‘It’s PowerPoint, Jim, but not as we know it’

An alternative approach to using PowerPoint by Robert Griffin, PGCE Programme Leader for Art & Design

It is estimated that over 30 million PowerPoint presentations are delivered daily. Microsoft’s PowerPoint software is still the number 1 presentation programme across the globe. Within the domain of education, the teaching profession relies heavily on its ‘presentation’ capability and pupils readily use PowerPoint to showcase a classroom project etc. Invariably, these presentations follow a very linear approach with text and photos appearing in a formulaic manner to reveal the author’s message. If there’s one subject area that’s likely to break the rule of convention, then it’s art. Last year I was juggling three problems at the same time – I was seeking a creative solution to these questions:

  • How can I get student teachers to use ICT in school art departments?
  • How can this be achieved without a cost implication?
  • How can I help student teachers meet the challenges of the new curriculum e.g. DCF

robpowerpoint

With a degree of experimentation, it dawned upon me that PowerPoint could be used to address these issues by creatively exploiting its ‘art’ tools and custom animation facility at little or no cost.

The Adobe software product offering is expensive and many schools cannot afford such investment. Tablets, particularly iPads are available for use in schools but the landscape remains patchy in terms of those schools that have and those that don’t.

So, when looking at the questions I posed earlier, the plan was to create an approach that would cater for the worst-case scenario – an art department without any bespoke ICT facilities but bookable access to a room with PCs.

robpp2

It is often the simple ideas that work best. It struck me that PowerPoint has a range of mark making free-hand drawing tools, prescribed ‘shape’ tools with editing ‘points’ capability , flexible colour tools, and a range of effects covering, for example, shadows and transparencies. Added to this mix is an animation capability with numerous effects for showing time based ‘movement’.

Continue reading “‘It’s PowerPoint, Jim, but not as we know it’”

A window into the library’s School Experience Room – By Ellie Harwood

brian

Cyncoed’s School Experience Room is a veritable treasure-trove of classic children’s literature, storytelling resources and illustrated picture books. We are lucky to hold many rare and unusual editions of classic books by internationally respected authors.

Brian Wildsmith (1930-2016) was a fine artist who drew on his love of animals and the intricate beauty of the natural world to create striking, colourful picture books for younger readers.

“I believe that beautiful picture books are vitally important in subconsciously forming a child’s visual appreciation, which will bear fruit in later life.”

He created many of his picture books for the very youngest children, introducing the alphabet and numbers using wonderful illustrations of flora, fauna and other familiar objects. In 1963, his ABC won the Kate Greenaway medal, one of the highest accolades a children’s illustrator can achieve.

His paintings are a riot of textures, patterns and geometric designs, often using collage and layers of freehand paint to create a dynamic and compelling vision of the world. His style owes something to the ornate, gilded masterpieces of Klimt and Mucha, but his loose, playful compositions also reflect the work of contemporaries like Eric Carle and Quentin Blake.

owl

The Cyncoed collection contains several of Wildsmith’s best-loved works, including the problem-solving friendship fable of The Owl and the Woodpecker. In this charming tale, an Owl and Woodpecker live in neighbouring trees and annoy each other with their different lifestyles. As their relations deteriorate, the other woodland animals attempt to help them reconcile their differences, but to no avail. But when a big storm threatens their tree-top homes Owl and Woodpecker are able to help each other out and learn to live a little more harmoniously.

This story will help young learners think about what makes a good neighbour, the importance of considering the feelings of others, and the role of kindness, co-operation and problem solving when resolving disputes.

“I want to help young people wonder at the world and to become close observers of the beauty and harmony in nature”

moon

Foundation Phase pupils will also enjoy ‘What the Moon Saw.’ This book will assist children as they learn about opposites, as it goes through a range of contrasting adjectives relating to various familiar objects. Children will learn new ways to describe the world around them, and delight in the exquisitely detailed pictures of different animals.

Wildsmith uses some interesting painting and collage techniques to demonstrate the contrast between different concepts like strong and weak, huge and tiny, and long and short. He is particularly good at composing pictures using unusual perspectives – young readers will be amused by the picture of the dog from both the front and the back. It disrupts some of the conventional ways perspective and composition are used in children’s picture books, and this disruption can inspire young learners to try new ways of representing their own schemas as they develop their drawing skills.

Brian Wildsmith sadly passed away in August 2016, but his reputation as one of the 20th century’s greatest illustrators continues to this day. He has a back catalogue of 80 titles, many of which are still in print, and both Michael Rosen and Anthony Browne cite him as a major influence on their approach to storytelling and illustration. His work brings a fine art sensibility to stories for the youngest readers, and educators will find his books are a great resource to inspire both art and storytelling activities in the classroom.

Getting My First Teaching Job – Sophie Robins

The whole process of applying for a teaching job was completely new to me. I was in the final two weeks of my last placement when jobs started to trickle through. I was checking to see what new jobs were advertised daily when I saw a job that was perfect for me. I’d never written an application for a teaching job before and I think I slightly underestimated how much time I was going to have to put into writing it. I started to write my letter of application, it took me nearly a week to write it, check it, send it to people to proof read, check it again, make sure I included everything from the job description and when I was happy with the application, I pressed send and that was it, it was then a waiting game.

The whole process was really quick for me, I checked my emails a few days after applying and I received and invitation for an interview! I was so happy, but then the fear kicked in. Now I would actually have to prepare for my very first teaching interview! The email stated what I would need to do on the day. It all seemed quite daunting, especially as I was still preparing for lessons at my placement school. The next week was spent frantically trying to plan everything down to the last detail. I planned my lesson down to the minute, creating every resource that I would need and thinking about exactly how the lesson would go, I even bought pens for the pupils, I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. I prepared for the interview as much as I could without knowing what they would ask in the interview, I looked up teacher interview questions online and tried to cover everything.

Continue reading “Getting My First Teaching Job – Sophie Robins”

Consultation on the new teaching standards

The Welsh Government are consulting on new professional standards for teaching and leadership in schools that will replace the existing Qualified Teacher Status standards (2009), Practising Teachers Standards (2011) and Leadership Standards (2011).  Click on the link and share your views.

https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/new-professional-standards-teaching-and-leadership

Sesiwn ar Batagonia

gina

Cefais y fraint i gymryd rhan yng Nghynhadledd Cymraeg Safon Uwch ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd fis Chwefror diwethaf.

Rydw i’n astudio gradd yn y Gymraeg yn yr un coleg ac yn dod yn wreiddiol o Batagonia, yr Ariannin, felly Cymraeg yw fy ail iaith hefyd.

Roedd hi’n hyfryd gweld cymaint o ddisgyblion o wahanol ysgolion o Gaerdydd a’r ardal sydd yn paratoi’n frwdfrydig i sefyll arholiad Cymraeg Ail Iaith. Roedd y darlithfeydd yn llawn o wynebau ifainc ac eiddgar ar y diwrnod.

Cafodd y disgyblion gyfle i wrando ar gyflwyniadau difyr a defnyddiol iawn gan ddarlithwyr y coleg. Roedd yn wych gweld y disgyblion yn trafod a sgwrsio yn Gymraeg drwy gydol y dydd.

Ar ôl cyflwyniad Dr Gina Morgan am y ffilm Patagonia, sef ffilm a fydd yn cael ei hastudio fel rhan o’r arholiad, cefais gyfle i drafod agweddau’r ffilm wrth ateb cwestiynau’r disgyblion.

Derbyniais fwy na saithdeg o gwestiynau a oeddent yn amrywiol iawn. Roeddwn i’n fodlon iawn gyda safon y cwestiynau, roedd y disgyblion yn amlwg eisiau cael y gorau o’r gynhadledd a holon nhw’n drwyadl.

Cymeron nhw fantais o gael rhywun sy’n frodorol o Batagonia i ateb eu hymholiadau er mwyn llwyddo nes ymlaen yn eu hastudiaethau; chwarae teg iddynt.

Gofynnodd y disgyblion ynglŷn â gwahanol agweddau’r ffilm: a oedd y ffilm yn realistig, a oedd yn portreadu bywyd go iawn neu hyd yn oed a oedd y bwyd yn debyg â’r ffilm!

Triais fy ngorau glas i ateb y cwestiynau’n llawn, a gobeithio’n fawr bod y disgyblion wedi mwynhau cymaint â fi.

Cafodd y cwestiwn gorau ymhlith y pentwr ei wobrwyio gan y darlithwyr a fi.

Dewisais un cwestiwn diddorol a phwysfawr a oedd yn mynd i fod o gymorth yn yr arholiad. Hoffwn ddiolch i’r enillydd gan obeithio ei bod yn hapus gyda’r ateb a’r wobr!

Roedd yn ddiwrnod llwyddiannus iawn ac mae pawb sydd wedi cyfrannu ato’n haeddu cymeradwyaeth helaeth. Roedd yn bleser gennyf i fod o help i’r disgyblion ac rydw i’n edrych ymlaen at rannu fy mhrofiad gyda mwy o fyfyrwyr brwd.

PGCE English in the frame

movie

Cardiff School of Education recently became a film set as PGCE English students worked with Simon Richards, from Into Film Cymru, in creating short suspense films.   Through an exciting, enlightening and very enjoyable workshop, Simon helped the new teachers explore how film can be a creative and valuable way of studying aspects such as setting, character and narrative.  Film and video is a hugely influential part of young people’s lives and so it is important that they can understand and ‘read’ it. The workshop also demonstrated strategies that will help the student teachers guide their learners in understanding how film works.  Into Film is relevant to teachers from all subjects and age groups. Simon noted that:  ‘Through our training sessions we hope to empower teachers to use one of the most engaging mediums, film, to help increase attainment and literacy outcomes and improve their creative skills.’

Their website is well worth a look – http://www.intofilm.org.

Spotlight on Research – Emma Thayer

EmmaThayerResearchSpotlightActive learning increases pupil engagement.  This was a key message from research completed by PGCE Drama Programme Leader, Emma Thayer.  Emma recently shared her experiences of working with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) at a research seminar in the Cardiff School of Education.

The project, which involved the promotion of active approaches to teaching Shakespeare in schools, took place whilst she was working as a Head of Drama in Somerset.  Through a professional development programme, run by the RSC, Emma became a regional Lead Practitioner engaged in developing teachers’ skills and promoting research around the active approaches.

Her research indicated that working collaboratively, using the active strategies, not only supported pupil engagement but it also increased their social confidence, so that they were better able to express and share ideas and opinions, for example.   Her research also explored the value of seeing the role of a teacher as a director/facilitator, so that the teacher facilitates the pupils’ understanding and development, as opposed to directly providing information. Emma also saw the value of cross-curricular connections, including between Drama and English.

Through this three-year project, Emma became engaged in whole range of exciting experiences, including a Regional Schools Festival, taking a group of pupils to perform at Stratford-upon-Avon at on the RSC stage and seeing pupils’ filmed work being shown at the local Odeon.  Emma also gained a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Shakespeare from the University of Warwick. She is now sharing her insight, skills and knowledge with students at Cardiff Met.

Top tips for your interview!

Here are some top tips from three PGCE Secondary student teachers who have managed to secure teaching posts recently:

  • Don’t try to teach too much content in your interview lesson. The purpose of the lesson is to check that 1) you know your stuff, 2) you can be engaging the classroom and 3) you understand how to structure a lesson.
  • If you get a chance, have a wander around the school and/or chat to staff. Find out about the school/department’s approach to teaching and organisation in general. Who is responsible for what? You can tell a lot about a school’s priorities by how its staff are organised.
  • One question I didn’t prepare an answer for was: Aside from your classroom work, what else can you bring to the school. I should have because my answer was a lot of waffle!
  • Try to learn at least a few names during your interview lesson.
  • They will ask you to reflect on your lesson. I was veryblunt and didn’t try to sugar coat the parts of my lesson that could be improved. They seemed to appreciate this.
  • Try to enjoy it and be yourself! Smile, be enthusiastic and be yourself! There is no point pretending to be someone you are not! Therefore teach the lesson to your style as that will make you feel more comfortable. It is all about being natural.
  • Engage with the pupils and staff at all times… even if on a school tour or in the canteen etc… I had a tour with other interviewees by two pupils whose opinions of us were sought afterwards.

Continue reading “Top tips for your interview!”

PGCE Art students assessing KS3 art portfolios at St Teilo’s Church in Wales High School .

robartOne of the most difficult tasks facing PGCE Art students is assessing Key Stage 3 portfolios of work. While assessment criteria are explicit within the National Curriculum for Art and Design, words can appear quite abstract if they’re not supported by ‘real’ art work.

In order to overcome this issue, a PGCE Art group visit to a local secondary school art department allowed student teachers the opportunity to merge assessment theory with a strong practical understanding. In other words, the experience became ‘real’.

By drawing on the experience of Head of Art, Tracey Anderson, the processes and protocols surrounding the department’s approach to KS3 assessment and levelling became abundantly clear. Tracey produced excellent resources for the session, offering student teachers ideas for literacy ‘triggers’ to support the outcomes of the pupils.

The task for the PGCE students involved a timed session of 6 minutes for each of the five presented KS3 art portfolios. Using the ‘level descriptors’, student teachers, working in small groups, had to make a judgement for a portfolio. This created a healthy debate before student teachers arrived at an agreed grade within the tight time frame. The plenary session, overseen and led by the Head of Art allowed student teachers to see how their grades compared to the grades offered by the department. In most cases, all grades offered by the student teachers mirrored those of the department. While the grading issue was a focus, the debate surrounding the process enriched their understanding of the potential complexities of art assessments.

One of the most difficult tasks facing PGCE Art students is assessing Key Stage 3 portfolios of work. While assessment criteria are explicit within the National Curriculum for Art and Design, words can appear quite abstract if they’re not supported by ‘real’ art work.

In order to overcome this issue, a PGCE Art group visit to a local secondary school art department allowed student teachers the opportunity to merge assessment theory with a strong practical understanding. In other words, the experience became ‘real’.

By drawing on the experience of Head of Art, Tracey Anderson, the processes and protocols surrounding the department’s approach to KS3 assessment and levelling became abundantly clear. Tracey produced excellent resources for the session, offering student teachers ideas for literacy ‘triggers’ to support the outcomes of the pupils.

The task for the PGCE students involved a timed session of 6 minutes for each of the five presented KS3 art portfolios. Using the ‘level descriptors’, student teachers, working in small groups, had to make a judgement for a portfolio. This created a healthy debate before student teachers arrived at an agreed grade within the tight time frame. The plenary session, overseen and led by the Head of Art allowed student teachers to see how their grades compared to the grades offered by the department. In most cases, all grades offered by the student teachers mirrored those of the department. While the grading issue was a focus, the debate surrounding the process enriched their understanding of the potential complexities of art assessments.

One of the most difficult tasks facing PGCE Art students is assessing Key Stage 3 portfolios of work. While assessment criteria are explicit within the National Curriculum for Art and Design, words can appear quite abstract if they’re not supported by ‘real’ art work.

In order to overcome this issue, a PGCE Art group visit to a local secondary school art department allowed student teachers the opportunity to merge assessment theory with a strong practical understanding. In other words, the experience became ‘real’.

By drawing on the experience of Head of Art, Tracey Anderson, the processes and protocols surrounding the department’s approach to KS3 assessment and levelling became abundantly clear. Tracey produced excellent resources for the session, offering student teachers ideas for literacy ‘triggers’ to support the outcomes of the pupils.

The task for the PGCE students involved a timed session of 6 minutes for each of the five presented KS3 art portfolios. Using the ‘level descriptors’, student teachers, working in small groups, had to make a judgement for a portfolio. This created a healthy debate before student teachers arrived at an agreed grade within the tight time frame. The plenary session, overseen and led by the Head of Art allowed student teachers to see how their grades compared to the grades offered by the department. In most cases, all grades offered by the student teachers mirrored those of the department. While the grading issue was a focus, the debate surrounding the process enriched their understanding of the potential complexities of art assessments.

Enter our World Book Day competitions for a chance to win Amazon vouchers

Make a 3-D book character: £20 Amazon voucher prizes for the three best models

Use plasticine, clay, wool, string, paper – anything – to mould an inspired book character in 3-D.  Label it with your name and student number & send a photograph of it onto a file less than 2.5MB to j.finch@cardiffmet.ac.uk.

The competition is open to both overseas & home-based Cardiff Met students.  All winning entries will be displayed on our International Library Facebook page.

Graffiti your favourite sporting hero…

If art isn’t your thing, then you can still win a £10 voucher.  Tell us your favourite sporting hero or action figure and why.  Tweet to @cardiffmetlearn with the #wbd hashtag, or write on our graffiti walls in Cyncoed library.

Celebrate World Book Day with Cardiff Met Libraries: 28th February to 10th March

Image result for world book dayJoin us for an action packed and sporting World Book Day fortnight of exciting events and activities.

Monday 27th February 12-1pm – Jos Andrews: School Experience Room (L101), Cyncoed Library

Breaking into writing & working in the world of sport

Author of several sports books, Jos Andrews offers a fascinating glimpse into her work as a BBC Series Producer for major sporting events including the Olympics & Six Nations.

Tuesday 28th March 11am-2pm Artist Books: Welsh Collection on ground floor of Cyncoed Library

Artists Book exhibition and craft activity stall

Experienced artist and curator of the Artists Book collection at Llandaff campus library, Doreen Barnaville & Art Librarian, Martha Lee will be on hand to show you how you can give an old unwanted book a new lease of life.

Thursday 2nd March 1-2pm – Joe Towns: School Experience Room (L101), Cyncoed Library

“Good writers borrow, great writers steal!” – how the library (and poetry) inspired Wimbledon and the Six Nations

Joe Towns is an experienced journalist, television producer and sports broadcaster.  He is also course director and lecturer of Cardiff Met’s new MSc in Sports Broadcasting.  He will look at the classic poems read by actors and sporting celebrities to create inspirational opening sequences for BBC One Sports coverage.

Monday 6th World Book Day cake stall: Cyncoed main reception

An only too rare chance to see library staff in World Book Day fancy dress – drop in and buy our cakes or donate towards the National Literacy Trust.

There’s also a chance to win some money with our 3-D modelling & graffiti wall competitions.  Click here (link to separate article) for more.

Superhero Powers

spySuperman, Wonder Woman or a teacher – who is the real hero? Anyone who is able to juggle managing 30 youngsters, whilst questioning, challenging, monitoring and assessing said youngsters, in between bouts of break duty, marking and parents’ evening has got to be eligible for hero status.

But if you had the chance for a superpower too, what would it be? The ability to fly, to read minds or to turn invisible?   In a recent poll, Cardiff Met student teachers opted strongly for two superpowers:

  • telepathy – the ability to read minds and communicate mind-to-mind
  • time control – being able to slow, speed up or even stop time.

superpowerchart

It seems that understanding young minds can be something of a challenge, and there certainly isn’t enough time in the day for writing up all those lesson plans!

Mind control was also a favoured option for some, as was taking on an altered form – maybe Severus Snape or Miss Trunchball would do the trick!

Some students came up with their own superpowers including super-sticking (for getting marking and sticking done at lightning speed) and super-motivator power (for instant motivation).

So whilst you mightn’t have a superhero costume, or a superpower, teachers certainly have superhero status!