Session 6 – Extending Computing


Posted by Katie | Posted in Computer Programming | Posted on February 21, 2014

MaKey MaKey 

makey makey

MaKey MaKey is an invention kit that is used to enhance computer programming. Within the kit comes a USB cord, a circuit board and crocodile clips. The USB cord is used to connect the circuit board to any computer with a USB port. The circuit board used is aimed to take over the functionality of certain keys on the keyboard, for example the arrow keys.The crocodile clips connect the arrow keys  on the circuit board to  anything that is conductable, for example carrots, play-dough etc. One crocodile clip needs to be connected to the edge of the circuit board and then connected to yourself, before you can control the conductable items. Once all the wires are connected, you need to search on the internet for any games that consist of the use of the arrow keys, for example pac man. This can then be played using the MaKey MaKey kit instead of the arrows on the keyboard. 

Below is a video that we created – playing pacman using MaKey MaKey

Here is another example of using MaKey MaKey, however this time we created a piano using play dough

Finally our last example of using MaKey MaKey, consists of creating a human piano

I found the MaKey MaKey kit extremely simple to use which is essential when using this with children. I feel that this kit is a great way to engage all children in computer programming as this is a new element within the national curriculum. Through experimenting with this equipment I was completely engaged  and found it exciting and interesting to use. Therefore, I believe that children will have the same experience. When using this kit with children I advise that it is not completed as a whole class due to the fact that the kits may get mixed up or wires could be lost. This is important as if equipment is lost then the kits are very costly to purchase new ones.

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that can be connected to a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. It is a little computer which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does,  for example for spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It is a new way to introduce children to world of computer programming. The Raspberry Pi is compatible with a piece of software called ‘Scratch’. A way to introduce children to this software would be to give them the scratch cards which gives them instructions on how to create animated characters.

rasberry pi

My personal experience of Raspberry Pi is that I wasn’t really keen on it. I didn’t feel that the mini computer could do anything different to what a normal desktop PC could do. Therefore, I didn’t really see the point of it as there was too many wires around and this may be unsafe for younger children. I agree that it would be cheaper than a normal computer to purchase but personally I wouldn’t use it with children.

Let me know your thoughts on this.





Cargo-Bot is a computer programming app for the iPad, it consists of programming a robot to move crates. The app features 36 puzzles, on each puzzle it allows you to record your solutions and share them on YouTube. When you have completed each puzzle it will generate the amount of stars that you deserve. You gain more stars through programming the robot using less moves. I believe that children will find this app engaging and challenging but it must be limited as children may get frustrated with the challenge.

cargo bot



Session 5 – Beginning Computing in KS2


Posted by Katie | Posted in Computer Programming | Posted on February 20, 2014

Currently, the National Curriculum for ICT has changed to Computer Programming. With this change to the curriculum it gives the children 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. 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 effective 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 – can focus on introducing the program, showing all available options and creating a game as a whole class with children’s input.
Lesson 2 – allow the children to explore the different characters that are available to them and add movement.
Lesson 3 – allow the children to create their backgrounds.
Lesson 4 – allow the children to add in an enemy or an object with movement.
Lesson 5 – get the children to add in their finishing touches (e.g score box), play their own games and then swap over to play each others games.
Lesson 6 – allow the children to create a different game to show their creative side, explore different things to add in, share these games throughout the lesson.

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.

Session 4 – Computing in KS1


Posted by Katie | Posted in Computer Programming | Posted on February 19, 2014

Unplugged activity 


unplugged activity

Plan for unplugged activity

  • A course will be set out in the hall consisting of obstacles that the children will need to climb over and duck under.
  • The children will have to construct instructions for their partner to go round the course when blindfolded.
  • In one session key terminology will be focused on: forward, turn, bend, sit, swivel ect. The children will write instructions (link to literacy) for their partner.
  • Next session will consist of one child being blind folded and the other to instruct them, then swap roles.
  • The idea of the instructions is the basics of programming; this will then progress to Bee Bots (plugged) and then Sat Nav activity (real life).

Plugged activity 

TTS product photography 04/10/05

This activity follows on from the unplugged activity where children produce instructions away from the computer. Using the Bee Bot robot allows children to program a robot to move around a pre-made course or a course that the children have made themselves. The activity can link into Literacy, as the children could write a set of instructions for the Bee Bot using time connectives. It also links nicely into Numeracy, as the children are using directions.




Hopscotch is an iPad app which is very similar to Scratch . It allows younger children to program characters to move around the page on the screen, it also allows the children to draw pictures with their characters. There are characters for the children to choose from at the beginning and these are more appropriate to key stage one children. The commands are very similar to Scratch, as they contain the same elements to program the character. 

Here is an example of my programmed character (this really didn’t take me long at all)

This is an extremely simple app to use and in my opinion I believe that children will absolutely love it! I advise the use of this app before moving the children on to scratch, as scratch is a lot more difficult.

RE Session Six – Assessing and Reviewing Planning


Posted by Katie | Posted in Religious Education | Posted on February 16, 2014

Within any curriculum subject we have to assess the children’s progress and its the same within RE even though it is part of the basic curriculum. The difference here is that this subject is not assessed using nationally imposed learning goals etc, it has the advantage of freedom within the assessment process. Having this freedom can be construed as hindering the credibility of RE with parents and pupils.

Below I have given reasons why RE can be seen to be hindered as it is not assessed in the same way as other curriculum subjects, but also I have displayed how it can be seen as an advantage.

advantage vs hindered


Teachers can assess children in the following ways:

assessing progress

All of these ways are seen to be effective in some way, however when assessing children’s progress the assessment strategy chosen must be appropriate and justifiable.

Within the lesson I looked at three pieces of children’s work and assessed them against the levels used within RE. For two pieces out of the three I found leveling children’s work was quite simple. However, work presented in a certain way was quite difficult to level. I found this quite challenging due to the fact that I marked it quite harshly, therefore I need to become more familiar with the levels and have another go at it.

From my reading I have consolidated my learning in the reasons for assessing children’s progress, therefore here is my findings:

  • It aids future planning
  • It identifies any errors, misunderstandings and misconceptions
  • It gives you an insight into what children already know and what they have learnt
  • It helps to record progress
  • It supports evaluations

Here I have just given you a few justifications into why you should assess children’s progress, however there are many more.

Let me know your views of assessment within RE 🙂


RE Session Five – Visits and Visitors


Posted by Katie | Posted in Religious Education | Posted on February 13, 2014

The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) believe that schools should respect the contribution religious visitors have on pupils’ learning. Visitors may present their experiences and ideas from their faith and ask children to think about these ideas from their own point of view. Within the lessons religious visitors are valuable as they engage pupils in the learning task. Visitors may be informative, help to develop children’s understanding and they can challenge children to reflect on their own religious views.

Benefits of having visitors
More informative, realistic, eliminates ignorance, answers questions accurately, improves community cohesion

Issues of having visitors
Funding, not trained, may not link to the curriculum, children may be offensive, parents may remove their children, behaviour management, appropriate language

Considerations when planning for a visitor
Pre-prepared questions, prepare the children, meet with the visitor beforehand, time, cost, politeness

An alternative to having visitors in the school is to take children on a trip to a suitable/ appropriate place of worship within the locality. Therefore, I have created a plan for a visit to Exeter Cathedral.

Before the trip – children will look at key Christian celebrations such as weddings, funerals, christenings and an average service.

During the visit the class will be split into four groups where they will focus on different things such as funerals, christenings, average service and the building. Also, throughout the day the children will be given a visit sheet which contains a list of key features of the cathedral which the children need to find and take a photo of – these photos will be used back at school. Cathedral Visit Sheet

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
Funerals Christenings Average Service The Building

The children will go outside and look at the grave stones to find the oldest and youngest people.

The children will look at the baptismal font and then the group will be given time to explore the cathedral.

The children will get the opportunity to look at the prayer mats and the Liturgy.

The children will go outside with a clipboard, paper and pencil and sketch the outside of the building.

After the trip As a class the children will have the opportunity to act out a funeral in a sensitive way, write the obituary and the order of service. This activity will have great cross curricular links with literacy, ICT and drama.

RE Session Four – RE through ICT


Posted by Katie | Posted in Religious Education | Posted on February 12, 2014

Within RE, ICT can be used in the following ways:

  1. Enhance teaching and learning – this is through using a range of technologies which cater for a range of learning styles and it also enables children to collaborate with others.
  2. Improve administration and planning – this is through using technology to share information and enhancing personal knowledge
  3. Improve assessment and reporting – this is through recording children’s achievement and progress and then communicating electronically with parents

The big question is why use ICT?

  •  Investigation
  • Be creative
  • Facilitate safe communication
  • Access authentic information, insights and resources
  • Bring the world of religion into the classroom
  • Select, critical use and interpretation of information
  • Help pupils to understand important/ complex ideas
  • Organise, record, report, communicate information
  • Enhance quality of presentations

Although ICT is argued to be extremely effective in the subject for all of the many reasons stated above, there is the major issue of keeping the children safe while they are online. This is known as E Safety. Within schools it is crucial to teach internet safety throughout every child’s education as this will ensure all children stay safe online.  To ensure this safety it is recommended to set rules for the children to follow. Even with these rules in place children may still be taken to unsafe websites when searching on google, therefore when using the computers within a lesson I recommend to provide children with a list of secure websites for them to type in and have a look at.

From looking at a range of websites I have found a few that can be used effectively within RE lessons for example:

In my opinion this is a good website for showing children that it doesn’t matter what Jesus looked like, but the importance is what he did. On the other hand, some of the images on this website of Jesus may offend Christians. This website would be a good choice if for example the children were comparing and contrasting pictures of Jesus or even when drawing their own interpretation of Jesus and annotating this with characteristics.

This website is great to use when linking the subject to art as you can choose a piece of art work from the website and use this as a stimulus for discussion. It is also great for appealing to the needs of all learning styles which will look great if Ofsted are watching. The negatives of this website is that it can miss out RE altogether as it is very art related. Also, it is a competition so it encourages winners and losers – this can be a good thing at times but maybe not within an RE lesson.

I found this website quite informative as it explained how schools can get involved with the charity, however this is aimed at more older children as its appearance is not child friendly. I have an issue with showing this to children as the pictures that they use on their website may scare the children. Also, even though this website is about muslim aid it does not mention anything about muslims. In my opinion this would only be used in the classroom as a starter for a volunteering project as it will give children an example of a volunteering charity.

There are many more websites that can be used in RE lessons which include: – places of worship – hindu gallery – digital stories – teaching Christianity

and there are many more!




Session 3 – Learning Beyond the Classroom


Posted by Katie | Posted in Computer Programming | Posted on February 8, 2014

This session consisted of exploring some of the resources that had been introduced to us to develop an activity using one of the themes of learning beyond the classroom.

We decided to create our own QR code, I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the use of QR codes nowadays due to the amount of QR code reader apps that are available to us to download on our smart phones/iPads/iPods etc. QR codes are a type of two-dimensional barcode that can be read using QR reading devices or smartphones. QR codes are different to an ordinary barcode due to a barcode being a collection of vertical lines whereas QR codes have data stored in both directions.  These codes have the potential to have a major impact upon society through a variety of different ways. Using QR codes within a school environment allows children to learn through an interesting and engaging way as well as keeping them up to date with the technology today.

Below is a QR code that will take you to a youtube clip of the Creation story within religious education. To access this youtube clip the children will simply scan the QR code, the youtube clip will then appear on the screen. Once the clip has been viewed the children can then complete an activity that has been planned by their teacher – still having the clip available to view at the same time. 


An advantage of using QR codes with children is that you can not only use it in one subject, it can be used in a variety of subjects in many different ways. Below are some examples of ways you could use these with children effectively:

Physical Education – you can create a trail of QR codes for the children to follow, when the children scan each QR code it will give you the clue to find the next code. The teacher can challenge them to complete this in a certain time limit so the children have to be physically active to be able to complete this within the time. This will encourage children to be physically active as many will see this as competition. Completing this in groups will also improve communication and teamwork skills.

ICT – instead of giving children QR codes to scan, the children could create their own focusing on  a curriculum topic that interests them. This allows children to gain freedom in the choice that they make and gives them independence in their own learning.

History – the QR codes can take children to historical websites which contain virtual tours of historical buildings or artefacts. The children can use these as a focus for writing or any other activity or task that is prepared.

There are many other activities and subjects that QR codes can link into, however I have just given you a few examples in the effective use of them.

Personally, I would definitely use these with children as I think that they are an effective way to engage children in their learning. It also allows the children to improve their skills in the use of modern technology as this is a fast growing element in society nowadays.

Session 2 – Images and Animation


Posted by Katie | Posted in Computer Programming, Religious Education | Posted on February 7, 2014


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 for you to select the one of your choice. You can then add in images and text and place in any order that you would like.

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. They could also 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.

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.

Below are my creations using Animoto, try making your own, and let me know how it goes!


Prezi is a piece of software that can be used to display a presentation, it is a step up from powerpoint and you’ll be surprised to hear that you can sign up for free on the website. Creating a Prezi is really simple, firstly sign up on the website, click new prezi, select the frame that you would like, input your information (images, text etc), arrange the slides in the order you wish and click save. See simple as anything!

Below is the Prezi that I have created – this is based on the story of the Good Samaritan.

In my opinion, this is even greater than powerpoint as you do not have to go through the slides in one order, you can click on any slide that you would like to view and then click back to the home page whenever you like. This can be great when presenting your information to children as children will be intrigued due to the fact it is a different way of presenting key information to them. I believe that Prezi will work best with older children (KS2) as they can create their own to present information back to the rest of the class from their research into a topic. I’m sure children will find this software extremely easy to use as children pick things up pretty quickly nowadays.

Photo Peach

Photo Peach is a very simple piece of software which allows you to create a quiz. It allows you to input a variety of pictures and quiz questions into so that it can be used to test children’s knowledge of a certain topic. This will allow teachers to assess the effectiveness of their teaching as children should know the answers to the questions. If children struggle with them, this will provide teachers with the knowledge that they need to revisit a certain area of the topic. It is also a great way to assess children’s progress and allows for targets to be created from this.

Below I have created a Photo Peach based on the 6 keys religions and their symbols within RE. This would be used with the children as a consolidation activity once all 6 religions have been taught. It can be used as a great revision technique to prepare for an individual assessment which will follow at a later date.

This not only can be used for RE lessons, it can be used for any other subject or topic within the curriculum. I believe that this is a great piece of software which can be used effectively within lessons, whether that be for starters, plenaries, assessment purposes etc.

Session 1 – Manipulating Media


Posted by Katie | Posted in Computer Programming, Religious Education | Posted on February 6, 2014

Within this session we used two apps on the ipad to create two completely different outcomes.


The first app we looked at was iMovie, this consisted of making a movie trailor for anything you want to. This app gives you a pre-made template for you to follow, however you need to either take your own pictures or download pictures off the internet before hand and save these into your camera roll. Once you have completed this you can then start filling in your template and adding in your pictures to complete your movie trailor.

Here is our movie trailor, let me know what you think.

This app would most likely be used with key stage two children as it is quite fiddly, however once you get used to how the app works it then becomes quite simple. This app is effective for children as it allows for creativity and imagination to be used when choosing an idea. It also allows children to work together to create a group project and outcome.

On the other hand, this app could be used in key stage one in terms of creating a movie trailor for a story that they have been looking at. For example, the story that may be being looked at is ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’. This story would allow the children to create adventurous movie trailors with the assistance of other adults in the classroom.

Make Dice Lite

make dice lite

The second app that we looked at on the ipad was Make Dice Lite, this consisted of using a pre-made template which then asked you to add six items onto the dice.

make dice lite 3

We decided to create dice that can be used within a religious education lesson. On the first dice we put on each of the main six religions which are taught in primary schools (Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism). Whereas the second dice consists of festivals, dress, symbols, leaders/followers, beliefs and sacred text. This app allows you to have both completed dice on screen, the app can then be shook and the dice move. For example, if the dice lands on Christianity and Festivals, this means that the child who has rolled the dice must give an example of a christian festival.

Using this within an RE lesson consolidates the children’s learning of the aspects of the six main religions and provides evidence of individual children’s knowledge. Therefore, it is an effective means of assessment where the teacher can assess the child’s learning and then create targets for them to improve.


This app not only can be used for RE lessons, it can be used within any lesson and any topic of the National Curriculum but I just thought I’d give you a quick example of how it could be used.

RE Session Three – Pedagogy


Posted by Katie | Posted in Religious Education | Posted on February 4, 2014

Most of this session consisted of  presenting each groups planned activity based on a pedagogy principle given to us in the previous lesson.

The pedagogy principle given to my group was to use AT2 within our activity. We decided to create a short powerpoint based on the story of Daniel and the Lions Den. This consisted of telling the story to the children,  questioning them about who they believe protects them and then asking them about their views on the question ‘Does God protect us?’ This allows for children to discuss their thoughts and beliefs in a controlled setting where respect is involved.

Here is the powerpoint of daniel and the lions.

Creating this powerpoint allowed me to further my knowledge using the pedagogy principle of AT2 as I was unaware of these principle before the previous lesson. It also allowed me to gain knowledge of the story ‘Daniel and the Lions Den’ as this story was unfamiliar to me before hand. Working as a group to create this activity allowed me to gain more confidence in my subject knowledge through the help of my peers.

Pedagogy is defined as meaning different learning approaches to teaching. Within RE there are six key pedagogies, these include:

  • The Phenomena of Religion
  • Experiential religious education: educating the spirit
  • Interpretive RE
  • Concepts for learning in RE
  • Ultimate questions as a focus in RE
  • Pupils’ world views in RE

The above pedagogies have many benefits and limitations, these include:

The Phenomena of Religion – 

This looks at studying Islam through stories, moral behaviour, rituals, beliefs and experiences

  the phenomena of religion

Experiential Religious Education: Educating the Spirit – 

This focuses on using the idea that children have some spiritual capacities of their own

experiential re educating the spirit

Interpretive RE –  

This looks at taking an authentic account if the ways members of religions today practice their faith

interpretive re

Concepts for Learning in RE

This approach takes key concepts from the religions as a discipline and enables pupils to be increasingly reasonable about religion

concepts for learning in re

Ultimate Questions as a Focus in RE

This uses ‘big questions’ of meaning, purpose and truth to explore the impact of religion on life, and challenges the learners to deepen their own ideas

ultimate questions as a focus in re

Pupils’ World Views in RE

This focuses on developing answers to human questions, using religious ideas and teachings as a resource

pupils world views in re

It is crucial to incorporate all of these when teaching RE in schools, however it is impossible to incorporate all of these into one lesson. Therefore, these all need to be included within a unit of work to provide children with high quality lessons.