Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Year 7 Scratch

Both Year 6 and 7 have continued to look at the programming language Scratch in the last three weeks. Whilst P6 have begun to look at controlling images of themselves within the Scratch environment, the Year 7s have been considering aspects of computer game design whilst creating simple games that could be played by younger students.

A number of the games are very playable and include important aspects of game design, such as scoring, timers, levels and targets. The study of Scratch not only helps students to understand aspects of Control Technology, it also encourages review and refinement as well as offering a relatively simple path into the world of programming.

Hopefully a few of the games will be available for playing shortly.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Parent Resources

Day three of Robyn's visit began with a session for Educational Support Assistants. The staff listened intently to Robyn and there were lots of questions at the end!

Feedback from yesterday's Parent Forum continues to be positive and for those who wish to read further or who couldn't make yesterday's meeting, here are a number of resources to help you out.
  • A summary of Robyn's discussion with parents is now available and can be viewed here.
  • Childnet International offers a variety of resources to support students, teachers and parents. Click here to visit
  • Digizen hosts a variety of resources including the film Let's Fight It Together used with our older students. Click here to visit
  • Kidsmart is another good source for support and parental advice and includes an interactive presentation which is a great help. Click here to visit
  • Symantec also offer a set of resources including a checklist for parents. Click here to visit

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Parent Forum

Day Two of Robyn Treyvaud's visit kicked off with an early morning session with the Kellett parents. Over 60 parents gathered in the Auditorium to hear Robyn speak about the experiences of young people today in their online worlds and how they can be supported. She stressed how our students see online as an extension and enhancement of their real-world existence and how it can be used to build upon friendships and relationships rather than replacing them.

She also talked about the importance of connectedness for our pupils and it was clear that much of what she said struck a chord with our parents. Sadly, the session only lasted for 70 minutes. I suspect that most present would have been quite happy to stay and listen to Robyn talk all day!

The initial feedback from the session was very positive;

  • "the talk today was fantastic, great lady in tune with parental concerns but still able to talk to children"

  • "A very good talk, good update and positive"

Robyn has made the text of her presentation available to parents and these will be ready shortly. She also has a Delicious account where you can access some of her links;

You can access the resources by clicking here.

After the parents had left the Auditorium it was non stop for the rest of the day as Robyn ran four sessions for pupils at KS2 and 3. Yet again she was able to connect so well with students that they discussed their issues honestly and openly. The sessions were also extremely valuable to those members of staff that attended.

Staff were able to listen to Robyn again after school as she reiterated some of the aspects covered in the earlier Parent Forum. Tomorrow morning will be an opportunity for our Educational Support Staff to meet Robyn.

During a series of meetings tomorow key staff will discuss events from the week and plan how we can move forward as a community to come to terms with what Digital Citizenship means.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Creating Resilient Digital Citizens

Digital Citizenship expert Robyn Treyvaud joined us today for the first of three days looking at the challenges and opportunities that face young people today.

After a tour of the school Robyn spent the first part of the morning discussing aspects of Digital Citizenship with staff. We touched upon safe and appropriate conduct, copyright, illegal downloads, cyber-bullying and a myriad of other subjects in a fascinating conversation.

Robyn then spoke to the P3 year group about their experiences using the internet and fleshed out how our students use the net and what issues they are concerned with. Robyn's manner encouraged the children to be reflective and they produced some extremely thought provoking comments, particularly on the subject of pressure from advertisers.

After lunch it was the turn of P4 who discussed a wide range of internet use, including blogging, games playing and illegal downloading. As in the earlier session, staff present were fascinated to hear the extent to which our students are immersed in the net and the types of activities they get up to.

At the end of the day Robyn spoke to the Early Years staff about how they can work with pupils to ensure positive use of the amazing resources available to our students and also discussed Digital Footprints.

A busy but fascinating day! Tomorrow promises to be just as interesting with Robyn starting with a Coffee Morning with Kellett parents, as well as sessions with our older pupils.

More to follow.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Dear Santa... Part 2

Even though I spend a lot of time using a keyboard I do still use a pen or a pencil on a daily basis, using a notebook to make notes on lessons.

Whilst it's inevitable that examinations will soon offer the option of typed answers, the ability to write fluently (if not neatly) is an advantage, as it the ability to type speedily and accurately, of course.

The next item in my Christmas list looks a real winner and could even have some uses in school for students, although the price might be a little offputting.

The Pulse Smartpen offers the ability to record audio files and download to a PC or a laptop and can seemingly synch the audio to your handwriting.

It sounds amazing, and if anybody has seen these on sale in HK, please, please let me know! The only downside for me is that on average I lose around 3.7 pens a week.
Thanks to Merlin John for pointing me to this. Here's the ad;

I bumped into Merlin John at BETT earlier this year and his blog is a favourite in my Google Reader. Without him, it would have taken me much longer to find out about the Smart Table, another great application from Smart. As a Smart refugee living in a Promethean world it may be a little ambitious adding this to my list, but one can only hope!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Digital Citizenship

Next week promises to be an exciting time at Kellett as we will be joined by Robyn Treyvaud for the first three days of the week.

Robyn is founder of Cyber Safe Kids and is a renowned speaker and trainer on all aspects of Digital Citizenship and the ways young people use the net. During her time at Kellett she will be running sessions for all KS2 and 3 students and working with staff to develop policies and coursework to reinforce her ideas.

She will also be speaking at a special Coffee Morning held on Tues 18th November in our auditorium to which all Kellett parents are invited. She will discuss the issues that face parents and suggest ways of coming to terms with the world in which our young people live.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Rising To The Top

It's true what they say, you can't beat age and experience.

The first few weeks of the Fantasy Football season saw the students out in front, but as the season has progressed the teachers have begun to dominate matters. In fact, as of today, five of the top six spots are filled by the teachers.

Clearly they know much more about football than the Kellett students. Oh well, keep trying!

A small glimmer of hope for the students might be that current leader, Ms Lewis and 4th placed Mr Hulbert are this week celebrating the arrival of Katie Jane, born at the weekend. Many congratulations to all of them and here's hoping they still find time to manage their teams!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

P3 Animoto Slideshow

P3 have just finished their Art in ICT module and it was a great success. We studied the art of Bridget Riley and used ICT to mimic some of her methods. Firstly we looked at the artist's early drawing in black and white and used a template to master the fill tool in Colour Magic.

During the second lesson we looked carefully at some of her coloured paintings and used templates to mimic them. We made effective use of ICT by saving our work continually after making changes, thereby enabling us to create a much bigger portfolio of work.

The later lessons involved students creating their own templates to fill. They used the Snap-to-Grid tool to help them create grids before filling them with colour and again saving lots of versions of their work. Some of their designs were amazingly intricate, as can be seen from the Animoto slideshow above.

There was some really creative work in the latter part of this module and the P3s worked really hard. Well done!

All the KS2 students at Kellett now have their own Animoto accounts so they can make their own slideshows on aspects of their studies.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Scratching Around

P6 students have begun to use Scratch in their ICT lessons. This brilliant piece of software from MIT is a great learning tool, allowing access to theories of programming as well as creativity.

We have been looking at different ways of learning the software, either progressing through a series of tutorials provided by or simply playing with the software and trying things out. Interestingly the results varied between classes with those set the task of investigating through play appearing to have a better understanding of the software than those who were working through the tutorials.
Learn more about this project
However, the tutorials do contain some excellent ideas for extended projects which we will be visiting in the next few weeks.

Scratch is an extremely engaging piece of software, students quickly become immersed in the intricacies and require little in the way of support from the teacher and are at ease with methods of self-support or helping each other out;

"How do you get rid of what you've drawn?"
"Right there."

Another great aspect of Scratch is that it's completely free and downloadable from the MIT website. It's a must have download for all students at the top of KS2 and up (or maybe even younger)

For those digital immigrants who like me require the security blanket of organised tutorials, LearnScratch is a great place to start.