Friday, 30 May 2014


At my school we use iTunesU to deliver our courses to students. We are an iPad 1:1 school, so the courses put all the information students need right in their hands, including details about lessons, links to Google Forms and other Docs, as well all the resources they need like videos and websites.

I made this video to share with new stuff, so they can see how I lay out my courses and to help them navigate the iTunesU Course Manager Site. The site itself is really easy to use, but I have found that people create their courses in different ways, for example I started off creating a course for a whole grade for the year, but moved onto creating individual unit courses.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Britannica Features

Created a couple of videos to add to my students' iTunesU folder to help them with a blogging unit they are doing.

This video shows them how to access the biography feature of Britannica Schools. It's actually pretty neat and you can search by what the person is famous for, when they lived and where they are from.

This video shows the world explorer functions, where you can play about with their atlas and also compare different countries, (very useful for MUN and humanities). At the end of this video I also quickly run through some of the features of Britannica (citation, translations, reading levels) and show how you can use it to access top quality websites and journals.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

IB Learner Profile Super Hero

I am running a short unit with my grade 6 and 7 classes where they design a superhero who exemplifies one of the Learner Profile Attributes. This will lead to students making a mini comic about their superhero. I may also adapt the unit next year so that it leads to posters or maybe even to creating a short video. As I am focusing on creating the comic itself, it works well as a technology unit, but could also easily work as an art or English unit, so I may suggest it as an interdisciplinary unit next year.

I have created this presentation and this worksheet for the first lesson. I've also created a MoveNote explaining exactly how I teach the class, so that it is easy for you to use in your own classrooms. In the MoveNote I also show off some of my students fantastic work and ideas and also show you how to create a mini comic book using one A4 sheet of paper.

I am new to the IB, so this year has been a very steep learning curve with getting used to the IB philosophy and also the lingo! This is helping me to really get to grips with the Learner Profile!

Please feel free to download the presentation and worksheet and use them for your class. You can change them as much as you like too! 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Google Form Trick - Multiple Choice

The quickest video - 41seconds!
It's just a little trick to make creating a Google Form easier and to save you time. Instead of putting in individual answers when creating multiple-choice questions, you can just paste them in, and they will automatically become individual answers.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Grade 8 Cardboard Challenge

Today Grade 8s opened their Cardboard Arcade to Grade 9s. See how much fun they had!

This whole unit was focussed on learning about recycling and sustainability, as well as the importance of play and the impact gaming can have in the classroom. 

My colleagues are the best

My lovely colleague Michelle Jones, our English Teacher, wrote this about me in her course:

""Our school Librarian is a true innovator and promotes literature (in all its wonderful forms!) within our school. We have established a partnership with our local Westminster Library, as well as introduced digital reading options such as RM Books. Additionally, she and I have begun working on incorporating the “Information Literacy” portion of the MYP Approaches to Learning by developing templates for research projects, as well as using technological applications such as “Easybib” to make the citation process as efficient as possible for our students. She is a true inspiration to myself and my colleagues.""

Very happy!

Famous Individuals and the IB Learner Profile

I am doing a short online course for work, as the Middle Years Programme for the International Baccalaureate is changing next year. The first task I was asked to do was think about a famous person in design and talk about the ways the learner profile relates to them. I thought i would share some of the work I post while doing this course, as some of you might find it interesting and also so I can refer to it in the future. All my colleagues are doing a similar course, for their subject, so I thought this would be a nice way for them to compare work also. I found a lot of people are talking very formally on the course forum and have made a conscious effort to not do so.

IB Learner Profile

"Hello I am the Digital Librarian and Technology Teacher at a new school in central London.

I want to talk about the three individuals who created my favourite building and formed the architecture firm Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, Geoffry Powell, Peter "Joe" Chamberlin and Christoph Bon... Powell also created the Golden Lane Estate and they were influenced by my other favourite designer La Corbusier (who coincidently the Barbican had a wonderful exhibition on a few years back).

I have spent a lot of time at the Barbican, taking students on school trips, going to art exhibition and concerts, exploring the conservatory, visiting people who live there, taking photographs and even hanging out in a beautiful flat there when I was little. My mum and my boyfriend also have a lot of ties to the Barbican and I enjoy talking about the space with them, and hanging out there. I will never be able to afford it, but I do dream about living there - my boyfriend and I often window shop expensive flats there online!

Caring - They created fantastic social housing...which actually was social. Unlike council housing now, which is made cheaply, to fit the most amount of people for the lowest cost, their  spaces were well thought out and helped to create strong community bonds. They also knew that housing should not just be a roof and four walls, but put in spaces for people to enjoy into their buildings, like the beautiful conservatory in the Barbican, or the sunken walkaways running through the ponds at the Barbican (a perfect space for reading in the sunshine).

Risk-Takers - The Barbican complex was different in many ways to other buildings at the time, not just visually, but the philosophy behind the space was also radically different. Although many people dislike Brutalist architecture or find it a difficult space, the Barbican is one of the most treasured spaces in London and loved by a great deal many people. Powell is also a risk taker as he entered and won the privilege of designing the Golden 
Lane Estate.

Principled - Again creating social housing which did not just meet the minimum requirements, but thought about the emotional and social impact on the inhabitants lives, shows that they are principled..and basically 'rad dudes'."

Golden Lane Estate

The Barbican

Lego StoryStarter

This morning I shared a my Lego Google Drive folder with colleagues and on Twitter again - I then had an email about a Lego competition I entered a while ago. I am so excited to get my hands on the Lego Story Kit. Our students are already making Lego films, so this will help them to do even more and of an even higher quality. I am excited for the potential to collaborate with other subjects using this kit and already have lots of ideas for Humanities, Languages and English projects. 

This month has been amazing - I became a Google Certified Educator, Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, we submitted the yearbook, students hosted their Edible Cinema, students finished their cardboard arcade and we were shortlisted for the TES Ed Tech award. I feel a bit overwhelmed/emotional about it all!

TES Awards

Pleased to announce that my school has made it to the shortlist for the EdTech award. Honestly very proud of us and also know that we deserve to be there. We use technology in all subject areas to help us create fun and engaging lessons, to enable students to create the best work possible and for easy collaboration. We also use technology to help us share resourced with other educators and students globally.

Edible Cinema - Jumanji

Yesterday grade 7s hosted an Edible Cinema for the grade 6s!

We started this unit before the holidays, with each student pitching a different film to the class. They had to say why their audience would like it and give examples of the food they could prepare to compliment the film. In the end Jumanji won the vote, (one of my favourite child hood films). We worked hard on creating a menu, and actually had to cut out loads of great ideas, because we wouldn't have time. Students also create all the labels to go with the different food/drink items, as well as the signs that would be held up to tell people when it is time to eat.

Here is our final menu:

Jumanji Menu

1. Jumanji is buried in the mud- Chocolate Mud Milk
Milk, Cocoa Powder, Sugar and Vanilla

2. Alan finds Jumanji - Edible Soil
Chocolate cookie crumbs and vegan gummy worms

3. “Alan is chopped up into bits” - Vegan Jerky
Shredded spicy vegan jerky

4. Monkeys! - Banana Chips
Dehydrated banana chips

5. The Mosquitos try to break through the car glass - Popping Candy
Watermelon and Apple Popping Candy

6. Stampede - Popcorn
BBQ flavoured popcorn

7. Alan Cuts the monstrous Plant - Edible Yellow Slime
Passion fruit pulp, with a lime and orange pulp

8. The Hunter falls into pots of paint - three layer jelly
Strawberry and raspberry
9. Monsoon - Flavoured Spray Mint and Vanilla flavoured blue water

10. “JUMANJI” - Sour Sweets
Sour Sweets to suck you back into the game

Lots of the food we made our selves and some we bought, like the vegan jerky, which we put on a bamboo stick and tucked into a little box. Some of the food was prepared the day before, including the edible soil, vegan gummy worms, jelly and the passion fruit pulp. Other foods we prepared during the lunch break, before students joined us in the hub. We are in a shared site, not a purpose built site, so we don't have a kitchen suite, we just use to the kitchen our chef uses, so we have to make sure we don't interfere with cooking for lunch, only take up a little bit of fridge space and work in a very small space together - we still manage to make rad food and all the students worked well together.
Students also found an 'animal party blower' to blow every time the hunter shot his gun! The day before after cooking we had to cut out all the labels and prepare the party box and various cups-the class had an awesome production line going and did so much work in such a short time. I am very proud of the event the students created, how creative they were and how well they worked as a team.

My favourite foods:

Edible Soil - Crushed chocolate cookies, in a plant pot, with a little soil sign and a vegan gummy worm.
[We made the worms by cutting bendy straws and putting them in a container so they were tightly packed together.  We then poured vegan jelly into them and left them over night. When you squeeze them out they look like perfect worms, the bendy part of the straw really helps. Have a look here for an example.

Vegan Jerky - this was eaten when the pet exterminator comes round to look for bats and tells the two children about Alan Parish's disappearance and says rumours were that his father had murdered him and chopped him up and hidden him in the walls of the house. This was supposed to taste like little bits of him...sounds a bit strange, but the students loved it! Also we are a vegetarian school, so I think they were intrigued by the vegan jerky - it was delicious

Stings - Students had the popping candy during the scene where the huge mosquitos were trying to break into the car - the popping sensation worked very well with the buzzing sound from the film.

Sour Sweets - We actually had Toxic Waste and sour cherries (for those feeling less adventurous). These were eaten at the end of the film when Alan wins Jumanji and all the animals and the hunter from the game are sucked right in! Having the sour sweets made students suck in too.

and here are some photos...

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Our Arcade

Students in grade 8 have created a cardboard arcade, inspired by Caine''s Arcade. On Tuesday they introduced their games to their peers and had a chance to test them out. On Friday we will be setting up the arcade at lunch time and allowing students from other grades to play! Here is a sneak peak of some of the games they made:

Yearbook Submitted

We have finally completed our yearbook and have submitted it to Yearbook Machine for editing. We managed to do this in a very short amount of time through collaboration and team work. Every member of our community contributed in some ways, through writing articles, uploading photographs, taking part in polls, updating their profiles and friend's profiles. We used Google Docs to help us come up with Poll Titles and to sort out nominations. Students also wrote their articles in Docs, so they could share with appropriate teachers to get comments and feedback. We even had a fantastic student photographer set up a photo studio in my room! This is going to be a fantastic yearbook as it is a wonderful reflection of the school - it shows how we use digital tools to collaborate, shows how we support each other and work together as a community...and the yearbook is going to look really cool too!

I created a short video to show some of the ways we worked on the yearbook together. If anyone wants any advice on creating a yearbook, please feel free to contact me. 

It has been a blast.

ALSO - I will update when our yearbook arrives and will share some of the comments grade nine students made when writing a reflective piece on our yearbook adventure!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Green Screen Ideas

My students helped me create this video full of ideas for using the green screen. We tried to cover lots of different subjects. The ideas covered are:

-Transport to exotic places
-speak in front of a large audience (cinema, gig, political campaign audience)
-Get close and personal with a famous person, (political, historical, celebrity, etc)
-Take people on virtual tours of galleries and museums (or place your own work in a virtual gallery)
-Explain coastal erosion by showing someone
-Visit dangerous places like volcanoes
-Perform on stage
-Set a dramatic piece in a location of your choice
-Take people on a language trip
-Show objects you are describing in another language
-Transport people to famous locations
-Visit impossible places, like a different planet
-Visit fictional lands from the book you enjoy
-Explore lands you have dreamt up
-Get close to incredible technology
-Step inside a sports stadium
-Commentate on sporting events
-Make yourself really big
-Make yourself really small, (so you can explore inside the human body)
-Show people real world maths
-Have fun!

See my earlier blog post for more ideas and a tutorial showing you how to use the Green Screen in iMovie here.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Library Website [Google Site]

At the moment I am building our school library site using Google Sites. I really like how it looks at the moment, but we want to jazz it up a bit and make it look more like our school site. I need to also subscribe to a few databases and archives. The video I made above is to show the board members,  head of curriculum and head of communications - I figured it would be easier for me to create a video talking about the features of the site, instead of waiting to get everyone together in one room.
The site has information about research skills, including advice for finding free-to-use/royalty free music and images, avoiding plagiarism and referencing properly, it also links to tons of archives, databases, news site and places to find educational videos. All of these features are free and if anyone would like to take them to use for their own site or for teaching please do so! There is a section in our electronic resources area with the places we subscribe to, but apart from that, everything is open access, free to everyone, and yours to take!
I've made the site a bit fancy and interactive by adding in some gadgets, like our school Book Club's Good Reads widget and I've added in a few video guides and tutorials. My aim is to get students to create videos to go onto our site, so a lot more of the content is student led too.

The only other area I really need to build on is the database and archive area. At the moment I have many links for general, science, humanities and art. I am going to add a separate page today with useful websites too, starting with Technology sites like Instructables and MakeZine. Today I am also going to create a Google Form to send to staff asking them if they have any websites or databases they would like to add to the site.

If you have any examples of great library sites or want to give me some tips or suggestions, please comment on this post or contact me through Google+ or Twitter.
When the website has been improved and developed further I will make another blog post to show off the progress!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

How I Innovate In My Classroom for Positive Change

Royalty Free Song "The Owl Named Orion," from Dano Songs.

I had lots of help from students on creating this video - they helped me improve my script, pick out the best photographs and gave me some fantastic ideas!

"At my school we innovate by providing every student with the tools they need to achieve, by easily letting them find, share and create information. My classroom is innovative in that it is more of a maker-space, with a green screen kit, resources for robotics and electronics and for everything from knitting to stop motion animations!

We innovate by giving students power over their learning. They work collaboratively on Google Docs, and can use this to provide peer feedback and support. We use a range of Google Add-Ons, including Flubaroo to quickly mark fun tests or to check students understanding.  We share docs, so that even absent students can be included in lessons.

Our lessons fit into a wider global context and we use Videos, Presentations and Forms to raise awareness of Global Issues, we connect globally through hangouts, on air and virtual field trips and we share resources with other teachers and students across the globe to help them innovate too!
Since teaching using Google I have seen students become more accountable for and proud of their work. Google has transformed our classroom."

School Librarians Network on Google+

The School Librarians Network has been a fantastic resource for support and inspiration. It comes to be in newsletter format I don't often browse through old entries, (it's a yahoo group, so in theory there is a page, but Yahoo is...rubbish). I decided to create a Google+ community for the community to aid in that function, so that cool posts come up on my home page...and because I am seeing a lot of great things on Google+ which I can post directly to the forum.

I also made this video to introduce the group and also to introduce Google+ to those who don't use it yet.