Celebrity Online Safety

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I believe that online safety is the most important aspect of the computing curriculum and as such, should be taught regularly. The children at the school where I teach have a god working knowledge of online safety due to the efforts of all our staff.  I am always looking for creative ways to teach what can sometimes be a fairly dry topic.

On the Teaching Ideas website, there is a resource which contains nine different online safety scenarios that children may face and a question to test the children’s understanding of the scenario. This could be done via a group/paired/whole class discussion. I decided to do it a little differently.

I distributed the scenarios around the classroom and gave each pair of children an ipad. They discussed the advice they would give to the person in the scenario. They then collected images of their favourite celebrities into the ipad’s camera roll.

The next step was to create a Morfo of one of their celebrities using the app Morfo Booth (you need the paid version as the free one doesn’t let you save your work). The children then recorded themselves speaking as the celebrity giving the advice.

morfo

After that, they saved the Morfo to the ipad camera roll and moved onto the next scenario and chose a different celebrity to deliver the advice. When they had saved all nine Morfos onto the camera roll, they were ready for the final part of the task.

The children went into the iMovie app and dropped in the nine Morfo videos. They then added titles and a background sound track to create an online safety film presented by their favourite celebrities.

imovie

The children thoroughly enjoyed the task and were very careful about the advice their celebrities gave. I plan to show the films to a younger year group or post them on the school website.

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Online Safety Isn’t Just For Safer Internet Day.

My son was lucky enough to receive his first computer for Christmas this year which has brought the topic of online safety to the forefront of my mind. My son is very knowledgeable about online safety, mainly because I am always banging on about it! The teaching of online safety is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of the computing curriculum. With children spending increasing amounts of time online, it is vital that they know how to stay safe and how to behave responsibly when online.

The annual ‘Safer Internet Day’ is coming up this February. Lots of schools will be planning a variety of events to acknowledge this. Some will do assemblies, some will do online safety activities in the classroom. Others may book workshops by visiting consultants or companies. This is all fine and is one way to raise awareness of the issues around online safety. However, it is not nearly enough.

Teaching children about online safety should be an ongoing part of our teaching whenever the children are using internet enabled devices. A constant drip-feed of safety messages from us teachers to the children is the best way of maintaining and embedding their understanding of what it means to stay dafe when online. This drip-feed method works well in other subjects so why not when it comes to online safety.

I feel it is also necessary to plan regular online safety sessions as part of our delivery of the computing curriculum. These must be carefully mapped out to ensure that all aspects of online safety are taught and re-visited during a child’s school career. Assessing children’s understanding of online safety is useful too. I have done this using a simple assessment like this one I have used with Key Stage 2 KS2 E Safety Assessment . It is based on the SMART idea (more information about this can be found on http://www.childnet.com).

Cyberbullying is sometimes taught as a reaction to something that has happened to a child in the class/school. However, if we make an effort to teach children how to behave online and what the impact of behaving unkindly online can be then hopefully these issues will become less frequent. A brilliant (but sometimes hard to find resource) for demonstrating the impact of cyberbullying has been made by the Canadian Government and is called ‘Words Hurt’. It is an interactive video where the girl in the video reacts to what you type. I would suggest it is suitable for Year 5 upwards. Try it here Words Hurt

Informing parents in a pro-active way it useful in promoting online safety. Consider doing parent workshops (maybe when they are coming for parents’ evening anyway). These could be run by digital leaders if they are experienced enough. You could also make parents aware of websites to visit so that they are fully informed.

Anyway, I suppose my message regarding the teaching of online safety would be little and often, don’t leave it all to just Safer Internet Day.

 

A Critical Thinking Questioning Framework For Guided Reading.

I have been lucky enough to have been asked to write a follow up app to the hugely successful ‘Questioning Framework For Guided Reading’ by Alan Peat. When Alan approached me with the opportunity to write it, I was very excited. Helping pupils to develop a love of reading has been an area of deep interest throughout my career.

I wanted this app to be very targeted, to focus on the key comprehension skills that children need. I used the Key Stage 2 SATs as a starting point, picking out areas of comprehension that had been assessed regularly over the years. This led to the ten areas covered in the app. Although, working on these areas with children will help them with their SATs, they are also important areas of comprehension regardless of the SATs.

The critical thinking framework helps to build up children’s prowess in each of the comprehension areas although they are not necessarily hierarchical as we are dealing with little human beings after all. Rather, it helps to ensure a deeper understanding of each of the ten comprehension areas.

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The app has been designed to:

  1. Focus children’s thinking and
  2. To be a practical aid for the busy teacher

The questions could also be used to prompt other questioning from the teacher as I believe it is easier that way instead of starting with a blank page and thinking ‘I need some questions about sequencing’. With the app, you have questions ready-made which may lead to you devising your own that fit your particular group/class as the app is designed to be used with a broad range of texts rather than a specific book.

My hope is that the app is suitable for both whole class reading sessions as well as guided reading group sessions as the choice of texts to use the questions with is made by the teacher. The note-making facility means that, as a teacher, you are able to make formative assessments during the reading sessions which can be saved to Dropbox. This adds an extra dimension to the app.

Alan and I hope that the app will provide a useful focus for staff discussion regarding structured questioning. We also believe that reading should primarily be perceived as engaging in its own right.

Easy Ways To Use Google Forms

Google forms is a nifty piece of software that is free! It allows you to very quickly create online forms for people to complete. Usefully, the results are automatically collated into a spreadsheet for you. A form takes a few minutes to set up and you can choose the type of responses you want, from multiple choice to paragraphs. Once created, you can generate a link to the form for people to follow to fill it in.

There are many ways that Google forms could be used in school. Here, I will describe two ways.

Assessment

Google forms can be used as an exit ticket at the start and then end of a lesson, unit of work. You can compare the two spreadsheets to give you information about attainment and progress. Forms works on any device – iPads and computers so vavailable equipment shouldn’t be a problem. You could always set up slightly different forms for different groups.

Pupil Voice

As a subject leader , this one of the tasks you are often required to carry out, the arguments about its value are for another post. I used to spend lots of of time trying to pin down (not literally) children to answer questions about my subject. Now, I set up a Google form. Once I have done this, I save a link to it in a place that children have access – shared network , Dropbox etc. I let the staff know it’s there and they get children to fill them in when there is an opportunity to do so. This way you are not disturbing lessons to take children out to interview them. All I need to do then is look at the spreadsheet that is automatically generated and, voila, I have my student voice information.

 

Using Padlet to Develop Global Links

image.pngPadlet is a fantastic piece of software that allows children to collaborate on a sort of virtual pin board where they can pin text, images, links etc. It is a free service and now comes as an app for IOS.

As a teacher it is simple to set up and account. Once this is set up, you can create padlets to share with your children. Each Padlet you create has a link which can be simplified in the settings to make it easier for children to type in. Alternatively, you could put the link in a Word document or Google Doc for the children to click on. If you want to, you can set a password for your Padlet so that only your class can access it.

There are many ways that you can use the padlets. I have used it to share ideas with another class in school about the same topic. I have also used it to publish children’s poetry. However, a really useful possibility is to use it for communicating with schools from around the world in order to improve children’s understanding of what life is like in other countries. Following my participation in a Twitter chat called #aussieED, I connected with an Australian primary teacher. We discussed how we could connect the children in our classes. The main problem was the time difference which ,want that Skype wouldn’t really work. We decided that I would set up a Padlet with some questions from my class about life in Australia. I them sent the link to my Australian colleague who shared it with her class so that they could answer the questions. My class were very excited to read the answers and it helped cure a couple of misconceptions about Australia. All in all it was a simple process which enabled us to connect effectively. Best of all, Padlet is free.

 

Learning About Symmetry Using Minecraft

The idea behind this lesson was to tap into the children’s obsession with Minecraft to teach the following aspect of the Maths curriculum for Year 4

  • complete a simple symmetric figure with respect to a specific line of symmetry.

First of all, we discussed how to begin to complete the other half of a symmetrical pattern with respect to a given line of symmetry. We dealt with the misconception of translation v reflective symmetry.

The children were then given the opportunity to use Minecraft to create their own symmetrical patterns with a partner. Below are some of the results. The children were able to produce many symmetrical patterns within the time given. They were created much more accurately than they would have been using pencil and paper.

Using Epic Citadel and Tiny Tap apps to work on Word Classes

Although it is absolutely necessary to teach children spelling, punctuation and grammar, it can be seen by some children (and teachers) as not being the most exciting aspect of the curriculum to teach. This doesn’t have to be the case. People such as Rob Smith (Literacy Shed) and Lee Parkinson (ICT Mr P) have great ideas for bringing SpAG to life.  There are others too.

One aspect of SpAG that my class seem to find it tricky to grasp is the concept of word classes. Understanding these is important as a foundation for effective sentence construction. Therefore, I wanted to find a way to make the learning of word classes a little different from the norm.

I have used the app Epic Citadel since our school first got iPads. It is a fantastic app for inspiring writing. There are some brilliant ideas about how to use it on Lee Parkinson’s blog here . Lee was the person that introduced me to the very versatile Tiny Tap app through his work creating stories where the reader made choices. I decided to use a combination of these two apps to hopefully bring word classes to life!

This was the basic sequence of the lesson. The children really enjoyed it and it really made them think about the different word classes.

  1. The children took screenshots from inside the Epic Citadel app.
  2. Then they opened the Tiny Tap app and created a new project.
  3. Next, they chose backgrounds and added text labels for each word class they were working on.
  4. After that, they imported one of their screenshots.
  5. Then they chose the ‘add activity’ option which allows them to create ‘soundboards’ on each of the labels.
  6. When creating the soundboards, the children added examples of that word class inspired by the image from Epic Citadel.
  7. Finally, they played their project and when they pressed on the labels, their examples appeared.

Here are some of the finished efforts.

Using Emojis and Big Hero 6 To Develop Children’s Vocabulary

I am lucky enough to know some fantastic teachers who share their brilliant ideas. This post is about a lesson I taught yesterday with my Year 4 class using ideas from Lee Parkinson (@ictmrp) and Mat Sullivan (@InspiredMind5).

As a class, we have been using the film Big Hero 6 as a stimulus for our literacy work. This was one of Mat’s ideas. For this lesson, I wanted to find a way of developing children’s vocabulary using this stimulus. A set of 15 iPads were available for the lesson as well.

I began by introducing the children to emoji sentences which is an idea of Lee’s. If you don’t know what this is, it involves presenting the children with a series of emojis that describe a sentence. The children have to work out what the sentence is. For KS1 children, you might leave it at that. However, with my Year 4 class I banned certain words to make them really think about the vocabulary they could use. After much head-scratching and lively discussion, the children were using sophisticated vocabulary for Year 4 such as ‘horrified’, ‘ambled’, ‘elderly’.

To develop this further, I had saved a trailer from Big Hero 6 into the Year 4 dropbox folder. The children accessed the trailer through the Dropbox app, making notes in their jotters about what was happening. Then they used the Explain Everything app to retell the ‘story’ of the trailer inserting appropriate emojis where possible. At first, some children said “Mr Goodman, there aren’t any Big Hero 6 emojis!” But after thinking about it some more, they became very creative with the emojis they used with very pleasing results. I will add a couple of images of the results to this post at some point.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable lesson to be part of and the children showed that they were able to extend their vocabulary with the right stimulus.

Apps That Children Can Use At Home For Practising Basic Skills

Following a request on Twitter by Michael Tidd (@MichaelT1979) for free apps that children can use at home to practise basic skills, I decided to have a think and hopefully come up with a useful list. Here goes :

Maths

Battle Times – Great free app for practising times tables and other basic maths skills. It is a two-player app. You can play cooperatively or against each other. (IOS only)

King of Maths – This app is free although there are in-app purchase options. It is useful for practising basic mental arithmetic with quick fire questions. (IOS and Android)

Sushi Monster – Free app for practising addition and multiplication facts. (IOS only)

Maths Flash Cards – Free app for practising multiplication facts through short bursts of drilling. (IOS and Android)

English

Spellfix – These are a suite of free apps from Alan Peat (@alanpeat) which cover a range of spelling patterns as well as the word lists for Y3-6. Children have to spell the words from clues. I have used these apps in class and the children are motivated by them. (IOS and Android)

Word Juice – This is another app from Alan Peat. It is useful for vocabulary building practice. Children have to make as many different words as possible from given letters. Every word must contain the letter in the middle of the orange. This app is now free. (IOS only)

Science

Launchball  – not an app but a free game from the Science museum. Children are required to move a ball from where it enters the puzzle to a doorway somewhere else in the puzzle. There are a wide range of puzzles to complete, of increasing difficulty. The game covers basic science concepts such as heating/cooling, electricity, forces. This won’t work on tablets as it requires flash.

Coding/Programming Cargo Bot – Aimed at Upper Key Stage 2, this is a free app where children have to provide instructions to move coloured boxes in a series of ever more complicated puzzles. Very challenging but covers programming skills such as sequences, loops etc (think it is IOS only)

Kodable – Free app but with in-app purchases. This is a simpler coding app more suited to Year 2/Lower Key Stage 2. There is enough in the free version to keep the children working for a considerable amount of time. (IOS and Android)

Hopscotch – Another excellent free coding app that enables children to practise a range of coding skills. This can be done either through children creating their own projects or working on projects created by others. It uses drag and drop block coding that KS2 children should be familiar with. (IOS only)

As well as these apps, there are plenty of apps in that cost a small amount. Hope you ind this list useful. I would advise you to visit Lee Parkinson’s blog for lots of great ideas about how to use a wide variety of apps.

Interactive E-Safety Posters

I have been thinking about how to assess children’s knowledge of E-Safety this week. As a school we teach E-Safety on a regular basis as well as taking part in one-off events such as Safer Internet Day. As the year has progressed, I have had the impression that the Key Stage 2 children I teach E-Safety to have become more confident in their knowledge of how to stay safe online. However, I wanted a more concrete way of assessing this.

I decided to take two approaches, the effectiveness of which I will analyse at a later date. The first was to write an E-Safety assessment that the chidlren complete in test-like conditions, either as a written document or using a Google Forms version. The other approach was to give the children a task to complete as a way to show off their knowledge.

This task involved two steps:

1. The children were asked to design a poster with as much E-Safety advice as they could. Before they attempted this, we discussed what features an effective poster should have.

2. When the children had finished their posters, they went into the app ‘Tiny Tap’ which is free. I was first introduced to this app by Lee Parkinson (@ictmrp). The children used the app to take a photo of their poster. Then, using the ‘Add Activity’ option, they added several ‘soundboards’ to their poster. These were either sound recordings offering extra advice or text labels that added extra advice. When this was completed, the children ‘played’ their posters and by tapping on the soundboard sections were presented with extra information. This enabled the children to include much more information than they would be able to include on a normal poster.

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