Pinning your interests – why Pinterest is my new educational obsession

I like finding things in the Internet but in the past I often emailed myself a link to it or printed the page out now I simply add it to my space on Pinterest.

My boards within Pinterest are organised and make rediscovering my online educational gems much easier.

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I have boards for curriculum areas, whole curriculum skills, professional development etc.

It ultimately saves time and jogs my memory when looking for those great ideas once more.

So feel free repin anything that might interest you!

http://pinterest.com/curriculumni/

Getting Level 4 in Mathematics

There are numerous applications on the market to assist children in preparation for national tests or assessments.

This application from Rising Stars Education is relatively new on the market but it clear that they have done their homework before releasing it.

The app gives children practice in a wide range of areas of Numeracy and Mathematics.

For teachers and parents it is a good application to download as not only does it give practice questions it also tracks a child’s progress.

Magnetic letters on a mobile device

If your fridge has the lovely plastic magnetic letters on it. It is likely you will be glad to see this app…. Wooords.

A very simple concept that will improve spelling and encourage children to experiment with words.

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There are three sections to choose from classic being our family favourite. You have a target letter that must be used in every word.

The game will tell you how many words you make with the available letters. Then simply touch and move the 9 letters to make words. They also encourage the user to find compound words for extra points. Difficulty increases over the 60 levels and it is very addictive!

Great for reluctant spellers or those who need a bit more practice. It certainly makes you think!

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It is available for both apple and android devices.

Noisy Literacy – Providing an environment that encourages talk

As teachers we have a responsibility to provide children with rich opportunities to talk.

Tizard and Hughes (1984) state that by the age of 3 or 4 dialogue is as important as physical exploration.

So how do we cultivate the best classroom conditions for talk in the early years?

Make the classroom environment relaxed and home like.

Have small enclosed areas sectioned off in the classroom for different types of playful engagement.

Drapes and soft furnishings to absorb background sounds.

Remove background sounds during play e.g cd players and bells

Have long periods for play

Give opportunities for collaborative learning in small groups.

Value pupils sharing of stories or news

Make use of real experiences like trips and outings

Noisy Literacy – Using digital content to get children reading

Savvy Reading Skills – for not so confident readers

My eldest child found the early years of school difficult. He was far from being a confident reader despite my best efforts at home. This was mainly to with a medical issue which was destroying his confidence.

As a mummy I was naturally concerned as a teacher I was pretty horrified that more wasn’t being done in school to support his reading skills. So I went back to the drawing board and tried to find ways to inspire him to read.

Reading is part of everyday life in so many ways, especially when we keep in mind that so much of what we do is focused on digital content ā€“ which involves extensive reading.

Noticing my child’s love of gaming we decided to change our approach. We moved away from paper based story books and started to use ebooks and digital content to get him motivated.

Some tips for using the Internet as a reading tool for less confident readers.

1. Get your children using search engines to find out information and then encourage them to share their findings with you. Be warned Some content may not be of a good quality. Teach your children to be selective in what they read. Many research style home learning tasks are often result in cut and copy type exercises. As a teacher it saddens me to see this. Children need support to help develop these evaluative skills, teachers and parents need to nurture these.

2. Choose books that can be downloaded with audio onto a digital device. This will assist with word recognition and encourage them to read with expression.

3. Get them to create their own audio using Audioboo. Children who don’t like reading aloud can grow in confidence with practice.

4. Find suitable articles or reviews about games, sport or whatever they are interested in for them to read or for you to read to them.

5. Download the overdrive app to have access to the ebook library and let them pick their ebooks. In school teachers teaching guided reading are working through a scheme and don’t then to veer off it.

There are plenty of ebooks and audiobooks to borrow for your device, the best bit is the are free but you do need a regular library card to sign in.