This week Granny’s Teeth have been to Burton Joyce Primary School where they have prompted the Reception children (and their teacher Marc) to launch a worldwide search using technology.
Granny’s Teeth came at the right time for us! I was looking for a project to conclude another academic year of Connecting Classes Across Continents. With the arrival of Granny’s Teeth in May the Global Teeth Hunt was planned!
Connecting Classes Across Continents
This project came about in 2013 at the Apple Distinguished Educators Institute in San Diego. Bringing together 500 teachers from all over the world who share the same values in an empowering experience. An Early Learning Community formed at the Institute and a call to action was made. We should connect our children in the same way we connect as teachers. Knowledge exchange and the impact it has on learning has great potential and it creates links in learning and new pathways.
Back in our classrooms on different continents our project began. We use FaceTime to check in with one another and share our learning journey. We learn about our places in the world, share festivals and share stories from our countries.
The Global Teeth Hunt
The children came to school and we had a whole host of enhanced provision ready and waiting for them, many ideas inspired by previous Granny’s Teeth posts. The children soon wanted to know where the teeth had come from, who they belonged to and why they had been left in Burton Joyce.
We gathered and started to plan. I use an app called Explain Everything on my iPad (mirrored to my Smart TV) to capture our discussions as we talk ideas through. We went from searching our school, to our local area, to the rest of Nottingham and then the rest of the world. Our recent connection with Tim Peak on the International Space Station also inspired the children to suggest he could help by orbiting the Earth!
The plan formed a structure for the day and I reached out to some of my Apple Distinguished Educators who we have connected with this year. They quickly accepted my invites to connect on the day and made time in their day to answer our 5 minute calls.
We called Catherine Mangan in Ireland and her children made suggestions on which book characters could have lost their teeth (The Funnybones or The Gruffalo). This caused a lot of debate and some children followed this up outdoors with copies of the texts and props from the story.
We called Mauri DuFour in Maine, America. Her children let us check their teeth for any missing ones. This was a great call as it was the start of their day and we got to watch the morning announcements and the Pledge of Allegiance.
We called Tobias Gyllensvärd in Sweden who pretended he had lost his teeth but my group of researchers quickly spotted he was tricking us. We had fun talking about how the teeth could be Swedish teeth. He suggested we checked for flat pack instructions and traces of meatballs in the dentures!
We also checked in on some more local children and called a nursery in Derbyshire. They had some clues for us as their snacks had bite marks taken out of them. They will be getting Granny’s Teeth soon so it was great to help kick start their mystery!
The day ended with a message from Jason Milner in Sydney, Australia. He promised that his children would check their school whilst we were sleeping that night. When we returned the next day he had e-mailed us this story.
Jason will be visiting Burton Joyce in July to teach with me so the children were excited to wrap up the teeth and keep them safe. I managed to persuade them the safest place would be the office, they wanted to keep their eyes on the package on my desk until he arrives!
Impact on Learning
Writing for a purpose was evident today. There was a need to communicate that we had found the lost teeth and people needed to know that! During the day children designed and wrote ‘Lost’ posters. They found ways to make hooks and ties so that they would attach to the fences around school.
Children wanted to describe their ideas and prepare messages. They photographed the teeth on YakIt Kids and recorded messages that could be tweeted out. This captured the interest of my reluctant speakers, everyone had something to say as there was a great need to speak up!
Health and Self Care was explored through teeth checks and discussing good dental hygiene. The children even went around with the iPad to view everyone’s teeth in the school, which was reflected live to our Smart TV. Isn’t it great when Foundation children walk in to a Year 6 SPaG lesson with the great importance of checking teeth!
Most of though, I wanted to make use of our connected classes to help solve a mystery and find out what impact this way of working has had on my class’s understanding of the world. Our project debrief at the end of the second day gave a great insight in to how they understand the world. The children have a good awareness of time zones and how orbiting the sun decides who we can connect with, how we can connect with them and when these connections can happen.
Granny’s Teeth Update…
Jason visited Burton Joyce Primary on Monday (4th July) and was thankfully reunited with his teeth!
What a brilliant Granny’s Teeth adventure! Thank you Marc and all of your international contacts!
Marc is the leader of Interactive Technologies and Computing across The Acorn Federation schools. In 2013 he was successful in his application to become an Apple Distinguished Educator. Since then he has travelled to Apple Distinguished Educator Institutes to collaborate on projects with other ADEs from around the globe and has spoken at national events such as The British Educational Training and Technology Show (BETT) and Education Innovation Conference (EIC). Find out more at http://www.enabling-environments.co.uk