BBC news covered a story earlier this week about sitting down too much, especially in the classroom. There’s also a piece on their website stating a similar thing to what was mentioned on the telly-box. Essentially, if you missed it and can’t be bothered to read the BBC article, primary school children are apparently sitting down too much and not doing enough activity.
I reckon they’re right.
I’m all for activity and getting up and about to learn. I think it’s a fantastic thing to do: encourage the children to be fit and healthy and pack in some learning whilst moving around. It’s usually more fun, caters to the needs of the kinaesthetic learners (if we’re still using this theory), and helps kids to be fit and healthy. Win, win, win.
What about the limitations though? I’m fortunate enough to have a small class of 23 (even if they are spread across plenty of years) so it’s something that’s manageable for us. Often, we’ll push back all the tables and chairs to the edges of the classroom and do some acting. Only a couple of weeks ago we had a mini-maths olympics inside our classroom – the weather was too bad to get outside. I like to think I’m working towards a happy medium of getting the kids out of their chairs and moving around.
You may have seen, earlier this term I posted my plans for a ‘Big Dig’ topic all about rocks, soil, minerals, excavations and dinosaurs. Some of the kids had been asking since September to cover dinosaurs and I felt it was time that we did just that.
I’d also felt as though, following the Victorian topic where we didn’t have a school trip, it was something I wanted to make a thoroughly hands-on wow topic. I mean, I always try to do this, but sometimes you know exactly how to capture children’s imagination… and sometimes, for all you try, it’s much more difficult.
It all began when I revealed that the British Archaeological Association had contacted me with a letter expressing that we may have a prehistoric remain with significant importance. Read more
This week we posted a picture from our school Twitter account asking users to spread our tweet across the globe. As you can see, the results are pretty good. We were tweeted 128 times at last count and made it to lots of different places around the world. I even put the locations of some of the retweets onto a Google map so that the children could really get a feeling for how far and how fast information travels online.
So why did we bother?
Spreading information around the globe, via the internet, isn’t something we should be encouraging our children to do, right? We should be preventing them to use sites like Twitter and Facebook, right?
Individual fan cards for guided reading. I created something very similar last year and they were part of my guided reading carousel (one group used them to answer a question based on their own reading book). They’re all tied in to the assessment focus which makes using children’s answers as part of assessment easier. They’re colour coded so that the children know they’re different (they don’t need to know about assessment focus) and that they’re supposed to pick a different colour each time so that there’s a good breadth of evidence spanning across different AFs.
This year, I also added a little extra detail to the questions. I found that some of them were a little too vague last year and the kids struggled with understanding what they meant… which wasn’t great considering they should be working individually with these.
I’ve also added numbers. This should make it easier to assess the different answers without having to decipher which question has been answered.
You can download them on TES (in PDF format or word) here.
Mental Maths Magpie
Mental maths, but not as you know it. A game used when on placement with questions from Pitch and Expectation, newly typed up and prepared. Time to get the kids outside and enjoying mental maths.
This is an active mathematical game based on a PE game. Rules, answers and differentiated (four ways) questions are included. The idea is that the children run from a corner, grab a question and work it out to earn points for their team. This mental arithmetic game has been made for my KS2 class – hence the differentiation four ways – but could be easily adapted by adding/removing questions.