Thursday, 23 December 2010

Storybird for Classroom use.

If I could have a fairy godmother I would want to be able to draw and play a musical instrument. I can however, do neither! What I can do is take a half decent photo and use the tools available on sites such as storybird to support my classroom work. I love the fact that the artists' work on there is so amazing and adaptable. I find it therapeutic and am fast becoming addicted! I've uploaded my latest offering on the six hats thinking introduced by De Bono as well as older works on the PLTs and Bloom's taxonomy etc,
The Thinking Hats on Storybird

Blooming Questions on Storybird

Personal Learning & Thinking Skills The PLT's on Storybird

Independent Thinking on Storybird

Cooperative Learning on Storybird

Saturday, 4 December 2010


Love this site, it's just amazing!

The card below uses Shape Collage

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Can you teach an 'old dog new tricks'?

Well can you? I think so…I started teaching in 1982 (no do not try and work out how old I am!) Armed with a theology degree I began my teaching career teaching RE at Banbury school in Oxfordshire. The job I am doing no bears absolutely no resemblance to my job then. Do I use my New Testament Greek when teaching Cultural Studies & ICT in Barnsley – I have to say ‘not very often’. BUT do I use the desire to learn to find out new things and actually keep learning..then yes I do everyday.
In my first classroom I had a blackboard, no computer, no IW, nothing not even access to a photocopier – we only had one (and it was a school of 2,300 pupils) so you had to book everything through reprographics. We used banda machines – remember them? (obviously you too are old!) and eventually after five or so years the dept was given an OHP!!!
Last weekend my iphone beeped whilst shopping to tell me I had an email informing me one of my yr 7 pupils had written on the blog for their homework. My step daughter is picking mangos in Australia and communicates via facebook and skype. I have my own photography website (shameless plug This morning our yr 7 blog had a comment from Mr Webb in New Zealand about our snow day – amazing learning opportunity and exciting.
The moral? If we expect our pupils to learners then we need to do the same. They have no fear and will get stuck in. I gave two year 7 pupils and Ipad and asked for ‘something’ on the topic they were doing. The first question was ‘How do you switch it on’….30 minutes later an all singing all dancing presentation on Keynote.
Keep learning!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Ask 3 before me.

How do we get pupils to be more INDEPENDENT ? Last year my year 7 class were asked to design a website using ‘front page’ this is software I have never used. However, pupils wanted me to have all of the answers to their problems and it struck me how quickly I just give pupils the answer because I’m ‘helping’ them. We introduced the system put forward in books such as The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook (Jim Smith) of ask 3 before me. I made a huge badge with 3 penguins (don’t know why penguins!!) that said 3b4me and explained they were to see if others could help first.
I now have a new year 7 class and yesterday Elliott walked across the classroom to me to ask for the web address of ‘that man reading the book’…actually on the chair next to him, Jack was on the site he wanted. Nathan wanted to know where the headphones were…George is wearing headphones go and ask him?
The class are getting used to the idea of supporting on another but it did worry me that one wrote on an analysis of some work ‘we now know not to bug Mrs Hewitt with mindless questions!!
I spent some time with Hywel Roberts this morning & he introduced me to the idea of ‘SNOT’ – Self, Neighbour, Other, Teacher (makes a great poster)
I have seen it as Brain, Buddy, Book, Boss.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s good that the teacher is not the fount of all knowledge. I look forward to introducing ‘SNOT’ tomorrow 

Story bird on Independent thinking

Independent Thinking by janeh271 on Storybird

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Co operative Learning

I love the cooperative learning techniques. The booklet below is created on Storybird as an introduction for younger pupils or SEN secondary.
Cooperative Learning by janeh271 on Storybird

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Inspiration on PhotoPeach

Having just updated my yr 7 blog, I noticed a comment on twitter about photopeach...brilliant 15 minutes later I have a slideshow for my yr 7s and a quick one for me, don't you just love Twitter?

Saturday, 9 October 2010


What makes you ....YOU? by janeh271 on Storybird

Storybird may well be intended for a primary audience but my year 11s loved it. They were creating stories for younger children on the theme of bullying which meant they had to consider their audience and really focus their ideas, They are working on these and I will publish them on their blog (slight hitch with having to change host sites to fit in with the LA & iron out glitches!) The one above took literally 5 minutes and I'm going to use it as a quick discussion starter with  yr 7, love it storybird....can't wait for when they can actually be printed.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Work Life Balance

The work/Life balance is a constant discussion topic in staffrooms around the country but it does seem to be almost the Holy Grail of, it doesn't exist! You never as a committed teacher have the luxury of saying you are up to date! You have never finished marking, researching, planning, reading, reinventing the wheel....Most of the time it's an amazing job but sometimes the price is too high and you have to say that forbidden word 'NO'! The fact that you spend hours on twitter learning new skills to pass on, finding new research to improve the standard of your teaching proves you want the best for those you teach.
This week several thing made me stop and think: sad news, the anniversary of what would have been my eldest son's birthday & the amazing kindness of a group of my year tens who said, 'Are you ok madam, we are a bit worried about you, you know you can always come and talk to us don't you?!' The role reversal of pupils caring about teachers brought tears to my eyes. When I tried to say I was just tired they immediately said, 'well stop doing so much and say no' maybe, just maybe they are right!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

It's all worth it when....

You have had another manic day, wearing enough different hats to open a market stall, head completely spinning and a yr 11 gives you a thank you card that ends with the words 'thank you for helping me be the best I can be!' Yes it's worth it.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Teachers as Multi taskers

You know the old joke, 'Those who can, do - and those who can't, teach...' well it's so not true! Those who can do several things at once and keep a range of key ideas in their head at all times ...can be teachers. It's not just a case of walking into a classroom and teaching, it's never having the luxury to think of one thing at a time! Today has ranged from booking buses and first aid kits to researching current Ofsted Framework with a bit of coaching thrown in for good measure. (Oh and teaching classes of course)
Teaching is hard work but never boring!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sunday Evening

Well it's Sunday evening and I've got that back to school feeling after half term. You know the one...very unsettling. I've used the photo of Vicky 'unable to attend' to remind myself why I do this! She was a young girl in Uganda who stood at the barbed wire fence whilst we taught samba to the kids inside the school - no money - no education simple as that! So I'm thinking of my kids tomorrow and how lucky they are but don't realise it. Time to stop worrying and start enjoying teaching again!