The start of the United KingDEN

Last July I was lucky enough to join in with one of the best CPD experiences I’ve ever had. The Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute (DENSI). It was an amazing week of learning and sharing with some of the most original and talented educators from the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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The UK contingent for DENSI 2015

Nearly six months since DENSI the ideas and strategies I took away are working their way into my everyday classroom practice.

My class have started to “mystery skype”. Connecting them with other classes and schools across the globe. This gives them a better understanding of global networks and communities as well as an insight into the lives of their global peers.

I have been using some excellent resources such as Kahoot, which allows you to create quizzes that can be accessed on any internet enabled device. Just bring a browser! GoNoodle is great for energising my class (they particularly love Pop See Ko) or chilling out after a boisterous wet break with some brainercise.

I’ve also been implementing the Discovery Spotlight On Strategies (SOS) resources. There are over 80 SOS activities and the number is growing week by week. One of my personal favourites is Snowball Fight. In this activity pupils are able to have a little fun whilst also using valuable information management skills. I had the pupils write down their favourite activity from the Summer holidays. They then added their name and screwed up the paper into a snowball. The paper snowballs are thrown around the room several times. Pupils pick up a snowball, memorise the information and then the snowballs are thrown again. Once the pupils have read (and memorised) three different snowballs, they share the information they have gathered with the rest of the class. Each pupil now knows a lot more about their classmates’ summer than if we’d just had news at the front of the classroom.

This evening I presented these ideas at a Discovery Afternoon Tea, hosted by my school. A select gathering of my colleagues and other teachers from local schools. The aim of this event was to introduce the UK arm of the DEN to educators in the UK and inspire them to share their stories. Having experienced the power of the DEN at it’s most creative during the Summer Institute, I’m looking forward to being involved in reaching out to other UK educators to create something just as diverse and resourceful here in good old Blighty.

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