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Thursday, 26 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 them here. 

Here is the Facebook Star Wars post -

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Immersive 360 Experience
Speed across the Jakku desert from Star Wars: The Force Awakens with this immersive 360 experience created exclusively for Facebook.
Posted by Star Wars on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The problem for most teachers will be having access to this to use in classroom, therefore I have added a YouTube clip below-

How to use the video -

  • Using Airserver, record a video of the children exploring the video - 

  • Ask the children to explore the video a couple of times and write down what they can see/hear, once they have listed different nouns in one colour, ask them to generate some adjectives and verbs and link these with different colours. Do the same with adverbs to create a spider diagram full of vocabulary linked to what they observed in the video -
  • Encourage the children to start constructing sentences from the vocab spider. This gives you a perfect opportunity to introduce or deepen children's understanding of some Exciting Sentences.
  • Build these sentences into a short narrative. 
  • Put a copy of the video into iMovie and allow the children to record themselves performing their writing over the video. 
  • Use this as a useful editing tool and encourage them to try and make their writing match the video. This keeps the flow to the narrative and can really help children avoid over flowery writing. 
  • Give children plenty of time to record so it is more fluent and expressive. 
  • Add in sound effects or even a soundtrack.
  • Export the video and share on your school blog for the world to see!
Here is Joe's example - 

Here was the text -

Here is another Star Wars related 360 video on YouTube, this time from the point of a droid -

If you are interested in other ways in which technology can inspire and transform writing, please visit this link to see what Mr P can offer your school. 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

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 and worked down the body and listed where on our face do we show it? Where on our bodies do we show fear? 

The children the snapped a selfie of themselves showing fear. They then created pictures of everything they were afraid of onto a piece of paper and photographed it. Using the app Marvel they could link their selfie with their drawings. Have a look yourself, (click the name to go back to the main screen. )

There is so much potential with this app! I would love to know how other teachers use it so please do tweet or message me on facebook.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The 12 iPad lessons of Christmas eBook - HALF PRICE!!

To spread the Christmas cheer, I am releasing my '12 iPad lessons of Christmas eBook' for Half Price!!!

Was £3 now £1.50

Once you purchase, you will be taken to a webpage to download a copy. 

You can also get all three of my eBooks for half price! Was £9 now £4.50

Once you purchase, you will be taken to a webpage to download a copy. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

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

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
IT IS FINALLY BACK! One of my favourite apps to inspire writing is back on the app store, read more about it and how it can be used on my blog here -
Posted by ICT with Mr P - Tech to Raise Standards on Thursday, November 19, 2015

Please click the following link to find out how Mr P can help your staff utilise technology to raise standards in the classroom - Mr P - Tech to Raise Standards.

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 app here. 

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 - 


Book Creator is easily one of the most versatile and powerful apps available. I have used it in class in so many different ways before and here is another example of how it can be used in any curriculum area to enhance learning. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

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 also send them to Jon's site as the scheme he has developed is brilliant as it has been written by a teacher!

I asked Jon to share with me some more information about the scheme and how he developed it, here is his response -

Where are you based across the week? 
I’m based 3 days a week in a primary school in north Manchester where I teach science and computing to year 6 and co-teach computing with staff from all different year groups in the afternoon (including EYFS!). It’s great to have the opportunity to see the progression in computing skills throughout the year groups and see how pupils build upon their learning. I’m then based at The University of Manchester one day per week where I’m the ‘Engineering Champion’, which involves coordinating innovative projects promoting engineering in primary schools. We do lots of fun creative stuff around robotics (drones are a favorite at the moment!) That leaves one day a week to work with various schools and write new resources. I’m currently writing a book about the role of curiosity in computing due out next year – if it hadn’t of been for Sir Tim Berners-Lee being curious about exchanging data at CERN we wouldn’t have the World Wide Web!

When and why did you write the scheme?
Before I became a primary school teacher I was in the world of aerospace engineering developing thrust-vectoring nozzles to make drones highly maneuverable! Quite a bit of my work involved programming or a general understanding of computer science, so when I saw the proposed changes happening in technology education in primary schools I was really excited. I think it’s really important pupils get to develop their computer science skills from a young age so I got hold of a draft copy of the new computing curriculum and started writing lessons plans and guides on how it could be taught. At first this was using a variety of iOS apps as my school has iPads in each class. I set up as a place to share the resources which grew and grew until I’d written the scheme. I packaged these up for schools including teacher notes and programming templates and started selling it as a scheme of work. Since then it’s be great to hear of schools all across the country using the scheme, and adapting it to match the interests of pupils in their schools and the topics they are covering. 

What does your Primary Computing scheme cover?
The scheme covers the ‘new stuff’ of computing i.e. the computer science (not strictly all ‘new’ as we did have data and control in ICT!). Schools have been combining my scheme with their existing IT and digital literacy curriculum to ensure coverage of computing. Throughout the scheme pupils develop their computational thinking skills, such as algorithm thinking and decomposition, and gain experience writing programs. It uses entirely free software, such as Scratch and Kodu, and includes both notes on computing terminology for teachers as well as assessment grids linked to the lessons. Also covered is the learning around computer networks at key stage 2, such as how the Internet and World Wide Web are different things and how search engines rank web pages. 

The complete scheme for years 1-6 costs £140 (made up of £95 for the programming scheme and £45 for the computer networks scheme – they can be purchased separately)

To download a free sample or purchase the scheme click here:

Here is a Year 5 sample lesson from the scheme -

We are bringing our Computing Course to Dudley in January! You can find out more information about the course by following this link. 


Thursday, 12 November 2015

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 naturally check, change and improve their writing once they had listened back to themselves.

Here is one of their efforts -

As the children are going to the cinema tomorrow we decided to celebrate our Children in Need Superhero day today. All the children came to school wearing superhero costumes! In Year one, we used Greenscreen to fly like superheroes and discussed all the qualities a superhero needs and what we can do to be superheroes in the class. This is what they created -

Greenscreen is just one of many tools Mr P uses to bring the curriculum to life. Follow this link to read more about how Mr P can help you use technology to raise standards in the classroom.