Guest post from Teacher Ambassador Natalie Burgess – Back to School with Microsoft

With the following post we'd like to formally welcome one of our new Teacher Ambassadors to the Microsoft UK Education team! Many of you will have come across Natalie Burgess before, as she has been as #MIEExpert for a number of years, and ran sessions in the Showcase Classroom section of our stand at BETT 2016.

Ahead of the new academic year, Natalie has written a short blog post offering some ideas for how teachers can use technology to get to know their new students - and help the students get to know each other. She's also included a great Sway designed to help teachers get started on the Microsoft Educator Community - make sure you scroll to the end to see that! We'll be hearing from Natalie regularly on this blog, so keep checking back to catch all of her posts!

Back to School with Microsoft

by Natalie Burgess

It’s that time of year again… planning meetings, forward plans, laminating, name labels and lots and lots of coffee! Thinking of new ideas at the start of the school year can be difficult when there’s so much to organise and do for your new pupils.

natalie-featUsing tech for my ‘Getting to know you’ activities always put me in the good books with my new class. An activity I enjoyed doing last year with my Primary 3 pupils was creating a collaborative PowerPoint sharing 3 things about themselves. This meant that I could get to know the children easily and have a reference for their personal likes and dislikes and it meant the children got chatting and making new friends right away. All I had to do was create a PowerPoint on Office 365 and share it with my pupils using their Office 365 username. I pre-loaded the PowerPoint with each pupil’s name at the top of a slide and they did the rest.

There’s so many things that we can do to engage our new classes and to start the year off in a really cool way! How about setting up a Mystery Skype and connecting with a classroom in Africa or Australia?! My class absolutely loved connecting with a school in Africa last year and it really opened their eyes to the world and developed our Global Citizenship. This would link in really well to Rights Respecting Schools and your ‘Class Charter’ linking it to the rights of children in other countries.

Sway is one of my favourite tools in Office 365 as it is so easy and cool to use. My Primary 3 pupils absolutely loved it! Why not ask your children to create a Sway to tell you about their Summer holidays and use this as their first solo talk? It really helps boost the children’s confidence when they have an awesome presentation behind them. They can create it at home or in school with their Office 365 account. I loved seeing the photos of my pupil’s Summer holidays as it really helped me get to know them better.


There are so many other ways that you can start the year off with a bang using all the tools available to teachers in Office 365. I joined the Microsoft Educator Community 2 years ago and since then I have learned and grown so much using technology in the classroom.

I have found some really cool lesson ideas on here from Educators all over the world and made some awesome friends for life because of the Microsoft Programme. I highly recommend signing up to join this incredible community of Educators where you will find inspiration, lesson ideas, Professional Development opportunities, quick tip videos and access to Skype with classes from around the globe! What else could you ask for?!

Here’s a quick ‘how to’ guide to sign up for Microsoft Educator Community.

Have an incredible first term everyone!

~ Natalie

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