Pinterest for Teachers : A guide
May29

Pinterest for Teachers : A guide

If you haven’t seen it already, Pinterest is a social network that allows users to curate their own idea banks by “pinning” websites found on the internet to virtual boards. Each pin uses a main image to act as a visual reminder of the resource, and contains a link back to the original site. Pinterest acts as a bookmarking site – allowing you to build up banks of useful resources and, this is the best bit, share them with others. You can have as many boards as you like, each on a different theme. So you could set up a board for Science, one for Literacy, one for Maths etc. Boards can also be private, if you want to pin things that you don’t want to share with others. Like Twitter, Pinterest works best when you start following people. The pins that these people post will then appear in your timeline. You can then browse these pins, and anything that catches your eye can then be “re-pinned” to one of your own boards. You can choose which boards you want to follow – you might choose to follow someones teaching resources board, but not their Hair and Beauty board for example. This way you can keep your timeline relevant to your own interests. Pinterest also has a useful search feature. You can search by broad topics, such as “education” or “science“, but you can also carry out keyword searches to find more specific ideas and resources. Examples Science Lesson Ideas and Resources Classroom Display Ideas Teaching Coding Teaching Spanish Teachers could set up boards on different subject areas, and share these with colleagues. Like Twitter, Pinterest lets you build up a network of other like-minded educators, and can enable you to quickly access a wide range of ideas for your own lessons. Repinning resources you find useful is easy – just click on them and choose “Pin it”. You can also install a plug in for your web browser that gives you a Pin It button to use when you are browsing the internet. When you find something useful just click it and choose which board to pin it to. If you are interested, you can find all my boards on Pinterest at pinterest.com/dannynic So what do you Pinterest for? If you use it already, share your favourite boards and pinners in the comments below.        ...

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Get Gas Safe – Resources for Teachers
Mar13

Get Gas Safe – Resources for Teachers

The Get Gas Safe website makes it easy for teachers to equip their pupils aged 9 to 11 with the information that they need to stay safe using engaging age-appropriate resources. Every year carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions cause deaths and injuries which could be prevented if everybody followed a few simple safety precautions. The programme is supported by Electrical Safety First and RoSPA. The site contains an interactive house, free videos and lesson plans and activity sheets. Interactive house: An interactive house activity which includes a spot the hazard challenge and a gas safety quiz. Lesson plan and activity sheets: Free curriculum-linked lesson plan, activity sheets, parents’ leaflet and stickers. Meet the Perils videos: Meet the Peril family and find out all about risk, hazards at home and gas safety with a set of free videos. This would be a useful site for KS2 teachers covering this important aspect of PSHE. The site is free to access, but you will need to register for an account to see the resources. Take a look for yourself at www.getgassafe.org.uk...

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QuickStart Computing : CPD Resources for Teachers
Jan16

QuickStart Computing : CPD Resources for Teachers

QuickStart Computing is a new, free, CPD toolkit which aims to help teachers to deliver inspiring computing lessons in both primary and secondary schools. The resource is a joint project between Computing at Schools, the DFE and Microsoft. The materials cover areas such as Computational thinking, Programming, Computer networks and Communication and collaboration. As well as pdf files, there are also videos which help explain some of the important concepts. It’s a useful resource, and well worth taking a look at. Find out more at : www.quickstartcomputing.org   A study has shown that the majority of computing teachers are concerned their pupils know more than them. Watch this video to hear from teachers and students about their concerns:  ...

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Open Badges – a new currency to recognise skills and talents
Mar21

Open Badges – a new currency to recognise skills and talents

Open Badges are a global standard to recognise skills & achievements across the web. They have the potential to change the way schools and organisations see qualifications; moving from abstract measures of knowledge towards a tool to connect talent with opportunities for employment, work experience and further education. A digital badge is an online representation of a skill you’ve earned. They allow you to verify your skills, interests and achievements through credible organizations. And because the system is based on an open standard, you can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of your achievements — both online and off. Display your badges wherever you want them on the web, and share them for employment, education or lifelong learning. It’s an interesting idea, and some schools are already starting to use Digital Badges with their Digital Leaders – students who promote and support the use of technology in the classroom. There are also some interesting open badge projects being started up, such as Badge The UK and a Certificate in Safe Social Networking (Safe). Thanks to Doug Belshaw for sending me some useful links about Badges. You can find more information about Open Badges at OpenBadges.org and Digitalme. Do also take a look at Doug’s blog. If you’ve been using Digital Badges in your schools, let me know what you think in the comments below....

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Primary Teaching Resources from Teaching Packs
Nov15

Primary Teaching Resources from Teaching Packs

Teaching Packs offers collections of high-quality teaching resources that can be used in the primary/elementary classroom. The contents of the packs varies, but packs may include audio quizzes, ebooks, classroom display banners, printable posters, activity sheets and more. The site offers packs of teaching resources linked to different topics, including Fractions, Maths Vocabulary, Pirates, Punctuation and more, available for a small annual subscription. The site is produced by Mark and Helen Warner, both of whom work in schools and love sharing teaching materials. They are the creative geniuses behind some great websites such as Teaching Ideas and Teaching Appz. You can see their full range of websites over at Teaching Websites. You can take a look at a preview page here to see the kinds of resources that are available.  Each pack contains a wealth of different resources, especially created for the site. I loved the Pirate Pack including Pirate Rules, a treasure map, a wanted poster, pirate problem solving activities and much more. Current packs include Persuasive Writing Fractions Times Tables Maths Vocabulary Calculators Christmas Classroom Rewards and more! The annual subscription to the Teaching Packs site costs just £12, but Whiteboard Blog readers can use the coupon code WHITEBOARD to get £2.00 off an annual membership. Coupon valid until 31st December 2013. Subscribers will get access to all of the packs for a year, as well as any more that are produced during the membership period. Take a look at the Future Packs page to see planned resources that will be arriving soon. There’s a huge amount of work on show here, and it’s well worth the small subscription fee to access it. You can take a look at Teaching Packs here : www.teachingpacks.co.uk...

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Code Stars : A short film that asks Why Code?
Sep30

Code Stars : A short film that asks Why Code?

I had a very good day today being shown the new Espresso Coding website (more on that in another blogpost), but one of the things shown during the session was this video that aims to explain to kids why they should think about coding as a career, especially girls. It’s pretty cool. Take a look and see what you think. And show it to your class!...

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YouTube launches a library of free-to-use music
Sep27

YouTube launches a library of free-to-use music

If you are looking for music tracks to use in class projects such as presentations, photo slideshows and podcasts, then it can be tricky to find songs that you can use that are not subject to some form of copyright. This makes it a problem if you want to share your project online, and it gets taken down by YouTube for copyright infringements. To help with that, YouTube have just released a library of tunes that you can freely download and use in any of your creative projects. There’s 150 tunes to start with from a range of different genres and styles. You can access the library at www.youtube.com/audiolibrary For other sources of audio, also check out : 7 Sources of Creative Commons Audio for Podcasts. Let me know what you think in the comments – and share your own favourite sources of creative commons audio....

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Talk Like a Pirate Day Teaching Resources
Sep19

Talk Like a Pirate Day Teaching Resources

Avast me hearties, it be Talk Like a Pirate Day again today. Yarr. There’s plenty of scope to sneak in work about Pirates into your lessons – from creative writing, to history and geography and even science. If ye be looking for some Piratey resources, the excellent Purple Mash website from 2Simple is a great place to start. There be writing frames for structured writing, drawing activities and even a pirate Mash Cam. Here be some more Pirate-related resources you could try: Pirate Resources from the TES : Powerpoints, Treasure Hunts and more. Pirate Maker from TES iBoard Pirate themes and resources from Kid Turn Central : Pirate games, puzzles and arts and crafts projects to try out. Pirate Interactive Whiteboard resources from Promethean Planet : ActivInspire flipcharts, videos and more. Pirate resources from Teaching Ideas : Writing frames and activity ideas.   For more information, check out the Talk Like a Pirate Day official website. And if you have any other great pirate sites, add them to the comments below! Yarr.  ...

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Marks and Spencer Education Resources
Apr30

Marks and Spencer Education Resources

The Marks & Spencer Company Archive has just launched a new online learning resource for UK schools to make elements of the company’s collection of over 70,000 historical objects, photos and documents accessible to students and teachers for the first time. In partnership with My Learning, the M&S Company Archive eLearning Hub will be available to schools and educational establishments free of charge. These themed classroom resources are inspired by objects, photos and documents held at the M&S Company Archive in Leeds. They offer a cross-curricular approach to teaching and learning by… examining the people who made M&S the high street name it is today exploring innovative practices and merchandise at M&S challenging students to think about their own values and ambitions The eLearning Hub is an online portal comprising imagery, videos, documents and games that will allow children to engage with and understand the company’s rich history. The materials have been selected to be applicable to a broad range of school subjects including business studies, history, science, design and technology, maths and English. Resources are suitable for KS2-4. All content on the site can be incorporated into interactive whiteboard resources. It’s an interesting resource, and even better, it’s free! You can access the M&S Company Archive eLearning hub here. Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments....

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Daydream Education Maths Content Pack for your IWB
Jan28

Daydream Education Maths Content Pack for your IWB

Daydream Education have been making wall charts for 14 years and in recent years they have been converting these wall charts into interactive versions that can be displayed on Interactive Whiteboards. Their interactive wallcharts currently cover 10 subjects, Business Studies, D&T, English, Geography, ICT, Maths, Music, P.E, R.E and Science. There are versions of their Interactive Packs for both Primary and Secondary (and Sixth Form), with CD or VLE versions available. They have just sent me a copy of their new Interactive Content Pack for Maths, which they will be showcasing at the BETT Exhibition in London this week. The Maths pack is suitable for key stage 3, GCSE (foundation and higher) and elements of AS and A-level. The  software is very user-friendly and contains a wealth of curriculum-based content for both teacher and learner. it contains presentations, games and assessments and is ideal for starter, plenary and summary activities, providing for students of all learning styles and abilities. The pack includes: 26 Interactive Charts 60 Worksheets 42 Fun Features – interactive games or puzzles. 60 Printable Quizzes 580 Quiz Questions The games are Flash-based so they can be used on regular computers, but not on iPads. It’s a pretty comprehensive set of resources that should be of interest to all Maths teachers. I liked the “fun features” which make the resources more interactive than just watching the a presentation. The quizzes are also very useful and could be played as a whole class as  part of a plenary or revision activity. Lesson objectives can be clearly displayed. There’s also a set of iwb tools which can be accessed via a toolbox button. This gives tools like a pen, highlighter, calculator and a protractor. It’s not a free resources. Prices start at £149 for a class licence and £199 for a site licence. VLE options are also available. You can get a free trial of their software via the Daydream website. You can find out more about their Interactive Maths pack here....

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Peace One Day : 21st Sep : Teaching Resources
Sep19

Peace One Day : 21st Sep : Teaching Resources

Founded in 1999 by filmmaker Jeremy Gilley, the non-profit organisation Peace One Day drove the initiative that led to the unanimous adoption by UN member states of an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on 21 September – Peace Day. With the day in place, Peace One Day’s objective is to institutionalise Peace Day around the world, making it self-sustaining. You can find some great Peace One Day teaching resources on Promethean Planet which could be used in a PSHE lesson or an assembly on Friday. For more resources, visit the Peace One Day Eduation area....

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Video Lectures from Backpack TV
May22

Video Lectures from Backpack TV

Backpack TV is a new website very much in the mould of Khan Academy and O2 Learn, amongst others. Like these sites it contains videos produced by teachers of lectures about particular topic areas. You can search by topic, subject etc. Videos range from 5 to 20 minutes in length. Videos are self-hosted rather than pulled in via YouTube, which some schools will find useful. Videos seem pitched at the KS4/KS5 range. The site is clean, and free of advertising, although there’s mention on the home page of a “Backpack premium” in the future that’s ad-free, so I’m assuming this basic version of the site will end up with adverts in some way. Not a problem, as long as they’re not intrusive. The site is currently in Beta, and as such only a few subjects are on stream right now – Maths, Science, US History, and English. I would assume more subjects will follow before it’s launched properly. Like all these kind of sites, the videos are a mixed bag. They may not always be exactly what you want and there’s not a lot of supporting information apart from a descriptive paragraph for each video. There’s no text transcript, captioning/subtitles for accessibility, keyword tagging and no supporting materials such as worksheets. Maybe these will come later. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but if you are looking for resources to help your students revise particular topics you might want to add this to your list of sites to point them towards. Take a look at : http://www.backpack.tv/...

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