Tag Archives: Digital literacy

HOTS Reading Cards – Part 1⤴

from @ Mr Feist's Class

Free resource at the bottom of the blog post (but lots of info about it in the post, so still worth a read!) I had hoped to complete all 50 cards before publishing, but with lots on at school and in my ‘other’ life, I’ve taken a slight pause on making the next 26!

 

Rationale

I set out to make reading cards, as I am always disappointed by the range of ‘non-babyish’ materials that are available to children who struggle with reading, or with engaging in reading.  However, I also feel passionately that continually having ‘different’ resources to work on in the class from peers can have an equal off-putting effect.  I’ve been reading a lot recently on effective differentiation, and so wanted to think about how a resource would be accessible enough to engage readers who struggle for all sorts of reasons, but provide enough challenge to push higher achieving children.  Effective questioning seemed to always be the solution.  Each resource uses HOTS questions to provide challenge accessible to all.  Having tested these resources in class with a range of learners, and from tester feedback, it has been interesting to note that there was a real equity amongst the majority of learners.  Children who often struggle with reading were able to attempt (and sometimes even overtook) other learners in the class.  I did support in reading through the text with some children, but then let them attempt the questions independently. I would especially like feedback on how effective this is in your class – do the texts work for the whole class?  What can I improve on and do better in the next 25?

For all of the cards, I have used the font Open Dyslexic, as, whilst it doesn’t help with comprehension, it does support learners (like me) for whom letters do sometimes enjoy mixing themselves up on the page – it won’t make a huge difference, but even the slightest change is a positive in my mind.  You can download the font for free here.

 

How the cards work

Truthfully, this is up to you.  I have not provided an answer sheet as many of the questions require a personal or creative response – but also, I think the power and challenge of the cards are the discussions that you and your learners can have.  Additionally, context and additional information are sometimes available in the questions rather than just the text (sometimes I have omitted any reference to child gender in the text, but have noted it in the cards).  This should provide opportunities for developed questions such as ‘ is this child a boy/girl’, can you find evidence in the text to support this (and hopefully, this can bring up discussions about gender bias also).  I also would hope that children can use them to make their own HOTS questions.

There is an info card about HOTS questions in case you are not familiar with them.  Interesting to note, some of my children questioned why the ‘what is ‘it” question in card 2 is a remembering – I had it as such because I felt the picture was part of the text – but one child said they thought it should be applying as they had to apply all of the context clues to visualise the monster (I’ve paraphrased here, clearly, as I can’t remember her exact words; but I was very impressed by the challenge of her thought) – hopefully this can be something that learners will start to develop and challenge ‘why’ questions are categorised as a way of developing their own thinking.

 

Thanks

There are many people to thank for their support in making these.  Firstly, to @STPBooks for providing two of the texts and images used in the cards.  Secondly, I am poor at proof-reading my own work (as you may be able to tell from my blog post…) so, I am very grateful to @KarenDScotland@vasilionka_lisa, @lovepookiecat@ScullionGreg@mamamialia and @LynnRichmond20, for proof-reading for me and for your incredibly detailed feedback: some were pages long and I so appreciate the time that you spent reading through them to help me.

 

Resources

Due to the size of the PDF, I have had to split these into separate cards – sorry, I know it’s a pain!

Info card

Cards 1-2

Cards 3-4

Cards 5-6

Cards 7-8

Cards 9-10

Cards 11-12

Cards 13-14

Cards 15-16

Cards 17-18

Cards 19-20

Cards 21-22

Cards 23-24

Reading Strategies⤴

from @ Mr Feist's Class

New resource!

It’s been quite some time since my last post – my BIG STEAM Escape Room which has had an amazing response; thank you.

I have been continuing to develop resources, but with a much greater focus on reading.  If you follow me on Twitter you will know that I am currently making a reading resource for struggling readers.  You can find out more about it here.

Today though, I have created a before, during and after visual aid for classrooms as I find the ones that are currently online lack clarity for children and often don’t have question prompts to help them use the strategy.  I have made these for my own classroom, but there’s no point in me keeping it to myself.

They have not been proof-read by anyone, so if you do spot any errors, please feel free to give me a heads up – you can DM me on Twitter – and I will update the resource.  Similarly, if you think I missed out something or could have done one of the posters better, again please let me know via DM.

Hope it’s helpful.  You can download the PDF of each poster below.

Have a good week,

Donald

 

Visualising

Summarising

Skimming

Scanning

Predicting

Inferring

Comparing

 

The BIG STEAM Escape Room⤴

from @ Mr Feist's Class

I have taken quite a break from blogging, and probably won’t go back to doing it weekly, but I look forward to sharing as often as I can.

Today, I have completed a resource that I have been working on for quite some time – The BIG STEAM Escape room.  It is 30 pages of active STEAM fun that should engage and challenge your learners, and can be reused up to 6 times with the same class.  I will be publishing it to TPT next week as it has taken a lot of time to produce, but am also posting it here for free, and it will remain free on here even after I have published it to TPT.  I would really welcome feedback as it has not been proof-read by anyone other than myself, so if you have a few minutes, I would be really grateful!

I will be using it with my P5/4 class this year, and have purchased combination padlocks (however, it works as a resource without buying anything – you can use the answer cards or even an iPad to the same effect – I just like the idea of the children physically cracking a code!)

The resource should be self-explanatory, so I won’t go into detail here – though, it is too big to put into one file, so it is saved below in sections.

I hope you have an excellent start to your term.  If you do use it, I’d love to hear how your class gets on – please tweet me @mrfeistsclass  with photos, comments or stories from the session.

The BIG STEAM Escape Room Resources:

Teacher page

Answer cards

Rhythm maths

Animal Venn Diagrams

Sudoku

Binary Code Challenge

 

Icepops Conference 2019 – Learning how to play the game⤴

from

Ok, confession time; I’m useless at playing games.  Any kind of games – card games, board games, computer games, strategy games, discovery games, competitive games, for some reason they just don’t hold my attention.   I’m not sure why that is, I just don’t seem to have that “hook” that engages people with game play.  Although I’m not a natural game player, I do really enjoy playfulness and creativity (who doesn’t?!) and copyright literacy is definitely my thing so I really appreciated being able to go along to last week’s ICEPOPS Conference here at the University, not least because my inspirational OER Service colleague Stephanie (Charlie) Farley was giving her first ever keynote.  Icepops is the International Copyright-Literacy Event with Playful Opportunities for Practitioners and Scholars, which is run by Jane Secker and Chris Morrison of the UK Copyright Literacy Team, in conjunction with the CILIP Information Literacy Group.   The themes of the conference this year were copyright education, games and play, music and copyright, creativity and the relationship of copyright literacy to information literacy and scholarly communication.

Melissa Highton, Director of Learning Teaching and Web Services here at the University, opened the conference by welcoming delegates to the University and the city.  Melissa emphasised the importance of copyright as part of the University’s core business and highlighted the role of the OER Service in supporting and developing copyright literacy across the institution.

Simon Anderson gave a really engaging and interactive keynote on copyright infringement in music “Stop me if you think you’ve heard this before”, and yes, he did play snippets of music live on stage and asked us to vote on whether they sounded similar or not. Simon introduced us to the fabulous Lost in Music resource developed by the University of Westminster, a free and open resource that aims to demystify and develop understanding of copyright and infringement within the music industry.  The site includes a wide range of legal case studies and resources including the highly entertaining You Be The Judge, which challenges listeners to decide at what point a piece of music becomes infringing. Simon played this game with us at the conference and it was a lot of fun.  I particularly enjoyed the lightbulb moment when he added one tiny sequence of notes to the piece of music and suddenly everyone in the room recognised it!  I also learned that the Australian band Men At Work were successfully sued in 2010 because their 1983 hit Down Under ripped off the Kookaburra song.  Who knew?  There was also an interesting question about who is responsible for potential copyright infringement in machine generated music.  The answer isn’t yet clear.

Following Simon’s keynote, the rest of the morning was taken up by a whirl wind of amazingly creative copyright education world café sessions and pecha kucha presentations including one fascinating talk on the copyright and performance rights of John Cage’s 4’33”.

[See image gallery at lornamcampbell.org]

Icepops World Cafe, CC BY, Lorna M. Campbell

I also got to take part in my very first escape room challenge run by Katrine Sundsbø of the University of Essex.  The Open Access Escape Room challenged us to thwart a villain who had hidden away all publications by unlocking the research to make everything free.  It was a lot of fun and Charlie and I came away with lots of ideas about how we could adapt the format for an open education escape room for next year’s Festival of Creative Learning.

Charlie Farley & Jane Secker, CC BY, Lorna M. Campbell

The afternoon opened with Charlie’s keynote “Make and release – embedding practice through play”.  Charlie spoke eloquently about the significance of play and creativity in her own life and working practice.  In terms of introducing playful engagement in the workplace, Charlie highlighted the importance of the “lusory attitude”, the mindset we enter into that let us accept the arbitrary rules of a playful space in order to engage with play and creativity.  Charlie said that she found “that by creating a lusory attitude or environment, staff and students are more willing to experiment and learn new technologies and skills with much less fear and apprehension”.  To let us do just that, Charlie led us through a short Board Game Jam session.  It’s always great to see the creativity that results when people engaging with the University’s open licensed image collections through Board Game Jam, and this time was no exception.  As might be expected, the Icepops delegates created some amazing and highly entertaining game scenarios.

[See image gallery at lornamcampbell.org]

Icepops Board Game Jam, C BY, Lorna M. Campbell

During her keynote, Charlie also challenged us to draw or write a short story about our journey to becoming a copyright literacy expert. This is mine 🙂

Chris and Jane brought the conference to a poignant close with a tribute to Marion Kelt, a long standing member of the UK copyright literacy community, who had been due to attend the conference.  Marion’s touching and funny Copyright Comic, a lovely memorial to her, features in the Icepops Annual 2019.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to stay in Edinburgh for the after-conference entertainment, though it sounds like the playful and musical theme of the event continued well into the evening with the Icepops houseband The Infringers XD

It was great to experience the playfulness and creativity of the copyright literacy community at Icepops and I came away with some really cool ideas that we can incorporate into our OER Service digital skills programme.  But perhaps the most important thing I learned at Icepops is that maybe I’m not as bad at playing games as I thought!

Apple Clips for Creating Videos for Sharing Learning⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Apple Clips is a neat free video-creation app for iPad or iPhone. It lets you quickly combine text, music, graphics, recorded voice, images, and animations to create videos with ease. So if you are trying to find a way to explain a topic or a teaching point then you might find Apple Clips a handy way to create a visually engaging video. The inclusion of inbuilt graphics such as arrows, finger pointers and many more adaptable images make this really easy to highlight parts of photographs or video clips with explanatory text or spoken voice.

Likewise if learners in your classroom are trying to demonstrate their understanding of a topic being studied then this app can provide a great means for learners to illustrate their understanding of concepts.

The video below by Kristen Brooks uses Apple Clips app itself to provide a quick how-to guide, as well as an illustration of the app in use, to getting started creating a video using Apple Clips

 

Apple Education have a free downloadable guide called Everyone Can Create showing how to make use of Apple Clips app to support creativity in learning and teaching

Mark Anderson (@ICTevangelist) has created a how-to guide for using Apple Clips in the classroom

Alan Ellis shared a tutorial to getting started with using Apple Clips

Spheros⤴

from @ The Digital Revolution

I love Spheros.  They have so much potential to really enhance learning and teaching, and really provide you with opportunities to allow learners to apply their learning in different contexts.  They are not cheap though, but they are so versatile that they are a really good investment.

Many schools and councils are purchasing Spheros, so hopefully this blog will be beneficial if you have/are getting Spheros and would like to know what you can do with them.  Even if you aren’t planning on getting them, hopefully this blog will allow you to understand more about them, what they do and how they can enhance the learning of your children.

What are Spheros?

Image from source

I think the New Yorker sums it up the best in their post: “Spheros aren’t just fun; they are also an excellent teaching tool. Students have begun using them to learn everything from geometry to genetics. They can code them, too, to take a first step into computer programming.”

Spheros are programmable toys, similar to Beebots but with far more capability and potential.  In a computer programming context, children can apply their learning of code to make the Sphero perform a variety of actions, such as: drawing shapes, completing mazes, and even to interact with their surroundings.  Movement with spheros isn’t as simple as ‘move forward’ for a set number of steps.  Children have to apply an understanding of angles, speed and time in order for the sphero to move.  They can develop an understanding of the link between speed, distance and time to accurately program their device to move as intended.

Spheros aren’t just for older learners though – there is so much potential for younger learners to use the ‘draw’ feature to manipulate the device.  D&T activities are also notable, as children can design devices that are powered by the Spero – such as a racing car that is driven by the sphero, or even a helicopter whose rotary blade spins as the sphero spins.

There are a variety of different Spheros available – most schools use SPRK+, however all are fantastic.  You can see the full range here.

Below is a fantastic intro video that shows what Sphero Edu is all about:

 

Activities and Resources

Fortunately, getting started with Spheros need not be daunting or tricky; there are a whole host of free resources to use with Spheros.  A Sphero resource guide is available here although is based on the American K-12 system.

The best place to start is the Sphero Education Website.  The activities tab allows you to find fully comprehensive lessons sorted by stage / subject.  It should be noted that Spheros shouldn’t only be used for teaching computer science – there are so many applications across the curriculum that it really is worth browsing the activities site to see what you can do.

Another great resource is your local Apple store.  Did you know that you can take groups of children there for FREE to learn how to use Spheros (you don’t even need your own devices as the store provides them!) . Go to the Apple Field Trip website for more info and to book.

Of course, the other place that I love to go for my ideas is Twitter.  Loads of schools use Spheros really effectively.  Just search for ‘sphero’ in your Twitter search bar, and you will find loads of schools using them and be instantly inspired!

Here are some of my favourite recent examples:

How have I used them?

We’ve actually only just purchased our Spheros in Mosspark, so I have only used them twice with learners.

In the first lesson/few lessons with spheros, I like to let the children get used to syncing, controlling and putting to sleep the Sphero.  I often play ‘Sphero tig’ and other simple improvised games.  Sphero tig is easy – one Sphero is it and sets their colour to green.  The other Spheros are blue.  If the tigger catches a Sphero, it turns red and waits until a blue Sphero frees them by touching them and flashing their light on/off 5 times.  The children really enjoy this and it engages them instantly and allows them to quickly learn to control the Spheros through the ‘drive’ function.

You can follow our journey with Spheros by following @MossparkPS on Twitter.  Here are some of our recent Sphero tweets including our instant hit, ‘Sphero Tig’:

 

I hope that the post this evening has been helpful and has given you ideas about how to get started with Spheros in your own classrooms.

As always, please connect with me on twitter: @mrfeistsclass.  I love getting inspired by everything that you all do.  Feel free to send me suggestions for future blog posts and tag me in Tweets showing how you are using Spheros or any digi tech to enhance learning!

Have a great week

Donald

 

 

 

Mini Game Jam⤴

from @ The Digital Revolution

A short post today (as I have been away all weekend on a STEM residential week, and am about to head out again) but an important one.

This year, I have teamed up with Dr Amanda Ford (Twitter: @aford78) to develop resources for the ever-growing and popular Mini Game Jam.

The Game Jam is a transition cluster event, where P7 classes join with other cluster schools’ P7 classes at their local high school and compete to code the best scratch game on a given theme.  I have joined in this year, as I see it not only as a great opportunity for our children, but also as a CLPL opportunity for staff.  Prior to competing, the children are to be taught four progressive lessons in coding with Scratch that develop creativity as well as digital literacy.  Some very tricky concepts are taught to the children during the sessions, however, it is done in a fun manner with the children creating games.  The idea is that at the end of the project, in the cluster event, the children will be able to utilise these skills in a team with children from one of their local cluster schools that they potentially haven’t met before to design and create their own game on a given theme.

For the teacher, resources (including worksheets, power-points and video walkthroughs) will be provided, and they will be able to learn to code with the children.  Scratch 3.0 CPD sessions have already been held for staff on the first lesson of this project – the maze game – however, more online training will be available shortly from Dr Ford and I would greatly recommend looking into it.

You can find out more about the Mini Game Jam and get in touch with the organiser, Dr Amanda Ford, via the Mini Game Jam website: https://minigamejam.com/ if you would like to get involved.

Exciting posts coming over the next few weeks with more Technology across the curriculum and STEM focussed posts, so do stay tuned!

See you next week,

Donald

Visualisers – or is there a better way?⤴

from @ The Digital Revolution

Over the last few weeks, in the twittersphere, I have come across three posts all about visualisers and asking whether there are good ones out there that won’t break the bank.  Sure there are great visualisers out there, but there is a far cheaper and better way to get the same effect: use a phone or tablet.

I will be recommending a lot of things in this post, but I will point out that I am not amazon affiliated or in any way getting profits from any of the products that I note below – they are for reference only, and may not be the best ones available.

The three posts…

What is a visualiser?

Working in much the same way as an Over-Head Projector used to, a visualiser projects an image of what you are displaying onto a board.  For example, if you place an example of a child’s jotter work under the visualiser, it will display it on the smart board for the class to see and as reference.

They truly are fantastic for plenaries, feedback and for showing examples of good work – even just for talking through a worksheet or drawing attention to a passage of text.

Why don’t I use visualisers?

Visualisers are clunky pieces of kit and really serve only one purpose.  They are also expensive.  The cheapest I found was £40, but you’d most likely want a good one which can be closer to £100.  There are better ways out there to achieve the same aims – at often better quality – with devices that you already have in your class and less expensive resources.

So what’s the alternative?

As I have noted in response to each tweet that I’ve seen this week regarding visualisers; my favourite solution is using your trusty mobile phone or tablet.  In past posts, I have recommended getting a VGA adapter for your device that will connect it to the SMART board.  In my case, I use iPhone; so a search for VGA to iPhone X (or VGA to lightning, as the port is named) gets me the results I’m looking for.  Most modern androids use a type C port, but typing in VGA to *phone make and model* will give you the results that you’re after.

Whilst these can be fairly expensive (around £20), they are very versatile.  I love using them to also read kindle books with the children – they can read along on the board without having to purchase multiple copies of a book.

For visualising though, simply use your phone/tablet’s camera when it is connected to the board, and your children will see what your device can see – an instant visualiser!

Go hands free…

Visualisers are good, as they hold a fixed position and you don’t need to hold a camera pointing at the work to show it.  Therefore, there is no camera shake and you get a very clear picture.  This can be achieved easily for a phone or tablet by purchasing a desk clamp stand for your device.  You can get a good one for less than £10 such as this one.

This very literally turns your device into a visualiser.

Go wireless…

I do actually love using an adapter as I don’t have to rely on a good connection or network.  You can, however, go wireless.  Many schools are getting Wi-Fi and even Apple TV.  There are also many good screen mirroring apps out there such as AirServer, as recommended by the below twitter user, and Reflector.  If you fancy going wireless then these are great things to look into.  Benefits of this include being more portable and being able to cast work from anywhere in the room to your board.

Again though, I do prefer a wired connection with a desk clamp stand when I am casting work, and would recommend this above getting a visualiser every single time!

I do hope that you all have a great week and hopefully this has given you some ideas about how to use your devices and/or real visualisers in your own practice.

Donald

Teaching Probability through Scratch⤴

from @ The Digital Revolution

I do love using Scratch to enhance teaching other areas of the curriculum.  Whilst technically the following resource doesn’t enhance the teaching of probability outcomes, it does enhance the overall experience.  I always used to find teaching probability in the initial stages quite boring – I’m sure it’s not a great experience for the children either – “Roll a dice 20 times and record the number of times it hits each side”.  Since I started working with Scratch, however, I now ask the children to code their own dice and test how random it is by counting the number of times it lands on each side.  I use this as a way into probability.  I then ask them to, using the code below, work out how to code other common examples (such as playing cards) that can be randomly selected and record the probability of number / house / colour.  The code is very similar, however more costumes need to be created.

I find that this is quite effective as the children have a deeper understanding after it as they have not only seen the result but have also written the instructions for the ‘how’.

I hope that the following code for a random dice game is helpful and that you can see how to use it for teaching probability.  I should note, if you extend this to cards instead of dice faces, all costumes (card sides) need to be numbered from 1-52 in order that each can be randomly selected – hopefully it becomes obvious in the PPT.  Please feel free to use the below PowerPoint with your learners; I will add the ‘answer’ underneath it on this blog.

Sorry it’s a short post but I am away this weekend.

Have a great week!

Donald

The finished code should look like this:

Technology on this week’s trip to Blairvadach⤴

from @ The Digital Revolution

I’ve blogged previously on the use of communication technologies and their impact, but this week I really wanted to do it again after a superb week away at Blairvadach with the Mosspark P7 children.  I have never enjoyed a trip so much as I did with this group of young people – truly incredible individuals, and the first time that I have ever been away and not had to check on rooms after lights out!  What made the trip even more special for me though, was being able to share memories and moments with the children’s families and being able to pass on their responses to the children.  Also, being able to let the children enjoy seeing video clips of their adventures as they came to reflect on their day in their journals.

I do love technology, however also realise the value of being away from it.  I can’t emphasise enough how important this is, especially on outdoor learning adventures, yet I also think it can play a huge role when used well to record and share memories and engage families in their children’s learning away.  In my mind, if I am ever blessed with having children, and they come home from a week away and I ask how it was and I am greeted with “great”, I would love to have some footage or photos to look at and use as visual stimulation for great conversations about the learning.

Indeed, I wish that I had had the technology to do all of this when I was a child – my only memories from my outdoor learning experiences as a child are some blurry photos.  Now though, we have the technology to really capture and share moments with families throughout a course.  In this blog, I want to show how we did it, and the ways that we made it as simple as we could.  Before I continue though, I’d love to give a huge shout out to the team at Blairvadach for, not only the wonderful job that they did with our young people – some of the most nurturing instructors I have ever worked with – but also for their use of social media. Almost all of the instructors now use twitter to share what their groups were up to and it allowed the parents to not only engage with the school but see the instructors comments and feedback on a regular basis.

Twitter

I know that there are lots of social media platforms out there that schools use, from their own websites to facebook and instagram.  The reason that I love twitter (aside from it being a truly fantastic PLN) is that it is concise.  You don’t feel the need to write essays about what everyone did – it restricts that.  Similarly, videos are restricted to 2mins 20 so you don’t feel the need to post absolutely everything – just highlights.

I have said this loads before, and I will again; if you are on Twitter, use hashtags and let parents know what one you are using.  Make sure that it is unique so that when parents search for it they don’t find loads of other tweets on the same subject.  For example, this year instead of using #Blairvadach for our trip (as loads of schools may have used this) we used #MPBlairvadach19 and if you click on it, you will see all of the tweets from our trip away.

What was most amazing was the engagement we had from so many parents on it.  We also provided a link to our twitter feed on our school app and website for those parents who didn’t use Twitter.

Clips

In order to create simple, short videos using the media that we had taken each day, we used Clips (this is an apple app though – similar apps are availavle for android such as Quik by GoPro).  Using clips, we were able to quickly collate our photos and sections of video into simple but effective videos that highlighted each group’s learning.

Here’s one from the final day (watch to the end if you want a laugh!):

A very simple and yet great way to share learning – lots of tutorials online and CPD available in using clips, so do check it out if you haven’t already.

Pic Collage (or similar)

Pic Collage is a great way to compile multiple photos into one image.  As Twitter can only take four images at a time, instead of posting 7 tweets on the same subject to put out all of the photos, you can use Pic Collage.  What’s more, Pic collage can be used for video as well as photos.  We had great fun capturing some Slow Mo videos of the children jumping into “the jacuzzi” but couldn’t add them all into the clips due to the length of time available, so used pic collage to merge some.

Class Camera

I took my Olympus Tough and GoPro with me, both of which are old and I didn’t mind too much having them on the course.  These weren’t for me to use though.  As there were only three teachers, but four groups, and we wanted to capture every activity that the children did, some of our camera club children were in charge of documenting their activities if there was no school teacher with them.  They loved this responsibility, and it meant that we had evidence from all of the activities.

Whilst you may not have a camera that you are willing to take, there are normally old school or class cameras that have become almost redundant now that we have iPads: why not take these and let the children record some of their experiences on activity!

Heres some of the footage taken by one of our children:

Waterproof Phone Cases

The best and most simple thing that you can take with you to ensure that you don’t miss a moment is a cheap waterproof phone pouch.  An example is one like this that I took with me for the other two staff on the trip – it was a two-pack so worked out really cheap in the end!

 

I do hope that there were some ideas that you can take from this – even just by looking at our twitter hashtag  you’ll be able to see how we, and indeed the instructors, were using twitter to engage families and our wider school community.  Some of the responses from parents have been fantastic, and truly make it all worthwhile.

I hope that you all have a great week,

Donald