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Digital Leaders March 3, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrsthomas2 @ 9:08 pm

I originally introduced Digital Leaders in Kings Monkton Primary School in 2012 and we haven’t looked back. They help and support other teachers and children with IT/technology in so many different ways. They are children who range from Year 2 – Year 6 and meet on Monday lunchtimes in the primary computer suite, although you may well see them in this room throughout most lunchtimes.

I first saw Digital Leaders in action at a Teachmeet in Clevedon where @ICTEvangelist, Mark Anderson had them working and helping in the evening as well as presenting. I thought it was a brilliant idea and wondered if you could do this with Primary children.  

At Bett, I then heard @SheliBB, Sheli Blackburn talk with enthusiasm and about her Digital Leaders in a Primary school and it became a goal for me to do the same. I found out more through Twitter and the Digital Leader Network, which gave ideas, tips and advice.

In order to be chosen initially, the children needed to apply and show why they think they would be a good Digital Leader in a presentation of their choice. They could make a video, use Powerpoint, Minecraft, Scratch, Google presentations or do something else they feel would be innovative!

Now, the Digital Leaders themselves help choose each new intake and we have a great mix of children with different interests. This knowledge is then shared amongst the other digital leaders with the children training each other and becoming supportive experts to all. An applicant who shows potential and enthusiasm but isn’t yet up to the standard required can become an e-cadet and and can come along to meetings and is encouraged to learn more.

Setting up Digital Leaders is easy and costs nothing! There is a Digital Leader chat on Twitter #dlchat, check out @shelliBB @gr8ict @clcsimon @chrismayoh to start and you will find enthusiasm and help for setting up your own Digital Leaders in both primary and secondary schools. There is also the brilliant Digital Leader Network site to join online, where you find help in getting started by providing ideas, application forms and advice.  

The Digital Leaders have several roles,

DL Exploration – testing out new technologies that we could use in school. Our digital leaders have worked with coding and tested out apps for the iPad as well as websites such as Scratch. They have used Purple Mash’s To Code, Scratch, html and Python. They frequently give the class teachers welcome help as the rest of the class begin coding. They are currently exploring MinecraftEdu and thinking about ways to bring this into the classroom and link with other learning.

DL Training and Support – helping to train and support other children and adults in school. As well as coding help for classmates and staff, the Digital Leaders hold an Improvers Club on Tuesday lunch times and a Purple Mash Club on Fridays. The Improvers Club is where the digital leaders help any child who feels they are struggling or unsure of an area of IT. It is often something they have been doing in class but occasionally is something they have heard about and want to know more. The Purple Mash Club is where the younger digital Leaders are helped by the older ones to become very familiar with Purple Mash. In order to prove their knowledge and improvement, Purple Mash sets the Digital Leaders some challenges and they will get a badge upon completion.

DL Journalism – create and maintain a DL blog about the work you do or review the new technologies you encounter. The Digital Leaders also make comments on the 5 sentence Challenge,where the younger writers complete sentences about a prompt every fortnight. This really helps their own self and peer assessment as they have to think carefully about what they need to say to our youngest writers. They have rules to follow so that encouragement is paramount and advice is given tactfully!

The Digital Leaders are part of the Digital Leaders where they can earn badges for a number for different activities; esafety, reviewing books, films and apps, reporting and interviewing. This keeps them busy learning and improving and is all free to join!

The school also has a Digital Leader Blog where we showcase activities undertaken by the Digital Leaders, such as taking a class and introducing them to SketchUp, producing their own e safety assembly, showing a group how to use Teach Your Monster to Read or going in with a class and helping them log in for the first time!

There is still much to develop and learn and each year I am getting more applications to join. The children constantly amaze me with their dedication, interest, knowledge and patience with other children (as well as staff!).

If you have thought about setting up a Digital Leader scheme but haven’t got round to it yet, do it! You won’t regret it.


Batik, Science and the LNF January 5, 2014

Filed under: art,education — mrsthomas2 @ 12:30 pm
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This is a presentation I’ve made looking at how the LNF, particularly the Literacy aspects, can be covered by an artistic science lesson!

The children were inspired by it and it really encouraged speaking and listening skills, including some EAL children trying to describe and understand new words.


Quadblogging May 30, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — fionathomasict @ 2:47 pm

Quadblogging, an innovation of @DeputyMitchell, is where 4 schools are put in touch with each other through the quadblogging website and agree to take turns in commenting on each others blog for a week at a time. The schools have all signed up and are allocated according to age range so you will be communicating with classes of the same age.

Quadblogging increases the traffic to your website, encourages the children to post on their blog as well as comment on others. It teaches the children about schools and children in different cultures, with different religions and even differences in school life. For example, the school in the US we were allocated were learning about Columbus Day and my children were fascinated about how America was found! (They also noticed how the spelling of certain words differed.) We took part in data gathering when our friends in Indonesia asked us how we travelled to school. How else would you ever gather such diverse data!

We looked at photos of other children on school trips, writing poetry, learning new things in maths, acting stories and having sports day! We shared enthusiasm about books and asked questions with children from England, Indonesia and USA.

The quadblogging exercise also gives ideas, videos, animations, apps, websites, data gathering for graph work, celebrations from round the world, photos, different ways of doing things you have been doing. It is a brilliant idea and we loved it. It is definitely something to be repeated next year.


Using Twitter

Filed under: Uncategorized — fionathomasict @ 2:04 pm
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Using Twitter

Prezi from INSET to staff in May 2013. After this 3 members of staff signed up and 1 rejoined! small steps…. Also read the Twitter testimonial from @ICTMagic which I found on @Batttuk.



ICT in the infants for Teachmeet Carterton March 28, 2013

Filed under: education — fionathomasict @ 6:24 pm
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ICT in the infants for Teachmeet Carterton

Web sites and apps we have used in school and would recommend


ClassDojo February 17, 2013

Filed under: education — mrsthomas2 @ 12:20 pm

I started using ClassDojo a few years ago and quickly found that the children in my Year 5 class loved it. It is simple to use, an email and password and you are in.
There is a demo class set up for you to play with and then you make your own class or classes. You can add names individually or import a list, and an avatar is given to each child but you can change them. I let my children choose any avatar as long as it was their house colours. Then you customise behaviours. There are 6 positive and negative behaviours already for you to use- hard work, helping others, on task, participation, persistence and team work. You can then add anything which would be appropriate for your class. I used it for the rest of that year pretty much as it came adding a few behaviours as I thought of them.
This is the great part of ClassDojo. Although the children loved the rewarding ‘ping’ of a point on their avatar, I wondered how long the novelty would last. Then I realised that changing the behaviours would keep them on their toes. There was a point at the beginning of the summer term last year, when I felt that some of my Year 2 class had forgotten my beginning of year rules about listening. ‘Look at the speaker, sit or stand still, don’t talk over anyone else, etc.’ I added these to my ClassDojo behaviours and at the end of the lesson asked the children who they felt had deserved points for these behaviours. I asked them not to think of themselves but to look around and try to think not just who is good, but who did what well. They suggested a few names and had to tell me what they had done and we gave those children the relevant reward points. At the beginning of the next lesson, one child who had constantly found sitting and listening to instructions difficult, announced not so subtly that he was sitting quietly and looking at me. He did manage it for the brief carpet time and got his points at the end when someone suggested his name and his good behaviours.
As the children improved again in their listening skills, I changed the behaviours again. This time I thought about exactly what I wanted to reward the children for and what I wanted to encourage. I kept some of the default behaviours, such as ‘helping others’ and ‘persistence’ but changed the name of some others to reflect our school vocabulary. So we had ‘managing distractions’ instead of ‘on task’ and ‘working together’ instead of ‘teamwork’. This had really made me think. What did I mean by participation? I wanted the children to ‘ask questions’ and ‘share ideas’ so these became two more behaviours to reward. I wanted to encourage them to think for themselves and begin to work more independently of an adult. So ‘thinking and reflecting’ ‘reading and researching’ and ‘working independently’ were added. The children began to ask others before me if they needed help or to think or read before coming to ask. I had a couple who wanted to check everything before they committed pencil to paper, even when they knew what to do. They now began to take the risk without me saying ‘Yes, that’s right.’
Then in Science and Art, I noticed that some children were not really observing. They looked and thought they had seen but it was often cursory and all too quick. So ‘observing carefully’ was added. Soon after I wanted them to record accurately so ‘being accurate’ was added, as was ‘writing and recording neatly’.
We don’t go through these behaviour skills at the end of every lesson, but we do a couple of times a week. I don’t have to ask if they can think of someone who has used these skills any more. The children are keen to show me they have noticed it going on around them. Occasionally a child now comes up and says “Can Ben have a point for being really neat because he is really trying today?” or “Tom didn’t ask you for help today, isn’t that good?” Then we add the points as we go along.
ClassDojo is also available as an app on the iPad and phones, so sometimes I add rewards when I reflect on the behaviours of individuals or the whole class. Or I will add points in their books when I mark them to reflect on the skills I can see they are using. It has made us all think and that is great. I haven’t used the negative behaviour side at all. We are much too busy looking for good things going on around us!


Google Apps in the year 2 classroom February 3, 2013

Filed under: education — fionathomasict @ 6:37 pm

Google Apps in my classroom