Friday Guest Blog – From Middleton Primary School!

Today, our guest blog comes from Michael Hughes, a Year 2 teacher from Middleton Primary School in Nottingham!

Blog re. Play Live Literacy 

I have always been keen on using new and creative technologies in my classroom. We bought into our school about 3 years ago, and I have always been a leading member of our staff to promote it.

I know how much enjoyment the children in my class get from playing the games available. The boys really enjoy the competition involved by scoring points and gaining a better percentage each time and the girls really enjoy the concepts and animations. I have always used the maths games for mental starters in my Numeracy lessons, clicking on the whiteboard mode was a godsend!

Using some of these games for independent activities when going off into groups in the classroom means that I know that the children will be engaged and motivated to learn. At the start of each school year, I move all the children in the school to their new year groups and classes. I switched on the ‘log in at start of game’ which means that all their data is logged and can be accessed by their class teacher.

I didn’t really start to use the Play Live Maths for a while, but as soon as I introduced it to the children they were hooked. They really liked the fact that they could easily play against the other children in our class, unlike some other competitive online games. Their ability to answer mental maths questions quicker and with confidence has increased.

When introduced the Play Live Literacy at the end of last year, I heard about it via their Twitter feed (@educationcity). As they were launching it, there seemed to be a real buzz in their offices. I doubt much work was going on for a few days as so many of them appeared to be hooked.   

I had a look to see what all the fuss was about. I have to agree, almost instantly I was hooked too! I use Play Live Literacy as a warm up in my daily phonics lessons. The first time I introduced it to the children we played it as a class so that I could model it and they could see how they could find words. Some children’s confidences were a little low, so we started off by finding 2 letter words. I also showed them that if they found ‘no’ then they could reverse the word and have ‘on’. Another tip we found was that if there was an ‘s’ next to the last letter of a word, some of the time they could add it to the word and get double points. 

We now play it daily in our phonics session, but the children have their own wipe boards and make a list of the words they find. After the 60 seconds I take a snapshot of the honeycomb web and transfer it to my board. Here we make a list of the words we have found, highlighting some of the long vowels that we know. The children enjoy calculating their point score and sharing it with the class. We will be making a leader board very soon to go up in the class and also making a collection of some of the best words that we could use our own writing.

There are times when children have completed some of their ICT work, or during an indoor break, that the children might have 5 minutes to themselves. There are many of them that ask or choose to Play Live Literacy and because it is a logged into website, we know that the children are safe.    

I feel very confident in letting the children access the games on and I am looking forward to seeing if playing Play Live Literacy has an impact in their NC scores at the end of the year. Already I have seen the children not using high frequency dictionaries as much as previous years due to the time we spend looking for words we know in the honeycomb board. The biggest thing that I can stress for the game is that children (especially the boys) are excited to do Literacy, which for me is a reward in itself.

Keep up the fantastic work you are all doing at