Monday, 26 May 2014

Cambridgeshire 'Read It Again' Book Awards 2014

It is that time of year again where Cambridgeshire is full of excitement for this years 'Read It Again' book awards! Myself and the kids are particularly excited because we are going to the award ceremony! So what is it all about?

The Awards
"How it works
  • It is a unique award for a first-time picture book where the words and pictures are the work of one individual.
  • Thousands of Cambridgeshire children in local schools read, discuss and then vote for their favourite book from a shortlist of eight titles, all by first-time author/illustrators.
  • The award encourages children to discuss books with their classmates and think about what makes a good book.
  • Library staff visit schools promoting the award to children."
A month or so ago a selection of wonderful picture arrived in our post bags and I delivered each key stage a set to read in the week we had the books. Staff and children were wonderful in getting the books read in such a short time and votes were duly cast. I then emailed off our school results to the organiser.
The Books
'Bob and Rob' by Sue Pickford
'Weasels' by Elys Dolan
'Pi - Rat' by Maxine Lee
'The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water' by Gemma Merino
'Hugh Shampoo' by Karen George
'Sidney, Stella and the Moon' by Emma Yarlett
'Penguin in Peril' by Helen Hancocks
'Ready Teddy Go' by Michael Davidson
It was fascinating seeing the favourites that emerged in each class and key stage. ‘Ready, Teddy, Go’ was loved by Reception and Key Stage 1 and the other classes had a wide spread that covered the rest of the books. My particular favourite? I think I have to say I loved ‘Weasels’ which had the kind of illustrations you could look at for ages and ‘Sidney, Stella and the Moon’ because it was a lovely story!
The Ceremony
Very soon I will be taking some children from each class from Year 1 to Year 6 to the awards ceremony where the winner will be announced. Apparently we will get a chance to meet the authors and I think I may be a teeny bit excited! The response from the children was amazing and I had nearly everyone in each class wanting to come with me.
Check back soon for some more in depth reviews of the books and hopefully some pictures of the awards ceremony itself.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

A Little Bloglovin' Housekeeping

Nothing to see here...just a little housekeeping!

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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Autumn 2013

Well um..this is embarrassing. It has been quite a while since I blogged here. The Autumn term has been a busy one and I won't lie it has been a hard one too. But within all of that there have been lots of wonderful moments and I will just share a few highlights and start 2014 blogging properly.

This term we have been working with a very inspiring consultant on how we are delivering our Literacy and our curriculum as a whole. It has been an exciting journey but not without its problems that we have had to iron out. As Subject Leader for Literacy I have been working hard to support my colleagues and doing what I love best- talking books! I have also been working hard on developing myself in the role but more on that another time.

Talking of books I have been sharing a lot of books with my class (as if that's anything new!). Our highlight class read this term has been You're a Bad Man Mr Gum by Andy Stanton which the children loved! Loved as in we could have read the book the whole day and the children would have been quite content. We are currently working our way through the Red House Children's Book Award shortlist  ready for voting on 24th January. We have also spent a wonderful term looking at Into the Forest by Anthony Browne and getting absorbed by a variety of fairy tales as we became ambassadors for the Fairy Tale Kingdom.

The chicks from the Summer term are now huge and laying eggs. I will have to share pictures soon! Our Christmas Production was amazing and although the getting there was hard work the finished performances were amazing! It just felt like an eternity that my classroom was a mess due to it being prop storage space. And we had a lot of props!

We also had a Pyjama and Bedtime story night which had an absolutely overwhelming turn out from children and their families. Book Week was a great success with theatre companies and dance companies and our book fair raised a record amount of money so I could buy new books for the classrooms!

There is so much more I could say and so much more I wish I could say but I won't, I will end by saying have a wonderful 2014 and here's to education. Here's to remaining positive and keeping on working for the people that matter, the children.

Take care,

Kelly Dotty

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Picture Book 10 for 10 #pb10for10

I was very excited when I read about the Picture Book 10 for 10 event on August 10th. I absolutely love picture books and this is a great way to share my top 10 choices (difficult decision!) and also find some new books to read and share with my class! If you would like more details head over to Reflect and Refine or  Enjoy and Embrace Learning to find out more details about how to join in. Also if you are on Twitter follow the hashtag #pb10for10! I can't wait to join in for the first time!

Are you joining in? What are your favourite picture books?


Monday, 29 July 2013

It's Monday What Are You Reading? 29th July

I have seen this on a variety of posts and thought this would be a feature I would quite like to join in with! Check out Teach Mentor Texts for more details about What Are You Reading?

The summer holidays started last week for teachers in the UK and after a few days in the classroom and celebrating Mr Dotty's doctorate graduation I am finally starting to get relaxed. And part of that is planning my summer reading!

Last Week

Last week the final book I shared with my class was FArTHER by Graham Baker-Smith. It was a lovely text to share as the final book of the year with class, if tinged with a little sadness. However I highly recommend this picture book and it's stunning illustrations. I also read a Michael Morpurgo book, Alien Invasion! which details life on a farm. Children will like the story and the funny illustrations that go with it. I also had a few re-reads of Into the Forest by Anthony Browne which we are going to be using for our first topic in the Autumn. I cannot wait and spent a few hours doing some mind mapping for it today.

I also read some good adult books!

Coming Up


I picked up Robot Dog by Mark Oliver and The Bear in the Cave by Michael Rosen over the weekend so I have those to read. Some longer novels to read are Room 13 by Robert Swindells, Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson and I have The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula Le Guin. However my mood my change!

What have you been reading lately?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

End of the Year Musings

I cannot believe that the term is over and another academic year ends. Yesterday, with a tear in the eye, I said goodbye to a most wonderful class and now the hustle and bustle has ended I am sat here in the classroom reflecting on what a super year we had. The end of a year is always a strange time, wrapping up with your current class and eager to savour the last moments with them but also needing to prepare for the next year, the new class and excitement for the year ahead. I have a slight change next year, instead of a straight Year 4 class I will be teaching a mixed Year 3 and 4 class so need to adjust my thinking from the end of Year 4 to just left Year 2!

I am so excited about the year ahead, we have been working with a Literacy consultant about developing our Literacy curriculum and I am going to continue working with a super teacher who will also have a Year 3/4 class. I get to stay in my lovely classroom and the Chicks return after the summer after their holiday away on the farm! And obviously more chances to share some super books!

So onto working on this rather empty looking classroom, making it a super learning environment for September. And then onto the holidays, have a good one everyone!

Kelly Dotty

Sunday, 23 June 2013

TeachMeet East 2013

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend my third TeachMeet. For those of you who haven't come across the idea of a TeachMeet before, it is an opportunity for educators to gather together informally to share ideas and good practice to enhance the learning experience within the classroom. Organised by +Tim Handley and Sarah Prentice, and backed up by a great team, it was held at Bluebell Primary School in Norwich and was a day full of inspiration and ideas. A special thank you to Martin aka ICTmagic for his help at setting up the internet on my Chromebook.

For this TeachMeet there were two parts to the day, first a Hands On series of sessions and secondly the main session where people present on a variety of topics of either 5 minutes or 7 minutes in length. With over 30 something presentations there was an awful lot to take in and this blog post aims to be a quick summary of just a few of the ideas that I am looking forward to exploring more and trying out in my classroom.

Digital Storytelling

This was referenced several times through the day and it was the session that my mind kept returning to. It was a super presentation by Paul Parslow-Williams, currently working in the UEA Education department, who shared some of the digital storytelling projects he has been working on. I came away with lots of ideas for using maps to tell a story, both the children's hand drawn ones and those using Google maps etc. I also have a few projects to explore including Kate Pullinger's Ebb and Flow Project and Stefano Tambellini's Writing Maps Project. Paul also gave some great tips for creating an interactive map in Powerpoint, reminding us that Powerpoint can still be a useful tool.

Google Sites and Google Apps for Education

Several people referenced the above throughout the day and although I use Google a lot for my personal life (you should hear what Mr Dotty calls me!) I have not used much in the classroom apart from the obvious things like maps. After sessions by peeople like +Mark Allen aka EdintheClouds I really do want to finally get myself using Google Sites etc and have decided that this will be one of my summer PD projects.


This website had completely bypassed me so thank you to SheliBB who blogs at Carry On Learning for sharing this website. Hackasaurus is a great way to mash up websites (and get an insight into HTML) to create interesting resources for use in the classroom. It is really easy to use and will definitely get the kids engaged! Check out here and this video by Ian Addison for a short introduction.

Creating Character by Adam Parkhouse

Adam shared some fantastic ideas for creating more well rounded characters in writing where you use dice to decide on the features of your character (sound familiar?!) and he also linked to Paul Parslow-William's comments on using maps. I liked his idea of having a large map on the wall, the children creating a character (with described features on the back) and the children physically moving the character around the map. He also shared the idea of asking questions of the characters, for example What is the most recent thing you have lost? It really gets the children to delve more into their character. I will definitely be implementing Adam's ideas soon and when I do I will blog about it to show what it looks like in the classroom.

Other things to explore

I have heard so much about Scratch and yet never tried it so it was nice to get an introduction from James Abela. I now have this list of sites to explore, play and learn from!

Scratch- James Abela

Mr ICTmagic shared this presentation filled with some fantastic links to resources that will be good to use in the classroom, go check them out!

JenniH68 shared what she has been doing with reading in her class and school as well as her blog, Reading for Pleasure Not Gove. It was nice to see what other schools are doing and see the similarities with things I have set up in school such as our Borrow a Book scheme. She also shared some lovely videos to inspire writing. I will try and find the videos she used and add in links but the message is they are a fantastic resource for inspiring writing!

Jeni Smith (a blast from the past from my PGCE at UEA!) shared some great paper folding ideas to help think about landscapes. It also gave me an idea for how I can use it in our geography topic this term.

Lucy Abel shared some of the things she has been doing on her PGCE placements and I loved her simple ideas for teaching decimals- looking at food packaging! Lucy gave a real reminder of the need for reak contexts and practical applications of learning.

As well as her fabulous door Becki Jennings also shared some more great videos to inspire writing.

Image taken from here

I promise you that this is only a brief snapshot of what was covered that day! Some super presentations and ideas to get you thinking! Also there was a gorgeous BBQ, sweets AND cake! I also attended the Teach Eat afterwards where I ate far too much and got to continue having fantastic conversations with people.

So to everyone who attended TeachMeet East 2013- thank you and I look forward to the next one!