Showing posts from November, 2015

Jedi Writing - Inspiring Writing through Star Wars!

There is a lot of excitement and anticipation about the upcoming Star Wars film. I am sure plenty of your pupils will be desperate to see the latest installment. Knowing I have children hooked on Star Wars, I have used it as a stimulus in class.  I have previously blogged about discussing authorial intent with the teaser trailer.  You can read that blog post here.  I have also blogged about using the BB-8 droid to inspire writing, read that blog post here. 

Today I discovered another little gem that could inspire some fantastic writing linked to Star Wars. Recently, Facebook released different 360 degree videos. Users can explore the videos by dragging their cursors within videos on the desktop or by physically tilting their phones while watching on mobile. Each video is a few minutes long and gives users a completely spherical—that is, 360-degree—way to explore sand dunes, the ocean, or, say, a galaxy far, far away.

I have previously blogged about 360 videos and you can read about the…

Paper based apps in KS1

Sometimes the most simple apps can be the most effective! On a recent training day as part of my Year Group Cluster Training Package, I was shown the app 'Marvel,' by teachers at Elworth Primary.
This app is a prototyping app for mobile and web. The app involves creating a series of pages, these can be taken using the camera, loaded from the camera roll or dropbox. The app allows you to then create link boxes to other pages. When completed, the app turns into a mobile app that allows you to tap the screen and be taken to the desired page.

I have previously blogged about a similar app, Pop, which you can read here. Today, I decided to give Marvel a go with Year 1 linked with their latest English topic, based on the book 'Dark by Lemony Snicket'
The book is about a boy, Laszio, and his fear of the dark. We started discussing what fears the children have and why it makes them afraid.
We listed some and then moved onto discussing how we show our fear. We started at the top…

String is BACK!

I love Augmented Reality, if you didn't know this have a read of some of these previous blogs -

Augmented Reality in the classroom
Using Augmented Reality to inspire Augmented Reality
Can Augmented Reality improve Writing?
Mr P is abducted by Aliens!
Interactive Reading Display
Multimedia Digital Stories
Giving Children Super Powers
Reading with Augmented Reality 
Decorating my house with Augmented Reality
SPaG songs using Augmented Reality
Arloon Augmented Reality Apps
One of my favourite apps to inspire writing through Augmented Reality is String! For a while, it had been taken away from the app store however, I am very pleased to see it is back available for schools to use!
You will need to print off the following trigger images - 

I have used this app in so many ways in the classroom, from creating comics -

and short movies in KS2 - 

To a whole project to create our own Augmented Reality in KS1 - 

See the app in action from this post on my facebook page - 

String App To Inspire Writing

Learning all about 2D Shapes!

With the Year 3 class I have been working with over the last couple of weeks we have been creating some information eBooks all about 2D shapes.

It has been a great way to encourage children to share what they know about different shapes. It has also given them a purpose to learn the properties of 2D shapes they didn't previously know.

We first started by using the app Shape Lab for the children to create different shapes. I have previously blogged about this apphere.

The children were challenged to  create as many different triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons etc and then take a screenshot of each page -
Using the app Book Creator, they then used all of their screenshots to create an eBook. On each page, they used the wide range of tools available including the text, drawing and audio tool. They had to label each shape and record a short audio clip explaining the properties of each shape. Here is one of their efforts as a video - 



Dr Chips' Whole School Computing Scheme of Work!

"So many ideas I want to get started straight away!"
"So much to take back to class, thanks so much."
"Fantastic, thank you for all the great fun ideas."
"Fantastic inspirational glimpse into how to engage pupils with digital literacy."
"Fabulous and intriguing!"
"You made something scary feel very doable."

I have some very exciting news, make sure you read to the end!

Today I led a course alongside Jon Chippendall aka DrChips_focusing on the computing curriculum and how to effectively deliver it in the classroom. The course is perfect for computing leaders, class teachers and SLT looking for innovative ways to teach computing. I focus on ICT and Digital Literacy while Jon looks at the computer science aspect of the curriculum. What I love about the day is that both myself and Jon are still working in our schools so using these ideas day in day out. I am always asked about which scheme of work I would recommend for computing. I als…

Honey, I shrunk the class!

I love using technology to create WOW moments to inspire writing. When children can create content that inspires their imaginations they are completely engaged with their writing. One tool that continues to inspire writing is Greenscreen! I have previously used Greenscreen in lots of different ways such as -
Exploring our own Jurassic World
Jurassic School
Mr P is abducted by Aliens
Multimedia Digital Stories 
Making new knowledge stick!

Today Greenscreen was used to inspire stories where the children were shrunk to a fraction of their size. Using the app Doink Greenscreen, we created videos giving the illusion that the children were tiny in size, exploring the classroom where everything was massive. These videos were then shared with the class and the visuals provided the children with the perfect stimulus to write a story to accompany the videos. They then performed their writing over the videos to create some amazing digital stories! Within the recording process, children would naturall…

Enhancing a Barnaby Bear book with Technology

I know plenty of EYFS and KS1 classrooms have a Barnaby Bear. A teddy bear that spends every weekend with a child from the class. Usually, a book goes with the bear and parents are encouraged to document what happens over the weekend and this is then shared back in class.

Last weekend, my son Harry came home with his class teddy! We had a great weekend which we documented in the book by printing some photos, but as you would probably guess I couldn't just leave it at text and images. I wanted to use technology to enhance what can be done with the book.

Firstly, I wanted to document Harry's recount of the weekend. As he isn't able to write yet, I used the app Audioboom to record some audio of him talking through his weekend. This was uploaded online and turned into a QR code which was printed and stuck in the book.

For me, this is a simple but effective way in which younger children can contribute more to the book. It has so many other uses in the classroom.

On the Saturday…

Trust me... You're Doing Great!

A recent advert has inspired this blog post -

I watched this and thought the same sort of message could be applied to teaching (take away the sitting an exam and CV.) It got me thinking, how often are you told you're doing great?

Every news article I seem to read at the minute about education seems to always have a negative tone. Just to quote one I read today -
"There is nothing anecdotal about this. A recent YouGov poll commissioned by the NUT teaching union suggests 53 per cent of teachers are thinking of quitting in the next couple of years. News reports earlier this year revealed that four out of 10 teachers quit within a year of qualifying. And 11,000 young teachers leave the profession before they have even completed their development as educators. The exodus has almost tripled in six years and there is much talk of a teacher recruitment crisis.
This waste of talent, enthusiasm and youthful idealism is shocking. It is also staggeringly expensive. There is a similar cris…

Inspiring Reading and Writing through John Lewis' Christmas Advert 2015

The latest John Lewis Christmas advert was revealed today and again they have delivered with their 'Man on the Moon' film. On the 'Improving Reading and Writing through Popular Children's Movies and Media' Conference with John Murray we discuss how powerful storytelling is and this shouldn't be neglected by focusing purely on the technical aspect of writing. I believe the John Lewis adverts are so popular because each one tells a story. You can read my ideas for the advert in 2014 here, also look at some more ideas on the Christmas Shed. Here is the advert -

What I love about this year's effort, is how powerful the music and the lyrics are. John Murray has kindly put together some questions based on the song and the lyrics, which were originally performed by Oasis. Here is a link to the lyric video -

Questions to consider, this can be used as a pre-reading task, aimed at Upper KS2 - Why do you think the singer wants to leave ‘this city’?Why do you think ‘thi…

Using Snapchat to turn children into Superheroes!

Snapchat is one of the most popular social media messaging apps. The app has recently had some impressive updates including adding a animated filter over your face and the recent addition of rewind, slow motion and fast forward. These can create some very simple but effective special effects to trick an audience into believing children may have super powers!
NEW BLOG POST - Using Snapchat to turn children into superheroes! — Mr Parkinson (@ICT_MrP) November 5, 2015
Now Snapchat may not be an app teachers would feel comfortable using in class, therefore, an alternative app is Videoshop. This app popped up on Apps Gone Free a while back, the app has a wealth of different features -

1. Trim: Cut out any unwanted moments.
2. Music: Add from your iPod library to your videos.
3. Sound effects: Choose from animals noises, farts, explosions, laughter, and more.
4. Slow motion (or fast motion): Adjust video speed to sl…

Bonfire Art on the iPad

Tonight is Bonfire night, so in school we have been looking at using the iPad to create some Bonfire artwork!

A couple of years ago, I used brushes after being inspired by a lesson from @SimonHaughton. These were some of our efforts -

This year we decided to use a different app - MyBrushes Pro, the range of different tools and brush types to use is fantastic. Here are a couple of our efforts from Year 1 - 

I have previously used this app with Year 1 to create some lovely Christmas tree designs, you can read more about them here.

In KS2 we linked our pictures more with Literacy and first generated as much vocabulary to describe fireworks. We used Socrative to collect all the children's ideas and put all the vocabulary into Tagxedo

The children then had to create their own firework display picture using the fantastic TypeDrawing app. Asking the children to try and include as much vocabulary in their picture. Here are some of their efforts - 

Christmas Around the World Project 2015

As a follow-up to the successful project last year (see here), we will once again be looking to connect classrooms across the world. In the lead up to Christmas, you can deepen your understanding of different Christmas traditions by asking other children from around the world about how they celebrate Christmas in their community.

The project is simple, sign up using the form below, pick a school from the number of willing participants in the spreadsheet and arrange a time to connect using a variety of ways such as Skype, Google Hangouts and Ustream/periscope. Please be aware of time zone differences and this website may help - Click Here.

You may also wish to live stream an assembly or Christmas show to share with the world to Youtube or use Periscope, or if you have been busy blogging and creating work related to Christmas, you can share it on the global Padlet below.

What you may need to take part in this project:
An email addressSkype AccountGoogle + accountUStream accountYoutube a…

Can you beat Siri???

Now this idea is nothing new, think of it more as a new take on a tried and tested activity.

When I was in Year 4 at school, we had a teacher who every day would play the 'Beat the Calculator' game. He would ask us a times table question and we had to answer it before he could type it into a calculator. I was hooked! It was this one game that made me endlessly practice and perfect my knowledge of times tables. It is still a challenge today to get children to instantly recall different number facts.

Today with children being exposed to so much more technology, calculators may not bring the WOW factor that it once did. One thing that does captivate children is the ever impressive 'Siri.'

Siri is a "computer program that works as an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator. The feature uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Web services."

In essence, …

Melvin McGee - Zombie Hunter!

I couldn't be happier to see that Mat Sullivan's (InspiredMind5) first novel has been released!

I have worked along Mat for a few years as part of the #Go2 team. I was leading some training at Mat's school when he talked to me about his idea for his first book. I was straight away hooked, the idea of a child-friendly zombie book sounded like a winner!

When I got an early draft of the book, I immediately read some to a couple of classes and they loved it! That's when I knew it was going to be popular with children!

The book tells the story of Melvin, who has just turned 10 and quickly discovers his town is infested with crazed, brain-gobbling zombies. Here is the trailer -

The book is fantastic and one children (especially boys) will love! The artwork by the very talented Marek Jagucki matches the fantastic storytelling and creates a wonderful book that I am sure children will treasure!

The reason I feel this book will be a great tool for teachers as a class read is th…