Posted in Action Plans

September/October 2016 Action Plan

Here is a list of my initial action plan for September and October, as of 12/09/16:

  1. Continue to regularly update my showcase blog (try to change or add something everyday). (ongoing as of 12/09/16)
  2. Keep up to date with the Pick n Mix computing modules on BlackBoard (completed E-Safety and modules 1 and 2)
  3. Find some useful resource websites for future use (ongoing as of 16/09/2016)
  4. Look into and explore Bee-Bot (completed 15/09/2016) and Daisy the Dinosaur (completed 17/09/16)
  5. Download and explore useful apps such as Aurasma (downloaded 23/09/2016), Coaches Eye, Decide Now! (downloaded 29/09/2016), Jolly Phonics (downloaded 27/09/2016), Decibel 10th (downloaded 27/09/2016).
  6. Upload a blog on E-safety (uploaded 18/09/2016) and Sexting
  7. Complete the compulsory module: Teaching Internet Safety (completed 18/09/16)
  8. Finish writing up my notes from the book ‘Primary Computing and ICT Knowledge, Understanding and Practice. Turvey, Potter, Allen and Sharp. (I read this book during July and August 2016).

Below is my full action plan which will be regularly updated:

Name: Chloe S Tutor: MK
Computing/ICT Qualifications/Experience

General use of Microsoft Office.

Popular apps such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Year 9 ICT lessons mainly focussing on Excel and Publisher.

PGCE Computing audit revealed these priorities·      Need to improve my skills and knowledge surrounding physical programming devices used in schools e.g. Bee-Bots, programming language, e.g. Scratch and computer networks e.g. working of search engines.

·      Improve my knowledge and skills regarding coding and apps.

·      The ability to integrate computing into lesson plans across the curriculum and how they can be utilised effectively.

·      Identifying areas to extend and support children on their computing knowledge and skill.

Action I will take in September and October Date Completed
  • Hire a Bee-Bot from University and understand how to programme it and how it could be used within lessons
  • Work through Pick and Mix modules to further my knowledge and understanding of the curriculum.
  • Download apps that are likely to be used in the classroom e.g. Audacity, Aurasma, Jolly Phonics etc.
  • Keep a bank of useful websites for computing lessons and my own development.
  • Update/edit my blog regularly to continually develop my knowledge and understanding of blogs.
  • Finish writing up my notes from the book ‘Primary Computing and ICT Knowledge, Understanding and Practice. Turvey, Potter, Allen and Sharp. (I read this book during July and August 2016).
Hired 13/09/16 – Completed 15/09/16


Pick and Mix 4 – Completed 18/09/16

Pick and Mix 1 – Completed 22/10/16

Pick and Mix 2 – Completed 23/10/16


Downloaded and accessed – 20/09/2016-present)

Ongoing as of 15/09/2016



Ongoing as of 12/09/16

Action I will take on GPP Date Completed
·      Introduce aspects of computing in core curriculum lessons and evaluate its effect on the lesson. Used laptops within maths that incorporated games relating to capacity estimation. IT worked very well and the students were engaged within the activity as they could test themselves against peers and their previous score.
Posted in Apps, KS1, KS2

Favourite Apps

Below are a selection of my favourite apps:

GarageBand                        Hopscotch                             Morfo
Decide now!                     Google Earth                       Class Dojo
Bee Bot                       Jolly Phonics                  Daisy the Dinosaur

Posted in Apps, Cross-Curricular Computing Links, KS1, KS2

Decide Now! The involvement wheel…

Decide now!  is an app that acts as a spinning wheel and is an alternative to the common hands up approach. Eradicating the hands up approach within some lessons may improve students engagement as a class. By using this ‘Decide now!’ wheel, the students never know when they are going to be chosen and therefore, will hopefully constantly be paying attention in case they are.

Once downloaded (although it cost 49p), the teacher can input in each section the names of individual pupils or groups of pupils, the wheel is then spun and whoever it lands on will carry out the task outlined or contribute accordingly. For example, the next student to present a poster or show their artwork, explain how they answered a question or present their science findings.

As this is an app, it can be taken to PE lessons too, in which children could then perform a routine in dance or gymnastics or show their peers a paired balance.

This would be useful if the class are reluctant to volunteer or conversely, if every child is always super eager to volunteer. I would always make sure that if children really didn’t want to come to the front or contribute once chosen that they don’t have to.

I would incorporate this into my teaching as I believe it is a subtle yet powerful tool to improve class engagement and give an alternative system to the hands up approach.

class decide now.png
An example of a class Decide now! wheel demonstrating a child’s name in each segment.
Posted in Apps, KS1, KS2, Uncategorized

The Magical and Monsterous world of Class Dojo It’s FREE! 

Class Dojo: Getting Started Video  This video is a great way to explain the ins and outs of ClassDojo if you have never come across it before. Basically, it’s an online tool for behaviour management which encourages positive behaviour such as good manners, trying hard, being kind, setting a good example and discouraging negative behaviours such as talking, pushing, being rude and not following instructions.

The ClassDojo screen allowing the teacher to award and deduct points for each student, multiple students or groups of children. 

Fortunately, I have had the opportunity, whilst working as a TA in a Y4 class, to use ClassDojo and manage behaviour accordingly. It was an integral aspect of the class’s daily routine, with points awarded before home time that had been accumulated during the day. Children could keep an eye on how many they had and tried really hard to achieve the top three spots. The teacher I worked with had also set up her guided reading groups on ClassDojo and rewarded the groups for team effort and trying hard.

The noises made when points are awarded and deducted are soon either loved or hated by the children. They know the noise of an awarded point and deducted point and these noises can simply and quickly refocus and silence a class. It is quite amusing to watch but also very impressive that this simple app can have such a huge affect on the behaviour of all the children. For example, during a silent reading activity, after a practice SATS paper which some children were still completing in the small room next to classroom, some children were chatting and giggling loudly. I put Class Dojo on the interactive whiteboard and awarded one child, who was silent, a point for ‘setting a good example’. Instantaneously, all the children turned their head as they had heard the point awarded noise and wanted to find out who it was. The children who were chatting immediately stopped in the hope they would receive a point as well.

However, as it is a competitive reward system, it can be easy to forget the ‘invisible children’, over award a child who needs lots of praise and encouragement and subsequently over award children with SEND. Similarly, children sometimes begin to ask for points for just pushing their chair under and holding the door open; gestures which should be done without the need for a reward but instead a simple ‘thank you’.

I believe this is a great resource for KS1 and KS2 classes, particularly if they are quite boisterous. I would adopt this in my classroom if the school permits it as I have seen first hand the benefits of this system.


Posted in Apps, Cross-Curricular Computing Links, KS1, KS2

Aurasma: Revolutionising the classroom

When we observed the science lesson mentioned in my ‘From Manchester to Cornwall, Over and Out; Science Lesson Observation Via Skype’, I noticed the teacher constantly taking photos of the groups and their work. He explained that he was going to stick the photos in the children’s books and then they could use an app on the iPad called Aurasma to scan the photo and watch a video/listen to an audio clip of the lesson and what they found. This was amazing and so I downloaded the app and gave it a go.

It was tricky to navigate and set up initially however once I had mastered the app there was no stopping me. And it is true…it’s amazing! This could be useful within many lessons, especially those that are practical.

I found a video titled ‘Quick Aurasma Demo for Teachers:‘ which I found very helpful when opening the app for the first time.

One idea I had was to create class books for each foundation subject such as PE, DT, Music, Drama etc. and each double page spread in these books represents one lesson using pictures and small written explanations summarising the lesson. Then when children hover the iPad, whilst on Aurasma, over the pictures, a video/audio clip of the children or teacher appears, explaining the lesson content, what they did etc. It is a super way to evidence lessons and work that are more practical and it could even be a class project on a Friday afternoon to update the app/make it work. Children would then be tapping into their digital literacy and information technology.

I will definitely be using this app within my own class, or on FPP if I have chance to. It is fantastic, simply aurasome!


Posted in Apps, Cross-Curricular Computing Links, KS1

Phonics: It’s so jolly

jolly-phonics-screenshots/a/- /a/! Apps on the iPad

/a/- /a/! Apps on the iPad

/a/- /a/! Apps on the iPad

It’s simply amazing!

Jolly phonics are great; an interactive way of teaching children sounds and words, along with letter formation. What’s even better is that children can access the app containing all the phonetical sounds and songs on iPads all the time on a free Jolly Phonics app (for teachers). There is one for children with interactive games but it costs £5.

I downloaded the Jolly Phonics app for teachers and had a little browse. It is so easy to use and full of ideas to incorporate phonics into each day.

You simply click on the sound you want to work on and then an array of options appear as you scroll down. You can hear the sound, practice the letter formation, sing the song that matches the sound (with instructions for the actions) and there is also a revise section, outlining all the sounds to recap and revise that are previous to the current one.

Children could use this app and work in pairs or small groups, practicing the song and letter formation if the teacher is working with a different group. This allows children to really take ownership of their learning as the app is super child friendly as well! The teacher could even have this app up on the interactive whiteboard as a whole class activity.

Other phonics interactive websites and resources I like are:

Phonics dice

Splat game (with fly swats)




Posted in Cross-Curricular Computing Links, KS1, KS2

Adventure is out there…Google Earth

Children love exploring and Google Earth is a great resource that allows them to explore, the whole world, whilst on an iPad or Laptop. Giving them free time on google earth will probably result in them finding and identifying their own house (if they know their address)!

By setting starter challenges such as ‘who can find Rio?’ or ‘which country do elephants live in a natural habitat?’ gets the children thinking, gives them a sense of adventure and scale (a key concept in the learning and teaching of geography) as they would have to zoom in and out to discover specific places and areas.

Similarly, Google Earth can be used across a range of other subjects to broaden curiosity and give a sense of space and location. In History, children could locate where certain historical events took place and how perhaps they impacted on our life today. They could look at and make with their finger, the long ship journeys the Romans made when they invaded new land, and compare that to how we travel today. Children could find places of religious interest, and in art, create pictures that help depict the terrain of the land from above. Google Earth could also be beneficial to spark ideas about wow words within English creative writing.

In addition, Google Earths 3D building feature allows users to click on buildings, see it in 3D form and it gives extra information regarding that particular building…Amazing, especially if children were looking at buildings in ancient Rome or even the pyramids in Egypt. Furthermore, the Moon feature could easily be linked to History and Science and the Historical Imagery feature, well that changes aspects of teaching history and research!

Features Google Earth offers that are invaluable cross-curricular links and teaching tools.

In the Geography Learning to make  a Difference Ofsted report (2011) it outlined the need for schools to utilise technology with the subject to provide relevance and instil enthusiasm into young learners. Google Earth is a great to foster that imagine and enthusiasm for geography. Children with fewer travelling opportunities or know little about the world we live in could easily think of hundreds of questions by exploring Google Earth for 5 minutes.

The whole world is at their finger tips and schools who may not have easy access to school trips away from their local area for various reasons can utilise Google Earth by visually showing the children the size of the world and conducting further research into how people live in other countries or even just out of the local area.

There’s many more great teaching ideas and resources at TeachPrimary for both Ks1 and KS2.



Posted in Apps, Cross-Curricular Computing Links, KS2

Sound and Computing: It’s a match

Computing devices have the ability to aid our understanding in many science topics. Having just completed the sound seminar, in which we were exposed to an array of computing devices that allowed us to measure sound accurately (kind of), their usefulness within the topic of sound will be outlined below.

The best (and most common) method of measuring sound is by using our ears, however it’s not the most universal method as everyone ears are unique and thus, we hear sounds slightly differently. During some classroom experiments, I believe data loggers and the app Decibel 10th would be very functional and aid the children’s understanding immensely.

One type of data logger found in Primary Schools
A screenshot of Decibel 10th app after some rather interesting singing…

If children are measuring the loudness of an instrument or noise using their ears, they will all record different results, however, if they have access to data loggers and the app Decibel 10th, they should hopefully all record the same amplitude, whilst having the ability to view the maximum and minimum level and also view some sonograms that appear on the app. The sonograms would greatly improve the children’s learning potential and may even instil curiosity to research further into the topic of sound.


Furthermore, from a scientific point of view, it would reduce bias, create more accurate data and potential arguments over the results gained all whilst improving their computing and working scientifically skills….WIN WIN!

But (there’s always a but)…as data loggers are so sensitive, they would work best in a completely silent room (difficult with 30 primary children in a cramped room all making noise for an experiment I know)! Data loggers do pick up all the background noise – reducing the accuracy and validity of the results and increasing the number of variables the children must contend with.

They could be used in a comparative way; whilst doing an experiment on the best material for ear defenders, children could predict the results, try it out using their ears and the measuring device and then see what results the data loggers give. They could then compare all 3; predictions, ears and data loggers to see if there are any similarities or differences.

The use of data loggers is a KS2 area of learning and could be incorporated into the development of children’s own experiments.

Added bonus: Decibel 10th is a FREE app.

Posted in Apps, Coding, Cross-Curricular Computing Links, KS1

Scratch Jr: The baby brother of Scratch

Scratch Jr is an introductory programming language that caters for young children, mainly within KS1, by using drag and drop blocks. Children snap together the graphical programming blocks to make characters, or ‘sprites’, move, jump, turn, walk, dance and sing. The programming language used is developmentally appropriate for younger children and the features are designed to match young children’s cognitive, personal, social, and emotional development (Scratch Jr website). Children can then move onto the Scratch app when they are ready. At a glance, the content and language used is much more suite dot KS1 than Scratch, however, being relatively new to the world of code, it still took me a while to get to grips with it.

Why Scratch Jr for KS1?

Scratch Jr was created to allow young children to enter the world of code. It enables them to create and express themselves through computing rather than just interacting with it. Whilst enjoying Scratch Jr, children are developing as computational thinkers, solving problems and develop sequencing skills paramount to future academic success. In addition, early numeracy and literacy skills are developed due to the language used and the meaningful and motivating context Scratch displays.

Setting up Scratch Jr:

Scratch Jr is available as a FREE app for both iPad and Android devices. Once loaded and opened, clicking on the house icon allows you to create a project or access saved projects – great for assessing children’s work after the lesson. The coding world is then at your fingertips!

My Experience of Scratch Jr:

I first noticed that there are more pictures than words, making it easily accessible for all young learners. The icons pr block palette, number 14 in the screenshot below, indicate how the ‘sprite’ will move or the basic programming options.


The functions are much simpler than Scratch and I easily managed to create a small walking safari scene using customised ‘sprites’. It is super easy to use as you  drag the blocks you would like into the programming area.

My ‘safari walk’ created on Scratch Jr.

For children, I do feel a teacher would have to explain the green flag and how to group parts together but once informed, they could be fully independent in no time. I enjoyed the challenge of debugging sprites and making sure things worked exactly as I planned out and I am positive KS1 children would feel the same and become immersed in the world of coding that this app has to offer.

The teacher could create a simple project and ask children to add on or edit specific aspects to check and assess their debugging skills. This would aid in their computational thinking skills and problem solving whilst allowing them to explore coding and algorithms. Additionally, the teacher could set challenges for the higher achieving students and could write a set of instructions for lower achieving students to follow.

There are also step by step guides available on the website for how to create more complex aspects of Scratch Jr such as Meet and Greet and Conversations.

What do people think of Scratch Jr:

This ScratchJr Book Gets Younger Minds Creating with Code – GeekDad. January 7, 2016

Top 10 Tech | 2016 – School Library Journal. December 6, 2016