Blogging in schools

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Useful Information | Posted on March 28, 2013

I’ve been blogging for a while now so it’s probably about time that I spoke about using blogs with children in the classroom.

Blogging can be introduced and integrated into the classroom through following 10 tips. However, when blogging in the classroom it is important that there are rules in place to ensure that the children are safe when they are doing this – these rules were talked about in my previous post on e-safety.

The 10 tips that should be followed are:

  1. Start small: don’t expect to know everything at once.
  2. Integrate: integrate maths, literacy and other curriculum subjects into blog post and comments.
  3. Be regular: set goals and routines – through publishing one new post every week and spending time each day reading the blog comments to the children.
  4. Start local before global: build teacher and children’s skills through a class blog before collaborating globally with other blogging classes.
  5. Begin with a class blog: this allows the children to build essential blogging skills that they can transfer to their own blogs.
  6. Teach quality commenting: explicit teaching + high expectations + regular feedback + authentic motivation = high quality writing.
  7. Integrate internet safety: blogging is an excellent way for students to learn about being responsible members of an online community.
  8. Collaborate: sharing the workload can make blogging easier and more enjoyable.
  9. Get parents involved: educate and encourage parents to become part of the classroom blogging community throughout the year.
  10. Keep going: keep focusing on the set goals and the children with enjoy and engage with the blogging program in a range of subjects.

 

 There are many benefits of using blogging in the classroom with children and these include:

Social skills and Confidence: blogging can help individuals to practise their skills and transfer them into the “offline world”.

Internet safety: blogging is an excellent way to learn about being a responsible member of an online community.

Literacy: blogging not only improved literacy skills but also improved the engagement levels of the children.

Maths: two examples of using maths within blogging is the use of Clustmaps and the Our World, Our Numbers project.

Home-School Connection: through commenting, families can be a part of what is happening in the classroom and have real time access to their child’s education.

ICT Skills: blogging assists children to become more ICT literate which is a crucial skill to have.

Classroom Community: creating a blog requires teamwork and collaboration which enables the children to learn and share together.

Authentic Audience: blogs provide a bigger audience for children’s work and an avenue for feedback and self-improvement through parents and others comments.

Global connections: blogging can provide the opportunities of creating connections with other classes around the world.

Below is a video of the children’s perpectives of blogging:

Need anymore information on blogging in the classroom then it can be found on: http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/

Please comment and share your views of blogging within the classroom 🙂

E-Safety

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Useful Information | Posted on March 28, 2013

E-safety is not just about computers but also mobile phones, games consoles, cameras and televisions given that they can all connect to the internet in today’s modern world. E-safety consists of being safe in the online world. Even though the internet is used all the time for knowledge and communication, children and even adults do not realise how dangerous it can be. There are countless dangers on the internet including: strangers, computer viruses, inappropriate content and adverts. Therefore, children need to be made aware of how they can benefit from the internet without putting themselves in danger.  East Dene Primary School believes that children should always think SMART when online. SMART stands for Safe, Meeting, Accepting, Reliable, Tell. If you would like an explanation into the meaning of each point then click on the SMART link which will take you straight to the website.

It is extremely important that schools have rules put into place to enable children to be safe on the internet. Bridge water school have created a page that consists of blogging rules which has been posted onto the Headteacher’s blog. These rules have been put in to place to protect children, not only for blogging purposes but they also link to surfing the web in general. For example, don’t give out personal details such as full name, address, phone number etc.

This video below expresses the importance of not giving out personal details on the internet:

Computer Programming – 2 Do It Yourself 3D

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Posted by Katie | Posted in ICT sessions | Posted on March 28, 2013

It is possible that computing is going to be the new ICT soon; therefore children will start to learn how to create their own games using a variety of software and programs. Some examples of these include:  Scratch (see my previous games based learning post), Kudo and Khan Academy. Also there are an assortment of apps available to use which allow children to investigate and explore, these include: Bee-bot, daisy the dinosaur and move the turtle. Children can develop and build their skills in all these programs throughout their primary and secondary education.

Software used here is called 2Do It Yourself 3D and this piece of software allows you to create three-dimensional games. It enables the opportunity to create the characters, objects and to set the scene of your game. The game that I have produced is an apple eating game. This consists of moving through a maze to collect apples whilst avoiding the red monsters, given that they are programmed to move in certain directions. Below you will see a video of the game being played.

In my opinion this software is great in terms of using it as a starting point for children in a range of curriculum subjects. It is extremely simple to use given that it only requires you to drag and drop items to create the scene and to programm the characters you just click on them and choose the direction in which you would like them to travel. Due to how simple this software is to use, children will engage with it and find it really enjoyable.

It is important to express the fact that children will be able to play each others games after they have been completed. Therefore, this will automatically engage the children, given that they will put all of their effort into their games knowing that others will be looking at them. Also, the children will utterly enjoy the chance to play others games.

If you have the chance to experiment with the software then please let me know your opinions.

 

Games Based Learning – Scratch

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Posted by Katie | Posted in ICT sessions | Posted on March 21, 2013

Currently in dispute is the idea of changing the current National Curriculum for ICT to Computer Programming/Computer Science; this idea has been put forward by Michael Gove. If this idea is put into place then children will have the opportunity to learn how to design and create their own games using a range of programs. For example, one of the programs that the children will be introduced to is called Scratch. This program allows the creation of games, which can be linked to any of the curriculum subjects. A major benefit of this program is that it is free for everyone to use!

This program allows you to do a range of things such as: choosing the background, objects or characters that are already on there. However, it is possible to import your own images, use images from the internet and also paint your own backgrounds which I’m sure children will find really enjoyable.  Having all these options on the program allows the children to create a game about any subject/ topic that they are currently looking at within other curriculum lessons, which enables plenty of learning.

Once you get the hang of this program then it is seen as a quite a simple process. Nevertheless, children will find it difficult to use at first depending on their age. Therefore, the process can be broken down into small parts for each lesson. For example:

Lesson 1 –

  • Introduce the program
  • Show the children what the program allows them to do
  • Show all the options available
  • Create a game as a whole class – using the children’s input

Lesson 2 –

  • Allow the children to explore the different characters and objects that are available for them to use, adding movement in when comfortable
  • Before allowing the children to have a go, ensure they know how to do this by talking them through the process first

Lesson 3 –

  • Allow the children to create their backgrounds, either choosing one available or creating their own
  • Before allowing the children to have a go, ensure they know how to do this by talking them through the process first

Lesson 4 –

  • Add in an enemy or an object with movement
  • Before allowing the children to start, ensure they know how to do this by talking them through the process first

Lesson 5-

  • Add in finishing touches, for example: a score box
  • Show the children first how to do this
  • Play your game, make sure everything works
  • Work in pairs and play each other’s games
  • Show some children’s games at the end of the lesson as a plenary

Lesson 6 –

  • Now the children know how to use the program, it is their chance to create a different  game showing their creative side
  • They are now able to completely explore themselves adding different things to it
  • Show some of the children’s new games at the end of the lesson and add them to a class blog

It is extremely important that the children don’t follow a step by step guide when creating their game due to the fact that every child’s game would then be the same. It is vital that they put their own creative style to it. The ideas above do contain the process of showing the children how to complete each stage, however it allows for their own individual choices of background, characters, objects and finishing touches. The children do need to be challenged, therefore in lesson 6 – their last lesson of using that program – they have the opportunity to create another game, preferably more challenging through exploring other parts that weren’t explained before.

Below is the game that I created, so have a play and let me know what you think.

 

Learn more about this project

I felt that this program was quite challenging at first and took me a while to create this game as I hadn’t used this program previously. However, when spending time exploring the program it became a lot easier to use. I believe that this program is excellent in terms of creating resources to use in the classroom. These games are great to use as starter activities, plenary activities or even as part of a main activity with a small group on the interactive whiteboard.

Overall, I am pleased with this program and I would personally use this within my own lessons, therefore I highly recommend.

Data collecting and handling

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Cross-curricular links, ICT sessions | Posted on March 10, 2013

This programme allows you to create a pictograph. In a pictograph, pictures are used to represent numbers. This can make information interesting to look at and easy to understand.

The following pictographs have been created from the following website  http://www.primaryschoolict.com/pictograph/ so please create your own and use within your lessons.

This pictogram (to the left) shows data of people’s favourite colour from my university class and can be used as a cross curricular link with maths through the teaching of a variety of graphs and charts. Pictographs tend to be taught in KS1 because the pictures appeal to the young mind.

As a teacher, you will have have asked or you will be asking your class to collect data and present this in a pictograph.

This program allows the children to do that whilst incorporating ICT. Therefore, the benefits of this program include:

  • It’s simple to use
  • Extremely visual due to the range of colours
  • It’s child friendly
  • A lot more interesting so children will enjoy it
  • It consists of using technology (ICT)
  • It has a lot of pictures to choose from

The problems with this program include:

  •  You have to open the program in Firefox due to the fact that the pictures are not the right size if you open the program in Internet Explorer. Therefore, the picture above shows how the program works in Firefox but the picture below shows what the pictograph will look like, which can become very confusing for children.

This program is so simple to use so every child will be able to create their own, if not by themselves then definately with limited support from an adult. Therefore, try it! Give the children in your classroom a more interactive numeracy lesson!

Creating a resource – Animoto

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Cross-curricular links, ICT sessions | Posted on March 7, 2013

Here I have created a short video with text containing basic information about Bonfire Night. Therefore, this links in well with History and also ICT . This was created using Animoto and can be found on www.animoto.com

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Animoto, it is  a software that allows you to create videos using pictures, text and music.

The software has a selection of designs already on there which allows you to select the one of your choice. You can then add in the images and text of your choice and place in any order that you would like. The design has music with it already, however you can change this if need be.

Animoto is something that can be used to introduce children to a new topic, or even as a summary at the end of a topic. As a teacher you could also incorporate this into your lessons by allowing the children to use this program themselves. They could create their own video using the information that they have found out from their own research and present this back to the rest of the class. Or they could use this software at the end of a topic to summarise what they have learnt. This can be linked with any subject so it is great for cross-curricular links.

A problem that you have to be careful with is that you need to make sure that the children aren’t spending all the time making their video look pretty by inserting a lot of images instead of actually adding in the content. Therefore, this needs to be clarrified at the start of the activity.

But, the point that you need to get across to the children is internet safety; making sure that the information that they are looking for on the internet is appropriate. Therefore, you could possibly write some appropriate websites up on the whiteboard so that they get their content from there instead.

Try making your own, and let me know how it goes! I’ll be posting again soon.

Creating a resource – Storybird

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Cross-curricular links, ICT sessions | Posted on March 7, 2013

This story has been created to be read to children in the early years foundation stage when looking into the topic of friendship in a PSHE lesson. This story is a great resource to use towards the end of the lesson in a circle time activity. Having this book to read in circle time allows for you to question the children to ensure their understanding. For example, a question that could be asked to the children is: How should you treat your friends? This will then encourage a group discussion which will flow onto asking and answering other questions.

Another way that this can be used in schools in KS1 is by removing some of the words from the story and in groups the children have to pick the word that fits the best to recreate it. Whereas in KS2, in small groups the children can create their own stories on the computer using the web link that I will provide at the end, this enables children to participate in a cross-curricular activity (ICT and Literacy). Therefore, the one that I have created will be used as stimulus to provide inspiration for their own.

As stated above, here is the web link www.storybird.com so have fun with creating your own, it is a great tool to use and it doesn’t take t00 long either. I would highly recommend using it.

I hope you found this resource interesting, if you have any ideas on how you would use this resource in the classroom with either EYFS, KS1 or KS2 then please comment so I can use these in the future.

 

 

The Hoof Trot

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Cross-curricular links, ICT sessions | Posted on February 28, 2013

As previously mentioned, here is the animation video that a group of us created in one of the sessions using the software MonkeyJam. I hope you  enjoy our animation video and if you want to create your own and you’re unsure of anything then please don’t hesitate to comment and I will happily talk you through you’re queries.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating an animation video and I’m sure children in primary schools will also have the same view. This allows for children to show their creative side through other forms of practical work.

Animation is a great classroom activity that engages pupils of all ages and abilities and can support many curriculum areas. It can be used in KS1 through the use of traditional stories, for example Cinderella; therefore ICT can be a cross-curricular link with literacy. The children can work in groups to re-tell the story through the use of animation using the software that the school has on their systems. This activity is also great for building on team work skills and communication.

Animation

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Posted by Katie | Posted in ICT sessions | Posted on February 22, 2013

Animation is a type of optical illusion.  It involves the appearance of motion caused by displaying still images one after another. There are four main techniques used in animation. These include:

Drawn animation – One drawing is replaced by another in a sequence where each drawing is slightly different from the previous one.

Cut-out animation – This covers any form of animation where cut-out shapes are moved around or replaced by other cut-outs.

Model animation or stop motion animation – This involves the filming of three-dimensional models. The models are positioned and filmed before being moved slightly and filmed again.

Computer animation or computer generated imagery – This refers to the drawing of three-dimensional models and sets on the computer.

I hope this has given you an insight into what animation is all about. If you would like any more information about these four techniques then here is the web link http://www.filmeducation.org/staffroom/film_in_the_classroom/animation/techniques.php

Within my ICT session I created an animation with three other colleagues through the use of the model animation technique. Therefore, I will be uploading this video in a later post so look out for it.

 

Smart Notebook Game

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Cross-curricular links | Posted on February 22, 2013

I have created a basic pairs game to use in the Early Years Foundation Stage using the software Smart Notebook. This game focuses on the topic of healthy eating.  So here it is:

Healthy Eating Pairs Game

Feel free to use the game that I have uploaded above and let me know how it goes.