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  • kvnmcl 10:01 pm on January 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2010, , , , resolutions, teaching   

    What’s coming up. Floaters. 

    Crystal ball by David Reece

    Okay now, a floater to some might raise a few brows and cause a few to smirk. But a floater to me is an idea, and one that doesn’t go away easily. A floater comes to mind when you are usually not following the ‘rule books’, when you decide to go with the flow in the classroom and see what the outcome will be rather than try to get to the outcome you have written down. A floater can be brilliant but also annoyingly out of reach. But it’s always there and always wants to be given a chance. Here are my floaters for the year ahead.

    1. Allow my class to talk more
    2. Make the school VLE a LEARNING ENVIRONMENT!
    3. Create an ‘old school’ interactive learning display
    4. Be more creative in my approach to other parts of the curriculum e.g. Use Green screen in RE lessons to retell stories from bible
    5. Bring my guitar into school everyday for no other reason than to sing with the class
    6. Be positive and stop moaning (but some things I have to moan about and I will continue to do so)
    7. Ask my class for more feedback
    8. Talk to my class more rather than getting through the mountain of objectives
    9. Continue my personal pursuit to rid the world of pointless homeworks
    10. If Oftsted do actually make an appearance this year, welcome them with open arms and have fun

    Let 2010 commence.

    • Mark Cunningham 10:39 pm on January 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great “floaters”. 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 especially

    • Stuart Ridout 12:22 am on January 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply


      I must admit that I did have a minor smirk at the floaters but your list of floaters is great.

      I love the use of student voice in point 7, perhaps it could link to #2 and students could vote or rate lessons using the VLE. #6 benefits everyone (not specifically in your case but in general) and I think is something we could all try to take on board.

      Something that really excites me is #4. I love using green screen but find it tough to make it work in the classroom with so many people. We have a few staff who use green screen and one teacher is making a film using both live action and green screen (you can see the trailer at http://blip.tv/file/2960987 )

      Good luck with it! I look forward to seeing your outcomes online!

    • Pam Thompson 1:41 am on January 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What a great list – a nice balance. Love the idea of taking your guitar in every day – an opportunity to chill & give the outcomes a rest 🙂

  • kvnmcl 10:21 pm on July 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: composing, creating, filming, , teaching   

    Making music together 

    I love music. I love playing music too and I have been in a few bands over the years as either a drummer or singer/guitarist. I have even dabbled in writing my own songs. So earlier today, when I came across inbflat (a collaborative music/spoken word project), I was not only impressed at how simple an idea it was but inspired at the potential it could have for classroom use.

    What to do

    • Teach my class a pentatonic scale C D E G A C
    • Give the children xylophones with only these notes so they can experiment on musical arrangements
    • Video these performances for review and discussion
    • Provide further instruments such as a keyboard marked with the scale for the children to explore arrangements further
    • Children record these on PC and on video
    • Upload separate performances onto a blog post for the grand performance

    This is only an idea brewing but one which I intend to explore with my new class of Y3/4’s sometime this coming school year providing them a wonderfully creative musical experience.

    Darren Solomon is the musician behind inbflat. You can find out more here.


    Earlier today @mrslwalker posted a link to the following video. It shows Bobby McFerrin demonstrating the power of the Pentatonic scale. Amazing stuff.

  • kvnmcl 11:14 pm on May 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , teaching   

    Myst V – the beginning of our adventure 

    I have been reading all about Mark Warner’s uses of Myst in the classroom over the past couple of weeks and I just had to buy a copy of the game and find out what all the fuss was about. As soon as I installed it and started to play I immediately saw why it has been given such a positive response by many teachers as an inspirational teaching and learning tool.

    Over the next 6 weeks I will provide a daily account of how I have used the game with my class, what skills they have developed from using it, the lessons I have taught and the work they have done so that you too might just decide to take the plunge and try it with your own class.

    (More …)

    • EBD35 11:53 am on May 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hi ya. I teach in an EBD primary special school (5boys/2girls) and used Myst III for pre ofsted and ofsted lessons and my class LOVED it.
      I look forward to following your adventures over the following week(s)

    • K Haig 11:56 am on May 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      “Unfortunately I now have to play the game on my own so I can prepare activities to be used throughout the next few weeks as we delve deeper into it, but I can safely say that I will enjoy every moment of it.”

      This sounds such a hardship! Really interesting reading your thoughts, just found your blog through twitter and it is interesting reading- thanks!

    • kvnmclaughlin 12:13 pm on May 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      @EBD35 If you have any ideas and activities that you would like to share I’d be more than grateful.

      @K Haig Definitely a hardship 🙂 I just find it difficult not to keep playing it and seeing it through to the end. I want to keep some sense of wonder as I use the game with my class.

    • Dawn Willman 1:53 am on May 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I used to teach 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. I am currently a stay at home mom with my 3 and 6 year old. I will be tutoring students in writing this summer. I am just now through internet research hearing about the use of the Myst game for writing lessons. Has anyone published anything that has lessons already prepared with writing concepts and the use of this game? Are there any good websites out there to go to that have writing lessons for this game?

    • KOL 12:27 pm on June 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      It’s a shame that, as literature, Myst V is easily the weakest of the series. On the other hand it’s also among the easiest game-wise, so I can definitely see it as a good subject to examine in a classroom.

  • kvnmcl 10:05 am on May 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , teaching, Wii   

    Using a Wii in the classroom. 

    wii-teachI’m not a skeptical sort. I’m up for most things in life and as an educator I believe in the same guideline, otherwise I’d be still doing everything on my blackboard. That’s not to say it isn’t useful but with the technology we have today and some literally at our fingertips i.e. samrt table we would be foolish not to embrace it.

    So, I decided a while back to try out a Wii as a possible teaching/learning tool in the classroom and you can judge for yourselves if it’s of educational value or not.

    (The first point for example is quite debatable but must be mentioned)

    (More …)

    • Mark Warner 5:31 pm on May 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for sharing these ideas… it’s great to see so many educational uses.

      You’ve made me want to take mine into school, even more so than before!

    • kvnmclaughlin 9:05 pm on May 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Do take it in Mark, you won’t regret it. I’m taking mine back in during a topic of Film Making we have coming up in 2 weeks as we’ll be using ICT throughout our work quite a bit over the next 4 weeks.

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