Session 113: Old dog, new tricks – What new/innovative things will you introduce to your teaching?

Session Title: Old dog, new tricks – What new/innovative things will you introduce in to your class/teaching this year.

Date: Thursday 30th August 2012.

Hosted by: @ICTmagic

[pullquote]I want to approach em [Parents] at home time for good reasons rather than “ur lil treasure just killed the hamster[/pullquote]

I greatly enjoyed this week’s UKedchat and I was very pleased that the community chose this topic. There are few things more uplifting than excited teachers anticipating what wonders they will begin to a new class. I for one have countless ideas and plans to try out this year. Even though I know that I know that a handful of these will come to fruition, at this time of year I still feel that excitement of what might be. Having the opportunity to discuss interesting and innovative plans, ideas and projects with the ever-inspirational chatters of UKedchat was just what is needed in the final few days of the summer holidays.


The discussion began with a look at the basics of setting up a classroom and the appearance of the physical space. An early tweet by @lewis892 suggested having a Twitter stream in public view in the school corridor. Naturally one would need to be careful who you follow for this public consumption, but it got me thinking about a permanent display in the staffroom.


Many chatters, including @Jon_Torbitt have been very active and have completely changed the design of their learning spaces and many have included exciting new technology to facilitate learning. Ipads and using QR codes for interactive displays featured heavily in this regard. Check out the numerous blog posts that were tweeted on the first few pages of the archive for more details.


The discussion moved on the feedback and ensuring that the children were leading the way. There are lots of ideas about teaching to strengths and collaborating with other colleagues with different and complimentary skill sets. How to organise groups and speak-partners was discussed. Many colleagues also spoke about work/life balance and were determined to work smarter, not more (@Mad_teach).


Chatters tweeted about their subject areas and I was interested to talk with @MrCraigJones who was discussing innovation in school sports and using the Olympics as a stimulus. A fascinating discussion began (Page 8 of archive) about using rewards in the classroom. I have always felt that point systems and rewards are a natural part of the primary classroom and provide recognition of hard work to children. But the discussion between @ryansecondarysc, @lewis892, @natachakennedy and others has got me thinking.


The discussion turned to improving parental engagement with schools. Interestingly, no-one seemed to have a winning formula for this and almost everyone had new ideas that they were going to try this year. Lots of chatters wanted to call home to parents more often, with both good and bad news. Almost everyone wanted an informal meeting at the beginning of term to set out the year ahead. A few people mentioned that they wanted to make more of their class blog to keep parents informed about what is happening in class.


We moved on to how to develop staff in the CPD-vacuum that seems to be descending over our profession. Many liked the Teachmeet model for providing in-house training for colleagues and some people spoke about reaching out to local schools for a variety of skills to be ‘swapped’. I suggested that Head Teachers could podcast rather than have a staff meeting, which went down well with many UKedchatters. @_DavidDrake @JOHNSAYERS and others pointed out that our students should be part of the CPD process and we can learn a lot from them.


Homework and how we could make more use of it was the next area we looked at. @JohnAHobson spoke about setting more in-depth homework rather than weekly tasks. Many people talked about using online tools to provide more ‘learning on demand’, but no one present seemed to have embraced the flipped classroom model. There was a brief side discussion about using Google Docs and Apps in the classroom and how it can be a great way to bridge the home/school divide.


The discussion concluded (as much as UKedchat ever does) which a very general ‘what is going to make you and or class excited’ discussion. Many chatters were looking forward to using the outside environment more. Their were a number of teachers starting at new schools and they were eager to make a different there. But the majority of UKedchatters wanted to try lots of web tools they had discovered over the summer and use the new shiny devices that they were hoarding in their cupboards, waiting to become the window to another world for some lucky boy or girl.


The beginning of the school year is a time for reflection, improvements and high hopes. Each year we strive to do our best and give our classes our all. It is my hope that we can all hang on to this exhilaration and enthusiasm regardless of what problems and challenges come our way. Have a good school year everyone!


@Thelazyteacher: #ukedchat Working on achievement through self belief, engagement and reflection (students & staff). Untapped talent is huge = lazy progress

@Dunfordjames: My classroom will be a transformer. Rows, groups, horseshoe, circle. All used when appropriate. #ukedchat

@syded06: It would be nice to have more positive, considered conversations in the staffroom – a little like twitter 🙂 #ukedchat

@aknill: @Jivespin #Ukedchat #Twitterbest4CPD is a topic arising at several Teachmeets – it’s how to reach the majority of staff that is the challenge


@Mad_teach: I want to approach em [Parents] at home time for good reasons rather than “ur lil treasure just killed the hamster”. #ukedchat

Martin Burrett (@ICTmagic) is a Year 5/6 Primary School teacher at Mersea Island School, near Colchester in Essex. His award winning wiki page provides a huge selection of free web resources for every area of the Primary and Secondary curriculum.



113 – Ukedchat Archive 30 August 2012



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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

1 Comment

  1. Aside from the hilarious picture, the creative thinking displayed here is impressive – there are a certainly number of ideas that could be utilised in other industries apart form teaching – very valuable indeed. Thx

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