It’s ‘Walking Season’ for the next couple of weeks at school. I guess that this has a different connotation in Belfast with nationalist/republican marches and in Manchester with Whit walks but here it means that I visit every classroom in school to chat to the students about certain aspects of their learning. I try to mix different ages and abilities and feedback to all concerned and to parents via the bulletin. This year I have been pushing for examples of how the students have used the marginal gains approach, growth mind-set and meta-cognition to assist them to acquire great learning habits. I’ve mentioned these before in blogs and it is important that the students can articulate the impact, and evidence, that different learning strategies have so they can work out for themselves the best way for them to learn. This is a great lesson for life-long learning and mums and dads might like to think about how they would answer some of the questions against their own learning attributes when they were at school and NOW!
In old money, you can see that I’m talking about not giving up when the going gets tough, thinking positively, listening and using advice given, taking responsibility for your own learning and being astute enough to recall something you have learned that may help in a different context. Fancy new words-same meanings and same learning gains! I’ll tell you what the students had to say in a couple of weeks.
Getting students to attend revision sessions after school or at lunch-time isn’t always easy! I do like our maths teachers idea to attract the girls along-ok I know we are a mixed school but hey ho-let’s go to ‘Ladies who lunch!’ Schools often spend a lot of time trying to engage disaffected boys so why not think about our young ladies too.
Some aspects of our learning and teaching are very new-Tim Roberts our subject leader for ICT has shared these ideas this week.
Mr Roberts – Edmodo, building a PC and video conferencing
Students use Edmodo in ICT to peer review each other’s work. Here a student’s piece of work is posted to a class wall. Like Facebook students will then post their comments on the work.
After the work has been reviewed by the group a poll can be set up to survey the entire group as to their views on the work.
After the work has been peer reviewed by the group I will send out badges to the individuals in the class commenting on their work and how to improve.
These badges are stored in each student’s individual profile. As it is stored in a Facebook like profile the students really engage with the feedback.
It is also stored in such a way that I as a teacher can access the entire group progress.
Apps can be downloaded and installed onto each class. Each App has different functions and resources for each group.
Edmodo tracks what work you are doing and will suggest Apps and links for you to use for each group. It also has surveys that suggest how each student likes to learn Audio, Visual, Listening etc. and will suggest Apps and links based upon how each group and students like to learn.
Below is a photo of students building a PC in ICT lessons. Students have access to PC’s, graphic cards, sound cards power units etc. They practice taking apart a PC and putting them back together. This is a great opportunity for students to get real hands on feel to how a PC works.
Here you can see Tim and his students having a Video Conference session with a school in America. This is an excellent opportunity for our students to have cultural and educational exchanges with other students in other schools.
Claudio Vinaccia sent some great visuals of his Code Club, possibly working out the vital secret and formula to his beloved Preston North End gaining promotion this year! Really enjoyable and productive learning in our ICT classrooms. Claudio told me that;
I got the students to understand the three main keywords associated with programming by having a bit of a role play with volunteers to take the role of each of the keywords: Variable, algorithm and condition. The students seem to get more involved in this type of teaching.
I had some pseudocode posted on my whiteboard so as they could relate this to the real programming code.
Pseudocode is the written version of real code it’s what a programmer writes to explain what they are going to do in their program.
I explained this by giving the students the definition of Pseudo – pretending to be something it is not.
In groups the students then had to relate the written version to a real code version they had been given. The students got it pretty quickly but I did assign a spy to each group that could go and ask questions to others groups who had finished this worked well for the groups who didn’t have students into coding.
To prove the code worked the students used a role play to take the parts of the 3 variables, the user and the condition.
To wrap it up I just had a task sheet with a bit of code and questions relating to the three keywords. There were also some spelling and grammar mistakes that they had to correct.
Our PE department have shared a whole host of their current ideas and thinking representing all of their teachers. Many of these can be used in other subjects after a quick tweak.
The introduction of examination PE has changed the face of PE teaching as many parents may remember it. I taught a few lessons of PE years ago as well as running the soccer and cricket teams and I wouldn’t have a clue about some of the nutritional and physical knowledge that is required now. For other schools having a look at our resources-feel free to borrow and it would be lovely for you to share resources and ideas back with us!