primary

DLT Recommends: Online Resource Roundup

Here at the DLT we often get asked to recommend resources that teachers will find useful, so we decided to make a shortlist of blogs and websites that we use to gather new ideas and inspiration. If you don’t already do so, signing up to blog newsletters that interest you can be a great way to find new ideas as blogposts are emailed to you as soon as they are published. Please feel free to comment below if you’ve got a recommendation that we haven’t included.

 

Edutopia Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.43.12

What is it?

“A comprehensive website and online community that increases knowledge, sharing, and adoption of what works in K-12 education.” Run by the George Lucas Education Foundation.

Why we like it:

Edutopia covers all aspects of education, not just digital technologies, and often has thought-provoking and helpful articles which encourage teachers to re-think and evaluate how things work in their classrooms. Although it is very focused on the American education system, there is lots of content about teaching and learning that apply globally.

 

Mr P’s ICT Blog – Tech to Raise StandardsScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.43.21

What is it?

“My blog will share creative ideas to raise standards across the curriculum using technology.”

Why we like it:

This is a blog written by a practising primary school teacher who is great at coming up with practical ideas and ways to incorporate digital technologies meaningfully into your teaching.

 

ICT EvangelistScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.46.44

What is it?

“With 20 years classroom experience including that as a teacher, middle leader, lead teacher, assistant headteacher and responsible for some of the UK’s most renowned edtech deployments, Mark is a passionate advocate for developing the modern educator’s toolkit.”

Why we like it:

Mark is particularly good at sharing ideas about how to use iPads in different contexts and highlighting new apps that can be used for learning. He has also got a big Twitter following in the education world where he is good at sparking online discussions about pedagogy.

 

Brown Bag TeacherScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.46.53

What is it?

“A 5th grade ELA teacher now exploring 1st grade – loving all things Daily 5, Guided Math, & Writer’s Workshop!”

Why we like it:

This blog is full of ideas for teaching and learning. As this practising teacher uses a workshop approach there are some great ideas for using technology in groups, which is perfect for primary classes that only have access to a few iPads!

 

EdTech Blog – Paul Hamilton
Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.43.43Paul Hamilton’s YouTube channel

What is it?

“Transforming education through innovation is at the heart of what I do. Creating what no-one else has created, or being the first to make a connection, is what I love.”

Why we like it:

Paul has created lots of high-quality videos that can be found on his YouTube Channel with ideas for using apps across a range of curricular areas.

 

Learning in Hand – Tony Vincent Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.50.09

What is it?

“Learning in Hand is an educator’s resource for mobile and digital learning. It was started in 2002 as part of Tony Vincent’s classroom website. At first focusing on Palm handhelds, Learning in Hand now encompasses all kinds of digital and mobile learning.”

Why we like it:

This one is for teachers who are confident and regularly use technology in the classroom and want to take ideas to the next level. Tony Vincent doesn’t tend to focus on classroom ideas but has lots of ideas to enhance your own resources, definitely worth a look from ime to time.

 

Schrockguide – Kathy SchrockScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.52.00

What is it?

She is known for her practical presentations dealing with pedagogically sound practices for the embedding of technology seamlessly into teaching and learning. Kathy’s passions are online tools to support classroom instruction, the role of emerging technologies in the classroom, infographics, tablets in the classroom, assessment and rubrics, copyright and intellectual property, and gadgets of any type!

Why we like it:

This site blends the theory and practice of teaching and learning perfectly. There is literally a guide to everything, but we particularly like the iPads4teaching section. It has lots of great ideas for learning and practical ideas for organisation too.

OneNote in Educationonenote in education

What is it?

Microsoft Office blog showing new developments for OneNote that can be used in education. There are also posts showing how schools around the world are using OneNote.

Why we like it:

There are great ideas for how to use OneNote in the classroom. It is also interesting to see the new developments like the Class Notebook add-in and the Learning Tools add-in.

Subject-specific resources:

Deep Space Sparkle (Art)Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.43.30

What is it?

“I’m Patty Palmer, founder of Deep Space Sparkle, and my passion is to help you teach art to kids. I’ve been teaching public school art for 13 years and helping in the classroom long before that. Deep Space Sparkle came along in 2008 when I discovered that blogging was a way to share what projects worked for me in the art room.”

Why we like it:

This is a fantastic resource to support the teaching of Art. Patty Palmer is a specialist art teacher and has organised lesson ideas by year group, subject and art technique. It is a great place to get inspiration for IDL topics and with step by step guides on how she teaches it is a great way to help build skills in art with your learners.

 

Creative Star Learning (Outdoor Learning)Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.59.04

What is it?

“Creative STAR Learning Ltd was established in 2007 by Juliet Robertson to provide Support, Training, Advice and Resources on almost all aspects of outdoor learning and play, hence the STAR in the company name.”

Why we like it:

Creative STAR Learning is a fantastic resource for outdoor learning ideas. The blog keeps you up to date with the latest global thinking on outdoor learning and the ideas are well organised to support learning across the curriculum outdoors.

 

The Literacy Shed (Literacy)Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.59.29

What is it?

The Literacy Shed is home to a wealth of visual resources that  we have collected over 10 years as a primary school teacher.   I trawl YouTube, Vimeo and other sites looking for suitable resources to  use in the sheds. The sheds are broadly thematic but sometimes a resource could go in 2 or more sheds, I slot it in where I think it works best.

Why we like it:

This is a great resource with videos, ideas and other digital resources organised broadly in to themes or “sheds”. The short videos can be used to stimulate some excellent creative writing, teach skills such as prediction and inference in reading and there is even a Edtech Blog Shed to keep you up to date with the best ways of using tech in the classroom!

Digital Safety @ St Margarets PS

P4/5 at St Margarets have been learning about how to stay safe online. They completed a series of lessons, researched safety tips for different age groups and used creative apps to display their learning for others.

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The class started off by answering key questions about digital safety to assess prior knowledge. They answered the questions on Post-its and the answers were collected and organised using the Post-it Plus iPad app. The app is free and great for collecting all the assessment information lurking on your desk!

Once this activity was complete the class were organised in to mixed ability groups. They decided what age group they would research, broadly organised to Early, First and Second Level. Using appropriate websites found in our digital safety planners (sent using the Chirp app) the class researched key information for staying safe online, whilst applying skills in note-taking they had recently been learning. When doing any research it is a good opportunity to test the reliability of a website and discuss its appropriateness. Resources for teaching critical awareness can be found here.

Each group used the easy to use, free app ChatterPix Kids to create animated video messages to share their learning. They then used Book Creator to add text, images and sound clips to host all their content.

The pupils were able to share their learning with their parents at a recent open morning which proved to be a great success! Take a look at one of their books below.

 

 

How to: Make an iPad ‘Hologram’

After stumbling across this Adobe Slate presentation describing how to make an iPad ‘hologram’ we thought that this would be a brilliant project to try out with our learners in Edinburgh.

Here is an overview of the process:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A video of our prototype in action:

 

If you want to give it a go, here are some useful links that will help you create your ‘hologram’:

 

 

  • A step-by-step guide on creating a presentation using Keynote along with a video creation app of your choice. I used Tellagami in my example.

 

 

  • An example of a ‘hologram’ video found on YouTube that can be used with your transparent pyramid – there are many, many more examples available online.

 

Good luck with your ‘holograms’ and, as always, please feel free to share any good ones that you create!

 

Parent-led Programming Club at Flora Stevenson’s Primary

For many parents and teachers, computer programming can initially seem intimidating. This is not the case, however, for the pupils who take part in a very successful weekly programming club at Flora Stevenson Primary School. At this club, pupils are currently working on increasingly complex projects such as building calculators and stopwatches.

Steven Clarke, a parent who works in the ICT sector, runs the club. This is becoming increasingly common in the city where parents with experience working with ICT volunteer in schools, helping to broaden the experiences of the pupils and teach them complex new skills. Meeting with these parents also encourages children to learn more about working in the ICT sector after leaving school, meeting many of the Entitlements and Expectations of the Career Education Standard included in the Curriculum for Excellence. (For more information on this please click here.)

Here, Steven describes the activities that his junior programmers currently take part in:

“At the programming club we have up to 10 children who attend and who each work on different programming challenges that I set them, all using Scratch on a Raspberry Pi. The challenges I set them depend on how experienced they are. My intent is to enable them to use most of the constructs in Scratch and to gain an appreciation of computational thinking.

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If they have never seen Scratch before, I give them a short introduction to how it works, then ask them to write a program that moves a sprite across the screen. I then get them to think about different ways that they could have written the same program. After that, I give them more challenges that introduce more concepts such as loops, conditionals, variables etc (e.g., a guess the number game).

I also introduce them to the idea of how to write effective code. I have a simple challenge where they have to make six sprites dance when one of them is clicked. Then I ask them to change the program so that the sprite that is clicked doesn’t dance but the rest of them do. This often leads them down a path of writing lots of convoluted code which really gets them thinking about how to write that code better. This introduces the concept of messaging and reinforces the idea of state.

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After this I keep giving them more challenges. I ask them to build a calculator for example, which gets them thinking about lists and parsing data structures. They work on

a stopwatch getting them thinking about design patterns like model view controller. I also get them to start thinking like an engineer by giving them incomplete specs of what I’d like them to do and then encourage them to keep asking me questions about what I mean as they work on the program.

I don’t do any lectures. I sit with individual children as they need help and work through a problem with them. So pretty much each child works at their own pace.

We meet each Friday morning for an hour. I have to admit, I don’t do a lot of preparation for this now as we’ve been running it for a couple of years with lots of different children so I’ve seen quite a few progress through the different challenges above. The club has kind of evolved to how it is now. Watching how the children learn helped me figure out what would be a good challenge for them. The biggest challenge for me is thinking of more challenges that will keep pushing them.

The children seem to enjoy it. They keep coming back and asking me for more challenges.”

image001Here are a few words from the children involved:

Tom, P7: “I like the way the challenge stays in your mind and you become determined to do it. Programming is fun and you don’t always realise you are learning new coding. I used Scratch to program an animation showing the Battle of Killiecrankie. It was difficult but really good fun. You do lots of problem solving which I think helps in other things. I really like that programming could be a job.”

Chapman, P5: “I really enjoy the end result, knowing that you have made something and that people do this as a job and you can too. It really helps to have an expert with us and Mr Clarke has really helped us to get better. Coding is fun but can be really difficult too.”

To actively encourage more female pupils to take part in STEM activities, Flora Stevenson’s will be taking 40 girls to RBS in March for a day of Coding as well as starting up a similar club for girls after the February break, run by a mother who works in programming.

If you’d like to start something similar at your school but have no parent volunteers with appropriate experience, a popular alternative is Code Club, a UK-wide network of free, volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11. Several Code Clubs have already been set up in Edinburgh schools. For more information please see www.codeclub.org.uk.

Leith Primary School Win a Place at First Lego League Final

Last weekend, a team from Leith Primary School won the regional final of the First Lego League, beating 17 other teams (both primary and secondary) to secure their place in the UK and Ireland final next month. The all-girl team, made up of one student from primary seven, two from primary six and two from primary five, won a trophy and £1000 for their school at the competition.

 

This year, the theme of the project strand of the competition was ‘Trash Trek’. Teams were asked to identify a problem with the way that waste is handled and then design a solution to the problem using Lego Mindstorm materials. Another strand of the competition saw the team creating and programming a robot to take part in a robot game. Students were interviewed by Lego judges to find out about their core values as a team as well as their technical understanding.

The First Lego League club is run at Leith Primary School by the Headteacher, Mr Alasdair Friend, who has overseen it for the last six years and who accompanied the two teams from his school to the recent competition. He is very enthusiastic about First Lego League and believes that it helps learners in a variety of ways, developing team work and language skills as well as building on their computational thinking and problem-solving skills. He has witnessed notable improvements in the language acquisition of the EAL members of the team and thinks believes that it is a very worthwhile project to take part in.

Becoming increasingly popular in Scotland, Mr Friend says that there is always a great atmosphere at the First Lego League competitions and he is looking forward to the team having fun at the finals in Loughborough on 21st February.

Speaking about the competition, Mr Friend said:  “I am delighted the girls team from Leith Primary did so well. They are great role models for girls achieving in science, technology, engineering and maths.”

The winning team members said:

“We feel really proud because it was our first time in the Lego team.”
“It was so surprising to win because we thought our robot wasn’t doing so well at the end.”
“I have learned more about computers doing Lego club.”
“I have met new friends and it’s helped with my maths.”

For more information about First Lego League, see the website here: http://firstlegoleague.theiet.org/

OneNote Class Notebook at St Ninian’s Primary School

IMG_1309Primary 6/7 at St Ninian’s RC PS are one of the first primary schools in Edinburgh to start using OneNote Class Notebook as a tool for learning, both in class and as a way of accessing and submitting homework online.

Within school time, Miss Murray, class teacher, uses the tool as an additional means of recording learning. She thinks that it has made a big difference to the more reluctant writers in her class, who are always keen to use Notebook and produce more content than they might if writing in a traditional jotter.  She also finds the collaboration space useful for group work, and has used this recently to plan their forthcoming Halloween Bake Sale. While planning, the learners could ask each other questions and leave comments about the ideas of others in a structured way. The collaboration space also makes it easy for a teacher to track the contributions made by each pupil.

Picture5Miss Murray was keen to get started with OneNote for setting and receiving homework as most of the children in her class are much more enthusiastic about doing homework if it involves using a computer. She still offers her learners the chance to submit their homework on paper but says that only a small number choose to do it this way. For Miss Murray, OneNote acts as a way of sharing homework tasks, information about trips and encourages pupil voice through class votes. Another advantage for teachers is that it saves time marking and means that teachers have fewer jotters to carry around since pupil input can be commented on virtually.

Picture1Picture2The children in Miss Murray’s class said:

“I love computers. It’s easier this way because you can’t lose the sheet.”

“We can download the program for free at home or use the online version.”

“It can sometimes be difficult to get on to so I like using a mixture of the computer and paper.”

“Your hands don’t hurt from writing when you type things!”

“It’s easier to spell things right when you’re typing.”

“It saves paper and it saves time. You don’t need to waste time finding a pencil, rubber or sharpener.”

(Please click on the images to view in more detail)

For more information on OneNote Click here: http://onenoteforteachers.com/

Apps for Good – a novel way to deliver computational thinking and foster creativity

News

Apps for Good is a charitable organisation aiming to allow students the opportunity to prepare for the real world by taking part in an app-designing challenge. They have created structured programmes where young people are challenged to come up with an app which provides a solution to a real-life problem. They then take their idea through the design process, working together as part of a team.

Apps for Good provide online training for teachers, teaching materials as well as course guidelines matched with CfE outcomes. The course structure is flexible, with a short and long versions, and is free for all non-fee-paying schools. Based in London, the company currently works with over 450 educational establishments and over 22,000 students from all parts of the UK. Some of their most successful app developing teams so far have come from a school in Wick.

The scheme is suitable to use all year round, although the deadline for competition entries is normally around Easter. This isn’t obligatory – schools can choose whether or not they’d like to take part in the competition, which is really a celebration of the hard work that has been happening throughout the year. The main aim of Apps for Good is to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in young people, allowing them access to a huge variety of industry experts who are giving back to the community by taking part in the scheme.

Several Edinburgh schools are already using Apps for good, including Boroughmuir and Craigmount High Schools. Here are some thoughts from teachers who have been delivering the programme:

“The materials are good and you can easily adapt them for your class. My pupils particularly enjoyed feedback from the Expert sessions. The Apps for Good team have been extremely supportive too.”
– Ms L. Dighton, Boroughmuir HS

“For anyone looking for a course that covers programming, app design, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and marketing you should really look into it.
The course has so many benefits:
Allows students to work together to create an app to solve an existing problem
Forces students to think about solutions to problems that they encounter
Forces students to work together from generation of ideas right through to implementation and marketing.” – Mr D. Sansom, Craigmount HS

For further information about Apps for Good or to sign up, please download their flyer here or view their website here.