Thursday, 16 October 2008

Wildlife from Meadowbank

This is excatly what this blog was initiated for. I have been watching with excitement some of the live feed that Mr Kinane and the children have been broadcasting from Meadowbank Primary School. How often do you get to watch the groundwork of swallows as they prepare a nest for the rearing of their chicks? Here we can observe this remarkable event happening on the other side of the world! What a great way for us to learn about the life of these birds from the comfort of our own classrooms, whether in New Zealand or in the UK. This is the perfect opportunity for children to share and view the wildlife of their own countries.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Microsoft Innovative Teacher Award poster

After a flight delay hassle, reminiscent of flying Easy Jet in Europe, we finally arrived in Christchuch for the annual Ulearn conference, the biggest gathering of ICT focussed teachers in New Zealand. I had to set up my poster that illustrates the link between Woodford and Meadowbank. Other candidates spent hours taping up their posters and making their boards just so. I did mine in 5 minutes and as you can see it fits perfectly!

I have now made my presentation and tomorrow I will know if I am one of the lucky four who make it to the next round in Kuala Lumpur. Wish me luck.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Inkscape Digital Portraits

Since Mr Kinane's visit to Woodford, the Year 4 children have been working on their digital portraits. The results can be seen in the Rogue's Gallery below! We are off now for a long earned rest! We will be back in September and look forward to continuing our partnership.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

From Virtual to 3-Dimensional!

The year 4 children at Woodford were delighted to have the opportunity to meet their 'virtual' teacher, David Kinane. After a week in Prague at the International Federation of Information Processing conference, David took the opportunity to visit us at Woodford. We took advantage of the visit to continue our inkscape sessions. Using to ICT suite, whiteboard and projector the children could now see in 'real' time the new skills that were being taught. In this case how to trace their own portraits using the pen and calligraphic tool to create a 'digital' image of themselves. The children worked hard and were encouraged to celebrate being stuck, as this was the forefront of their own learning. Layers were added over a photograph and then a face was created on one layer with eyes on another before the eyes were 'cut' through the face!

A special school dinner had been requested of shepherd's pie followed by apple crumble and custard, which he said was his favourite school dinner when he was a child.

David also took the opportunity of visiting the infant school with letters from children at Meadowbank. After a question and answer session with the year 4 children, he taught them a popular game that the children play in the New Zealand playground.

The day ended when David shared his and Meadowbank's vision for ICT with the joint staff of Woodford Schools. A real inspiration and long may our partnership continue to flourish! Thank you David for your time and enthusiasm!

Jack: It was a great experience and I will always remember it. The game ‘six square’ that he taught us was great.
Sam: It was good to meet Mr Kinane face to face.
RebeccaMr Kinane looked different in real life!
Lauren: Mr Kinane’s accent was very different to ours.
Joe: I enjoyed meeting somebody from the other side of the world.
Maya: It was fun, having him teach us in ‘our’ ICT suite.
Megan: It was enjoyable and I learnt that although NZ is on the other side of the world the people aren’t very different to us.
Megan: I got stuck, but I got there in the end.
Charlotte:Mr Kinane told us that if our brains were hurting we were working hard! And they were!
Andrew: the day with Mr Kinane was great because we learnt a new game for the playground and we learnt some new Inkscape skills too.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Guess Who!

It may appear all quiet on the blog front at the moment but rest assured we are still working together, beavering away industriously in the background. We have started an exciting new project with our Year 4 students. A virtual Guess Who! None of our children (about 120 in all) know who each other is, but we have begun an enquiry to see if we can Guess Who? We have exchanged photos without names and these have formed displays which arouse much discussion. Who is who? The children are partnered by name and are now trying to find out who their partner really is. What do they look like? What colour eyes do they have? How long is their hair and what colour? This enquiry is undertaken through different methods. Firstly and quite simply by questionnaire and email. The children are exchaning their questions which they hope will help them identify their partner. The second method is by a Voicethread. This involved yet another lesson delivered by David via Skype to ensure that we were all able to use voicethread to record our questions. You can see the development of this below.

We hope that from these partnerships the children will use Inkscape to create joint pictures which include images of their partners and elements which represent part of each child's cultural heritage.

During this project our collaboration will take an exciting step forward when David Kinane is due to visit the children at Woodford at the end of June. We will certainly be sharing that here!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Global Warming Posters

Year 4 students at Woodford have been learning about explanatory texts. This was also linked to our Geography work on Climate Change. We used the skills learnt from Mr Kinane in our last inkscape sessions to design a poster which would explain Global Warming. This task allowed us to combine a range of curriculum subjects, showing our understanding of explanatory texts, our knowldege of the effects of Global Warming and our ICT and design skills. We started by creating a background image. This was locked and a new layer added before we added our explanatory texts. Completed posters are going to be displayed around the school as part of our EcoSchools project.

The slideshow below shows some completed posters as well as some work in progress.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Inkscape Developments.

This morning we had a lesson in our ICT Suite from Mr Kinane in New Zealand. This is the third time we have been taught by him. It was 9am here on the 19th March and 10pm on the same day in New Zealand. We could see and hear and speak to Mr Kinane via a webcam and Skype. He was teaching us how to use Inkscape to design a poster. We could see what Mr Kinane was showing us and talking about on a skrbl page. He taught us how to write text and make a shadow. It was interesting to look at the shadow in different places. It was fun. We experimented with polygons and stars which really was fun and exctiting. Some people asked Mr Kinane how to make a star. He is really clever because he just knew the answer and what to do! At the end of the lesson we learnt how to put text on a line (or path). Sometimes the path was too short so the words overlapped and you couldn't see it clearly but you just had to stretch the line out to make it fit. It's amazing how we can learn from another teacher round the other side of the world just using a webcam! We really enjoy these lessons - we are addicted!!

Chloe Fear, Jack Hayes, Rebecca Skelton and John Upcott of Class 3, WJS

Saturday, 5 January 2008


On the 11th December 2007, Woodford Junior School underwent an OFSTED inspection. The report which was published today opens with the statement;

This is an outstanding school providing a high quality of education for its pupils.

Of particular note for this blog is a section which deals with the curriculum.

The curriculum's strong global dimension is illustrated by the exciting ICT link with a New Zealand primary school. This is maintained by pupils exchanging information about their lives and school events. The pupils talk enthusiastically about the lesson taught to them by the New Zealand teacher through the web link.

We are very proud that our work has been recognised by OFSTED and thank our New Zealand friends for making this possible.