Category Archives: Home Learning

Want to Hangout?

With isolation from unnecessary social interactions a pivotal step in our behaviour at the moment, we want to ensure that there are ways that friends can safely stay in touch.


Google Hangouts is part of the Google Suite applications we have access to, and I have turned it on for members of class 3 to see if it a welcome method for communication.   I will discuss it in a little way down this post….

One aspect of my job that has been forefront in my mind over the last few days of planning, is that of cybersafety.  As there will be an increased reliance on technology, it is imperative that there is a continuation of keeping children safe.  As this is now almost entirely at home, there are some steps you can take to ensure this is maintained:

  • talk to your children about their use of technology: get to know the apps they use, why they use them and learn about the positive aspects of each (there are some great TikToks out there!)
  • discuss privacy settings and go through them together to see what are the most appropriate ones to turn and why
  • make sure that any video chats are done in a public room
  • if they do have access to text chatting, remind them about being kind.  We have the rule of, “if you wouldn’t say it in front of a grandparent, then don’t say it online,” as  a way of quickly self-determining if something is appropriate.

We have plenty of resources/links available in our E-safety section, could be an ideal time to go through them or seek out further guidance on such matters.  It can a very difficult part of the parent/child relationship to discuss, and maybe control access to, specific technologies, but when done together it can foster trust and responsibility.

Right then – Google Hangouts…

The app uses their school accounts to chat through the Google servers, and this has some benefits:

  • it is integrated into our existing infrastructure, so no additional sign-ups are needed
  • it is securely ringfenced, it can only be used to chat to other Grindleford children for who the service has been activated – NO EXTERNAL CHATS CAN OCCUR IN OR OUT
  • it is fully logged

It can be reached via any browser, in the same way the Classroom app can, using this URL:

And there are dedicated apps in the relevant app stores for iOS and Android if your children use such devices.

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You can then enter the name of a friend to start a connection, or create groups of commonly-used friends to have a group chat.

It is ideal for discussing the associated work being set (I would say that!) or indeed probably a lot more for social time.

We did a class test of Hangout video chat on Friday, but I am hesitant to deploy such technology due to safety concerns at this moment in time: I see this text-based chat app as being an important factor in determining whether to turn that on in the future.

There are a myriad of ways in which children will be communicating during this period, this one offers a safe, secure and controlled option.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions over the app.

Resource Recommendations

Well, it seems this blog will taking on a slightly altered role for a while.

As part of the situation we find ourselves in, this may well play an important part in communicating to you about things related to home learning.  So to kick us off, here are some of the things that have been sent out via email over the last few days, and some additional pointers.

Learning Books


We have been asked a lot about workbooks recently, and there is indeed a wealth of choices out there, many of which we have encountered over the years.  Some of the best we can say will do a good job are the offerings from Collins and Schofield & Sims.  The Collins range has been recently revised and offer subject and year group specific activities in various English and Maths topics.

They provide a super structure to the learning, giving you a path through the topics so you can support the children with the activities in an appropriate order.

522The Schofield and Sims offerings are great for little-and-often activities in key skills.  The maths, times tables and English skills ones are so well-structured and appeal to all levels of ability.  I love these and they are nicely priced too.

I expect there’ll be high demand for such resources, so if you are intending to get some of these then I would do it sooner rather than later.


Be Active

Regular exercise is so important being healthy, and home PE lessons can take on all sort of forms.  There are some web-based places to get some inspiration from or to follow.


YouTuber Joe Wicks is streaming live PE lessons online for kids every day at 9am next week. An option for anyone that wants to stick to a timetable and keep kids active that don’t do much sport already?




The BBC has developed Super Movers.

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We have used the times tables ones, but there’s loads of different ones and not all are based on maths! They are split into KS1/2 and then into subjects.

Online Subject Resources

twinkl_logo_cropped_300pxThe educational resource specialists Twinkl have provided a wealth of free resources for home learning.  Their provision has evolved so far in recent years, and have developed some very well-designed packs to introduce topics and develop knowledge and skills in all sort of areas.  Totally worth checking out.

BBC Bitesize Annotation 2020-03-20 114005has been around for years, and has been updated in the past few years to support more curriculum areas and topics.  Video-rich and of a very high quality, it is easy to navigate, use and of course free!




Annotation 2020-03-20 114242Derbyshire library service will allow you to use your library card to log on for free ebooks or audio books.




World e-Book are providing lots of free e-books on a range of topics.




Audible are a market leader in Audiobooks, and the Amazon-owned company are offering free audiobooks for children during the pandemic.