This was presented at Teachmeet Havering 2009…

Every Summer before GCSE exams you get a couple of weeks when you need to be revising. Students minds are not filled with thoughts of exam preparation but thoughts of leaving school (some for good) and the days get longer and warmer. It can be a very hard time for lessons to be productive even though it’s arguably the most important time of year. Last year one of my year 11 classes had a number of students blessed with musical talent. The idea of creating revision songs popped into my head. I asked a couple of students to bring in their guitars next lesson and I brought in some lyrics (see Data Capture song below). 20 minutes later two guys Aden and Sean put together a tune – we got our cheap microphone headset up, loaded up audacity and recorded this…

Data Capture Song


Data Capture Song Lyrics (pdf)

You could use any programme to record but we used Audicity which is free and simple. Jose Picardo gives a great introduction to podcasting and audacity here, I’ve used his explanation for staff training.

As I said we didn’t use any special hardware – just a £1 headset microphone and PC. After this I had a request from the students for a revision song that fitted to Fields of Gold . I sat down at home and wrote the following lyrics which the 2 guys then recorded.

Fields of Data

Fields of Data Lyrics (pdf)

It’s easy, fun, and a great way to revise. Of course you could use songs for all ages and subjects not just for revision. If you’ve any good examples do leave them in the comments.

Finally in my enthusiasm I bought www.revisionsongs.com but haven’t had time to do anything with it. If anyone would like to collaborate or take it over for a good cause let me know – it would be amazing to have a youtube style website of revision songs for students.

Addendum: Thanks to Anthony Evans from Redbridge who has posted a video of my presentation on his blog – you can watch it below.

Teachmeet 09 at BETT

Posted on January 17th, 2009 in conferences | 1 Comment »

Another year another BETT another Teachmeet

As Lisa Stevens said in her teachmeet talk it’s amazing how much you can learn in a year. Last year at Teachmeet the only person I vaguely knew was Drew Buddie. He introduced me to a couple of people and a few weeks later when we met again he told me to join twitter and start a blog. This year at Teachmeet I was down on the list to present, had been volunteered to run the flashmeeting and be cameraman and finally met 10-20 people that I had met online via twitter but never in person. It really is amazing how much of a network you can build up and how much you can learn in a year!

My talk didn’t get picked by the random name picker at teachmeet this year so I thought I’d write up here what I might have done.

First of all I wasn’t sure what to offer to present so I created a twitter poll on polldaddy and asked my twitter network to choose, you can see the results here

I won’t explain them all so here’s a selection that I’ll try and sum up in a few sentences each.

1. Using google sites: This is already written up on a previous post which you can read about here

2. Using audacity to make revision songs:  GCSE ICT class coming up to exams. I had a lot of musical students in the class so we wrote a couple of revision songs, got a guitar and recorded using audacity. One song was made up, the other we re-wrote the words of “fields of gold” to talk about databases! For advice on using audacity check out Jose Picardo’s blog. Nb. Audacity is a free open source audio recording and editing application.

3. Running a teachmeet style inset at school: In our January inset I organised a one hour long teachmeet style inset (Rickrolling Reflections). 10 staff members volunteered to speak and gave presentations on all kinds of things such as using drama games in class and techniques for questioning with students. We had prizes for the top 3 presentations. Despite the hall being an icy 14C it was a great hour or so.

4. China Masterclass using digital video and VLE for communication and collaboration: This is written up at length in a previous blog post here.

5. Creating cartoon strips with digital cameras: Get a class to draw a storyboard for a cartoon. Take them outside with digital cameras and get them to photograph each other acting out the scenes from the storyboard. Back in classroom take photos, put in powerpoint or other software, add speech bubbles, modify or edit photos where necessary. For extension work record audio to go with cartoon!

6. Teaching kids to fill out forms for nectar cards: I had a lesson on ICT in supermarkets and loyalty cards with a tricky year 8 class (aged 12/13). Two boys just weren’t interested and I couldn’t get them to complete any of the work. Instead I took them to the Nectar card website and got them to find out about Nectar cards. They both applied for one and in the process learnt to fill in an online form. I just assumed this would be easy but it took a while with questions like “Sir what do we put in the title box?” We also discussed who it was safe to share this information with and whether to tick the boxes allowing them to send you further mail. Both boys learn a very useful life skill. Once they had applied they learnt how the card worked, how to collect points and how much shopping they’d need to buy to get a free computer game. Great numeracy skills! I’m not sure I’d get a whole class to do this especially as you’re supposed to be 18 to get a Nectar card, but I guess that’s another life skill.