An interesting blog here I am re-posting on using Skype in the classroom!

Simon's Blog

Over the summer, I read Kevin McLaughlin’s blog post about using Skype in his classroom to connect with a museum in Egypt when his class were learning about the Ancient Egyptians.  I was truly inspired by this and knew that I had to get Skype installed on my school laptop so that I could use this valuable resource to really bring learning to life for the children in my class.  Without delay, I sent an email to my Local Authority IT Services and asked for it to be installed on my laptop.  Shortly afterwards, I received a reply:

“For security reasons we will not be able to install Skype on schools Pc’s [sic].”

I’m not one to take “no” for an answer, and I’m certainly not one to take “no” for an answer when the excuse is so vague.  So off I went in pursuit of why this posed…

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TeachMeet Belfast – March 2012

On Friday 2nd March 2012 Stranmillis University will host the first TeachMeet to be held in Northern Ireland.

TeachMeet is an un-conference ‘for teachers, organised by teachers’, and this year for the first time it is being held in N. Ireland.

Come along to the CELIL building in Stranmillis College on Friday 2nd March where the organisers are hoping to welcome as many interested (and interesting) teachers as possible to the event where they will have the opportunity to either present something that they’d like to share with their fellow professionals, or simply enjoy the evening and take home some great ideas.

 

 

If you are curious about teaching and learning where you can share teaching ideas, ask questions and interact with others why not come along to the evening from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, with nibbles being served from 6.00pm.  The venue for the ‘meet’ is The Centre of Excellence for Leadership, Innovation and Learning at Stranmillis University College, Belfast.

Following the TeachMeet will be a social gathering to which everyone is invited.  If you are unable to attend the event, the organisers hope to live stream the event and have a recording available for download afterwards.

 

 

 

What is a TeachMeet?

Learn something new, be amazed, amused and enthused. TeachMeet is an informal gathering of those curious about teaching and learning. Anyone can share great ideas they’ve trialled in their classrooms, ask important questions or simply sign up to take part in learning conversations. It is about being engaged and inspired by our immediate colleagues and a whole bucket-load of networking to boot!

Attendees can sign up on the night to give a 2 or 7 minute presentation on a topic of their choice: amusing, amazing, questioning or enthusing.  And remember the presentations do not have to be ICT-themed.

 

Collaboration, sharing ideas and spreading best practice are common to most jobs, whether organised through formal structures or informal conversations.

TeachMeet runs in many other locations, with primary and post-primary teachers coming together to share with colleagues and take home other people’s ideas.

The organisers suggest that “with the ever-shrinking education budget on the horizon … this will be an excellent free Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunity for teachers”.

 

Representatives from Game to Learn will be attending the event and hope to see you there.

 

Game to Learn is a classroom learning and homework management system that enables primary school teachers to manage school work more effectively.  It is Game to Learn’s initiative to bring learning into the 21st century, and the experts at Game to Learn believe ‘gaming’ can improve performance, through increased engagement within young people of primary age.

 

Game to Learn offer learning solutions for Key Stage One & Key Stage Two pupils and do so through effective track-able gaming solutions.  These solutions integrate gaming as well as learning into a single package, which is the most comprehensive platform for primary education.

Some benefits of Game to Learn include saving time, school cost reductions, environmental considerations, strong links to I.C.T learning, improved & track-able class and individual performance results, better grades, and easy to use software; as well as full access to the one stop tutoring market place!

 

 

 

You can learn more about Game to Learn by visiting the website at http://www.gametolearn.net

‘Like’ the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/gametolearn

Or follow on Twitter via @gametolearnuk

 

 

 

 

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Key Stage 2 Numeracy

Key Stage Two is the legal term for the 4 years of schooling in maintained schools in England and Wales, known as Year’s 3, 4, 5 & 6, when pupils are aged between 7 and 11. The term is applied differently in Northern Ireland where it refers to pupils in Year’s 5, 6 and 7.

 

 

 

Numeracy plays a large part in a child’s education and is reflected in many of the subjects they will learn in school.  These subjects include;

-English

-Maths

-Science

-Design and technology

-Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

-History

-Geography

-Art and design

-Music

-Physical education

-Religious Education (Although parents are permitted to withdraw their own children from this education if they desire).

In addition to R.E, schools are advised to teach personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship, together with at least one modern foreign language.

Numeracy is the ability to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts.  Someone who is numerically literate should be able to manage and respond to the mathematical demands of life.  Aspects of numeracy include number sense, operation sense, computation, measurement, geometry, probability and statistics.

 

The UK Department for Education and Skills described numeracy as being an expertise which is developed mainly in mathematics, but also in other subjects, and is more than an ability to do basic arithmetic. It involves developing confidence and competence with numbers and measures and requires an understanding of the number system, a range of mathematical techniques, and a penchant to solve quantitative or spatial problems in a range of contexts. Numeracy also demands understanding of the ways in which data are gathered by counting and measuring, and presented in graphs, diagrams, charts and tables.

 

 

 

Mathematics is a core subject in a child’s Key Stage Two education and there is some evidence that humans may have an instinctive sense of number skills.

 

Jean Piaget who was a Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children found that children’s concepts of number and quantity developed with age. For example, if an experimenter empties liquid from a short wide container into a tall thin container, a five-year-old typically thinks the quantity of liquid increases, whereas a ten-year-old realizes that the quantity of liquid stays the same.

In studies of gender and choice of science careers, age is also found to be related with gender. Thus at some ages, girls perform better with science subjects like mathematics, and at other ages, boys.

 

 

This information was brought to you by Key Stage Two.com, an online learning environment for children aged 7-11.   Key Stage Two.com successfully manages to combine fun games with education, making sure academic and non-academic children benefit greatly, whilst being compliant with the National Curriculum in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. 

Key Stage Two.com offers benefits for all; including schools, parents, teachers, tutors, councils, local authorities, and most importantly, the pupils. Visit the website at http://www.keystagetwo.com to … ‘learn’ more!

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Maths Games KS2

Kids love playing video games within the classroom – they’re a superb way for them to be taught whilst also having fun, and have been proven to motivate children in learning.   With advances in ICT and interactivity in classrooms, Key Stage Two have developed and perfected a fun and exciting game that actually ties in with the guidelines as determined by the National Curriculum. Keystagetwo.com – It is our vision to make learning fun!

 

When using the system your children can use a variety of games such as maths questions, phrase types, sentences, spelling and sequencing, which won’t only stimulate and encourage, but meet the lesson objectives of the National Curriculum. Your children enter a fantasy pirate world called Buccaneers & Lobsters where they can partake in quests and adventures to become the Admiral of the Fleet while completing their home-work online in a fun and interactive way.

During Key Stage Two, children aged between 7 and 11 start to use a wider vary of ICT instruments and are creating their analysis skills. They’re additionally learning how they can amend their work and current academic essay writing it in a way that fits the audience.

What better way to teach a child self-control and moral reasoning by combining fun games with education.  When engaged in a game, the child has to learn that even in the emotional excitement of an intense game, he or she has to observe rules and regulations; to choose between fair or unfair, right and wrong, and to act on those choices appropriately.

 

KS2 Games are a great way to improve mental skills, and often bring with them a lot of significant benefits; they have a far greater educational influence than most people are aware of. Many children with developmental disabilities, who don’t normally seem to react to their environments are often completely transformed when playing games.  They also contribute a great deal to social development. Many kids, because of problems at home, shyness or physical disability find it hard to react with others. Developmental studies show that children that are usually shy or withdrawn have shown a lot of improvement in their ability to cooperate with playmates, and have even increased their popularity among their playmates because of skills brought about by playing games.   Keystagetwo.com successfully combines learning and education through children playing games online.

 

A child’s learning in school starts in the foundation stage from 3 years old, and runs through to age 15 at GCSE level. The National Curriculum, which sets out the areas of children’s learning, is followed by all state schools is broken down into 4 key stages following the age bands of the children.

Crucial to all learning for kids is the element of fun and enjoyment that helps develop confidence.   Keystagetwo.com offers a growing selection of teaching resources to support key stage 2. Developed by teachers and educationalists it combines educational games to help a child develop all subject areas of Key Stage 2. They include learning games and software to complement kids learning against all key stages and SAT’s revision such as KS2 English and KS2 Science.

 

 

This information was brought to you by Key Stage Two.com, an online learning environment for children aged 7-11.   Key Stage Two.com successfully manages to combine fun games with education, making sure academic and non-academic children benefit greatly, whilst being compliant with the National Curriculum in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.

Key Stage Two.com offers benefits for all; including schools, parents, teachers, tutors, councils, local authorities, and most importantly, the pupils. Visit the website at http://www.keystagetwo.com to … ‘learn’ more!

 

 

 

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Key Stage 2 Literacy

Key Stage Two is the level of education for pupils aged 7-11.  As well as the subjects a child will learn about in school, literacy skills play a big part in this phase of a child’s education.

Literacy has been described as the ability to read for knowledge and write coherently and think critically about the written word. Literacy can also include the ability to understand all forms of communication, be it body language, pictures, video & sound (reading, speaking, listening and viewing).

 

Evolving definitions of literacy often include all the symbol systems relevant to a particular community, and encompasses a complex set of abilities to understand and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture for personal and community development. In a technological society, the concept of literacy is expanding to include the media and electronic text, in addition to alphabetic and number systems. These abilities vary in different social and cultural contexts according to need and demand.

 

Key to all literacy is reading development, which involves a progression of skills that begins with the ability to understand spoken words and decode written words, and culminates in the deep understanding of text. Reading development involves a range of complex language underpinnings including awareness of speech sounds (phonology), spelling patterns (orthography), word meaning (semantics), grammar (syntax) and patterns of word formation (morphology), all of which provide a necessary platform for reading fluency and comprehension.

 

 

The ‘School’ curriculum at Key Stage Two level comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils – Whereas the ‘National’ Curriculum is an important element of the school curriculum and has been covered in a separate piece.

The school curriculum aims are as follows,

–           To provide opportunities for all pupils to learn and to achieve their goals.

–           To build on pupils’ strengths, interests and experiences and develop their confidence in their capacity to learn and work individually and collaboratively.

–           To prepare them with the essential learning skills of literacy, numeracy, and information and communication technology, promoting an enquiring mind and capacity to think rationally.

–           By providing rich and varied contexts for pupils to acquire, develop and apply a broad range of knowledge, understanding and skills, the curriculum should enable pupils to think creatively and to solve problems.

–           To provide an opportunity for pupils to become creative, innovative, enterprising and capable of leadership to equip them for their future lives as workers and citizens.

–           To develop their physical skills and encourage them to recognise the importance of pursuing a healthy lifestyle and keeping themselves and others safe.

–           To promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and, in particular, develop principles for distinguishing between right and wrong.

–           To develop their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of their own and different beliefs and cultures, and how these influence individuals and societies.

The school curriculum should also promote equal opportunities and enable pupils to challenge discrimination and stereotyping. It should develop their awareness and respect for the environments in which they live, and secure their commitment to sustainable development at a personal, local, national and global level. It should also equip pupils as consumers to make informed judgements and independent decisions and to understand their responsibilities and rights.

 

The final aim in the School Curriculum is to groom pupils for the next steps in their education, training and employment and to help them to make informed choices at school and throughout their lives, enabling them to appreciate the relevance of their achievements to life and society outside school, including leisure, community engagement and employment.

 

These curriculum intentions as listed above all support each other. The personal development of pupils, spiritually, morally, socially and culturally, at Key Stage Two level; plays a significant part in their ability to learn and to achieve in life.

 

This information was brought to you by Key Stage Two.com, an online learning environment for children aged 7-11.   Key Stage Two.com successfully manages to combine fun games with education, making sure academic and non-academic children benefit greatly, whilst being compliant with the National Curriculum in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.

Key Stage Two.com offers benefits for all; including schools, parents, teachers, tutors, councils, local authorities, and most importantly, the pupils. Visit the website at http://www.keystagetwo.com to … ‘learn’ more!

 

 

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Writing Key Stage 2

Key Stage Two is the level of education taught to pupils aged between 7 and 11.  This information looks at some topics covered in this important stage of a child’s learning and finishes with how Key Stage Two.com, an online learning environment can really help your child academically, and help boost their grades, in a fun engaging way. 

 

Bite size Key Stage 2 covers three main areas, English, Maths and Science, broken down into small, easy to understand bites or snippets of information.  

English

During English, at Key Stage Two level, reading, writing and spelling and grammar skills can help a child tell their story, share their ideas, write a letter, and make sense of instructions.  Children utilise and improve their English skills every day and it helps the children understand each other and communicate with one another.

With reading at Key Stage 2 children read fictional and non-fictional text, including adverts, dictionary references, and poetry.  They learn how to look at language, layout and meanings.  During reading they will also ‘read for information’ and be able to answer questions pertaining to the information they have read.

Writing plays an important part of English education in Key Stage Two, and is a vital part where children communicate with others. Text needs to be written in a way where the reader can easily understand what the child is trying to tell them.  For a child to become a good reader, writer and all round communicator they need to exercise sound spelling and grammar.  Sound spelling and grammar requires an understanding of nouns, adjectives, paragraphs, punctuation, sentences, verbs and adverbs.

 

Maths

In Key Stage 2 Maths education, children learn about why numbers and formulas matter.  Becoming a skilled maths student involves having a good knowledge of sums, averages, shapes, graphs and measurements.

Knowing simple sums and learning useful calculations can help a child with everyday tasks.

Children at Key Stage 2 level learn about addition, subtraction, decimals, factors, multiples, fractions, money, multiplication, division, percentages and using a calculator.

Another important topic in maths is grasping the concept of shape, space & measures, by learning about angles, lines, graphs, shapes and useful everyday measurements, including 2d and 3d shapes, symmetry and time.

 

 

 

Science

The 3rd and final subject we will look at is Science.  During Key Stage 2 Science education pupils learn about our world and how the things in it work, by concentrating on materials, energy, light and sound, humans, plants and animals.

 

In order to become a good young scientist, pupils must have an understanding of circulation, food chains, human life cycles, microorganisms, plant and animal habitats, plant life cycles, skeletons and muscles, teeth and eating.

Materials play an important part in science education, physical experiments with solids, liquids and gases contribute to this learning, as does developing an understanding of electricity, types of energy forces, space, the Earth, sun and moon, sound and light.

 

 

This information was brought to you by Key Stage Two.com, an online learning environment for children aged 7-11.   Key Stage Two.com successfully manages to combine fun games with education, making sure academic and non-academic children benefit greatly, whilst being compliant with the National Curriculum in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.

Key Stage Two.com offers benefits for all; including schools, parents, teachers, tutors, councils, local authorities, and most importantly, the pupils. Visit the website at http://www.keystagetwo.com to … ‘learn’ more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Key Stage 2 Reading

Comprehension has different meanings, but in Key Stage Two education terms it is the art of understanding a piece of text and withdrawing relevant information.

Comprehension learning begins with development of reading, and moves to writing and the understanding of the written word.
The word comprehension has the same meaning as ‘understanding’. Whereas Reading Comprehension, measures the understanding of a piece of text and is defined as the level of understanding of a piece of text. Do you comprehend? / Do you understand?

Skilful reading depends on the ability to recognise words quickly and effortlessly and if word recognition is difficult, pupils use too much of their processing capacity to read individual words, thus interfering with their ability to comprehend what is read.

Any teacher can tell you that comprehension is one of the five key components of essential reading and many are able to identify strategies that good readers use to understand (comprehend) what they read. But comprehension goes further: Comprehension involves ….

 
-constructing meaning from reading traditional text in print form (books, papers, magazines),
-from listening to others read or
-from viewing text in one of the many media available in our world today.
COMPREHENSION IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT TODAY


Comprehension is an essential part of successfully developing 21st century literacies. It is a vital tool for reading in our modern age, a method through which we:
-gain meaning from the words someone else has constructed,
-learn something new, to confirm something we think,
– understand another’s viewpoint,
– to relax and:
– to escape from the everyday pressures of life.

 

When reading a story to children it is always useful for adults to ask children a couple of questions about the book. For example, ‘Did you enjoy that story?’ or ‘Would you like to go into space?… Go to the seaside?’, or another question relevant to the storyline. Children usually ask questions incessantly so try encouraging them to use this as a method of developing comprehension.
There are many ways to develop skills with regards to comprehension. Pupils can prepare to read by previewing pages of written text, noting such elements as chapter headings and visual aids. Reading strategies such as outlining and questioning the author’s purpose can also boost understanding, and worksheets can reinforce reading comprehension skills.

Pupils can practice their reading skills by answering multiple choice questions, matching, unscrambling sentences, and filling in the blanks. Worksheets are often centered on a particular topic, such as restaurants, travel, dating, shopping or entertainment, and may also relate to expressions, slang and phrases.

 

Reading in Key Stage 2 English looks at the understanding of themes, ideas, characters, events and a child’s ability to read ‘between the lines’. Questions will be asked to assess a range of reading skills, such as the ability to interpret information and comment on writers’ use of language.

 

 

This information was brought to you by Key Stage Two.com, an online learning environment for children aged 7-11. Key Stage Two.com successfully manages to combine fun games with education, making sure academic and non-academic children benefit greatly, whilst being compliant with the National Curriculum in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.

Key Stage Two.com offers benefits for all; including schools, parents, teachers, tutors, councils, local authorities, and most importantly, the pupils. Visit the website at http://www.keystagetwo.com to … ‘learn’ more!

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