These Walls Bring Us Together

Attending the Apple Distinguished Educator Institutes at the end of each academic year is my time to reflect on the year of teaching and recharge for another year of learning. A global gathering of innovative educators who share vision and values for learning that are similar to mine. These global gatherings for reflection and collaboration are more important now than ever before. An education based institute attended by almost 400 educators representing 37 countries makes for an empowering experience. Coming together in one place in a unique opportunity to learn across cultures and boundaries. The walls of the ADE Institutes don’t divide us; they unite us as one community.

Often in education, barriers are put up in teaching and divisions are made when debating what is the best way to learn. These kinds of walls can slow down innovation and creativity in the teaching community, which impacts on the children we teach. The children that nobody else knows, but us, their class teachers.

IMG_3158.jpg

At Institute, we might be inside the walls of a conference, but these walls don’t divide us. They bring us together and become a think tank for creativity, for what is possible when we stand united as a community of innovative educators. The Apple Distinguished Educator community came together again in Austin, Texas, to build teaching ideas and strengthen confidence to try something new that will make a change to learning. With this courage and opportunity to be creative, we evaluate our practice, refine it and make it the best it can be, without any walls dividing us. I gain the confidence to share my work, my ideas and my vision to lead the charge for change in my school and the educators I connect with.

This year’s Institute was themed around Everyone Can Create. A simple statement but a complex idea behind it. Everyone can create, and everyone should be creating. Teachers, students, adults, children. Everyone. Everyone should be encouraged to create, because creating is in our DNA. It’s our personality, it’s our identity and it’s how we move forward and make a difference, together. Creativity should be at the heart of education, because it is creativity that solves problems, builds good communicators and makes the world not only a more interesting place to live, but a more successful place to live.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Through the fire, I’ll keep burning on.

“When it goes wrong, I’ll take my time and keep on holding on”

Chase & Status: All Goes Wrong (feat. Tom Grennan)

IMG_9975

Will Kennard, of Chase & Status fame, shared his story at the Apple Distinguished Educators Academy this year. In an hour long special appearance, he told stories of his influences and inspirations. Tales of creativity and collaboration took us on a journey where obsession, attention to detail, failure and perseverance have lead to success. Will reflected that collaboration can only be successful when there is a balance of personalities and experiences. Everyone has something to contribute and his best work comes together when different people work with a shared vision.

Continue reading

Getting Started with Code

“Early Learning Goal: Technology. Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.”

Early Years Outcomes, 2016

The Early Learning Goal for Technology is limited in Early Years Outcomes and often practitioners feel lost at developing this area of learning. What we forget when reading the Early Learning Goal for technology, is that our curriculum is best taught cross-curricularly. The technology goal is a prompt to make us consider how best to teach technology skills through other areas of learning; just like we do with English and Maths!

The real problem is, what are these links to other areas?

First, you need to decide which part of the Early Learning Goal we are trying to teach. Do you want children to use technology to enhance other skills (by using video, animation, photography, audio recording etc.) or do you want to teach computational thinking skills which will lead in to programming, problem solving and algorithms? Most likely, we sway towards multi-media skills because we are more confident with that than we are with code! But we really should put more emphasis on coding across our curriculum as the Technology strand will lead in to this area in Key Stage 1.

Continue reading

Stories of a Lifetime: How to join this global story project!

stories1.png

“How might we keep local legends, myths and fables alive whilst also sharing our place in the world?”

Stories of a Lifetime came together after a project between my foundation class and Jason Milner’s year 4 class in Sydney. For World Book Day 2016, my class studied stories from Australia as part of a whole school worldwide story project. To bring story telling to life, Jason’s class wrote and retold the story of Tiddalic the Frog. They illustrated the story and pieced it together using iMovie. The impact this form story telling and knowledge exchange had on my early years class was huge! Hearing the story retold by children who care about the story was much more meaningful, giving them greater context and a purpose to retell and write this story themselves. Here you can see children in my class writing the story of Tiddalic the Frog…

stories5.png

“This is a boxed-up, ready to go, 1 week project I can use with my class. It’s a cross-curricular, local study my class work on and technology brings it together.”

Continue reading

Many small people, who in many small places, do many small things, that can alter the world.

Portable Network Graphics image-658F0B6E57A1-1.png

East Side Gallery, Berlin.

Before heading to Berlin for the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) World Wide Institute, I watched ADE Michelle Cordy present a powerful idea in her closing keynote of ISTE.

“When teachers connect, they change the world.”

Now, more than ever, we need teachers to be together. We have a responsibility as a global community of educators to give children, from all over the world, the best start in life; socially and academically. To do that effectively, we should not stand still and we certainly should not stand alone!

Continue reading

One Best Photo: a Forestry Commission Project.

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 09.05.04This month I am proud to announce the publication of free lessons that I have created in partnership with The Forestry Commission Learning Rangers.

In July 2015 I met with the education team from Sherwood Pines to talk about this potential project and how we can work together to bring technology and outdoor learning together.

 

 

Continue reading

My Top 5 Take Away Moments from the ADE Institute 2015 #ADE2015

Yesterday I wrote about my experience at Institute, reflecting on the ADE community as a whole, the theme of the week and how I benefit from being a part of this group. Today I want to share 5 of my greatest learning moments.

FullSizeRender 10

Continue reading

Lessons for the Classroom – a reflection on the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute 2015 #ADE2015

This July I travelled to my third Apple Distinguished Educator Institute. It has been two years since I was invited to join this global community of innovative educators and it still stands as my most valued CPD experience. Being a part of this community is so important to me, it is a place that I can take time for myself and my professional growth.

After the Institute I stayed in Amsterdam with a few of my ADE friends and we visited Bodyworlds. An exhibition about the human body and the role happiness plays on your body. It was during this exhibition, 2 days after the Institute, where I began to draw up my reflections on the week. This post is punctuated with a few photographs of collages from Bodyworlds, ones that helped me knit those special moments at Institute together.

IMG_9809

Continue reading

An Outdoors Photography Project for Early Years: Taking Your “One Best Image”.

In the summer term we take our Foundation Unit to Sherwood Pines, a Forestry Commission park here in Nottinghamshire. As the name suggests, it’s a large woodland with tall pine trees and a great outdoor education team and facilities for all ages. During the day we did all of the outdoor education activities you could think of in a forest: mini beast hunts, woodland art (Andy Goldsworthy), story trails (The Gruffalo) and for the purpose of this blog post, photography.

DSC_1091 Continue reading

Apple Distinguished Educators Global Institute reflection and call to action.

This year I applied to attend the Apple Distinguished Educator Global Institute, held in San Diego. My application was successful and I joined 9 other UK Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) on a trip to America which would change my life. Not only would this be a week to meet ADEs from 31 countries, it would be a chance to become a learner again, change perspectives, develop new skills and collaborate on a projects for the next school year.

Continue reading