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App of the moment blog Featured Latest News

Our first app of the month 2017!

This is a great web based site and  app to encourage children to create a research or information board all about a given topic, theme or in response to a question. It allows children to collect information from the internet and pin it onto virtual bulletin boards using a simple drag-and-drop system. Videos, text, links, images can be added to a board and organized there, like a page full of Post-it notes. You can add as many notes to a wall as you like and it just grows in size! More than one person can contribute to a Padlet wall, opening the door to teamwork and group projects. Padlets can be shared via social media, through blogs or embedded within a QR code. Click here to find out more from the app store.

Have a go and let us know what you think!

 

 

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App of the moment blog Featured Latest News

Puppet Pals App

This is a fabulous upgrade to the first puppet pals, with lots more functionality. Both children and adults can unlock creativity with this easy to use and highly addictive interactive puppet show! It allows children to create high quality cartoons from their imaginations and means that stories, thoughts and ideas can be brought to life. A great addition, is that the creators can even star in the show along side the built-in characters! 

For class teachers and teaching assistants there is lots of potential for this app, such as allowing children to  act out historical events, practice language skills, or deliver a killer book report. The cartoons that children can make really bring learning to life through digital literacy. The finished projects are easily shared to be watched by others (share via email or simply copy the video file to your computer and distribute how you see fit) Have a go and let us know what you think!

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eWarrior Blog Featured Latest News

Digital Issues!

Our e-Warriors have been hard at work in their classes over the last couple of weeks creating digital problem boxes for children and adults to post their technology problems inside. Our Y6 eWarriors have also been busy filming each eWarrior and this week they will turn the films into QR codes for our hall display. Mr McWhirter gave his first technician session last week and the eWarrior have started to complete their Ipad tasks to ensure that they are all up to date and have the apps organised into the right places. Our next step is to start to work on a specific technology project in each class and one of our Y6 digital leaders, who has been supporting his class mates has learnt how to check that the correct printer and password is enabled on the netbooks, so he will be training the rest of the eWarriors this week! We will keep you up to date on how that goes!

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Featured Latest News Music Teacher's Blog

Musical Fun!

I always look forward to the start of a new term, thinking about all the exciting opportunities and events the new school year will bring. One of the most enjoyable activities I like to engage in during the holidays is to look for new resources, particularly songs for the children to perform either in class, Big Sing or Choral group. Mr Geelan has often commented ‘Why are we listening to Christmas songs during August?’ I like to be well planned so when a festival or celebration is upon us I have the necessary repertoire for the children to learn and enjoy.

I will continue this academic year to visit Unsworth every Tuesday, leading the whole school singing assembly and working with individual classes. Year 2 will be learning to play the Ocarina and Year 3 the recorder.  I will be responsible for the Year 5 Brass Wider Opportunities project across the year.  In the past we have many problems with the maintenance of these instruments.  If a problem does occur, please parents do not be tempted to fix the instruments yourselves.  We have an expert on instrument repairs who has the necessary tools and appliances to do the job!  Please encourage your children to practise their instruments, the sound may not be too pleasant initially but that’s all part of the learning process.

Choral group begin rehearsals in the next couple of weeks and you will receive additional information about this activity. Fiddler Music will continue to visit school on a Tuesday afternoon, so please remember your guitars and ukuleles. It is great to see we have some new recruits this year who have been added to the list. Bury Music Service are also willing to provide tuition if there are additional instruments your child may like to learn. Please visit the school office where information can be obtained.

The Bury Young Voices choir directed by myself is an out of school activity, however children from Unsworth Y5 and above are welcome to join, if they have an avid interest in singing. We meet every Tuesday at the Derby High School Inspire Theatre at 4 45- 5 45pm (Price £1 per session)

We want your children to enjoy music at school, so if you have any questions or queries, please pop in and have a chat.

 

 

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Blog Computing and E-Safety eWarrior Blog

The Unsworth eWarriors are coming!

In September our Unsworth eWarrior Digital  Leader and E-Safety group will launch. This new group will be made up of 3 children from each class from Y2 upwards and will aim to empower our children to help develop and shape our digital curriculum.

Children who are interested will have the chance to apply for the year long posts, if they feel they have the skills and would like to commit to the responsibilities that the eWarriors will have.

The eWarriors have their own webpage on our website that they will be taught to update and develop as the year progresses, which can be found if you click here. Also, they have their own blog, which they will take turns to create together and this will update the school community on their work and comments.

We can’t wait for our first eWarrior team to start work, so let the adventure begin!

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Featured Latest News

Mobile Friendly

Over the summer our website has been optimised for mobile devices to make it easier to view. It is still exactly the same website, but when accessed on mobile devices it displays slightly differently so that it is easier to access the menu and items load faster. You can view the usual “desktop” version of the site by scrolling to the bottom of any page and clicking “Desktop”.

The banner at the top of mobile version displays the 5 latest blogs and in the top left hand corner you will see an icon that has 3 straight lines. If you click this icon you will open the menu, which is normally horizontally across the top of the main site. Once you find the item you are looking for you can click it or on the arrow at the side to further expand the item to find the exact page you want. Click on the item or specific page and it will take you there.

Our aim has been to make the site as accessible as possible, so hopefully the mobile version of the site will do this! We would love  to hear your feedback about the mobile version of our site, so if you have any comments, scroll to the bottom of this post and fill in the comment form, all you need to do is fill in a name and a comment.

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Featured Latest News Year 2 Blog

What a trip!

Year 2 visited Martin Mere today to find out more about different habitats. When the children arrived they explored pond habitats in the raised pond beds and then walked up to Plum wood to find out all about woodland habitats. It was great to see the children exploring the different habitats and finding different animals to look at. Bobby even discovered a toad in the woods, which got lots of gasps! After lunch the children let off some steam in the play area and then went off on an hour walk around the wetland paths. During their exploration of the Mere the children experienced the “Wild Walk”, stepping stones and Weird but Wonderful bird zone. All of the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were a credit to the school. Have a look at our trailer below to see our trip brought to life or clickMartin Mereto find out more  about Martin Mere!

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Blog Featured Latest News Teaching & Learning Blog

Windows to learning

A window provides a viewpoint, a means by which to look out and survey the surroundings. Typically our homes have many and through each we get a different view, a different perspective of the world around us. Windows provide us with a means by which to reflect on what we see, to gaze on a landscape that changes over time and a chance to contemplate what could be. So think about our schools, our classrooms, our children’s books, are they not windows to learning? Windows to what has been, what is and what could possibly be?

For me, learning windows offer an opportunity for us to stop and reflect, an opportunity to take time to really take in the landscape of learning and a chance to stop and consider what really matters when it comes to making the best choices for learners.

At this moment in time our education system as we know it is the hot topic of conversation across the media and it seems like everyday brings a new story or press release. Educators up and down the country face a constant battle between what they feel is the right thing to do and external pressures. Yet this is just one way of viewing education and in some ways is just one of the many windows that we could say open onto the landscape of learning. For me, teachers need to teach and they need to be given the professional space to develop learning cultures that truly inspire the next generation of learners and allow an engaging curriculum to flourish. That professional space is their classrooms; the space through which they promote curiosity, nurture creativity, build resilience, challenge the status quo and make anything seem possible.

The class of children I teach talk with me all the time about their learning windows and they have come to see their books as a window through which they can spend time thinking about their learning. What is so interesting is how the term “window” has altered the way in which they talk about their books and how they reflect on their progress. I have always believed that feedback is ultimately the one factor that improves a child’s performance, but feedback doesn’t just take one form. There are no magic formulas, whole school rigid criteria or gimmicks that can provide effective feedback. Effective feedback comes from the dialogue that happens between a teacher and a learner.

For dialogue to be transformative it should be a  two way street, be born out of co-agency and trust, so that both the teacher and learner work together to achieve the best possible result. When a teacher really knows their curriculum and invests time in understanding the learners that that teach, only then can feedback be most effective. For every learner it looks different, a word, a phrase, a tone of voice, a gesture or a model just to name a few. When feedback works, it is because it has changed the way someone does or approaches something.

The children I teach recognise this and it struck me today how much power a learning window has when the landscape on which you gaze becomes the focus of the dialogue. I was having a conversation with one of my learners about how they felt about their work over time and I was amazed at the response I got because it was about an honest appraisal of what a learner felt and what a learner could say about their progress over time.

“You see Mr Rhodes, at the start of year 2 this window (an English book) didn’t look great. I felt really frustrated and disappointed with  the things I did, but now just look at it. I feel confident and I love looking at what I have achieved”

A learning window, whether it be a book, a section of a lesson, a look at a classroom on a particular day at a particular time, is a snapshot. Time is such a precious commodity as it seems to pass so quickly and it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done, but is this the case or do we need to rethink what is important and consider where best to spend our time?

Over the years I have started to gaze more at the learning windows that surround me and to take notice of the landscape that unfolds. I have taken time to encourage my learners to do the same and tried to build in them the understanding of why reflecting on where you have been, where you are and where you might go is such an important thing to do. Recently I came across a topic  book from 9 years ago that had lay hidden on a shelf gathering dust. Within that book lay frozen in time a snap shot of a year of learning. As I looked through that learning window I glimpsed a curriculum and an approach that no longer exists. It no longer exists because reflection and feedback have transformed what once was for the better.

As educators we need to open up all the learning windows that surround us, taking stock of the landscapes that unfold, whilst discerning where our gaze needs to fall. If we listen to learners and engage in a two way dialogue that aims to change the landscape we see for the better, then surely some of those other windows can be closed, looked upon for perspective, but not seen as imposing views that mask what is important; the hopes and dreams of our children.

 

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Featured Latest News Teaching & Learning Blog Year 2 Blog

Nurturing creativity

Nurturing and developing children’s creativity is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher. This week has been one of those weeks where children have been given a range of opportunities to be creative through using a range of different mediums such as art, music, drama, play and writing. It is through these different activities that children get an opportunity to make their own decisions and allow their personality to be expressed.

As a school we celebrate imagination, innovation and individuality through our daily practice. For us, it is so important that our classrooms and communal spaces are filled with children’s thoughts, ideas and own original pieces of work.

Reflecting on the different tasks that Y2 have done this week has been a real pleasure, as every child has shown how creative they can be when given the chance to share how they feel or experiment for themselves. For me, it is so important to provide children with opportunities to shine, to develop their own line of enquiry or make choices that reflect their own ideas. It is so rewarding to step back and reflect on how independent Y2 have started to become and also how imaginative they are when it comes to creating something for themselves.

The Aboriginal art work they have developed this week both indoors and outdoors is one of example of how hard the children have worked to produce their personal best. It is so important to put creativity at the centre of a school curriculum. Giving children and adults the space to innovate and be original allows for fresh perspectives, new ideas and a means by which to continually evolve. It also gives a space for expressing feelings and emotions.  The work below highlights how Y2 have expressed themselves this week through colour and imagery.

 

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Featured Latest News Year 2 Blog

Delving into the past

Year 2 have really got into their historical enquiry and as you can see from the picture to the left, their working wall is being added to on a daily basis. This week the children focussed on uncovering more information about Mary Seacole and also spent time comparing the two women. This is a real important historical skill for children to develop, as it allows them to think about the actions people have taken and the effects that these actions had.

I was really impressed with some of the similarities and differences that the children found and it was great to see how collaboratively the children worked. The children are going to use all of their historical research and findings to write their final report, as they have been building up to this during our English lessons over the past three weeks.

In our art lessons, the children have been exploring Aboriginal art and this week they spent time with Mrs Rhodes creating Aboriginal inspired patterns, whilst also developing their understanding of what printing is through creating their own printing blocks. The children looked into how the Aborigines used symbols to tell stories known as Dream Stories. Their next step after looking at the symbols was to create their own stories and then choose one symbol to turn into a printing block. They then used their printing block to add to the whole class art work.

During maths this week, the children have been developing their reasoning and mental arithmetic skills. The children are really starting to unpick problems and puzzles, whilst also developing their ability to explain their thinking. Have a look at the gallery below to see our week in pictures!

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