Ian Yule reports on some good (and easily accesible) literacy ideas happening in the school right now:

Planners: don’t forget that information about punctuation, paragraphing and how to put together an informative piece of writing is all to be found in the school planner. There is also information about how to record sources including books and web pages. If anyone has actually used the back page as a dry marker board I’d be interested to hear what how you’re using them. There’s also a handy ruler for underlining headings (one of our presentation standards – hopefully on display in every classroom).

Andrea Thacker is promoting the use of the Countdown Conundrum website with her registration class. The class has 30 seconds to solve the word puzzle. When (or if!) the puzzle is solved she then discusses with her class what the word means and contexts in which they could use it. Of course this is also great fun and the registration group is always keen to improve upon their scores from the previous day. This is a great way to make registration a preparation for learning experience and can be used as a starter to any lesson. Follow the link below to use it in your classroom:

http://www.countdownconundrum.com/

Moira Thomson has been using Rewordify in order to simplify texts. Rewordify is a programme where you can paste (or type in) a complicated passage and it will offer you a simplified version. This could be really helpful for creating differentiated versions of texts, questions or instructions. Ian Yule spotted on the same webpage that there is a game called Rewordo where you have a timed out competition to choose the correct meanings of words from four options. This game could also be used as a starter to learning or just as a vocabulary improver. One good thing about Rewordify is that you can change the settings to create a range of approaches. Check out Rewordify and Rewordo from this link:

http://rewordify.com/

Don’t forget Wordle which is a great way for students to create word banks for writing tasks or to analyse the words in a paragraph. Word banks can be turned into ‘word clouds’ so that those whose minds are more artistic can think about words and improve spelling through using this tool. Copying a short piece of text (or a poem) into Wordle can create a striking graphic image and will draw attention to the key words. Examples of Word Clouds can be seen in a few classrooms across the school. Check it out for yourself at:

http://www.wordle.net/

If you’d like to add to the Literacy Ideas then please forward your idea to myself. I’ll then get it added to the Literacy Ideas which I hope to build up on the Learning and Teaching website.

Finally, I’d be really interested in hearing about teachers’ experiences of allowing pupils to use their smart phones in classes to look up words or information. There is a huge problem with the 3G signal in the school but I’m wondering if anyone has succeeded. I have a limited 3G signal in my room and I have sometimes allowed pupils to use their online dictionary and thesaurus. So far, pupils have used their phones responsibly.