Get cracking with our Easter resources!

It may not feel like it but spring is nearly here, it’s the season of baby lambs, daffodils, chocolate, fluffy chicks, chocolate, longer days and new life. Did I mention chocolate? So, here are a few sugar-free egg-cellent ideas to use with your students this Easter. (sorry you will have to buy your own chocolate and put up with my egg-stremely bad puns!)

Busy things offer a range of Egg-ceptional digital content that you can use to explore the concept of Easter within your class. From designing your own digital Easter Egg (perfect for fine motor control in the EYFS) exploring the story of Easter in more depth or recreating your own Easter Sunday story.

To explore faith in greater depth you could use Espresso Faiths to look at how Easter is celebrated. Why not compare this with how different communities celebrate other spring festivals and ask your students to explore the common links that they can see in these celebrations?

Just 2 Easy has a range of digital tools to support you in making your own Easter resources, here are some ideas to get you cracking!

Why not create your own Easter egg hunt (you could use real eggs or printed out eggs) and then collate the data into j2Pictogram.

Hold an Easter egg popularity test (maybe with a small taste test) with j2Vote and then collate the data into a graph using j2graph, (if you are wondering I am hoping for a Daily Milk Fruit and Nut Easter egg!)

You could also take a virtual Easter Egg Hunt using Turtle, here is a template you can use.

Use j2Paint to design your own Easter eggs, great for fine motor skills, you can use this template.

Research the concept of Easter celebration across the world and create a presentation with j2e5, why not add an interactive quiz? You can use this template as an example.

Widgit Have an egg-stremely good set of activities from the Symbols Inclusion Project, Within the pack are two symbol supported stories about the events of Easter designed for different levels. The large symbol cards can be used in small group work to help retell a simple story. The longer story is supported by the vocabulary list for children to re-write their own version of the story on the Easter writing and drawing paper.

As Easter is also a time of rebirth and growth, why not use some of our science resources to kick start some egg-ploration into the topic of growth? The ever-popular i-Board has a range of life cycle activities such as Hatching a chick or planting a seed.

Switched on science have various units such as “Young Gardeners” which cover the concept of plant and animal growth, Switched on Science is a flexible and creative investigation-based program with a clear focus on working scientifically. It is packed with best-practice CPD videos and supportive lessons to ensure every teacher can deliver the curriculum with confidence.

Virtual Experiments also has a range of growth-related science activities, these ever-popular online resources are ideal for demonstrating difficult scientific concepts with the added benefit of minimising the time, mess and fuss involved in many experiments and allowing to repeat, slow down, stop or vary the conditions of the experiment.

Don’t forget you have the power of Creativity at your fingertips with the whole range of Adobe Creative Cloud tools to empower students to think creatively and communicate expressively, so they can turn their classroom ideas into college and career opportunities if you haven’t already signed up to receive your licences simply go here and sign up.

To get inspired for Easter just go to the Adobe Education Exchange, created for educators by educators, the Adobe Education Exchange is a free learning platform offering instant access to professional development, teaching materials, and other tools designed to egg-nite creativity in the classroom.

Have a look at Juliette Bentley’s (Teacher) idea of using Spark to create Easter Reflective Action Cards.

They contain a reading, a prayer and a call to action. The intention is that they are used for an opening to a Religious Education lesson (Catholic/Christian), during the period of Lent so that they can approach it mindfully. Teachers might email the asset out or print them and give each student a copy. Students then create their own card using Spark and this is then printed, laminated and given to the student to take home and share with their families.

Or why not use Susan Bell’s (Instructional Designer) idea to create an ecard with Photoshop

using a picture of your face, Easter eggs and an Easter bunny picture.

However, you fill the last few weeks before the Easter holidays we at London Grid for Learning want to give you a massive round of applause and thanks for all of your hard work so far this year and hope you have a restful break and are ready for an egg-citing Summer term!

If you do use any LGfL content in your school to inspire your students do let us know by posting them on LGfL’s twitter or Facebook pages

World Book Day 2020

World Book Day is a registered charity on a mission to give every child and young person a book of their own. It’s also a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

This is the 23rd year there’s been a World Book Day, and on 5th March 2020, children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading. Very loudly and very happily. The main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.

This World Book Day the goal is to ‘share a million stories’ across the UK on Thursday 5 March. So sign up and record every time you share a story to be in with a chance of winning £1,000 worth of books every week throughout March.

The World Book Day website is packed with resources for Nursery, Primary and Secondary schools with lesson plans, activity sheets, assembly plans, discussion guides and much more for you to use on the day. 

Their is also a second series of creative, inspiring and interactive films for you to screen in class at ANY TIME that suits you. These 12 new films have been created to inspire all students aged 5-12, whether they’re reluctant readers or aspiring authors and illustrators! Featuring a sensational line-up of authors and illustrators including Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida CowellEoin ColferMatthew SyedFrancesca SimonMatt HaigMuhammad Khan and Katherine Rundell. Every film comes with FREE classroom resources too!

Introduced this year is the World Book Day Social is a fun and informed online festival for young people taking place on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th March. Over two days and evenings, we’ll be sharing fun and inspiring content and chat with bestselling authors and illustrators, all based around our theme of READING IS POWER.

Schools can access the online festival during the day on our website and social media feeds with extra content for young people at our WORLD BOOK DAY AFTER DARK after-party from 7-9pm each night.

Featuring:

  • Exclusive Reading is Power podcasts
  • Power book reading recommendations
  • Power playlists for reading and working to, as recommended by your favourite authors and illustrators
  • Instagram real-time readalongs

Reading Zone Live from LGfL is the perfect resource to use within your class on World Book Day, the site is packed with interviews with authors including Michael Morpurgo, Oliver Jeffers, Jacqueline Wilson and Cressida Cowell to name a few. Alongside interviews with the authors explaining their inspiration and writing resources, there is also a range of resources for teachers to use in class.  

Busy Things have a wide range of resources to support reading and writing across the primary range. BusyPaint and publish has 100’s of templates to choose from with easy to use features that children can use to create their own stories. They have also handpicked a series of resources for World book day, as you can see below.

Or why not use the j2etool suite to complete one of the following activities: You could have a vote on World Book Day as to who the favourite author is in your class or school, ask the children to write a book review or a biography of their favourite author using j2e and finally they could use the tools in JIT to create an alternative book cover or design their own character. The tool suite includes templates that can be used on World book day and this will be live from 1st March.

The whole story resource from LGfL aims to explore how storytelling can maximise creativity within learning activities for children. By capturing the expert advice of a professional storyteller and arranging this advice into a simple interface, it is hoped that teachers of all age groups can get inspiration on how to incorporate storytelling across the curriculum.

Another fantastic resource to use on World Book Day is Listening books, these popular audiobooks for KS2-KS5 pupils are fantastic for supporting SEND pupils and feature both fiction and non-fiction titles.

Or use Talking Stories 1, Talking Stories 2, Talking stories 3 from 2Simple, on World Book Day, featuring stories that include: Orpheus and Eurydice, The Wishing Tree, Sherlock Holmes, Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Great Fire of London, these resources include teacher notes and lesson plans.

Don’t forget you can also listen to a range of books with Listening Books If you are not aware of Listening Books, it is a charity providing a service for people with print impairments. Reading is essential for any child’s success. All too often, the barriers faced by children with difficulty reading outweigh their desire to read and, without proper guidance, they never may never overcome them. Listening Books offers audiobooks which can be used with children and young people who struggle to read books in the usual way due to an illness, disability, learning or mental health difficulty.

There is a great range of fiction and non-fiction available to support pupils from Key Stage 2 up to A-Level, including:

  • British History Makers: King Henry VIII by Leon Ashworth
  • GCSE English: Of Mice and Men: The Text Guide by Coordination Group Publications
  • Secrets of the Rainforest: Predators and Prey by Michael Chinery
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming (Young Adult Version) by Al Gore
  • Dates with History: 6th August 1945 The Bombing of Hiroshima by John Malam
  • My Friend Walter by Michael Morpurgo
  • The Elements in Poetry: Poems about Fire edited by Andrew Fusek Peters
  • The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
  • Face by Benjamin Zephaniah

Dominic Traynor our Education Evangelist for Adobe has a project perfect for World Book Day which can be found on the Adobe Education Exchange here.

“This sequence of 5 lessons can be taught at any time of year once a group of students have finished studying a book in class. Alternatively, it can be taught in the lead up to World Book Day so that they have a video book review to share with the rest of the school.

It can also be condensed into a full day project for World Book Day itself. I would recommend completing the writing in the morning and then allowing students to film and edit in the afternoon.

Here is a great example of good book reviews in a primary/elementary school setting. For an idea of how to share their work in a special, whole school community celebration, watch this video of how a school near Manchester in the UK celebrated their work.”

Why not also use Adobe spark to design your own book cover and or retell or create alternative endings for well-known stories in Adobe Spark Video?

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) has a wide range of free resources for World Book day, for tips on running a successful day, developing a Reading for Pleasure school all year round and engaging parents with books and literacy. The resources for schools contain easy and fun activities based on key themes of creating, discover, experience, explore and imagine.

BBC Teach has put together a great collection of resources for Primary and Secondary pupils, perfect for inspiring your class.  Featuring awesome authors, authors live and a selection of well-known stories retold and brought to life in short animated films there is something for everyone.

With many people, noting that World Book Day had become just a chance for children to dress up the fantastic author Jo Cotterill has come up with a fantastic range of World Book Day Alternative ideas, these include Potato and Egg characters, donate a book and build a book scene in a box you can see these ideas and more here

Apple Books has a wide range of  Digital children’s books to download and read in primary and secondary classrooms usually you may not know that there are plenty of free books available too. To find books, try opening the Top Charts section where you will see the most popular paid-for and free books and don’t forget that when using iPad there is a range of accessibility features within Apple Books, including the ability to change the font size, background colour and have words read aloud when selected.

What do you have planned for World Book Day we would love to see your pictures and work please share via our twitter or Facebook pages #WorldBookDay2020

Original Post written by Dawn Hallybone edited for 2020 by Bradley Dardis

‘Our Diverse Planet’ – British Science Week (6th-15th March) 2020

The British Science Week, run by the British Science Association, takes place between 6th – 15th March 2020 and is for everyone to get involved with. It is a celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths. Applications for British Science Week 2020 grants are now closed (but make a note in diary for next year to apply by November; they especially encourage those who don’t usually engage with science to apply).

Their website has activity packs for Early Years, primary and secondary students; designed to be a one-stop-shop for supporting teachers during the week. The theme for the packs is ‘Our Diverse Planet’ – celebrating the amazing diversity we see across the world. From biodiversity to cultural and societal diversity, from the diversity of knowledge to STEM careers and subjects. There are lots of ways to explore this theme – and they would love to hear some of your ideas too!

The poster competition encourages you to Investigate and imagine ‘Our diverse planet’ and everything that makes it special. Here are some topic ideas they suggest to get you started:

Why not think about biodiversity? From the diversity in your own garden, to the diversity at the very bottom of the ocean, research all the amazing creatures and organisms that live on our planet. 

The diversity of science and STEM subjects. Have a think about all the diverse ways that science affects our lives and who you know that uses science every day. Is there science in baking and cooking? What about making a film or taking a picture? Or how about operating planes and cars? Remember that science is everywhere, you just have to look for it! 

Think about the other kinds of diversity our planet contains – from the variety of the molecules that make up essential parts of life, to the different ways our towns and cities are built, and the variation of people’s tastes and interests. 

Our planet is unique, but why not investigate what makes it different from the other planets in our solar system?

Andy Warhol once said, “I never read, I just look at pictures.” A poster competition is exciting way to spark creativity with students, engage them with a specific topic and get started with your free Adobe licenses (available to all LGfL schools). Adobe Spark for Education offers tools that are very easy to use, even for primary aged pupils! Using Adobe Spark Post pupils can easily create beautiful and professional looking posters in very short amount of time. Have a look at these amazing examples for ideas (remember the competition states it needs to be the pupils’ own ideas) or go through a short 45 minute, free online course on “Creating Posters with Your Students” at Adobe Education Exchange.

If you want to unleash your and your pupils full creative powers, you might want to try Adobe InDesign. Precise colour control, thousands of font choices, effective selection and editing tools – Adobe InDesign has everything you need to create a solid design on a large canvas. Creative Cloud tutorials offer you quick an easy way to get started with basics of all the Creative Cloud applications.

Over 900 schools have claimed their Adobe Creative Cloud licenses with LGfL last year, but if have not already done so, you still can at: https://www.lgfl.net/services/adobe-creative-cloud. There is also an exclusive opportunity for any LGFL school/teacher to join LGfL and Adobe’s Creative Jam on 27th February. The jam is about storytelling and will be organised in partnership with the Ocean Agency (fitting nicely in with the theme Our Diverse Planet for BSW). The people attending will be presented with a challenge involving creation of a video aimed to save the world’s coral reefs. There are very few places left, so if you are interested register without delay!

Furthermore, you may want to inspire your pupils to consider producing clips relating to Our Diverse Planet. There are a brilliant series of science videos on COBIS Young Scientist Film Awards website which demonstrate how best to use video during science week. (N.B The site restricts views, so recommends visiting You Tube to view them at https://www.youtube.com/user/COBISScienceAwards/playlists).

There are many resources that LGfL schools can use during this time to help you further explore the theme of Our Diverse Planet:

In the British Science Week KS2 activity pack there is an activity called “Diverse Places – Journey to Antarctica”. It states, 2020 marks the 200th anniversary of the first sighting of Antarctica. Since then it has been a destination for explorers and scientists whose voyages help inform us of the role this continent plays in our world. In their activity they suggest you will write a diary based on what you know about the explorer Bransfield’s journey to Antarctica. 

You could also use LGfL Polar Exploration resource to explore Shackleton’s adventure. LGfL worked with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University in creating this comprehensive resource, which provides a unique insight into the ‘Heroic Age of Scientific Discovery’.

 

The resource features exclusive access to the historic archive of the most famous polar expeditions of the 20th Century, including:

 

 

  • Video footage of equipment and artefacts from the most famous expeditions, complete with text transcripts of the expert explanations
  • High-resolution photographs of objects featured in the video footage
  • Journal extracts read by a descendant of a member of Captain Scott’s Discovery expeditio
  • Interactive map of the Polar Regions with plotted locations of the multimedia asset
  • The opportunity to meet a modern-day polar explorer and hear of his experiences living for extended periods of time in some of the world’s most extreme environments.
  • A wide range of learning materials to support KS2, KS3 and KS4.

If you are considering further investigation into what makes Earth different from the other planets in our solar system then you could explore LGfL’s Space Adventures – Mission to the Moon.

The resource is based around the intrepid astronaut Tazz Anderson and her on board computer (MIC) on her journey to the moon. Her mission is to bring the valuable, raw material ‘Dysprosium’ back to planet Earth for use in smart devices.

This unique and engaging cross-curricular resource is based around an original story, commissioned by LGfL, from the award-winning author Cath Howe. The resource features a comprehensive set of resources for maths, English and science and even a computing unit created by Max Wainewright. Watch the clip below about how you can take the resource even further, by experimenting with greenscreening with your pupils:

With Viral Contagion English and Viral Contagion Maths, students can use their maths and English skills to look at the journey and spread of a biological outbreak in South London.

Dramatised news reports describe the impact of the outbreak, challenging students to consider the use of language behind such scenarios and the need for effective communication to help save lives, alongside using their mathematical skills to understand the speed at which an outbreak can spread. This may be rather too close to current real events for some, with regards to current Coronavirus!

The entire primary ‘Switched on Science’ scheme, offers full coverage across both Key Stage 1 and 2 and is available with LGfL. It is a flexible and creative investigation-based programme with a clear focus on working scientifically. It is packed with best-practice CPD videos and supportive lessons to ensure every teacher can deliver the science curriculum with confidence. The package comes with all the additional resources teachers need to teach the entire science curriculum, ranging from a video for each unit, teacher guide, pupil workbooks, ideas for differentiation, and much more.

Virtual Experiments for Years 1-6, are soon to be retired on LGfL due to being flash-based. Please read the guidance related to this by clicking on the link and note that any resources labelled “legacy” on lgfl.net will be affected.

These resources (arranged for Years 1&2, 3&4 and 5&6) are ideal for demonstrating difficult scientific concepts – with the added benefit of:

  • Minimising the time, mess and fuss involved in experiments
  • Allowing you to repeat, slow down or vary the conditions of experiments
  • Being useful for revisiting key work pupils may have missed or forgotten

Busy Things have once again made things even simpler for you. They have a wide range of resources and games for use in Early Years, KS1 and KS2. There are over 100 activities that are linked to the science curriculum that could be used during your Science Week including writing projects, interactive worksheets, graph projects and printables. To begin your search, remember to click on the “Special Events” tab from the home page; this can then be used to look for resources relating to the British Science Week.

 

Remember also, that if you have created “new set ups” (ie your Year Groups or class names within Busy Things) you can pin their “Britsh Science Week” on to your class page; making it easier for you and your pupils to navigate to the suggested activities.

 

 

Widgit Symbols are simply drawn, colourful symbols designed to illustrate a single concept in a clear and concise way. They cover a range of topics (including science) wide enough to make them suitable for symbol users of all ages and abilities. Already used by many SEND departments and schools, the entire symbol database of over 15,000 images is available to you to search and download. The use of these symbols increases the accessibility of written text by giving readers of all literacy levels greater access to information. As they are designed specifically for written information, Widgit Symbol users can develop a real independence in reading and writing.

Look in WidgitActivities for visual, varied and differentiated worksheets which include Widgit symbols to help you making the curriculum accessible for all learners. The example below is from “Gases Around Us” in the Science section of Widgit Activities:

The ever-popular j2e Tool Suite can also be used during Science Week, for a range of activities. Why not get pupils to create a book in j2e about Shackleton’s journey to Antarctica, or make an animation of our diverse planet in JIT’s j2animate? Below is an example of a bean diary in j2animate:

You could also download our Significant People and Events resource for KS1 and KS2? This resource takes a handful of particularly important people and events to help pupils to investigate their impact on history. Using Augmented Reality you can simulate the spread of the Great Plague, or explore the first powered flight test and even touch down on the surface of the moon with a 3D animation of the Eagle landing. The resource is further explained by the creators below:

For the classroom why not download the collection of STEM role models posters celebrating women innovators illustrated by women artists? There are eight in the set and each poster is accompanied by a short biography of the women featured, not only raising awareness of their achievements but also hopefully inspiring a new generation of women to work in STEM.

Terrific Scientific from the the BBC is a set of curriculum-linked primary science resources for Key Stage 2 aimed at encouraging scientific enquiry. The resources focus on a series of practical classroom investigations linked to the curriculum, so teachers can use each one as a stand-alone science project, or as part of a bigger topic. For each investigation, there is an introductory film, fronted by well-known figures relevant to the age-group; a ‘how to…’ film which demonstrates the investigation, a downloadable teacher resource (including curriculum links) and student worksheets. Perfect for using in Science Week and beyond.

Explorify is another great site for free science resources. The Explorify activities are bitesize prompts for discussion and investigation, their high-quality image, video and hands-on activities are sure to spark curiosity and get your class thinking like scientists. Choose from a wide range of curriculum-linked, low-prep activities that will set young minds whizzing and whirring.

Reach out CPD is free science CPD for UK teachers, there are 30 courses for teaching 5-11 year olds covering everything from plants to planets. Each one provides teachers with concise topic knowledge and a whole raft of resources to use in class, including captivating short videos, practical activities and experiments, whiteboard visuals and more. Well worth checking out and sharing with colleagues.

The PSTT regional mentors’ role is to support primary schools with all aspects of science including curriculum development, teaching and assessment. They provide 1-2-1 mentoring for Science Leaders, deliver CPD to teachers and develop new science teaching resources. Tom Holloway and Kulvinder Johal have both said they are open to Science Leaders and teachers contacting them directly via email: Tom.Holloway@pstt.org.uk and kulvinder.johal@pstt.org.uk

Tom suggests the following activity for Science Week:

“A Science selfie competition where the children are challenged to bring in a photo of themselves doing something science related is another easy and engaging activity to run during science week. With this it’s nice to emphasise to children the ubiquity of science and how they can be really creative – science really is everywhere! Getting all teachers to do an Explorify activity at the start/end of every day is another easy way celebrating science week for busy teachers. Also showing their children the latest edition of reach out reporter, https://www.reachoutreporter.com/ is another great and easy way of celebrating science during science week.” 

Whatever you are doing for British Science Week we would love you to share your work using @LGfL resources on our Twitter or Facebook pages #BSW20.

Christmas Crackers 2019

‘It’s’ nearly here and we know as teachers how hard it is to get through the final weeks of the Autumn term. It’s cold, dark and wet, you are exhausted because of grotto duty at the Christmas Fair, you have been trying to get the glitter out of your hair for several days, sorting out yet again who gets the toy from the cracker during the Christmas lunch or going to yet another Christmas production practice! It leaves gaps in your day which you may not know how to fill, which is why we are offering you a range of stocking fillers to help you fill those moments!

Busy Things offers a range of fun, festive digital content that you can use to get that much-needed magical moment of peace within in your class. From designing your own digital Christmas card, decorating your own tree (perfect for fine motor control in the EYFS), writing a letter to Santa, exploring symmetry through making your own snowflakes, or building a digital snowman you can use the many fun, interactive tools.

Busy Things have just released an updated ‘Santa’s Sleigh Ride’; in this fun game the pupils help Santa to get as many presents delivered as possible! In the daytime, they collect as many presents as they can using the ‘giddy-up’ button to keep him in the air (on a desktop computer you can use the space bar too). They should make sure they avoid the red monsters or else it’s game over! At night time, they drop the presents down the chimneys by pressing the ‘throw present’ button (on a desktop computer they can use the space bar too). There are 3 other ways to play the game: ‘Words’ within this mode at night time you must select the present that matches the label on the chimney, ‘Mental Maths’ they must select the present that match the amount on the chimney and ‘Shapes and colours’ during night time you must select the present that matches the shape/colour on the chimney.

Also, newly added are more fun colouring sheets which you can use digitally via Busy Paint or simply print them out.

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The j2e Tool Suite has a Christmas winter wonderland tab where you can access a bumper pack of festive treats. Why not try playing a game of digital noughts and crosses festively named ‘Shepherds and Wise Men”, play a word matching game or create your own digital nativity scene?

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Did you know that all of these resources are made with the powerful j2e5 application? If you select the edit button on each activity you can see how the activity was made and then ask your students to edit the activity.

Many J2e tools have also had a Christmas makeover:

  • J2data (Branch): a Christmas set of resources to sort – elves, reindeer, gingerbread men etc. – plus a Christmas background and the clothes category are all winter clothes.
  • J2Pictogram: a set of high-quality Christmas clip art images to use.
  • JIT: Both Write and Paint have had a festive makeover, with a Christmas background in Write and Paint having high-quality Christmas clip art images to use.
  • J2code: Visual has a reindeer instead of the usual penguin sprite (also a new update enables you to search via safe search where you find more Christmas sprites with ease).
  • J2e also offers analogue activities such as making yummy festive biscuits. Remember to go back every day to open the advent calendar to see the latest activity!

Your students don’t need to be visited by the Ghost of Christmas past to see what has happened at Christmas time in the past. Let them search The Guardian and The Observer Archives, they go all the way back to 1791 and offer a window into celebrations from years gone by; great for your students to research and compare modern traditions with those in the past. Look at my previous post on other ways to use this resource too.

Widgit has 3 ready-made activity packs you can download for Christmas, which can be found in the activities area of the Widgit resource.

  • Christmas Cards: 3 ready to print and fold Christmas card designs. Provided in the pack is a full-colour card for each of 3 designs or to make it more personal, each design also has a ‘colour your own’ version. Each card features Widgit Symbols and pictures and a symbolised greeting message on the front.
  • Christmas Pack: Worksheets and activities from the Symbols Inclusion Project, This pack contains a range of 21 activities based around the secular aspects of Christmas, suitable for children of different ages and abilities. The more difficult activities are numbered towards the end of the list. included in the pack is an interesting German folklore story about why we put tinsel on a Christmas tree.
  • Nativity Pack: Worksheets and activities from the Symbols Inclusion Project, 12 Nativity and Christmas themed activities and stories: colouring, word search, letters to Santa.
  • There are also ready-made packs for St Lucia (the Swedish Festival of Light) and Hanukkah. These resources are for whole-class work, small groups and independent workers. There are symbol–supported stories, text-only stories, information sheets, recipes, crosswords, word searches and much, much more.

Audio Network has over 60,000 professionally produced tracks that can be searched by keyword or mood. Why not search for ‘festive’, ‘jolly’ or ‘Christmas’? You can use the tracks in lessons, performances and for any videos you create in school – without breaking any copyright rules!

Here are my 5 top picks from the Christmas jukebox:

  • Swingle Bells: who needs the Michael Buble Christmas album when you have this up-tempo Christmas classic? (Cocktail, swing, jazz with crooning male vocal).
  • Swing Merry Gentlemen: Jazz trio arrangement of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’.
  • The Holly and the Ivy: Traditional English Christmas carol played by a brass band.
  • Rockin’ Wizards: A very familiar-sounding glam rock tune.
  • Warm And Toastie: Display an open fire video on the IWB, get out the marshmallows and put on this warm and cosy song.

We also have Espresso Faiths to look at how Christmas is celebrated. Why not compare this with how different communities celebrate festivals and ask your students to explore the common links that they can see in the religious celebrations?

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If you love an advent calendar (I know I do; I have 6 in my house!) have a look at the wonderful work of one of our Digital Excellence Award Winners, Simon Pile, with this wonder ‘Doodle-a-day’ book (designed for anyone aged 4 to 94). This book contains 25 Keynote doodle challenges to put you in a festive mood. Day-by-day you can build your skills using Keynote and move from adding a simple drawing to creating a whole animated movie with sound and music. So, download the book today and get ready to doodle!

and dont forget its never to late to send a Christmas card, unlock creativity this festive season and design your electronic (and environmentally friendly) Christmas greetings using #adobespark. Start your design from scratch or use the ready-made template Christmas Card designs, available here

Whilst we are sorry to say we can’t get round to everyone’s house to drop something in their stockings, we can give you to the gift of Pledge2020. We are giving schools a bandwidth boost, putting more security into our network and putting in fantastic equipment AT NO ADDITIONAL COST – to help enhance the use of hardware within your school all you have to do is push the “count me in” button #PoweredbyPledge2020.

Also, a quick reminder that we also have this blog post about using Christmas media within school.

However you fill the last weeks of this school year, we at LGfL want to give you a massive round of applause and thank you for all of your hard work and support this year. We hope you have a restful break and are ready for an exciting 2020! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Please share your Christmas creations with us on LGfL’s Twitter or Facebook. 

 

LGfL Digital Excellence Awards 2020

 

We are pleased to announce that the Digital Excellence Awards 2020 competition in now open; celebrating best practice and innovative approaches in using the wide range of learning resources and services provided by LGfL.

Please visit awards2020.lgfl.net.

We will be accepting entries to the five categories as detailed here (follow the links for entry forms):

Category 1 – Digital Excellence Award: Innovative Use of LGfL Content Form 1

Category 2 – Digital Excellence Award: Inclusive Practice Using LGfL Resources Form 2

Category 3 – DigiSafe Excellence Award: Keeping Children Safe Online – A Joined-up Safeguarding and Curriculum Approach Form 3

Category 4 – Digital Excellence Award: Whole School Cloud Transformation Form 4

Category 5 – Digital Excellence Award: Innovative Use of Adobe Creative Cloud Form 5

This year we have included a cash prize of £1000 in addition to the physical award and an image you can display on your school website. The closing date for entries is 28th February 2020.

Why do schools enter the LGfL Awards?

Schools will have different reasons for entering, but one common theme is usually the desire to receive validation and recognition for the school’s digital journey with the support of LGfL and this year of course there is a cash prize too!

What impact might winning the LGfL Award have on your school?

Previous winners (and those who were highly commended) comment that not only did it give the school a boost and recognition for the work they have done, but it also provided them with a platform to build on and further embed the use of technology and LGfL resources throughout the school and support others to do so too. 

The previous winners would urge others to just give it a go! They say it gives you the opportunity to reflect on what your school has implemented in terms of a digital strategy and may also help you to prioritise future plans. So what are you waiting for?

For more like this visit LGfL TV where you can listen to a range of winning schools talking about the reasons why they entered, the impact the awards have had and much more.

Please let us know  of any suggestions for blog posts or indeed if you would like to write a guest post by contacting us on LGfL’s Twitter or Facebook. 

 

 

Promoting Reading for Pleasure with Author Interviews

Last month, a new “The Demon Headmaster Series” started on the CBBC channel (and it is also available on the BBC iPlayer). The new series replicates much of what was terrific about the original series – playing into school children’s concerns about feeling like an outsider, with genuinely great twists. There are also nods to this new series taking place in 2019, with references to social media, hashtags and overpriced hot chocolate. 

You may be wondering, “what this has to do with an LGfL curriculum blog post?” Gillian Cross, the author of The Demon Headmaster is one of the many authors featured in our ReadingZone Live resource on LGfL. So, if the pupils in your class are currently enjoying this children’s series on the television you could explore Gillian’s interview on ReadingZone Live with them. 

The huge range of author interviews hosted on LGfL’s ReadingZone Live resource can be the ideal place to start if you are looking to encourage reading for pleasure with the pupils at your school. The resource will enable the pupils to explore where published authors get their ideas from and also to have a better understanding of a range of approaches to developing story plots, characters and settings.

Recently, Sibel Pounder’s interview has been added to this extensive collection; in her much loved Bloomsbury series, she writes about fabulous mermaids, witches and feisty fairies. You may be using Sibeal’s series of books whilst studying fantasy narratives or have chosen one as a class read whilst you explore topics such as ‘Enchanted Woodlands’ or ‘Oceans and Seas’. 

Many other resources hosted on LGfL can complement a study of such literature. If you want your pupils to design a book jacket or create a storyboard for planning out their ideas for their own narratives featuring a mermaid, witch or fairy you could do so using Busy Things. Watch Sibeal talk about how she uses story maps in her writing in the clip below. 

BusyThings hosts a wealth of exciting activities to explore within the topic of traditional fairy tales too. The stories included are “The Three Little Pigs”, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, “The Gingerbread Man”, “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”. Each story is retold in a fun manner, with follow up activities such as sequencing, picture ordering and building your own story scene.

In addition, remember there are a whole host of other activities available in Busy Things too. The geography section, for example, contains ‘maps and locational knowledge’ and ‘human and physical geography’ sections. Once your Headteacher has completed the data declaration release to allow LGfL USO log-in to work with Busy Things you can use the “curriculum browser” function (available in the “teacher mode”) where you can explore different search terms and this will also enable access to Busy Things at home for pupils and teachers alike.

You could further explore the story blueprints of fairytales with your pupils by listening to several of the six traditional tales featured in this resource. The pupils could then complete the accompanying activities included with each fairytale (matching, sequencing, spelling, comprehension, prepositions and pronouns etc).

The LGfL EYFS Spotlight series features a “Fairytales” topic where you will find further suggested activities to complete with younger pupils. One suggests using JIT Infant Toolkit “Paint, Animate and Mix” tabs to retell a familiar tale and to then ask the children to remix the fairy tale. The pupils could change the settings by choosing one of the many different backgrounds found within j2e or they could change the main characters by exploring the characters found in j2e clip art folder. Click here for an example. The possibilities are endless!

Within the resource Widgit you can also find pre-made resources to support traditional tales including ‘The Three Pigs’, ‘Snow White’, ‘Red Riding Hood’, ‘Goldilocks’, ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’. Each story has a fully comprehensive pack with a variety of differentiated activities, which include the story, sequencing activities, worksheets, crossword, matching activities, drawing, storyboard and play-script, all using the Widgit communication system as a scaffold to support all learners.

Remember, if you are based in a primary school you can claim 30 Adobe Creative Licenses with your Let’s Get Digital Subscription; with this creative tool the pupils could explore different designs for the worlds the characters inhabit  and so much more. 

Please let us know if you would like to write a guest blog for your use of LGfL resources and the impact they have had with your pupils and the school. Remember to share these examples via our Twitter and Facebook pages too.

 

 

European day of Languages 26th September 2019

The 26th of September is European Day of Languages. It aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning for everyone. At the initiative of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, the European Day of Languages has been celebrated every year since 2001 on 26 September.

It is celebrated

  • to alert the public to the importance of language learning in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding
  • To promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe
  • To encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school

The European Day of Languages website has a vast range of resources for teachers to use both on the day and on the lead up these include lessons plans, quizzes, language facts and fun, a teachers area and the chance to create the design to be featured on the official 2019 t-shirt.

This year they are inviting everyone to participate in a language challenge around the European Day of Languages! The 51 challenges contained within the hand book encourage learners to go a little outside their comfort zone and take advantage of the plentiful opportunities to practice or learn more about a language beyond a classroom context.  You can choose easy challenges that don’t take much time – such as “count from 1-10 in 3 different languages within one minute” to ones that are a bit more demanding.  You can find more about the challenges here.

The short video below would be an excellent way to introduce the day in assembly entitled Hello! Talk to me!  You could also Invite pupils and parents who are EAL speakers to give language tasters in their mother tongue and talk about their culture.

In this small booklet you will find examples of the many languages spoken in Europe, including numbers to ten and simple greetings.

LGfL have a range of resources to help with your language teaching within school these include the following: Rigolo (primary French) and Vamos Unit 1 and 2 (primary Spanish).

Busy Things have labelling activities for KS2 pupils in both French and Spanish; looking at colours, food, drinks and body parts. If you go to the special events section you will already find a range of activities already sorted for European Day of Languages that you can then pin to your class page for easy use.

Or why not invite children to come to school dressed in the colours of the flag of a European country of their choice, they could also research and present facts about their country including famous people, geographical features and famous landmarks from the country. They could use j2e tool suite to present their work. This could also include planning a trip around Europe, or a travel brochure for their country. The European Commission have a range of resources to support teaching and learning about Europe including maps and a range of information booklets.

Or why not hold a European food tasting session, a European Food Market after school or create a menu from a country or even a cookbook of Europe – the Cookit resource from E2bn features a range of recipes from across Europe.

The day would be an excellent day to launch The Young Interpreter Scheme®, this recognises the huge potential that exists within each school community for pupils of all ages to use their skills and knowledge to support new learners of English so that they feel safe, settled and valued from the start.

The supporting content, which is available to LGfL schools, supports the selection of children and young people based on specific different personal qualities they may have. The materials also offer specific training to equip learners as they begin their new role as Young Interpreters.

The support Young Interpreters can offer to a newly-arrived pupil can be very reassuring from a parent or carer’s point of view at a time when their child may be adapting to substantial changes. It also supports school staff in a variety of ways at different points during the school day. The online materials offered by LGfL support schools in implementing the Young Interpreter Scheme and training their learners.

The Hampshire EMTAS EAL E Learning resources available through LGfL provide a set of high-quality, cross-phase, interactive online training units based around catering for the needs of EAL learners.This resource is aimed at Governors, Inclusion managers, Teachers and TAs/LSAs. It has particular relevance for NQTs and trainee teachers.

  • The E Learning consists of a number of different units including Introduction, Core Principles, Working with Parents, SEND and EAL, Bilingualism and Teaching and Learning
  • The materials have been developed by specialist teachers of EAL in conjunction with senior leaders and class teachers based in local schools
  • They contain a variety of interactive learning materials supported by text, images, podcasts and video
  • There are assessable assets and free-form activities that enable learners to reflect on their current practice
  • The materials can be visited at a learner’s own pace and in their own time-frame
  • The system records progress throughout each unit
  • Completed units are certificated by the system and can form part of a learner’s CPD

Into Film have a range of resources to support European Day of Languages – this resource contains a guide to seven films, which have been specially selected to be accessible to learners aged 7-19. The guides include discussion questions and activity ideas to encourage learners to ask and answer questions about films that reflect different cultures and ways of life around the world. The flims and languages featured in the resources are; Wadjda (Arabic), La Famille Belier (French), Max Minsky und Ich/ Max Minsky and Me (German), La Juala de Oro/ The Golden Dream (Spanish), Goodbye Lenin! (German) and Carlitos y el Campo de los Suenos/ Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime (Spanish).

Film represents a valuable tool to support language learning; students will find themselves engaged by the characters, story, and representation of culture as well as absorbing how the language is spoken. Useful to increase vocabulary and improve pronunciation as well as enhancing listening skills, this selection of films represents the most widely studied Modern Foreign Languages as well as celebrating the film culture of France, Spain and Germany, with films for both Primary and Secondary students.

LGfL schools could also make use of the Adobe tools and either use Adobe Spark or Adobe Spark video to create their own posters and videos to celebrate languages spoken.

Lightbulb Languages is a fantastic website with a vast range of resources for use in both the Primary and Secondary classroom, packed with over 6000 language resources written by language teachers for language teachers it is one of those must book mark sites to use in class. The site includes, planning, display ideas, flashcards and games.

The Language Magician is a free primary languages assessment tool in the form of a computer game that assesses in the following languages: English, German, French, Italian and Spanish as a foreign language. Help, explanation and story is available in English, German, Italian and Spanish. As a teacher, you can select a new test language and support language for each session. The project co funded by Erasmus and with the European Union is available both through a browser as well as a free app. The video below gives a brief overview of the game:

The Association for Language learning have a wealth of links and articles to support European Day of languages including an excellent wiki to support learning languages through literary texts.

There is also a podcast that covers European Day of Languages from #MFLTwitteratiPodcast which you can listen to here.

What are you doing to celebrate? We would love to hear from you and share your celebrations via our Twitter or Facebook pages.

Rugby World Cup 2019

The 9th Rugby World Cup kicks off on the 20th September 2010 and runs until the final on the 2nd November 2019.  It is the first time that the event will be held in Asia and will feature teams from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland alongside another 16 competing nations.

The World Cup provides a wide range of teaching activities to use across the curriculum, in this blog we have collated resources that can be used from LGfL as well as resources that are available free to use.

This term is perfect for introducing pupils to the game of rugby in PE lessons, because of the time difference the games will be on TV in the morning, the National Curriculum states that pupils should:

play competitive games, modified where appropriate, and apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending

At Primary school, this will take the form of Tag rugby, players tuck coloured bands into their shorts, one at each side. A player is tackled if these bands are removed, leaving them with three seconds to pass the ball. The non-contact nature means boys and girls of any fitness level can play together on a variety of surfaces, without the fear of getting hurt. The video below gives an introduction to Tag rugby:

For more support Six Stages to Rugby has been designed to illustrate and explain the skills and techniques that are required to introduce the Game of Rugby to young players.It should be noted that these are six stages and not six lessons, but give an overview of what can be used in lessons. Teach PE also has lots of ideas and suggestions for teaching Rugby from Primary up to Secondary school, also great for ideas if running a rugby club after school.

Tagtiv8 a company that promotes physical active learning also has a range of free resources on their site that can be used in lessons to combine PE with Maths and Literacy, another great way to get started. The resources combine physical activity with English and Maths, research carried out by Leeds Beckeet University demonstrates that Tagtiv8 PAL (Physical Activity Learning) solutions tackle inactivity and obesity.  You can find out more about Physical Active Learning in the video below:

The author Tom Palmer has also produced a new Rugby Academy compilation edition and free accompanying resources to promote reading for pleasure during the tournament. Now is the time for children to read more about the game that is capturing their imagination: Websites. Fiction. Non-fiction. Newspapers. Magazines. Rugby can help children enjoy reading for pleasure. You can download free samples of the books, alongside suggested activities and games that can be used throughout the tournament.

Maths in the Real World is a transition resource for Key Stage 2-3. The activities are ideal for use either before or after the move from Primary to Secondary, and detailed differentiation ensures there is something for all ability levels. Three of the sections are perfect to use during the World Cup.

The first is called Arenas and Events, this resource engages students by applying maths to planning and organising arena events. Pupils will cover a wide range of topics over a series of 6 lessons. By adopting a variety of roles they will cover Area, Perimeter, Volume, Rounding, Translation and Rotation along with a few other strands interwoven to the lesson design. This resource contains 6 complete lessons worth of plans and resources, ready for you to deliver. There is a huge scope for easy to implement differentiation for your learners and plenty of cross curricular links, too. The sessions can be delivered in one go, or in chunks to suit your curriculum needs. You can also use this site to look at all the venues being used at the World Cup.

Next is sporting decisions, this engages learners through applying Maths to analyse sport. Pupils will cover a wide range of data-handling techniques over the course of 3 lessons to help them pick a winning team. By adopting the role of club manager, they will also apply fractions and percentages to help their decision making process.

Finally Nutrition, which looks at children planning and analysing meal plans. Students will have to apply their problem-solving and use inequalities, charts and graphs to justify their choices. It will also help students to discover what makes a healthy choice and learn the recommended daily allowance for different food criteria. The resource includes all of the necessary nutrition information, along with 3 sample menus for pupils to appraise. The resource is easily accessible for all learners, and can be extended for higher ability. The children can for example plan a menu for a World Cup player.

For Secondary students, there is a great unit from NZ maths that requires students to use statistics about the top ranked teams in the 2019 Rugby World Cup to predict the winner of the World Cup, justifying their prediction using data. It includes lesson plans and resources.

No World cup is complete without a song! World in Union was first performed at the Rugby World Cup 1991 in England and has featured at every tournament since, typically performed by a well-known artist or group from the tournament’s host country. It has been sung in a variety of musical styles from classical opera to traditional South African male vocal ensemble, and recorded in numerous languages including English, French, Welsh, Maori and Japanese. A new version of World in Union, the official anthem, has now been released featuring Japanese artist Kiyoe Yoshioka.

You could use this version and compare to previous versions and why not get the children to make their own version! Using Audio Network for the backing track and j2e tools to write the lyrics children can create their own version of what the World in Union means to them.

This would also be a perfect time to get the children to be creative making use of the amazing Adobe tools that are part of your LGfL subscription. Using Adobe Spark the children could create posters about the game or quotes to inspire the players like the image below.

Or you you could also use Adobe Spark Video and get the children to produce their own World in Union video, compose a good luck message for their team or a guide to how to play rugby the only limit with the tools is their imagination.

J2e Tools can be used in a variety of ways including: Designing a kit for your favourite time, or why not use the data bases tool to do some real time maths statistics – looking at points scored, tries scored, number of red/yellow cards etc.  Or how about writing a guide to Japan and the cities that are hosting the matches, you can find a lot of information here, on the official welcome page for fans but what information isn’t included that the children would find useful – they could write an alternative guide! The children could use j2vote at the start of the competition to vote for who they think will be picking up the Webb Ellis cup on the 2nd November!

BusyThings also have a range of resources that can be used including: writing a match report, writing about a player from their favourite team and designing a kit, although these are tagged for football they could be easily adapted.

Lightbulb Languages have produced a range of resources in English, Spanish and French for the World Cup, these include the languages of the World Cup, activities, and displays.

Please let us know via our Twitter or Facebook pages or in the comments section of this blog if you make use of any of the resources or ideas from this blog.

 

 

 

International Literacy Day 8th September 2019

September 8th marks UNESCO’s International Literacy day, raising awareness globally on the issues surrounding adult and child literacy. First held in 1966 and now part of the UN’s sustainable development goals program adopted in 2015, International Literacy day highlights the changes and improvements being made worldwide in literacy development.

International Literacy Day 2019 is an opportunity to express solidarity with the celebrations of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages(link is external)and the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Special Needs Education, at which the Salamanca Statement on Inclusive Education was adopted.  International Literacy Day 2019 will focus on ‘Literacy and Multilingualism’. Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist, distributed unevenly across countries and populations. Embracing linguistic diversity in education and literacy development is central to addressing these literacy challenges and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

On the occasion of International Literacy Day 2019, the main characteristics of multilingualism in today’s globalised and digitalised world will be discussed, together with their implications for literacy in policies and practice in order to achieve greater inclusion in multilingual contexts.

LGfL have a range of resources to support not just International Literacy day but with Literacy throughout the curriculum.

j2e Tool suite offers a range of resources including:

j2write J2write enables schools to meet the literacy requirements of the national curriculum programmes of study for KS1, KS2 and KS3. From writing to animation, recording speech, mixing it up and blogging. J2write adds a framework around the most popular writing tools within j2e providing lesson plans and examples. Whether you are using JIT with early years, j2bloggy with Year 6 or above, or something in-between, there is a set of lesson plans to help you get started. There are sections on learning objectives and outcomes, cross curricular links, extension activities, and assessment. The detailed lesson plans help you though classroom use of the tools, step by step. They can easily be adapted to work with whatever topic your class is currently working on

Spell blast is a fantastic interactive way of learning spellings, pupils can either go live, choose from a level and teachers can also set their own spelling lists for classes/year groups. Using their USO log in means that children can access the resource at home and at school.

 

Busy Things have a vast range of resources that support Literacy across the Primary phase.

In teacher mode – teachers are able to use either the Curriculum search and find activities linked to the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2 as well as the EYFS framework or able to enter a search term e.g. phonics and find a range of activities that meet this search.

Phonics maker enables teachers to create their own phonics resources for their students, the resource includes grapheme cards, letter formation, missing letters and matching all linked to Letters and Sounds Phases 1-5 as well as teachers being able to choose their own content if they follow a different scheme. The video below gives an overview on how to make the most of this fantastic resource.

Busy Paint and Publisher has 100 of templates to use across the curriculum with easy to use features. The video below gives an overview of how to make use of this fantastic resource:

Linked into the theme of multilingualism, BusyThings resources also cover French and Spanish with a range of activities that can be used across the key stages.

Or why not get creative with Adobe Spark, we loved seeing a tweet from @FunkyPedagogy, who shared her Word of the Week resources they used last year all using Adobe Spark and all kindly uploaded for teachers to look/use adapt/ignore as you like! You can find them via her tweet here. You can see an example below, but this is just one of the many great ways that you can make use of Adobe within the classroom, don’t forget to claim your Adobe licences as part of your LGfL subscription here.

Listening books offers over 100 curriculum based audio books, titles can be streamed direct for group listening in class or for individuals to listen with headphones. These are excellent to listen to in class or to support SEND learners with literacy or for those who need some calming down time for their wellbeing. Listening Books is a charity and these books must only be used with students who have an illness, physical or learning disability of mental health condition which impacts on their ability to read or hold a book.

To listen to a book follow the steps below:

  1. Log onto the Listening Books website with your LGfL USO account.
  2. Search the catalogue for a book to which you would like to listen.
  3. Press the ‘play’ symbol and the book will begin!

You are able to view a full list of the books available on the summary page here.

Alongside Listening Books, you can also access 15 free e books from Rising Stars for ages 7-14. These eBooks can be used on any device, from PCs and netbooks to iPads and Kindles. Each book also comes with teacher’s notes and activities meaning that they are ideal  for use with 1:1 as well as during guided reading sessions.

The Whole Story resource aims to explore how storytelling can maximise the creativity within learning activities for children. By capturing the expert advice of a professional storyteller, and arranging this advice into a simple interface, it is hoped that teachers of all age groups can get inspiration on how to incorporate storytelling across the curriculum. Structured thoughts and examples on how to take hidden and or less obvious stimulus within an image or object offer new opportunities for teachers to explore with their learners.

Fairy tales – Each of the six fairy tales is broken down into one bite-sized sentence per scene, using the first 100 high-frequency words.

This allows learners to easily follow, understand and remember the stories, and helps ensure access to the curriculum for all. Pupils can watch at their own pace, and opt to turn on or off the accompanying text and symbols. Animated characters bring each scene to life, with differentiated activities to help include all learners. Within each story, pupils can choose their own motivator, which rewards them as they successfully complete activities, and there are four ability levels for even further differentiation.

In the same format as Fairy Tales, Early Shakespeare takes two favourite Shakespeare plays – Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  SEN assist have transformed them into literacy exercises that are likely to prove popular with pupils across the ability spectrum. The two plays are broken down into one bite-sized sentence per scene, using the first 100 high-frequency words. This allows learners to easily follow, understand and remember the stories, and helps ensure access to the curriculum for all.

For creating, Super Action Comic Maker is great for Art and for Literacy, allowing pupils to bring their own superhero to life and not only add and customise backgrounds and superheroes, but also speech and effect bubbles to create a narrative.

Picture book maker is an online tool that allows children to create their own picture books based on the children’s illustrator Sarah Dyer, all set in London Zoo another great resource to use not only on International Literacy Day but throughout the year.

Don’t forget we also have a 5 Ways to support Literacy , the aim of 5 ways is to showcase five ways to use LGfL resources across the curriculum that you can take and use and share for example, they can be shared in the staff room, at INSET sessions and also given to parents so that they can support their children’s learning at home.

There are also a range of tools that you can use for Literacy, one of our favourites is Book Creator, book creator one for the ipad is free as is the online version if you make 40 books. This is a great tool to use to create cross curricular books within class, there is an excellent blog post entitled 50 ways to use book creator in your classroom that has a range of ideas. Describing words does what the title suggests, students can enter nouns into the search bar and then are presented with a range of adjectives – great for inspiring descriptive writing and poetry.

Literacy Apps from the National Literacy Trust, is a guide that aims to help parents and teachers get the most out of apps that support language and literacy development. Some of the apps recommended in this guide need to be paid for and some offer further in app purchases.

Storybird lets anyone make visual stories in seconds. They curate artwork from illustrators and animators around the world and inspire writers of any age to turn those images into fresh stories, it is also free for any educational setting. You can search art work, as well completing challenges and reading guides to inspire writing of different genres. The blog also features a weekly prompt which could be used as an early work exercise or for homework.

What are you doing for International Day of Literacy, do let us know by sharing your ideas and work via our Facebook and Twitter or in the comments below.

The Spirit of Endeavour: Encouraging creativity in our schools

The film First Man is well-crafted and an exciting watch that features excellent performances and realistically depicts the preparations and risks associated with the launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. To a certain extent, the film is less about the events of the mission and more about the pressures, dreams and realities of the spirit of endeavour during the cold war within the backdrop of the race between the Soviet Union and USA to conquer space. Throughout the film, the theme of mortality is explored both within Neil Armstrong’s own immediate family and within the broader context of the NASA team preparing for their mission.

Watching it made me realise how similar the story of the Apollo missions are to LGfL’s Space Adventures  which takes learners through the different stages of a mission from pre-launch preparations, to inflight challenges and eventual return back to earth. It features support for the Science, Literacy and Maths curriculum with a whole section created by Max Wainewright mapped to the Computing curriculum.

Virtual Reality is used to provide learners with the part of the mission on the moon where the intrepid astronaut Tazz is required to mine the raw material Dysprosium, a mineral prized back on earth for use in the construction of our smart phones. Our partners at Inspryo recently provided an update to our new KS1 AR resource Significant People; it now has a VR element – a Lunar VR experience which places you in the space suit of Neil Armstrong and allows the viewer to explore the surface of the moon and view the experiments that were completed during that first expedition to the moon.

Within the Space Adventures resource, there are many opportunities for learners to explore issues of mortality, morality and environmental issues through poignant video content and through the unique narrative created by award winning author Cath Howe. It has been fantastic to see how the resource has captured the imagination in schools recreating the spirit of adventure and endeavour.

The Polar Exploration in the Heroic Age of Scientific Discovery produced in partnership with the Scott Polar Research Institute covers similar themes of Scientific exploration on the limits of human knowledge and understanding within the context of the time. The extraordinarily primitive equipment is often a revelation to our smart phone generation of learners in schools today. Exning Primary School used their recent investment in Chrome books and Class VR headsets to recreate their own polar landscapes to demonstrate their knowledge learned.

As LGfL launches its bold partnership with Adobe to provide the Creative Cloud Suite of professional creative tools to schools, we hope that teachers and learners will accept our very modern challenge and aim to pioneer in the way that many of our hero’s from the past did through their own creative endeavours. There are plenty of support opportunities on offer via the LGfL training portal to equip teachers with the required insights and skills with the Adobe tools. Related to the Moon landing… our introductory course on Photoshop ‘Get started with Imaging’ at the Adobe Education Exchange is about the Apollo 11 moon landing.  The course covers the teaching basics of Photoshop with the project ‘I was there when…’ and shows how you can put yourself into a historic photo.

We want our learners and teachers to explore their own creativity in ways no one has previously, to inspire each other through their own creative adventures and focus on the issues that affect and concern them, be that climate change, politics, self-image or storytelling though images, video or sound.

By continuing to work with world class partners, LGfL hopes to help create a new spirit of creative endeavour in our schools and lead the way in what can be achieved through creative, collaborative thinking and self-expression.

We would love to see the work you with Adobe tools in your classroom via our Twitter or Facebook pages.

B.Usher, LGfL Content Manager