The University of Nottingham #TeachMeet Write Up – Just in case you missed it!

16 November, 2012


The place and the people

Last Friday evening 25 presenters and lurkers gathered in the Learning Sciences Research Institute, at The University of Nottingham.  Keen to build links with innovative practitioners and researcher who are committed to improving learning, the LSRI kindly loan their premises to TeachMeets for free.

Some of us had been to TeachMeets before and got hooked, others (me included) were attending for the first time.  Wendy Hill (@natfantastic) arrived with a delicious chocolate cake covered in Malteasers which went down brilliantly at break, once someone had plucked up the courage to be the first to cut it.

Message from the organiser

Marc (@marc_faulder) is keen to see a group of TeachMeet organisers in Nottingham and encouraged other people to get involved in setting up their own.  He assured everyone it is very easy, not to mention very rewarding!

The presentations in no particular order

Wendy Hill (@natfantastic) – Using technology to support children’s spontaneous learning opportunities in the EYFS

Children often have the best ideas.  For example, when is a marrow not a marrow? When it’s Reg the Veg of course!  The adventure of Reg the Veg began when a parent brought in a marrow for the exploration and investigation table.  Wendy suggested cutting the marrow up and looking at it under the microscope.  This prompted a cry of horror from the children for this was no ordinary marrow, they had decided, this was Reg the Veg.

The children decided Reg needed to have adventures. Reg has threaded beads, been in a boat, played in the play house, become a whizz on the computer, played on a bike and even been to dinner.  This spontaneous learning journey was supported with an iPad.  A teaching assistant helped the children take photos of Reg’s adventures and together they made an iMovie which has been a great way of sharing the learning journey with parents.

Soon, Reg wasn’t enough, so the children made Madison the Marrow and sent her to another school with a letter to the headteacher to have different adventures.  Madison kept in touch through Twitter, telling the children all about her adventures and sending photos of the exciting things she has been up to. 

The only problem is…marrows don’t last forever…

Wendy Hill (@natfantastic) Using the superhero app with children with SEND

Wendy described how her son, Owen, who is four and has speech difficulties discovered this superhero app and started to use it to tell stories.  He had stopped speaking at all at nursery school, and feels shy speaking in public.  This app gives him a way of expressing himself and his ideas in an environment he is comfortable in, away from the public, and creating exciting stories about superheroes saving the day!  The app allows you to record yourself telling a story and make comics from pictures.

Nick Overton (@nickotkdIV): Big maths – the future of Primary maths.

Nick talked about dramatic improvement in maths results that ‘Big Maths’ has brought in his school.  Big Maths is a scheme of work for primary children which approaches mathematical skills in a systematic way. The big idea is that maths is based around 4 key skills (‘CLIC’):

  • Counting
  • Learning (by wrote)
  • It’s nothing new – apply what you know
  • Calculation – apply what you know

The thing that has made the biggest difference is the ‘Remember to’ boxes – 5 or 6 steps children need to go through to solve a problem.  The kids have really engaged with it because it provides a challenge at the right level, and a fun and friendly problem solving approach.

Peter Bevington (@PeteBevington): TeachMeet 100 Special (2 parts)

Peter gave a 2 minute presentation on how he and his class worked on their communication skills to be able to communicate with a child in the class with Usher syndrome (hearing and visual impairment).  Apps have really helped and there is are lots available including:

  • BSL – videos give basic understanding
  • Baby sign – allows you to test yourself

Peter selected a small group to train to be experts and help the rest of the class.

Mr D (@MrACDPresent): Supporting Key Stage 2 literacy, maths and science through music (

A great presentation from two very talented teachers, writers and musicians who write modern, curriculum based songs that appeal to upper KS2. provides a wealth of literacy and maths resources to support and consolidate learning.  The songs are great to use as starters and plenaries and you’ll find a new one released every Tuesday.  The children love the songs and have been putting them on their iPods to listen to outside school.  There are even instrumental versions so children can make their own lyrics!

Dan Hutchinson: My Flipped Classroom (PE) (Nottingham Bluecoat School)

Dan has introduced the flipped classroom to facilitate and encourage independent learning.  His aim is to develop students who are resilient, resourceful and independent learners and the flipped classroom approach helps them to become just that. In the flipped classroom, homework becomes class-time and class-work becomes homework.  (For more on the idea of the flipped classroom see

Differentiation is facilitated through solo progress boards

So what happens?

Homework can be anything – watching a video, reading a newspaper report or PowerPoint or listening to a Podcast.  Quick questions the students have to answer through a Google form show who has done the homework!

Lesson – can be anything too!

Pros and cons

Students have to:

  • Engage
  • Use their own ideas
  • Be in charge of their own learning
  • Contribute
  • Do the homework … some still don’t

Top tips

  • Always have a purpose to the lesson
  • Know your group – some groups (especially lower ability groups) will struggle with this.
  • Don’t always do flipped
  • Take your time
  • Listen to student comments
  • Persevere. It’s a huge cultural change for students and other teachers!


Ross Wickens (@MrWickensPE): Independent Learning in PE

Unfortunately I missed this one  🙁 as I had to dash to catch my train, Please let me know the highlights and I will add them to the post!


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