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Archive for Ferry Lane

Having had great success with our first SOICT unit (see this post), my year 6 class were chomping at the bit to begin unit 6.3 – ‘we are games developers’. Only two weeks in, they are already surpassing my expectations in terms of engagement and ability.

We began by looking at games that they already knew. Their understanding and interest was high and they were desperate to begin programming. We have used a variety of tools already – Scratch and Kodu primarily for games development, but also the excellent Codecademy (more on this later), Comic Life and various web-based applications.

George and Omar are two boys who took particularly keenly to the unit. Here are a couple of short video clips of them in action. These were taken on the last day of the winter term, after a one hour lesson on how to use Kodu.

This week, George told me “I like Kodu, but to be honest, it’s a bit simple. I’ve been looking around at something else I could use and I was wondering if you’d let me learn JavaScript?”. This was on the day that Michael Gove told us we should be teaching programming… Needless to say, I ‘let him’ learn, and he is now wading through variables, strings and some pretty advanced coding with the help of the excellent Codecademy and its lessons in JavaScript. Video to follow…

As before, this unit has really sparked interest and engaged my lovely class. They’re already hooked on ICT but SOICT is helping me as a teacher to come up with challenging and varied lessons that stimulate them all.

under: Ferry Lane, Other technology
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As an ICT lead and Year 6 teacher, I was keen to start using SOICT as soon as I could. The mixture of easy to administer ideas and flexibility mean that confident teachers and newbies alike can pick up the scheme and run with it very quickly.

Stunning Ancient Egypt by Atifa! - Home
Our first foray at Ferry Lane Primary School was taking on unit 6.4 – ‘We are web developers’. My class are pretty proficient (and prolific!) bloggers so this unit was a nice extension for them. Their e-safety skills were also very highly developed however, and I felt that creating websites about this might not spark the imaginations of my class.

So instead we created websites which linked with our topic on Ancient Egypt. The kids began using Weebly, which was new to me, and were very quickly exremely adept users. They considered audience, content, design and copyright; they peer-reviewed their websites; they thought about how to promote their websites and how to add the basic html coding that they brought with them from blogging; they discussed media, scanning and uploading artwork; they thought about how to write for the web; they looked at other websites and analysed their content. They did some of this at school, but their work was largely done at home, undirected.


Some highlights included Aiden’s page about Howard Carter. He decided that his website, aimed at children, had some pretty tricky words in it, so he recorded himself reading the biography he wrote of the famous archeologist. He found that the computers in our ICT suite didn’t code to MP3 properly, so he used media-conversion sites to solve his problem. You can see the page here. I also love Jessica’s quiz. She decided that the children looking at her website might not read things very carefully, so a bit of comprehension might do the trick… Ah SATs! Leyla’s introduction made me laugh too – “What was it like 2,000 years ago, before even our parents were born?” Sharon wanted a more graphical way to write her instructions on how to mummify a body, so she enlisted the help of Comic Life (another of my favourite programmes). This was her idea, and she had to learn how to save the file as a .jpg, how to upload it to Picasa and how to then embed it into her website.

Magnificent Mummification! - Aboriginal Ancient Egypt!

I was hugely impressed with both the scheme and with Weebly. There was a great deal of direction in SOICT but it was written in such a way that I didn’t feel ‘naughty’ deviating from the script. Assessment was easy and I could demonstrate progress in all children as a result of the unit. Hurrah! We’re now working on unit 6.3, developing games. Again, we’ve strayed from the scheme relatively wildly, but that’s the beauty of SOICT – we’re working with the great ideas, not being dictated to by a restrictive and product-led approach to the teaching of ICT.

You can see all of the websites created by clicking on the image below.

Year 6 Ancient Egypt websites go live! | Ferry Lane Year 6 blog

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Ferry Lane Doctor Who film

Posted by: | June 24, 2011 | No Comment |

under: Ferry Lane

Having won third place in the Educational Blog Awards for our whole-school approach to blogging, an article has today been published in the Tottenham and Wood Green Journal as well as on haringey.gov.uk. Here is the article:

Ferry Lane Primary gets top marks for school blogsite

Tuesday 21 June 2011
Ferry Lane Primary school in Tottenham is celebrating being awarded third place in the national Educational Blog Awards.

Ferry Lane’s blogsite was entered in the “Whole School Blogsite of the Year” category and was one of more than 300 blogs and blogsites nominated across four awards categories.

Judging criteria in the “Whole School Blogsite of the Year” category was the demonstration of:

“a community commitment to blogging”,
“blogging beyond the classroom” and
“clear and consistent messages about e-safety, comment policy and content”.
After a public vote whittled the blogs and blogsites down to a shortlist of ten; judges awarded third place to Ferry Lane Primary. They said:

“The work of Ferry Lane Primary School deserves a special mention – their class blogs are wonderful and demonstrate what can be done with a bit of creative thought and professionalism from educators. Any school wishing to improve their partnership with parents should visit this website as a model of good practice.”

All classes from Year 3 upwards at the school have their own blogs, with the senior leadership team also taking part and regularly blogging.

Headteacher Maxine Pattison is thrilled with the national recognition and whilst she says that the award celebrates the school’s approach to learning and teaching through the creative use of new technologies, she wasn’t sure what they were doing and why at first. She said:

“I wasn’t very confident myself when we started this project but I can now see the sheer enjoyment and engagement with learning that the children and their families are experiencing.

“It’s had a huge impact on the development of children’s writing skills and the ability to improve their own and other children’s writing in a constructive way.

“I’m a true fan of blogging now and proud of the way the children and families have responded to the opportunities available through the use of new technology.”

“As a school leader blogging is an opportunity for me to get in contact with families, reinforce the learning we do at school and celebrate the school’s successes with a wide audience. I can also interact online with other school leaders to share ideas.”

Jack Sloan, the teacher who introduced blogging to the school last year, continues:

“Through the blogs, many opportunities have arisen for children at the school, including helping to make a BBC documentary and an invitation to the children to sing at a national conference.”

“Children have also been asked to write for award winning websites such as brainpop.co.uk and Teach Primary magazine. The quality of writing is improving all the time at Ferry Lane, and the engagement developed through blogging has been a driving force in this increase in attainment. I’m amazed at the commitment of all staff at the school to this venture – it shows what can be achieved when a school works together effectively.”

Cllr Lorna Reith, Cabinet Member for Children congratulated pupils and staff at Ferry Lane, citing the blogsite as one of her favourites. She said:

“This recognition is thoroughly deserved. I enjoy the blogsite and often log on to read the latest creative writing and updates from the pupils and staff. The blogs are engaging and entertaining and the quality of writing has sky-rocketed. Well done to everyone at the school.”

Jack Sloan from Ferry Lane will be delivering training to other schools in the area on how to get children blogging from September 2011.

under: Blog development, Ferry Lane

Thanks for the mention!

Posted by: | June 23, 2011 | No Comment |

Thanks to David Mitchell for his mention of my work at Chorlton Park on blogging. You can read his article here. He says:

The work of Jack Sloan and his pupils at Chorlton Park Primary were absolutely crucial and at the start of all my work. It was Jack who showed me what was possible through pupil blogging, and without the chance to have seen him doing this with own class I would not have had that insight into thinking this may be the solution to Heathfield’s problems with writing. He was helpful in so many other ways too.

Thanks also to John Sutton for his praise of the Ferry Lane blogs at his presentation at BMoble here.

under: Blog development, Chorlton Park, Ferry Lane

We won third place for our whole-school approach to blogging. Very pleased. They were looking for:

A community commitment to blogging
Blogging beyond the classroom
Clear and consistent messages about e-safety, comment policy and content.

Here is what they said about Ferry Lane:

Ferry Lane came in third in this category with judges commenting “Powerful learning demonstrated through a whole school commitment to class blogging. The work of Ferry Lane Primary School deserves a special mention – their class blogs are wonderful and demonstrate what can be done with a bit of create thought and professionalism from educators. Any school wishing to improve their partnership parents should visit this website as a model of good practice”

We are also in the Tottenham and Wood Green Journal this week. Click here for the article.

under: Blog development, Ferry Lane

I was asked to present at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) Primary National College at the Emirates Stadium in March. The theme of the conference was ‘Networking for Excellence’ and I spoke about using technology to connect classrooms with the outside world. It was a great day, and I learned a lot from other practitioners. I also took my Year 5 class to sing at the conference – they did a great job!

under: Ferry Lane

I have been asked to run a course for teachers in Haringey who are new to blogging. The idea is to encourage them to have a go and get them set up.

I have produced some tutorial videos to get them started, There are more to come.

What do you think? What should I add?

‘Bling’ your blog in 10 minutes! Make it look great and help to make your school blog more user-friendly.

Moderating blog posts and comments.

Adding and managing users – simple but laborious method.

Embedding photos and video on your school blog.

Using categories and tags to organise your blog.

under: Blog development, Ferry Lane

Stuart Sutherland and John Sutton ran this discussion about the impact of blogging and other technology on parental engagement. The Ferry Lane blogs were showcased for their good practice, both for their innovative approaches to communication and the quality of work being produced. Click here for the article.

under: Blog development, education policy, Ferry Lane

brainpop article

Posted by: | January 21, 2011 | 3 Comments |

A recent article written for Brainpop.co.uk about the impact of blogging on children at Ferry Lane Primary School. Sharon wrote the bulk of the article (she is 10). Click the image below to read the article.

under: Blog development, Ferry Lane, Uncategorized