Here are some of my lesson resources that you can you use to help teach the theory requirements of the new computing curriculum:
Here are some of my lesson resources that you can you use to help teach the theory requirements of the new computing curriculum:
A few months ago I read this blog post aboud building a 'craft computer' with children and was very inspired by the idea. I thought the activity sounded so simple yet so effective - stick different computer components onto a net of a cube and then construct a 3D paper computer by building sticking it together. Something a bit different and quite a fun way to teach what could potentially be a boring theory lesson.
Like most things I read online, the idea stewed in my head for a long time as I thought about how I could adapt it to work in a whole class situation - there is no way I am going to ask lots of young children to do lots of cutting out since I personally feel that it would take up too much valuable lesson time. The solution which I came up with - after much thinking and building several prototypes myself - was basically a photocopied picture of an iPad onto which children could then draw the different components which make up the computer system behind it.
To make the paper iPad look realistic, I have created one that can be printed onto two sides of an A4 sheet - the front being a picture of an iPad and the back being a simplified representation of the motherboard, with several blank spaces into which children can add the components. Since components are getting increasingly smaller over time, I've opted to enlarge some of them just to make the task a bit easier for the children. I've also chosen to only leave spaces for what I consider to be the major components whose funciton can be quite easily explained - the batteries, the lens, the storage, the memory, the processor and the WiFi card.
I've not actually used this resource in a lesson yet but I thought I'd blog the idea just in case somebody wanted to try it out and give me some feedback. My plan at the moment is to use in to two different ways:
In my head, both lessons appear to 'work' and I can imagine the children enjoying them so if you do want to try either of them with your class, I'd really appreciate your comments!
UPDATE MARCH 2014 - Having taught both lessons this half-term, I want to let you know that they worked BRILLIANTLY and all the children really, really enjoyed them.
Here are some links to share with your children to help them learn about Nelson Mandela's life and the legacy he leaves behind in South Africa:
In the new computing curriculum for KS2, schools will be required to teach pupils how to:
Although these computing topics may initially sound quite challenging, I've created some resources for them which are translated into child-friendly language (suitable for your average 7-11 year-old) to help you cover the theory (knowledge and understanding) behind them in just a few lessons, freeing you up time to do more practical lessons actually putting the skills into practice (e.g. researching the history of computing using this writing frame or debugging Scratch or Python programs):
I've just finished creating a 10-page children's guide to programming in Python, in readiness for the introduction of the new primary computing curriculum in 2014. It has been tested using the Python 3.0 for iOS app (I chose this particular iOS app simply because it was the cheapest at the time I downloaded it).
Please let me know how you get on using it as I would really value your feedback on how child-friendly it is (indeed a lot of it is adapted from my old A Level computing notes)!
I've explored and tried out several painting apps on the iPads in school over the past year but the best one has clearly been Drawing Pad. It has just the right amount of tools for children to use and presents them using an realistic-looking (and therefore intuitive-to-use) graphical interface.
Children can use the touch of their finger to make marks with virtual: pencils, colouring pencils, felt tips, poster paints, wax crayons and chalk. Different paper types, stamps and picture stickers are also available. The most recent update to the app now allow text labels to be added (great for putting names onto work!) and custom brush styles/colours to be chosen, if desired.
I've used the app with great success to a wide age range of children and they've all loved the creative possibilities it offers and been able to independently improve their digital painting skills to a level appropriate to them.
Lots of painting apps are either too simple and don't offer many ways for children to really develop their skills or are too complicated and have interfaces which aren't really child-friendly - Drawing Pad strikes the right balance in my opinion and I highly recommend you download it so you can share it with your class!
Here's a brand new website that I finished creating this week that I'm sure you'll want to share with your colleagues, children and parents:
Made by me, my deputy head @mrmkemp and a few Year 6 children from my school, Parkfield Primary School, it contains a series of maths tutorial videos explaining how to progress and improve doing: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division calculations.
The videos have been recorded using the Educreations app on an iPad - they can be viewed via Flash on a PC or opened up in the free Educreations app on an iPad (I'm led to believe that an iPhone/iPod Touch version is coming soon).
You can use the website to ensure that there is a consistent approach to teaching calculations at your school and use it in lessons as a tool for children to independently access for support, such as when completing a calculations sheet like this:
I hope you find this site useful!
You've probably heard of a few schools that have their own in-school radio shows which are broadcast from their own miniature recording studios and been envious of their achievements - well I now reckon that you can create something similar in your own school which is just as good but costs just a fraction of the price...
An audio podcast is basically a short audio recording which is shared over the Internet, published as part of a series of similiar episodes often at regular intervals. Whilst radio shows have to be broadcast and listened to live, audio podcasts can be downloaded to listen to by children at a time of their choosing thus giving them a much wider audience reach.
A weekly school podcast doesn't have to be particularly long (just a few minutes will do) and the episodes could even all have a similar running order of content, such as:
The key is designing a show which is so easy to create for each podcast that you could hand the running of it over to a group of able children, assigning roles to different members of a 'podcast team', such as:
Script writing could be done as a collaborative effort between different members of the team to ensure that they all have direct input into the final show. Unlike producing a school newspaper which: costs money to print, takes quite a while to design well and is limited in size by the paper type, producing a weekly podcast: has no running costs, is extremely easy for children to produce (since they just have to read out sentences from a script) and isn't limited in size (since audio could be recorded for any length of time, within reason). Having so few restrictions, I really believe that children could produce their own regular audio podcast much more independently than with a printed newspaper. Watch this example of Bethke Elementary School in the USA to see a podcasting team in action for yourself:
Although they obviously have a big set up with microphones etc., you could quite easily record and publish your own podcast online using just with an iPad/iPod Touch and by sitting in a quiet room. The app I would recommend for doing this is Voice Recorder Pro app because it: is free, has a simple trimming tool to cut-out the start/end of the recording with (so it is nice and clean) and offers a range of sharing options for outputting the podcast with.
You could even play in sound: cues, jingles or effects from another device whilst recording using the My Custom Soundboard app (69p) too.
How you choose to share your podcast is up to you, but the way that I'm thinking would work best at the moment is: converting the recording into a .mp3 file, opening it up in the Edmodo app's library and then attaching it to a new post to share with a 'podcast' group which children can join. I like this method because it: is free, has no limitations (e.g. upload limits), promotes technology which children are already familiar with, encourages online discussion through writing replies underneath and creates an RSS feed automatically on the public page (which you could even set social media services to auto-post updates from).
Setting up a school podcast could really have a big impact in a school because it: encourages children to use technology, gives extra responsiblities to a group of more able children, allows regular prasising of children's achievements and is accessible to everyone who can listen well (unlike a newspaper which would likely be written by a high-attaining child at a reading level above most other younger children in the school).
How would you set up a weekly podcast at your school?
I wanted to get Year 1 and Year 2 children to create their own multimedia story books on the iPads. Although this would seem like a fairly straightforward aim, the amount of preparation that I ended up doing to ensure that the children were given an appropriate level of challenge and the finished books were all of a high quality was quite a bit so I felt that I should blog about it.
The most child-friendly e-book authoring app available for iPads is Book Creator so this naturally felt like the most appropriate app to teach the children. What's nice about it is that it allow you to create a fixed-layout book (some e-book authoring apps don't have this option) and offers just the right amount of formatting tools so as to not be too confusing for young children.
Since I have 30 minutes a week to teach ICT to: a Year 1 group, a mixed Year 1 and 2 group and Year 2 group as part of my school's 'Fabulous Friday' afternoons in which the children carousel around different subjects, it was clear that the whole project would have to be broken down into small chunks that were each self-contained lessons. These were:
I did think about swapping the order around slightly to do all the typing lessons first then the painting lessons but felt that spreading them out would make the project more interesting and likely consolidate skills more since things would be re-visited over a longer period of time.
For the three 'typing the story' lessons I gave the children prompt sheets from which they could copy-type their stories from. I chose to do this because there is limited lesson time to get a group of 20 children to each come up with a creative idea and the focus needed to be on ICT skills not literacy skills. To allow them some creativity and ensure they all typed slightly different stories though, I created different story outlines for each group:
In the prompt sheets, I also gave them lots of open-ended parts in which they could insert their own vocabulary (e.g. adjectives) and produced two or three different sheets with varying amounts of sentences on for each group (so the more confident typists had more to type and were challenged to include a greater range of punctuation which they would have to find on the keyboard). Here are the prompt sheets I used, although be aware that they are in a slightly jumbled order and sometimes contain a few of the same prompts on one page so that I could save on printing:
Obviously, the 'typing the story' lessons couldn't just have the children copying from the sheet so I encouraged them to change the text style and page background colour once they had finished to make it look nice.
For the 'painting the illustrations' lessons, I chose to teach the children how to use the lovely Drawing Pad app which has a very graphical user-interface which is perfect for KS1. As I'd given the children set storylines to follow, this meant that I could support them effectively when it came to illustrating them - I could clearly instruct them to 'paint your character, a house and a beanstalk' rather than the more vague 'paint what happens in the opening to your story', for instance. I modelled what I expected a good painting to look like beforehand and encouraged them to add fine details to it too:
For the final lesson, I then asked the children to do three things:
From doing the project, I discovered a few little things which you might find helpful:
Don't be afaid about the setup required - it isn't actually that much when you consider it's spread out over seven weeks. The project, in my opinion, is brilliant - the range of ICT skills that it covers is huge and the quality of the finished work is just superb. In the last lesson, get a few children to share their books with the rest of the group using Apple TV, stand back and be amazed. I very nearly got emotional yesterday when the children did this - they were just so proud of what they had achieved it was lovely to see!
I've done a couple of things today to develop my ICT/computing curriculum idea:
The more work I do on this idea, the more that I'm beginning to realise that it could actually work...
I've recently started listening to the fabulous Big Finish audio dramas (which I would highly recommend by the way) and it got me thinking - wouldn't it be great if children could record and share their own stories with others as audio books?
There is a free app called Voice Record Pro that would let children record their voice quite easily using the built-in microphone on an iPad/iPod Touch:
All they would then have to do is share this audio file onto Edmodo (either using the 'Open With Other Apps' tool or by emailing it to me so I can upload it for them) and then all their friends could enjoylistening to it!
As ideas go it isn't new but the technology is now available to make the whole process very child-friendly and so much simpler to do!
You read a lot about children sharing their writing online but I also believe that sharing children reading stories out aloud could have just as big an impact in schools since it allows:
To implement this idea all you need is: an iOS device (which many schools now have anyway), a set of headphones (which I would imagine every school has), the free Voice Record Pro app and possibly a free Edmodo account too if you want to use their service to share the stories on. Consider the price of all this in comparison to the specialist hardware that is available elsewhere on the market being sold to schools for hundreds of pounds!
As well as displaying a learning intention slide on the IWB during ICT lessons, I also like to give older children an accompanying skills checklist too in some lessons when they are doing longer projects spanning a few sessions. These contain a matching set of success criteria as displayed on the board (with a few extras) but with space for children to 'tick-off' where they're currently at in their work. When they're using software with lots of tools available, this can be extrememly useful in helping children track their progress and see what tools they've still got to try out using. These are broken down into the: 'good', 'great' and 'super' sections to make it clear how relatively challenging each skill is and thus how the task can being differentiated to meet each child's current ability. I also like to include space at the bottom of some of them for a small peer-assessment box into which another child can give them some feedback part-way through a project which they can then respond to.
Please let me know if you find these checklists useful in your classroom!
I'm sure that many of you will be familiar with the BBC Bitesize and Learning Zone Class Clips websites being great to use in the classroom but I wonder how many of you also take time to look at the CBBC website too? Whilst a good proportion of its output is clearly meant to entertain its target audience of 6-12 year olds, there are quite a few parts of it which can be used in school as well for educational purposes:
As an early Christmas present to my readers, I've decided to share my Christmas-themed ICT lessons with you so that you have chance to do them with your children before you break up!
The first thing to realise when thinking about e-safety is that it does not involve teaching children how to communicate online - the skills needed to: create online avatars, attach files to messages etc. should be taught separately. E-Safety is about ensuring that children can understand the risks associated with communicating online and can describe some safe and responsible strategies/rules to follow to help minimise or respond to them.
A few months ago, Ofsted published a document (see here) detailing what they consider to be outstanding e-safety provision in primary (elementary) schools. Some important things that they mention include the need to:
All of these can implemented fairly easily using simple strategies like:
In addition, Ofsted also emphasise the need to have in place a comprehensive e-safety curriculum that is delivered across the school.
Over the years I've worked extremely hard to produce a series of outstanding lessons for different year groups that are pitched appropriately and show a clear, sensible progression in content (i.e. so younger children aren't made too scared about online dangers). As with all my lessons, they each have the same overall learning intention but have differentiated expectations associated with them of increasing challenge:
The three main lessons that I teach the children are:
As a final note, I always think that you have to be careful when teaching e-safety as you need to make children aware of dangerous issues without scaring them to much. By: sharing e-safety rules, regularly teaching e-safety lessons and making them aware of the CEOP website, I find that children can develop a good attitude to communicating online and acquire a safe and responsible set of online behaviours.
If you have found this app helpful, please take a moment to rate and review it.
I've been asked a few times this summer what my ICT plans are for September. A combination of: having no statutory ICT teaching requirements any more, my school now having Apple iPads as well as Windows laptops for children to use and various new topics being introduced into the school curriculum has led me to come up with an ICT scheme that is hopefully more: interesting, flexible and easier to manage than in previous years.
As you can see below, I'm now only going to fully plan about a dozen different applications to use with each year group. This will mean that the ICT skills can be applied and consolidated several times during the year, linking in with different class topics as I feel is appropriate. As long as I cover each year group's list of applications, I can be as creative as I want with how I use them, whilst safe in the knowledge that the children are being given suitably-pitched lessons to develop their ICT capabilities over a range of devices and programs.
I'm still going to create an overview for each year group (see this blog post) and create accompanying LI slides for each application (see this blog post) as these are two things that I feel have worked extremely well in the past.
All my ICT learning intentions (without the 'To...' opener) are shown on the mind map below and each of my ICT lesson will use one of them - the idea being that ICT tasks stay consistent throughout the school. I've grouped them into five areas/strands:
To allow for differention betwewen year groups, each LI has a series of ICT skills associated with it that I can select from when writing the 'good'/'great'/'super' criteria for each lesson to provide an age-appropriate level of challenge. These are presented in order of complexity so that progression in ICT capability is clearly visisble. Here is an example of the ICT skills for 'multimedia authoring':
Lastly, to ensure a broad coverage of skills in each year group, I'm aiming to cover at least two learning intentions from each ICT strand in each year group as well as use both a mixture of laptops and iPads. My list of software above takes this into consideration and my year group overviews will record which strand and device each lesson is associated with.
From September, the ICT National Curriculum has been disapplied. This means that schools now have the chance (if they're not already doing so) to innovate their curriculum and teach the skills that they feel their children need.
Over the last few years I've already revised the ICT curriculum that I teach to make it up-to-date (see this blog post) but last weekend I had a spark of inspiration of how to take this one step further - ask some of the children what they themselves want me to teach them. The idea came from when I was doing my GCSEs and my geography teacher started the year by asking the class to pick what topics we preferred to learn about - it really motivated us as it basically meant the curriculum was being personalised to our interests.
With Year 6, I have about a term's worth of lessons that I either feel that I 'need' to do (e.g. to teach spreadsheet modelling skills) or that work really well (e.g. creating nativity animations). For the rest of the year though, I often just make it up depending on what new online tools appear or what topics are currently being studied in class that I can do lessons linked in with (e.g. I did work on the sinking of the Titanic this year). This therefore felt like the ideal time in which I could devote some ICT lessons to teaching children the ICT skills that they want to develop.
As I like to be very organised and knew that last week was our last week before the holidays, this meant that I really needed to ask the children for their thoughts fairly quickly so that I would have the time to respond to them/plan lessons accordingly over the summer. I felt that the easiest way to question them would be to create a Google Form and invite them to fill it in. In it, I basically listed several ICT projects that they might want to be taught and asked them to rate them on how many lessons they would like devoted to them. I also included a question about doing more indepent project work (i.e. to help introduce 'learning log' style tasks to them) as well as a box to say if they had any other requests for things I could teach (e.g. if they knew of a good iPad app).
Whilst it was a bit of a challenge to get the current Year 5 children to actually fill the form in (since I wasn't actually with the class in the final week so had to find them at breaks/dinner), all of them seem pretty keen to be asked their opinion and were happy to spend a couple of minutes saying what ICT skills they would like to be taught next year.
The results of the survey showed me that:
Over the summer holidays, I'm now going to work out how to best incorporate the most popular topics (website design, digital art and Internet research) into the Year 6 curriculum to hopefully engage their interests next year.
If you're still in school next week, I definitely think that doing a similar survery with your children would be a great way to find out how you can innovate your ICT curriculum to meet their interests (obviously once core ICT skills have been covered)!
I've had a lot of requests recently from people asking me for copies of my long-term planning for ICT - possibly because the government has just announced that the current ICT National Curriculum for England has been disapplied from September 2012 as it has been deemed to be "not fit for purpose".
My current ICT curriculum consists of three documents that I have written:
Since these three documents all relate to each other, they greatly assist me in ensuring that ICT lessons: are pitched appropriately for each year group, allow children to learn a wide variety of skills/tools and are given an interesting context wherever possible.
It is essential to realise though that the focus of ICT lessons needs to be on developing ICT: knowledge, understanding and skills - their context should be secondary and just be there to help foster cross-curricular links. Roughly speaking, about half of my ICT lessons are 'discrete' ICT lessons (e.g. covering things like: e-safety, spreadsheets, word processing tricks etc.) whilst the other half relate to current class/school topics (e.g. Internet research on periods of history, examining digital maps of localities being studied in geography etc.). Finding the right balance between these two types of lessons is very important in my opinion to enable children to be given the chance to learn new things and purposefully apply them to contexts that are familiar to/interest them.
Anyway, for your reading pleasure please find below all my ICT planning documents that you are welcome to use to help inspire you to develop an outstanding, creative approach to teaching ICT at your school! Note that they are working documents (so do contain some of my scribblings) and that I do tweak them as new technologies emerge and become more relevant/widespread in society, thus squeezing out other aspects.
You might also find this post about how I display each lesson's: learning intention, steps to success and differentiated sucess criteria usesful too, along with this post about progression in Internet research.
Please do let me know what you think of these documents by leaving me a comment below as I would greatly appreciate any feedback on them!