a similar way to our advert voice-over lesson.

I gave them freedom. Which is rare to come by with the pressure on teachers. But the results speak volumes, and it didn’t go unnoticed…





Why Blog?

The question I seem faced with by many colleges is why blog? Or maybe not so much why, but how?

Take a trip down memory lane to six months ago, when our school was lucky enough to have a visitor called Deputy Mitchell (don’t get your hopes up, not a real deputy). If you haven’t heard of him, I suggest you check him out on twitter; the blogging font of all knowledge.

Anyway, he came in and worked alongside pupils and set up my class with a blog. They were hooked. They were engaged. They were inspired. Through this online forum, we managed to get even the most reluctant writers, to write! And, as a teacher, you will know ‘those’ children. Those who almost seem to need a drink/tissue/toilet/new pencil/rubber/ruler/new chair (yes I’ve had it) every two minutes. Well, those children didn’t move an inch from their chair. Magic..

If you don’t have a blog, I fully suggest you get one! Why? Children are growing up in a digital world, children are using technology everyday, yet as schools we are not tapping into this?! The blog creates a platform to motivate those who don’t like to write in books, excites those do not see it as ‘working’, allows pupils to think creatively, inspires collaboration between pupils and forms links between working at school and at home.

Long gone are the days of writing having no purpose. Imagine to be a child. You work hard for an hour, to produce an amazing piece of work. The teacher marks it (on the day if you’re lucky), leaves a little comment (if you’re lucky), and the books shuts, page turned, not to be looked at

Blogging transforms this. In one term my class blog has had over 4,500 visitors, from 14 countries and comments from around the globe. This speaks volumes, this makes children want to improve, to better themselves. This, is the key.

To set up a free blog, check out WordPress, Edublogs or Primary Blogger.

If you want help with this. Deputy Mitchell can provide training and trial blogs. Alternatively, our whole site has been set up by John Sutton from Creative Blogs (who is amazing!).

2k14 ‘poetry’ using Garageband

rap3So, as it loomed upon the year group.. poetry. Yes, the unit which we all fall guilty of leaving until last, especially with a boy heavy class as mine.

However, this time I thought I would approach it from a slightly different manner. After investigating the rhyming patters, I gave my class the task of writing their own rap song. Immediately they were hooked.


This here being the result, all made, recorded and produced by the children.

We wrote our verses all around our topic focus of space, with the whole song being done on an iPad- using two apps; Garageband and iMovie.

rap1Easier to do than you may believe. Step one, pick a song and simply purchase the backing track on iTunes (69p). Place the backing track in Garage band and you are set to go.

Then, using the microphone record your solo/group vocals, we used several platforms as you can see enabling the children to overlap vocals so they can hear the person before them singing.



rap2Once complete, the children exported this into iMovie and we went on to record our own rap video- the icing on the cake for unmotivated boys (not on Youtube due to parental consent- so we did a lyrics only version).

Extremely easy and extremely engaging for those less motivated. They loved it and couldn’t wait to write another ‘poem’. Job done!