Free images for your blog

The-Ultimate-Guide-to-e1415831158352[1]Some images can be protected which prevent their use elsewhere, or at least require attribution. We’ve been pointed in the direction of this helpful list of The Ultimate List of Free Stock Images for Your Blog Posts — No Attribution Required!

Thoughts on how to use images on your blog…

  • Simply as decoration! Like the image on the right, it doesn’t add any value to the post apart from making it look a bit nicer. An easy place to start (if the image is relevant to the content!), but not a good place to end…
  • Brainstorming vocabulary. Works best if there is an image which fits with the lesson already – use it as a a quick activity to get creative juices flowing. Start with some of our suggested online resource sites like Padlet or Lino to add post-it notes around the image. Useful to then pick up later in the lesson.
  • Write about my picture. Similar to the old image prompts – either as a standalone/cold activity, or having built up to it with some shared work. This is easily seen within fiction writing but can also lend itself to some great non-fiction writing including non-chronological reports, journalistic writing, etc. It could be that only some children or some groups have this as their task while others do a similar task in other ways.
  • Talk about my picture. A more supported idea from the one above. Could be useful for children who need to build their confidence about their writing. By using AudioBoom they can record up to 10 minutes (they won’t need anywhere near that much!) of them speaking about what they could say about the picture. This could be having planned some notes first, or could be a recording of a conversation in a pair or small group to capture all of their ideas. The AudioBoom recording then gets uploaded for you to embed in your blog.
  • Improve my writing. Editing skills are much-needed and finding different ways to approach this area is important. You can put up some of your writing which needs editing. This can be differentiated either by separate posts or within the same post – for example some focusing on capital letters and full stops, others looking to improve vocabulary choices, and others with a more intricate set of success criteria to apply. The children can copy and paste your writing into their comment box then improve it from there.
  • Real shared writing. We’re all used to doing shared/guided/group writing which is often led by a teacher with a flip chart taking ideas from the children to create a similar piece of work. Collaborating online through Google Docs is a way to encourage all children to be involved in the writing at the same time. More information is online here, here, here and other places.
  • There are bound to be other ways to use images that you discover. Comment and let us know!

Guides to being a Tweeting Teacher

twitter-classroom[1]There are a few useful guides on how to make good use of Twitter as a teacher which might be useful…

There are different opinions about whether to set up a “professional Twitter account” separate to a “personal Twitter account”, or whether to have one account for both. As a school we don’t have a set policy on this and different people make different decisions.

Whether you have one account or two accounts, it’s important to remember what your persona on Twitter is. For example, on a class Twitter account remember you are tweeting as a collective with the voice of the class; whereas on an individual (professional/personal/combined) account you are tweeting as an individual with your own voice. Confusing the two is too common and can get confusing for you, as well as your followers!

Great online resource sites

online-resources-icon[1]A few popular resources to embed on your blogs…

Update – November 2015

Other suggested resources are here with help guides, courtesy of Brian Harkins via DeputyMitchell.

1-2-3 Comments

comment_structure[1]Bringing an audience to your class blog can be a hard task! There are however many ways to help make this a little easier that we have or will be discussing. Knowing that people are visiting their class blog is one of the biggest motivating factors for your pupils. A small percentage of these visitors to your class blog will decide to leave your class or an individual a comment. When this happens, spend time celebrating it! A skill certainly worth teaching at the beginning of their blogging journey is the skill of leaving a great comment. There’s quite a lot out there to support you, but here’s a great blog post by Mrs Yollis and her class on this very subject:

Miss Yollis’ Blog Post on Quality Comments

There are three key elements of a quality comment:

1. Saying something positive – By opening with a positive you are engaging the author
2. Ask a question – This will probably result in a reply
3. Suggest an improvement – Not rocket science but using language like “This could be even better if…”

If the pupils follow these simple steps, they will begin to give and receive quality comments that not only make them feel epic, but will also move them forward in their learning.

Credit: David Mitchell

Reminder: How to embed something in your blog

embed_hero_icon_220_128[1]Embedding is the best way of keeping visitors on your site (without them having to click to go somewhere else), and it gives your blog a really vibrant feel to have lots of different things going on!

Many of the online resources we use (YouTube, PhotoPeach, Padlet, etc.) have easy ’embed’ functions within them to make this quite a quick process. Once you’ve done it on one site, it’s not too bad to find your way round another one.

Finding the ’embed’ link on a resource site

  • The link will usually either be simply called “embed”, “embed within your blog” or is sometimes in the “share” options such as below a YouTube video.
  • You will be given some HTML code which will probably start something like “<iframe=….”
  • Select all of this code (make sure it’s all blue without missing anything at the beginning/end), right click and select copy

Embedding the resource into your blog

  • Within a post on your blog, change from “Visual” to “Text” towards the top-right of your writing window
  • Right click where you want the resource and select paste
  • (If you click “Visual” again it will just show you a grey box – don’t panic! When you publish/preview this it will display properly.)

That’s it!

School & Class Twitter Accounts

high-school-tweet[1]Often useful to see who else is out there to follow, link up with and start conversations between your classes. A couple of lists on Twitter from Dughall (an educational consultant) are at:

A quick search for “class” within the people section of Twitter also gives you a longer, less well managed list but I’m sure you could pick up some others from here:


Other Class & School Blogs

cblogs_logo_crop380w[1]It’s often useful to look around at what other schools and classes have been doing to find inspiration. A few to get you going are below…


Whole School Blog Sites
Oxford Road Community Primary Blogs in Reading
Lowerplace Blogs in Rochdale
Hopwood Primary Blogs in Heywood
St. Joseph’s Blogs in Derby
Claremont Primary Blogs in Blackpool

Russell Scott Primary Blogs in Manchester
Mersey Primary Academy Blogs in Hull
Leamore Primary Blogs in Walsall
Boughton Leigh Junior School in Rugby
Hillmorton Primary School in Rugby

St Maries Primary School in Rugby
St Matthew’s Primary in Rugby
Long Lawford Primary School in Rugby

Class Blogs
EYFS Blog at Russell Scott Primary in Manchester
EYFS Blog at St. Joseph’s in Derby
Nursery Blog at Moorside Primary in Salford
Nursery Blog at Eastfields School in Northamptonshire
Mrs Warner’s EYFS Blog 

Cherise Duxbury’s Year 6 Blog at St. Mary’s Primary in Bolton
Mr. Webb’s Class Blog from New Zealand
Merrydale Primary Blog in Leicester
UKS2 Blog Pewithall Junior School in Liverpool
Hall Park Primary School Blog in Lytham

Miss Niamh’s Class Blog in Australia
@GazNeedle’s Year 2 Class Blog
Grange Primary Blog in Liverpool
Owls Class Blog (Year 5)
Class 6T Blog at Tanfleids in Durham

Riders Primary School 100 Word Challenge Blog in Hampshire
Class 5 Blog at Southbourne Primary School in London
A Year 5 Class Blog in Cardiff
Year 4 Vale Class Blog in West Sussex
Clover Class Blog at Westwood School in Wiltshire

Lotus Class Blog at Westwood School in Wiltshire
Orchid Class Blog at Westwood School in Wiltshire
Room2adventures blog – A class of Year 4 children from New Zealand
Mr Sale’s Class Blog in Blackpool
Bidston Avenue Year 4 Blogs Mr Banks Class

Bidston Avenue Year 4 Blogs Mrs Birch Class
Class Blogs at St. Mary’s Primary in Essex near London
A new class blog from Mr. Baker’s Class
Mr Addison’s Class Blog in Hampshire.
Halswell Year 4 class blog in Christchurch New Zealand

Year 5 at St. Joseph’s School – Mr. Connor’s Class blog
Year 4 at Springston School in New Zealand
All Manor Primary Class Blogs – of course!

Credit: David Mitchell