It has been. It's been one of those days that teachers have - occasionally - where you leave school, and you can say to yourself "That's why I became a teacher".
It didn't start out like that sort of day though, it started out quite the opposite. A late start (we overlaid, after only the first day!), and then marking the spelling group work, and discovering that after having all the Easter break to practise their words some of their scores were not up to standard.
But it did get better, starting with the maths lesson. We'd spent yesterdays lesson looking at rounding numbers to the nearest 10 and nearest 100, ready to use that to help today with estimating the answer to a mental addition problem.
The children worked really well, and then were happy to record their explanations of *HOW* they found the answers to the questions they were given. I placed three of their audioboos on the school website so that others can hear them talking about HOW they use their maths knowledge to find a solution to the problem set.
After the break we began a new literacy topic - looking at persuasive posters - and as part of the lesson plan we needed to create a persuasive poster for either a chocolate bar or washing powder. After playing with the iPad version of Comic Life over Easter, I thought this would be a perfect app to use to create posters with. Using the school dropbox account I was able to quickly and easily place some googled-for chocolate and washing powder images into the online folder, and the pupils were then able to open the Dropbox app on their iPad, (one tap), view and select their chosen image, (simple right swipes), and save it to the iPad photo album (two taps). With the image in the photo album, the children could then use it in their Comic Life poster.
The children were completely focussed in their task - adding the image, creating their title, and adding some of the features we had discussed earlier in the lesson (snappy slogan / intriguing questions / exaggerated claims / alliteration), and by the end of the lesson most of them had completed the task. Using the 'PhotoShare' app we quickly and easily transferred the poster from the iPad to my iPhone, ready for me to use in a post on the school website. Some of the children were so determined to complete their work that they offered to stay inside at dinner (on a sunny day) until they had finished it.
A successful morning, and still an afternoon in the ICT suite to go!
The afternoon was spent teaching two of the lower school classes - and the task was to write about the Royal wedding using the PurpleMash templates. Again, the children were focussed straight away, and as I walked around the suite I could them all working away carefully. Some of the children chose to write a full page report, some chose to create a 3 column information report, whilst others chose to write a newspaper front page. Most of the children in both classes made use of the word banks to help with the harder words they wanted to use, and it was good to see some children hovering their mouse over the word bank words to read the prompts, and be given ideas of what to write. At the end of each lesson (45 minutes) most of the children had completed their work, and some had even had time to post it into their own learning spaces too. As I asked them to save their work both online and locally (to the school server) I was able to collate all of their Royal writing and read through it. It was brilliant. Punctuation was almost perfect throughout, and the actual content of their work left me seriously impressed. Not only had they included lots of detail about the events of April 29th, but their writing style was impressive too. The newspaper reports were written in a journalistic style, the information reports were written in the third person, and the full page reports were written as recaps of the events that pupils had taken part in. I put all - and yes, I mean every single one of their creations - into Animoto to create this stunning slideshow using one of Animoto's new styles.
Today I saw children explaining about the maths knowledge they have absorbed, I saw children applying literacy knowledge to an artistic task, and I saw children using online tools to create detailed reports recapping a memorable event. And throughout the day, I saw ICT being used invisibly. It wasn't something special that was bolted onto the lesson, it was an integral, planned, and embedded part of each and every lesson.
What a great day it was.