MakerSpaces: Foundation Stage Best Practice in Key Stage 2

What is a MakerSpace.

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I was interested in MakerSpaces because of their strong links to Foundation Stage best practise. It’s a place in school where children use sets of resources to work on projects related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic skills. Children design on their own projects or respond to challenges. I wanted to see how best practises and resources from Foundation can be extended to support learning further up school. For the Year 4 teachers, they wanted to see how our new range of iPad compatible robots can be used in their coding curriculum.

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For this MakerSpace I was joined by Jason Milner. Jason is an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) from Sydney, Australia. Throughout July he visited other ADE schools across Europe and today we collaborated on this project at my school. Jason wanted to gain experience using iPad compatible robots and also observe the impact that wrapping code around the curriculum may improve the way in which children apply mathematic skills.

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Foundation Stage children leading learning in Education for Sustainability

Since starting my NQT year in September I have been passionate about discussing and debating ‘big ideas’ with young children, and exploring effective ways to give the youngest of minds a voice. One of my successful examples is the learning I have facilitated through Education for Sustainability. I put my ideas together alongside Debbie Bradley (Senior Lecturer and Primary Geography Leader at Nottingham Trent University) and Peter Bevington (Year 4 teacher, Nottingham). As a team we presented our teaching ideas at the Geography Association Conference in April 2011. I then presented my work at TeachMeet Midlands in May 2011. Thank you for everyone’s support and interest in my work, I feel it’s time to share this work on my blog.

My first experience of teaching sustainability came about in the first week of the Autumn Term 2. I had planned and resourced a week of work on Autumn Poetry, where children would extend their vocabularly to describe Autumn changes. To kick start this week, we wrapped up warm and went for a muddy walk along ‘Our Special Lane’.

Whilst walking the lane, the children noticed the litter and began to talk about how messy it was. The further we walked, the worse the problem became and the more emotionally charged the children were! By the time we got back to the classroom, they only wanted to talk about litter and blame the big children for it!

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Geography Association Conference 2011

Geography Association Conference 2011: University of Surrey, Guildford

This blog post has a few firsts for me.

The first time I’d driven further than the route to work in my new car | The first time I’ve presented a workshop at a conference | The first time I’ve blogged about a conference

I hope this blog also has a few ‘firsts’ for you too.

If you’re a Geographer and haven’t been to the GA Conference, I hope this encourages you to visit the conference next year | If you’re not a Geographer, I hope this opens your eyes to how creative Geography is.

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Messy Maps: A Foundation Stage Response

In the Winter issue of Primary Geography, the ‘Messy Maps’ feature was of particular interest. The article explained that using classroom objects to represent places or features of a locality is successful for teaching representation on maps. Children use 1 object to represent 1 place or feature. This takes the emphasis away from using Lego to build houses, and towards using single blocks to show single houses, for example. Classroom examples in the article took a Key Stage 2 focus, so I considered ways to use this concept with my Reception class, and as our Spring Term topic was ‘Homes’, there was a great opportunity to use maps with 4 and 5 year olds. 

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