Today Is International #DotDay!!

Earlier this month I blogged about the upcoming International Dot Day on September 15th. The day finally arrived today and it has been fantastic!

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A lot of preparation went in to the day. We actually began Dot Day on the Thursday before. Our children got to know the text well before the day came, and we had finished our individual dots by close of play on Friday. For the actual day, we enhanced our continuous provision areas with dotty resources which the children had access to indoors and outdoors all day long – an exciting blog post about this has been published on Alistair Bryce-Clegg’s blog here.

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Nottinghamshire County Council iPad Networks

This academic year is already shaping up to be a great one with many exciting projects planned for my class already. Some of these I have blogged about already but today I want to write about the iPad Networks for Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) schools.

During the Summer Term last year I began talks with consultants at NCC about the possibility of running a specific training program for schools in the district with iPads. I have worked closely with the ICT team over the last 2 years, delivering workshops, presentations and drop-in sessions around my use of iPad in school.

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International Dot Day, September 15th 2014

As I prepare to return to school for the new academic year and welcome my new Foundation class to our school, I can’t help but feel excited. Usually September focuses on establishing routines, settling in to school life and base-line assessments, but this year will be slightly different for us.

My Early Years group of Apple Distinguished Educators in America are already a few weeks in to their school year and we are about to embark on a year of collaboration and projects between our classes. The first of these projects, which is a great ‘getting to know you’ exercise for my own class but also for all of our classes, is called ‘International Dot Day’.

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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.

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Skype Calls in the Foundation Stage.

Today was such an exciting day.

Over the half term I organised a Skype call with a K class at Avenues School in New York City.

It was the first time that I had planned a video call with any class, let alone Foundation children, and I didn’t know what to expect at all.

The call was an incredible experience and surprised me on so many levels. I was amazed at how confident the children were (both my class and the Eagles class at Avenues). They very quickly understood the concept of the link and listened so attentively to the speakers so that they could answer the questions.

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TeachMeet Midlands: What was it all about?

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TeachMeet Midlands was a huge success. This time our TeachMeet was part of National TeachMeet Day in the UK, which helped raise the profile of the event in Nottingham and across the Midlands. With sponsorship from the Nottingham Learning Trust (@NottmLT) and The National College (@the_college), as well as the companies behind TeachMeet UK, Pete (@PeteBevington) and I (@MarcWithersey) were able to promote this event through many channels beyond Twitter and we introduced so many more teachers to the TeachMeet format of CPD.

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TeachMeet Nottingham has launched! #tmnott

Following the success of Tom Barrett’s TeachMeets for the Midlands and Nottingham, I am pleased to be hosting a follow up TeachMeet event for Nottingham and the East Midlands.

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Sign up for Tickets here

Tom Barrett has been working hard to secure a new home for TeachMeet Nottingham, and has found a venue at The University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus (Learning Sciences Research Institute). Tom’s vision for TeachMeet Nottingham is a smaller scale, more manageable event which doesn’t rely on sponsorship or equipment hire. This partnership with LSRI is perfect, and the venue is resourced with state of the art facilities, such as the capability to stream online coverage of the event.

Pete and I are very excited about organising this event and we look forward to welcoming as many teachers and students as possible on the night. If you are a TeachMeet regular, we are challenging you to bring a TeachMeet Newbie with you. This will help to promote TeachMeet as an alternative to Continual Professional Development. Those of you will be attending for the first time will be overwhelmed by the variety of resources, ideas and strategies shared by real teachers in classrooms around the Midlands.

We advise you to bring your smart phone, iPad, tablet, NetBook or laptop along in order to record all of the ideas shared. TeachMeets are rapid and topics move fast with the 7 minute and 2 minute presentations from attendees, so be ready to take lots of notes. If you are on Twitter, you can follow our TeachMeet hashtag before, during and after the event (#tmnott). As the event is streamed live online, you can interact with viewers from around the world and also those in the room with you! Lots of interesting discussion occurs during and after the event so will want to be involved in this, it’s when the best learning happens!

Both Pete and myself understand that in our profession there is a blurred line between work/life balance, and we are aware that this event takes place on a Friday night until 9pm. Please, don’t let this put you off! TeachMeets are now are crucial aspect of our continual professional development and with challenges faced with budgets and workload in school, it is essential that we build our own professional learning networks so that best practises can be shared outside of our Local Authorities and schools.

“After attending, and being inspired at, a number of TeachMeets over the past year, I’ve decided to take part in the organising and running of TeachMeet Nottingham. TeachMeet offers ‘those in the field’ chance to share and evaluate ideas with like minded people in a friendly and relaxed environment. The content of peoples’ presentations are so varied that there will always be something relevant to your own practice. I’ve never left a TeachMeet without my head being filled with ideas and resources to try out with my class.”

 Peter Bevington (@PeteBevington)

Tom Barrett also started the first TeachMeet 100 at the last TeachMeet Nottingham. We will continue this format of sharing. During the event you will be asked to write down simple ideas, advice or resources which have been successful to you as a teacher. This can be anything you have enjoyed using in your class!  These will be gathered on post-it notes and displayed in the room for us all to share at the end (it’s like Twitter, but with paper and pen!)

Please visit our TeachMeet Nottingham wiki to sign up for tickets and we will see you on the night!

Poster: Starting a Twitter Account

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Using Twitter has become one of the most valuable tools I use for planning and learning. I have ‘met’ so many inspirational teachers through Twitter who have impacted on my classroom by debating educational issues with me, providing other strategies for teaching and through commenting on my Class Blog.

Teachers on Twitter have given me confidence in my NQT year when I’ve had those moments that start with a thought like ‘Am I doing this right…?’.

What has also been brillliant about Twitter and networking is it’s usefulness in promoting TeachMeet. Before and after a TeachMeet, teachers on Twitter share their ideas and reflections. TeachMeet has also allowed me to meet up with the teachers who I tweet with.

Twitter has also filled that gap that university and teacher training left behind. I have missed those conversations with lecturers and other students about what they are doing in school. Twitter has provided me with even richer debates and discussions through #ukedchat. There are so many people who I could have added to the ‘Folks to Follow First’ text on the poster, there just isn’t enough space!

(@ideas_factory, @peter_obrien1, @kvnmcl, @johnmclear, @NoTosh should all be on the poster too)

For me, the question isn’t ‘Why do I need to be on Twitter?’. It’s more like ‘Why are you not on Twitter?’.

Sent from my iPad