Webanywhere Podcast Episode 3 is now available for download

Published: December 14, 2015

Coming to you slightly early this month so as to keep you company over the frosty nights, the Webanywhere Podcast this month takes a look at Christmas traditions around the world, the PiZero & online security. So pull up an armchair, pour yourself something mulled and enjoy this month’s podcast:

Christmas in Literature – Ideas for Lessons

Published: December 9, 2015

The tradition of Christmas in fiction is one that has permeated throughout the ages, and many famous stories and poems have been written with a festive theme as a core component. Here our our favourite examples, and ideas for lessons based around some of the most cherished Christmas literature

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

This classic ghost story of a withered, mean old man realising that he should embrace the joy in life and be a good person, else face the scorn and misery for the rest of his life, is one of the most adapted stories of all time. The structure of being visited by the three ghosts of past, present and future is a wonderful literary device that essentially gives us the life story of a character without breaking the flow of the narrative or becoming long winded. While the prose is a little advanced for some younger children, KS2 upwards should be able to read the story, and then discuss it. Here are a few ideas for lessons for A Christmas Carol:

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts – What is Scrooge really frightened of?

Although this is a ghost story, not all of the ghosts are scary. Do the ghosts represent something other than supernatural beings? Ask students to investigate what is really scaring Scrooge, and ask why ghosts are used to make this point. If they were to be visited by the ghosts of past, present and future what would they be scared to see? Get students to write a short story about their own visits from the three ghosts, and what lesson they would learn.

Bah Humbug – How A Christmas Carol has become so important

A Christmas Carol is one of the most referenced books in popular culture, with turns of phrase such as “Scrooge”, “Bah Humbug” and “God bless us, everyone” becoming part of everyday conversation. Get students to investigate how many times A Christmas Carol has been adapted or parodied by setting them a research task of finding 10 different versions of A Christmas Carol. Then ask them to discuss why they think the story is so popular, and how the phrases in the book became part of the language. Can they think of any other examples of great stories that people tell over and over again, or any phrases that originally came from books?

A Visit from St. Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas) – Clement Clarke Moore

This classic poem is not only a great read, but arguably the origin of what we now consider the modern Santa! The first reference of Santa being all dressed in red, accompanied by Reindeer and his chimney exploration habit all come from this poem. Here are a few ideas for activities:

Twas the night before… – Parody and Understanding Form (KS2)

A Visit From St. Nicholas has been rewritten and parodied over 1000 times. You can find the full list of recorded parodies here. It’s a very fun poem to imitate, so let your students have a go! More importantly, ask them to carefully examine how the poem sounds and where the rhymes are. Demonstrate to them the AABB rhyme scheme, and (if a high enough level) discuss stressed and unstressed syllables. This poem actually has the same rhythm and syllable stress as a limerick, but not the same rhyme scheme. Get everyone to write their own night before christmas verse, and then ask them to examine how accurate it is in using the form of the original.

The Tailor of Gloucester – Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter’s personal favourite of her stories, The Tailor of Gloucester tells the tale of a humble tailor who has been hired to finish the waistcoat of the the town mayor for his wedding on Christmas Morning, only for his cat to hide his last piece of twist from him out of spite of the tailor releasing the mice he caught. The mice display their gratitude by fixing the waistcoat in the night, and save the tailor from humiliation. It’s a sweet, short story that shows how a little mercy can save you in the long run.

Public Squeaking – Anthropomorphism (KS1)

The Tailor of Gloucester is a story that has lots of characters that are different animals, and they’re all portrayed in different ways. Ask students to look at how the animals act in various “human-like” ways, including how the mice dress up in their specially made clothes. Do we find the characters more or less sympathetic and lovable once they wear human clothes? Why do we care about the cat eating the mice, and why do we think Simpkins actions are bad? As students to consider in what ways the animals are like people, and then get them to write a short story from the perspective of an animal of their choosing.

Resources like these can be stored inside our School Jotter Resources app, where you can share your own creations with other teachers and work with the community to create lessons plans. You can learn more at SchoolJotter.com

Christmas Around the World – Resources & Plans

Published: December 1, 2015

Now that winter has arrived and frosted the windows here at Webanywhere it’s time to look forward to Christmas, and the celebration of friends family and far too much food. But it’s also important to use this time of year to teach children not only about the nativity story (and hopefully avoid the awkward question about how many shepherds there were for the sake of casting the school play) but also how countries around the world celebrate the season in their own unique ways. Here are some ideas for lessons about the ways Christmas is celebrated around the world.
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Merry Christmas!

Category: Uncategorized

Published: December 24, 2013

Wow… It’s Christmas Eve already! Here at Webanywhere we’d like to wish every customer, non customer, teacher and school the Merriest of Christmases – and a delightful New Year.
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Is Your School Website Ready For Christmas?

Category: Development

Published: December 7, 2012

When your pupils’ parents visit your school website this month, it won’t just be to see their children in the Nativity play. It won’t just be to find out when the last day of term is.
There’s a whole host of ways your school website can attract more visitors, and stay engaged with parents this winter. It’ll make using your website a more enjoyable experience.
Snow Days
There was a time when parents and children alike would have an ear glued to the radio whenever it snowed, just in case their school announced it’d be closed for the day. Still, you’d always find there were the odd few parents who didn’t get the message – making a wasted journey through the snow and ice to drop off their children.

These days, parents can stay informed of snow days by merely visiting your website, when you can keep them updated not just on whether you’re closing or not, but whether you think you may be closed for longer. School Jotter 2 allows you to update your school website wherever you are, even if you only have a tablet to hand – with easy editing capabilities. School Jotter 2 also offers an update app option, which allows parents to stay informed via a free app they can download. It’ll update them instantly as soon as you add news content to your website.
Non-Uniform Days
Christmas time could be a perfect excuse for a non-uniform day. Charging pupils, say, 50p to come to school in non-uniform is an opportunity to raise money for the school, and it helps them relax a little in the run-up to Christmas. You can inform parents of the special day via the website – and keep them up to date with how much you’ve raised. Building excitement around the day and your aim to collect enough money to, say, buy a tablet for the school may even inspire some parents to give more than just 50p!
End Of Term Awards
It’s the end of the year and the end of term – a great opportunity to award pupils for the hard work they’ve put in since September. Announce the awards via the website and every parent will be proud of their child – meaning greater engagement between parent, pupil and school, and a greater incentive to hit the ground running in 2013.
Pictures of the awards being handed out, with smiling pupils and the work they’ve been awarded for, would make great website content and plenty of festive ‘feelgood factor.’
Christmas Messages
Your website is the perfect tool for sending out a Christmas message to parents – both from the school and from the children. If your pupils are making and sending Christmas cards to each other this month, the school website is where you can showcase them. If you have a learning platform and a student e-portfolio system, encouraging children to send each other e-cards via the messaging system will improve student interaction and build relationships between them.
International Christmas Celebrations
Your website is great for showing the work done within school. So a task for pupils like demonstrating how different countries around the world celebrate Christmas – and pictures of their work posted on your website – shows the world how forward-thinking and all-encompassing your school is. It makes great content away from the typical Christmas activities – and may introduce your school to a much wider audience!
And Not Forgetting…
Decorations! Your school website is your shop window to the world – to parents and potential new pupils alike. So decorate especially for the season – with fun, colourful images, some season’s greetings – maybe even a colour scheme change for the month!