Edmodo is a teaching and homework platform used by many schools across the UK. It is a website that acts similar to the social media tool Facebook but has the addition to be able to set homework tasks. It is easy to get involved by simply signing up as a teacher or a student! If you would like to know more on how to use Facebook, pop down to U103 Wednesday lunch times to speak to our iLearners.
By Joesph O’Boyle
Group projects are where you learn a certain subject for a period of time and do a project based on it. Group projects include skills such as teamwork, trust and responsibility. Students get a chance to learn new things by research and from people they are working with.
Firstly, you would do normal classes about a certain topic for 5 lessons and then on the 6th lesson they can prepare their individual notes based on what they know about the topic. Then on the 7th and 8th lesson they will prepare a project in groups of 3-5. They will share their facts and write down any new ones they research. This could be done as a PowerPoint, movie, paper presentations, plays and many more. Once they have prepared, they will present it to the class and the class can critique on it. After this, they can improve and be levelled on what they know and how well they presented it.
Lastly, they can conclude on what they did well and what they could improve on. This affects everyone especially students as they learn more and progress independently and they can learn more about the subject through peer teaching. The teachers will see great progress.
So overall, group projects enhance students learning. Group projects are also a good way of going over ideas and facts for revision!
By Siobhan Barnsley
Solo taxonomy is a learning technique that allows students to learn and work at their own pace. It is made up of 5 different stages:
Prestructual - the student is not sure about the subject
Unistructual - The student has one idea about the subject
Multistructual - The student has several ideas about the subject
Relational - The student can link ideas together to make a bigger picture
Extended abstract - The student can look at ideas in a new and different way.
The stations can be dotted around the classroom or given to students in a list. It is a great use or revision and learning new subjects quicker. It can be used in most subjects and we have used it in geography and psychology.
We like using solo taxonomy because it is easy to use and allows us time to gradually understand a subject instead of moving on quickly.
By Phoebe BARNSLEY and Jasmine DEVINE
Padlet is a website tool, where you can post your class work, homework and anything else that could support learning all live during a lesson. It's like a blog but you can change the settings so only your teacher can view it. On padlet you can post text, pictures, videos and links to other websites. Padlet is also great for revision because everything is in one place and easy to access. I really like the website and I find it very useful, also I think everyone could benefit from the use of it in any subject.
If you would like to know how to use padlet, please come and speak to an iLearner!
By Bethany Heir
There are many benefits of using technology in our classes we use iPads and laptops to improve our learning and to easily find research in class time. However, we have realised that apps can be distracting to students doing research on the iPads. In order to prevent students from using apps that shouldn't be used in lesson time, we believe that apps that are not to be used in the lesson are locked. This could keep the focus in the lesson as we feel that the use of the iPad's is a great way to engage students with learning!
If you would like to know about the apps we use in lessons, please pop down to U103 on Wednesday lunchtimes to speak to our iLearners!
Written by Abi Kitson and Shannon Breary - Learning Detectives
An innovation we have found useful and a good teaching technique is open-ended questions. These are best used for the success criteria at the beginning of lessons. Such questions are easily underestimated but can allow deeper thinking and great progress. Even a discussion can open a student to thinking from the other perspectives of fellow classmates. We also believe it allows the students to explore their learning in different ways, it means each student will take their individual route to achieving the criteria to their upmost ability. We have experienced these questions first hand in our popular, fortnightly “Philosophy Friday”, these lessons open our youthful minds to new thoughts on the world, can be related to schemes of works and can encourage the quieter students of the classroom to join in on discussions and debates.
By Desni Shilling and Natalie Crump - Chief Learners
In science, I used Kahoot for the first time. Kahoot is a software that allows you to connect devices like iPods and iPads to the interactive whiteboard and do quizzes. My class and I had to enter in a code and then wait for everyone else to join up. When everyone had joined, a multiple-choice question came up and they were labelled with shapes (triangle, hexagon, circle and a square) we had to select the shape depending on our answer.
At the end of each question, we were able to see our points and who was in front of us and who was behind. My whole class loved it and every person got involved. We learnt a lot from it and it was a very suitable, easy revision tool that was perfect for a starter. The only problems with it was that people could choose their own username which can always be a bad idea, and it took a while for everyone to get joined up as there were technical difficulties and people messing around which ruined it for other people. However, Kahoot helped me learn and remember things for my exam and I would gladly use it again in hope that people would treat it fairly. By the end of it I think my class and I had found it very useful and I hope to see it being used in my other classes.
When the results came up at the end, I came second which I am really proud of. Kahoot easily shows us where we are at and what areas we need to improve in depending on which questions we could answer easily and which ones we couldn’t.
This video shows how Kahoot can be beneficial to use in class, this could help teachers in their lesson planning and revision sessions. This shows the advantages of Kahoot and what it can do.
- Hannah Wills
My learning experience is from my science lesson with Mr Shine when he revealed this new game to the class; it is called Little Alchemy.
I wasn't to sure about this game at first but it is really fun.
What is so good about it is that you have mix chemicals or objects together to make another. For example earth and lava makes a volcano. I highly recommend this to teachers as you get to have fun whilst learning something new every time you play it it's simple and very fun.
Just click the link below to play or download on the App Store just type in little alchemy it will come up.
- Paige Gallagher
I have found that an innovative learning technique is something called Punk Learning. I believe this technique is a great way to learn because it allows students to think about how they want to learn and it also helps students use their creativity to invent new ways to achieve there goals. Punk Learning focuses on getting students to think for themselves and learn how to complete tasks alone or in groups without a teachers assistance; this allows us to prepare for real life scenarios and other scenarios we may experience in our school life.
- Lucy Howkins
As an iLearner, an app that I enjoy using in class is iMovie. This is one of Apple’s own apps and they can be accessed on all of the iPads in the school.
iMovie is a fantastic app which allows you to create short movies, trailers and presentations which can include attention-grabbing sound effects, vibrant transitions, photos, film, music and animated text. Furthermore, it lets you be creative and inventive; it gives you something interesting to present and teach your other classmates about!
By using this app, it encourages collaborative teamwork as you will generally be making an iMovie in groups; it’s a fun and interesting way to display your knowledge of classroom topics through working with your friends. In addition, you can get out of the classroom and use the entire school grounds to make your film (as long as you’re back on time!), and I think that it’s always refreshing to be allowed out of class every once in a while. Plus, it gives you more freedom, independence and responsibility outside of the classroom.
Sharing your work with the rest of your class is a good way to teach them about your discoveries about your topic, as it’s funny, memorable and fascinating. It’s also a good way for you to discover what others have learnt.
On the 27th of November I went on brilliant trip with the Catering department to go and see the Good Food Show in Birmingham. The trip was to enhance our knowledge of the industry with the different ideas, tastes and products presented there. After a long (but not boring) coach journey we finally arrived, and it wasn’t long before we were told all the details – where and when to meet etc. Then we were free to roam around the enormous show…it was amazing! There was everything from sculptures of the finest chocolate to ‘antique’ cheeses and bubbly wines – which of course we couldn’t go near! At approximately lunch time we all piled into a big theatre-style room with lots of other schools to watch a performance by The Hairy Bikers. This really topped off our great day! All in all I would say it was definitely one of my favourite school trips!
- Jade Driscoll
One aspire day, a speaker outside of school came in to talk to a group of us about Public Speaking. I wasn't too comfortable with this at first because I'm not entirely confident when standing up and speaking in front of people, but after the speaker had taught us about how to make and present a great speech, I began to get more confident. At the end of the day we were encouraged to write a speech which we were going to present. My speech was about society because I had a story which I could relate to the topic of society. We were being judged and marked by the speaker and Mrs King, and six people were to go through to the next round which involved more presentations. One student from that round would then progress to the Borough round where they'd be against many other schools from around the country. To my surprise, I was one of the six to get through to the next round and we are awaiting news about when we'll next be speaking. I thought this aspire day was incredibly valuable because I never thought I would be able to speak in front of people, let alone get to the next round!
by Holly Hudson
So I’ve never written a blog before, but I’ll try my hardest. This is going to be about, not a specific lesson or school trip, but classroom activities in general. Out of a test and a practical lesson in Science, which one would you remember more: the boring, tedious, slightly scary task of filling out a paper about something you learned, or a fun practical lesson, that literally teaches you about practical uses of Science in general? Probably the latter, yeah? That’s because enjoyable things tend to stick with us more, and that’s why I’m talking about it. The enjoyable lessons in school, where you get up out of chairs, sometimes take your blazer or tie off, put on goggles that make you feel like a real professional, and play around with exploding bubbles?
Ok, so that’s my example. I thought about something in a lesson in school that I found enjoyable, inspiring or easy to learn from, and exploding bubbles pop to mind (pun not intended, I promise). The picture below is from early year 8, if I remember correctly. Early Year 8! That’s ages away, like a year and a half away from where I am. And why did I remember that particular lesson instead of lessons filled with writing and hand aches? Because it was fun. It was easier to remember, so the lesson itself stuck in my mind. Well, it was exciting anyway. I wasn’t standing with the class because I was scared. But the method still works. That lesson, as well as teaching me to never mention flammable bubbles around Miss Gilligan, taught me that it’s possible to inflame bubbles, delicate things of water and soap, if you put enough methane in it. It taught me methane is a greenhouse gas. It taught me it’s flammable, and other stuff like the fact you can hold a pillar of fire with methane and bubbles (NOT BORING AT ALL).
All in all, if you want to learn something that seems boring, think up some fun experiment related to it, and learn the heck out of it. And yes, I have used Science as an example, but it works for all lessons. Can’t be bothered to learn Macbeth in English? Put on a little play for the rest of your year, or your class, or your friends and family. Maths and number trees getting you down? Go find a real tree and stick pieces of numbered paper on it and take photos. Art can’t get boring, and neither can Music. History or Geography? Do a role-play pretending to be historic characters and use their speech patterns and appropriate language (I’d pay to watch Jack the Ripper fight Napoleon) or make a to-scale pop up map with poster paints. To learn something properly, you have to do something memorable that links everything like a giant lasso. If you already found a lesson valuable, then fab! If you don’t, then get to work MAKING it memorable and valuable. Think of a real life situation where it’d be needed, and act it out! Children usually learn if they have fun and experience it, and secondary school students are no different. Even if you’re in year 11, you could still get a newton metre and lift chairs up with it. That’s all from me this time. Bye!
-By Lauren Enderson
I was one of the lucky year 10 students who were given the chance to participate in the “Jack Petchey speak out challenge”. I started off the day feeling very negative about the experience as I’ve never been a very good public speaker. I was scared about forgetting what to say, mixing up my words and making a fool of myself. Throughout the day we were taught about what makes a good speech: delivery and content. We started by doing simple speech exercises in small groups and building up our confidence, then we began to write our speech and at the end of the day we presented to the rest of the group. Choosing a very interesting topic on paper I managed to get through my speech to the group. I felt extremely proud of myself. If you had told me earlier in the day that I would be able to do that I would not have believed you. I feel very privileged that I was given the opportunity to learn so much and I encourage students in the future to complete the day of activities, as it is a great opportunity.
By Desni Shilling
I was selected to participate on a trip to Cambridge University Press to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with pupils from other schools and learn new skills that could be useful later in life. I was accompanied by three other students from Passmores: Laura Jephcott (Year 10), Brook Turnstill (Year 9) and Jack Tucker (Year 9). On arrival we were given tea and treats and then we listened to a presentation given by member's of Unilever Corporation and representatives of Cambridge University Press. We were then divided into groups made up of students from all schools and we were given a task to complete; my task was to design a logo for The Brighter Thinking Forum. The brief given was to create a logo that was a good representation of the ideas for brighter thinking. My group decided to brain storm the concept which gave us a good starting point and from this, we worked together to design the logo and create a PowerPoint presentation which we presented later in the day. We returned to our school groups and were then given another task to think of ways that we could publicise the idea of Brighter Thinking to a wider generation. We believe the best way forward is to encourage schools to attend presentations given by celebrities that would attract students to attend. This experience broadened my knowledge of how businesses operate and what it's like to be in the working environment, as well as making me realise how hard you have to work in a modern business operation. Throughout the day I was stretched to do things that were out of my comfort zone, which increased my self-confidence, improved my speaking skills, built my business mind and demonstrated the importance of team working. Overall the day was a complete success, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I feel as though I have matured in my outlook on business.
By Harry Burton
I think trips are a fantastic way for students to learn. I have been on many trips this year that have helped me with many different skills. Most importantly, Poetry Live, this trip was very beneficial to all students that went on it. It taught us things we would never have been taught before and has prepared us for our future learning in English. I think a lot of people learned a lot from this trip as it was a more interesting and practical way to learn, rather than staying in the classroom. A quote that relates to this is "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." We were involved in the trip by asking questions, singing along, laughing and enjoying it. I defiantly learnt a lot from the trip and think more educational trips like this should be put into place.
By Tatum Smith
On Thursday, all of year 11 took part in option x all day for aspire day. My option x is ICT with Mr Benham, and I found this aspire day very useful because I was able to catch up with a lot of missing work and I was able to become up to date with the coursework. My coursework involved creating a database on Microsoft Access and creating various Microsoft Word documents describing and explaining different areas of the database – it was for a school prom.
As the day progressed, we learned about building computers and were even able to analyse computer parts and see how they are put together. The majority of the class joined in with a high level of interest, although I carried on with my coursework. After lunch, we were greeted with pizza as a start to our last lesson. This seemed to help the fellow students concentrate; they seemed to get a lot more done. We each paid £1 towards the pizza and by the end of the lesson, everyone had completed their work. Overall, this aspire day was very enjoyable for me as everyone got on with what they needed to do and the lessons were quick and useful.
By Hannah Wills
I'm my English class, we are given the chance to, after we have completed a certain topic, present a lesson to the class in pairs or small groups about a certain part of the topic. Our most recent topic we used was on the book Heroes. These presentations really helped me as for one, I get the experience of teacher which the profession I want to go into and it helps me understand a lot more and I am able to take more notes to assist me when I come to revising for my English exams. These sort of lessons I find really valuable as they give me much more confidence which I can apply to more subjects so I am able to speak out to a class and contribute my ideas.
When the Japanese students came to Passmores in March 2014, I was paired with a 17 year-old girl named Ryoko. While she was visiting the school we did many activities together such as cooking where she taught us to cook two traditional Japanese dishes and we taught them how to make scones. Not only this but made presentations to the whole group about England and our traditions and they made a presentation about Japan and their school. I found this a really valuable learning experience as it opened my eyes to other cultures around the world.
By Kira Nurse
My most valuable learning experience would be having the Japanese students for a wonderful two weeks. Throughout the two weeks, I was able to learn about their culture and way of life. This helped me broaden my horizon of learning and trying new things as we were lucky enough to enjoy their cuisine which was such a amazing opportunity to be presented with. I wouldn't exchange those precious weeks for anything as that was a once in a lifetime experience that has changed my view on the outer community and world. I hope that some day we can exchange this experience with them or another culture to help our learning to be more valuable and educational for our future. I learnt that their way of life is so unique and special to their culture and how everything is so different everywhere you go. The town we live in is nothing compared to the great world around us and everything we do has an impact on us and they way others live but when you meet someone who doesn't know the effects of your life, they can show you how to appreciate everything you're presented with. I'd like to conclude by commenting that everyone should take on every opportunity they're offered because if we miss these tiny experiences, we can't better out education or the life we live.
By Robyn Shilling
On Thursday 11th December 2014 the GCSE Art, Graphics and Photography students all visited the Tate Modern. I found the trip enjoyable and I especially loved seeing the Turner Prize Exhibit, the exhibit was full of depth-filled artwork that left me feeling like I never wanted to leave. I loved seeing the sculptures and deciphering their meanings; I found the whole experience thought-provoking and enlightening while also being awe-struck by the sheer weirdness of some of the exhibits. My group and I journeyed through the labyrinth of halls that held amazing artwork while completing our tasks; Art and Graphics had to sketch a piece of work they liked and perform an analysis of it while I got to photograph and enjoy the exhibits. I also got to hear a lecture from an Art scholar; I loved every word, it was so interesting.
This year I was offered to go on the Cambridge University trip to visit the University campus, architecture museum and have a lecture about options available to us if in the near future we wanted to apply to Cambridge University. I found this trip very valuable as it allowed me to see the tough competition of students wanting to study at Cambridge as undergraduate students. This inspired me to try and get the best possible grades so I can later on apply to Cambridge University. The lecture also informed us on what grades we would need to be given a conditional offer depending on what subjects or career path you want to take. I know aspire to get them grades in my chosen subjects. I found it an enjoyable trip because it showed me the different paths I can take to reach my chosen career and what I would need to do to get there, in the process inspiring me to try harder in what I want to do.
Links to the Real World in School
I have recently acquired a job working with the kitchen staff for 2 hours after school. This has allowed me to get to know the kitchen staff and see what it is like from their point of view. Working in the kitchen has given me responsibilities and has made me more mature as well as putting a few pounds in my pocket.
The tasks that you have to perform when working have made me more aware of the pressure that the kitchen staff must have to go through. If you are debating taking on a job, I highly suggest you take the opportunity, as it is worthwhile. However, there may be aspects that some people may find boring. When I find myself with nothing to do I use to time to revise for up coming exams.
I like my job with the kitchen staff as they are all very lovely and it has made me feel more responsible, it makes me very glad that I was able to obtain a position working with them.
- Shauna Kingett
I think that my History class is good because we get a sheet with tasks and different tasks are worth a different amount of points. You have to get as many points as you can by the end of the term so you are free to learn how you like.
- Tomas C
A few lessons ago in History we started a project introduced by Miss Coles. In each column was a topic that we had to cover. In each row was the type of task and the points that you get from the task. In total, you need to do at least one activity from each column and your aim is to get a certain amount of points, which are equivalent to a grade. This is working great as everyone can choose what suits them, whilst making you practice important skills. This project is a great example of new ideas in lessons that are really helping us to learn.
- Jade Driscoll
Recently I was given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel across seas and create unforgettable memories with unique individuals in Morocco. Some people may think my team and I went on a fun holiday under the sun, but in reality this was a challenge: a challenge of strength, responsibility and teamwork. When I joined up to visit Morocco I believed I would gradually pay off the bill, but I found out that I needed to work before I even went on the trip. I had to fundraise the full amount of money independently. This shock made me determined to complete the task so I could achieve my target.
When we first landed, the students needed to take control of the situation and find the correct transport to get to the right accommodation. Therefore, we needed to be responsible and organise our team so no mistakes were made. Throughout the trek we needed to turn this group of individuals into a team so we worked together and helped anyone who needed aid. Out there, we pushed our boundaries, learnt many new skills and accomplished achievements that we thought were unimaginable. It was certainly an unforgettable experience!
- Bethany Hart