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

If you haven’t used Padlet yet where have you been and what the heck have you been doing!?

Padlet is an interactive wall that all can have access to and add to. Pupils are able to add either a quick little note, or a wide variety of files from images, links and videos. And the best thing about it is that it all happens live. Pupils can see their friends adding the work and take inspiration from them. As a teacher I get to see who adds what, and how long it took them to do it. You also have overall control of the Padlet when logged in, and you can quickly trash any that don’t meet your standards. This could be down to the fact that it is inappropriate, or even just not a good enough sentence! In my lessons we tend to use this as either a quick starter activity or a nice little plenary to show what they have learnt in the lesson. Brilliant way to track and store the progress made by the children.

For those of use with a need to maintain the aesthetics there is a wide variety of backgrounds to choose from, and all the work placed by the children is easy to move around and organise. And for the extra nerdy teacher there are loads of options for sharing/exporting/embedding the Padlet to go wherever you want.

Pupils need to be given a URL link to the wall as I tend to keep them hidden from public view.If you have any issues with privacy or accessibility there a  whole host of options to open up or lock down the site when needed. The URL can be changed and edited to something personal if it is available, or just kept as random letters.

Below is a quick Padlet I produced to show you all how it works. Please feel free to add to my wall, to get started all you need to do is double click somewhere on the wall. I can not tell you how useful this is in the classroom and how much the kids get out of seeing their work live. Remember, please like/share/comment!

Hi everyone, been a while since my last post. I had the summer away from everything school and tech, my eyes needed to recuperate!

streetmap

But I’m back and that’s the most important thing! My 1st little resource is one that I used a lot over the holidays. www.streetmap.co.uk is a great little website that uses the Ordnance Survey maps at different scales. The advantage of using this site it that it doesn’t have any data allowances. Users of the OS website will know that often searches can not be made as their daily usage allowance has been met.  this can be even more frustrating if you’re using it in the classroom, nothing worse than the tech letting you down. Give it a go!

10 reasons to start using Prezi in your classroom instead of PowerPoint.

Amazing tool, bring you learning to life for your pupils. Its a completely new way for pupils to think about the work in lessons. It helps them see in a non-linear way, allowing them to see the whole picture. Don’t get me wrong, PowerPoint can be a wonderful tool when used correctly, but more often than not you get the boring slide by slide journey through a topic. Using Prezi can change the way you look at presenting your ideas. Simple and easy to use, it’s almost more difficult not to make it interactive for your audience! Another bonus of Prezi is the sense of community on the site. Don’t go out to try and re-invent the wheel. Have a look what other users have created and see if you can make it your own!

Sometime last year Prezi was bought out by Google, so now you have all the ease of a Google product. Instantly add YouTube clips, videos or soundbites to your Prezi.

I like to think using it got me a new role in my school, have a look at the Prezentation I created about implementing a new VLE system. How have you used Prezi? Have you used it in the classroom? How do your pupils use it?

 

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