Creating resources collaboratively with a time constraint

In groups we were given the task of creating some ICT resources to explore a story book with children.
There were 4 people in my group and we decided to use ‘Walking Through the Jungle’ as a base for our resources. We only had one hour to decide what we were going to do and create the resources ready to present to the rest of the class. Firstly, we had a brief discussion to share and combine our ideas; we all have different strengths, weaknesses and qualities, therefore you get the best outcome when you work collaboratively and we all enhanced our own skills from eachother.

We agreed that our resources should meet the following criteria:

  • be interactive to engage and involve the children as much as possible
  • be appropriate for their age; we decided to aim ours at FS2
  • have a purpose; be an effective resource to have an impact on learning to ‘move the children on’
  • demonstrate ICT skills
  • be fun! – to find out if we have been successful here, we would ask the children for their feedback about the resources.

Using a Popplet, the ideas were mind-mapped:

It was decided that to get the children to ‘tune in’ we would ask them to close their eyes and listen to a music clip of a jungle whilst the teacher asks thought-provoking questions. Once they have listened to a bit of the music, the next slide could be opened to support the discussion of different habitats and to help the children determine where the music is from.

Jungle Presentation

Monkeyjam was used to create a stop frame animation, this is a great activity to carry out with the children. We used it to sequence the story:

It would be great to share children’s animations on a class blog, in assembly or to have playing during parents’ evening.

A resource about jungles was created for use with an IWB. There is a jungle image with shapes hiding animals, the teacher can move the shapes to reveal as much or as little of the animal for the children to guess what it is. Alternatively, the children could be asked to find out what is behind a specific shape which will also be linking the jungle theme to mathematics.

I would have been happy carrying on all day creating resources to extend this topic, but I was impressed with the amount we created in just 1 hour. I have added an additional activity to the IWB resource as I was exploring what could be done with this software package. The activity is for children to use by themselves; they have to sort the animals into ‘jungle animals’ and ‘not jungle animals’ and they can ‘check’ how they performed too. Take a look….

Interactive smart board jungle activities

One of my favourite nursery songs is suitable for use with this theme too: TEASING MR CROCODILE

Teasing Mr Crocodile

This song is one I used in a Story Sack I created for Roald Dahl’s “The Enormous Crocodile” which also has a Jungle theme, here are a few of the resources I created for this story sack including masks and a glove puppet with felt monkeys attached and a scene setting and main characters for the book:

Internet Safety

You hear of so many fearful stories about children using the internet, such as: online strangers, cyberbullying and issues with protecting personal identity.

All schools have Acceptable Use Policies (AUP’s). These outline the rules for using the internet for staff and children and the children’s parents are often required to sign them. Here is an example AUP for Leicestershire schools for use with younger primary children. It has been worded appropriately for young children:

Therefore it is vital to make children aware of the dangers and also how to prevent such situations. I would be inclined to use this ‘internet safety quiz’ with children, go through it together and discuss the answers. This would consolidate the importance for being careful whilst on the internet, outlining the rules and provide the opportunity for children to ask ask questions.

CBBC offer a wide range of tools suitable for teaching children about internett safety with themes that children may be familiar with e.g. Tracy Beaker – a TV show from CBBC.



After informing children about the importance of internet safety I would leave a quiz on the classroom PC/iPad for the children to use freely, this would encourage them to continue thinking about it after the group discussion; not just dismiss it. Here is a suitable quiz at

Another way to approach eSafety would be to let the children watch a video, here’s one that is suitable for Early Years children:

As a teacher it will be my responsibilty to safeguard myself and the children against online intrusion. There will be firewalls and filters in place but I must ensure children are supervised at all times when online and to check any websites prior to the children accessing them. Here are 3 alternative search engines that are safer to use with children, but still require supervision:

All schools require at least one member of staff to attend Child Exploitation and Online Protection training, who will then cascade this training to other members of staff.

‘Hector’s World Safety Button’ is a fantastic idea that I wish to use in my classroom. It is a free download that installs Hector the Dolphin to swim in the top right-hand corner of your computer screen. If the children, or teacher, sees something that they do not like they can quickly click on Hector to cover the screen.


It was recently in the news (5th Feb 2013) that children as young as five should be taught about internet safety due to the increasing exposure of onlline pornography and cyberbullying. The whole story can be read here.

The UK have a whole day dedicated to Internet Safety, I think this could have a huge positive impact on schools; teachers could plan many activities around internet safety in a holistic manner so the requirements of the National Curriculum are still being met at the same time. UK Safer Internet Centre have a great range of resources and activities for use in the classroom – free to access or dowload.

5 Quick Classroom Activities

Assembly Script


Lesson Plan  – This is a really flexible lesson plan adaptable for use with KS1 and KS2. It covers links across the NC through PSHE/Citizenship and Literacy.

Staff Guidance

“No doubt about it — TV, interactive video games, and the Internet can be excellent sources of education and entertainment for kids. But too much screen time can have unhealthy side effects.” is an excellent website for keeping children safe and healthy whilst letting them engage in ICT activities. It’s all about getting the balance right by limiting the time that children spend on such equipment and ensuring there is adequate supervision.

Here are a few websites that are aimed at children to help them learn about eSafety:

Safe Cyberspace Surfing

Your Online Identity


Although I was aware of the importance of e-Safety, I was guilty of perceiving the subject as boring. But, much to my relief, it has been far from it! There is a huge range of resources ‘out there’ to help safeguard children and teachers and many fantastic materials to teach children about the dangers and how to prevent or deal with such situations. I now have a bank of websites, ideas and even lesson plans that I could use in schools, as well as being aware of the safety precautions I need to take as a teacher to safeguard myself.



Moving with the times… Gaming in the Classroom

As a trainee teacher I believe it is important for me to act on the fact that ICT is a broad and continuously evolving subject. I have never been overly keen on technology; but have kept up to date with the basics, just not in any depth of knowledge. But I am keen to learn about the current technology available for classroom use and I believe it is important that I can provide children with quality opportunities to learn about technology whilst being made aware of the purpose of any task they carry out. I’m aware that most children engage in a diverse range of ICT activities at school and at home; this interest can be used in the classroom to motivate the children to learn and can be used to teach the content of a subject and also social skills.

Gaming could be used to help build postive relationships between teachers, children and their parents by inviting them to a ‘getting to know eachother session’ where you can all play games together.

It was interesting to read Futurelab’s ‘Computer Games and learning handbook’ which provides both reasons for and against gaming. I agree with the suggestion that there seems to be a widespread agreement that games are a significant cultural force in children’s lives. It is regularly claimed that they are more motivating, challenging and engaging than the ‘normal’ teaching styles, and also that they provide more authentic learning experiences. However, the most well-known counter-argument against computer games is that they can contribute to aggressive and antisocial behaviour. The mainstream media has also been attracted to the idea that computer games are addictive and that they are associated with increasingly sedentary youth lifestyles and obesity. is a useful website which explains how experiments show how technology supports learning, with the potential to increase student engagement and motivation. Games target all kinds of subjects and age groups, with different types of gaming from strategy to simulations to hard-core curriculum topics.

Here are some sites that I think offer suitable online games for use with Early Years and Primary children:
Offer resources for teachers, parents and children. Here is an example of one of the games that requires the animals to be placed in their correct home:
This site offers Numeracy, Literacy and other Topic games for infant children.

Children can also enhance their creativity skills by producing their own games, Squidoo make a fair comment which I agree with:

“Whatever you think of playing computer games, making computer games is a creative effort on par with composing music or writing novels.  All creative efforts require a substantial degree of intuition, logic, problem solving, and fun. ”


Many gaming apps are available for iPads, “computer games lead to increased levels of engagement and problem solving skills” list a few that are available and I have shared some that can be used academically:

Hangman will enable children to practise their spelling skills


This ‘Pirate Treasure Hunt’ game requires problem solving skills, maths and literacy to be used.


Little Game enhances social, emotional and intellectual development of children.



YoyoGames offer a free game-creating software which offers integrated tutorials and demo’s. It suggests you can create a very basic game in 30 minutes, however when I attempted to follow the tutorial it took me at least an hour and still didn’t work 🙁

If you want to try it, please let me know how you get on!





Jesse Schell: When games invade real life

I found this talk very interesting. The Facebook user figures are amazing, it really puts it into perspective of how big Facebook/gaming actually is.

Reflection on Gaming:

I think gaming can be used to an advantage in education if planned and used appropriately; I do believe it is vital to get the balance right. I recently watched a documentry which included a section about how children, mainly older children, abuse computer games; constantly on them, even throughout the night meaning they had insufficient sleep which in turn had a negative effect on their social behaviour and academic abilities. I think it it the role of the adult, whether they are a parent/guardian or teacher or any other role model in a child’s life, to demonstrate appropriate use of video games and set a clear time constraint that is reinforced.



Video Conferencing in the Classroom

I love the idea of offering children with the chance to connect with people in remote locations. The opportunities for learning are endless and the use of video conferencing makes it possible.

You could link with a class in another part of the country or world to find out about where they live, their school, different languages or even teach them english whilst they teach you their language.

The children could talk to people about their occupations: millitary bases, hospital staff, pilots, astronauts. The list goes on, but video conferencing can break the barrier with the ‘normally impossible’ community cohesion. Nancy Carroll’s short video clip is full of inspiring ideas:

The British Council are one company that make this all possible.

Global learning with Connecting Classrooms from British Council Schools on Vimeo.

My passion… Art and Crafts

Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a pencil in my hand drawing some kind of picture. As a child I remember drawing a lot of houses, mainly pretty thatched cottages… know idea why, or where my love for drawing came from. As I got older though, I began to draw a lot of portraits. It wasn’t just drawing though, I’ve enjoyed sewing, making paper crafts, jewellery, candles, salt-dough, baking and clay are just a few I can think of that I have explored over the years. I will try and dig a few out and post some photo’s on here.

When my first son was born I enjoyed sketching a picture of him that I copied from a photograph and used watercolour paints to capture his footprints:


I’ve experimented with many types of art mediums over the years, one of my favourites is acrylic paint. I like using this because you can use it thickly, to get a lovely texture, simply use water to clean your brush and it dries fairly quickly compared to oil paint, in which you have to clean your brush with turps. Here is a painting of the Sydney Opera House I produced using acrylic paint:

Interior design and home furnishings are another passion of mine that I have experimented with. I bought my first house when I was 19, it needed a total refurbishment and I thoroughly enjoyed the hard work… and the rewarding effects of the finished product. I bought another house a few years later, same predicament; needed a total revamp! Unfortunately I haven’t got any progress photographs to share of the houses, but I’ve got a few home furnishings to share:

To organise my ideas for art/craft activities to use with children I keep a sketchbook. I will show you the printing I produced using an apple, this activity could be enhanced depending on age and ability by looking at an apple in more detail, producing still lifes, drawing the apple from different perspectives, cutting it up… the opportunities are endless. Another little project I want to share is a mosaic. I produced the image using egg shells which I painted and then crushed into pieces. This project was fairly time consuming so I would not recommend it for young children, but you could use alternative, larger, pieces.

My boys (4 and 8) seem to enjoy dabbling in art and I am keen to encourage them. A few of the activities we have carried out include making dinosaur fossils out of plaster of paris and painting them, getting messy when body painting, free hand drawing, making posters and I have recently bought a candle making kit.

I have made bread rolls with many children and they love it! These can be adapted to suit most topics, here’s a few examples of the bread rolls I have made with children:

 I used these as part of a story sack I created for The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl, here is the recipe and method for making Crocodile Bread Rolls:



Many of my ideas come from books and magazines, if I see a craft project in a magazine I pull it out to put in my scrapbook to file them all together. Here is a fraction of my collection of books that I would recommend for craft projects:







Here are a few links that are full of super craft ideas for children:    This site categorises the crafts, i.e. Easter crafts, World Book Day Crafts. It’s full of other useful bits too such as printables, colouring pages and educational resources.    This is a blog all about crafts so it is useful to note people’s ratings of the ideas and any comments.    This site contains a good recipe for making salt dough besides a huge collection of crafts for children.

I’d be very interested to know what you think of Art and Craft, or if you have any projects to share…