A Parents’ / Carers’ Guide to Home Learning

Readers, this is a slightly different blog aimed at parents and carers – please, if you can, share the blogpost with parents/carers via your chosen communication channels.

As a parent and as a teacher with 2 primary aged children, I can fully understand the daunting task of having to home school children for a period of time. With schools in the UK closing for most children, I have put together a guide on how to establish Home Learning and the best ways to use LGfL Content to support this.

But first, let me introduce to who I am: my name is Bradley, a father of 2 children both in Primary school, I was a primary school teacher specialising in Computing and Early Years for over 12 years before working with LGfL as learning resource consultant.

LGfL is an education Charity that focus on supporting technology use within schools, we provide broadband to many schools in London and nationwide, with this service we also provide schools access to a range of award-winning online learning resources. It may be that your child recognises the online tools and learning resources because many are already used in their school but for others, they may be unfamiliar. 

Normally to access our content you would need a username (USO) and password provided to you via your student’s school due to school closures, we have oped up many of our resources so that you can access them without needing to use a username/password and we have groups our best resources for use for home learning which you can find via this link:  hlresources.lgfl.net

You will note the home learning can also be organised in Key Stages. This will help you to find resources suitable for the age of your child. 

Now, what can you do at home? Here are some key tips to help with home learning.

Establish routines:

We are all in the same situation here. Everyone’s anxious. No one was planning on this, you need to come up with a structure to your day because children thrive on structure and routine, this will be the things that children will miss the most, set a timetable up, you may find this pack from our resource Widgit useful.

Simply-drawn, colourful symbols to illustrate concepts in a clear and concise way. (for more details on this resource please follow the link) the pack contains a Visual Timetable, as well as a behaviour chart or if you want a head start you may want to use a timetable which I have created for my children, here it is in a Word doc and also the same timetable with Widgit symbols.

You can also find useful printables activities with the activities section of Widgit.

You are not a teacher and your home isn’t a school:

Learning at home is not replicating school at home. It’s not necessary to do six hours of learning like in school with lessons being one-on-one and being more intense, activities will be over much quicker. I know a lot of parents are going to focus on not just supplementing the schoolwork but teaching life skills, like here’s how you clean a toilet, here’s how you make your lunch, with one on one teaching you don’t need to do as much.

One of the things I am encouraging in my home is the idea of cooking and helping with planning meals we are going to eat, LGfL has a great resource to help with this called Cookit.

The aim of Cookit! is to improve pupils’ skill, understanding and enjoyment of food and healthy eating. The site supports the teaching of a range of basic skills and processes. It encourages and inspire learners to explore cooking and supports ways for students to create and share their own recipes.

The new 3 “Rs” Repetition, Revision and Retrieval:

Don’t jump into a new area of learning, remember much of what children do in school is based on going back over what they have already learnt. Children are comforted by familiar activities and will want to continue them. Many young children may start the day with a morning routine be it morning excise, songs, etc ask them what they do and see if you continue this at home.

For EYFS/KS1 students you may want to keep a simple phonic scheme going, revisioning sounds that they have already learnt, Busythings have a bank of digital resources to support phonics and also have printables activities you can use.

You may want to also practise general number skills by counting objects and adding and subtraction, again Busy things has some great resources to help with this.

For KS2 it’s important to make sure each day your child reads, it doesn’t matter what (magazine, comics, picture books, chapter books) you may want to ask them to explore the story with you (be gentle you don’t have to test them) or maybe ask them to write a reading journal or write a book review. 

Daily practising of timetables and also spelling common keywords are vital. The just2easy platform has excellent revision tools that use exciting games to help aid the revision of spelling and time tables

Tt blast encourages pupils to learn maths while they do what comes naturally; play and compete against each other. As they progress through the levels, the questions automatically adjust to the pupils’ ability so that they never find them too easy or too difficult. Spellblast does the same but with Spelling.

Users can choose to practice or take part in a live game. If no other live players are waiting for a game, robots take over, so it always appears that there are multiple players. The scoreboard shows your place in the class, school and world.

You children may not do things to the way you did when you were at school:

It may be the first time your child shares with you the methods/tools that they use at school, for this may be the first time you have heard about an Apostrophe Contracted or finite Verbs or how about explaining Commutative Law don’t worry we’ve got you!

Grammer explained offers 80 short and clear videos, made to explain every grammar point listed in the Primary National Curriculum. Ideal for teachers, parents and pupils.

We also have Maths at home which is designed to provide support for parents that wish to help their child with their mathematical development at home. A video has been made for every single National Curriculum descriptor for the whole of Key Stage 1 and 2, as well as an overview video for Early Years. This provides coverage for the entire Mathematics Primary curriculum. Each video is a snapshot of how many schools may teach the particular strand, and also provides examples of how parents could support their child at home. Where appropriate, video content is reinforced with a selection of downloadable resources.

You can’t pour from an empty cup:

Make sure you are looking after yourself both in body and mind, you can keep healthy by making sure you join in with Jo Wicks in his morning PE lessons which are an excellent start to your morning, makes sure during the day you can take a moment to breathe and relax, your child may already take a moment to do this at school with a mindfulness exercise perhaps with meditation or yoga (these links to YouTubes videos are not endorsed by LGfL but are recommended by my children) or we also recommend these apps or books for EYFS/KS1 and KS2 which is part of our larger wellbeing resource Wellbeing connected. 

Create a Project:

You may want to explore our range of resources that would support a larger topic-based project, for example, looking at Roman history, a great way of starting of these type of projects is asking your child to come up 5/6 questions they want to find out the answers to, once you have these questions plan how you are going to answer them, it might be a poster, a presentation or a 3D model.

The following resources offer engaging expert video, Augmented and Virtual Reality experiences (additional apple-based hardware and software required) to may inspire a project:

Don’t bottle up worries:

It is easy for children to get worried about issues that are in the news, especially where they can see that parents/carers and teachers are worried. They may find this Coronavirus video series from CBBC Newsround reassuring: they explain what is happening in a child-friendly way. Keep your children up to date with the latest news as well as lots on the environment, entertainment, gaming and tonnes of tips and advice on keeping busy and happy at home.

Create role-play spaces:

Roleplay helps children naturally develop and use their cognitive abilities and skills. Through using their imagination regularly, they develop creativity and learn to think for themselves. In a society where we are so keen on school results, it’s even more important to create a space where children are free to express themselves.

Creating spaces like this at home may seem impossible but with some simple house objects and a few toys, you can create a world of fantasy. We have come up with ideas you can use for small world/roleplays ideas you can use within the topic of Dinosaurs in our resource Dinosaurs and fossils (you can easily adapt these ideas for other topics)

You will even find playdough recipes and how to make your very own fossil!

Be Safe:

DIgisafe (our online safety team ) are here to help, they have created a #DigiSafeDaily worksheet for every day this week and is ready for your child here print the pdf and find the answers for each sheet on the following day’s sheet.

To help ease the burden, if you are on Twitter or Facebook do look at #RemoteLearning #edtech #HomelearningUK people are being encouraged to share resources and make learning accessible by adopting this hashtag.

Remember if you need any support for our learning content you can contact the Inspire team by emailing contentsupport@lgfl.net  or contact the LGfL Switchboard: 020 82 555 555.

Everyone Can Create with LGfL Energise Curriculum Resources

In this first of a series of blog posts, I will look at how you can use Apple’s ‘Everyone Can Create’ creative guides with LGfL’s award-winning Energise curriculum resources to enhance and enrich your students learning.

“By unleashing the creativity of students through interactive exercises, they’ll learn how to develop and communicate ideas, become better problem solvers and discover new ways they can leave their mark on the world” – Apple

The Everyone Can Create curriculum is a collection of project guides (broken down into music, drawing, photo and video) that bring creative expression to every subject. They are designed to help students develop and communicate ideas and use free apps available on any iPad; taking advantage of the built-in camera, microphone, speakers, Multi-Touch display and Apple Pencil. 

 

Over my next four blog posts, I will look at each guide and demonstrate how to use these creative guides alongside LGfL’s award-winning Energise curriculum content.

The only things you will need are: an iPad running iOS 11 or later, the free Apple Books from the App Store and of course a ‘Let’s Get Digital Subscription’. Students can complete all of the activities using their fingertips, but for more accurate drawing the Apple Pencil is the perfect accessory. If your students are younger, they may have difficulty holding the slim Apple Pencil, so the Logitech Crayon may be more suitable for education use. For more details on procuring iPads, Pencils or Logitech Crayons visit here

What’s in the guides?

Each chapter starts with objectives, giving the student(s) a clear purpose for each task and comes with screenshots, illustrations and videos for additional support. As students work through each task they will build a toolkit of creative skills that they can use for the last project at the end of each chapter.

Everyone Can Create comes with a teacher guide designed to help educators infuse creativity in every year group with fun activities that can help to deepen student’s learning. It includes lesson ideas for projects in maths, science, literacy and literature, history and social studies and coding. Apple has also provided rubrics to help you evaluate student’s work in each medium. 

In this post, we will look at the Drawing unit. The activities use Apple’s free, built-in apps (Keynote, Pages, Camera and Photos) and also a free drawing app, Tayasui Sketches School, which combine to help develop students’ confidence with different creative techniques and styles using apps they’ll already be familiar with.

First Chapter

The first chapter covers the concepts and techniques used when creating word art. Students start off with the basics, drawing freehand circles and making lines and patterns, before building on all the skills they’ll learn in the chapter to complete an expressive piece of word art. 

Why not ask your students to create their own word art using some of the Energise curriculum content titles as a theme? For example, use the theme of Ancient Egypt, Space Adventures or The Tudors in London to create word art to start their topic off or explore in detail the type of letting or styles found within that era of history.

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Second Chapter

In this chapter, students have the chance to explore sketch noting and how to use shapes and doodles to represent an idea or concept and to emphasize ideas such as a story or even a recipe

Cook It and use sketch noting to explain or demonstrate a recipe? The aim of Cook it is to improve pupils’ skill, understanding and enjoyment of food and healthy eating. The site supports the teaching of a range of basic skills and processes. It encourages and inspire learners to explore cooking and supports ways for students to create and share their own recipes and what better way than creating their own sketch note.

You could also ask your students to explore SEND Fairytales (or Early Shakespeare for older students) and use sketch noting to retell or explore a story? Or use the History of Computing resources “Brave New World ‘ to get students to explore parts of a computer and than sketchnote their knowledge or You can have them sketchnote a science experiment from Switched on Science or the timeline of the Roman empire from The Romans in London. Sketchnoting is perfect for the classroom because it can be used with all levels and all subjects.

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Third Chapter

This chapter shows how to create stimulating images by combining shape, shadow and shading to bring depth and power to images. To enrich this activity, and to find more fun drawing exercises and explore these techniques, why not use Art Skills for Teachers? It contains simple and effective advice for non-specialist art teachers to inspire creative art activities at school and is suitable for all Key Stages. The resource aims to inspire teachers and children to try out and achieve the creation of artwork beyond their own expectations. The resource is full of unusual and easily accessible techniques to make art a truly inclusive activity for all members of your school community.

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Fourth Chapter

The fourth chapter focuses on drawing inspiration from the view around you, be it a rural wilderness or an urban cityscape; the activities in this chapter will focus on how to frame a scene, apply perspective and depth to give the artwork a realistic appearance.

Ben Uri: Art in the Open offers the ‘Sense of Place’ unit which contains information and points of discussion about works from the collection under the theme of landscapes with teachers’ notes for each unit/project, exploring how you can use the pieces of work to inspire students 

  • Sun and Snow
  • Night Scenes
  • Landscapes
  • City Sights
  • As Far As The Eye Can See.

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Fifth Chapter

This chapter focuses on creating expressive portraits by not just capturing the likeness of the person but also the character and personality within. To explore the concept of portrait and identity further, our resource Ben Uri: Portraits & Identity contains starting points for portraiture and identity projects in the classroom, including the teacher’s notes about selected works from the Ben Uri collection, suggestions and lesson plans for 2D and 3D activities in the classroom.

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Sixth Chapter

The sixth chapter focuses on still composition using a balanced composition and light & shadow to highlight a subject and create a mood. You can improve your drawing skills by adopting the tips and techniques you can find within Culture Street . This uses interactive resources to inspire young people to get started and share their creativity. 

Culture Street is a one-stop destination to introduce young people to contemporary artists, writers, curators and performers and their amazing work – for example watch how the artist, Louise Bradley, demonstrates a great range of drawing techniques with charcoal, wax crayon, rubbers and textured paper.  Also within Culture Street you can find a step-by-step drawing guide. Play the ‘How-to Video’ first and then remind yourself with the individual steps clips; a foolproof way to success! Then you can also try more ambitious drawing projects.

Seventh Chapter

This chapter looks at architectural design; focusing on how architects plan and design by showcasing how to develop basic architectural drawing skills such as floor plan, bird’s eye view and being able to use vanishing point to create depth. 

For expert architectural insights, captured in over 50 videos about three unique buildings in London, look no future than Opening Up Architecture. This resource offers an insight into three unique buildings in London. With help from three architects who have a deep understanding of each building, they unlock the vision behind each one and how it meets the needs of the clients and daily users. This resource asks many key questions such as “How often do we consider the influence that the built environment has on our daily London lives?” and “How do the materials, use of light, layout and construction methods impact on our work and leisure?”

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Eighth Chapter

The eighth chapter asks you to think like a graphic designer and learn about colour, typography, hand lettering and images to create a logo for a business. Why not use the key skills mentioned in this unit to redesign our own LGfL logo, or have a look at our new brand identities and see if your students can design their own?

Ninth Chapter

In the ninth chapter the focus is on how to design and illustrate a hand-drawn infographic, choose a topic, gather data and organise the information. Why not inspire your students with some pre-prepared data that you can find within our resource ‘Maths in the Real World’ (within the unit called Sporting Decisions)? Students can be engaged through applying maths to analyse sport. Pupils will cover a wide range of data-handling techniques over the course of three lessons to help them pick a winning team. By adopting the role of the club manager, they will also apply fractions and percentages to help their decision-making process. The resource contains three lesson plans and accompanying resources and are perfect to inspire some sporting infographics.

J2e data found within the Just2Easy Toolsuite offers further examples of data and tools which can help explore complex data on a range of subjects such as dinosaurs or the  populations of countries.

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Final Chapter

In the final chapter, students are learning how to plan, publish and illustrate focusing on the aspect of publishing a children’s book. Why not get your children inspired by looking at ReadingZone Live where you can explore a wealth of authors and illustrators such as Anthony Horowitz, Henry Winkler, Sophie McKenzie, Michael Morpurgo, Sally Nichol, Lauren Child as well as Oliver Jeffers who this year teamed up with Apple Education for Earth Day, encouraging students to draw the world the way they want to see it. Find out more about the campaign here.

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To get hands-on with Everyone Can Create projects why not visit a ‘Today at Apple Session’? Based on the Everyone Can Create curriculum, you’ll work hands-on with creatives in a 60-minute session to learn how to enhance assignments in any subject or year group with video, music, drawing and photography. Sessions are recommended for educators of students aged 5‑18. Find the sessions for teachers here.

We would love to see how you are going to use LGfL services alongside the Everyone Can Create guides and resources to help energise your students’ learning? Let us know by sharing your evidence of impact (it could be photos or students work) via our Facebook and Twitter and if we like and retweet your work you could win an LGfL goodie bag! 

And don’t forget about our latest campaign Pledge 2020, Where 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 devices such as Ipad within your school all you have to do is push the button #PoweredbyPledge2020

Summer Projects

As Teachers we have almost finished our countdown to the summer holidays but for parents the countdown hasn’t even began Six weeks, 42 days or 1,008 hours, the summer holidays are coming and LGfL are here to help fill some of that time and help your students keep learning.

Keeping children entertained in the school holidays is not for the faint-hearted. But sometimes, simply sitting down and helping your children to make and create is more satisfying then taking them to expensive attractions – and most importantly keeps our children learning.

Your students can get access to all the great LGfL resources from the comfort of their homes by using their USO’s and passwords, so why not set them some interesting and fun challenges to complete over the summer with their parents/carers.

Just share this blog post via you school website or post/share on your schools social media, to help your students join in with these exciting projects.


Create and open your own restaurant:

First take a walk down your local high-street to help your children research restaurants locally, then get your children to start thinking about what kind of restaurant they would like to open, then get them to customise their own restaurant, thinking of name, theme, menu and place mat.

Use our amazing Cook it resources to help plan out a menu with lots of yummy recipes, the recipes are designed to help improve pupil’s skills, understanding and enjoyment of cooking and healthy eating.

If you need more recipes or want to explore in more detail various kitchen processes, then you can find out more with our most popular resource Busy Things, just search cooking for more fun food activities.

Once you have decided on the menu, get you children to design their own logo and menu using the award-winning IT tools within just2easy toolkit, jit is perfect for younger children to develop basic IT skills and for older children let them explore graphic design deeper with the j2e5 tool.

Remember there is so much mathematics to think about when opening a restaurant, from up scaling recipes to putting out the right amount of knives and forks or weighing out the correct amount of ingredients, for older children why not get them to use the  Maths in the Real World nutrition unit to help analysis the nutritional value of the menu and make sure the menu is well-balanced and healthy. 


Make your own family newspaper:

First why not explore our LGfL News Archive, this archive is an online collection of the Guardian and Observer newspaper, with every page of every edition of both papers from 1791! The newspapers are an amazing historical record of all the events over the past two centuries, why not look at events that have happened on the same date as you are creating your newspaper for, or together explore the features of a news story and how it has changed over the years, features to look at include headlines, by-lines and use of images to enrich and enhance stories.

Once you know the features, get thinking about what news is happening around your home, it could be anything what the cats have been up to, a local event or just write a report on the local weather.

You can use Busy Things Publisher within Busy things to combine text and images to create simple news articles or use j2e Office writer to create a digital newspaper combining pictures and text.

Make your own action movie:

There is nothing better than watching a great summer blockbuster, well apart from making one! LGfL has a range of tools to support planning and making movies.

Start by watching an appropriate movie and then think about breaking down the important aspects of the story, most stories have five components. These five components are: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution. These essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the action to develop in a logical way that the reader can follow. The characters are the people that the story is about.

Once you have explored the aspects then get cracking on making your action packed story by creating your story board perhaps using Super hero comic book maker or use Busy Things simple short story maker, you could also just use a pencil and some paper.

Once your story is planned , depending on your children’s age either use the story board you made (if the child is younger) or use the storyboard as a template to a  script, once done you can use j2e jit Animate to make an animation or use j2e Spotlight to create a stop motion masterpiece, and then to finish your film, add some sound effects from BBC Sound Effects a large database of audio sound effects which can you use for videos and presentations and to make it a perfect movie experience ‘score’ your movie using Audio Network a music database of over 50.000 individual audio files.

Go and Explore London

London offers a range of fun exciting activities every day so why not use LGfL resources to help support and guide you around the many unique locations around London.

The Big Day Out offers fun activities focusing on Numeracy, Literacy, Geography, Science and History, why not use The Big Day Out Attractions database activity to study the various London attractions and then visit them and compare data or even make your database used j2e Database. You could use the The Big Day Out London Transport activity to support a trip to the London Transport museum or just plan a trip around your local area using some of the modern modes of transport.

Explore historic London through the ages, from Roman beginnings, to Tudors we have a range of resources that allow you to view local locations via Google maps. Why not search your local area for areas of interest and then plan a trip to some of the locations.

Or why not explore our unique resource The Royal Mews about the daily work of the Royal Mews at Buckingham palace featuring video explanations of centuries-old techniques and historic documents, and then plan a trip to Buckingham Palace or, you can also use Image Bank to prepare yourself for a visit to the Queens Gallery at Buckingham Palace, for information about the latest exhibition you can read our blog post about the Royal Collection Trust.

Join the j2blast Maths Summer Challenge

Every school is welcome to take part –  all LGfL schools  already have the Just2easy Tool Suite in your school. You can Click here to get the parent information pack.

Every student who plays at least 10 games on j2blast Go Live! will be entered into a prize draw for one of several £20 Argos vouchers. Every school will be entered for a prize of £200 to be spent on any resources they want. The j2blast Maths Summer Challenge begins on July 20th and ends on 3rd September.

As mentioned in one of our previous blog posts The research is clear: Summer learning loss is a significant problem for all children, but especially for children with low income backgrounds, and plays a surprisingly large role in creating the achievement gap. Low-income kids can find summer hard when they don’t have access to the same enriching activities as their higher-income peers, such as vacations, visits to museums and libraries, or even just time spent with family discussing academic concepts or everyday events., so why not use LGfL resources to help your students and parents over the summer holidays.

If your students don’t have access to their USO’s this simple video below will show you how you nominated contact can print out the USO’s and passwords for each student, and do please remind students about the importance of keeping their passwords private.

 

Please do let use know what you think of our summer projects in the comments section below or on our Social media channels on Facebook or Twitter.