Thursday, 31 March 2011

GCSE Media Studies - The External Assessment

This is the first year that most teachers will be entering candidates for the AQA GCSE Media Studies externally assessed unit Investigating the Media. As well as the need to deliver a new topic - Action Adventure Films, teachers need to get up to speed with a number of fundamental changes to the test that their candidates will be taking in June.

Listen to my podcast about how to prepare for the exam.  There is a full resource pack of podcasts and downloads available offering an essential resource to kickstart candidates' study of the topic and to help prepare them so as to help optimise their attainment in the test.  It includes worksheets to guide students through the key concepts and develop their paper based production skills as well as advice for teachers on preparing candidates to meet the demands of this new style assessment

Read a free sample of guidance to teachers on the important changes to the test.

Pete Wall
AQA Chief Examiner

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Primary - Roald Dahl name-play activity

There’s nothing children like more than playing with words, it’s a part of the development of language and Roald Dahl realised this in his books, especially in The Vicar of Nibbleswick and Esio Trot where he gets a great deal of laughter from reversing the spellings of words.

My class have spent many a rainy playtime laughing at the silliness of spelling their names backwards, amongst them May Spiller who became Rellips Yam which they thought might have been some kind of Dahl-ian conserve or a tropical vegetable.

Some may have read Esio Trot but you could read a little from it to remind them. Then for a fun filler during the afternoon, with a nod to careful writing and copying down, get the children to practise on their own names or those of people they know. Move on to investigating the reversal of everyday objects. Apart from being a lot of fun it also allows you to identify those visual learners who can turn a word around correctly in their mind. It can also flag up those who may have dyslexic tendencies so some children may need the letters of their names written individually on cards for them to rearrange. You can extend the activity by looking at anagrams of simple words and investigate whether there are anagrams of their names.

Siwel Evad (Dave Lewis)
Portsmouth High School Junior Dept

Monday, 28 March 2011

Secondary Maths - Simply take...a set of mini whiteboards

This is an activity that could be used to improve students understanding of rules of divisibility.

Using a class set of mini whiteboards ask the students to write a single digit on their board.  (It is intentional to focus on the difference a ‘digit’ and a ‘number’).

Now ask them to arrange themselves in groups and use their digits to:
o   Make a number that is a multiple of 3
o    In the same group can they make another
… and another
… and another  (How many different numbers can the group make?)

o    Is it possible to join with another group?  Is this always possible?

The activity can be adapted for multiples of other numbers.  You could discuss what digits they might choose if they already knew what multiples they will be asked to make.  Try it and see what happens!

Sue Briggs
Previously a Maths Advisor in Somerset

Thursday, 24 March 2011

KS3 English - Let's tell a storybird!

A colleague has recently put me onto a rather whizzy website called Storybird.  What is Storybird? According to Storybird the central idea is that ‘making stories can be social, fun and easy’ so they have provided a bank of images which you can choose to write and publish on-line your very own picture books.  And it is all free and simple to use!

I see this fitting in rather nicely to the National Strategy’s Progression Strand 10, Exploring and analysing language. I have seen the analysis of children’s picture books taught very effectively at Key Stage 3 before and what better way to get students actively involved than to demonstrate their understanding of the linguistic techniques used in picture books by writing their own?  Students could easily create and save their own Storybird picture book in a lesson and then in a subsequent lesson they could present their stories to the class, explaining their linguistic choices (Speaking & Listening AF1) or take part in a group discussion where they analyse another student’s story (Speaking & Listening AF2).

Naomi Hursthouse
Advance Skills Teacher
Steyning Grammar School