2cass logoThere are plenty of buzz words that do the rounds in primary schools on a regular basis, but one has popped up constantly this year; Programming. ICT teachers have the task of a changing curriculum with a completely different outlook and focus. So for the past few months I have been thinking of programs and teaching ideas, that I already use with the pupils, that encompass the themes and outcomes of the changing curriculum.

2cass overall

Pupils made some none fiction texts based on nocturnal animals.

One that came to mind, and one that I love using with pupils of all ages is 2CreateASuperStory. 2SimpleSoftware produce some great programs, and are always easy to use with the pupils, but 2CASS adds something else, and extra dimension. Like other software it has the simple drawing tools that all pupils are used to, but it also comes with a whole host of pre-made characters and shapes ready to be manipulated. When loaded into the page children have the ability to programme its movements, the direction, and how far it travels. They can even add text, sounds, and change the movement of the book. The best thing is that the children don’t even know they programming. They get a simple and clear understanding of direction and distance whilst making and sharing some great creative work.

Control instructions made the owl fly across the image.

Control instructions made the owl fly across the image.

Where next? 

Next year I plan to make the movement and control side of the program more of a focus. Rather than just telling pupils to animate their pictures I think I will give them more specific instructions. This should show me that they can programme, and if necessary, debug a sequence of instructions (or algorithm!). I also want to develop the type of activity I do using the software. It has oodles of features and different style that I just haven’t got round to using with pupils, I tend to be lazy and stick to the simple mode.

How many of the different features have you used? What programs that you use now lend themselves easily to programming and control? 

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!

One of my favourite lessons of the year. Over the past few weeks my year 1 pupils have been tracking Barnaby Bear as he travels around the world. He spent some time in Australia, stopping off in Peshawar and Paris, before finishing his journey in Bradford. Pupils used the animation software on 2CASS to bring Barnaby to life.

The pupils started off by creating different backgrounds of the world Barnaby has visited. Then using the animated characters they created a version of Barnaby. With links to literacy the pupils then had to add a couple of sentences telling me where Barnaby was, and what he was doing. As an extension I asked the pupils to use a connective in their writing.

The outcome was good, with pupils enjoying the lesson and creating some great work. what really makes this a good lesson is the ability to expand upon it using the 2CASS story. The next lesson will be adding a new page to their book, only this time they will have to copy and paste a picture in. An easy task for us, mind blowing to a year 1 pupil!

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