Category Archives: Uncategorized

Out and about with the Surface tablets – Year 2 trip to the museum

Last term, Year 2 went to Leicester New Walk museum as part of the immersion for their unit on Dinosaurs.

They used drama to find out about how the dinosaurs walked and what they looked like.  Using the surface tables, children were able to capture these moments and look back at them on their return to the classroom.

On the coach on the way back, a group of children even created a PowerPoint on what they had learnt, and imported pictures from their trip. Take a look at  Stanley, James and Oliver’s by clicking on the link below.

Our trip to the museum


Sharing our persuasive writing with Year 4 on O365 – By Amelie and Thasnim

Over the last few weeks, we have used Office 365 to document our work on persuasion. For the first lesson, Miss Coade asked us to write a letter of persuasion so she could see what we already knew. Our task was to write to the governors asking whether we could complete our ‘Grow a Pound’ unit during school time and at break.

initial assessment

In the same lesson we were given examples of persuasive writing to highlight the features of persuasion on. This was much easier than Miss Coade making 30 copies of sheets and handing them out.  She put them on the collaboration area and we copied them into our own sections. It also saves mother nature’s loving trees. We chose a consistent colour code and everyone highlighted on their individual workspace areas in the class OneNote. Using what we had identified, we created a Success Criteria and went back to up level our first letter in purple text. (This is the same as the purple pen of power in our books!) Having the devices and using Office 365 made life much easier than the good old fashioned pen and paper. It was easier to highlight, up-level and move sentences around without having to re-write it out again. Up-leveling in our books causes stress and is quite difficult as well as time consuming.


Not only did we work online throughout the week during lessons, but our homework was set on 0365!

In topic time, we spent time researching the Ivory trade which links to our unit on Africa. Together as a class we came up with the idea to write to a government in a country within Africa and make them aware of these issues, as well as provide suggestions on why it should be stopped. We logged into the class OneNote and recorded our facts in the correct section so we could use it in our writing at the end of the unit. Before we would have written it on pieces of paper and lost it! There were some times however when we needed to use paper, for example when planning.


Finally for the magic! We spent the last week writing up our letters and up levelling what we had written. We looked back at the Success Criteria and used each one as a focus for each day. This included looking at openers, the language used, the structure and the ideas.

Once complete, we shared our work over 0365 to Year 4 and visited them to see what they thought of our writing. We listened carefully to their feedback and they left comments focusing on what went well (WWW) and what they would improve (EBI) in green text which is the same as in our books.


Bing Translator in the classroom


What Microsoft say…

The Translator App by Microsoft is your companion when you need to quickly translate what you are looking at. Use your camera, say phrase or just type the text you want to translate. Text and camera translation work offline with downloadable language packs, so you can get the power of Translator on-the-go, even when you don’t have an Internet connection.

  • Text translation – Type and translate text into more than 45 languages
  • Camera translation – Translate signs, menus, newspapers, or any printed text with your device’s camera in an instant
  • Voice translation -Translate by just speaking the phrase. Voice translation requires a network connection
  • Text to speech – Hear translations spoken with a native speaker’s accent
  • Offline translation – Translate when you are not connected to the Internet and when you want to avoid expensive data roaming charges by using downloadable offline language packs
  • Translate from anywhere – Translate text from other Windows Store apps using the Share charm. Just select and share
  • Multitask with Snap View – Translate quickly while doing other tasks by snapping Translator to the right or left of your screen
  • Word of the Day – Improve your vocabulary by pinning the Translator to your Start screen
  • History – Saves your translations and lets you edit them

How Bing Translator has enhanced learning at Simon de Senlis…

Nicanor is Romanian and has recently joined Simon de Senlis primary school with no English. As a way of allowing him opportunities to access work that is being set, the class teachers has used the Bing Translator APP on the Windows 8 Surface tablets to translate typed text so that he understands the task. This enables him to become more independent and facilitates his learning, therefore meaning he isn’t so dependent upon adults or his peers to explain the task to him. Although the Surface tablet helps him read and understand the task, he chooses to write his response in English, thereby developing his confidence and his attention and focus in class. What is unique about this app is that it has in built camera translation which allows the user to hover the device over a piece of text whilst overlapping it with the translation on the screen. This not only saves time in typing the text in, but also allows links between a child’s home language and the English words.


Teacher-TA communication on OneNote – Charlotte Coade (Y5 teacher)

Recently in Year 5, we have decided to use OneNote to plan units for Literacy and Topic. This in itself solves many day to day problems which you can read more about at

Not only does it make the sharing and editing of planning  between teachers easier but we have found that this has also impacted on other members of the team including TA’s. Planning has always regularly been emailed to members of the team on a Sunday night for them to read through before the week. However this is not always appropriate. What happens if lessons change mid week and take a different direction? Or the focus group changes to target misconceptions? It is important to efficiently communicate throughout the week as the units develop and before this would have meant re-emailing planning, printing it off or leaving post-it notes with vague annotations (how much can you actually fit on a post-it note?). Often is difficult to allocate time to discuss lessons before they actually happen or in fact after. We have found that using OneNote to plan has addressed some of these main issues. Planning is shared through O365 where all members of staff can witness live updates and changes as they happen throughout the week.

There have also been many examples where TA’s have used this set up as an opportunity for them to feedback to teachers on things that they have noticed in the lesson which may not have acknowledged at the time. This feedback is invaluable and along with work from the book, provides a full picture of how the lesson went and comments on individual children.

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Reception share planning across 0365!

Since the introduction of 0365, there have been several examples across the school of it being used to aid the sharing of planning between teachers.

OneDrive is a valuable tool which allows users to upload and share documents of any size. Recently, a Year 1 teacher who had previously taught in Reception wanted to share her planning from the previous year with the new team. However the unit, along with resources, were too large to email over. Instead, she uploaded to her personal OneDrive and shared across with two other members of staff. Along with this, they have also found it useful to edit, update and comment on ideas on the one shared document. Both year groups have commented on how practical and useful this was for them to share and develop planning across year groups.



Sway – Emily-Jane

WOW! I never thought that there was an even quicker way to presentations than PowerPoint ,but I guess I was wrong.

Today in class we were told that we would be creating presentations using Sway. Now none of us had ever used Sway before so we were very excited to see what it was like. After a few minutes of being logged on to the class account that Miss Coade had kindly created we were taken back by the many great features that it included: Remix where we could explore the different layout, videos, pictures and many more. Sway is fun and useful and I look forward to more features in the future. We couldn’t believe how much we could achieve in 40 minutes considering it was the first time we had used it!

As this was our first lesson, we used it to explore some of the features and link it to our topic on Africa. Next week we will be continuing with work on Sway but create one around the issue of E-safety and how we can stay safe when using the internet.


Year 5

Click on the link below for some of our Sways:

My review of the sway! By Millie (Y5)

Dear Microsoft,                                                                           22/04/2015

Today my class and I made a Sway in our computing lesson and this is my review of it!
I think it is an amazing programme! I love how simple, quick and easy to use. In my opinion, it is better than a Power Point in. Sway has a bright future and I rate the sway 9.9/10. This is because I can easily use the search tool to find videos and pictures which are linked to the topic I am looking at, without me opening a separate window. I can then click on it and it appears on my timeline.
In class I asked a question about whether the software has a sound button where you can record your own voice and embed it in the Sway. I would recommend this being considered as an extra function as I can’t see how else it can be done. Can you help me?. I hope you thought my feedback was useful and if you want to comment feel free!
Signed Millie
Y5 Einstein
Simon de Senlis Primary school England.
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Personalised Learning – April Homework

As part of our engagement with the Microsoft Showcase Schools Project, this month we are looking at the subject of Personalised Learning in our school.

The background to this is this paper on Personalised Learning, one of the Transformation Framework papers in the series produced by Microsoft Education.  It’s an important read for schools, particularly in the UK where the phrase ‘Personalised Learning’, has been replaced by new buzz words and phrases that have perhaps taken attention away from some of these themes.

Four our April homework, we have chosen the following questions to reflect on:

  1. Share an example of a personalized learning activity or environment in your school that has made a difference in student performance outcome.
  2. What technology tools are most useful in helping teachers personalize learning environments?
  3. What is the Roadmap for Differentiated Learning in Your School?

So… here goes!

  1. Share an example of a personalized learning activity or environment in your school that has made a difference in student performance outcome.

One of the ways that we allow learning to be personalised is through the Design Thinking curriculum.  The Design Thinking process supports personalised learning as within the areas there is scope for pupils to develop their own areas of learning, answering their own questions and thoughts and working within groups to produce their own outcomes linked to a common objective.

A great example of this in practice was the ‘Our World; My Future’ project which kickstarted our Design Thinking Curriculum a couple of years ago.  We started this in our Designated Special Provision with and this post describes the final event which consisted of children with complex Speech and Language difficulties giving TED style talks on a subject of their choice to a packed lecture theatre. It was a breakthrough project for us which showed the community what can happen when you raise the ceiling on aspiration for children and led to our Northamptonshire ICT in Education award in 2014.

Here’s a video with a summary of the project…  We dare you not to smile at the children’s faces after they have presented at the end.

Our World My Future Presentations from Christian Green on Vimeo.

Since then, we have developed Design Thinking further across the curriculum and there are distinct phases within year group topics where children are involved in immersion, ideation and synthesis in order to shape their learning around their own interests, abilities and preferred learning style.  This is still work in progress for us and each topic we meet, we get better at shaping the outcomes around the students.

2.  What technology tools are most useful in helping teachers personalize learning environments?

Recently, there is evidence of OneNote being used effectively to support differentiation and to support pupils with SEND. OneNote supported a pupil with ASD and ADHD to collaborate with his peers in a format that he felt comfortable using and where the social barriers he faces were irradiated. OneNote also allowed a child with dyspraxia to have his work valued and enabled him to collaborate within his group in a way that improved his self-esteem and so allowed him to produce one of his best pieces of work this year.

A more general tool has been the Windows 8 1 to 1 deployment in Key Stage 2 where children have access to a range of tools and online resources to shape their learning in different ways.

Allowing pupils to research their own learning and to make choices about the outcomes and how these outcomes will be presented support self direction- a good example of this is the DSP Our World My Future project- this allowed children to research, collaborate, refine and edit their own work whilst working at their own pace within a specific time.  A future step for this would be to use sway and OneNote to enhance the learning and use of technology whilst supporting pupils own learning.

 3.  What is the Roadmap for Differentiated Learning in Your School?

The biggest change for us is in the context of the current changes to the UK education system, described by many as ‘life beyond levels’.  This (should be) a transformational time for UK schools with a focus on deeper learning as opposed to a previous relentless drive to move children on and up through levels.  As part of this change, we are also looking at the introduction of non-cognitive competencies such as the 21st Century Learning Design materials in school.  Building in opportunities to plan, teach, assess and report on these competencies with the same importance as academic outcomes is a central part of our thinking at the moment and we look forward to engaging further in these materials further as we progress through the Summer Term.

In terms of a differentiated approach, we are now moving away from differentiation by ability and are focusing more on deepening learning opportunities for children as opposed to moving them on to new content too quickly.  Use of taxonomies such as Blooms and SOLO are important to underpin this process and rubrics such as those within the 21CLD materials are also really relevant.

Homework on the OneNote – A Pupil’s view (Isaiah, Kieran and Lucy)

O365 has helped us to collaborate with other pupils around the class and has played a big part in our school  work. In particular, it has made a distinctive difference to us doing homework, and lets us do things that we could not do in our green homework books such as checking our spelling, working as a group, selecting fancy fonts, and up levelling our ideas. It also helps us to keep some work private that only the teachers and individual pupils can see.

Where as before if we put our green book in our bag and it got wet by our water bottle spilling, there was no way of ever getting it back! However with O365, if something accidentally gets deleted you can easily get it back by clicking the right version to restore.

It is a simple site to log onto at home, at work or anywhere. And if you have forgotten to do your homework you can simply log on in school time and you will finish your work easily. Uploading pictures, copying and pasting and doing our homework is much easier now. All we’re trying to say is thank you so much Microsoft. You have helped us make a dent in the universe.

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