We decided to focus on learning and progressing in computer programming skills. We would use this activity with lower Key Stage 2 children but it could easily be extended for older children or those who are accomplished programmers or as they progress with the programming over a series of lessons.
Children would be given the simple bat and ball game, which already has all of the script written for them.
Children are then to create their own theme for the bat and ball game. They could choose their themes. We’ve chosen aliens, but it could be anything from cars to unicorns! Depending on the children’s experience, we would ask the children, for example, to change the sprites, add sounds, and add a background.Our group have demonstrated possible outcomes of this activity with the space bat and ball game (see “Resources“).
We would ask them to prepare their games to be used with Key Stage 1 children so that they had an audience in mind. The KS1 children could use the games as a stimulus for writing stories, poetry, drama, role-plays etc. These would then be shown and played by the KS1 children who could provide an evaluation for the children, giving it a purpose and the “assessment” not coming from the teacher.
We had the opportunity to play with Scratch. Myself and another trainee teacher created a code where an alien dives into a swimming pool.
It’s a relatively difficult programme to create something worthwhile, especially for children, but with the right amount of scaffolding and with the right activities to complete, children are able to gain a sense of programming and develop the ability to problem solve.
Some activities we completed included;
Can you create this code?
Can you adapt this code to make it to do something different?
Can you use this game to make a different theme?
Scratch can encourage effective talk and is great for children to work in pairs. From my own experience, it is important to make sure that children take turns when completing the tasks and this can be done by the children assigning themselves roles. Also, 2 children (3 max.) is probably the best number to have as only one person can click at each time and other children might become disengaged.
Everyone knows that e-safety is an important aspect that needs to be taught to children but through talking to children (and from my own experience) it isn’t always being taught in the best way.
When talking to Year 7 students during the transition period they expressed their views that the first topic covered was E-safety, which included making posters. They all said that although they understood it was an important topic that the information was always the same and that it was always taught in the same way via making posters.
It is our job, as teachers, to make sure that our pupils do not come out of our classes saying the same thing. We want them to have learnt something new and have learnt it in a new, inspiring and interactive way. How can we do this?
Internet safety is often taught as a topic. However, is this entirely necessary? Internet safety is something that needs to be thought about and adhered to whenever the children go onto the computer. This means that e-safety needs to be incorporated into every lesson. Through small activities, reminders before the children write an email or having information in the room. Also, children need to have the opportunity to put this into practice on a regular basis either through natural use of e-mail or VLE’s.