Who Wants To Be An Adverbial Genius?

So, this is a resource I created a while back, before Christmas, to use as on an IWB. It is a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire style quiz with questions all about adverbial phrases. I created it with Katie Webb, Katie Stanbrook and Jade Dawson, and when we presented it to the class there were a couple of glitches I had to sort out before I uploaded it!

Here is a snippet of video from the IWB resource:

Here is the link to the page on the Teaching Resources blog!

Probably best for use with KS2 children, who have some background in what adverbs and adverbial phrases are already!

Computing Session 6: Extending Computing in KS2 (Session 5)

So, obviously, as mentioned in last week’s blog, this session was actually Session 5: Beginning Computing in KS2 rather than Session 6 – as we got them mixed up!

Anyway, this session is obviously about Computing in KS2. I’ve just been placed into a KS2 class in my Placement, so I was looking forward to this session and hoping it would give me some great ideas for lessons that I can use in the next 5-6 weeks.

Firstly, here is a fabulous link to a Google Doc called ‘Assessing Computing 2014’ which I looked at first. After skim reading it, I’ve collected together several learning objectives I can try out in lessons on my Placement. The ‘I Can’ statements are ideal for planning around and make give teachers a great opportunity to assess accurately where children are at. For example, I read quite an interesting ‘I Can’ statement for a KS2 Computer Science lesson which was

I can use a program to control a gadget.

There are two examples of lesson ideas next to this ‘I Can’ statement which are:

  • Control a missile launcher in Scratch
  • Use Lego WeDo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, I really have no idea how to ‘control a missile launcher in Scratch’- unless it means to draw a missile launcher and programme it on Scratch – but I do know Lego WeDo, so I could use this resource within a lesson (if I can get my hands on it!).

I then looked at Hopscotch, which seems quite a straight-forward App. This link is a great resource I followed of Helen Caldwel’s Pinterest. There are some really interesting ideas on this website for lessons, including Hopscotch. hopscotch-coding-for-kids-a-visual-programming-language-TlYSmKA

This app is basically just like Scratch, but on the iPad and the interface seems a lot more child-friendly (I don’t personally get on with Scratch all that well!). There are also some rather cute little sprites on there that can be selected easily. The website also has a video guide on how to master the basics of Hopscotch. Here is a link to that video.

I had a little play around with Hopscotch, too. There is a screenshot of what I did below. I enjoyed playing around with this app, but it was a bit on the edge of being too childish and maybe not the best thing to start with in a KS2 class.

card-use-overviewA resource I really like is the Scratch Cards. I’ve seen a pile of them laminated in my Computing Sessions, and the PowerPoint for today’s session has a link to the website where those cards can be downloaded from. Here is the link.

The cards are a great way to introduce children to Scratch. I used these in the last Session, via the Raspberry Pi hardware, and actually learnt more with them than I did using most resources – e.g the Scratch website! These could be used so easily by most children – hopefully all in KS2! They are colourful, and give a well structured step-by-step guide on each card, so can be easily read, but obviously resources would need to be adapted to the different learning styles in the classroom.

Something else I had a browse through on the Internet was the Code Club website which is designed for 9-11 year olds. There are some sample projects here, and they, like the Scratch cards, are very colourful and informative. Children could use these quite easily, and could give the children the opportunity to create some high quality programmes. I particularly like the sample project on HTML and CSS, as these are two things that could be really handy along the way when teaching children. There is a huge market for coding and designing websites nowadays, so starting children early with HTML and CSS is a really great idea.

At the end of looking at some of the resources from this session’s PowerPoint, we came together and had a look at one another’s resources from the Resource Bank, which was a really great way to sum up our Session together. I enjoyed watching Jade and Katie Webb’s trailer for Noah’s Ark, which they said they’d use before teaching a lesson on the story. It was really engaging! Here is the link to the Resource Bank page it is on.

I was also quite inspired by Katie Stanbrook’s resource, which was another short iMovie, but instead of it being an RE resource, it is for a History lesson. The trailer is called “Evacuees” and is a series of black and white photos of, obviously, evacuee children, and alongside the music, the video is quite powerful. Take a look here. I’d definitely use this within a lesson on evacuees.

I showed the video from one of my earlier posts from the Pirate lesson I taught with Katie Stanbrook, but I have other resources on there, too. We had the BeeBot lesson plan which can be found via this link, and this PowerPoint presentation based quiz for learning about adverbial phrases in English.

After the session, I did a little extra research into Computing – mainly via the essential reading list in the ICT booklet. There is a really great analogy within this link on the Digital Schoolhouse website. There is a question raised, which is:

How is Computer Science different to ICT?

To which the answer is:

ICT can be compared to driving a car, and Computer Science can be compared to designing a car. 

I think this is a really helpful way of describing the difference between ICT and Computer Science – although possibly not one that could make it easier to understand for children, as they don’t yet drive cars obviously! There are some great resources on Digital Schoolhouse, too – like this Word Association game for teaching Computer Science vocab. I will keep this in my Teacher’s Toolbox!

Wap the WitchesAnother link I found useful was this one, which is a link to a selection of projects on the Scratch website. I think links like this are great because the projects could be used as templates that the children could work from. Sandboneill’s profile also has some inspiring projects children could work from too – like Wap the Witches, which I thoroughly enjoyed playing!

I personally think tutorials for using Scratch are important for teachers to keep in mind when teaching different parts of the program, as well as the cards which are mentioned above. Children could go above and beyond independently if links are available to them. For an extension in a lesson on making games, children could watch videos like this one to learn how to make classic games.

Sometimes, the most powerful way to learn is to do it yourself. Well, that’s what believe anyway! It’s how I learnt most of the stuff I know on the computer – but obviously, that is my own opinion.

Moving on from Scratch and moving onto using iPads, this page from the iPads in Primary website is particularly good for teachers wanting to differentiate when using iPads within an ICT or Computing lesson. There are resources for early skills, enhancing your skills and extending your skills, so children can go that extra mile if it comes to them like it is second nature!

And, a link I will leave you with and end this Session’s post. This blog post is called What teachers should know about 21st century studentsand it has a video on it to illustrate the points it is making. The blogger talks within the blog about how important it is that we as teachers need to adapt to the ever changing technology that we find around us, because not only can it enhance children’s learning, but helps us keep our teaching up to date. To quote John Dewy, as this blogger also does (which I thought was a very powerful quote):

 if we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow

TextingSo, that’s all for my Computing posts this year! Thanks for reading, and I hope they have been on some use to you. It certainly has opened my eyes to the new Computing curriculum!

RE Session 6: Assessing RE and Reviewing Planning

So, the last RE session of the year, and of the course, is about using assessment in RE and reviewing planning. The SACRE for Northamptonshire has a whole section dedicated to Assessment in RE. (enter reading here). 

One of the first things we learnt within the session was that RE is actually more creative in how it is assessed as opposed to the other subjects. Additionally, we learnt that it is also different to other subjects as the context of the children needs to be considered when teaching RE lessons.

71822087_1c74e38c66_oThere have been a lot of occasions where the class teacher doesn’t teach RE, and instead either the teaching assistant or the head teacher takes the lesson. There was a lot of debate in the lesson about how we saw RE, as some students within my group didn’t totally get along with the subject.

So, we moved onto thinking about the following question:

Is Religious Education hindered, or at an advantage, as an academic subject because it is not regulated in the same way as other curriculum subjects?

I considered several viewpoints whilst thinking and discussing this question with my classmates, and came up with these points:

  • RE can sometimes be hindered because obviously religion and PSHE are very personal, and can sometimes cause offence amongst not only the students but their parents and carers too if not taught well.
  • It can also be hindered because of the fact that it needs extra funding for resources and training.
  • Some children, and teachers, might also have the view that it is not as important as the core subjects taught at school so doesn’t need as much effort.
  • It can also be hindered by the fact that there are no specific guidelines or outlines of what is meant to be taught, so teachers have to really know their subject knowledge and plan their lessons thoroughly.
  • It can, however, be at an advantage because it could get children much more involved that other subjects as everyone has different opinions.
  • The lessons could also be a lot more fun as they are taught completely differently, and teachers can have so much more freedom in teaching.

I think, overall, that RE can be hindered quite a lot by the fact it is taught very different to the other subjects and teachers have to really know their subject knowledge before teaching it. However, it is important to remember there are many advantages, too!

Moving on from that, we discussed what came first out of planning, teaching and assessing.

cycle of teaching

Do we start with planning? Well, we really need to know where the children are at before that.

Do we start with teaching? Definitely not – we need to plan first!

Do we start with assessing? The question is where do we start – don’t we need to teach the children first?

The debate goes on! It is hard to know where the cycle really does begin. They all should be happening.

We then discussed in our pairs about all the ways that we could assess in an RE lesson. Here are a list of ideas we came up with:

  • Observing the children
  • Self assessment
  • Looking at the work the children have produced e.g. written work, spoken work etc.
  • Peer assessing
  • The feedback the children give

These were also inspired by the second directed reading we were set for this lesson in the McCreery et al. (2008) book.

Other ideas for assessment include talking, listening, explaining, Q&As, reflection on/evaluation of documents/artefacts, drawing, writing, sequencing, group work – jigsaw/expert groups, role play, hot seating, phrasing own questions for a visitor/expert and feeding back on research.

So what can assessment do?

Assessment can:

  • give us information on what children know and understand at a point in time
  • help us to identify misunderstandings that children might have
  • allow us to plan for future development
  • allow us to plan for individual learning needs
  • help us to evaluate our practice

Taken from McCreery et al (2010, p118)

NOTE: It is important to remember the difference between formative and summative assessment. Formative is ongoing, daily and helps to see what children know and where they need to go next. Summative assessment is formal, and is undertaken at the end of a unit of work, term or topic. 

We watched a video of a lesson in RE where the children were experiencing being reflective. They thought about what sounds make them relax, and what certain images meant to them. The children in the class all come from different backgrounds, so had varied answers to one another. The class teacher said it was important that the children get the opportunity to be reflective and calm, and they were doing this outside of the classroom in the school field. The SACRE advisor believed that it is easier to be reflective outside, as even as adults we find it easier to reflect in the outdoors.

After being reflective, the teacher told the story of Siddhartha and the Swan from Buddhism, as the aim of the lesson was for the children to learn from religion (AT2 based lesson). It helped the children to think about their own opinions on complicated issues, and speak about them with one another.

The class teacher then took her class inside and asked them to think about “wise words”, which were basically linked to each of the children’s morals, and then they wrote down their own “wise words” for reflection.

What I took away from that video is that firstly, it is actually a lot simpler to teach RE than we might think as we can so easily find subject knowedge or make resources, and secondly, we can make the lesson interesting if we are creative in our planning and try different teaching styles. It was an inspiring video and has challenged me to rethink how I teach RE myself.

After watching the video, we went back to how we assess children in RE. Obviously, at the end of a Key Stage, teachers need to make a decision on what level children should be at. One piece of work on its own will not give you an overall view of how a child is performing – it should come from every aspect of a child’s educational journey.

Within RE, there is AT1 and AT2. Just to recap, AT1 is Learning about Religion, and AT2 is about Learning from Religion. There are three aspects to each AT.

AT1:

  • beliefs, teachings and sources
  • practices and ways of life
  • expressing meaning

 

AT2:

  • identity, diversity and belonging
  • meaning, purpose and truth
  • values and commitments

 

Teachers need to look at how children approach each of these aspects in both attainment targets.

We looked at 3 different ways of levelling children together and discussed which one we liked the best. One was made up of AT1 and AT2 and each AT had 8 levels and an exceptional performance level. Another one was made up of the ATs again, but these were then split into levels with attainment statements starting with “I Can…”. The last one we looked at was an APP document, made up of AF1, 2 and 3 which were taken from AT1 and AT2, and each level had several bullet points which children needed to achieve to get that level.

I preferred the “I Can” attainment statements document, as the table was easy to read and the statements could even be used as a lesson objective. Each box could be used to plan a different lesson. This can then help the teacher to mark the class’ work, and at the end of the term, can make a better judgement based on written work, and spoken work.

We then looked at some work from children and tried to level it using the APP table, before moving onto looking at planning. It was an interesting exercise, but it is hard to consider how to level the work without knowing the child’s background.

School-education-learning-1750587-hMoving onto planning…

What do you need to take into account when planning? You should consider:

  • the role of the teacher
  • the use of support staff
  • the structure of lessons
  • differentiation
  • first hand experiences – artefacts, visits, visitors
  • active learning strategies – drama, dance, music, art & design, making and baking etc.
  • how ICT was incorporated into lessons
  • most effective resources

And that was the end of our RE training. We briefly, after that, thought about PSHE, and it’s place in the new Curriculum. There is not a lot in the 2014 Curriculum – in fact there is not more than a few sentences! But the subject is so important to wellbeing in my opinion. The government also believe it is important to teach PSHE but it is not statutory until KS3. For any resources, a good website is the PSHE Association.

Within the directed reading list, there was another extract from the SACRE (2011) (Section 5) and a few chapters from the Achieving QTS: Teaching Religious Education book. The chapters from the latter were nothing to do with assessment though, so I decided to read Chapter 9 to keep within the theme of this session, as I had already looked through the other chapters last year.

The SACRE (2011) gave me a few interesting things to think about and to put into my teacher’s toolbox. In order to teach good lessons in any subject, assessment should be central. The SACRE (2011) says that learning objectives with relevant differentiated tasks set can help teachers assess during lessons, and gives them a good idea of where the children are in their learning – also known as AfL – assessment for learning. Success criteria and self/peer assessment is also useful.

According to the SACRE, the WAGOLL approach is particularly effective. WAGOLL stands for what a good one looks like, and the approach consists merely of the teacher modelling how to achieve the success criteria. I will keep this abbreviation in mind!

An interesting part of the section that I felt was good to remember was this one: it was a list of reasons what RE can assess and can’t assess in the children.

What is can assess is:

  • knowledge (e.g. facts)
  • understanding (e.g. of concepts in religion)
  • skills

What RE can’t assess is:

  • how “religious” or “spiritual” a pupil is
  • levels of spiritual or moral development
  • attitudes

Northamptonshire SACRE and NCC (2011) “Growing Together” – The Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education in Northamptonshire.  Northampton

Chapel_Well_re-dedication_2013I think it is important to remember these things, as teachers may expect the bottom three things from children, but they are personal and don’t need to be assessed.

One thing I found frustrating both about Section 5, and, in fact, about the session, was that a lot of the assessment which was looked at is focused around levels. Allegedly, such things are going to be abolished come the new National Curriculum, but I don’t see how this will be useful in anyway to teachers, the government or Ofsted. So, the levels I have read and learnt about might not even be helpful in my future teacher training anyway! Nightmare.

Chapter 9: Assessment in RE from McCreery et al. (2010) is actually a fairly generic chapter on assessment, but it is good to go over different ways of assessing again which could work in all subjects, not just one in particular. For example, the chapter talks about how I could use formative and summative assessment in RE, and what ways I could assess through observation. Some examples of good ways to assess through observation include “learning through play or independent activities; taking part in discussions, practical tasks or collaborative tasks; using specific skills; experimenting and constructing” (McCreery et al, 2010).

The book gives examples of how this can be seen within an RE lesson in a table. 327px-Small_crucifixOne of the examples is: Can the children explain why the cross is a symbol of Humanity? (Year 2). It gives an assessment activity (which is: the children draw a cross and inside write associated words, then write “When Christians look at the cross they think of…” (McCreery et al, 2010, p121)) and what the teacher is looking for (“In the children’s work I will be looking for words such as Jesus, God, God’s son, death, Easter, spring, crucifixion, resurrection, Good Friday, sadness, new life, heaven…” (McCreery et al, 2010, p121)).

So, a lot of things to think about and reflect over this term. This is the last RE session I will be having at University, so after this I want to make sure I continue to keep my subject knowledge up to date.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you learnt a little more about teaching RE within the Primary School! I know I did by just writing these posts.

Computing Session 5: Extending Physical Computing and eSafety (Session 6)

Before beginning this blog post, I’d just like to mention that Session 5 and Session 6 have been swapped around!

I have mixed emotions about teaching computing. Can we really teach programming to children? It is such an advanced skill, and additionally, what even is debugging!? And algorithms?

Well, my mind was put to rest with the term ‘algorithms’ today, when Helen explained that:

an algorithm is basically a computing word for “giving instructions”.

 Also, the PowerPoint in the session gave us a link to all the words we might come across within computing. Hooray! Panic over. It is on page 7 of the PDF found through this link.

 

For our starter activity, we looked at MaKey MaKey. MaKey MaKey is basically a circuit board with a few crocodile wires. The wires have to be connected to materials which conduct electricity and be connected to something so that the circuit is earthed. We watched the video below and admired the creativity shining through from this YouTube user:

I found this so inspiring, and just wanted to have a play around with the hardware. Here are a few things that we made using MaKey MaKey and play-dough!

Super Mario MaKey MaKey:

Piano MaKey MaKey:

After making controllers with play-dough, we made a human keyboard using MaKey MaKey!

Human Keyboard MaKey MaKey:

This is seriously such a fun way to teach Computing. It is multi-sensory and very simple – once you understand how it works!

After having fun with MaKey MaKey, we moved onto looking at the Lego WeDo and Raspberry Pi.

The Lego WeDo is a great tool to use in the classroom. Children can make the objects using the step-by-step guide, plug them into the computer and then program the objects using simple instructions on the computer program. The boy below actually designed his own launch pad and program for this launch pad rather than using the step-by-step guides. The outcomes are amazing:

To use a clichéd phrase: the possibilities are endless!

Raspberry Pi was something I was particularly interested in. The name was funny on its own, but the look of it bemused me even further!

This is a Raspberry Pi:

RaspberryPi

securedownload

This chip is an entire computer – complete with ports to plug in the screen, keyboard, mouse, other USB leads, speakers and an Internet/Ethernet cable. It was quite something!

These were given out free to teachers over Christmas, and I am currently in the process of looking into that to try and get one myself! I played around with Scratch on one to experiment with the speed of the computer, and how different it was to a normal computer interface. It wasn’t really all that different, but the speed was quite slow to be honest.

However, by wanting to play around with the Pi, I managed to get my head around Scratch – something that I haven’t done successfully so far! I made a simple program using the Scratch cards and here is the outcome:

Scratch Project: a dancing, chatty lady

After looking at these, we played around with iPads again. We didn’t quite have enough time, however, to look at these in detail within the lesson, so I played around with three apps when I got home.

Here are three apps I played with, which could easily be used with both KS1 and KS2!

app-iconCargo Bot: Player programs the crane hand so that it picks up the boxes and takes them to the preferred destination

Advantages:

– In-depth tutorial and well explained rules
– Clear objectives
– Very few words in programming – just arrows. Good for young children.

Disadvantages:

– Might actually be quite complicated for the youngest children with the dragging and dropping
– A lot of words in the tutorial.

 

kodableKodable: A cute game where the player sets out a path for the character who uses the edges and coloured squares to determined how far it has to go. The character needs to collect the coins for the best score!

Advantages:

– Cute introductory video to set the scene for a story behind the game
– Tutorial shows how to drag and drop arrows rather than using words to describe the process. This is more visual and better for the inclusive classroom.
– Teaches problem solving on the more difficult levels.

Disadvantages:

– Lack of differentiation on the earlier levels

Bee-BotBee-Bot: An simulated version of the well-known Bee-Bot. Player programs the Bee-Bot to travel around the maze and get to the preferred destination.

Advantages:

– Simple and colourful layout
– Well detailed instructions.
– Can choose different characters when go on the farm.
– Different levels of differentiation in objectives.

Disadvantages:

– No playable tutorials, only instructions.
– Left and right arrows may be confused for moving left and moving right rather than turning left and turning right.

So, overall, I had a lot of fun in this session and I learnt a lot in regards to computing. I also found it really simple to use and that there are plenty of ways to make it accessible to younger children – so I take my earlier statements back, about how I don’t think it is possible for young children to ‘do’ Computing!

To finish this blog post, I am copying in my post about eSafety from last year, as I feel it is still relevant, and has some good links!

And to open this blog post, here is a beautiful link to a beautiful song about eSafety created by CBBC. Even though it is really embarrassingly cheesy, it will prove pretty useful when teaching children about eSafety – and provides a little light entertainment before writing my last year 1 blog post on such a heavy subject!

So some important things to take from that video:

  • Don’t give away your address on a public forum
  • It is preferred that children don’t give away their full name – and teachers are often advised against giving their professional name too!
  • Be careful who you are talking to..
  • And if on a public forum – make sure your information is private at all times! Otherwise ‘nasties’ may end up knowing everything about you…

We have to remember that the Internet is a really important part of our lives these days, but it is a very public medium, which anyone can use and almost everything is available for us to access at any one time. It has many good uses but also, a lot of bad uses. For example, it is so easy for a child to accidentally come across sites with pornographic adverts, or with vulgar language being used. Here is a particular example of a case: an article about an 11 y.o. finding a nasty video.

It’s important to teach children eSafety because of the very public and accessible nature of the World Wide Web, and also because so many children are using social networking these days. I found that this KidsHealth website provides children with further information about what the Internet is, and is useful to give them background knowledge about what it is they are using. I think that sometimes, it’s better to actually give something like the Internet a definition so that we don’t take it for granted.

Unfortunately, social networking can cause a lot of worry for parents of young children. Sites like Facebook and Twitter give people opportunities to cyber-bully and have access to the public profiles of other people, who they may not know.

It is quite dangerous, sometimes, to use social networking sites, as strangers may talk to children, and pretend that they are somebody who they are not. It is very easy to trust said-strangers so we need to learn to be very wary about who we speak to!

On the other hand, however, the internet and social networking sites can be really great! I keep up to date with friends all over the UK and the world. One of my friends is from New Zealand, and, although I haven’t seen her since she left whilst we were in Year 6, I can tell you what she’s been doing for the last 10 years, because of Facebook updates and emails.

Twitter is one of my recent most favourite social networking sites as there is so much you can learn from there. Again, it can be dangerous if you’re not careful with it – but there are ways to make the site more… ‘Child Friendly’ I suppose you could call it. Privacy settings can always be changed to stop children from seeing things they shouldn’t be seeing. The Langwitches Blog has a great post about what to be wary of in Twitter, but also talks about the good things that Twitter brings – especially to education!

Anyway, to summarise this intense blog, I think it is important to teach children the ins and outs of the internet, and it is important for children to actually use the internet – but it is almost primarily important to make sure they are always safe. This means keeping personal details safe, not talking to strangers and definitely keeping to child-safe sites!

 

RE Session 5: Visits and Visitors and Pedagogical Principles

There was a bit of a gap between Session 4 and Session 5, so I briefly looked over the PowerPoint for both sessions before the lecture today. I noticed that it was about visits to and visitors from places of worship, which I find an interesting topic, so I looked forward to this session.

556480_431166580336583_815611312_nMy Dad is a Curate and soon to be an Associate Minister at a CofE church in Rushden called St Mary’s. He, alongside my Mum, are heavily involved in the children’s and youth work there. He gets calls from schools around the area to lead assemblies and sessions in the classroom with my Mum, and recently they have started up a lunchtime activity club with a Christian theme. My Dad never preaches at the children, but he does tell them stories from the Bible and talks to them about the morals of those stories. They sing songs together, play games and answer questions. It is overall a pleasant experience for both the children and my parents. They really throw themselves into it.

The church is also opened up to schools for free. Teachers can take the children in and they can go on a trail around the church to find all sorts of different artefacts and study the history and background of the church through its decorations, such as the stained glass windows. My Dad tends to have some input with that too, and likes to answer the questions that children have there. Some children come out with the most thought provoking ideas!

So, with these experiences fresh in my mind, I went to Session 5 ready to find out more!

We started the session by recapping a few things we had been looking at last term. We skimmed through a copy of Ofsted’s report on Religious Education, which was an interesting read. It was surprising to find out that there just was not enough efficient RE training available for teachers, and this caused a lot of schools to teach poor RE lessons. The report gave a good enquiry based cycle diagram and gave a list of effective enquiry in RE. It said that enquiry shouldn’t be age related, and should give children the opportunity to be creative and teach them to engage in their learning. This should really be used across the curriculum in my opinion – not just in RE.

264963_10150368606364546_7560788_nAfter this part of the session we looked at visitors briefly. We had a discussion on the

  • benefits of having a visitor in the classroom;
  • the issues and difficulties of having a visitor in the class room, and;
  • considerations when planning for a visitor in the classroom.

Here is a list of what we came up with:

Benefits:

  • it’s fun to have someone different;
  • children can gather more information;
  • it makes the religion more “real”, rather than just something they had learnt in a lesson;
  • it removes ignorance from the children, and prejudice;
  • it can be part of every school’s community cohesion report

 

Issues:

  • some children might be rude to the visitor, or ask rude questions;
  • the visitor may have no behaviour management skills, or the children will misbehave;
  • the content may not give any link to the curriculum;
  • the person may not be trained in the classroom;
  • the children might be frightened of what they don’t know or haven’t experienced

Considerations:

  • need to consider timings – when visitor will arrive, how long they will talk for etc.;
  • children should prepare questions before the visitor arrives;
  • children should have some background knowledge on the religion before the visitor arrives;
  • the teacher should meet with the visitor and find out what they are going to talk about, as well as telling them what the children know;
  • emphasise how children should be polite to the visitor.

I personally believe that overall the importance of visitors from different places of worship overrules any of the issues that teachers may come across as there are so many ways to get around them. The visitors can give children the opportunity to investigate for themselves what people of a certain faith believe.

Place_of_worshipWe also learned today that visiting places of worship are also important in the RE curriculum as they build positive attitudes in the children towards the buildings and people, build on any preparatory work, are interesting and active and can be integrated from the Programme of Study. The trips should be sensitively planned, though.

Whilst looking at visiting places of worship, we were given the link to www.reonline.org.uk which we have seen a few times before. The preview we saw on the SMART board was very different to the one I looked at when I got home, so has obviously recently been redesigned. I’m not totally keen on the redesign, but there are plentiful resources to look at and give a lot of support for trips.

After this we thought about our own experience of an educational visit. There were many visits I did remember from my Primary School and recent teaching practice but only two trips were related to RE. One was positive experience , and one was a slightly negative experience.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Positive Experience:

When I was in Primary School, we had a Sikh in our year. In Year 4, we traveled to the Gurdwara. This was an enlightening experience for me as I wasn’t totally aware of how Sikhs worshipped. We learnt about how Sikhs have to wear something on their head and take off their shoes in their place of worship. The people were friendly and gave us an interesting tour, then gave us a snack at the end that they might serve to other Sikhs.

The Oh-So-Slightly Negative Experience:

On one of my Placements, we went to a Hindu Temple. It was a lovely temple, and it was near Diwali time so the decorations were beautiful. I found it an interesting experience and so did the children. We found it a little uncomfortable near the end, however, when the tour guide started to “preach” about praying to the children. The teachers later had to say that they didn’t always have to pray, like the tour guide had said.

After considering these, and looking at schemes of work on the National Archives, we considered how to plan our own trip. We got given Exeter Cathedral to consider for a trip, and decided to think about the before, during and after tasks for the trip.

So, to finish, here is the draft of the trip we planned!

Trip to Exeter Cathedral

Cathedral_of_Exeter_edit

Before:

Before going to Exeter Cathedral, plan and teach a few lessons on the celebrations, rites and services which may take place in a cathedral or church.

There is a potential to think about the different types of Christianity, too. For example, this Cathedral will baptise children, but a Baptist Church may wait until the child has matured before they are baptised.

During:

During the trip, the class should be split into groups. Throughout the day, all groups will complete a treasure hunt whilst they rotate around the following activities:

  • Sketching the outside of the building, and/or some of the inside of the building
  • Focus on the baptismal font – with a tour guide/knowledgable person/one of the clergy
  • Focus on funerals – with a tour guide/knowledgable person/one of the clergy – with children going outside to explore the graveyard
  • Looking at the average service – what prayers do the people say (liturgy)? Hymns?

 

After:

After the trip, the children could imagine they are planning a funeral for a fictional character (maybe from a text they are studying in English, or of their choice), and make it into a project. The children could research the person to write a eulogy/obituary, and create and order of service. This could help children to approach the subject of death.

 

Anyway, that was everything we learnt from the session. Outside of the session, there was, obviously, essential reading. Boring… but necessary!

Unfortunately I couldn’t access the first lot of reading – the CD in the SACRE pack didn’t work on my MacBook Pro for some strange reason, and kept rejecting the CD. The other two bits of reading were good though.

Reading 2

 

The resource from the NATRE website was a really informative read, and helped me to consider how to handle a religious believer visiting my class.  It has a page with a Code of Conduct for the visitor which would be a great handout for them, and several pages on appropriateness, and possible discussion points. It is quite thorough in giving information about how to handle visitors to the point that it is a little too cautious and could strike fear into the hearts of many teachers about inviting people! In the conclusion, it does emphasise that having a visitor is a great resource and it can be a fun experience for the children, so it’s a risk that should be taken!

So, that’s all for Session 5! Looking forward to seeing what the last session has in store next week!

Computing Session 4: Extending computing in KS1

This session looked at teaching computing to Key Stage 1 children – within which we looked at how we can implement within a computing lesson a plugged activity, an unplugged activity and where you would find this skill in the real world.

Before I begin talking about what happened in the session, I would I like to add my own personal views into the mix  (which is sometimes a dangerous thing!). When I first discovered that within the new National Curriculum ICT had been changed to “Computing”, I was overcome with a feeling of concern! Here is a screenshot of the aims of Computing that children should strive to achieve in Key Stages 1 and 2:

Aims of Computing

 

I had to re-read this a few times before I totally understood what it was saying. What is abstractions and what are algorithms, I asked myself. And I don’t even know many computational terms! I know I am competent with using a computer, and I do have some background in using HTML and plenty of slightly more complicated programs, but I am self-taught and don’t know the specific terms. I am hoping that these next couple of sessions will help to teach me these things so that I can actually teach children computing, coding and programming.

So, going back to the session at hand – we started looking at how to teach children in Key Stage 1. This also means we need to consider what to teach/what skills children have learn in EYFS as well so transitions into KS1 are smoother, but the National Curriculum has no guidance related to computing in EYFS. Here are the aims for the Computing curriculum in KS1:

Key Stage 1 Computing

 

Again, so many horrible words I don’t even understand even in these aims. How am I meant to teach children these things if I don’t even understand them myself?

Well, I was enlightened in this session! Teaching computing is actually REALLY simple! The video below is a promotional video made to inspire people to code. It is full of famous people and is really insightful. Well worth a watch!

The PowerPoint that we went through together was called “Toys, Turtles and Games” and I instantly thought I was in the wrong session! I thought it would be all about binary code and using a terminal program, but I was wrong – again! There seems to be a pattern appearing within these sessions… (note to self: be more open-minded and ready to learn!).

So, we went through the slides, and one of the activities I liked the look of was the “Program your teacher” activity, which is shown in the video below. The teacher is programmed by the children to make a jam sandwich. This is a great way to introduce programming to children and is great for use with younger children even though this video was of Year 4 and 5.
Other activities which could be considered programming include Simon Says, giving people instructions and following instructions. These are all examples of unplugged programming, as they are unplugged from the computer, but include instructions which the person has to follow.

Another great example of a way to explore programming is through a clip from the BBC’s The Joy of Logic documentary – but unfortunately the video is no longer available! Within the video a teacher organises his children in the hall to represent a computer system and how it works. Children then had to walk around the paths and go through gates (which were other children) for the computer to work. It was a great video, and a real shame that it had been taken down!

We went onto plugged programming activities, which are, as you can guess, activities the children could do on the computer to learn computing. One activity I found really fun is using the Incredibox website. The Incredibox activity is an interactive Flash-based program, where 20 different pre-recorded beat-boxing sounds, organised into 4 sub-categories (Beats, Effects, Melodies and Voices), are available in the form of clothing/accessories to drag and drop onto a character. That character then makes that sound in a continuous loop. You can add up to 7 different loops in the activity, and then record the song and even add/delete loops whilst it is recording to make it different. Here is the song I created. 

incredibox

The BeeBot also is used for teaching plugged programming to children of any age. It is a fun toy that is programmed using very simple buttons on the top. My group decided to use the BeeBot in planning an activity for a lesson (see below or follow this link for the Teaching Resource page). We had to include, as mentioned before, plugged and unplugged activies and a real world situation where these skills might be put into play.

For our plugged activity, Jade looked at and considered how we can use the BeeBot in a lesson. The BeeBot teaches children how to produce instructions away from the computer, and in this activity children have to use this skill to programme a BeeBot to travel around a course that is either already made or the children have made themselves. This activity provides some strong cross-curricular links to Maths and English as it both uses directions (e.g left, right, forwards, backwards and north, south, east and west) and teaches children how to write directions.

Katie came up with the unplugged activity, which was to blindfold a child and lead them through an obstacle course in the hall using the instructions of another child. An example of the layout and possible instructions can be seen in the picture on the right. This activity is another good example of how computing could be used across the curriculum. Within this activity, PE, Maths and English are all subjects being used. Movement and use of the body to climb over, travel underneath or walk about the room are skills related to PE and the counting aspect of the activity (how many steps, for example) is related to Maths. English is also used in the activity: children have to use their communication skills and work out how best to use language to give instructions to the other children.

For the real world activity we thought about how the skills used in programming a BeeBot and giving children instructions whilst blindfolded to get through an obstacle course can be taught, and decided something that is related to these skills would be to create or programme a SatNav. For example, we could take a SatNav and programme into it that we want to go home from our classroom by putting in our postcode, or maybe to a place of interest.

This could be used effectively with young children to introduce programming as it is a lot of fun and not too complicated. Children can also relate to the SatNav activity if their families have their own SatNavs. Of course this may not apply to all children!

Going back to what I said earlier in the post about involving EYFS in computing, I found this fabulous video whilst doing some of further research from the Year 2 Computing booklet:

As you can see, there are so many opportunities for even the youngest children to get involved with technology and get ready for computing in Key Stage 1. These activities could even be used in the transition planning between EYFS and Year 1. On the subject of technology, iPads can also be used in EYFS for assessment, as spoken about in this blog, as children need to be observed closely within this stage and iPads can be used to record children. If teachers miss anything, they can refer to their iPads!

goveAnyway, to finish up this blog post, I want to briefly talk about something I read from the Gov.uk website: click here for the link. The link is to a talk Michael Gove gave about why Computing is being introduced into the curriculum. He speaks about how technology is evolving so quickly, and that to promote “creativity” in the classroom, children are to be taught coding language from the age of 5.

The idea that is put across here is interesting, and perhaps starting early with teaching computer science to children is a good thing, but teaching children from as young as 5 years old is, in my opinion, a ridiculous concept.

Children are only just coming to terms with the English language and Phonics… They have only had very few years speaking near to fluent English. How, then, can we teach them a language which is incredibly alien in comparison in the grand scheme of things? We should be teaching children vital fine motor skills and communication skills first – but in a world which is beginning to become dominated by technology, I do agree that it could be advantageous to teach computers sciences earlier that GCSE/A Level age.

I think I will continue to reflect on that a while, but for now, that’s all on Session 4!

Computing Session 3: Mobile Technologies and ICT Outdoors

Interactive_whiteboard_at_CeBIT_2007Session 3 of Computing was quite an interesting lesson. The “Beyond the Classroom” title, however, made me groan slightly, as I had just battled a horrific assignment on Learning Outside the Classroom, so didn’t really want to be bombarded with the same stuff I had just recently read about. I did buck up my ideas though when I read through the PowerPoint and found it would be quite a fun seminar.

We looked at several apps, websites and programs for use within the classroom but these were the ideas that particularly stood out to me:

 

QR Codes and Aurasma –

securedownload1We looked at QR Codes and Aurasma in Session 2, and I really liked how the programs were used, so I thought I would mention it again. The use of QR Codes, Aurasma and apps/computer programs inside and outside the classroom  looks like such a fun teaching resource. I looked up the link on the PowerPoint which led to a Pinterest board full of teaching ideas using QR Codes, and found some great ideas that I bookmarked for my teacher toolbox. I really like the idea of a Scavenger Hunt, like this one which is designed for younger children to practice their word recognition skills.

There are so many opportunities for cross curricular links with the QR code activities. For example, we actually did a QR code based activity in one of our PE Seminar sessions. The Scavenger Hunt activity we did involved running around the University finding the hidden Scavenger Hunt clues which were laminated A4 sheets of paper with a QR code on. Each clue gave a hint as to how find the next clue. The activity was aimed at KS2 children, and was quite complicated – even for us! It was good fun, though. There was also a KS1 activity introduced in the sam session but I didn’t get the opportunity to try the activity. The activity was a slightly simpler Scavenger Hunt, in which the people involved were given a laminated sheet of paper with pictures of places around the University. Those people then had to find those places and take a “selfie” outside of that location. Our group had a lot of fun doing these activities, and I think they would work particularly well with children, too! They were multi-sensory activities and would get the children moving and motivated to complete the activity and beat their peers.

 

Green Screen Apps – 

Photo on 30-09-2011 at 13.24Green Screen films are so difficult to edit if you don’t know how to do it properly as it can end up looking look messy and jagged, so finding out about green screen apps for the iPad was revolutionary for me!

The best thing about using green screen applications with children is that they get to experience places they’ve never been before, without even going there. It could be a great way to get them started with some drama, or to begin a topic on a place, whilst inspiring imaginative play and being a lot of fun.

I have used some pretty simple green screen applications before, like Photo Booth for the Mac. The application is good in that you don’t have to be in front of a green screen for the computer to pick up your background – it just needs to be one colour with no movement happening behind you. You can also make your own custom backgrounds if you really want! However, it does have flaws – like you have to restart the application sometimes if there is movement in the background, as there will just constantly be a gap in that space!

AppStore1024We looked at the Green Screen Movie FX Studio app for the iPads in this session, but I unfortunately didn’t get to have a go with this individually. The app is £1.99 on the App Store, and looks, from the previews, fairly sophisticated. My peers and Helen said it was simple to use. The user has to choose a particular colour to transform into the selected image and then go from there, so again, the background has to be a block colour. Below is a great little tutorial to get you started if you want to play with the app:

 

Topia – 

icon_256We looked at so many iPad apps in this session, but one that I really enjoyed was Topia. I’m really into Simulation games like The Sims and FarmVille (yes, I know – I am ashamed of my addictions to ridiculous, time consuming Facebook games!) so I jumped at the chance to play with this app. Again, this app costs money – £1.49, in fact – but it is quite an investment. I was unable to upload any screenshots from the University’s iPad to my blog which is unfortunate so I have uploaded some of the screenshots that the programmers have taken to sell their game (see to left and below).

screen568x568

This app can actually be used effectively to teach some areas of Science – like the food chain and the environment – as the aim of the game to create a world where these fictional creatures can live harmoniously. The aim is find a balance of vegetation, herbivores, carnivores and water so the creatures can live and thrive in the environment.

screen568x568 (2)

screen480x480

screen568x568 (4)

 

So what are the pros and cons of using mobile technology to go beyond the classroom? – 

Mobile technology has changed life as we know it when it comes to using technology on the move. It is a great tool for the classroom, too, and more and more schools are investing in iPads for their students because of this. But what are the pros and cons of using mobile technology? I had a think about how mobile technology is used and came up with this list:

The pros of using mobile technology:

  • Gives the user opportunity to move around and stay active whilst using
  • If used in classroom, can be cheaper than big computers
  • Gives children in the classroom an opportunity to be individual
  • They are great tools for learning!

The cons of using mobile technology:

  • Children need to be supervised on tablets or mobile devices as they could come across something they shouldn’t
  • They can sometimes be pricey if the school or teacher has not done the research
  • The devices could be stolen
  • They can be a distraction to children.

So, although I wasn’t totally looking forward to another seminar focusing on Learning Outside the Classroom, I actually got a lot out of this session. There were so many fab ideas that I could use with children to make learning more fun and to integrate technology more fluently within my lesson planning.

And that’s it for Session 3!

 

Computing Session 2: Digital Images and Animation

Today, we are going back to looking at Animation. Last year we used MonkeyJam to create a little video. The video was fun to make but it wasn’t really a resource you’d use in the classroom – mainly because we made it for our own recreational purposes, and it was just an experiment! We looked at the different types of software available to make animations and use images in the classroom using ICT. One example was Prezi, which we looked at in-depth. It’s quite a fun and lively piece of software which is browser based and users can select themes, so is overall a good way to make a quick resource.

For our resource, we created The Nativity Story from a pack downloaded from Communication4All website. Here is the link to the Nativity Story we made. This can have many uses: it could be used to tell the Nativity Story, or  to show children how to make their own stories on Communication4All packs, or it could be a festive resource to show children at Christmas time! It has a direct link to RE, of course, as it is related to the Christian festival of Christmas.

When I was younger, I was quite into playing with technology, and used to love making short animations on Flash Dreamweaver. Here is a link to a cute little music video I made to one of my favourite songs at the time! Unfortunately, through uploading it to the Internet, I found that the music came out of time with the animation, and I found that so frustrating. However, just gives and insight into the kind of stuff I used to play around with.

I did a little bit of research into using animation with children. I looked up a few of the links in the booklet and found this little gem. This animation is made from Lego people and is created by children. They had come up with a storyline and made the video with some young adults. Here is the outcome:

For an English Specialist like myself, it seems that making animations like the one above can teach children how to plan and structure narratives well. An English lesson could focus on writing up a story board for an animation, with a main focus on what a story’s narrative is made up of. Here is a resource called a Story Mountain that I used in one of my previous school placements that could be used to structure the animation’s storyline:

10692907

I found a great blog post with some other good ideas for using animations with children, written by Malcolm Wilson – the ICT Curriculum Development Officer for Falkirk Council Education Services. Click here for the link. I think the blog gives some great ideas for animation in the classroom – and a few inspiring ideas for using it in a Literacy lesson!

I also found this website, which is advertising a hardware and software package to create stop motion animations: click here to see the website. Here are some of the fantastic animations teachers and children have made using the product:

A Day At School

day at school

 

The Storm – Tempest

storm

 

Dance Off

dance off

 

Locheeeee

lochee

 

So, to reflect on this post: images and animation can be used in so many positive ways within the classroom if used well. Animations can also bring children together to work as a team when creating animations – as you can see in the above videos!

And that’s all for now! Laters.

Computing Session 1: Manipulating Media

So, I’m really into the whole manipulating media thing. In my spare time, I like to design things on my computer, film and edit short videos, watch a lot of films & television programs and play computer games. As you can imagine, I looked forward to this session.

metamorphosis videoWe started off by looking at the way digital media can be used in the classroom. There were videos like this one. The link leads to a video about Metamorphosis made by a teacher’s students, which is quite simple but looks fun and is full of interesting information. In fact, the video could be used as a resource during a lesson on metamorphosis. The children had obviously put effort into planning and filming the video, and that shines through.

Watching the video made me think of the resource I made for an afternoon lesson I took once with a partner. The school was focusing on Storms and  Shipwrecks etc., so we decided to create a “Pirate-y” atmosphere and teach a Music lesson filled with sea shanties and pirate-related fun! My partner made a scroll with a mission on it and a treasure chest to put it in, then I put together this video to play at the beginning of the lesson with the aim to help inspire them and get their creative juices working:

2014-02-10 15.48.21We looked at other ways teachers could make resources like the one I made. Popplet, for example, is a great way to visually teach children information, or can be used within a session to mind map ideas children might have before, during or after a topic. I downloaded the app onto my iPad – but not the full version, as it was £2.99! Admittedly it is a great tool for using in schools. It has a lovely simple design with space to customise the look of the “popples”, as the text/image boxes are named on the app. It is not, however, my preferred option of app for something like this. To be honest, I would much prefer creating something to the same style as this on a live screen on Pages for Mac.

We also looked at video editing software. Now, I know a bit about video editing software because of my previous experience working with the software to edit video, so, admittedly, I felt a little close-minded about the other suggestions. iMovie for the iPad I actually have on my MacBook Pro and it is okay but a little clumsy from my point of view. For a child, the iPad app could be great to teach the basics, but I can imagine them getting frustrated with how it works if creating something from scratch. The templates are okay, and here is a link to one we watched in the session: Gingerbread Man iMovie.

Windows Movie Maker I really do not get along with. Mainly because it is PC based and I do not like Windows at the best of times! It is also a little complicated for children to use, too.

For teachers, I thoroughly recommend Final Cut Pro X. There are tutorials available free online on YouTube and by searching in Google, and there is so much you can do with it. The outcome videos also look a lot more professional than anything Windows Movie Maker or iMovie can produce! Here is something I made for the Foundation Art project:

PurpleMash is also a great set of software for use with children. The programs can be used by children to meet so many different levels of the National Curriculum for Computing. It is great for use with young children and I have played around with 2Count and 2Animate before. It is very easy to use with most ages.

2Create a Story was a program we got introduced to in this session. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to play around with it, but other students said it was fun! It would be a good tool to inspire creative writing in a lesson too, by creating the opening to a story for children to continue.

We moved onto apps and were introduced to Morfo, MadLips and several others. I wasn’t so interested in these apps as I could make something like what those apps produce on Final Cut Pro! Morfo and MadLips were quite funny to look at, and I think I would use it as a quick resource but again it would not be my preferred app!

I did, however, find Aurasma and QR Code ideas really interesting. QR codes are the little squares with lots of littler black squares inside which get scanned in and take the person scanning the code to a webpage of some kind. This or Aurasma could be great to use for a practical, multi-sensory project. Here is a video of a great way to use Aurasma:

Children could plan and film their own things to make into a project like the book review project above, and could cover so many areas of the National Curriculum – across lots of subjects, too!

Little_Red_Riding_Hood_-_J._W._Smith

We had a play around with the different programs and apps, and my partner and I created a quick iMovie on the iPad. It was a trailer for a Little Red Riding Hood film that we came up with. We had some issues with uploading this, however, and were unable to try again before the end of the session!

So, I did enjoy this session, and upon reflecting, I came up with some pros and cons of using digital media within the classroom.

 

Pros of using media:

  • It can inspire children at the beginning of a topic if resources are used well
  • Children can use templates to mimic things they might have seen on TV/films/magazines and can create something of good quality
  • Children can relate to it if they have come in contact with the type of media before
  • It can be fun to use!

Cons of using media:

  • If using/searching for media on the Internet last minute without checking content, children could be exposed to explicit content
  • Pointless if used badly
  • Bad quality or something uninteresting can cause a lesson to flop

Of course, there are other pros and cons of using media in the classroom, but those are 6 of the main things that I could think of.

The point about inspiring children was meant to really link into something I mentioned earlier in this post – inspiring creative writing. Writing in general could be helped by the use of technology in general – although some people believe that handwriting may become unnecessary at some point if keyboards are the preferred way to write! This blog gives some great tips as to how to use iPads and media to improve writing skills. It is a good read, and interesting for English Specialists like myself!

Anyway, that’s all for this week!

RE Session 4: RE Through ICT

4352801673_cdbbf6e1fe_oSo, I really like technology and ICT and computers and gadgets and designing images on Photoshop and putting together PowerPoints and making videos and and and EVERYTHING about computer related stuff (all unnecessary and’s added for dramatic effect…)! In a society where technology is pretty much taking over and becoming more and more advanced as each year goes past, it is obviously important to consider how to integrate it into the classroom. Obviously there are so many opportunities for RE to be inclusive of ICT, but why should we add it to our RE lesson plans?

Well, because…

  • ICT helps to enhance children’s investigative and creative skills – research on the Internet can open up so many doors for children, and I find that it is easier to be creative with a mouse and a keyboard than a pen sometimes. 
  • It is a way for children to safely communicate within school – but children must be supervised when using a computer!
  • It gives authenticity to RE – for example, children could Skype other children/people from different cultures/religions etc. 
  • It teaches children how to look at a range of sources and critically select which ones to use – Two words – Ugh, Wikipedia! Children need to know how to look at sources on the internet and understand that they are not all true. 
  • Some internet sources can help pupils to understand important and complex ideas – for example, maybe a video or an interactive white board activity. 
  • Information can be presented in a better way – PowerPoints (or Keynotes for Mac users) are revolutionary! 
  • Assessing can be made so much simpler to both input and interpret – teachers can see the patterns in children’s progression, and have it all in one place. 
  • It can enhance the quality of presentations – millions and billions of fabulously designed resources at your fingertips.

So, yeah, I love computers. However! We must also remember three things when implementing ICT:

1) Learning outcomes must be RE related.

2) The use of ICT is adding value to the teaching of RE

3) Internet Safety! I’ve mentioned it once, and I’ll mention it a million more times as it is so important.

We learnt within the lesson all sorts of things to do with how to use ICT and the Internet, but, as with everything there are advantages and disadvantages. We watched a clip (below) and came up with the advantages and disadvantages of using the clip in a lesson.

Advantages:

  • It is visual, and appeals to visual learners
  • Gives children an opportunity to see inside a synagogue, when they might not get that opportunity every day
  • Very in depth – gives a lot of information about the synagogue and about how some Jews might worship
  • The information comes straight from the lips of a member of the faith
  • It includes a lot of different vocabulary related to Judaism, like shabbat, kippah, rabbi and yad
  • Includes lots of images of interesting aspects

 

Disadvantages:

  • It was a very long video
  • There were some quite ‘hard’ words
  • It wasn’t really very gripping – some children may have lost interest
  • It was quite boring – the speaker’s voice was monotonous, for example.

 

The video, overall, was quite good as the list of advantages outweighed the disadvantages, but I think I would look for my own video for teaching about the synagogue – just because it was a bit dreary and uninspiring, really!

After the video we had a look at some websites, which we have reviewed in our directed tasks. I have included both positives and negatives in my reviews of the websites, and how I would use them in the classroom.

Here are my reviews:

So, the first website I looked at was the RE Online page for Places of Worship, which is where the video from this session came from.

reonline1

Positives:

Using this page can help children to visually see a variety of forms of worship, presented by fairly enthusiastic speakers and lots of images of artefacts that might be of interest. The videos give the places of worship more authenticity when watching them, and are informative. They are great resources for teachers to learn more about religions.

Negatives:

The videos are very long, and provide a LOT of information all at once. Sometimes the speaker’s accent makes it hard for the viewer to understand what they are saying, so it is not so suitable for younger children to watch, really.

How would I use it in the classroom:

  • I wouldn’t use the whole clip as they are, as mentioned before, long.
  • Should use it to introduce the area the children will be focusing on. The clip I watched was about the Hindu temple and I imagine it would be good to use as a starter to a lesson.

 

The next website I reviewed was REQuest.

REquest

Positives:

I like this website’s design: it is colourful, with simple, easy-to-understand language and has a cool interactive virtual tour for teachers to use with the class. There are lots of videos on here, too, which are slightly more exciting than RE Online’s videos.

Negatives:

The website has actually got a little too much to navigate through in one sitting, and in places it is quite kerygmatic (slightly indoctrinating or preaching) as it is mainly about Christianity. I don’t think it is a site for particularly young children. 

How would I use it in the classroom:

  • I would probably use the website for a class investigative project, and perhaps include a jigsaw activity within groups when using it.
  • Videos, again, could be used at the beginning of a lesson as a starter – or maybe a plenary.

I think both websites are valuable resources, but there are loads more on the Internet, so I shall start adding more and more to my Teacher’s Toolbox!

From the essential reading set from today’s session, I learnt a fair bit more about ICT and RE. In Allen et al’s (2007) book, there were a lot of reasons why we should integrate ICT into our lessons. It was stated that ICT is a powerful teaching and learning tool, and should be used in purposeful and meaningful contexts. If used well in lessons, children will have a sustained engagement with technology, and have the opportunity to explore, reflect, review, ask questions and share ideas openly. So, we need to really be confident, informed and critical users of technology. I feel I am almost at this stage, although I am not always entirely critical of the computer based resources I use. I feel confident in how I use the computer and I am very competent with technology, but I do need to work on being more critical.

4488250788_9189e19e3d_oI was inspired by this session and essential reading to expand my horizons in terms of ICT and try to be more experimental in my use of ICT in the classroom. I want to be an innovative teacher, who integrates technology in anyway that I can – but it has to be of some worth, not just thrown in there. 

Anyway, until next time!