Embedded image permalinkExciting  time ahead at school! This week we are organising the arrival of some living eggs.We ran this project last year and the kids took so much from the experience, the picture to the left is when our chicks were just a few hours old. They got to see this whole process, coming up and visiting the chicks during the day to see their progress. As usual we tried to add a little ICT to the mix by setting up a live stream via a webcam. This worked really well, with the classes checking the feed every morning during registration.

This year I want to add a bit more tech to the equation, and get the pupils using the experience more in the classroom. Applying the technology and making sure it is all up and running allows for the classes to make the most of the birds, and hopefully allow for some great learning to take place. Below I have listed a few ways that a school could use ICT to make the most of having living eggs, and some possible lesson ideas.

  • Set up a webcam with a live feed on your network. This can stream live on your school website for all to view. This could be used by pupils or parents at home. It could also come in useful for the member of staff who is in charge of the project, allowing them to have a look and check up throughout the day
  • Allow the pupils some time to work with the digital cameras. Pupils get the most from photography when they have an interesting subject to use. Allow them some time with the birds to try and get some interesting shots, then come back to the computer suite to do some quick photo editing.
  • Internet Research. Often it can be a couple of weeks before the eggs start to hatch, so keep the pupils interested and give them the opportunity to find out how the whole process works. Older pupils could research before taking younger pupils to see the chicks while explaining the process.
  • Google Sketchup. Anyone that follows my blog will know I’m a big fan of Sketchup, and using it with all ages. The idea of using it with this project came from a pupil last year who did it in her own time. She emailed me a file which showed a dream environment for the chickens to grow up in, all mapped out on Sketchup. The level of detail was superb, and the research beforehand to find out the ideal conditions was great. So I stole her work and got the rest of the class to do it!
  • Blog about it. Pupils could start a ‘Chick Watch’ blog, keeping other informed of developments and changes, the literacy coordinator loved this! Pupils can also learn to embed images to their work, and for the toppies they could embed the live feed or a video. On a similar note some pupils could create podcasts to broadcast on your website. These could be live updates or information on how they develop.
  • Literacy tasks. There are a whole heap of literacy based activities that could be done on the computers too. For example (big breath) letters of thanks to the farmers, descriptions, stories, newspaper reports, information booklets, instructions for care, day by day diary and invitations to parents.

 

Wow, as I was writing that I came up with a few more ideas that I originally thought! I can honestly say that having something like living eggs in your school can be a great inspiration and discussion generator. I can do nothing but encourage it! Please have a share or comment, and if your school is planning on getting some living eggs please keep up updated! I would love to link with another school doing a similar project.

Over the past few years I have been a big fan of pupils blogging, both internally through our VLE system and publicly. I have seen some major benefits in learning and I want to share with you some of the key reasons you should start, and maybe a few tips to help you on your way. There can be some pit falls, but when it work it WORKS! Lets go through some of the reasons you should start:

Helps to develop writing skills

Obviously writing a blog will give pupils opportunity to improve the quality of their writing. If the topic of the blog is something they are interested in mean they will get passionate about what they write. With peers in their classroom looking at their blogs it will give them responsibility over what they write. Adding a rating system will also improve this. Do people like what they are writing? What could they do to improve? Speaking to pupils about putting their work publicly online can also be an inspiration for improved writing. Let them know the whole world could see it, is it good enough for that?

Showcase for pupils work

Giving pupils a blog gives them an open forum to share their world worldwide (potentially!). Often when pupils complete work in the classroom that’s where it stays, not even parents know what has been going on until parents evening! With a blog pupils can post their work and their audience knows no bounds. It could be a simple as the class next door, to schools on the other side of the world. If you make comments available it also allows for these schools to leave feedback on your children’s work, a different look at peer assessment.  when a child receives a positive comment on their blog it goes far beyond anything I could say as their teacher!

Encourages independent thinking

Blogging in the classroom can really inspire pupils to become independent in their learning and thinking. When they are able to publish what they have an interest in they take ownership of the quality of their work. They take the lead when finding the required information, think about how they want to present their work, and what they want to include in their posts.

Inspires learning 

Using a blog in your class allows for teaching and learning to take place simultaneously with your pupils. By using research skills, multimedia posts, instant feedback and comments your pupils are teaching others around them as well as learning without realising it! If you train your pupils to leave good questions and effective feedback on posts, you are allowing pupils to take on the role of student and teacher.

Engages with your wider community

With OFSTED taking a greater look at how your school gets involved with the local community a blog is a great start. You could start blogging to other classes in your school, posts to parents, communicating and sharing work with other schools around you. Get comments back from parents and people who live in the area. Linking your blog on your school website is a great way to ensure you get traffic.

 

Now here are a few quick tips to make your blog successful: 

  1. Use a wide range of media in your posts, not just text
  2. Find a platform that is easy and engaging for your pupils, do they want to use it?
  3. Connect your blog to your school website
  4. Start up links with other classes and schools
  5. Stick with it, it might take some time to take off
  6. End your post with a question to encourage comments and feedback
  7. Teach them how to use the platform before you go public.
  8. Tell parents about the project, get them involved early. Its more than likely they will be the ones commenting to begin with!
  9. Gets pupils to look at other blogs for inspiration
  10. Teach pupils about the importance of drafting, then posting.

 

I hope that’s enough to get you started, and has given you some ideas to try out with your class. If you think I’ve missed something, or have a specific question please get in touch, I love a comment as much as the kids do!

 

 

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