History and ICT

Although this post is not directly linked to the computing and RE theme, I thought I would share the ICT work that I produced in a History Specialism seminar. Here is a video I made in i movie, the video was made to start off an evacuees topic. It is to engage children from the beginning and to prompt them into thinking about the topic and to fuel questioning.

I have shared this resource on the bank.

Session 6: Extending Computing

MaKey MaKey

The MaKey MaKey sets consist of a circuit board with 6 keys on, several crocodile clip wires and a wire that you connect to the computer (see photo). After earthing the circuit by attaching it to my bracelet we tried many different items within the circuit, including: play dough and even ourselves. The concept was very easy to grasp and it was fun to experiment with different materials and purposes of the circuit. I think this would work very well in the classroom because the resource is engaging and the ability to use it along side games the children will already will be playing will enable them to learn and have fun simultaneously.

MaKey MaKey
MaKey MaKey

Playdough Pacman

Here we attached play dough into the circuit to make the arrow keys needed to play Pacman. This idea would work brilliantly with children, one because it is very simple to set up and two because it can be applied to many computer games, plus who doesn’t like playing with play dough?!

Human Piano

After using play dough in our circuit we decided we wanted to take it to the next level, so we added humans into the circuit. Although the video doesn’t have brilliant sound quality, I can assure you it did actually work.

Playdough Piano

Then we decided to make music with the circuit, but a little easier, we used play dough.

Raspberry Pi

Having a particularly technically inclined family I have already come into contact with Rasberry Pis and I know a variety of things they can be used for, however I think I would need a lot of help to use it for something myself. They are very useful little things, and extremely cheap! They were designed to encourage children and teenagers to get into programming. The picture below is of a Raspberry Pi  used as a desktop, it has a clear case and the keyboard and mouse plugged in. We used this desktop to experiment with Scratch.

Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi

Scratch

Below is a picture of the set of instructions we gave our sprite, it took us a while to figure out how to make the sprite stay up the correct way. I have always steered away from Scratch because it looks very complicated, but I was wrong, after a few minutes figuring out the commands it is actually fairly easy to figure out. It is also very easy to delete a command if it doesn’t work very well. I think that Scratch would be a brilliant tool to use in the classroom because you can do so much with it, there is so much room for creativity. There is also the scratch cards that are at different levels so can be differentiated and challenged appropriately.

 



Directed Task:

E-Saftey:

  • This is something that personally worries me a great deal, although the internet can be a fantastic resource it has to be used safely. Whilst at school this is much easier to monitor, it is important that as teachers we educate our children to understand the dangers of using the internet and how to be safe.
  • Here is a link to CEOP  and Childnet they both provide help and information for parents, guardians and teachers. So can be a fantastic source to show to parents who may be unsure about e-saftey.

Internet Safety is extremely important. The main things to remember, especially for children, when using the internet are:

  • Not to post any personal details, including:
  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Or telephone numbers/emails.

Here is a clip from NewsRound, which is aimed at children, the clip shows potentially how dangerous the internet can be, the importance of keeping passwords safe and encourages safe use of the internet. The clip does this in a fun and child friendly way using a mix of cartoon and real life. This clip could be used in the classroom to show children how to be safe when using the internet.

Internet Safety is important for every child’s well being   There have been many examples of cyber bullying in the news, therefore we need to protect the children as much as possible as well as explaining to them how to use the internet responsibly,  safely and for its purpose. As the internet can be a fantastic resource for everybody, we all just need to be aware of how to use it correctly.
Reading and Research: 
  • Here is a link to the Department of Education’s study of safeguarding.  It suggest how children can be safeguarded, in three key areas: identification of abuse,  being identified, and policies on working to safeguard children. It also discusses how children can be affected: neglect and emotional abuse. This is very important all children have the right to be safe and as teachers we have the role of making sure they are safe at school, which includes the use of the internet.
  • Here is a link to someone discussing the use of twitter. It has a very critical view on those who do not use twitter, it suggests how using it can get us involved in global conversations and that twitter is not just for gossip and following celebrities. I could not agree more, twitter allows us to have conversations about many things and using the hashtag our views can be seen by anyone who searches for that hashtag, therefore global conversations can be had about many topics including politics and educations, therefore it can be very useful.

Session 5: Computing in KS2

In this session we were building upon what we had done in the previous session, looking further into computing – we did this by looking at how computing can be done in KS2.

Hopscotch

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Here is a video of my attempt on Hopscotch. This iPad app is very similar to scratch, however I prefer the layout on this app because it feels more accessible. I would suggest this app is suitable for lower KS2. This could be used as a stepping stone in between something like Daisy the Dino to Scratch.

 

Directed Tasks:

My own computing development:

I will be totally honest in this reflection, before these computing sessions I knew very little about programming and how to do it. In last years sessions we did a little of Scratch – which I really did not like, I thought it looked very complicated and I felt a little threatened  by it. Now that we have had loads of time to look into it and have a play I actually quite enjoy it and feel far more comfortable using it. Using Daisy the Dino or Hopscotch made computing much more accessible to me, and finally I was able to use Scratch and actually made my sprite do something!

Computer programming to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom:

As long as the teacher is confident with computer programming it can be used to greatly enhance the teaching and learning in the classroom. It can be used to present knowledge and understanding learnt in other subjects or to further understanding in computing. For example something like Prezi can be used to present knowledge from any subject, whereas something like Scratch can be used to develop understanding of commands such as “if this then..”. Here is a link to Jade Dawson’s blog post where she used her subject knowledge of Noah’s Ark to make an i movie this, like my Evacuees iMovie could be used to start off the topic, or it could be used as an example and the children would have to make their own iMovie trailer for another religious story, consequently developing their own computational thinking. Whilst iMovie is not really in depth computing, it is a start, it can help children’s confidence grow so that they can feel more able to attempt using something like Scratch or Kudo. I think iMovie is a brilliant tool, it is just so easy to use and very quickly your work can look professional.

Further Reading:

  • Computer Science vs. ICT – This article defines the difference between computing and ICT and the reasons why the New 2014 National Curriculum has changed to computing – it is a particularly interesting read, here are the main points: it states that computing is a stem subject and the combination of computing and creativity is and will be crucial in the further – therefore it is imperative that we teach children how to compute rather than how to use word and powerpoint, plus the likelihood is that they already know how to use the basics. It suggests that ICT is like learning to drive a car where as CP is learning to design a car – so basically CP is a far more in depth understanding of how things work and how to put them together, where as ICT is just learning how to use it. I strongly agree with this article because with the word getting more technically inclined everyday children need to understand the computational concepts. In the future they will be the ones inventing the newest technological advances, therefore the sooner we begin to educate them about computing the sooner their love for it can start and the sooner we will be having flying cars or something else just as brilliant!!!
  • Time to move beyond ICT? – Here is a link to a PDF of a study about the move from ICT to computing. It is a bit longer than any other further reading that I have done, but it interesting – so the extra reading time was worth it! The conclusion of the study was that the industry needs to change to computing and it seems that children are willing to accept the change. It also suggests that teachers should not fear computing but embrace it, because it can also enhance learning in other subjects and can develop critical thinking that can be applied in other subjects. The study also shares this quote: ‘When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.’ (Alexander Graham Bell) – Which I think is a brilliant quote, it can be applied to so many situations, I honestly think that many people do not like change and the change from ICT to CP is a big one, teachers need to embrace the change and be happy to develop children’s learning even further.

Session 4: Computer Programming in KS1

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).

Example course layout and instructions.

 

Plugged activity

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 English, as the children could write a set of instructions for the Bee Bot using time connectives. It also links nicely into Maths, as the children are using directions. The use of left, right, forward and backwards can be an introduction into north, south, east and west.

Sat Nav – this gives you the ‘code for your journey’ with miles/kilometres and the direction you are going in.

 

 

Children’s activity – warm up – to programme into the SatNav some listed places (or home – dependent on policies)

Activity – writing a programme of directions to get to a certain place from a set point. If it is a long distance, try and draw it on a map, then check it against a SatNav.

Plenary – either practise short journeys if within classroom or school, or give a child a set of directins for a short journey. Someone acts as the SatNav’s voice.

I have shared this brief plan on the resource bank, here is a link to it.

Directed Tasks:

  • The Guardian published an article titled “Bee Bot turtle draws the crowds”, it focuses on the use of Bee Bots with children who have special educational needs. The article discusses many methods of using computing with children who have special educational needs, such as:choose it,  check the map and textease, it also discusses the use of Bee Bots – “among other draws, ICT supplier Rem gathered a crowd with Bee-Bot, a cute floor turtle for teaching control and programming to young children”. Therefore this shows that Bee Bots can be an inclusive method to teach computing to all children.

Session 3: Learning Beyond the Classroom

Learning outside of the classroom can be a fantastic opportunity, because for one children love to get out of the classroom and two it makes learning more engaging and therefore children are more likely to remember and understand what they have learnt. See my post on Manipulating Media, for what I believe is a brilliant idea, for a learning outside the classroom opportunity using i movie. Another way to use ICT outside of the classroom is QR codes, these can be used for pre set treasure trails, or even for children to create their own treasure trails and test them on their peers.

qrcode.19955859

QR codes are basically just a link (that is scanned by a mobile device) to anything on the internet: websites, information or pictures. They can be used within book for the book to be read aloud or for the scene to be acted out. Here is a QR code to link to an article about there being more to iPads than apps, where the author suggests that iPads should not be used just for “apps for maths” or any particular subject, in the sense that a Teacher tells the children to use that app and thats it. iPads should be used as a tool to enhance learning, not to use for the entire duration of a lesson.

TopiaIcon

 

During the CP seminar I spent sometime on the Topia app, which I will admit is pretty addictive. The app would link fantastically to Science, with habitats and survival. Within the app you have to create your own world, how much water the world has, how much land and how high the land is. You choose when to release certain animals, if the animals are happy, fed and able to drink then they will multiply, but if they multiply too much then there will not be enough room and consequently animals will die. There is an animal that kills other animals, the idea is to have the perfect balance. This app would be very good for KS2 to develop CP skills and science understanding.

 

Directed Tasks:

  • Digital Learning Farm – Here is a link to a blog article about the digital learning farm concept. The concept suggests that teachers should give children roles and responsibilities relevant to everyday life, to contribute to learning within the community. Alan November believes that children will have a better understanding of a concept if the task is authentic.
  • How the iPad can transform classroom learning – This article suggests that if children have iPads in the classroom they have access to a wealth of knowledge, they can also share their ideas with the class very easily. The article suggests that when planning iPads into lessons it is important that teachers teach the content and not just say “I have an app for that”, it is important to use open ending questions and allow children to experiment and explore with the iPads.

Advantages of using mobile technologies:

  • The obvious advantage is that the technology is mobile, there can be used anywhere, within the classroom or out.
  • Has the potential to take the learning outside and consequently enable the children to learn in a different environment.

Disadvantages of using mobile technologies:

  • To use mobile technologies wifi will be needed outdoors for such tools and QR codes, therefore this could be a consideration when using mobile technologies.
  • Moving the learning outside of the classroom can be very exciting for the children, there will be potential for them to be distracted and misbehave therefore it is important that the teacher knows their children so that they can decide if moving outside the classroom will enhance or hinder learning.

Session 2: Image and Animation

Nativity

This is a power point story that Jaz and I made in todays’ session. It is the Nativity story, click on the link to view the entire story. This could be used in the classroom for RE when studying Christianity. It could also be used to model a story in Literacy, and then possibly a template depending on the children. The story could be modelled at the beginning of the lesson, demonstrating how to use power point to make a story. This could be working along side Literacy where the children could have written their own story, and then transform it on to power point.

 

 

 

Maisey the Mermaid.

 

 

Here is a link to a story book that I created on Story Jumper. The story is about a Mermaid who decides to steal some Pirate’s treasure, and then feels guilty about it so returns the treasure. The story was created to portray a moral through it. The story could be used as an example for children to use as a stimulus to make their own story, or it could be used as a template. Children could write their own stories in Literacy, and then produce the book in Story Jumper.

 

 

 

Here is a video that I found on You Tube that Primary aged children created for the “Water Conservation Animation Competition“. This is a competition designed to show awareness and enthuse children about Water conservation. There are is a large amount of these videos on You Tube and they are well worth a watch.

 

Directed Tasks:

  • Animation with tools on the web – This link provides mini reviews for animation websites which is particularly helpful when trying to decide what the best animation tool is to use within the classroom. Although it is not British it does give a guide as to which tool is best suited to which age.
  • What is animation? – This is a great link that defines what animation is, it states that “animation is the process by which we see still pictures move”. It also discussed the “Moving Hand Theory” which is particularly interesting, if you wave your hand in front of  your eyes, you will see several hands, give it a try! It is similar to the process of animation. Animation can derive from: change of size, position, angle, speed, colour and shape. It is important to consider all of these elements when creating an animation.

After this session and the further reading that I have done I feel that the use of Image and Animation can be very beneficial in the classroom. Story Jumper is a brilliant website that provides the opportunity for children to make a story from scratch or to use a template. The website is not particularly complicated and therefore I feel that it could be used for the majority of Primary school years. Powerpoint stories are also very good because they can be made from scratch or from templates, therefore a brilliant tool to use for differentiation because it can be made fairly simple and challenging.

Session 1: Manipulating Media

Manipulating Media can involve a great deal of things, my personal favourite is i movie, purely because it is so simple to use and looks very professional. I created my own i movie trailer for History Specialism, the purpose of the video was to introduce the topic of evacuees and to promote the children to think about questions they may have about the topic. I edited out the title and the credits because I felt that they ruined the atmosphere that I was trying to create.

Here is a video that a found on You Tube that would be a fantastic stimulus for a Transition activity. The children could go to their secondary school in small groups and produce a similar movie trailer, this would enable them to have a look around the school and familiarise themselves with the school in a light hearted manner. Because i movie is so simple to use children could even make the movie as they go along while actually at the school, then once back at their primary school the groups could share what they have found and hopefully the children will feel less worried about going to secondary school.

Manipulating Media can be a very powerful skill and could be used purely for learning in Computer Programming or to enhance learning in other subjects. For example children could be writing a story, persuasive piece or news piece in Literacy and then they could create a trailer for their piece, they could plan the trailer, watch it once complete and then perfect it, to reflect the drafting process they will have used in Literacy.

Reading:

  • Learning in dissolving boundaries discusses the change in the boundaries in schooling, in relation to the underlying morals of society. It suggests that “Learning is no longer only about what is or what was, but also what will be and how we deal with that emerging future.”

Advantages of Manipulating Media:

  • The i movie app in particular is very useful because it enables children to quickly make something that is professional looking. This app is brilliant for children who feel uncomfortable with using technology because it is so simple to use.
  • Manipulating Media can produce good results fast because you don’t have to make something from scratch, therefore children and adults a like can feel proud of what they have produced not long after beginning work. For some this may be an advantage however others may need to be challenged.

Disadvantaged of Manipulating Media:

  • For those who are technically inclined may feel frustrated by manipulating media because they will be more restricted as to what they can do.
  • Manipulating Media restricts creativity and originality.

Consequently I feel that manipulating media would be most beneficial to use when introducing children to Computer Programming, with the hope that being able to produce something that looks professional quite quickly will enthuse the children to want to create more creative things as their understanding increases. Manipulating Media could also be used for those who are less able and less technically inclined because it will enable them to be proud of what they have made with less effort than making something from scratch, hopefully enabling them to want to progress their skills to be able to make something from scratch next time.

Session 6: Assessment in RE

The main objectives of this lesson were to know about assessment and to use it to evaluate and plan. Assessment is not Nationally required in RE and teachers are not required to report to parents about attainment in RE. However there is level descriptors – but how will this change when the National Curriculum 2014 (levels abolished) is set in place.

  • After a class vote it appears that most RE lesson observed at taught by cover teachers or TAs during PPA time.
  • RE not having to be assessed and often not taught by the class teacher effects the credibility of the subject for parents.

Is RE hindered because it is not assessed in the same way as other subjects?

  • Yes – Because it is not assessed in the same way Parents often view the subject as less important.
  • Yes – Teachers spend less time planning because they are worried about test results in subjects that have higher priority.
  • Yes – Children can be less interested because the know it is not as important.
  • Yes – Schools put less funding for resources and training because they would rather the money be spent in higher priority subjects.
  • No – There are less boundaries so teachers may feel they have more room to be creative.

Interesting point – France does not teach RE and marriages are done through civil service, then if they wish they can have a religious ceremony. – Does this help to promote racism? But then differences in religion is not highlighted, therefore suggesting we all are equal.

Plan, Teach or Assess first?

Asses to know where to start? But then teach first to teach where they are? Plan lesson then assess? – on going cycle.

How can we assess?

  • Observing
  • Peer assess (3 stars and a wish)
  • Self assess
  • Work produced
  • Talking
  • Listening
  • Question and answers
  • Reflection
  • Drawing
  • Role play
  • Group work
  • All need feedback!!!

Non- Statutory framework: sets out standards for learning and suggests how RE should contribute to the curriculum. It highlights SMSC and is an important role for preparing pupils for society.

RE lesson video (teachers media):

  • Planed for reflection – starter head down and think about things that relax you, sit up when you are ready to share.
  • Share feelings about God.
  • Teacher models what relaxes her.
  • Finish sentence starters about what relaxes them – given photo as stimulus. They have to explain why they would like to be in the photo.
  • Children share what relaxes them – children suggest thinking about people who are important to them.
  • Reflection is consistent throughout the lesson.
  • Lesson is outside and teacher believes this means their learning is deeper.
  • Children and adults alike can go outside to reflect and think.
  • Buddhist story told outside, Siddhartha and the Swan. Children reflect on the story.
  • Teacher says that the lesson was about learning from (AT2) religion – the story helps us to think about being reflective. Children discuss what they would do if they were in the story.
  • Teacher asks: What do you think is cruel in our world today? What do you think you should be thankful for today? – There is not one answer.
  • Children say reflection is being quiet and think about people.
  • Children to think of wise words (like the story) – children say: be polite, be happy, don’t swear ect. These are rules for their reflective place, the willow tree tunnel.
  • Child says – not everyone has the same religion, if we did the world would be boring!!!

How was their learning assessed?

  • Observation – a lot of question and answers
  • Some written work – their wise words, to go in reflective place
  • Self assessment – sharing ideas and reflections.

At the end of each key stage teachers have to provide a level that best fits. They should not just assess using one piece of work or observation. Level descriptors measure progression in knowledge, skills and understanding. It is important to assess aspects of AT1 and AT2.

PHSE

  • Government state that PHSE should be taught in all school, they provide one page worth of guidance of the teaching of PHSE. Only statutory in Key Stage 3 and 4.
  • The government basically says that teachers should know their children and their needs and consequently plan PHSE to suit the children.
  • Children should be able to make informed decisions and understand a healthy life style.
  • PHSE association has free resources and ideas for teaching PHSE.

Directed Tasks: 

McCreery, E., Palmer, S. & Voiels, V. (2008) Achieving QTS: Teaching Religious Education. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Chapter 9: Assessment in RE:

  • Assessment is vital across the entire curriculum. There are no national requirements for assessment in RE. Schools much go to the syllabus they use and ask what they think about assessment.
  • All local authorities have sections about assessment which is usually informed by QCA guidelines.
  • Assessment for learning: It is important to remember what assessment is for, what is its purpose. There is no nation requirement to report on children’s progression in RE, therefore reasons for doing should relate to our own practice.
  • Assessment can: tell us what the child has understood, identify misunderstandings, allow future planning, plan for individual needs and evaluate our own practice.
  • Formative assessment: can be done at any point during the learning process, it is often used to help plan the next lesson – this is the same for all subjects.
  • Summative assessment: identifies what a child has learnt at the end of a topic.
  • When assessing it is important that children know: why they are being assessed, what is going to be assessed, what the teacher will be looking for, what is the marking criteria and how they can best meet the criteria.
  • Assessment can be achieved by: observation, looking at work produced, self assessment and peer assessment. It is also vital that children receive feedback so that they know how well they are doing and what targets they have to improve.

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

Section 5: Assessment in RE:

  • “Assessment is an essential part of everyday teaching and learning in RE”.
  • AFL: the process of “seeking and interpreting evidence” to decide where the children are in there learning.
  • Learning objectives can be used to help assess whether a child has achieved what they should have done in the lesson.
  • Activities set should relate directly to the learning objective so that throughout the lesson children are progressing towards achieving the learning objective.
  • Success criteria should be provided and self and peer assessment can be used to help children understand if they are meeting the criteria.
  • RE can assess: knowledge, understanding and skills.
  • RE cannot assess: how spiritual a child is, levels of spiritual or moral development or attitudes.
  • It is important to measure attainment against level descriptors. – However come September 2014 and the use of the new curriculum this may change.

 

 

Session 5: Visits and Visitors

Generally, children will enjoy any type of trip not dependent on the subject or purpose. This is because they enjoy to get out of the classroom and be somewhere new, even the coach journey can be exciting. This post will specially focus on RE trips and visitors.

Considerations for a visit:

  • Prior preparation of children.
  • The trip needs to build positive attitudes – not enhance negative.
  • The trip needs to be interesting and actually have a purpose, children should have learnt something from the trip.
  • The trip should be integrated and enhance the current scheme of work/programme of study.
  • What will be done after the trip with the new knowledge, how will it be developed further?

Having religious visitors can be very beneficial, but also has its disadvantages.

Directed Tasks:

Benefits:

  • Can make the knowledge more engaging and realistic.
  • Children will be appreciative of a new face.
  • It is an opportunity for children to ask questions and receive extremely realistic answers.
  • Promotes community cohesion.

Disadvantages:

  • Information can be pitched at the wrong level, therefore it is important that the teacher talks with the visitor prior to the event.
  • Can be used to give all of the knowledge rather than to enhance and develop knowledge taught by the teacher.
  • Children can use it as an opportunity to misbehave, so teachers need to not use it as an opportunity to sit back and have a cup of tea.

The Big Debate

Main Points:

  • RE is a controversial subject, what is its place in modern schools?
  • Faith schools – 7000, with in the state system – majority christian. Majority popular and successful, are they appropriate for a muli-cultural society.
  • One view: children should be taught about religions and then when they are old enough they can make their own decision as to what religion they would like to follow or not – opposes faith schools.
  • Another view: foundation of state schools began with church of England schools, they helped to provide for some of the poorest communities.  History of our country is fundamentally christian.
  • Another view: wary of faith schools, but not against.

My opinion:

RE should be equally taught in every state school, every religion should be taught for the same percentage of time as any other religions. We live in a diverse society, to avoid and prevent any racism or prejudice we need to educate children that we are all equal and it does not matter what religion we believe in we should not judge others for following a different religion.

Session 4: RE Through ICT

Technology has a growing impact on our daily lives, therefore incorporating it within the learning of RE can enhance learning. Of course as with any subject using technology has its advantages and disadvantages.

Primary RE with ICT: A pupil’s entitlement to ICT in Primary RE (2009) suggest some advantages of using ICT in RE:

    • It allows investigation.
    • Can facilitate communication locally and globally and create connections that without technology would be less likely – community cohesion.
    • Provide access to realistic information and pictures and even video tours of religious buildings – therefore if there are funding issues the children are still able to see inside a religious building. Here is a video tour that could be use to show children the inside of a church if they were to be unable to visit themselves for whatever reason.

  • Can enable children who may have difficulties putting pen to paper to express their ideas, therefore assessing their understanding and thinking about the topic rather than their literacy skills.

The document also suggests that when planning ICT into RE it is vital for the teacher to consider the value that ICT is adding to the lesson and learning. As well as could the objectives be achieved to a higher quality without the use of technology.

Directed Tasks:

  • When searching for a virtual tour on RE Online it redirects you to this page which has a tour of a mosque. Children are able to select which room they would like to have a look at. This could be used within a lesson for children to locate particular elements of the religion that they have learnt about in lessons, for example where the Quran is located, where muslims pray. It could also be used to compare different religious buildings. It could also be used within lessons to compare mosques in the UK to mosques in other countries such as Dubai. The majority of these ideas would work best towards the end of the topic to consolidate their understanding, however the virtual tour could also be used to introduce the topic and show the children where a particular religion worship and pray.
  • RE Quest provides a video resource of the Easter story. This could be used at any point throughout the year but of course would be more relevant in the run up to the Easter holidays. It could be used in a school assembly, or within individual lessons. The video simplifies the Easter story and is aimed at children’s levels and therefore is likely to engage them. It could be used alongside reading the story from a children’s bible and could provide a stimulus for children to create a role play on their own take of the story.
  • What are the benefits and constraints of using ICT?
  • Benefits:
  •  Can enhancing learning in RE by providing visual and interactive aids to support learning, for example photos and interactive tours.
  • Can enable children who struggle or do not enjoy putting pen to paper to express their ideas in a different way, it can remove barriers.
  • Can encourage children to learn in RE because using ICT can be very interesting and is likely to be different from what else they would have be doing during the day.
  • Constraints:
  • Can detract learning away from the purpose and objectives of the lesson, therefore it is imperative that teachers consider how ICT is used within the lessons and to ensure that it actually enhances the learning and not hinders it.
  • Virtual tours could be used rather than having the opportunity to actually visit a religious building, whilst using visual tours can be brilliant for less affluent schools or schools that are not close to a particular religious building, they can be used as an easy option rather than visiting the real thing.
  • It is important when using ICT in any subject that behavioural management is kept an even closer eye on because the possible change of room or laptop screen to hide behind can provide children with the opportunity to get distracted. Whilst this is not a reason to not use ICT within RE it is more of an aspect to consider and for teachers to be on their toes so that children can achieve the full potential of the lesson.
  • Essential Reading:

McCreery E., Palmer S. & Voiels V. (2008) Achieving QTS: Teaching Religious Education. Exeter: Learning Matters

Chapter 4 :Literature, Literacy and RE.

McCreery suggests that the learning objective for using a story within an RE lesson will always be: “to enable to children to become familiar with, engage with and interpret religious stories.”

When planning to use a story within an RE lesson it is important that teachers consider:

  • How to interpret the story.
  • Put the story in the context of the religion.
  • How to aid children to familiarise themselves with the story and engage with it.

Strategies to engage with stories:

  • Discuss feelings – hot seat, conscience alley.
  • Freeze Frames to show emotion at a particular point of a story.
  • Thought bubbles to encourage children to write either their feelings or how they think a character would feel at a particular point of a story.
  • Write a letter.
  • Emotions graph – to show the change and progression of emotion at different points throughout the story.
  • Cartoon strip – can be engaging and a different strategy.
  • Draw scenes then put in chronological order, this enables children to remember the order of the story.
  • Newspaper report – provides children with opportunity to recall events of the story and put their own twist on it.
  • Retell story in different setting, this could be different location or time – for example the Easter story could be retold in modern times in England, therefore making the story more relevant to the children and enabling the children to put their own twist on the story for example Jesus could have a mobile phone. This could engage children and be very entertaining, therefore providing a rememberable channel to enhance learning of the story.

Questions that could be used to promote discussion:

  • How did the story make you feel?
  • What do you think of they way they behaved?
  • What do you think the story is trying to teach?
  • What do you think of the story?
  • What do you think a character behaved like that?
  • What does this story tell us about the teller?
  • Does this story remind you of another story you know?
  • Why do you think this story was told?

These questions prompt the children to think about the moral of the story, why it was told and the behaviour within the story. Whilst these questions can enhance learning within RE, they can also be used to link with SMSC and can be used to address issues such as bullying.

Chapter 5: Developing thinking skills in RE:

  • Critical thinking: means manipulating concepts and information, not just recalling them. Therefore if a child is able to critically think then they understand the concept being taught. – Recall is placed at the bottom of Bloom/s Taxonomy pyramid, which suggests it is the less beneficial method when trying to understand something. Evaluation is placed at the top of the pyramid, critical thinking is an aspect of evaluation.
  • Critical thinking is fundamental to learning in RE. Thinking skills are needed for both AT1 and AT2. It consists of exploring meaning and purpose.
  • Planning for thinking skills in RE: There needs to be opportunity for imagination, awe and wonder, but the main rule is to provide opportunity for children to think.
  • Synthesising is also an important skill for children to acquire, it is about being able to make connections between pieces of information, it can be achieved through open ended questions.

Chapter 6: The contribution of RE to children’s personal and spiritual development and well-being:

  • The national curriculum addresses academic needs, it does not represent what children need to learn and develop to become a respectful adult in the future. As a teacher we provide children with the opportunity to progress academically and to develop their personal and spiritual selves.
  • RE and SMSC (Social, Morial, Spirtual and Cultural): SMSC can be intertwined into any lesson, but it has direct links with RE. There are different aspects of spirituality that can be explored through RE: investigation religious traditions, studying the lives of spiritual people, discussing our own responses to spiritual matters and studying ways in which people have express their spirituality.
  • RE and PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education): This is closely related to SMSC. RE plays a curtail role in promoting PHSE: developing confidence, learning what is fair and unfair, developing good relationships, learning about prejudice, being able to talk about relationships and considering family issues.

Chapter 7: RE in the early years:

  • Children in the early years are likely to have experienced some religious festivals and will have celebrated birthday and possibly christmas, RE in early years will help them understand these celebrations.
  • The main areas that RE will contribute to are: personal, social and emotional development; knowledge and understanding of the world; communication, language and literacy and creative development.
  • It is important that all children have a sense of identity and belonging, this can be helped to be achieved through RE. Through discussing: the importance of names, caring for babies, naming and welcoming ceremonies, family, growing up, what it means to belong and belonging to a particular type of religious family.

Chapter 8: Planning in RE: 

  • To have successful and beneficial lesson it is crucial to have planned appropriately before.
  • Long term planning, it is important to: ensure all teachers know the policy for RE, school needs to communicate the policy to parents, decide how RE will be organises, decide what religions will be taught, ensure an affective approach and be able to identify progression in learning throughout all key stages. It is also vital to consider the needs of all children within the planning and leading of RE lessons.
  • Medium term planning: Each teacher will plan to deliver each topic across the year, most will adopt themselves to a cross curricular approach.
  • Selecting learning objectives, it is important to consider: previous learning, children’s backgrounds and aims of the syllabus.

Allen, J., Potter, J., Sharp, J. & Turvey.  (2012) Primary ICT Knowledge, Understanding and Practice (5th Ed).  London. Sage/Learning Matters. Pages 8 and 9 and page 56.

  • It is important to consider how ICT can enhance children’s learning, teachers should be able to use ICT throughout the curriculum.
  • ICT is a powerful teaching and learning tool. It can provide opportunity to explore, reflect, review, ask questions and share ideas opening – all of these aspects are important components of a RE lesson.