Comparing stereotypical vs nonstereotypical

After reading Emily and the Dragon, we were discussing how Emily is not your stereotypical female character. Instead of students completing a Venn diagram comparison, we took it one step further and had students create an avatar of a stereotypical princess in the App WeeMee. This allowed for a fun discussion about her appearance; what hair style, hair colour, clothing options and leisure activities she “should” have.

They exported this image to their camera roll to import into a table created in Pages.

Before teaching a 1:1 iPad class, I never would have planned for Year 2 students to create a table for a Venn diagram. How times have changed! Not only do I transform their learning, I’ve also transformed my thinking of what students can and can’t do… really there isn’t much they can’t do with an iPad.

Give it a try!

iMotion Fairytales

Fairytales and movies go hand in hand. So I thought, iMotion would be a perfect match for our current English unit.

When introducing a new App, I always use concepts students have prior knowledge on so their focus is purely on discovering the App. I printed off images of the characters from The Three Little Pigs for students to use to create their first iMotion. I made a quick exemplar for the students to conceptualise what an iMotion final product looks like, showed them the basics and they were ready. We decided one  partner was to be the camera person and the other the moving person.


After they made their iMotion, they needed to export the video to their Camera roll and airdrop the video to their buddy, so they both had a copy and then individually upload to Seesaw for their parents and peers to view.

I was pleasantly surprised with my student’s team work effort and their reflections on their final videos. There were lots of ‘next time’ statements being made, which is excellent as NEXT WEEK we will be starting to collaboratively change stereotypical characters to non-stereotypical and I can’t wait as to what they come up with for the Little Pigs or the wolf. Stay tuned for next weeks iMotion update…

Give it a try!



Drawing a Nogard

I absolutely ❤️ teaching the fairytale’s unit! Who doesn’t love a happily ever after… or is it?

By the end of the unit, students are expected to write a non-stereotypical character description. To introduce the unit, I gave the students a Nogard listening activity. I read the below description to the class and they drew their interpretation…

The nogard is an animal. It has an oval shaped body. It has a long neck and tail. The top of the neck, back and tail are covered with a row of triangular shaped plates. The nogard’s head is shaped like a long triangle. It has big eyes and eyebrows that stick out. It also has big nostrils. Its body is covered with scales. The nogard has four short legs. At the end of each leg is a foot with five toes. Each toe has a sharp claw at the end. The nogard has two wings attached to its body. These are located behind the front legs towards the top of its back. Nogards are usually green but change to a deep purple during the winter months.

Students soon realise they are drawing a dragon 🐉 and Nogard spelt backwards is … dragon! They get so excited with this realisation.

I asked the students ‘are dragons evil or good?’ and where have they seen  these sorts of dragons. We established that stereotypically dragons are evil in fairytales but in some movies like ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ they are mostly good.

We then discussed what sort of dragon have they drawn, an evil or good dragon and why.

I find that if you start the unit encouraging students to think about why from the beginning, they will find it easier when they need to write a detailed character description later on.

You may be thinking where do iPads come into this lesson…well students were so keen to share what sort of dragon they have created, however listening to 25 creations does take valuable class time 😔. However, thanks to the Seesaw App, every child posted their creation with an oral description for not only myself and their peers, BUT also for their parents to see.

If you do use Seesaw or are thinking to, I strongly encourage signing their parents up as well. Parents love getting notifications during the day to see what their child has created and it gives them something to discuss with their child after school. Instead of the usual ‘I learnt nothing today’.

Give it a try!

Editing with Seesaw

Are you a time-poor teacher? Gone are the days of taking home 25 writing books to edit overnight ready for the follow up lesson the next day thanks to the Seesaw App!

Have students upload their writing onto Seesaw ready for you to edit anytime and anywhere! Students receive your feedback ready for the next lesson. If you have eager beavers like I do, you’ll have some students take on your editing feedback before the next lesson… another benefit of a 1:1 BYO program.

Seesaw has many advantages for BYO classrooms and this idea is only one of them. If you haven’t signed your class up onto Seesaw…what are you waiting for? Click here to sign up to Seesaw.

Give it a try!

YouTube style procedure videos

Have you ever watched how to do something on YouTube? Chances are that your students have too and they all would love to be Youtubers! So instead of having the students write down each step of the procedure, I thought of transforming their learning by getting each student to do a selfie-video on ‘How to Brush Your Teeth’.

I chose the topic of ‘How to Brush Your Teeth’ as brushing teeth is a task all kids can do a little better. Have you ever smelt a kid’s breath in the morning??

Each student received their own new toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste. I went through the correct way to brush and off they went.

Each and every student was engaged. They all went home and showed their parents and siblings.

Next time you’re introducing a new genre, remember to include time for oral presentations, especially selfie-videos!

Give it a try!

Editing using Camera

Mistakes are proof of trying!

Yes, that phrase is true… however if students don’t know that they’re making a mistake, they will not know what to correct when a teacher says to them to go back and edit their work.

Teachers need to teach students HOW TO EDIT.

Using an iPad’s camera is a powerful editing tool.

Carefully select a student’s work that has features that you are focusing on. The example I used above was to discuss the use of full stops. I read the sentences to the class and it wasn’t long before students identified full stops were placed at the end of each and every line.

This was a perfect moment to reinforce “whisper reading” for students to hear where the natural pause of the sentence falls and to check for the subject and the predicate in their sentences.

Give it a try!





Home reading 📖 task with a twist 🌪

Sometimes, the best learning moments are not intentionally planned…

Every week I assign my students ebooks for their home reading using Sunshine Classics. However last week, for the first time EVER, I forgot. I had parents emailing me asking “where were this weeks books?”. I confessed that I had forgotten due to assessment week and quickly created a task for them, as I did not have 30 minutes to assign ebooks books for all the students.

The task > upload a selfie video of you reading a book from home onto Seesaw.

Seesaw home reading

It was great to see:

  • The kids relaxed whilst they were reading
  • How confident they were taking a selfie video
  • Wonderful fluency that entertained

AND most of all

  • Peers leaving positive feedback


I would definitely do this task again.

Give it a try!




Word Work with Explain Everything

I am a strong believer that when students do any Word Work activity it must be collaborative for them to get any benefit. One activity I love is explain your ‘Silly Mistake‘ in Explain Everything. As a teacher you get a quick indication if students understand their sort when they are required to explain their thinking.

  1. Students initially do a Table Sort with their cards and make a ‘Silly Mistake‘. My definition of a Silly Mistake is only making one or two mistakes, any more and you don’t know if students have made a Silly Mistake or lots of mistakes!
  2. Next students take a clear photo of their Table Sort and export the photo into Explain Everything.
  3. In Explain Everything students use the laser pointer to keep the audience focused on their explanation of their sort and their reasoning for the Silly Mistake OR leave their reasoning for their Silly Mistake for the audience to guess.
  4. Once finsished recording their voice, students export their video to Photos and share with a buddy OR upload to Seesaw for peers to view and guess the Silly Mistake.

Give it a go!



Writing ideas in Kidspiration

We recently had our school’s community fundraiser event, so, what a great stimulus idea for writing!

All students went, so they all had a personal connection to the topic.

To ensure all students were able to write an entertaining recount, we collaboratively made a Kidspiration map about the rides and stalls that were there.

img_1322Including some images assists the visual learners and adding the feeling of ‘scary’ reminds all students to expand their ideas.

After we had our planning session, students went ahead to independently write their own recount.

I didn’t have any student saying that they didn’t know what to write!


Give it a try!


Word Work with Kidspiration

I’m always thinking of new activities to keep Word Work interesting for my students. My teaching partner and I were exploring making a Word Family Tree in Book Creator. However, it proved to be very time consuming and detracted from the purpose of the lesson.

We then thought about using Kidspiration to make a Hot Air Ballon using the movie “Up” as inspiration. The idea took off!

We added a collaborative aspect of students swapping hot air ballon maps as a “blind sort” for a buddy to identify the sort headings.


Give it a try!