Another year beckons!

Doesn’t matter how long the summer is, it always ‘flies’ doesn’t it? Having said that, it has been brilliant. One of the best things about being a teacher? July and August!

After a great, long, summer break for schools in the UAE it’s back to business and getting ready for another year. I managed to attend a couple of course during the summer break, one of which was hosted by Michigan State University (MSU) in the National University of Galway (NUIG). As part of their Masters studies, students hosted this one day conference event for educators and it was inspiring to see what they get up to in their classrooms. Some of their ideas I have completely stolen (Copyright approved :)) and am incorporating this year with my class.

First and foremost, the beginning of year activities. It’s always something we think long and hard about and often revert back to the tried and tested activities that have been completed in the past. Here are some things I hope to do next week with my lot.

Flipgrid videos

flipgrid

A funky, new app is on the market that we used for the kids to share their summer stories with us before they met us. A nice, little ice breaker where the children can upload a video of clips, voice overs etc to allow us teachers to get to know them a little better. First time using it this summer and it’s been a hit. We will be using this again throughout the year.

Describe yourself using no more than 20 emojis

Emojis

Simple, relevant and enjoyable. Be it on a device or on paper, this activity is a great one to get the kids thinking about what makes them unique and allows them to have a bit of fun while they are at it.

My Crest

Crest template

These templates are plentiful and can be adapted for devices too. A picture of the student in the middle and pictures surrounding it of things that make them who they are. Pics of family, sports they like, pets etc. Can be completed like a coat of arms too.

Lollipop names

Lollipops

Multiple uses for these. Can be used for random name picking but as an introductory session, the kids complete the design on their lollipop, place it into the pot and then pick someone else’s at random. Once they have done this, they have to interview that person to find out 3 interesting things about them to share with the rest of the class. Nice PSHE session to start the year off.

Birthday Green Screen Pics

DoInk

Cool way of displaying the kids birthdays by using Green Screen from DoInk. A handful of props, a whiteboard for them to write their birthday on with a green screen behind them and that’s it! A little gem the kids love.

2 Truths, 1 Lie

2truths 1 lie

Always a classic and never gets old. The kids come up with 3 statements about themselves that they share with the class. 2 are true and 1 is a lie. A nice way to get to know the kids and have a laugh along the way.

I know some teachers prefer to get on with lessons instead of having a couple of days to get to know the kids, but I think it’s great. It’s not often you get to allow the kids to spend a nice chunk of time enjoying themselves, having a laugh without worrying whether or not they have achieved their L.O. at the end of it. Enjoy it while you can! 🙂

It’s time to get Blogging!

Let’s get cracking!

I’ve really started to love Twitter. For my initial teaching years, I spent hour upon hour exploring the web to find new and innovative ways of delivering lessons or concepts to my kids. It really was incredibly laborious and given the nature of teaching in a high performing school in inner city London, one that I was not able to find time for. Consequently, I relied on books and previous materials or the odd splash of inspiration from colleagues to spruce up my lessons.
Moving to Dubai opened up my eyes to the incredible variety of teaching styles there are. They don’t particularly possess a name as such, but it is more so the manner a teacher has with their students and the relationship they have with them that allows them to learn essentially. My move from a British Curriculum school in London to an International Baccalaureate (IB) school in the Middle East was just what the doctor ordered. Observing teachers that facilitate children’s learning and encourage the child to take ownership of their learning is something that has stood with me to date. I love conceptual based learning (Project based learning) where children are empowered with the resources and aid they require to learn. Not so much content, but 21st century skills.
My new colleagues introduced me to Twitter and it took me a while to buy into it but it really is fantastic. Pintrest is something else that is beginning to grow on me, but Twitter is really my ‘Go to’ for classroom ideas. I cannot count the amount of articles, links and blogs I have used in the past couple of years and applied them to my own setting. Hence, what I am doing now, blogging. I have stolen so many fantastic ideas from other bloggers, that I now want to share some of the things that I love doing.
It’s time to start giving back.

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