Tag-Archive for ◊ rising stars ◊

A Little Project
Friday, July 06th, 2012 | Author:

It all started way back in January 2012. It feels like it was a lot longer ago, but it really was less than 6 months ago when I was asked. It was between BETT and LWF to give you a timescale. Would I like to write a book about ICT for Rising Stars? I thought that it would be a great opportunity so I jumped at the chance for a few reasons. One, Andrea Carr (@andreacarr1) is amazing and has helped support Teachmeets and other sorts of events for ages. This is through sponsorship, promotion and just coming along to them as well. She has also always been very kind to both myself and my partner Charlie and we like her a lot. The second reason was that it sounded like a fun project to be involved in and one that fitted in well with my ICT Planning site that I was also working on. Originally I thought I was being asked to write a small part of the book but after a few emails it became apparent that this was going to be my book. Gulp.

The book is aimed at trainee teachers, newly qualified teachers and well, anyone that needs a boost or refreshment in their skill-set. It is part of a set of books that at launch, will include Phonics, SEN and ICT and will eventually include other titles too.

So we met, we planned and we came up with a strategy. 120 pages packed full of ideas and tips for the primary classroom teacher. Easy huh? Luckily I had some expert help from people on Twitter such as Julian Wood (@ideas_factory) and David Rogers (@daviderogers) who have both contributed to certain sections along with people like Miles Berry (@milesberry) who helped write a bit about Scratch. There are loads of others who helped in some way or other and the full list is in the book. Many thanks go to Claire Lotriet (@ohlottie) for helping to bounce ideas and who proof-read bits too.

And now it is nearly here. The book is being launched next week and to see a sneak preview, click here. Also, in the coming few days, check the #RSEssentials tag on Twitter for snippets from the book.

Thanks again to everyone that has helped and I hope that you all enjoy the book and find it useful.

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?┬áThis 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.