Using Explain Everything to show our written methods understanding

Every year, one of the earliest things to check is how the children use written methods for the four operations. Most times you get to see whether they can actually do the methods and get the right answer from the work in their books.

But how do we know where their level of understanding of these actually is?

We used Explain Everything for the children to create some examples of questions that would require a written method. From here, they had to complete the written method as they would normally using the pen and pointer tools, but also recording themselves, so that they could explain to parents or other children exactly what they were doing and why.

It helped to give us a better insight into where their true understanding was by listening to the recordings and any general misconceptions too. It also meant that the usual written methods lesson ‘came alive’ and had a greater purpose for the children.

App smashing to create Viking news reports

We’ve been app smashing again! This time combining Morfo, Green Screen by Do Ink and iMovie to create these news reports as if we were interviewing a Viking!

Firstly the children had to write an interview script to show some of the things that they had learnt about the Vikings. They then used the Morfo app to create a talking Viking image. They recorded each section from their script that the Viking had to say. Following that, we used our green screen and the app, Green Screen By Do Ink, to record our newsroom interviewer sections.

Finally, each clip needed to be put together in the correct order, so that it looked like one complete newsroom interview. This was achieved using iMovie.

Overall, it was an engaging way for the children to share their knowledge of what they had been learning about and provided quality engagement and motivation.

Using Explain Everything to show our mental maths skills

In year 6, understanding when to use the different mental methods in Maths is vital. We have practiced them many times, but it is important that the children apply these methods accurately.

To support this, we used Explain Everything. The children were initially given a range of mental maths type questions and in their group of 4, had to decide on the method that should be used for each one. The class then moved around each groups and made any alterations that they thought necessary.

They then had to use Explain Everything to describe how they would solve it. This allowed us to clearly see the processes that each of us were using and exactly how we used the methods.


Using iMovie to generate initial ideas about our book!

Before we actually read the book, Into The Forest, we looked at images from the text and predicted what order we thought they would come in as well as what was happening in each of them. It was a great way to generate ideas, using our imagination. We then used our iPads to take photographs and used iMovie to insert the images in the order we thought they came in and made voice recordings to describe what we thought was happening. The children then had to adjust the length of the image so that it stayed on the screen for the same amount of time as the voice recording.

Using Thinglink for parent and pupil voice

On March 25th, we held our Spring Open Morning, which gave parents the opportunity to come into school and see some of the fantastic learning that is taking place as well as having the opportunity to take a look around the school.

Some of our year 6 children went round and recorded the opinions of some of the parents who attended. I then used Pic Collage and Thinglink so that all of the opinions could be shown in one place. Next, I went around all of the classes and took a selection of children from every class to let them have their say too.

Click on the red play buttons below to see what each person had to say.

Children’s self assessments using ThingLink

Having used Pic Collage and ThingLink to send Christmas and holiday wishes, we thought it would be a good idea to use the same process to share all of our achievements from the first term and what we will continue to work on next term.

This meant that the children had an opportunity to reflect more deeply on their learning and have a better understanding of where they were at and where they now need to go. All of this was achieved in a more creative and fun way that most importantly had the desired impact.

ThingLink is a great app that allows lots of videos or text to be used around one image. In this way, every child’s thoughts can be shared in one place. A great way to start a topic with ideas or summarising learning at the end. In addition to this, it can be used to have a class base of ideas at the start of a piece of written work.

Using Touchcast

Touchcast is a great app that combines the use of green screen technology with teleprompts and vApps (Add ons that allow the viewer to link to other images, etc. whilst watching the main video).

In this instance, we didn’t use the vApps, but have done in the past because they help to add further detail to the video with additional images or websites. the viewer can select which they want as the main image and which as the in-screen image, making it fully interactive.

In my opinion, one of the best features of Touchcast is the teleprompt. So many videos in the past have involved the children either holding their books and reading from it or looking down at what they are going to say from a whiteboard. With the teleprompt, the children can type in what they say and it scrolls down on the iPad screen at a speed that follows their speech. This therefore results in them constantly looking at the camera, producing a much improved video.

In our topic, learning about World War One, we looked at the incredible person, Edith Cavell. She was a truly remarkable woman, who stood up for her beliefs even when she knew that she would have to sacrifice her life to do so.

In these Touchcast videos, Yunis takes on the role of Edith Cavell and Nathan describes her life.


Book Creator

In our school, we love using Book Creator. It is so easy to use and the results are amazing. It has been used a lot in English and Topic, where the children can make their learning come alive.

I’ve also found it to be excellent for EAL children, where they can take photographs of different things around school and then create a written description of each as well as recording themselves saying their sentences out loud. Again, in this way, the children’s learning becomes more real and their enthusiasm and eagerness increases.

However, our class have recently tried it to write up an entire science experiment. It worked extremely well. Using the audio feature meant that all of the children could share their individual ideas of what would happen, in a short space of time, with all ideas in one 1

The children then used the camera feature and took photos of the apparatus that they were going to use.

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Rather than attempting to record their results in some way, the children could record the experiment taking place, using the video feature, so that the results were clear and visible for themselves and the reader.

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Finally, when the children were trying to explain their results, they were able to use the pen tool to support their ideas with diagrams.

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The engagement and enthusiasm throughout, not only ensured the children were constantly on task, but that more in-depth learning could take place as well.


Using games to enthuse and inspire in Maths

We were working on different averages: mean, median, mode and range. Usually the children have sets of numbers and show their learning by finding the different averages. This time I wanted them to prove that they were improving at the game Memory Block using averages.

They played the game 5 times, writing down their score each time. Then, they worked out the different averages. This process was then repeated another two times, giving them three sets of averages, so that they could compare the data.

There was some great debating beforehand, with the children saying what they think would happen – lots of different opinions, especially over what would happen to the range. Plenty of discussion after to say how the averages proved whether they had improved or not.

The children definitely saw a purpose to calculating average, in a way that I haven’t seen before and lots of enthusiastic learning taking place. Their understanding of each one was also at a deeper level. The children wanted to work it out to play again and see if they could improve, resulting in an amazing amount being completed in one lesson! The children kept saying that it was the most fun Maths lesson that they had ever had.

Enthusiastic, independent and innovative learning that we’ll definitely be repeating in similar ways again.

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Remembrance Thank You

In year 6, we have been learning in our Topic lessons all about World War 1. As part of our World War 1 day, 6W have created a thank you video. The children decided what they wanted to say thank you for and what they would like their background image to be when using the green screen. We then linked all of the individual videos together for one whole class thank you.