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Winter Wellbeing

What is Our Winter Wellbeing Calendar all about?

Whilst the Christmas period is seen as the time of the year for joy and celebration, what’s often not recognised, is that it can be a particularly tiring and stressful time of the year for school leaders and teachers.

The plays and special assemblies are all wonderful cause for celebration. However, the continuous run of late nights, mixed in with the everyday pressures of school life can take their toll!

That’s why this year, we thought we’d try to lend a ‘virtual’ helping hand! To help make December just that little bit less stressful and more joyful for you, with our first ever, Winter Wellbeing Advent Calendar.

What can you expect?

The Calendar will involve 24 days of mini-blogs/thoughts for the day designed to offer you encouragement, support and useful advice to help you stay positive right through to Christmas day.

These mini-blogs will be provided by inspiring educators, focused around a different theme of Well-being in education. We have enlisted top educational thought-leaders, bloggers, coaches, authors and inspiring school leaders to bring you a fantastic calendar of wellbeing wisdom, thought-provoking questions for reflection, and words of encouragement and inspiration.

Here is the list of the first 12 days of blogs for the Calendar:


Our Calendar will also be run in collaboration with #Teacher5aday (Twitter Teacher Wellbeing initiative set up by Martyn Reah) and @Tim_JumpClarke’s Winter challenge calendar, which consists of 24 winter challenges, to help you relax and be more compassionate to yourself and those around you this Christmas.


How does it work?

The window will be opened every day between 6:30Am and 11:30AM, on our Twitter account,  where we will be announcing when the day’s window on the advent calendar has been opened and the new mini blog/thought for the day has been released –  click here to follow us on Twitter

Even if you don’t have Twitter, when the window has been opened you’ll be able to read the day’s mini blog by following the link on the calendar itself or via our homepage.

Alternatively, you can now sign up to receive every day of the calendar by following the link below.

Sign up to receive everyday of the Winter Wellbeing Calendar straight to your Inbox

How can I get involved?

We’d love you to get involved with the calendar as much as possible, so if you have any reflections on the winter wellbeing thoughts of the day, please do share them via Twitter using the #WinterCalendar hashtag.

Likewise, if you have any photos, snippets of wisdom or quotes that have inspired you and think would inspire others through the month of December, please do share these too.

Just be sure to use the #WinterCalendar hashtag!

Sharing our Learning Across Oceans
November 25, 2016

Sharing learning is one of the things I love about teaching. I just completed a project within my classroom and attended a conference with the purpose of sharing and learning for others. While at the Teacher Learning and Leadership Program Conference (#TLLP2016) in Ontario, Canada, I met with Fearghal Kelly and now I have this platform where I can share with like minded teachers across the ocean.

My project revolved around the idea of having an outdoor classroom and how we could document the student learning outdoors. We have 30 students in the class and we have them for the two years they spend in the Early Years. They can begin at age 3.8 and when they leave us they can be 6.6 years old. In the classroom, I have a partner who is a Registered Early Childhood Educator, the RECE and I plan and devise an environment that we hope will engage and provoke learning for our students. We also want to communicate that learning to the parents; because who does the documentation belong to? Who is it for?  So we use Instagram and Twitter to share our learning with the parents and beyond the walls of our classroom.

Instagram offers us immediacy. Our parents know what the learning was before they even pick their child up at the end of the day. They initiate conversations, elicit vocabulary around the learning and often contribute and extend the learning in their home, ready to be shared the next day. It affords parents the chance to comment on the learning and offer support for the next steps in the child’s learning.

We also share those pictures/videos with the child in a quiet moment and document their own words about what they were thinking, what their plan for learning was and what their next step was. Sometimes several weeks pass before we look at the picture and this gives the child the chance to reflect back on the learning and discuss what if anything they did to extend that learning. We also share that learning/pictures with the rest of the class. This is twofold; we celebrate the learning but it also works to inspire and provoke other students in the class.

I hope that we can connect with other educators interested in documentation and outdoor learning.

Mary Mahler

#pedagoomuckle -supporting change through the staff room
October 28, 2016

I was trying to unpick some of the things I do in my practice, things I believe make a difference, and talking with a non-teacher friend, I realised that as a profession we tend to like a nice new shiny concept, approach, package, programme or resource. Now I’m not implying that’s wrong, far from it, many of my teacher friends are fantastic advocates of a wide number of approaches, you only have to look at the # tags that some of the prominent tweeters in Scottish Education follow, to see that good practice means having many different tools and options available so that we can meet and support ALL of the children in our classes. But I’m not sure that these approaches and methods are the real crux of why we have our own success stories of children we have nurtured. It’s a common mistake I think, to take a resource that appears to be the reason for success and then wonder why the success hasn’t been as great when implemented in a different environment. I have a feeling that it is in the approach of the person delivering and the school community in which they work. With this in mind I was keen to explore ‘Supporting change through the staffroom’ at the Pedgaoomuckle event in October.

As Outdoor Learning is my soap box, I wanted to ensure that there was some space in the learning conversation to give a gentle nod to the health benefits from being outside, better still being near greenspace (http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/6636651036540928) and the impact this can have on pupils learning and attainment. So we all put on our coats and went on a #walkandtalk . I encourage schools to try and have at least one staff meeting outside every term. Not only does this benefit the staff from a health point of view, but how many staff really know the environment the children in their class are walking through every day. We drive into the carpark, go into the building and at night get back in the car and drive out of the school again. There are so many learning opportunities right on the doorstop, from times tables on buildings, angles in our environment to social studies of house styles, age of buildings and types of materials.

How many coffee jars are in your staff room?

I had written questions on lolly pop sticks and folk quickly fell into a comfortable pace of walking and talking freely and enjoyably with their partner. The first question, how many coffee jars?, I hoped would spark a conversation around what kind of place their staff room was. I have heard many ‘horror’ stories from visitors to school staff rooms ranging from adults being told they are sitting in someone’s seat, to ‘huffs and puffs’ when they’ve not brought their own mug! Surprisingly our group began counting and sharing the different teas they all liked. But through discussion standing under the trees on Sauchihall Street, we pulled out thoughts and feelings about how a staff room represents the school community; is it a welcoming place, is the tea and coffee for all to share, offer and use? Do visitors feel welcome and gauge a sense of belonging? We discussed ideas to help promote the sense of community in the staff room. Here’s what we came up with;
• Social events
• Swap shops; bring a handbag and take home a different one!
• Communal drink fund
• Cake Friday; taking it in turn to bring/bake the cakes
• Staff library/bookshelf of books to read
• Social Fund

What fundraising do you do?

Swapping partners and making our way slowly through the Saturday shoppers in the sun, we shared all of the success and failures that we have tried, in order to raise funds for our schools. We spoke of the Tesco and Asda grant schemes http://www.tesco.com/carrier-bags/ https://www.asdafoundation.org/applying-for-funding the http://fundingscotland.com web page and then suggestions such as garden parties, fashion shows (M&Co, Matalan both offering stores after closing time with discounts for shoppers) race nights, sponsored walks/silences/jumps and fundraising websites such as https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk We all acknowledged that taking part in a communal fundraising activity usually made us feel more ‘together’. Speaking with staff members that we don’t usually talk too happens more naturally and freely at a social event, we can find commonalities between us, these can then be built on back in the staffroom.

What’s on your staff noticeboards?

As we passed by the Pavillion theatre discussing our staff room noticeboards, it was hard not to reflect on some of the things that we maybe haven’t quite got right. If our staff room boards are a reflection of the staff, are they saying who we really are? Are we simply about how to report Health and Safety Issues and when and what will the next collegiate meeting be?
Boards that are useful were discussed;
• Examples of sharing good practice; this worked for me, here’s a good website
• grab and go ( worksheets photocopied and ready to grab in a last minute emergency, or lesson plans that can be easily differentiated)
• Millionaire Moments; post-its on a board that are little successes that have made you feel like the best teacher in the world
• Apps to Action; Place to write up apps that are good and work eg CfE app, plickers, animoto, photohunt, Project Noah, any of the OPAL citizen science ones.

What are you great at?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

We are often, not good at saying what we excel at. We don’t really feel comfortable saying “I taught that lesson so well, they totally grasped what I was trying to teach”. If we want to change things then we need first to start with ourselves. We need to recognise what we are good at, we need to share it and then nurture and support others to feel confident about what they do well. Creating that supportive environment can be difficult at first particularly if we have ‘dementors’ (Harry Potter reference) in our staffrooms, the ones who sit in the corner finding difficulties and problems with every new day. The people who, put simply suck the life from you with their negativity! So start small – find your number 2, your first follower, who will join you in your new dance and make your staffroom something you are proud to let visitors into.

They need subtitles, don’t they? A PedagooMuckle learning conversation
October 16, 2016

Short films are brilliant contributions to literacy-rich classrooms. Combining storytelling, culture, creativity and tech all in one fabulous package, a short film is a carefully constructed text that can engage learners in the most unexpected ways.

And some aren’t even in English!

In this conversation we shared experiences and ideas for watching and making short films in languages other than English.

So no, they don’t need subtitles … well, not all the time.

N.B. This post contains far more than was covered in the learning conversation itself precisely because of all the chat on the day.


There’s a clue in the name, the beauty of short films is that they’re short and as such they can be watched more than once.

In terms of film literacy, there are six important features. The 3Cs – character, colour, camera – and the 3Ss – sound, setting and story. Particular films, whether short or feature length, will merit exploration of different Cs or Ss.

World cinema is a culturally and linguistically rich source of texts for our classrooms. In the workshop I shared three ways of engaging learners with short films by film-makers from other countries or about other cultures.

1. Cheat a little bit

No dialogue, no need for subtitles! Take the fear out of watching ‘foreign’ films by watching ones which don’t have any spoken dialogue at all but which have a healthy dollop of cultural interest.

In the workshop we did a ‘sound on, vision off’ exercise to start using the first two minutes of El Caminante (Glow login required). We listened to the soundtrack of the film, without the seeing the images, then afterwards we shared what we had heard, what we thought was going on and where we thought it might have been taking place. Then we watched the same two minutes of the film and discussed the extent to which our initial thoughts had been borne out. In the event, it’s the discussion that matters more than the ‘accuracy’ of the original predictions.

Bring in some target language by expressing straightforward opinions about the film, characters or the story or creating a poster for a cinema screening of the film.

Alternatively, challenge confident language learners in your class with a ‘vision on, sound off’ activity. Watch the images with the audio muted and afterwards discuss what the characters might say and what sound effects they would expect to hear. Watch the film again with the sound on to hear the soundtrack of sound effects and/or music. Discuss the effect/impact of the soundtrack on the audience. Does it add anything to the images?

Pupils could then prepare spoken dialogue for the characters in the target language and perform it as the film plays on screen.

Intrigue your learners, focus on culture and location rather language to begin with.

2. Pave the way.

Preparation, preparation, preparation! Before watching a film, it’s helpful to give learners opportunities to explore the characters, colours, setting or story in advance so that their curiosity is piqued. Before long, they are desperate to watch the film and are unphased by the subtitles because they have a pretty good idea of what’s coming.

Start by looking at stills from the film and talking about what you can see. Discuss who and what you can see and where and when you think it might be set.

For example: La queue de la souris based on a traditional French tale by de la Fontaine.

First give pairs of pupils a selection of still images from this French language short. Discuss the characters and setting, try and sequence the stills to tell a story.

Then pupils match English captions to the images.

Lastly, pupils match the French captions.

A whole class discussion about the various elements of the film and also the skills and techniques used to match the French captions will reveal the extent to which learning in literacy and languages is being applied.  Consider reasons why Benjamin Renner, the animator might have chosen to use only four colours in the film – black, white, red and green.

Finally, watch the film with or without English subtitles. Afterwards, discuss the effect of the colour choices – black (lion, bad), white (all other animals, innocent), red (danger, environment around the lion) and green (among the trees, away from the lion) and the impact of the instrumental soundtrack – Why string instruments? Why sometimes plucked and sometimes bowed?

By accessing this film through www.languagesonscreen.org (Glow login required) you have the choice to stream or download it with or without subtitles. You could watch it without subtitles the first time and then with subtitles on a second viewing.

3. Create and be comfortable.

Intuitive tech and local creatives can make film making easy – regardless of language.

Live action movies are easy to edit with move maker software and for animations, free iPad apps such as Sock Puppets, Yakit kids, My Talking Avatar, Chatterpix Kids, Tellagami and Voki Ed are very simple to use. Depending on the app, you can create an animated background and character(s) then record your character(s) taking for anything from 10-30 seconds. To make a longer film, save several clips to your camera roll then stitch them together to make a longer film using iMovie or equivalent.

Another option is to involve local creative companies. Last session children at Elderbank PS in Irvine and St Anthony’s PS in Saltcoats, North Ayrshire worked with animators from Halo Digital Arts. P3 and P6 pupils at Elderbank produced The Portal Loo a film in French, English and British Sign Language, while P7 pupils at St Anthony’s made ¡Go, go Globo! a film in Spanish and English (Glow login required to view both on North Ayrshire 1+2 Primary Languages Video Channel). In both cases the children did the script, artwork, music and voices while Halo staff supported the technical side of things. In both cases it is clear that the level of language in French/Spanish was appropriate to the children involved. Rather than the alternative of developing a script in English and translating it into French/Spanish which would have reflected their proficiency in English and the use of Google translate, the children developed stories which enabled them to use vocabulary, phrases and songs that they were familiar and comfortable with, but still within a highly creative context.

With a bit of understanding about the 3Cs and 3Ss, children and young people will be well informed when it comes to making their own films.

Finding short films to use in class

Looking for films to use in class? Look no further than:

    • Screening Shorts, Languages in Screen and Scotland on Screen websites have all recently had a makeover and are still free to access for Scottish teachers via Glow. Screening Shorts has some of my favourite films without dialogue. Languages on Screen features shorts in French, German, Italian and Spanish. My favourite experience of using Scotland on Screen so far was P6s adding a mechanised French voiceover to the Daleks in Glasgow clip! All three sites have lesson guides and video tutorials.
    • Film G: the home of an annual Gaelic film making competition for schools, community groups and professional film makers.
    • Literacy Shed: a wide ranging and regularly updated collection of short films in a range of languages and with accompanying teaching ideas.
    • My ‘Shorts’ board on Pinterest currently has more than 260 short films in a wide variety of countries and in a range of langauges, or indeed none at all.
    • Into Film has teaching resources related to lots of feature films in many different langauges – Love Languages Spanish being one of the newest.


This is a abbreviated version of a post originally posted on the PedagooMuckle wiki.

They need subtitles, don’t they? is the Prezi that accompanied the learning conversation.

Poetry By Heart Scotland 2016-17: open for registration!
October 13, 2016
Poetry By Heart 2015-16 FinalistsPoetry By Heart 2015-16 Finalists


Poetry By Heart 2015-16 Finalists

Poetry By Heart 2015-16 Finalists

Poetry By Heart Scotland was first launched by the Scottish Poetry Library in 2014 as a new, pan-Scotland competition, encouraging and maximising secondary school students’ engagement with the richness of past and contemporary poetry. Participating students are challenged to learn and perform poems from our specially curated competition database.

Feedback shows that participating students develop confidence in public speaking and also deepen their relationship with, and appreciation of, poetry in general. 2016 Joint Winner, Craig McCorquodale said:

‘I’m not sure that PBHS was about who was given first place; it was about the power of having a voice. It was about sharing something with others, and making a concentrated form of language a rather simple one.’

On the SPL website we have a short film (6 minutes) which showcases students from the 2015-2016 finals. Students, teachers and poets talk about what they have enjoyed and what the benefits are. The film’s well worth a watch to get a flavour of the competition and a sense of its varied benefits. You can watch it here.

Keen to find out more? Below are details about PBHS, including how to register. If you have more questions that aren’t answered here, please do get in touch  directly with me at georgi.gill@spl.org.uk.

WHO takes part?

  • Pupils in S4-S6 as competitors; non-competitors can also be given supporting roles in running your contest.

WHAT do competitors have to do?

WHEN is it all happening?

  • School competitions by 16 December 2015
  • Regional semi-finals Spring 2016
  • National finals to be held on 18 March 2016

WHERE is the action?

  • First rounds in any Scottish secondary school.
  • Regional semi-finals in towns and cities across Scotland, in libraries, community arts centres or museums. Already we have schools signed up in Aberdeen, Stirling, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth. Schools in these and other areas are very welcome to join us!
  • National finals at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh

HOW do we get involved?

  • PBHS is completely free of charge to all secondary schools in Scotland.
  • Schools MUST register in order to participate – email Gill@spl.org.uk to register or phone Georgi Gill on 0131 557 2876.
  • After registration you will receive free resources to organize your competition and have fun!

Georgi Gill, Learning Manager, the Scottish Poetry Library

Unleashing Learners & Educational Leaders #PedagooMuckle

I was lucky enough to be involved in the fantastic #PedagooMuckle yesterday…what a day! It was great to meet so many new folk and I’m very excited to see what happens next…

At SCEL we are really proud to have supported this event and we’re looking forward to seeing what other teacher-led professional learning events we can support in the future also.

I thought I ought to share two of the presentations I gave on the day on here in case anyone was wanting them. I started off in the morning talking a bit about what educational leaders look like. You can see my slides from this here.

The point I was making here was primarily that we need to dissociate the word ‘leadership’ from the word ‘promotion’, which relates a lot to my work in supporting the development of teacher leadership. However, I was trying to go a bit further here by suggesting that perhaps a key element of effective pedagogical leadership is the power of collaboration…which relates strongly to the vision of the Pedagoo movement. I concluded with the #scelfie above and argued that this collective group of teachers is what educational leadership looks like.

If you would like to know more about SCEL’s teacher leadership work you can download our recent report or you can take your own professional learning forward as a teacher leader through our Framework for Educational Leadership. You should also check out our upcoming series of Enquire Connect Engage events!


I then also led a learning conversation based on my work as a teacher to find ways of involving pupils in planning learning. You can view the presentation I used for this here.

I’ve written much more about this approach here, and you can also download this excellent book which relates to this approach for free!

If anyone wants to get in touch regarding either of my presentations yesterday, or anything else related to teacher leadership, please feel free to do so. My contact details can be found here.

Hopefully see you at another Pedagoo event or TeachMeet, perhaps even one organised by you, very soon…

My Reflections on a Wonderful #PedagooHampshire16

What happens when Teachers and School Leaders learn to put themselves first?

On Saturday 17th September, I was delighted to attend Pedagoo Hampshire 16 in Alton. This event, which featured a day of interactive seminars hosted by individuals across the educational landscape, aimed to discuss and tackle key issues in education and create a forum for speakers to share their rich experience and expertise.

My belief is that teaching is a vocation. In the words of Parker J Palmer, it is a calling that invites our “deepest gladness to meet the world’s deepest need”. Yet for so many in the profession their ‘deepest gladness’ has been lost.

I decided therefore to base my seminar around “Taking Care of the Soul in the Role” and on how teachers and school leaders must learn to nurture the ‘being’ in Human-being’ through affording themselves the kindness and attention to meet their deepest needs. I sought to encourage those who attended to reflect on what was the most precious thing they brought to their role and challenged them to reflect on these crucial questions:


Click here to download the rest of the slides from my talk “Taking Care of the Soul in the Role”

In my talk, I also emphasised the dangers of living in the Sacrifice Syndrome. A place where teachers and school leaders “sacrifice too much for too long – and reap too little.”  Personal Sacrifice and the diminishment of one’s own needs becomes the norm. Leaving individuals feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted, and deriving less satisfaction from their lives.


Click here to download the rest of the slides from my talk “Taking Care of the Soul in the Role”

I put it to those who attended that the only way to break the cycle of the Sacrifice Syndrome, is through regular relationships that invite a deep engagement with one’s own soul.  Relationships that invite engagement in affirming & life-giving conversations, that regularly allow time and the opportunity for genuine renewal. When this becomes a deliberate practice we are able to sustain ourselves for the long-haul and remain connected with what really matters as an educator. Above all, I stressed the need for teachers and school leaders to feel:

–          Celebrated

–          Affirmed

–          Encouraged

–          Supported

What struck me was that at this event, everyone appeared to feel this way. This event really was about all that is good and noble in the profession. It provided the opportunity for these affirming conversations and time for reflection so necessary for genuine renewal. On top of this, it was a great chance to make connections, build new relationships, offer hope to one another and most importantly for all present, to realise that there is nothing to be lost, but everything to be gained in putting oneself first.


Click here to download the rest of the slides from my talk “Taking Care of the Soul in the Role”

As individuals shared stories, examples of best practice, personal and professional techniques for improvement both on a personal and a professional level, I saw colleagues around me realise that by putting their needs first, they could let go of feeling

–          Guilty

–          Overwhelmed

–          Isolated

–          Confused

–          Disillusioned

And instead discover that by asking themselves “What do I need from myself and others to be by best?” and by taking proactive steps they could instead feel:

–          Re-energised

–          Inspired

–          Hopeful

–          Connected [to themselves and others – so important!]

–          Valued

In short, they had rediscovered their ‘deepest gladness’ and hence were better prepared to meet the ‘deepest needs’ of their students/colleagues at the start of the new school week.

Finally, #PedagooHampshire16 for me was made even more exciting and wonderful because it marked the beginning of a journey for me and Integrity Coaching. Namely, my session marked the start of a month of exploration into the “Bigger Picture” of what it means to be an educator, seeking to understand what our deepest needs are as human beings and ultimately, how  we can bring who we truly are into our roles as educators and leaders.

The journey will consist of several blogs around the experiences of educators, the issues facing school leaders and teachers, and eventually this adventure of thought will culminate on Tuesday 4th October from 8:00-8:30 PM when we will be hosting our first ever webinar on “Meeting the Deeper Needs of Teachers and School Leaders”.

In this webinar, we will look to discuss the ways in which schools can support human growth and development, whilst also support educators in maintaining their ‘vocational vitality’ amidst feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and stress.

We hope you can join us for this.

If you would like to find out more about the webinar, please click here


Reciprocal Teaching

Recently two colleagues taught me all about Reciprocal Teaching as a way of encouraging literacy in the classroom.

Each member of a group is given a different role, Predictor, Clarifier, Summariser or Questioner. All group members are given a piece of text to read, with each of them looking at a different role within this, it means that when they go to discuss the piece of text, they all have different ideas and perspectives to bring to it and it structures the activity much better.

Not only does this encourage literacy, it also encourages group work and makes each member accountable.

I have created some worksheets that will aid each member with their role and tasks to structure their reading.

You can download them here. Free Printables- Reciprocal Reading

Reciprocal Teaching

Read More Here: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/reciprocal_teaching

[Posted originally on Learning RMPS.]

The Zone of Relevance…explained.

On a Friday afternoon I often share teaching resources on Twitter, like many other teachers do, using the hashtag #PedagooFriday. The Zone of Relevance resource generated a lot of interest. I was contacted by teachers asking for further explanation and asking questions, which is understandable as 140 characters can be very limited!

The Zone of Relevance works best with GCSE and A-Level students because it is very useful to complete when preparing and planning an exam answer. However, it can be used with other year groups and across the curriculum. The idea behind this is that students recognise what information is relevant for a specific exam answer and essential to achieve exam marks. It also helps students prioritise information. This task supports students to understand what they should and should not include in their answer. This will highlight what information is irrelevant to that specific question to prevent common mistakes being made.


The example I have included is from a Year 10 GCSE History class. The question asks how abolishing the death penalty was a turning point in punishment in the 20th Century. We discussed this question as a class and then looked at the mark scheme success criteria. Students then filled in the outer circle, it also works with concentric squares too. The largest zone must be for the relevant information, as that is most important because it is the content of the answer. Students include the relevant information with supporting detail and justification. Then in the middle zone or section students included extra information they could add to their answer such as examples and stats etc. The final and smallest zone was basically what not to do! I was able to help students with this, based on many common mistakes I had come across over recent years marking exam answers! Students can also refer back to previous exam answers and learn from mistakes they had made. For example, students would often express their views on the death penalty despite the fact the question didn’t ask that or offer any marks for that either. The question also specifically asked about England and Wales, yet students would write about the USA where again there were no marks available. The question was asking about the 20th Century so discussion of any other periods were not required or rewarded.

This activity can be done individually or in groups. In groups with a larger template works well as it promotes discussion, decision making and working with others. It can be a great plan for students to refer to when completing exam questions, either in the classroom or at home. It helps students understand and identify what the exam question is asking and what information is required. Many teachers may have used this idea before or in a different style but I recommend it as a revision activity! This activity also works well accompanied with highlighted notes, to include in the relevant sections. You can download the template for free on my TES page here. It might be too late for some of your exam classes or perhaps just in time!

Engaging pupils with iMovie trailers
June 7, 2016

Following a challenging morning, we were bracing ourselves for the afternoon session in our nurture base. We support the most vulnerable children in the authority. We base our practice on the nurture principles and the Boxall profile and the children’s mental, social and emotional well-being is a priority for us. Or, as I’ve seen on social media, ‘the Maslow stuff needs to be done before the Bloom’s’. As a number of our pupils were at bump up days or transition to secondary visits, we were expecting only two pupils.

The first to arrive insisted on some outdoor learning (or absconded if you prefer) following various expletives and suggestions to the taxi escort regarding how she might like to spend her time. Two members of staff headed out to ensure his safety and encourage his return. This left me with one senior primary pupil (there were other staff with younger pupils next door). Let’s call him Jamie, for any Outlander fans.

A calm entry and exit is an important part of a session, so there were three activities available for Jamie to choose his soft start. He chose the Geomag magnetic toys and we chatted about his day as he built his characters. He was a little unsettled so I extended the activity to allow him to quietly focus on his construction. Jamie suddenly asked me about an iMovie trailer he’d seen me make with another pupil. This had been inspired by a session at Pedagoo Perth and had been very successful. With an animated face, he asked if we could make one with his Superheroes.

This led the afternoon away from the plan but was responsive to his needs. We began to plan the trailer. Never one to use twenty words when eighty will do, this took some time but we got there. As we filmed and took photos, Jamie kept saying, ‘awesome’ and ‘cool’. He was fully engaged and, in fact, was leading the project. He chose the text and insisted that his middle name was included in his name for the credits.

When he viewed the finished trailer, his face lit up and he beamed at his name on the credits. After watching it again, he turned to me and said, “This is the best experience of my life”. It was no exaggeration for him. He had been engaged, he experienced success and his day had been turned around. He shouted the other adults over, to share his success.

Jamie then naturally reviewed his project and decided that, next time, it would be better with a green screen so that his hands can’t be seen. I’m not sure if this is possible but requires some PL for me. I am very glad that I travelled to Perth that day – huge thanks to @ciaracreative for her session that day.
You can read about the conversation here. iMovie Trailers


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