Thursday, 15 August 2013

A busy year!

On the Google stand at Bett 2013
 It's been a busy year: In September I moved back into Year 5 after six years away and, on the Google front, I took part in the Prague Summit last Autumn and in January I took a turn on the Google Bett stand sharing how I've used Google Apps with my class.  More recently, in May, I returned to the Association of Learning Technologists - this time round helping out on the judging panel. All interesting and worthwhile experiences for which I'm grateful!

Connect All Schools
In class, Year 5 took part in the International Learning Circles through Connect All Schools.  As we all had experience of this from last year, I think we all felt up to speed with what was involved and somewhat more organised and able to meet the various deadlines involved in taking part!

For one of our partner's projects we were able to draw on our local history project work from last year - something which showed just how rooted this has become in the children's sense of place.

Capital Cities of the World
Our project was 'Capital Cities' and the inspiration for this was one of the highlights of Year 5 - our trip to London!  Needless to say, this spring term trip is always eagerly anticipated and this year was no exception.  Every moment was jam packed so although for many pupils, this was their first trip away from home & family, with so much to see and do there wasn't too much time to feel homesick!  Click on the picture of London to see some of the contributions from our Learning Circles partners.

London Tour Guides
This year, pupils became London tour guides which involved choosing a famous landmark or site, researching it and then scripting an informative and engaging presentation as part of our exploration and discovery of London.  Pupils also used their computer skills to create multimedia presentations to share with families, next year's Year 5 and, of course, our Learning Circle partners.

Pupils created voiceovers using their iPodtouches and then overlaid these on the videos they'd created using their Animoto (educational) accounts so that they could combine pictures, text and a music backing track.  Here's a tour of Baden Powell House, originally the Headquarters of the Scouting Association and now a youth hostel.  It was where we stayed in London.

Hurricane Sandy
At the start of the year, last September, Hurricane Sandy featured prominently in the news.  As two of our Geography topics for the year were 'Water' and 'News from around the World', Sandy seemed particularly relevant and pupils worked hard to find out all about the hurricane and its effects from a number of news feeds before creating their own broadcasts showing the huge impact on those living in the region.

It turned out to be particularly poignant for me as I have family in Long Island - thankfully all safe - but still living in temporary accommodation while their house is being rebuilt!  Pupils again made good use of their iPodtouches to create their movies.  They were also able to share their research through Voicethread.  Here's one of the news broadcasts created by pupils.

The Three Kings
Although it may feel a little odd to mention Christmas in August, I do want to give it a mention in the round up of the year.

Every year, Year 5 create the designs for the school Christmas cards and over the last few years this has involved a digital element.

This year pupils created designs in pastels and then used GIMP, the image manipulation tool, to transform their designs using a mosaic effect.

The picture on the left shows one of the five designs chosen for the 'official' school Christmas cards.  Of course all the pupils were able to use their completed designs for their families.

Festive Story Spiral
As you can see from the picture of the Three Kings and our storyspiral, although the theme for the designs are traditional, the digital element has given it an effective modern twist.

For those interested, the story spiral on the right is generated through Photopeach.  Photopeach has a selection of tracks you can choose from to accompany your artwork and work can be displayed as a story or as a story spiral.  I think there's now an educational version too.  

Talking Textiles
Over the last few years, as I've highlighted elsewhere in this blog, Art has been a big feature of our work.  This year we've been involved in a lovely project where pupils share their love of some of the Greek myths and legends we've read.

Three lovely ladies, Jean Lewis-Millward, Sheila Allen and Barbara Henslow, very generously gave their time throughout the summer term to help children turn their designs into textile based pictures.  Here you can see some of the (nearly) completed panels which will go on display in school in the Autumn term.