Tag-Archive for ◊ planning ◊

The ICT Planning Menu
Friday, September 02nd, 2011 | Author:

I’ve wanted to write this blog post for weeks but part of me is petrified of what people will think. I feel like I need to justify some of it, so here goes…

In my school, ICT has been a stand-alone subject and I want to integrate it more into the curriculum. Currently I plan most of the ICT-based lessons and last year I taught some too. This year, I will be teaching very few of them as staff will be taking over the reins. So I needed a way of planning that was easy enough for people to pick up but would also give ideas too.

As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I have also had a few people from other schools that have wanted to see what we’re doing with our ICT lessons so I wanted to make sure whatever we did was online and accessible to all.

I started thinking that Google Docs was the way forward but then I wondered about grouping the documents and sharing with the masses so I decided on a website instead. This is a Google site meaning I can allow others to have a look at it too if they like and some people can also edit and add to it in the future. So…an ICT planning website was planned.

How should it look? If you were designing an ICT curriculum now, what would be in it? What wouldn’t? What can be covered briefly? What needs time and depth?

I sat with a list of things that I wanted to do. I grouped them. I moved the groups around. I used paper. And post-its. Lots of post-its. It was only a few days ago that I finally settled on my 12 areas of learning (although if I’m honest, it’s 11 + ICT in early years – but it’s my site so sshhh)

I have based everything around a list of expectations for my children. This was an idea I had about 5 years ago at my old school. What would an ICT competent child look like when they leave Year 6? What skills would they have? What qualities? How do I get them to that point? Also, to keep on track, what would a Y2 or Y4 child look like?

Now I must point out, I am not really basing this on the National Curriculum. There I said it. There are a few reasons behind this.

  1. It’s old. Very old. Although some parts are still relevant, there’s stuff missing.
  2. It’ll change soon. Well maybe, depends on what the government do. If anything, they’ll want cross-curricular ICT I’m sure. No ICT as a subject means no money spent on it right?
  3. I can cover the ICT curriculum for KS2 in a few lessons so once that is out of the way, we have time to do what primary school teachers do best. Have lots of fun and be creative!

I still need objectives to hang it all on and until I write an assessment strategy for my school (after Oct half-term) I needed something else. We don’t really have one for ICT so I took the statements from an Inset day we had with Chris Quigley. I will be amending these statements to fit our school and my plans a bit as we move forward, but for the next few weeks, they’ll do just fine.

I have grouped the statements into three areas. Level 1-2, Level 3-4 and Level 5. The reason for this is that Early Years is separate and we teach Year 1-2, Year 3-4, Year 5-6. So the levels ‘sort of’ relate to the year groups. Yes, I know, Year 5-6 will be working at level 4-5 probably, but still. When you see the site, it should make sense. Having Level 4-5 statements would have meant that the Level 4 statements were on there twice.

I have also given a few sentences as an overview for each element too. This sort of introduces it and again, justifies why it is there and why I see that as an important area.

So I had my objectives and I also looked at some key skills that the children should cover to meet the expectations above. Now, how to reach those objectives?

For each area/element I looked at which software we had in school to help achieve it. I also included free website tools too. For example, in the area of Art and Image Editing I have included painting tools such as 2Paint, Sumo Paint and Tux paint as well as photo editing tools like MS Picture Manager and online slideshows like Animoto and Photopeach. Now, we won’t be using all of those all of the time, but the teachers can pick and choose the activities that suit them depending on the objectives they are trying to achieve.

So we have a tool e.g. photopeach, but now what? Along with a brief description of the tool, I have included video help files where possible (more are due soon), blog posts about the tool, examples of previous work, links to ‘interesting ways’ and lesson plans. Some plans are ‘an intro to…’ and others are ones I have actually used e.g. using Google maps to plot where food comes from.

One thing I wanted to move away from was the ‘everything is taught in 6 weeks’ mentality. Some things will be done in one lesson, some might go on for weeks. It is up to the teachers to decide. I have started including lesson plans from last year on to the site and from now, any ICT plans I write will go on there straight away.

Ironically, the thing most lacking from the site at the moment is the ICT planning! I will be adding planning ion the coming weeks but I wanted to get the main layout and feel right first and to be honest, it took me longer than I expected. Mainly due to time, Fifa 11, holidays, sunshine, me getting distracted…

So there we go. Did I need to justify the layout and my ideas? Who knows. Maybe it won’t work and it’ll have been a waste of time! I know some people will like it and some won’t! I find that planning is quite personal and can be difficult to share sometimes. But hopefully the site will be useful to someone else out there.

Questions I’ve had from people who have seen the site

What about cross-curricular links? I will be adding an idea bit too, but that will come a little later.

How will we ensure coverage? As I said, the National Curriculum is easy to cover. Most ICT coordinators should be able to prove they have covered it if anyone comes knocking. I want to extend my children beyond the NC and I’m not that worried if some things are repeated. Providing the children have been assessed and the work is differentiated, it won’t matter if they use a tool twice in two years. The outcomes and expectations will be different.

How could you forget about that tool? There are a lot of tools out there, particularly for digital literacy and art. I haven’t included everything, but I will add others later. I have tried to stick to things we have in school or that I have used.

Your early years section is a bit rubbish isn’t it? Yes…give me a week and I’ll make it better. I needed to get KS1/2 ICT sorted as they needed their planning first. Early Years is on the to do list. Honest! E-Safety is also due before the end of September.

If you have any comments about the site, feel free to email me, tweet me or reply on this post. Please remember that this is a site for my school and our needs first, if it doesn’t match yours then I’m sorry. If it does, then feel free to use it as much as you like! (If you do use it, a little thank you or hello will go a long way!)

Oh and the website? www.ictplanning.co.uk 

To finish, I must say a huge thank you to everyone who has seen the site and given feedback so far and a big thanks to Bev Evans for making the wonderful logos on the homepage!

ICT plans
Wednesday, June 01st, 2011 | Author:

I have written a couple of time (here for example) about the ICT curriculum. It is a difficult subject and the more I speak to teachers the more I am thinking about what I want to do and what needs to be done. In my school I want a cutting-edge curriculum with website design, game design, green screening and other such stuff. But I am there to lead it, I frequently get new ideas from Twitter and I want to try things out. Lots of schools aren’t like that so what do they do? Where do they begin? This post is aimed at the schools that want to revamp their curriculum but need a helping hand.

Some authorities have produced schemes of work and these are quite useful but again, if yours doesn’t, where do you begin? What if your target is to move people away from ‘ICT is Powerpoint and research’ type lessons into a more exciting curriculum?

I have been lucky enough to have a look through the Switched on ICT scheme from Rising Stars. This is a set of ICT plans that cover Years 1-6 and I am very impressed. Now, I know these will not be for everyone but they will be useful to schools that want to try some new things but maybe lack the expertise to try them out. Now, I have been asked to review this but I am not getting paid in any way. By now you should know, I only write about things I like. SO where do we start?

Well, in Year 3 the children look at researching, making a comic strip, animation, surveys and video presentations. Do your year 3s manage all of that? Year 4s look at databases, geometry in art and making their own weather reports.

In each module there are links to free resources e.g. Bubbl.us and freemind are mentioned in the research topic. There are also e-safety points, things to think about and statements to help you decide which level your child should be working towards. Now for the experts out there, this might be old-hat, but on looking through it, I have got some great ideas of things I can do with my children too. You get books and help-cards with each pack but it’s also available on the CD too.

I’ve been trying to pick some holes and I’m struggling. It seems like a lot of things have been thought of and covered.

The scheme has been written in collaboration with some amazing people like Terry Freedman, Miles Berry and Tom Barrett. These guys are amazing to speak to and listen to and the thought of them putting ideas down for others to use should be enough to make you want to have a look at this.

So, I like it. A lot. But please PLEASE, don’t just pick this up and use it in order. The whole point of ANY scheme of work is that you pick and choose and use it in a way that suits your school. It might be that you make comic strips in Year 4 instead of 3. Who cares? As long as you challenge your children then you can move things around. Do take a look at this framework though, you will find it very useful as a starting point indeed.

Planning for the future
Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 | Author:

One of my jobs this summer is to re-plan the ICT curriculum at my new school. This wasn’t a job I was given, but one I asked to do instead. It might sound crazy asking for more work, but I felt it would be better to have an overall view of ICT across the school and this seemed like a good way to do it.The teachers were more than happy for me to do it too!

Now…where to start? In my old school, our whole curriculum was being re-done so that was the perfect time to look at ICT. We sat with various ICT elements e.g. email, presentations, spreadsheets, control etc and looked at where they would fit brilliantly and where they wouldn’t. One example was in Year 4 they were looking at Chocolate as their topic. Their main topic outcome was to design and create a chocolate bar and its packaging. So we put email in this unit because they could take a photo, attach it to an email and send it to Cadbury’s. If it didn’t fit, then we had a stand-alone unit such as Control. Yes, I could’ve made that fit with better/different topics, but I left it as stand alone. Choosing the topics wasn’t my place at that time.

This time around I have more experience and I have lots of ideas of what I’d like the school to be doing. Ideally, I would like all teachers using ICT when it is appropriate. This might be in a maths lesson or as part of PE or to record music. I don’t think that this will be achieved this year. Looking at timetables, there is a very clear discrete ICT slot each week where ICT is expected to happen. So I think that my plan is to have discrete ICT this year and then embedded within curriculum next year.

When planning the ICT I intend toplan 6ish lessons of an ICT area. This will be linked to the main topic (1/2- machines 3/4- Tudors 5/6 Space) but will be different to their main unit of work. This is partly as I haven’t got the full plans for each topic so it is hard to know where they are going with it, so I’ll keep it apart for now. As well as the lesson plans for ICT, I will be including some ideas that they can use or ignore. For example, in the Tudor topic, I will suggest using 2 Create a Super Story to make a Tudor book or use Wallwisher to ask the children what they know. Some of these are simple ideas and some will need a bit of training. But once staff see what Wallwisher or other tools can do, hopefully they’ll begin using them more often.

So that’s the plan. But where to start? Do I use the National Curriculum? I should do, but it is 11 years old, is it relevant? Do I use the QCA? What about the new/ditched Primary Framework? or the International Primary Curriculum? I think I will have to ensure that all elements of the NC are covered before being fancy and doing other things.

We teach in 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6, so maybe I should make sure all objectives are covered in 3/4 and in 5/6 to ensure coverage by the time that they leave our school?

I think ideally, I’d like to move towards a time when each piece of software has a simple guide. This guide has ideas for how to use the software as well as possible NC objectives that it can achieve. The teachers can then decide which tools they use to meet the objectives each year. For example, they couldn’t use PowerPoint every time as they also need to include some spreadsheet work or research. But can you fully embed ICT? When do you teach skills? These guides would hopefully ensure that each teacher has the ability to teach the skills needed for their year group, but hopefully spread out throughout the year.

I know this post has been a bit of a brain dump and me just chucking ideas, but I see it as something I’ve got to get right. I intend to plan 1 or 2 topics ahead of teachers this year but to have everything in place for September 2011 a few months early. It’ll be a big job, but a very exciting one.

So how is the ICT taught in your school? Embedded fully? Or do you have discrete lessons? Or a mix? I’m thinking whole-school and not just in one class. All ICT in my old class was embedded, but some others kept it separate.  I will be planning all ICT but not necessarily teaching it all. Any tips or ideas? What has/hasn’t worked in your experience?

Innie or Outie? #tmfishbowl
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 | Author:

Sorry for the delay, there have been a few other blog posts that have taken precedence this week and still a few more that have been put on hold!

Anyways, what are you? An innie or an outie? You can be a bit of both if you like, let me explain.

I love Teachmeet, I’ve presented a Teachmeet and I’ve ran a Teachmeet. But the one I went to last week was different. it was a Teachmeet Fishbowl. This involves 3/4 teachers sitting around a table, with others sitting around the outside listening to their conversation. Sometimes there is a spare chair so a lurker/outie person can jump into the bowl and join in the conversation. This could be for one point or question or it could be for 15 minutes. You choose, you decide on your level of participation.

So, Teachmeet Fishbowl in Oxford last week attracted 40-50 teachers, advisors and others to a gorgeous hotel. Once there we sat and watched a demo fishbowl. The focus is on planning for the use of ICT. How do you do it? What happens in the thought process? What is good planning? Have you EVER been taught actually how to plan?

It is always interesting to see how people do it. Fishbowl gives you a chance to listen to the thought process, the decisions and the conversations as people plan their topic. The example topic was based on using the Wii in the classroom as part of a settlement topic. Occasionaly people jumped in with ideas, but in front of a large audience, some people were hesitant.

So, off to our bowls. Our first project was a plan on Tudors that was perfectly OK. Not brilliant, whizzy, amazing, but OK. It didn’t contain tech it just contained a list of things to cover. We then set about planning some activities and adding podcasts/skyping with ‘Tudor characters’, we talked about using Zooburst or MyEbook to create a resource about Henry and his wives and using Google Maps to trace the journey of the Armada. Great, exciting woooo. Then the organisers throw in complications such as the school only having 1 ict suite or you only get 1 hour ICT a week. Now what?

Most people seemed thrown by this lack of ICT. I train teachers on a daily basis and they constantly say about the lack of ICT or 16 computers in their suite or old machines that don’t keep up. How would they use ICT?

After planning our topic, we came back, fed back our thoughts and repeated the process.

Was it useful? Yes. It’s always good to see how people plan and go about their daily business as a teacher. It’s easy to froget that a even if a teacher has been qualified for 2, 3 or even 5/6 years, they are still learning, they could still do with some training, some enthusiasm and a push from time-to-time.

We’re looking to plan some new topics and it is an interesting way to plan, if only to get people talking about their thinking and sharing their thought process. I might see if people fancy joining me in the fishbowl as we try to make the curriculum more exciting…