Subscribe to this blog!


Monday, 25 August 2014

50+ iPad lessons for Exciting Sentences!

I am extremely pleased to announce that my first printed book will be released in early October. The book, 50+ iPad lessons for Exciting Sentences, promises to be, an idea rich addition to the Exciting Sentences series. The book is co-written with Alan Peat, who created and wrote the first Exciting Sentences book. If you don't have a copy of the original books, follow these links - Exciting Sentences, Second book of Exciting Sentences. These are a MUST for the primary classroom and I have seen first hand how it has transformed and improved children's writing. I am also proud to have Simon Matthews on design for this project, his amazing work on previous books including Mat Sullivan's, 'Developing Writing Through Comics,' is phenomenal. Simon's latest project is the wonderful, which you can read about here. It is a fantastic resource and well worth a look.

The forthcoming book will aim to support teachers who use the Exciting Sentence approach and have access to mobile technology. Although it is primarily iPad based, there are links to alternative Android apps so it will be useful to any teacher with a mobile device in the classroom. The book consists of 15 key apps, from which a range of different lesson ideas to help children deepen and further their understanding of using Exciting Sentences in their writing. The book contains links to the new Primary Curriculum and contains plenty of REAL classroom examples.

The book will be available in both printed and digital form. The digital eBook will be updated regularly if any of the apps are updated and redesigned. There will be an opportunity to buy the digital copy at a discount if you buy a printed version. 

This will be the first in a series of books both myself and Alan will be working on. The next will be 50+ iPad lessons for Non Fiction writing. It will be another book that will show the potential of using the iPad to enhance and transform writing into a range of multimedia digital media. This will accompany another non-fiction publication from Creative Educational Press written by Mat and Alan. 

Many of the ideas and lessons from the book are discussed on INSET and training I provide, if you are interested, please visit this link, if you are interested in upcoming conferences click here. After the success of my first eBook '15 iPad lessons for the World Cup,' I also have my next eBook currently in edit, which I am hoping will be ready in the next couple of weeks. 

If you are interested in purchasing the book and would like to be added to the Alan Peat Ltd Newsletter group so you receive emails for all the latest news including - apps, books, courses and conferences, please add your details below:

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Create instant writing prompts using PhotoFunia

PhotoFunia is a great free app and website that allows to take a photo and really jazz it up!

With over 350 different effects you can transform a simple picture into a work of art or display a picture on an advertising billboard!

Some of the effects include pictures, others just text and some are a combination of the two.

The professional finish to these effects can provide a stimulus that children will believe is real, leading to some really effective and purposeful writing. There are some limitations - for example - you cannot add any punctuation marks into the text, so choose your words wisely!

Here are a few ways in which you can use this app in the classroom -

Create a headline to inspire writing.
Tell the class you took this picture this morning while you were having your breakfast. Share some of the facts from the article. Allow the children to then write the newspaper report, or write a first person recount as the person who made the discovery.
Work in pairs and use hot seating to interview the witness.
Write a description of the artefact, what if it was haunted? Write a spooky tale about it haunting the school.
Lots of opportunities to then use other iPad apps to develop ideas.

If your school won the lottery, what would the children want the money spent on?
Could they come up with a proposal list and budget?
Write a letter to the Headteacher proposing what the money should be spent on.
Can they map out a new playground? design a new classroom?

This image was made by @Redgierob after reading a previous post here.

Children could write descriptions about the day aliens landed.
This can be linked with this previous iPad lesson.
Children can write in role as the aliens, visiting Earth and the school for the first time - what would they think? Could they come up with different names for objects?

There are loads of other effects you can use! Here are a few other ways in which you can use PhotoFunia in class -

When children draw, paint or create pieces of art work, use the app to create the illusion that the piece of art is being displayed in an Art gallery.

Children will love to see pictures as if their work is being displayed in different Art Galleries.

If you have an assembly, performance or show coming up, create an effect like this to share via twitter or Facebook with parents.

If the children have created an animation or film on their iPad, create a similar image as the opening titles for their film.
Do you have a star of the week? Publicise their achievement by creating the effect of the news being featured in a magazine! This could be the "Super Pupils," "Best children weekly," or something along those lines to make the child feel that the reward is being shared and valued.

This next example was made through the website - as the app doesn't allow the video effects to work on the iPad.

But this is an animated effect which allows you to choose some of your favourite examples of writing and turn them into a book. This could be a great way to showcase the writers of the week!

These are just a few examples of the 350+ effects available on the app or website. Not all the effects would be usable in class but if you have any other ideas please let me know in the comments below.

Here was an idea shared by @larnawhatwhat on twitter. This will be used with her Roald Dahl unit of work -

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Inspring and Motivational Quotes for the Classroom!

The internet is full of amazing quotes and speeches that can inspire and motivate. I want to try and collate as many that can be used in the classroom to help children focus and reach their potential. All you have to do is fill in the form below, if possible please try to name who originally voiced or penned the quote. However I know this is an issue on the internet, in that quotes can be referenced to someone who didn't actually say or write it.

It maybe a quote, speech, poem or even a link to a video. Thank you in advance for all your suggestions. It will also be a great way to build your PLN as you will be able to follow the contributors by searching their twitter handle.

Once I get a few suggestions, I will blog different apps you can use to create different posters to then display in your classroom.


Here are the responses for you to read and use:

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Creating effective then and now pictures

Last weekend I received these tweets:

This was my response:

Just in case you see other tweets sharing this idea, I just wanted to show when I mentioned it first. I hope that most followers of this blog and anyone who attends my training agree that I always credit any teacher if an idea starts with them, I just think it is fair to acknowledge where the initial inspiration for an idea comes from. I am more than happy to let people share ideas from my blog, that is the main reason for it! I am always extremely happy and proud to see people who tweet me to say that they have used an idea. I appreciate every time someone does share something from my blog and when they acknowledge where it came from. I can never prove whether a teacher genuinely thinks of an idea themselves and like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but to me it doesn't take much to mention and credit other peoples ideas.

Instashake was an app I downloaded through Apps Gone Free a while back. It is a great way of combining two different mix in different patterns. It is really straightforward and provides a great way to compare pictures of the past to the present.

It provides a great visual stimulus for children to then use to compare and contrast or even describe.

An example would be to take some pictures of the D Day landings contrasted with what they look like now (you can find some examples here) you can then use Instashake to combine two of these pictures to create a really effective then and now contrasting image:

Other ways could be to compare your local area, take this example of a picture of Market Street, Manchester in 1877 alongside Market Street 2002:

Or the evolution of Dubai - 1991 - 2003:

And it can also work the other way, look at current war zones and see how they use to look before the outbreak of war. Take this example of a street in Syria in 2011 and 2013:

This would show the devastating effects of war. 

You could even use it to look at the changes in children, or compare a self portrait with the original. If the children have replicated a famous painting in an art lesson it can then be blended with the original. Here is an example of me now contrasted to me as a baby (it fails to show the little difference mentally!):

Another idea, suggested by @RedgieRob would be to have a superhero with their alter ego. This could be done by the children creating their own superhero and creating an image that shows both sides of the character, here is a quick examples I put together -

Instashake is currently £1.49 but keep an eye out if it goes on Apps gone free again. If you have another other ideas for how to use this app, please tweet or add the ideas within the comments.

Already lots of ideas coming through thanks to twitter! Rob created this which could be a great stimulus for writing - 


Other ideas include - contrasts in weather/seasons, make your own animal by combining different parts of others (@SimonHaughton) or the opening setting with the setting at the end of a narrative (@BrynGoodman) Environmental changes (@WatsEd)

Thanks for all the suggestions! 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Guest Blog Post by Nick Vose - Plastic Peril

Phone contract over- Brick gone! New iPhone so set up Twitter account. @DeputyMitchell helps set up Class Blog -

Then attend @LiteracyShed Conference Old Trafford. Superb use of videos from Rob Smith for creative writing. Impressed to find them all in one place rather than trawling YouTube myself.

Next up @ICT_MrP. Inspirational ideas when using i-pads and camouflage learning. Liked Blackfish. Store that for future reference!

@InspiredMind5. #geektastic. Book for Village in Ashton. Order Comics in the Classroom. Start collecting resources for September.

Next to Davyhulme Primary for iPads in the Classroom training from Mr Parkinson. More inspirational ideas to take back to class and start using with my 15 iPads. Children don’t see it as work, all motivated and working together, sharing and bouncing ideas of each other.

New IPC Unit  of 'Climate Control.' Watched Midway – Message From The Gyre with my class. Stunned silence. Tears rolling down some faces, both adults and children! What can we do in Radcliffe about that?

Write about it? Discussion/Argument Text? Boring! Inspired by Mr P's Blackfish project- Can we do something similar? Left children to plan and each came up with question. Each came up with answer. Sort into order of importance. Use images from film as backdrop. Film each student reading question. Film each student giving response. Harry (Digital Leader) edit using i-movie. Add music – Albatross/Fleetwood Mac (Only bit I did!) Watch and post on class blog. 

Enter for Primary Earth Summit. Enter for Totally Green School Award. Enter for TCSC Oscar Awards. Wait and see.

Visited Richmond Primary School in London, with Harry, Mediah and Heather for training with BBC presenters. Harry came for editing film. Mediah and Heather as they prepared the best speech for why they should represent class at Parliament. 

Day spent at The Houses of Parliament will be one that none of us will ever forget! So proud to see our Year 6 telling MP’s they need to tackle plastic pollution in the ocean. Mrs B (Class TA) cried all the way through their speech!

Awesome probably sums up the whole experience from start to finish. My thanks to Lee for sharing so many wonderful ideas on his blog, without which, this experience would not have been possible.

- Many thanks to Nick for this, great to see how an idea can be adapted and used for another topic. It is fantastic to see how far the video went and the success you had from it. I am sure the class will remember this exciting project and the inspired work that they produced!

My Holiday Reads!

I have just returned from a lovely week away, where I had chance to really sit back relax! It meant I was able to read and I really took advantage of this opportunity! I thought it might be a good idea to share what I read and hopefully inspire others with a book to read over summer or even blog and share what they have read.

The first book I read was @HywelRobert's 'Oops! Helping Children Learn Accidently,'

This was recommended by @missrobinson82, who thought the approach is very similar to some of the projects I have shared through the blog and training. I have to agree, I thought it is a superb book and something I fully support and try to use. An example would be the Blackfish project, something that started from nothing but eventually grew beyond anything we could have hoped!

The book is written with a humorous tone and has some fantastic ideas. I haven't met Hywel but have heard great things about the training he provides and I hope to attend one in the future.

The next book was 'Death at Seaworld,' by David Kirby. I have wanted to read this for a while since watching the film Blackfish to read more about this issue that really interests me. If you were inspired by the film, I would highly recommend this book.

It delves into issues that the film didn't get chance to discuss and demonstrates further the reasons why we shouldn't keep these highly intelligent, social animals in captivity.

The film Blackfish, inspired one of the best class projects I had the pleasure of being involved in. You can read more about what we did with this issue here.

I also managed to finish both autobiographies of one of my lifelong heroes - Sir Alex Ferguson.

'Managing my life,' and 'Alex Ferguson: My autobiography,' chronicles Sir Alex's life from childhood up to his retirement after 25+ years as the manager of Manchester United.

Both books were fascinating! As an avid United fan, I got a real insight into the wonderful mind of one of the most successful managers in football history!

The last book I read was Shooters by Ben Black. This book looks at the gang culture that ravaged Manchester in the early 00s. This seems to pick up where another book - Gang War by Peter Walsh - finished. I read Gang war on my previous holiday and this was another insightful book on Manchester gang culture. For someone who has lived in Manchester all my life, it interests me to know about the criminal underground within the city.

So the question now is what have you read and what would you recommend?