Exploring Purple Mash


purple mash logo

Purple Mash Paint Projects offer a broad variety of online colouring facilities over a range of popular primary school/Early year’s topics, for instance: animals, celebrations, fairy stories, food, homes, transport plus many more. Here is an example of the Fairy Tale Writing Projects and a Paint Project:

Here is an example of one of the Minibeast paint projects which links well to symmetry; as the child designs their beast, it automatically makes it symmetrical. The paint also offers a variety of colours, textures and brush sizes.

invent a minibeast - symmetry
Pictures can be printed or saved; electronic versions could be uploaded onto class blogs or into electronic learning journeys such as Haiku Deck.


This icon leads you to a selection of stories that can be watched or retold. They offer fantastic child engagement and also plans and resources to use within your class e.g. play scripts, props, units of work.



Another area of Purple Mash that will come in handy  is the Celebrations and Faith area. I will definitely be using the Easter resources during my 2A placement:

Purple Mash offers such a vast bank of resources and ideas that it will probably be my first port of call if I am struggling for an idea! Further PurpleMash facilities have already been explored in the Manipulating Media Post.

Reflections on ‘Animated Story’ Applications

Firstly, we used iMovie to create a trailer for The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl. Our first impression of this application was ‘It looks amazing!’ There are a choice of templates for trailers, catchy music and a variety of landscapes. However, we soon found that it was quite limiting with regards to being able to only use basic photo’s to create short video that could not be edited; for example, we wanted to fade pictures in/out and rotate them but this was not possible. Also, you had to use the music provided – you could not import your own.

Having finished this in our first lesson and having one more to go, we were keen to try out another application to make an animated story. We were much more impressed with PuppetPals.

To hear further details about our experience using these applications, please watch our short presentation:

All of the groups in our class presented their work which allowed us all to see what other media was capable of. It was good practice to ask peers for feedback as this is a good approach to use with children in the classroom – ask them to think of 2 stars and a wish.

Overall, our animated story was enjoyed by the class. The ‘wish’ was related to iMovie; the text was too small, and unfortunately cannot be altered in this application.

Manipulating Media

This taught session opened my eyes to a whole new range of media suitable for use with children. It is important to have a range of technology for children to access within their classroom for them explore and develop their skills. They can take pictures of their work  using cameras and iPads, the children can  be recorded telling you something that they have learnt which consolidates their learning, they can take ownership of creating electronic work or recording themselves working – this provides better evidence of learning compared to written or photographic, especially for EYFS children.

  • Purple Mash – Mashcam. This allows children to put themselves in the role of a different character using a webcam or photograph, great for topic work!

This is aimed at children in the FS and KS1 to enable them to make talking stories. It allows you to combine words, pictures that can spin, rock, explode and more, sounds via the using the built-in keyboard, sound banks or a  microphone and animation in a storybook format which will support Literacy and ICT skills.  Click here to see a short demonstration!

    • iMovie
    • Pinterest which has many apps suitable for EYFS, such as: I can animate
    • Videoscribe
    • Puppetpals

  • Explain everything
  • Strip designer – creates comic strips
  • 2DIY
  • Story Jumper/Story Bird

I worked alongside my peers, Jenn and Rachael, to create a trailer for The Enormous Crocodile book. We chose this software as we were very impressed by first impressions; there were a good choice of templates to create the trailer which included catch music and various landscapes.


When we began to create the trailer we felt the options were in fact quite limited. We could only add basic photo’s and short videos which could not even be edited e.g. we wanted to fade pictures in/out and spin them around to add effect but none of this was achievable. We could not add our own music either.

Another problem we encountered was that we had to complete our work in that session, or start again next week. This was due to the iPads being used by other classes and potentially having our work deleted. If it was a personal iPad we would have been fine but in this instance we had to rush to finish it.

Anyway, we plan to experiment with other options next session, but for now… here is the finished article:

I came across Dvolver MovieMaker which enables students to create their own short animated films by choosing characters, adding dialogue and music. It’s very easy to use so children can get results without being taught how to use the programme; it could be left for children to explore by themselves. Here is a short movie that took me about 10minutes to pull together – and I had no experience using Dvolver MovieMaker:

You just follow some simple steps, selecting a background, plot, characters, giving the characters some lines and choosing background music:

Although dVolver was easy to use it does look like something from the 90’s; not very appealing in my eyes. I will certainly be exploring alternative movie makers!

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 safekids.com:

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.” Kidshealth.org 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.

Edudemic.com 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” http://www.ipadineducation.co.uk 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.

Innovative ways to use ICT in the Primary Classroom & Blogging Tools

I was very interested to read about the 25 Features of Outstanding ICT Lessons by Terry Freedman, as a lot of people do perceive ICT as ‘boring’.

These are some of the ideas I felt were very useful:

As a pupil, did you ever think “What is the point in doing this?”

I believe it is important for the teacher to spend time at the start of any session letting pupils into the “secret” of what the objectives (intended learning outcomes) of the lesson are, i.e. what is intended to be achieved by the end, and how this lesson fits in with the preceding and following lessons.  I remember when I was at school, and in work too, on various occasions thinking “what is the point of doing this?” Some tasks seemed pointless, without a focus and this did not motivate me… I certainly agree with Terry Freedman here and will prepare children by letting them know the learning objectives to give them a real purpose for their task which will hopefully motivate them.

Print your work and log off…. is that it????

Terry Freedman also explains how allowing plenty of time for a plenary is essential; it is useful for checking what learning has taken place, it consolidates learning and also prepares pupils for the next stage. Avoid the “Print your work and log off” approach.

Can the pupils use technology… appropriately?

Children need to know how to use technology and how to use it appropriately, so it is essential to provide plenty of time for discussion and reflection in lessons. There are many ways I am aware of to include this in the lesson, such as: partner/group/whole class discussions, group presentations, even role playing or freeze framing something they have learnt.

Experimenting with blogging tools:

I came across the ‘Popplet’ tool and thought it looked very useful for using as a mind map, so I decided to create one, just to try it out, using ‘ICT in the classroom’ as the focus for ideas. The popplet was incredibly easy to create; you need to sign up so you can log in to update your popplet at any time. It also allows you to upload documents and files from your computer or from various websites and to share your popplet.

There is also a wide variety of ‘Public Popplets’ that are already made for anyone to view and use.

Padlet is a great tool to collaborate information. It provides you with a blank wall where you can edit the background, give it a title and alter the layout. The ‘wall’ you create can be public or private (only people with a password can see it and add to it). So once it’s ready people can add their own information, I made an example that could be used as a ‘getting to know eachother’ exercise, it may be good to use in the classroom at the start of a new academic year:

Padlets could also be a useful tool for planning, as the notes you pin to your wall can be moved around, edited and removed.

PrimaryPad  is a web-based word processor designed for schools that allows pupils and teachers to work together in real-time.” Having read about this tool, and watched the demo video, which enables teachers and children to work collaboratively to draft out their ideas I would love to see this in use in schools to get a real feel for it’s qualities.

Storybird enables you to create digital books, there is a bank of images and layouts to try and you can add as many pages as you need. This could be used during literacy lessons with children. It is really easy to use, I created a short book ‘Back to School’  just to try it out:

I’ve really enjoyed exploring the various tools that are suitable for use in classrooms, I will continue to search for these and try them out so I’ve got a good bank of them to use in the future.

Animation… Impressive!

Learning about Stop frame Animation in university was really inspiring and I can say I will definitely use this with children. Creating animations can provide a fantastic opportunity for children to work together and produce some very impressive work.

Children can create settings, characters and other props using plasticine, clay or toys.  Depending on age and ability they may  be able to write the script.  The skills children will develop include problem solving, communication and subject specific skills.

My first attempt at creating an animation, using MonkeyJam, didnt go to plan as we recorded over the layers we needed, but at least we learnt from our mistake. And as we didn’t have time to record another in the class I borrowed a camera to take home, installed MonkeyJam on my laptop, and attempted another animation. The pirates are having a sword fight until the croc comes and scares them away. I added Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune for effect:

This animated movie was really easy to create. All you need in addition to a PC/Laptop is a web cam and scene setters and characters. You will also need stop-frame software, I used MonkeyJam which is free to download, and I also used Windows Movie Maker to enhance the movie but this is not essential.

Stop frame animation is soooooo much fun and suitable for all ages and abilities and children can work together to assign different members of their group to do different things based on their strengths. Children could also keep a video/image diary of how the animation is formed from start to finish; this gives them opportunity to reflect on what they have done and what they are going to do next. This could also be very useful for assessment purposes.

A Child’s View on Stop Frame Animation

I asked my 8 year old son if he has produced stop frame animation in school, he said he has and told me how much he loved it; he was also very excited when I said I could download the software onto my laptop so we could try it out at home! Off he went to route through his toys, shouting ideas to me about what he could do!

I like Ed Rudge’s idea; he mixed children from different year groups to work together in producing a stop frame animation, see his blog for further details:


To create Stop Frame Animation all you need is a digital camera and animation software, such as MonkeyJam which is free to download:

Here’s a lovely example of stop frame animation created by primary school children who must have been learning about a sustainable environment. It was produced by a colloboration of KS2 pupils:

Tateshots ‘This Exquisite Forest’ was exceptionally inspiring. It’s a global piece of work where people have connected via the internet and have created short animations that grew from each other’s contributions: “a collaborative animation plarform”.

I gained many ideas from these ‘Browsing and Reading’ suggestions. Animations can be created by children in small groups, as a whole class, in groups by mixing different ages from around the school or even as a whole school collaboration. Taking the idea from ‘This Exquisite Forest’ this could even be extended on a wider scale – involving schools from across the county, country or even the world! I’m really excited by this idea and I think children would love it too!

I searched for school collaborative animation projects and found Rotoball which is intended for highschool students but could be adapted for primary children, it’s the idea I liked! There are some simple rules each contribution must follow, it looks fab!

 Personal Reflection on Animation:

Until today I had never used animation equipment before and was amazed at how user friendly it was. Animations are so versatile they could compliment almost any topic or project within the classroom offering a great opportunity for children to work collaboratively to create something amazing. I also love the idea of working with schools that are geographically distant, this is something I will definately consider when I’m a teacher!


WOW… Interactive Whiteboards (IWB) and Presentation Software

I never thought I’d be so impressed! Another inspiring ICT session…

Today we looked at SmartBoards and how they can be used in the classroom. Smart Notebook is the software you need to use to prepare anything you want to show on the Smartboard; so you can plan at home and take the prepared document into school ready to use in an interactive way!

It was useful to learn that Smartboards can be used to develop questioning skills. By planning open questions to ask the children and then providing opportunities for discussion, this enables them to elaborate on their thoughts. The children can actively participate and contribute their ideas by writing them on the IWB, which has the ability to turn written words into typed text.


I explored the idea of questioning a picture; display a picture on the IWB and use the “5 W’s” questions “Who? Where? When? What? Why?” Use a different coloured pen to categorise the “5 W’s” and write the children’s answers immediately on the picture or let them do it!

You can extend learning by capturing a specific part of a picture to discuss; you use the ‘magic pen’ to focus on an area, here’s my example:

Things to consider about IWB’s:

  • Think about the impact the use of the IWB is having on the children’s learning. It may look good, but there’s no point in using it if it is not helping the children to learn.
  • Consider the position before it is fixed; appropriate height for children, can the area be dimmed to enable a clear screen?
  • Teach the T.A. to use it too!
  • Don’t over-use them……  boring!

Benefits of  IWB:

  • children can see the teacher point to specific area, not relying on a small cursor pointing.
  • a pen can be used to mark areas and highlight important parts.
  • they enhance active participation as children can come up and touch the board
  • can be used by people with communication difficulties using pictures and text.

More advantages are discussed in further detail, along with the disadvantages at:


I found a video I would like to share of an Early Years pupil using an IWB to carry out activities based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar:

Personal reflection on IWB’s:

After today’s sessions I can say that IWB’s are good in great deal of ways: they make children feel special/important, they are engaging, can be used cross-curricular, they are suitable for all ages, can be used to promote teamwork, enhance all areas of development and that’s just off the top of my head! Before today I knew very little about IWB, I have only used them a couple of times. I have now installed SMART Notebook onto my laptop so I can explore it’s features and familiarise myself with it’s potential.

Presentation Software:

I have used MS Powerpoint a fair few times and can work my way around it, but on a very basic level. Here is a ppt about Polar Regions which I created for use with Early Years children to use as an introduction to Polar Regions, to create this I learnt a lot more about the software and developed my skills quite a lot. I learnt how to: edit the Slide Master to give a consistent appearance for each slide, insert a hyperlink which opens a short video about Arctic Animals and how to insert a sound clip which is of Inuit Music. By adding such features it enables the children to learn via a multi-sensory method; catering for different learning styles.

Until today I was not aware of any other presentation software. ‘Prezi’ was mentioned, so I have taken the opportunity to find out a little more about it…

Along with countless other tools, Prezi offers a Digital Scrapbook template, having watched the video ideas came flooding to me about how I could use this in the classroom. A digital scrapbook could be created instead of or alongside a Learning Journey, children could use digital scrapbooks to create projects – independently or collaboratively, or a ‘class scrapbook’ could be created for special events to be recorded.

Personal reflection on Presentation Software:

When presenting to children I would personally use IWB’s so the children can be actively engaged in the session, for example; if you are talking about animals and their habitats, an activity could be created where the children can get up and physically match the pairs by touching and dragging. I fully enjoyed creating resources on SMART Notebook and on Powerpoint and I will definitely be using these more frequently to enhance my skills and to pre-plan activities for potential use in schools.