Celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary

Published: April 26, 2016

April 2016 marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare – an English poet, playwright, and actor who is widely considered the greatest dramatist of all time. Some of the most famous Shakespeare’s plays include “Hamlet”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Macbeth”. His plays remain highly popular, and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted throughout the world.

This month, the celebrations have officially started in the United Kingdom and across the world to honour Shakespeare. Today we are sharing some of the main events happening to celebrate the 400th anniversary as well as some online resources for improving your knowledge about Shakespeare and his work.


1616: A Momentous Year at the Shakespeare’s Globe

Visit Shakespeare’s Globe in London for a year-long programme of performances, exhibitions, talks, workshops, conferences, a family story-telling festival, and even a Kabuki inspired ‘Ophelia’ in Japanese.

Shakespeare Lives by The British Council and the Great Britain campaign

Shakespeare Lives is a global programme of events and activities celebrating William Shakespeare’s work on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016. The work of Shakespeare will be celebrated throughout 2016 directly on stage, through film, exhibitions and in schools.

Shakespeare400 by King’s College London

Shakespeare400 is a consortium of leading cultural, creative and educational organisations, coordinated by King’s College London, which will mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016. A number of public performances, programmes, exhibitions and creative activities will take place in the capital and beyond in 2016.

Online learning resources

BBC bitesize learning resources for schools
Check out the BBC bitesize learning resources to learn about Shakespeare and his work. Great for schools!
Teaching Shakespeare on TES
Teaching Shakespeare provides a number of useful resources for learning more about Shakespeare’s work.

Other activities

Visit Shakespeare’s birthplace
Visit the house where Shakespeare was born and grew up.
Visit Shakespeare’s classroom
The original classroom where William Shakespeare is believed to have studied and seen his first plays opened to the public for the first time last week.

Create a self-marking quiz with Resources

Category: Customer Training

Published: March 3, 2016

You might have heard a lot of talk about School Jotter’s function as a VLE. While a repository to store learning materials is all well and good, a VLE really needs a way to actually assess students’ learning – it’s a good thing, then, that Resources and Learn (bundled together) offer this capability!
First of all, you’re going to need to go to the Resources app from your School Jotter dashboard (you can also create Quizzes from within Learn itself, but we’ll do it this way as it’s much the same method). Click Create Resource at the top of the page, then choose Quiz from the dropdown.

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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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Bonfire Night Teaching Resources: KS1, 2 & 3 Activities & Plans

Category: Lesson Ideas

Published: October 30, 2015

Many teachers will be looking for Bonfire Night teaching resources in the run up to the 5th of November. Here we have put together some of the best pages and websites with ideas for lesson plans on Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, including KS1, 2 and 3 activities, sequencing pictures and video. These resources may be useful for History or Literacy lesson planning.

Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot Resources

This is a Webanywhere post with lesson ideas and activities to help you teach the story of Guy Fawkes.
There are 5 downloadable Gunpowder plot activities – a Classroom Presentation, a Word Search, a Gunpowder Plot sequencing activity, a Writing exercise, and an Artwork activity.
The pack includes content aimed at students in the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, and Key Stage 3. Hopefully, this means you’ll find something to adapt or use, whatever school age group you teach in Primary or early Secondary.

The Gunpowder Plot Part 1 – Stories from Parliament

A history video from Parliament.uk aimed at KS2 and 3. Using illustrations, this video describes the first part of the 1605 plot to kill King James I and destroy Parliament. You can also find Part 2 of this Assembly and Lesson plan video by clicking here.

TES Gunpowder Plot Lesson Plans

More from the Parliament Education Service, the TES website has collated some downloadable PDF worksheets and activities for those teaching children about Bonfire Night and the origin of ‘Penny for the Guy’.

Twinkl Bonfire Night Resources

A range of highly visual teaching resources on Bonfire Night, the Gunpowder Plot, and Fireworks. There are sequencing activities, PowerPoint presentations, videos, quizzes, posters and control sheets.

We hope you find these lesson resources useful! Could you or your school benefit from an online tool to manage and share teaching resources? Check out the Learn App, which allows you to create a Learning Site that fully integrates with your school website.

Homework Month: Our collection of really useful blogs on how to take the hard work out of homework


Over on Schoolanywhere.co.uk we’ve been taking a look at homework workloads and how to make it all just that bit more managable. We’ve examined three different areas that people can struggle with in homework: managing stress, getting it done and marking it. We even have a podcast all about it!

Handling Homework Workload

The first blog of the month took a look at managing stress. With a focus on how teachers can help students, the rule of time-management is ultimately what came out as the most important factor, with things such as eating properly and staying positive also making the list. You can find the full blog here:
How teachers can help to handle homework stress

How to get Students to do their Homework

The second in our series of blogs examined how to get students to complete their homework. While it’s all very well to blame the student for their missed deadlines, it’s sometimes worth remembering that being set up to fail can be in the hands of the teacher. Planned workloads with fair expectations can help motivate a learner into engaging, rather than shutting down when feeling overwhelmed. Combine this with varied and interesting assignments that reinforce the learning done in lessons and you can help students get their work done. The full blog is here:
Getting Homework Done

How to Mark Homework

Finally, the third blog took a look at the research of Dr Rod Ellis and his various models for marking work. The theories he examines explain how you can turn the feedback process into one that also engages with a student’s learning process, and rather than just outlining the correct answers, actually engage them into learning afresh once marking has been handed back. The blog, along with a link to the full lecture, can be found here:
How to Mark Homework


Of course if you’d rather not spend time reading these blogs and would like to have them read to you, the inaugural episode of the Webanywhere Podcast is now live, where I go through each of the blogs and discuss what they mean and how you can implement some of the better ideas. Podcast link is below:

That just about wraps it up for Homework month, next month we’ll be examining anti-bullying, and tackling issues around cyber bullying in schools. Until then, thanks for checking out homework month!

Black History Month – Lesson Plans

Published: October 6, 2015

To celebrate Black History month in the UK, we here at Webanywhere thought it would be a great idea to help teachers by providing lesson plans around the theme of black history. So below are two ideas for lessons you can lead to help share knowledge about black history:

1. Mary Seacole – KS3

A brilliant example of why Black History month is so important, Mary Seacole was a Jamaican woman who assisted soldiers during the Crimean War, but was seldom talked about prior to more modern curriculums. A great way to start a lesson about Mary Seacole would be to show this video to the class and then discuss what we learn about Mary Seacole and her role in history. Why might she have been ignored?

Once you’ve had a discussion, split the class up into groups and have each group do some research about Mary Seacole and find out what people think about her and what happened; you can find a useful interactive guide to Mary Seacole here for a start. This exercise should help reinforce ideas of how to do independent research, as well as looking at how people can manipulate history to create a narrative. Ask students about how reliable they think their sources are, why some people might hold certain views and encourage critical thinking.
Due to the subject matter and surrounding controversy with this lesson, be sure to do it with older students who are expected to be able to form their own conclusions and not be easily mislead – Mary Seacole has a lot of controversy surrounding her addition to the History curriculum, so some online resources might need to be checked to make sure they’re appropriate. At the end of the lesson, have students write about what Mary Seacole shows us about how people might manipulate resources for their own agendas.
Also, for a bit of fun, Horrible Histories also did a great song if you have some time at the end of lesson.

2. Great Inventors! – KS1 & KS2

There are plenty of notable black inventors & innovators, and what better way to encourage students to learn about them than with a day showing off some of their inventions! The Black Inventor Online Museum has a vast library of information on black inventors. Here are a few activity ideas:

  • George Washington Carver invented over 1,000 uses for the peanut! How many uses can your students think up? Carver’s uses included shampoo, facial cream and even ink! Encourage students to think outside the box when asked to do tasks.
  • Match-up!  Get pictures of each of the inventors (along with their name as a caption) and create some matching invention cards. Then get students to guess who made what, and encourage them to remember the names. This is a simple activity, but it’s a great way to help students remember inventors, and that in itself is a way to help make black figures in history become more commonplace.
  • Lewis Latimer improved on the lightbulb, and invented a version that lasted longer and was safer to use. What other inventions do your pupils think could be improved, and what would be the benefit? Encourage the idea that things can be improved with careful thought.

These lesson ideas should help you broaden the horizons of your pupils, and encourage positive attitudes to viewing and studying black history.
Lesson plans just like this one can be easily made and shared using our Resources App in School Jotter, which acts as a repository for files, quizzes and lessons. Thanks for reading and enjoy Black History Month!

Discipline in the Classroom – How to keep order without being the bad guy

Published: September 17, 2015

Sometimes being a teacher is far too stressful. Mounting workloads, lack of resources and even staff shortages cause all manner of issues within a school, but the biggest disruption is one that has always existed – keeping control of the classroom. The best laid plans can go awry when one student decides that today is the day they’re going to impress everyone by refusing to behave. Well, don’t lose your head – here’s a few tips for keeping control of the classroom.

1. Make the rules clear

The rules in your classroom will define the way it runs. The advice often given is to have 5 very clear, very firm rules. You need to make them short and easy to remember, and you need to teach them in a positive light. Remind students that behaving isn’t just going to avoid reprimanding, but can also lead to rewards. It’s also a good idea to get students to agree to the rules, through show of hands or even a written agreement. But don’t forget that you too will have to obey them. It has to be a fair system, one rule for them is just as much a rule for you.

2. Innocent before proven guilty

Sometimes misbehaviour is simply a misunderstanding of the boundaries. If someone is acting up, let them know why it’s not acceptable and explain what the rules are. Don’t let the student feel like a victim of ignorance – first offenses can slip, but repeat behaviour requires a firmer hand. Lay down the law and you’ll find that most, if not all students will be more than happy to obey. The point is to not assume malice – when you have someone actually causing active disruption you need to have no ambiguity that that’s what’s going on.

3. Be fair, but be authoritative

Is it better to be loved, or feared? Machiavelli is said to have fallen on the side of feared, but in truth he agreed the ideal was both. When disciplining students it’s always best to deal with the student in a way that they will be able to understand and accept, but if you need to put your foot down make sure not to hold back on the agreed consequences of breaking the rules. Authority is derived from respect, and to earn respect you must be consistent, both in mercy and in justice.

4. Don’t Argue

Arguing is a guaranteed root to misery, it inflames a pupil’s need to “win” and will lead to further disruption. Instead make sure you discipline students separately, as this gets them in an environment where they don’t have to defend their ego. Tell them they’ve broken the rules and then instigate punishment, don’t instigate a shouting match. Do hear your students out, let them make their case, but only once. Think of it as a 3 stage conversation.

Stage 1

Explain what rule they have broken.

Stage 2

Allow them to respond

Stage 3

If their input doesn’t change your mind enforce the punishment.
Don’t mistake not arguing for not listening – often the scuffles in the playground are rarely one student acting up, so make sure that all those involved are dealt with appropriately, and don’t punish the innocent, as nothing will erode your authority faster than being unfair.

5. Make sure cover teachers know the rules

As we’ve established, consistency is everything, so even when you aren’t in you’ve got to keep your classroom in order. Create a printed pack for substitute teachers explaining what the rules are and the expectation of the pupils. It might even be a good idea to have the substitute teacher explain to pupils that they’re aware of the rules and that they too agree with them. If you’ve done your job well, kids will respect the authority you laid down for the rules, even when you aren’t there.

6. Every day is a fresh start

Don’t hold grudges – there’s no such thing as a “troublemaker”. Once a student has served the consequence of their misbehaviour they should be treated like all the others regardless of past behaviour. If you help cultivate the reputation of a troublemaker it’ll become a self fulfilling prophecy, so try to encourage pupils to refresh their attitudes.
Keeping control of the classroom is tricky, but create a proper culture of discipline and you’ll soon see the need to monitor behaviour fade into the background of everyday teaching. It’s worth bearing in mind that although discipline is worth maintaining, rewards are what backup good behaviour.
Webanywhere offers online services for VLEs, School Websites and Learning Apps for both the education and workplace sector. Our range of products include a Merits App for our School Jotter suite, and a behaviour and rewards tracker via MIS integration.