Monthly Archives: December 2012

More iPads in the classroom

Forgive me, I don’t have an iPad at home, and so I can’t remember the names of the apps…feel free to help me out!

We’ve finally got our set of 10 iPads for use in school. Not having on myself, I’m still at a bit of a loss as to how these will help me teach, but we’ve been trialling them in circle time over the past few weeks.

The very first time I brought them into the room, I just gave one per pupil and made sure they were turned on. I wanted to see how much my learners could mange for themselves, how guided they needed to be. First, they found the camera. One young man spent a long time talking to himself on the video. Then, they found the app that lets you change the photos, we’re all now rather morphed. One found the calendar and spent ages looking at the dates! We don’t have wifi in school, so we can’t get on line. This is perhaps a good thing, as we’d have been buying things all over the place!

After some time looking at the camera, I suggested there were other things that we could look at, and what else might we find. The drawing app was well recieved, as was the milking the cow one (personally, not a favourite, but encouraging use of two hands helps with our fine motor skills and makes the OT happy!). There’s one called ‘falling stars’ where you draw a line, a star bounces off and it  makes a noise. Again, good for the motor skills and thinking about where to put the line. We’ve lost hours fascinated by ‘goo’ and the fish one. Oh, and don’t mention the drum/xylophone one!

Then there are the more educational apps that have been put on. Matching ones, sentence structure, letter drawing, counting. They are mostly aimed at young children, and my class access these with ease. Only downside of the sentence structure one is that it is not possible to put a wrong answer in place, so even my pupils who can’t read were getting full marks! I think we need to look for apps aimed at KS1 for my class, and to see how they go.

I noticed that some of them could sustain concentration for a long time, much longer than doing traditional activities, but others were flitting between things, not even spending two minutes before trying something else, and often going around in circles.

Colleagues have used them for recording the class, giving feedback (AFL in practice), taking photos to record events and as a reward. I’m going to keep using them once a week in circle time, at least to start with, but we’re going to be more structured in what we are doing and how we do it.

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A term done

Wow, and what a term it’s been.  Staff out on long term sick meant a re-jig of those left behind and my class missed out once again. Deemed to be the ‘more able’ in the key stage, that apparently means they are the easiest to teach (!?) and so will cope with unfamiliar staff. At one point we had a new member of supply staff every day of the week! Not sure how this inconsistency means I make progress with them….? Anyway…

We were lucky enough to get six free ice skating lessons – I knew all that hanging around the rink would come in handy – and some of the class have excelled at this. It’s lovely to see the progress that they have made, and the confidence that they have gained. There’s the bonus of (more) free skating sessions to go with it, and we’re hoping to get a Skate UK Level 1 Award for some of them.

We also had the annual Christmas Pantomime, which took a lot of time and was quite good fun and then had two weeks of preparing for Christmas. Something else I can’t quite get my head around – and nor can my class. We’d run out of Christmassy things to do by the last day of term and had an hour to kill. I asked what they wanted to do and the unanimous choice was ‘maths’!

bags

mugs

hands

To round out the term, the staff music group once again got together and performed in assembly. I really don’t play my bassoon enough.

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Nan

My nan, Ruth Gothard, died last Tuesday.

I’m not posting looking for sympathy, I’m trying to make sense of what I’m feeling.

She had Alzheimer’s, and didn’t know who we were, her children and her grandchildren. She hadn’t known for a long time. She lived a long way from me, too far for me to drive and back in a day, and so I have to admit I didn’t see her every often. I think it was about three years ago I last saw her, and she didn’t look like my nan.

Her hair wasn’t right, the colour and the style let go by the people in the home, and she wasn’t wearing the right clothes either. She kept putting biscuits in her pockets ‘for later’ and then forgetting they were there. She had our photos on the wall, but she couldn’t link them to us.

Relationships on that side of the family have been up and down over the years, and when I was younger we often went long stretches of time without seeing her. I wouldn’t say that we were close, but we were family and I will miss her.

Alzheimer’s took her from us a long time ago, and I’m finding it difficult to grieve in an ‘appropriate’ way. Friends keep offering sympathy, which I don’t need. I’m glad she is finally at peace and in a way I’m sad it took so long, as my most recent memories are of someone who looked like my nan, sounded like my nan but really wasn’t her. It’s tricky to explain, and I’m not sure I’m doing such a good job of it now.

She collected bells and played the organ, neither of which she was encouraged to keep doing once she was moved to the care home (least said about that place the better, I’m amazed she lasted as long as she did there, really). I suppose now I have to think back, to sort through the memories and bring the happy ones to the front.

Like the times we were allowed through the gate into next-doors garden to count the fish in the pond. Looking at the garden full of gnomes around the corner. All the well meaning knitted jumpers as we were growing up, and my futile attempts at knitting – it looked like a dishcloth and I never tried again!

Sleep tight, nan

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Her children will have a home for christmas.

Lord give me strength to write this in a way that the reader whose eyes are scanning over these words right at this moment will see the heart behind the fingers which writes them and may their own heart love the woman whose story I am about to tell…

This happened to me today. This story I am about to tell you unfolded in my own home not even 4 hours ago.
Here goes:

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