Using nearpod

Nearpod is one of those apps that I’ve heard other teachers talking about on Twitter. I sort of thought that it wasn’t really for me until I was in a 1:1 environment and then even at that I thought it’s use would be quite limited because my pupils are so young. 

I was wrong. 

Well, maybe not about the 1:1 thing. You would definitely need to have one device per child in your group unless you want collaborative answers, which maybe you do want. 

Today I taught a lesson that just worked. It was so simple. It had minimal bells and whistles but it covered what I wanted it to cover and was engaging and motivating. 

It’s Chinese New Year today and I wanted to talk about that with my class, telling the story of why the years are all named after animals. I normally just use a PowerPoint on the the interactive whiteboard but this year I nearpodised it. 

I still had a PowerPoint, but it was shown on individual iPads. I controlled the pace that it progressed. The pupils could zoom in on details but couldn’t whizz on through or lag behind. We talked about the story as we went along, just like we would with any story. When all the animals had been introduced children liked zooming in and out on them, finding them on their slide as I mentioned them. It was a bit like a guided reading lesson but on iPads. 

Part way through the story I added a draw it activity, children were given a copy of the slide introductory the animals as a canvas and they had to draw a circle around the one they thought would win. It was quick and easy but engaging and more motivating than just answering it verbally as a question. Children especially seen to like sending me their answer and knowing that it magically appears under their name on my iPad. 

After the story I had added a memory matching activity. Two things we are working on are visual discrimination and memory so this works well. I had 12 animal pairs and had just used the game set up in nearpod itself to make it. 

Honestly the lesson took maybe twenty minutes to prepare. The most complicated thing was the set up as I had to open nearpod on all the kids iPads, type in the pin for the live session and help type in names. That was it. 

Then we watched some video clips of dragon and lion dances to see how people celebrate Chinese New Year around the world. Surprisingly one of the best animated videos of Chinese New Year is from Panda Express. It’s really useful. 

My class loved the whole lesson. It wasn’t gimmicky. There were no big hooks. Just technology working well to help teaching and learning. It doesn’t rate highly on SAMR model, probably just an augmented lesson, but it was definitely enhanced from what it would have been. Motivating, engaging and a lesson my pupils will remember. 

Purpose

A relative of a friend and a twitter acquaintance @GemmaRuthBrown wrote a super blog post today On Calling. 

One of the paragraphs that really resonated with me contained a quote from Frederick Beuchner saying that calling is where “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

I love that quote and it makes me think of this venn diagram, which is in lots of places all over the internet but I found here.

The sweet spot in the middle of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs and what you can be paid for is your purpose.

purpose

I’ve had lots of conversations this week about my job.  I’m a primary school teacher – that’s my profession, I get paid for it and I’m pretty good at it.  But its not just something to pay the bills, for me my job in much more than that.

My current role is working in a nurture group setting with children in P1 and P2. My school and my pupils need that,  they need the extra support to settle to learn, to understand that the world is a safe place, that adults can be trusted and that rules and boundaries are there to keep them safe and are fair and consistent.  There is a need for my role, certainly in my world.  So my job is a professional job but its also a vocational one.

I love what I do.  There are days when it is very hard, especially days when I’m helping very small people manage, work through and regulate very big emotions.  Days when I come home exhausted and ready for a nap, days when I’m covered in tears from children who have literally cried on my shoulders or covered in paint, glitter and glue.  There are days when I am ready to sing my pupils praises from the rooftops, almost take out adverts in the newspapers sharing their successes, days when I come home beaming.

So my job is the perfect mixture of what I love, what I’m good at, what my world needs and what I get paid for.  Being a teacher, for me, is more than a profession or a mission, more than a vocation, its a purpose.  Something I have been given to do.

On the hard days this is what I remind myself of.

On the easy days this is what I stand firm in.

Every day this is what I’m thankful for.