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

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.

 

 

BBC Children in Need 2019

BBC Children in Need is out there making a difference from coast to coast, in towns and cities right across the UK. The amazing projects they support help change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people all over the country.

So, are you joining the thousands of schools raising money this year on Friday 15th November?

This year, Twinkl is the Official Education Partner for BBC Children in Need. They are helping schools, teachers and parents join in with the annual fundraising excitement with free-to-use resources. You can also get your free schools fundraising kit, (by clicking the link) :- packed full of inspiration and tools to help your school raise money for children in the UK.

On the official Children in Need website they suggest the following activities for the different key stages:

Nursery and pre-school: They’re inviting you to ‘Get Together’ for the Great Big Pudsey Day! 

Primary schools: Whether it’s joining their exclusive appeal day activity session with Joe Wicks, or a whole-school dress-up day –they encourage you  join the fun and make an amazing difference!

Secondary Schools: From non-uniform days, fitness challenges, to A-list productions, there’s something for everyone to get involved with.

So how can LGfL support you with this event in your school too?

J2eToolsuite offers a range of resources to help you create animations for promoting “Why Fundraise for BBC Children in Need?”. You could use JIT5 or J2Spotlight to make your very animation, which then can be embedded onto your school’s website. 

If you want to add music to your videos then look no further than Audio Network. Ask your pupils to study other charities’ videos and discuss why particular types of music have been used. Which piece of music would they pick to suit a particular scene? They can then search for suitable music on Audio Network to convey the mood they are trying to put across to their 

When discussing the need to fundraise you will no doubt want to focus on developing the children’s empathy. You could encourage them to think about what makes people happy and how young lives can be helped by projects funded by BBC Children in Need. If you would like to explore this theme further, then you should explore Growing Up Around the World;  the resource aims to help UK children to understand the realities of childhood in very different contexts. 

Busy Things have several recipes you could download and follow if you are baking with children at school. Visit the “Special Events” tab and you will find recipes for Red Monster Pizza, Monster Banana Cakes and Pinkman Cupcakes. You could also use the Busy Things Publisher to design posters to publicise the events you are holding within school and one of the maps of The British Isles to get a sense of the distance travelled by the Rickshaw Challenge.

The Rickshaw Challenge was started nine years ago; Matt Baker, from The One Show, and a team of young volunteers set off in this year’s challenge on Friday, 8th November, 2019. They will be riding 400 miles, over 8 days, across Britain. The team start in Holyhead, Wales, and are hoping to raise lots of money for Children in Need, as they make their way to the finish at BBC Elstree Studios. A team of engineers at McLaren were responsible for the custom built Children in Need rickshaw. This means that pretty much anyone can ride it.

‘I’m determined to prove that being blind should never be a barrier and I’m really looking forward to being part of Team Rickshaw.’ Kelsey , Rickshaw Challenge Rider, 2019 

By taking part in Children in Need your pupils will gain so much too!  They can be involved in planning an event, counting the money they’ve raised and so much more and will be empowered, encouraged and motivated to work as a team.

Since their first major Appeal in 1980, BBC Children in Need has raised over £1 billion to help make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people around the UK. 

This year’s Children in Need Appeal Show night will be live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 7pm on Friday 15th November 2019.

Please let us know what you are doing for the week and share via our Twitter and Facebook pages, or using the hashtag #ChildreninNeed