Last week I had one of those lessons again. The ones where you get the kids going, take a step back and watch as massive learning begins. I got the kids set up with a Makey Makey and a few bits and bobs and told them I wanted a games controller making. Obviously I sold this to the kids as me wanting them to create a new Xbox style remote which hooked them immediately! The ability to make a controller for a game using an old cut up cardboard box and a few split pins is brilliant for the pupils. To give them something to work with they spent 10 mins creating a simple little game using 2DIY by 2SimpleSoftware. Quick to do and the only controls you need to play it are up, down, left and right. Makes things loads easier when the kids have only been using the Makey board for a few weeks.

After talking through my expectations and what they had to use I took a big step back. Floated around the room and tried my best not to get involved with the pupils. The discussions going on round the room were brilliant. Children talking about what wires they’ll need, where the connections should be, and trying to work out why things weren’t working. It was the mistakes that gave me the best bits of conversation for assessment. Pupils using logical reasoning to work out their mistakes and look for a fix. Is it a problem with their controller, or was it something wrong with the programming in their game? You can see from the pictures above how engrossed the pupils were, and I struggled to tear them away from the kits at the end of the lesson.

I really would recommend these boards to any primary school. The creativity, independent learning and computational thinking they generate more than repays the cost of the kit! Next week I think I might see if I can trust them to use the copper tape….

 

Introducing Year 1 -2DIY

October 21st, 2014 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in 2DIY | PurpleMash - (0 Comments)

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The first few weeks in my job are usually a nightmare with year 1. Spending a few weeks trying to get them used to the network, trying to write their own names and showing them how a password works can slowly drive you insane. A few weeks in now and they have started doing some ‘real work’, which is great as my sanity slowly drifts back.

This half term the pupils have been looking at game making, and how we can use simple software to make games based on their topic. At the moment they are spending their time in classroom looking at all things Space.

So far I have stuck fairly religiously to 2DIY. Great for game making at all ages as the difficulty level can increase or decrease as required. So far our most complicated has been the jigsaw puzzle. Technically all the kids are doing is creating a lovely image showing me either a rocket, alien or the Moon; and then 2DIY turns it into a puzzle for them. I get to see their computing skills when they look at adding a few simple instructions to the game, or think about how they can make it easier/more difficult for other people.

Now the actual work they produce isn’t a Van Gogh, I mean it’s year 1, but the conversations going on in the room are brill! Listening to pupils talking to each other about how to write the instructions, how to change the jigsaw size, and game swapping is what I’m really after. It’s definitely one of those lessons where the biggest noise in the room is from the chairs shuffling around as they try each others work out!

The beauty of using something like 2DIY is its simplicity. I know that even with year 1 pupils I can leave them to the work without having to do much technical help, leaving me to concentrate on the learning. If you want to see programming in KS1 just ask pupils to build you a simple Collecting or Catching game. Job done!

What’s your best 2DIY lesson with KS1? Anyone else share in my year 1 nightmare start to the year?!

The last few weeks of the half term are always a bit hectic in the build up to Christmas. Often pupils are busy preparing for their Christmas performances, or with year 6…SATs still! If you’re all APP’s out, or want to get a break from the making nativity props why not have a quick Xmas ICT session. Below are 5 quick lessons and activities that can be adapted to different year groups, and should bring some festive cheer into your ICT suite, even for the biggest techno-scrooge!

1. Make the kids do your Christmas Shopping!

Give your pupils a list of items you need to buy online and time limit to find them in. Pupils should use some web research skills to try and find the cheapest price. They can then choose how they want to present it, I tend to go for a bit of Excel so I can get another bit of database evidence for them! You could push you top pupils by giving them a list of people to buy for with a budget. Thinking about what they like and whether their choices are appropriate. Always a fun little lesson,, and you’re bound to hear a shout of ‘I found it cheaper!’ at some point!

Capture2. Build your very own tree (sort of)

Those who follow my blog will know I try to do as much as I can with Google Sketchup, I love it! So if I have even the smallest of opportunities I try to shoe horn it in! Last week with my year 4 pupils we had a go at building some Xmas trees, complete with a star on top and multi-coloured baubles. To challenge those with a higher level of ability why not try adding a helix (spiral) of tinsel around the outside. Very trick to do, but will keep the kids enthralled. If you have some pupils who find it to difficult get them to try drawing one in 2D on the program.

3. Save Christmas Game

If you don’t have 2DIY in your school stop what you are doing and go get it! One of the styles of game you can make is a ‘Collecting Game’. The idea behind the game is simple. You have a main character who moves around the board collecting points, but make sure you avoid the bad guys! Basically every game ever! With my year 2 class we had some fun making a game where a child was saving Christmas for Santa. The background was a wonderful snow scene, and the main character had to go around collecting all the presents Santa had lost….but watch out! There are some Grinch like characters roaming around doing their best to spoil the day! The conversation and sharing that come out of a lesson like this is fantastic. Pupils love having a go at each others games, and often engage in some great critical discussions without even knowing it!

4. Animations 

This half term I have been looking at a variety of animations with the pupils and it’s something they love. Why not spend the morning making a lovely Christmas video. Pupils could make their characters out of plasticine, or the cheats way are these awesome Christmas cones from the guys over at Twinkl. In a morning you should be able to throw something together, then on the last day of term why not have a Christmas Movie show with popcorn and everything!

5. Blogging fun

Blogging with the kids is something I have recently tried to do more and more, and I’m really trying to get the pupils to blog of their own accord. Over the holidays I like to set a blogging challenge for the pupils as an extra bit of homework. The school I work at is full of different cultures and our children spend their winter holidays in a wide variety of different ways. I try to get the pupils to share what they, and their families do for the holiday season. Those who excel at blogging have had a go at adding pictures and video clips to share with their friends. For those pupils who struggle it’s also a great space for them to just sit and have a go at some writing. They all know it comes to me before it gets published so let them have a go!

 

Hope you all enjoy your Christmas build up as well as your holidays! Hope some of these ideas have saved you a bit of time, and have some fun!

 xmas

Before the holidays I had an extra sessions with my year 1 class and had to come up with the lesson on the spot. My go-to for this kind of lesson has to be 2DIY. So many activities in just one program (on a side note I think that any of the 2simple programs are a MUST for any primary school). This half term year 1 have been following the topic of Superheroes so with that as inspiration I got the pupils making a collecting game.

The collecting game will be instantly recognizable to any classic gaming nerd, and it has 3 elements for the pupils to build. A background for setting, a hero character and falling items. It nice and easy to play; Items fall, hero catches them. Easy.

for my class this meant a background of a burning building, the falling items were people leaping out of the building, and the hero character was the super hero they had been working on all half term. The loved creating the characters, and everything is so easy to do they can help each other with ideas. For the more advanced pupils they can add things like an instruction page to share with others.

The best bit of the lesson though is the last 15 minutes. This is when I get them to swap machines and have a go on another computer, trying out a different game. They love sharing their work and evaluating each others work. You always get some great discussion when they share ways to improve their games.  Loads of fun, give it a go!

Ok, so I know it’s a bit late in the day, but I thought I’d share a few of the teaching ideas I have used for Roald Dahl Day. One of my favourite days in the school calendar, where children get to enter some of the most fantastic worlds.

1. Character blogs – allow your pupils blog on your VLE as one of Roald Dahl’s famous characters. Get them to enter the minds of The BFG or Matilda and share their experiences and thoughts. Add some images to their text and share it online, you will be amazed with the feedback you get.

2. Gaming – Use some gaming software like 2DIY to make a Roald Dahl themed game. This year my class have been playing as Danny the Champion of the World trying to catch pheasants! Why not make a game where you get to collect Snozzcumbers or Fobscottle bottles? The possibilities are endless!

3. For older children why not try a quick hot seat using Skype. Get pupils to dress up in an adjacent room and Skype the rest of the class. Get the pupils to interview the character on their motives and emotions.

4. Character Creation – One thing Roald Dahl always got perfect was the creativity in his characters. They were always fantastically odd and never boring. Try to make some new ones with your class. You could you try and add them to one of his stories, maybe make a sequel! Use something like paint.net or 2Publish so that pupils can bring their creations to life.

5. I have saved the trickiest till last, for only the bravest of teachers! For those that don’t know Roald Dahl did all his writing in a little shed at the bottom of his garden. It was the perfect writing space for him, warm and cosy in the winter, peace and quiet, and a pencil and paper on his lap. Get your pupils to think about where they could write, what would be their ideal space? When they have come up with some different ideas get they to try and create it on Google Sketchup. Use the modelling software to make their perfect little hideaway!

 

‘Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it’

-Roald Dahl

2diy - VikingsI wanted to share a quick idea I had when using 2DIY with pupils. We had spent some time building our own viking longhouses on Google Sketchup (see the planning here) and wanted to have a bit of fun with them. So we took our designs as inspiration and created a quick collecting game on 2DIY.

Start off by drawing a quick background, a few paths and trees on landscape. Then start to build your village by turning the ‘Sun’ icons into a mixture of houses and stalls.

Now to add an element of danger to the game! Time to add some villains. Turn the ‘Enemy’ icons into vicious dragons! The kids loved drawing these. Remember to animate them, a stationary dragon is an easy foe!

As the dragon hoards attack our poor village a Hero steps forward! Arm your Viking Warrior with Sword and Shield and send him into battle! Obviously he is protecting the villages most precious items added by you. change the ‘Apple’ icons to various items of value. You could go for coins, brooches, swords, shields, etc.

Now we are finally ready to play our action adventure game. For an extension activity get the pupils to add an instructions page, then swap games with the person next to them. They could even review each others games.

Have fun!

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