The Power Of One; 1 iPad, 1 Classroom, 1 Teacher.


My first presentation at #ililc4 and I mean my very first EVER was a session attempting to address what to do if you only have 1 iPad in your classroom.  I was lucky enough to be given an iPad to trial in my classroom 2 years ago, in my session I looked to provide delegates with a list of apps that they could successfully use in a 1 iPad classroom.

Having only 1 iPad in the classroom allows you to make yourself the expert on the tool.  You will have to work at this, use your iPad regularly and when you hit a problem, search for a solution on Google or ask on Twitter or someone else in your school in this way you will learn about the functionality of the iPad and what to do when it doesn’t quite work.  Better that you learn when you only have one to deal with than when you have a class set.  Although we think our young people are tech savvy they aren’t as savvy as you may imagine and will need, just like you, to learn how to use an iPad effectively.


A VGA adapter – so that you use you iPad with your whiteboard

Apple TV – this enables you to show things from your iPad on you whiteboard wirelessly and it is a seriously cool bit of kit.

A clamp – borrow this form science and gently clamp your iPad over the work you want to show the class, go to the camera on you iPad and hey presto you have a visualiser!

Ideas for starter activities

Pass the parcel is a paid for app this allows you to turn you iPad into a children’s party game.  Simply create a list of questions in word or pages copy and paste your questions into the pass the parcel app and press play.  The students then pass the iPad around the class and when the music stops a question appears that the students must answer.

Make Dice is another paid for app which allows you to make word dice.  Simply type in the words you want to appear on each face. Shake the iPad and students had to say a sentence with that word or use a few dice and make them create sentences with the word shown.  There is a free version of this app called Make Dice Lite

Shake and Boom this turns your iPad into a bomb.  Simply arm the bomb pass it around the class and when it goes off ask a question – easy!  Again this is a paid for app.

Videoscribe and Haiku Deck are both apps which allow you to do presentations.  Videoscribe creates cartoon animation and Haiku Deck is a slide presentation app full of beautiful creative commons images.

Pairwork and discussion ideas

In pairs or small groups allow students to use the video camera function on the iPad to film themselves speaking then connect it to you whiteboard and show the rest of the class who then give feedback. app allows you to make simple short recordings, the results of which can be emailed to you.

Voice Record Pro allows you to make longer recordings which can then be shared via email, dropbox, Google Drive or Skydrive.

Wrapped app allows you to wrap up pictures.  Email the picture to yourself, display it on your board and then scratch you iPad like you are scratching a lottery card and the picture is slowly revealed.  Works well for guessing games  and discussions.

Guardian Eye Witness and Fotopedia beautiful and unusual photos are provided by both these apps.  Use them in conjunction with wrapped or put the photos into the app Over this then allows you to write questions or key vocabulary onto your photos which you can then save to you camera role and share via your whiteboard to prompt discussion.

Giving Feedback

Take a photo of exemplar work and put it into Skitch then use the pen and arrow tools to highlight the best bits and areas for improvement whilst projecting onto you whiteboard.

Flip your classroom using the Show Me app.  This is a recordable whiteboard  so you can record yourself teaching  and then share the link with your class via email or input it into a QR code creator  and share as a QR code.

Turn your iPad into a visualizer using a clap and the camera function.


Set up a class blog on a blogging platform like Kid blog allow a small fstudents to blog using group of students to blog using your iPad each week

Randomising and Timing

Decide now is a great selector app.  You basically fill in sections of a wheel and spin it.  I fill many of my wheels with topics, I spin the wheel and students have to talk for 1 minute on that topic

Ever had a row about who is going next – not any more.  Tap Roulette is a nifty little app.  Each student puts a finger on the screen you tap select and the app selects a finger – argument over!

Stop Go app is a timing app that looks like a set of traffic lights.  You can set each light to be on for a length of time.  For example 5 mins on green 1 min on amber.  The app bings each time the colour changes which serves to remind you and them how long they have left.  I often don’t project the picture and just hook my iPad up to the speakers for the sound.

Personal Organisation

I am trying to go paperless this year so I have been planning my lessons on my iPad.  The app that I have had most success with is Daybook at the moment I just use it to plan with but it does have a mark book function too.

Smart seat is a seating plan app but it also has a randomising feature on it too so you can easily select students in your class. This app is sleek and simple and I use it lots

Google Drive and Dropbox

Cloud storage apps which allow you to easily share documents with each other.  I love the collaborative features in Drive and use it a great deal with my older students.

Wunderlist is a lovely to do list app.  You can assign tasks to others who share your lists it’s beauty is in it’s simplicity.

Flipboard is app which helps you to collate stuff from the web or twitter into magazines that you can share with others.


The 20 Day Challenge Or Creating Good Habits


This weekend I attended the #ililc4 languages conference in Southampton.  At the show and tell on Saturday evening I talked about the 20-day challenge that I set for my Y10 GCSE group.

I found a brilliant TED talk by Matt Cutts called Try Something New For 30 Days.  In his talk Matt, who by his own admission is a geek who works for Google explains how you can change your habits by trying something new for 30 days.  Matt tries all sorts of bizarre things some he sticks with, others less so.  I was intrigued by his idea so I took it to my GCSE class.

Firstly we watched Matt’s TED talk, and we discussed forming habits and how that Matt had done something so regularly that it had become a part of his day.  I wanted my students to apply this to their language learning.

What could you do for 10 minutes everyday that would enhance your language learning?  We kicked around a few ideas in the classroom such as listening to more French by finding interesting videos on YouTube, reading more French such as articles on un jour 1 actu, listening to French music again via YouTube or Spotify, learning vocabulary using or and so on.

We then discussed how we would find our 10 minutes per day.  We discussed the notion of dead time.  We have time when we walk to school or catch the bus to school that we could use productively.  Maybe you could find 10 minutes just as mum was preparing dinner where you could squeeze in a sneaky 10 minutes of language learning.

Each student then wrote down in their exercise books what they were going to try and do each day for 10 minutes for 20 days (incidentally, I chose 20 days because at the time we had 4 weeks left of school before Christmas)

I then took to twitter and everyday using the #20daychallenge I tweeted something for my students to do for 10 minutes that day.  Some students used these ideas others didn’t.

Here are some of the ideas that I tweeted

5 new words

Links to peppa pig in French – the whole series is on YouTube

Links to Stroame music videos

Links to un jour un actu articles

A verb paradigm

A link to the Duolinguo app on the app store

Retweeting interesting snippets that I found on twitter such as le saviez vous facts.

Every lesson I mentioned the 20 – day challenge in order to keep it fresh in their minds.  As with all things that are not compulsory and with things that are, some embraced the challenge and others did not.  This however did not make the exercise any less valid and it is without doubt something that I will return to in the coming months.   If you would like your students to get involved let me know and we can do the challenge at the same time.

Ililc3 Show & Tell – Sentence Poker

The Ililc3 show and tell was a teachmeet like no other!  Firstly you could get an beer!  Secondly the items shown and told we’re wide and varied.  Jenga, blankety blank, an apps game and singing!

I did a game that I play with my students called sentence poker, you could equally call it chance or tricked you. The way you play the game is as follows.

1. Write a sentence in target language or English (depending on which way round you are playing the game)
2. Ask students to put their hands up if they can translate the sentence.
3.Choose a student to answer. If they translate the sentence correctly everyone who had their hands up gets a point
4. If the student answers it incorrectly then everyone one with their hands up loses a point.
5. Thus, they can put their hand up even if they don’t know the answer hoping and praying that they won’t be picked because they could win a point. Hence the “poker” element!
6. The scoring can be quite tricky because students do really enjoy this game and really get into it. My students sit in groups of 4 at tables and I give them a mini whiteboard per group. Before the game begins the students write a list of their names on the mini whiteboard and take it in turns to be scorer. When you are scorer you cannot play the game. In a 4 round game each person on the table will miss a round as they will act as scorer.

Hope this all makes sense – let me know if you try it and how it goes! Any problems send me a tweet and I’ll do my best to help out 🙂

Ililc3 ideas explosion

During the last 6 years of my career I have moved from middle
management to part time classroom teacher via 2 pregnancies and a fairly big move from Sheffield to the Isle of Man.  Needless to say I have felt a little bit out of the educational loop at times.  Last year I had had a particularly bad time at work and was really beginning to wonder whether I was in the right job when one Friday I read a very short article in the TES about tweechers and I decided to take the plunge and join Twitter.   As luck would have it, one of the very first people I followed was the amazing @joedale (if you don’t follow him do so straight away) Joe is the godfather of the #mfltwitterati and through his list of MFL twitterers I was put in touch with some truly amazing and inspirational MFL teachers.

Very quickly I created my own network of teachers from across the curriculum and it started to transform my teaching. I loved the new world that I had entered into and it was having a huge effect in the classroom. I am sad to say that I had become very staid in my teaching ways and as a creative person I knew that this was one of the reasons why I had become so unhappy in my job. Twitter and the #mfltwitterati helped me to re-ignite my creativity and I started to return to the real me.

However, the problem now was that I had had a bite of the cherry and I wanted more. I loved being in charge of my own CPD, I am like most teachers a control freak, and I was on the look out for an MFL conference to attend so that I could continue on my journey. Then, lo and behold suddenly the #mfltwiterati were full of #ililc3 chat and it became apparent that this was the conference for me and it did not disappoint.

I know it has been said lots of times in lots of blogs that #ililc3 is the friendliest most relaxed conference that you could wish to attend but it’s true. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, there was no cliquiness it was just like being in the best, and most hilarious, staff room in the country! I soon realised that not only did I like and respect these people in the twittersphere I also liked them in real life too – phew!

There were many highlights for me this weekend and I’ll blog about them some more in greater detail but the basic list looks something like this;
@bains_1 fabulous presentation on raising motivation in the classroom – it was like she had read my mind when she said “why do we teach the items in a pencil case in French?” A question I ask myself every year. Her ideas were truly inspirational and I cannot wait to get stuck into doing some more interesting topics with KS3!

I hate ppt but have never really found a better alternative to it until I went to @msmfl’s presentation on using – no more boring power points for me…

How do you improve listening skills especially in the run up to GCSE’s? Previously I have never really managed to answer this question so this year in an attempt to rectify this I have created my own website and put links on it to YouTube videos in the foreign language then, using google forms, I have created questions for my students to answer online. This is all fine, but sometimes I just wish I could subtitle some of the more difficult videos in French to help my students. Worry no more! Thanks to @langnut’s great introduction to subtitling I now know how to subtitle my own videos using and I can also subtitle YouTube videos using – happy days!

During the weekend I also attended workshops on blogging, using images,enhancing target language and QR codes not to mention the Saturday night show and tell but if I wrote about them all now this blog post would be ridiculously long.
All that remains to be said for now is THANK YOU to the amazing #mfltwitterati as I said in a tweet on Sunday you made me laugh til my sides hurt and you provided me with so many ideas that my brain almost exploded.