Wednesday, 29 August 2012

More stationary from www.primaryteaching.co.uk

Having stocked up on some stickers and my 'Mr Collins likes this' stamp at the start of my GTP year I recently paid another visit to www.primaryteaching.co.uk and purchased some new stationary for my NQT year.

I still have plenty of 'Mr Collins' Award for Awesomeness' maths stickers left and my 'Mr Collins likes this' stamp is still going strong and so I didn't need much (although I was tempted by so many things on the website)!

However, reflecting on last year, I realised that I spent so much time, when marking student's books, writing the same phrases over and over again. Namely 'what went well' or 'what I like is...' or 'i like that you have...' etc and 'what you need to do to improve is...' or 'next you should look to' or 'how you can improve is by... etc. So, I bought myself a 'What Went Well' and 'Even Better If' stamp that should save me time marking.
My employing school last year on my GTP didn't use these, however at my second school placement they were used by every teacher in the maths department when marking books and they seemed to save a lot of time! I may even have one waiting for me at my new school but figured that it won't hurt having one at home if so!

Whilst on the marking theme I also got some of their green teacher's marking pens - I prefer to mark in green than red, although after the first half term or so last year I pretty much used whatever pen I actually had left in my pencil case after lending all others out! Now I have a few to keep me going!

It's funny what you find in Tescos!

On my daily visit to Tesco (yes, I find myself in here way too much) I stumbled upon a rather random offer on the end of the bread aisle...

The offer was that if you bought any 2 Heinz or Warburton's products you got a free notebook!

Now, I had read somewhere recently about getting a notebook and in it putting the names of all of your students/tutor group (a name to each page) and then in it making any observations about them throughout the year. This includes: things they like, things they don't like, who they like to work with (and don't), any problems with their work, topics they did really well on, extra curricular clubs they are involved in etc.

All of this is in order to get to know your learners better, build positive relationships with them and generally pay an interest in them. Now, I feel I am pretty good at this and at knowing what's going, who supports what football team, who likes the latest XBox game, who's performing in the school plays...but there are always those little details that I either forget or wish I had written down somewhere to remind myself when coming to writing reports, or when my students' tutors ask for feedback from lessons, or even when the SEN dept ask for their reviews on students and how they are progressing in my lessons. I feel that by jotting down any, and all, relevant information in my new notebook could well help me collect this information that could then save time later in the year.

I have also thought about letting my TAs use the notebook in lessons, particularly looking at the students they are in the class to support. They see what goes on in my class from a different perspective to mine and work more closely with certain individuals and so it could be a great thing to have them write a comment when they feel necessary. I know they keep their own information for their own files and so I could, on having brief feedback with them following our lessons (I got into the habit of doing this, and sending my TAs my lesson plans prior to lessons last year), write their suggestions down myself if relevant.

Here's my freebie...(I needed bread and baked beans anyway)...

My QR Code Cube!!

When trying to think of ways I could implement QR Codes into my lessons I thought of an idea to have a QR Code Cube! A Cube which, on each of its' 6 faces, would have a different QR Code that would link to either a different resource/task/website etc.

Originally I wanted to create a Lego QR Code Cube like I did with my Lego QR Code that I previously blogged about http://mrcollinsmaths.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/my-lego-qr-code.html. However, I couldn't think of a way to actually create this where the cube would be able to be rolled and stay in tact (as durable as Lego is I doubt it'd withstand being chucked around my room all year).

So, having gone back to the drawing board, and with a lot of help from Miss Moore** (who's currently about to start her teacher training in D&T, has a degree in graphic and digital design and is generally very arty) I (she) came up with the following*...

 
How amazing is it!! :)
 
How I plan to use it is as follows, at the start of some of my lessons, perhaps one a week (I'll call it something like 'random wednesdays') I'll get a student to roll the QR Code Cube and they will then generate a starter activity for the class to do - whichever face the cube lands on will be the QR Code the student then scans [using my iPhone if they don't have a smart phone with a QR Code scanner on it].
 
Each of the 6 codes I have created (using http://www.qrstuff.com/) link to a simple plain text when scanned that tells the student what the starter will be. The choices are:
Maths DJing
Chris Moyles' Quiz Night Video
Times Tables
Numbercrunch
Pair Off Quiz
Random Name Generator Choice
 
The Maths DJing will be one of my Maths DJing clips where students listen to the clip and then work out the sum of the numbers mentioned in the lyrics of the songs that I have mixed together.
 
The Chris Moyles' Quiz Night Video will be one of the Maths Clips from the shows that were on channel 4.
 
The times tables will be a simple 10-20 questions from the times tables up to 20 x 20.
 
The numbercrunch will be a long sum to calculate like you get in the daily newspapers i.e. 7 + 4 x 3 -13 + 28 / 2 etc etc.
 
The pair off quiz will involve me getting the class into pairs and then using the IWB double buzzer tool I found and blogged about previously will ask them questions (in their pairs one at a time) based on the previous lesson or topic we are about to study.
 
The random name generator choice will involve me putting up the random name generator for that class and then the person it stops on will get to choose what starter we do, whether it be one of the choice above, or something else we have done in class that the student liked/likes.
 
Hopefully this will engage my learners, keep them on their toes, give them some say into the content of their lessons etc. I will also have my Lego QR Code in my classroom, which links to my YouTube channel and I'm hoping this will encourage them to visit the channel and watch the videos on their to help them with their revision.
 
The good thing about the cube is that now it has been made (thank you Miss Moore) I can easily change the QR Codes as I see fit. If anyone else has any ideas as how I could use this I'd love to hear from you (@mrprcollins) or leave a comment below :)
 
*The cube was made my layering foam board, making it soft enough to not dent the floor of my classroom and durable enough to last being thrown around the room. It was then covered in newspaper paper mache style and then covered with the codes/white paper/cuttings from leftover coloured paper.
 
**I am encouraging Miss Moore to get on Twitter ASAP to share her ideas etc throughout her PGCE year, I will provide her @ on here if/when she sets her account up :)


The Avengers keeping my data safe!

These have got to be the coolest things (or possibly the geekiest) that I have bought?!

 


I can't remember where I saw them, although I know it was via Twitter and seeing someone tweet about them!
You can get these bad boys on www.amazon.co.uk, however they are pretty pricey at £30 each! Oh, here they are...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=avengers+Usb&x=0&y=0

You can get an Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and hulk USB stick (the two I haven't got are on my birthday wish list [12th Sep] - although I'm not entirely sure I need them it'd be nice to have the set!)

I have used the Iron Man one for all of my teaching resources and have used the Captain America one for my DJing (I load up all my songs on here and I can then plug straight into my CDJs!! The USB stick I have been using this year on my GTP has all of my GTP lesson plans and will be where I save all of my NQT lesson plans, admin files etc. This way I don't have to rely on just one USB stick to contain everything I need. Everything on both sticks is already backed up on my computer too and I've got into the routine of backing all my data up every month (and even this makes me feel like that it isn't enough).

I love getting everything organised, and it was amazing how many resources I had accumulated over the course of my GTP year - many that aren't even on the USB sticks and are in various shared Dropbox files! It should mean that I am FULLY prepared for the unexpected and should be able to just bring up a resource when needed if my lessons change direction or I am put on cover at the last minute etc.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Maths Charts/Posters from 'A Maths Dictionary for Kids'

Having been looking for displays/posters to put up in my new classroom I came across the following website...

http://www.amathsdictionaryforkids.com/mathsCharts.html

The site is an extension of a site that I have used in the past www.amathsdictionaryforkids.com and there are loads of great posters free to print from the website.

Having been in and seen my classroom in the week I found that I already have a piece of string (with pegs) that goes from one side of the room to the other. There is currently nothing on the string and so I have decided to laminate some of the posters from this site back to back so they can be seen from both sides of the class (front and back)!

I would highly recommend checking the site out if you need some displays!

Friday, 17 August 2012

mathscareers.org.uk

I was recommended this website around this time last year when I was looking for some display posters to put up in class.

There are loads of teaching resources on this site freely available including 'When Will I Ever Need Maths' posters, other maths careers posters, downloadable worksheets, articles ranging from the Monty Hall Problem to the Birthday Paradox and loads more!

Check out the 'teachers' page http://www.mathscareers.org.uk/teachers.cfm
and the 'I love maths' page http://www.mathscareers.org.uk/maths.cfm

Pass the Chicken!

Whilst teaching at ISSOS I found a website that had a few teaching ideas on it, one of these ideas was 'Pass the Chicken'! Here's the website I found http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/field_day_games.shtml

For 'Pass the Chicken' you obviously need...wait for it...a chicken!

So, before I explain how 'Pass the Chicken' works, I needed to get a chicken. Luckily, I remembered that fancy dress shops sell them! So I looked up the local Cambridge fancy dress shops, looked through their websites, found one that sold them and then trekked into town to get one. Unfortunately, when I got their they didn't have any in stock (in hindsight I should have rang them 1st!), but being as kind as they were they put one on order for me and I went back at the end of my few weeks in Cambridge and got it!

It looks like this...


Anyway, this is how 'Pass the Chicken' works...

You 1st choose a random student (I'll do this by either using my random name generator or by simply throwing the chicken out to the class and seeing who gets it). This person is then the 'chicken'. You then give the 'chicken' a topic, say 'quadrilaterals'. They then state how many quadrilaterals they can name. Make sure at this point that it is a suitably high enough number, definitely over 5! Then, the 'chicken' passes the chicken to the next person in the class and then this person to the next and so on until the chicken naturally ends back up at the originally chosen student (the 'chicken'). However, if the 'chicken' manages to state the number of (in this case) quadrilaterals they said they could before the chicken gets back to them then the student currently holding the chicken becomes the new 'chicken' and the game starts over with a new topic. If the chicken does manage to get back to the original student (the 'chicken'), then they are the 'chicken' again and must start over with a new topic.

This should create a bit of intrigue when I get the chicken out for the first time, and hopefully engage the class in their learning. I can see this sort of activity working well at the start of a lesson to test how much they already know about a topic, or at the end of a lesson to see how much they have remembered!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Line Up!

I'm a regular following of Pivotal Ellie's Maths Blog (@PivotalEllie) and receive e-mails from her too which suggests loads of Active Maths tips.
To read Ellie's blog go here --> http://activemaths.edublogs.org/ I would also recommend signing up to her free e-mails.

During my Pre-IB session on the IB Mathematics I decided to get the students up and moving at various parts of the session to keep them thinking and so put into practise one of Ellie's Active Maths tips. This was the most recent e-mail I had received and was about getting students to line up and then giving alternate students a coloured piece of card and then filling the gaps by giving these students a different coloured piece of card. Then, the task is that the students have to move around each other (1 move at a time) to get all of one coloured cards on the left hand side and all of the other coloured card on the right hand side. The students then have to think about the fewest possible moves they could make to do this.

As I didn't have any coloured card I decided to, instead, use my large playing cards, which we had previously used to do a bit of 'play your cards right'. So I randomly handed out cards to start with and just got students to arrange themselves in order of smallest to largest value cards from left to right. (Ace = 1, J = 11, Q=12, K=13). I also got them to prioritise the suits so that spades were priority 1, then diamonds, hearts and then clubs. Then, I got them to arrange themselves in order of suits and value so all the spades were on the far left in numerical order, then the diamonds etc. Finally, I got students in order so they were red, black, red, black, red, black etc and then asked them to, moving 1 swap at a time, to find the lowest possible moves in order to get all the blacks on one side of the line and all reds on the other side. The students did this relatively quickly and as they moved I counted the moves (this was the trickiest bit - keeping track of them moving around!). We did this a few times to see if we could get the amount of moves down. The students tried different strategies like moving the furthest red on the right all the way down to the left 1st and then the 2nd furthest red on the right all the way down to the left etc. There were a few random trials where they just swapped based on who was most vocal at certain points of the line!
This then lead to some interesting discussion as to what was the best method, and whether or not they had the minimum amount of moves and how they could be sure.

We then later linked this to the 'frogs problem' when looking at sequences. http://www.hellam.net/maths2000/frogs.html

Surnames ONLY!

When teaching my ISSOS Pre-IB students about referencing and in text citations (MLA) I decided that throughout the lesson we would only refer to each other by our surnames, as when citing an author via the MLA referencing convention all you state is the Surname of the author and the page number!

So, I first got all the students to, on a folded piece of paper that made a plaque, write their surname. Then, to ensure the pronunciation of the surnames was accurate we went round the class and said our surnames. This in itself was quite challenging for some surnames and I was quite particular about us all getting the pronunciations right so nobody was offended by our lack of annunciation.

After this I played a game with the class where we all quoted each other. I started with the person on the far right of the class this time and got them to state something about themselves. Then, the next person on the right of the class had to quote this person and give a statement about themselves. The next person then quoted the previous two people and then gave a statement themselves etc etc until the last person (me) had quoted every person's statement before giving mine.

So, for example the 2nd person said Smith states 'I like swimming' and I like collecting football cards. The 3rd person would then say Smith states 'I like swimming', Robertson explains 'I like collecting football cards and I like Diet Coke.

During the game I had a series of reporting verbs on the board that we had collated as a class to use in the game. This sped things up a bit.

The most difficult part of the game, apart from remembering what everyone had said, was to ensure that each person had quoted the original person correctly, and hadn't changed the statement i.e. for above instead of quoting Smith as saying 'I like swimming' saying Smith suggests 'he likes swimming' would have been wrongly quoted. Other than this it was quite interesting, especially further in, how much each person could remember and which people's statements were forgotten. Strangely, it was the last person they had to quote that they forgot (the last person to have given their statement before the next person quoted everyone prior to them).

Once upon a time...

During the essay writing session I taught of my Pre-IB course I was trying to get my students to see how their essays must have a logical progression to them, that each of their paragraphs should link together and the essay should be easily readable for the reader/marker. So, in order to get them practising this logical order and progression I got them to have a couple of rounds of 'once upon a time...'.

Once upon a time is an activity whereby students each state a sentence of a story based on what was previously said by the person(s) before them. So, the student on the far left of the class would start with 'once upon a time', then the next person gave their sentence and so on until the story naturally comes to an end or we get back to the starting person (who should then be given a chance to say a sentence themselves having only previously given the original sentence 'once upon a time'). This activity is open to a bit of creativity which I liked a lot and the stories we ended up getting either ended in someone dying or strangely...getting a cat!?

I then, on my students suggestion, decided to change the activity slightly so that instead of getting each student to say a sentence they said just one word of the story. This made the story go a lot quicker and the students had a lot less time to think about their words based on the ones previously given.

The activity was a lot of fun and is one that I will use in tutor time this year at some point!

Group Work - 'Runners and Writers'

Another idea I used at ISSOS was a group task I had seen in Paul Ginnis' Teacher's Toolkit where students work in groups to recreate a poster or info graphic.

I had placed another large poster, this time from a broadsheet newspaper, in the corridor outside my classroom. I then got the class into 4 teams of 4 using a box of folded up names of each member of the class. When students were in their teams of 4 I got them to decide which one of them would be the 'writer'. The 'writer' would be the person who had to draw/write the information that the others would tell them. The remaining 3 people in each team were the 'runners'. These people had the job of 'running' into the corridor to look at the poster, remember the information on it and then tell the writer in the classroom what info was on it, where and what to draw/write. The groups were given about 20-30 minutes to try and recreate the poster in the corridor.

This task involved teams communicating with each other extremely well to get across the information needed.

In addition to the roles each member of the groups had there were some rules they had to abide by. Only the writer could write/draw on the A3 piece of paper they were given. The 'runners' could not draw or write anything. The 'writer' was not allowed to go into the corridor to look at the poster. The 'runners' were not allowed to take a picture of the poster, they could only use their memories. Only 1 'runner' from each team was allowed in the corridor at any one time and they must 'tag' another member of their team when back in the classroom to allow them to take their turn. All members of the team were allowed to talk to one another and this was where the main element of team work came in as  all the 'runners' after seeing the poster could speak with each other and the 'writer' to check they had recreated the poster as accurately as possible!

The tasks worked really well with teams doing an amazing job at recreating the poster - some of the drawings were phenomenal, based on the fact that the 'writer' literally had only their peers descriptions to go by!

Piecing it all together!

In one of the sessions of my Pre-IB course I got the students to work in groups throughout the lesson on a number of tasks. The first of these was my 'piece it all together' task.

I had previously roamed the Queens College campus trying to find a suitably large poster that I could create a puzzle from. In the end I found a brightly coloured A2 poster on a student swap shop. I took the poster down (after getting permission from the porters who said it was fine as all students had left for Summer) and then cut it into about 50 odd pieces of different sizes and shapes, thus creating a jigsaw puzzle. I shuffled the pieces and then gave each person in the class 3 or 4 pieces of the puzzle.

I told the class that they then had to work together to piece back together the poster that I had cut up. There was no original for them to use a guide as the original WAS the puzzle! So they really had to work together to try and piece it all back together.

I noticed two things happen when they started to do this, 16 people trying to complete 1 puzzle is too much and there were naturally those that delved straight in and those that rather hung around at the edges of the room whilst the rest were completing the puzzle. I watched this all unfold for a while and checked their progress before stopping the class. I told those that were on the floor piecing the puzzle together to stand up and swap with everyone who wasn't. I then told them to continue. The class worked well together and the puzzle was complete a lot quicker than I had anticipated, but not too soon!

In future, I will use this activity but I will make sure that I have no more than say 6 students working on any one puzzle. I will also get some larger posters so I can cut out more pieces.
I'm thinking of create some of these, laminating them and keeping them for tutor time etc. I might even use some Escher artworks?!

Who should we listen to? - Topic Battles

When getting my students to think critically about sources of information, potential bias and the reasons why information is presented I created this powerpoint presentation...

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/37694946/Topic%20Battles.ppt

I asked for volunteers to state who they would listen to and why. There were some interesting responses! Great to start some discussions, I could see this working well in form time too!?

Headlines!!

A great plus to working at ISSOS was that all teachers taught their classes at the same times and then all 'elective' teachers taught their lessons. This meant that I was free with all the other teachers and inevitably there was some lesson idea sharing after lunch and before lessons etc.

One of the ideas I had heard the Journalism teacher (Sarah Chapman @MsChappers) use in her class was to get students to create a 'headline' for a news article about their time at ISSOS so far (this was roughly around session 5/6). They would then write the article for their headline. So, I took this idea and decided to use it in my class...

I got my students to write down a headline for their time at ISSOS onto a post-it note. I then gave them each a playing card numbered either A, 2, 3, ...8. Half the cards were spades and half were diamonds (my 2 most favourite suits). Then, I asked students to find the person who's card had the same face value as theirs i.e. the A of spades and diamonds were a pair, the 6 of spades and 6 of diamonds were a pair etc. I then got them to swap their headlines and then they had to write the article for their partner's headline. This added a random element to them as I allowed students to just to take the article and interpret themselves what they thought it was about. Or, I allowed the pairs to briefly discuss their headlines with each other to provide some background information to allow them to get started with the article - this way the articles remained a bit more 'true' to the real-life intended headline.
I think if I were to do the activity again (and I can see this working well in form time) I would do both, but separately. I'd get the pairs to discuss with each other first their headlines and then write the articles. Then, I'd get them all to write new headlines, swap, and then they come up with the story using their imaginations.

I held a feedback session where we had some volunteers read their articles out, which was very amusing based on the article headlines they were given. I then, before moving on, gave each pair a chance to read their partner's work for their article. This worked really well.

Thanks Chappers for the idea! :)

Condensing it down

An activity I had read about in the Teacher's Toolkit by Paul Ginnis was to take a piece of text/article/excerpt etc and to summarise the information: 1st into 1 paragraph, then into 1 sentence and finally with just one word.

This activity worked great in class. I gave the students part of an academic text on whether watching television affected cognitive development in children. I first gave them an A4 piece of paper to summarise the text given to them. I got them to use their note making skills and reading here too. Then, after I got a few volunteers to read out their summaries (to get an idea of how similar/different they were to their peers) I got them to condense their paragraphs down to just one sentence. At this point I stressed that I wanted them to focus only on their written paragraphs and not to refer to the text (so I took these away)! A bit of feedback again with the sentences before...

Finally, I got all the students to take their sentences and write just one word from them on a post-it note and to stick them at the front of the class. This had a very interesting element to it as nearly all of the words were different, which was what I was hoping for to emphasise how summaries can be so different even with the same original text; we discussed abstracts here too!

Online Speed Reading Test

Inn order to get my students to think about how quickly they are able to read and techniques to use to improve their reading rate I got them to complete an online reading test.

The test is available at http://www.readingsoft.com/ and is pretty simple. It gives the user a words per minute (wpm) reading rate and then a following comprehension test. The whole point of doing this was to highlight the importance of being able to speedily read through sources of information to get the 'jist' of what it is about, saving time for other tasks and locating key information quickly.

Simple Games to get them thinking

In the 2nd session of my Pre-IB course I was talking to my students about research questions. So, in order to get them thinking about what sorts of questions they could I ask I first got them to watch a short clip on Windsor Castle (they were all off there on a trip during the 3 weeks) and to write down any questions they could ask based on the information provided in the clip.
We then had a class discussion on all of the questions they had written down and I asked them to think if any of them could be suitable research questions and why/why not. We soon came across open and closed questions etc.

Then, to get the students talking to one another again, and meeting people they perhaps didn't get a chance to yesterday I got the class to line themselves up in order of their age. This naturally got them asking each other about their birthdays etc. I then paired them up so the youngest person was with the oldest, 2nd youngest with 2nd oldest etc etc. I then explained the rules to the 'Why?' game.

The 'Why?' 'game' is a simple conversation in pairs where one person starts by stating something i.e. I really like Arsenal football club! Their partner then asks them...Why? they may then respond with because I've supported them all my life! Their partner would again ask them...Why? This repeats until the timer sounded or they got themselves in a natural loop whereby they end up restating their original statement.
The students seemed to like doing this and we swapped around a few times so each person in each pair got to both ask the Why? questions and give responses. I also tried to get students to repeat the statements given in their Why question. So...'Why do you really like Arsenal football Club?', 'Why have you supported them all your life?' This not only helped them with asking questions but improved their communication skills.

Next, we played the 'Yes/No' game where students, again in pairs, had to respond to their partners questions without saying Yes or No. In addition, after a go each in pairs, we added the 'no repeats', 'no gestures' and 'no pauses' rules to the game to make it trickier. There were still some students who remained in the game without breaking any rules though - impressive!

To finish off the lesson I gave each student 1 minute to talk about themselves. This part of the lesson I called 'it'sallaboutme.com'. I gave the students a good 15 minutes of so to plan what they were going to talk about prior to the presentation part and emphasised the importance of planning, which we would look at later in the course.
I put the online timer on the board for each presentation and got each student in turn to come up and present themselves to the rest of the class. We had a brief feedback session after each presentation for other students to volunteer positive responses to what they had heard and how the person had presented and then we moved on. The presentations were great and it really did allow the whole class to get to know each other better. It also gave me a much better idea of my students and after the 3 weeks and a bit I really did feel as if I had been teaching them all for the past year. It was this intense 3 weeks experience that I wouldn't get elsewhere, the length of time we had in class each day also aided the amount to which I got to know my students - after all, I had to write a report for each of them at the end of the course!

ISSOS Icebreakers

In the very 1st session of my Pre-IB course for ISSOS I met my 16 students for the first time and so there was a fair amount of 'getting to know you' to do.

I should probably point out at this point that ISSOS ensure that there is a maximum of 10% of students from any one country and so the 16 students I have taught over the past 3 and a bit weeks all have English as their 2nd, 3rd or in one case, 4th language. This in itself was a whole new experience for me having only really had 1 or 2 EAL students in a class of 30.

I had to seriously slow down the level at which I speak, and even then I found I forgot and had to remind myself; this was mainly due to the high levels of my students spoken English - they were phenomenal!

So, to start the session I gave each student a sticky label to write their name on. Then, after briefly asking each student to state their name so we all knew how to pronounce them correctly, I got the class to split themselves into 2 rows of 8 along the back of the class. I did this by getting the 1st 8 students on the left of the class to move their chairs so they faced me and then got the remaining 8 students on the right of the class to move their chairs in front of the students that were lined up on the back wall.
I then (on my Prezi that I had created for the session) flashed up a topic that I wanted each pair (the students were now sat in 8 pairs facing each other) to talk about. These were simple topics ranging from where they were from to what they were studying at ISSOS and the 2012 London Olympics. I gave the pairs 2 minutes before the online timer rang http://www.online-stopwatch.com/full-screen-stopwatch/. We then held a brief feedback session where students were asked to volunteer anything interesting they had heard/spoken about, then I reset the timer and the students were told to move one place to their right (ensuring that no students were sat opposite the person they had just spoken with. This 'Speed Dating' style icebreaker seemed to work really well and I was astounded as to how great my students were at speaking to each other (people they had only just met) with such ease and excitement.




Next, after speaking about the IB and getting students to write any questions they had about the IB on post-it notes, I gave the class a 'pub quiz' to do in teams of 4. In order to do the teams I just split the class into the groups of 4 that they were currently sat in. As the room was laid out in a U-shape seating position I used the 4 students sat on the very left, 4 students sat on the very right, and then split the 8 students sat along the back of the 'U' in 2 to make the other 2 groups. I then got the teams to come up with a team name (of which all of the groups made with each of their initials forming some sort of acronym!) and then started the quiz. This was a simple way to get the students to start working with each other and meeting new people, it also tested their general knowledge/music/geography/logos etc.

At the end of the session I used my 'Tweets Plenary' to get them to think about what they had enjoyed about the session. There were lots of positive feedback about the icebreakers and the 'meeting new people' element to the session. http://mrcollinsreflectivejournal.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/sum-up-todays-lesson-in-tweet.html Weirdly, as I'm copying the link to this post in it was exactly a year a go today!! :)

'the experience of a lifetime'

I've been rather busy lately, hence the lack of blog posts!

For the past 3 and a half weeks I've been teaching a Pre-IB course at Queens College, Cambridge University for the International Summer School of Scotland (ISSOS). My time spent at ISSOS was an experience that I'll never get anywhere else and I can gladly say that the 3 and a half weeks were fantastic - a lot better than I had expected!

ISSOS are a unique summer school in that it is a school; the students all go home having learnt something, rather than just being at a summer camp where they do activities and games all day long. So, I had 16 students in my Pre-IB class and for 3 hours each weekday morning we had our lessons. Over the following few blog posts I will talk about a few of the techniques I used in class, activities I experimented with a bit and games we played to keep my students engaged.