Last Friday I/We headed up to Manchester for the Education Innovation Conference and Awards. We were lucky enough to have been nominated for an award through our partnership with Usbourne Books and CodeAcademy. Although we did not win (there was some stiff competition) I feel it is an incredible achievement to have reached the final from over 20,000 entries!
The event itself was very much like a ‘mini-BETT’ and as I kept being told throughout the day: it’s growing and becoming more of an established date in the calendar year.
Although leaving with a hint if disappointment, I was still extremely proud of how far the school has come over such a short space of time, and to be linked with such an exciting award is definitely something we as a school can take many positives from.
A huge thank you to Teach Your Monster to Read for supporting our application!
Computing/ICT Subject leader
As you may be aware, we have been undergoing some significant development works within our ICT suite over the past couple of months. For over 2 years, the school has been looking for ways in which to improve and advance our current ‘state of technology’ and so the completion of the building work this week, has been the culmination of a great deal of hard work and perseverance!
We were incredibly fortunate to be given financial investment through our partnership with PwC, this allowed us to ensure that the improvements we made with the technology used at Snowsfields was the best available to our children. Alongside the redevelopment of the new ICT suite, we also wanted to ensure that class rooms were well equipped for the future, and were suitable for the needs of all the children across the school. In order to achieve this, we replaced all of our interactive whiteboards in both the lower and upper school, and bought in class sets of both iPads and Chromebooks – something which the children have been incredibly excited about!
On Wednesday we held a Launch Party to ‘show off’ and thank everyone who has been involved with not only this project but the various other opportunities we have been involved with over the past 18 months. From exhibiting at BETT with 2Simple, to being part of an educational film with Mathletics, we have been a part of some really exciting ventures – that the children involved will never forget.
Yesterday we were also visited by the Ministerial team for Education from Singapore and their counterparts in South Korea. This was part of our current partnership with Code Academy from New York. We were really pleased to be able to showcase just how amazing our children are, and put the school in a position to make future links with both countries.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody involved within the project, there are simply too many names to mention, but a special mention needs to go to PwC, our governing body and the senior leadership team for making this happen. I can’t wait, and neither can the rest of the staff, to get in and carry out some awesome teaching and learning!
Year 5 Teacher & ICT/Computing Subject Leader
During the course of the term I have been playing a slightly different role in school – teaching ICT and computing across years 1-6. More recently I have been developing and looking at a suitable path for Snowsfields to take with the new computing curriculum that comes into effect in 2014.
Although programming and computing are not new to the children as we have been quite forward thinking, teaching them elements for over 18 months now – it has been quite difficult to find the right balance and progression through the phases to ensure we are both challenging and scaffolding the children’s learning along the way – it also does not help that every man and his dog seem to be releasing some form of ‘educational package’.
However amongst the rough there have been several diamonds; one of which being the brilliant CodeAcademy. A text based language which at first glance seems pitched to a more secondary audience, it guides the children trough the basics of HTML, CSS and JQuery. Now although we likely won’t be talking the later elements, the buzz around the HTML skills has been epic. The children love to be able to see how what they write as ‘code’ transforms into a website before their eyes. In addition to this the hacking elements included within the lesson structure allow the children to pull apart their favourite websites and see exactly how they are made up – taking ideas and elements and bringing it into their own learning .
We have been working quite closely with Leng Lee, who has produced the educational materials and hope to continue to do so as the resources develop. It has been great to have a dialogue with the developers themselves as it really makes you feel you opinion is important and ultimately will help to shape how the curriculum is structured. I am also working on a scheme of work for our more able learners within Year 6, to push and challenge their understanding of HTML, setting them the challenge of creating their own websites using the Free Code element of the Code Academy website. Have a read of the article in the Telegraph where I explain a little more about how we have been using Code Academy.
Although tricky at times, this is going to be a very interesting journey for both myself and the children.
The lesson activities can be found here, and I recommend all teachers should try them, and the lesson plans which are still in beta form will be released more widely soon!
HTML Structure- Using Lists – HTML Basics II & Social Networking Profile
Introduction to HTML – HTML Basics & Build Your Own Webpage Crib Sheet
ICT & Computing Teacher/Subject Leader
This year at Snowsfields we ran our arts annual arts week with a slightly different spin. Each class were asked to look at and study a specific Artist who had created works around the theme of Autumn, from artists such as Andy Goldsworthy to Paul Klee.
The aim was for each child to create a piece of art inspired by their chosen artist and also work more collaboratively on larger scale works.
The children and staff alike had a brilliant week creating their masterpieces, such as sculptures from natural materials in the garden to creating leafdesigns using tessellation. Alongside the work the children did in class, there was also a very well attended and over subscribed parent workshop – the art work of which can be seen on the wonderful display on the second floor.
During Arts Week we always hold our highly anticipated International Evening where we ask parents to come along and help celebrate the cultural diversity within our school, eating food and dressing in attire from a whole host of cultures. Below is a copy of the presentation used for the musical festivities and lots of pictures which I am sure paint a better picture than any of my words!
This year our wonderful Violet Class choose to put on Bugsy Malone as their end of year production! Despite having Ofsted in the same week as their final rehearsals, they were able to put on a magnificent performance for both the school and their parents. With some stand-out singing from Tallulah and Bugsy, everyone really enjoyed themselves. Below are some photographs, and a video of the final song! Enjoy
Violet Class recently went to visit the Apple Store in Regent Street, to take part in an iMovie project. The were set the task of creating a new and exciting propaganda film to help inspire people to join the fight during World War 2. Although some slightly obscure approaches were taken by some the groups (such as a zombie inspired hunt for Hitler) the children were able to produce some really engaging and exciting videos with just the use of an iPad and the iMovie App. The finalised videos will soon be available on our YouTube channel. For the time being here are some photos from the day.
Next week, Y5 will be embarking on a new adventure to The City of Ember.
Lights shine in the city of Ember—but at the city limits the light ends, and darkness takes over. Out there in the ‘Unknown Regions’, the darkness goes on forever in all directions. Ember—so its people believe—is the only light in the dark world. Now the lights are going out. Is there a way to save the people of Ember? Lina Mayfleet has found a puzzling document, and Doon Harrow has made discoveries down in the Pipeworks. With these clues, they start their search…
Join us as we unveil the secrets of the City of Ember.