Yammer within NPAT – Charlotte Coade (Y5 teacher)

  • Name: NPAT (Northampton Primary Academy Trust)
  • Schools: Abington Vale, Headlands, Ecton Brook, Lings,  Weston Favell and Simon de Senlis
  • Fact and Figures: Est. 2012, approx 2400 children on roll, 120 teaching staff.
  • Vision – NPAT is driven by a vision of innovation, high aspiration and achievement, and a commitment to sport and the arts. This approach is encapsulated in the motto: ‘Extraordinary Children Doing Extraordinary Things.’  The Partnership is built on the principle of synergy; that a collaboration of vibrant and successful schools ensures that we can achieve collectively what a single school couldn’t achieve alone. NPAT improves our schools using collaboration and innovation through partnership working that brings together children, parents, teachers and school leaders.
  • One way of linking it all together? Yammer!

I was recently introduced to Yammer during a trip to Microsoft HQ, London back in December 2014 and is something which I am increasingly seeing the benefit of having within the professional workplace. There are many times when I look at my email and have 10+ replies to one message, resulting in many threads which is often time consuming to locate the information that I actually need. I am also restricted to contacting people that I only have email address’ for. Yammer solves this problem and allows much easier form of communication between organisations, and in our case, schools.

In  January  all of the schools came together to form the very first NPAT conferencce. It provided opportunities to meet with teachers who were doing similar things within their classrooms. Not only did it give me an opportunity to hear all of the brilliant teaching and learning that was taking place, but I could also ask for advice and suggested activities for upcoming units of work. Whilst this was a productive day, it was what happened after which made the experience more valuable. Joining groups on Yammer with people that I had met at the conference meant that I had immediate contact with them and allowed me to follow up anything that had been discussed and not let it be forgotten. The power and potential that this has within our Academy Trust is more than I can actually describe in words. Without Yammer, it would be almost impossible for the number of staff within NPAT to be able to collaborate as effectively with colleagues and we would probably have to resort back to email (so 2008!)

Not only has this provided useful within the Academy, but also within our individual school. I am now able to communicate much easier with groups of people within Simon de Senlis and share ideas on one platform. Joining different Year groups and faculties means that I am able to engage in discussions that I would not normally have been involved in, offer suggestions and ask for advice from my experienced and knowledgeable colleagues. (It also gives me a chance to be nosey at what other people are doing within my own school, along with others we are linked with, and even magpie some ideas for my own classroom)

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” George Bernard Shaw

We recently had our second NPAT gathering and took the opportunity to share the outcomes on Yammer.  Take a look at the gallery below to see examples of the magic that took place during the evening and the weeks which have followed……..

Virtual Sentence Strolling – Charlotte Coade (Y5 teacher)

At Simon de Senlis, we have been using drama to develop the sentences within our writing. For this we have introduced ‘Sentence Strolling’ across the school which allows children to analyse their sentences and build in opportunities for in depth discussions.

At first we modelled this process as a whole class allowing children to take the lead, whilst at the same time, guiding them through higher order teacher questions. Children were offered the chance to discuss things they noticed about the sentence and justify their reasoning with detailed explanations. Does the sentence have to have a full stop at the end? Why not? What other form of punctuation could we have?  (!) How does this change the effect of the sentence for the reader? Does it change the way that we read it out to the audience? Does it emphasise any words? Why? Which word do you think is the most powerful word choice? Why? Which could be improved? Can you give me an example of a synonym? The list is endless. What it shows is that children do have an understanding of the choices they make and the effect that their writing can have on the reader by simply changing the order of their clauses or changing a piece of punctuation. It also lends to the fact that writing is a working document and that even if it is black and white on a page, it is not the end. That there are still endless opportunities to explore and develop their own ideas whilst showing them the importance of editing and up levelling.

Once the children had grown in confidence with the process, we moved onto individual examples. Children went into their books and located a sentence which they felt could be improved. Working with a partner (and many post it notes) they guided each other through the process until they were happy with the final outcome.

The following lesson I decided to use a similar approach with the Windows 8 for my Literacy starter. Children organised themselves into groups of three and numbered themselves. I then revealed the instructions on the class OneNote. Together we devised criteria to which we could up level our sentences by and allocated them to each person in the group. These involved a change of punctuation, word choices and clause order. The rest of the starter was time for children to uplevel their sentence according to the instructions and document the ‘journey’ that it had gone through. It was not about deleting it and starting again, but showing how one element each time could enhance writing. Because we have 60 devices at SdS, it meant that all three members of the group could work on the same page, at the same time but on different devices. This provided particularly powerful and allowed children to work collaboratively on a single piece of work, using all of their expertise and knowledge combined.

Hi I am Sarah

HI, I am one of the new digital leaders. I have never achieved anything like this, so it is very big to me.

One thing I enjoy about technology is that there is lots to different websites , apps and devises. A website I enjoy is ‘Scratch’, where you program sprites to move and do incredible things. It gives you an idea of how apps work. Although, there are lots of other great things to do.

As a Simon De Senlis pupil, I think we are very good with technology- Mr Rees going to BETT and getting great devices for the school. We are very lucky to have so much variety of websites, apps, games and devices.

Hi I am Thasnim

Hi my name is Thasnim. I have recently been chosen to be a digital leader. The reason why  I wanted to be a digital leader is so I can help the school use more technology . I also love technology, it has made my life so much easier. I don`t know what I would do without technology.

In the afternoons so far in Y5 we have been using Sketch up. You can make 3D buildings. I think my biggest achievement in technology is One note. I am now able to up load pictures on One note and do writing.  We are really lucky that we have a lot of technology in our school!

Hi I am Alina

Hi. My name is Alina; I am a digital leader for Simon de Senlis! I really like technology for its inspiration, such as games and apps for learning! One of my favourite apps is `Scratch` because children  can show their passion and creativity and how they think about the use of devices!

Hi I am Amelie

Hi my name is Amelie and I have been recently chosen to be a digital leader. I think my best computer achievement is making a times table game on SCRATCH. You can see it at: Fish Times Table .

Also with technology people have endless possibilities with all sorts of different games and websites. We have many different computers and tablets so that anyone from reception to year six can use technology, such as: tablets, Windows 8 Surfaces, Interactive Whiteboards, laptops that run with Windows OS. People can learn all sorts of new things with technology. At Simon de Senlis primary school we have blogs and everyone can use Mathletics!

Hi I Am Tyla

I am Tyla and I have recently been chosen to be a Digital Leader. My main achievement is my music production on Logic Pro and I am very proud of it. I love technology because there are endless possibilities and with some programs you can really let your imagination free! At Simon De Senlis Primary School we are constantly on the go with technology and every pupil in the school loves using it! As a Digital Leader, I would like to achieve every thing that I possibly could because I see it as if you’re going to do it you have to do it properly because otherwise I don’t see the point in doing it at all!’ I think that in our lessons technology improves our learning because every one loves technology and you can find out almost every thing on the internet.