Education Roundup: October

We've gathered up some of our favourite book-based news, resources and lesson ideas from around the web this month, including creative writing activities and video-making tools.

A great writing activity – pass the paragraph!

This lovely wee spot on Twitter (courtesy of @janehutchison1) is a great example of pupils learning from each other. It couldn’t be simpler: one pupil writes a paragraph and passes it on – the next pupil adds to it and suggests changes. Check out the tweet from Jane to see an example!

Creative approaches to the National 5 Scottish texts

“Creating something new from something learned” is a powerful way to approach a text (as award-winning teacher David Miller shows in his tutorial video for Animoto). English teacher Gordon Fisher found a great way to help his learners explore the complexities of War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy – check out Gordon’s blog to find out more!

WeVideo – a fantastic online tool

Recently we’ve been singing the praises of booktrailers as an educational tool and promoting the SCBA booktrailer competition – and we’ve discovered a fantastic new tool for creating videos. WeVideo is free for individuals to use, has a nice range of built-in music, effects and themes, and there’s even an app that allows pupils to edit on the go. There’s no software to download, although you might need to check your local authority’s permissions to see if the tool will be accessible.

Finding creative commons media for projects

If your pupils are struggling to find images, sounds and videos which are free to use, CC Search is a great time saver, helping you to find lots of different content. Most of the sites which are linked to will provide clear guidance on how pupils can give credit to the person who created the image, sound or video. YouTube also now has a video editor which can search for Creative Commons clips to use in a video – check it out here.

Children should be able to make their own reading choices – Keith Gray and Neil Gaiman

At SBT we’ve worked with a whole host of Scotland’s teachers and librarians who are passionate about helping young people discover themselves as readers. Author Keith Gray’s speech at the recent Reading Matters conference was an inspirational reminder of why these teachers and librarians do what they do: you can watch Keith’s speech here. In an article for the Guardian, Neil Gaiman also attested to the value of letting children find the right book for them by referring to his own experience as a father: read the article here.

If you've come across any useful links this month please share them with us in the comments below!