The last week at Simon de Senlis has been very busy for all staff and prior commitments have meant that it has been difficult to squeeze in a Year 5 planning meeting. The recent decision to plan on OneNote, has meant that I could collaborate with my partner teacher and share ideas for the Literacy unit the following week. We each assigned ourselves a colour and contributed to the working document as and when we could (which would be changed to black as soon as we had read/ discussed/ agreed on the content.)
This has been a particularly useful tool for us and avoids us having multiple versions of a planning document every time it is updated and sent across. Sharing the link with Senior Management and Phase leaders has meant that planning can be easily tracked and monitored without it being sent on a weekly basis. It also allows for lessons to be updated and changed in real time to respond to the outcomes of the lesson.
You may not know but I have recently injured my hand. One note has been really useful way for me to keep all my lesson documents together. Office 365 allows me to message my teachers and keep track of my school work.
I enjoy being able to access my work from home and edit my mistakes. One of the best features is that only I can access my work. I think if everyone could correctly use Microsoft software, schools could improve teacher-pupil communication and I.C.T skills.
An example would be where instead of me doing my work and it getting lost I could easily upload my work to my one drive and email it to Miss Coade to be marked. Because of my injury, I have been able to do this with my work over the past week.
This afternoon Year 5 visited the pod which has been transformed into a beach for our When A Knight Won his Spur (Part 2) unit. The Windows 8 devices were used to capture different angles and crop the images to focus on particular details. Once we had returned to the classroom, we uploaded our photographs onto the Einstein OneNote. Over the next couple of weeks we will be watercolouring parts of these images to produce our final art outcome for the Simon de Senlis art gallery.
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……..
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.
Recently in Year 5, we have been looking at ways to consolidate written methods for the four operations. At times, it can become a challenge to think of new and exciting ways to present opportunities for the children to apply and rehearse their skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Enter QR codes! For those of you who haven’t come across them, these are digital images which, when scanned with a Windows 8 devices, will display a piece of text, a link or an image.
After introducing the children to the concept they were sent around school to scan the QR codes and reveal differentiated word problems. My maths group answered questions linked to one/ two step word problems and used the methods taught previously in the week. They worked collaboratively as a group and communicated effectively, drawing on the advice of their peers. It offered a new dynamic to the lesson and provided a kinaesthetic approach to a skill which can become quite dry. Having the Windows 8 devices meant that children could easily move around the school and scan codes in various different locations.
As an extension, some of the children even created their own. This provided an opportunity for them to become creative and design a problem for a purpose. In the plenary, these were then shared with the rest of the class for them to solve, thus shifting the ownership on to the children to extend their own learning.
As part of the immersion stage for our latest topic, The Vikings, Year 5 invited Kevin from History Squad to Simon de Senlis as an opportunity to stimulate the children’s interest for the unit ahead. It was a day filled with activities designed to engage the children and encourage discussion, as well as a chance to learn from an expert. Whilst it was a fantastic day, the value and richness of the content could have quite easily been forgotten had it not been for the opportunity to capture it through the Windows 8 Surfaces and OneNote. Below is a snap shot of our journey so far and how technology has been embedded into the curriculum. At Simon de Senlis we plan our curriculum around the process of Design Thinking. (You can read more about this at http://head.simondesenlisblogs.org/2012/11/20/172/)
During the pre-immersion stage, children were asked what they would like to find out about during the eight week unit. Examples such as ‘When were the Vikings around?’, ‘What did the Vikings wear on their heads?’ or ‘What did the Vikings travel in?’ were common responses and whilst they are important and would give insight into the topic, they would not extend their learning or stimulate further higher order questions. After half an hour, the room was buzzing with excitement and full of curious learners desperate to find answers.
To collate these questions together we used OneNote and as a class spent time categorising them into ‘bingable’ and ‘non-bingable’ groups. The children were asked for the examples where they could find the answer to by simply typing it into the internet. Within an hour, children had answered almost all of their ‘bingable’ questions and provided supporting evidence based around true/ false statements which had been devised.
Planning this in before inviting the ‘expert’ into school allowed the children to enter the immersion day with a level of knowledge and understanding, as well as having a clear idea of the ‘non-bingable’ questions they would like to ask. In turn, this provided a richer outcome and focused the children to think about the higher order questions.
Having already introduced the children to The Viking Project One Note, they were able to capture snippets throughout the day and upload to a central storage document which everyone had access to. At Simon de Senlis we have 60 Windows 8 Surface tablets which can be used either as 1:1 or in small groups to collaborate. Children had a chance to take control of their own learning and capture information that they felt was relevant. This involved pictures, videos of explanations, activities which were completed throughout the day, interviews with the expert as well as links which were suggested to extend learning further. The outcome; an online document which was packed full of richness and most importantly, all completed by the children themselves.
The idea behind using OneNote was to capture the whole journey of a particular unit, to encourage links to be made and to encourage children to become independent learners through the use of technology; giving them the opportunity to refer back to the immersion stage and bring it alive through their writing. The next stage will be using these captures as stimulus for writing and using OneNote to collaborate, as well as up level, their work.