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This week I wanted to share with you an exciting teaching and learning resource which I came across at a Microsoft Education event. I was very much inspired by the discovery of Purple Mash, an interactive learning website and want to share all its features and some fun scenarios for how Primary Schools can use it in and out of class.

What is Purple Mash?

Purple Mash is an award-winning website designed by 2simple which teachers can use to engage students in learning from a very young age and to enhance their knowledge and skill sets. The website hosts an impressive selection of tools and interactive exercises that students can use right across the curriculum to make writing, drawing, researching and creating fun! The website is aimed at students at Primary school between the ages of 4 and 11.

Tools

There are a host of tools for students at primary to use in and out of class with Purple Mash.

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For the younger students, there are themed painting activities to get the creative juices flowing without the need for messy paint-strewn fingers. There are hundreds of creative tools, games, activities and apps providing teachers with engaging tools to accompany classes, from basic coding resources to maths and story writing apps. My personal favourite are the writing templates - there are open templates and curriculum-focused templates providing teachers with really fun writing activities to spark off story-writing, poetry writing and the creative thinking which accompanies writing. The writing templates engage students with their subjects and can aid the learning of content, social responsibility and of course will help improve and develop writing skills.

Categories

I love the categorising of the website. Teachers can very easily choose exercises according to different subjects across the curriculum or according to dozens of themes which range from animals, sustainability and World War I history, to Shrove Tuesday and letter writing. You are sure to find a subject theme relating to what you are teaching!

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1. Choose your theme

Once you click your chosen theme or subject, you'll see that there are several categories which you can select and use as an exercise for the class. Let's pick the 'Authors' theme.

2. Pick a category

To illustrate, once having clicked on 'Authors' you are provided with a selection of authors to choose between. Let’s click on Roald Dahl. I always loved his fantastically warped and slightly macabre children's books, particularly George's Marvellous Medicine. Who knew that by feeding your nan a few sips of home-made brew, you could transform her appearance and probably wangle some cheap laughs out of your school mates!

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3. Choose your exercise

There are more than 10 fun exercises you can choose between to stimulate your students' imagination and writing skills such as writing your own recipe for George's medicine, to designing and describing three new Wonka creations!

Works from home

As always, I love any resource that can be accessed by students after the school gates have been locked. Purple Mash is of course online and accessible from anywhere with a PC and internet. You can set an exercise as homework which the children are sure to run home to do and if they are really eager, they can even try more exercises in their spare time.

Flip the tables with Purple Mash

The common impression we have of students' relationship towards homework is probably that they would rather be playing games with friends and unwinding after a busy day at school. However, Purple Mash has flipped this stereotype and, I quote a primary school student, "makes homework fun!" Making homework enjoyable from students' initial school experiences is crucial in evolving students' self-directed learning skills. We are all aware that having a strong foundation from the seedling years of education will impact how well students will be motivated to learn once they are in secondary school and finally college or university, which will eventually impact their career progression.

Purple Mash offers a fresh way of engaging students to craft their skills and enrich their knowledge from their most important early years, and is thus being widely used by schools in the UK. We love it and urge you to start using it with your students now!

To see for yourself how schools are using Purple Mash, check out the video below.