Bev's adventures in ICT

Posts tagged ‘PhotoStory’

World in Union

Well, the 2011 rugby World Cup has started and I, for one, am pretty excited about it. Maybe it’s because I’m Welsh but I’m pretty sure others feel the same so I thought I’d share some resources and ideas you could use with your class. And I’m going to start with those super people at Purple Mash who are yet again ‘on the ball’ (excuse the pun) when it comes to current and relevant content to use in the classroom. There are a few resources to choose from here, including a great template for writing a match report , and all of the activities include fantastic themed clip art in addition to word banks or writing prompts. There are also other resources that would fit into this theme. There’s a Welsh Celebrity Profile writing frame which includes rugby themed clip art (great for writing about Shane Williams or your favourite Welsh player) and a Sports Star Profile (no rugby themed clip art but you could use the drawing tools). There’s a writing frame for describing the rules of a sport (rugby clip art included) and, if you visit the creative tools section, there are some useful writing frame templates available via 2Publish and 2PublishExtra. Make a rugby themed word wheel! Or a poster! Or a leaflet about one of the counties involved! Loads of lovely possibilities all in one handy online space. You could even use 2Investigate to create a graph about the top players. If you’ve not used PurpleMash before and would like to know more then get in touch with the bods at 2Simple or send them a message online (via Facebook or Twitter).

Of course the statistical information involved in any sporting event makes it obvious to link this topic to Maths and there are lots of possibilities. There is plenty of statistical information available on the official site but it might be nice to follow the event and come up with activities of your own. During the last Rugby World Cup a friend of mine used the pools as a sort of mini competition between the groups in his class. 4 pools – 4 groups. Pupils were in charge of keeping a note of all the scores recorded by teams in their pool and using little numbered rugby balls to keep their total updated every day. A bit of a competition with a smattering of basic number skills and place value thrown in – the winner being the table with the most points scored. There are also plenty of investigations that could be done based on the rugby field itself: area, perimeter, measuring etc. and a bit of fun to be had with angles (linked to goal kicking). There are also fantastic opportunities to link the topic to DT/Art (flag, kit or mascot design, build a stadium), Science (investigations of fabrics used in sports kits, forces), Geography (pick any of the countries involved) – you name it!

So what about activities linked to ICT? Well, in addition to the great stuff available via Purple Mash it would also be worth searching through resources available via TES Connect (there is bound to be something useful) and seeing what the teaching resource section on the official site has to offer. You could get pupils to make adverts, publicising the games ,using Windows Movie Maker, Photo Story or iMovie or use Pivot Stick Figure to make some rugby themed animations  I’ve put together made an ICT challenge pack aimed at KS2 (but you could adapt the idea) if you want to have a go. I’ve also added a selection of clip art to my posterous blog (it’s already included in the challenge pack) if you felt like creating top trump cards or something similar – in fact, why not get the children to do it. That’s far much more fun!

 

Sound Affects

We all know that pupils need choice when it comes to recording and plan their ideas. The written word can be the only outlet for some. Using pictures and bullet points might suit others. But simply speaking about your ideas, directly onto a digital recorder or another device, like an Easi-Speak microphone, can be a revelation for those children who have difficulty with traditional recording methods. Obviously the use of Audacity in the classroom could also enhance this and there are some ideas for this here but when we want to put the recorded sound together with visual content it might not be as easy for some as others, and we want their ideas and thoughts to be recorded in a way that suits them and makes them feel like they’re achieving. So which pieces of kit are best for this?

My first suggestion would be to use Photo story 3: it’s free, easy to use and the results look fabulous. There are a number of simple tutorials for this online but basically the program allows pupils to import photos, add basic effects, text, music and narration to make a short movie. It’s a very versatile, if simple, piece of software and can easily be used by pupils in KS1 (with support at first) and pupils with varying levels of SEN. The results look professional and ‘grown up’: pupils can be proud of their achievements and share their efforts with others easily. It’s great for topic based or diary type work but is just as good for tasks like story sequencing and retelling. I’ve used it many times with pupils where the pictures of a well known story have to be imported and rearranged in order, allowing for a retelling of the story in the child’s own words (and it’s even better if the child uses a program like 2Paint a picture to create their own images from the story first).

There’s only one trouble with Photo Story 3 (and it’s not really a problem with the program itself): if the pupils have used it in KS1 and lower KS2 they will want (and need)to move onto something different eventually! Some pupils, however, find that transition difficult: particularly those with recording difficulties when it comes to the written word! They want to put their ideas down but get frustrated when they can’t do it with the ease of others. The natural step would be to move to Windows Movie Maker but this is not always the best piece thing to use in a busy classroom (it’s not as straight forward or intuitive to use, it tends to crash or freeze, some pupils lose patience with it…). My solution is to get the pupils to record their ideas and speech directly onto PowerPoint – it’s easy to do and it gives pupils who may need a bit of extra time to get to grips with something like Movie Maker.

The technique is great for lots of topics but can easily be used to assist with literacy, particularly planning stories. Pupils can use a PowerPoint Storyboard (or perhaps something a little more jazzy, like the Movie Style Storyboard ) to help plan their stories: instead of adding written captions to their storyboard they could record their own comments instead. This would also work with a template like the Story Mountain Planner style one above – pupils could just use a microphone to record their ideas directly onto the slide and the need for written text is minimised.

From an inclusion point of view there are a number of other programs available that allow pupils to record spoken content directly onto their work: 2Create a SuperStory springs to mind, as does 2Connect, and there are others available. But if you don’t have those yet, and you need to give pupils opportunities to record their work in different ways (ways that suit then) then this is worth a go. Every pupils I have shared this with has been thrilled with the independence it has given them. I’m not saying they don’t need to write: I’m just allowing for the fact that some pupils, for whatever reason, are better at verbalising ideas. This is one way of making sure their contributions are as valued as everyone else.

The Great Outdoors

Linking ICT with the Outdoor Curriculum can often be a head scratching experience. They’re not a combination that, at first glance, appear to fit together. And yet there is more and more focus in our school lives on being outside (and not just for excursions or PE!!). So what can you do? Is there an easy answer? Well, new opportunities for linking ICT and the Outdoor Curriculum and there is much to be discovered and explored. Here are a few suggestions for younger pupils!

  • Bring your BeeBots outside: Now this might not seem to be an obvious choice (after all – BeeBots need a smooth surface to run best) but it’s not too difficult to set up. you could develop an outdoor BeeBot area with a track and a clearly marked out area, but any large table will do – just make sure it’s on a level surface. Perhaps children could make obstacles for the BeeBot to travel around (extra DT is always good fun) or you could provide them with card, precut to 15cm x 15cm, to design their own track. You know everything is twice as much fun in the sunshine 🙂
  • Get some walkie talkies: There are so many uses for walkie talkies in the outdoor area. As a starting point they’re great for role play – maybe you’ve got a vet or hospital topic going on? What better way to link in a little ICT than to have a paramedic or a vet radioing back to base with details of injuries or requests of assistance? They’re also good on a trip to your Forest School area, local beach or any other outdoor excursion, as pupils can use them to chat to each other compare information between groups.
  • Get detecting: If you’ve got a large outdoor sand play area, or you’re out on a trip to the beach, a metal detector is a lovely addition to your equipment. Maybe you could use it to check different materials (metal/non metal) or actually hide some treasure for the children to find (nice if you’ve got a pirate topic going on) – I’m sure you can think of more suggestions.
  • Talk about stuff: Got some Easi-Speak microphones? Then take them outside and let the children record what they’re doing so they can share it with others back in class. Slightly older pupils could record information while on excursions and use the recordings as a basis for their writing afterwards. What about using a digital recorder to help you remember the sounds you heard? Then use the recording to get an atmosphere of the excursion back in class.
  • Give them a camera: Digital cameras are great in the outdoors 🙂 Younger pupils use could use cameras like these and then use Photo Simple, on the basic setting, to edit them back in class. You’ve then got a perfect opportunity to use PhotoStory 3 (or whatever else you might choose) to make little movies from your images. Alternatively get hold of a Flip Video camera and use it to record pupils’ activities for playback later. You could even get the children to record their own adventures!
  • Plan an audio trail: Leave clues for the children using recordable speech bubbles or talking points in addition to some written or visual clues. A bit like a treasure hunt but with added sound!
  • Make some music: Remember Tom Hanks on the big floor piano in Big? Why not recreate it with a roll up keyboard? A bit of music in the outdoors is always enjoyable – for you and the children.

Hopefully you’ll find something in this little list that you haven’t tried before and be tempted to give it a go. Although some activities will work better with a little adult supervision there’s plenty of opportunity for a little independent learning. There’s also great scope for including pupils with SEN and getting them as involved as everyone else – so go out and explore the possibilities.

Time for Fairtrade

It’s Fairtrade Fornight again (22nd February – 7th March)  and for some of us that means finding activities and ideas to use in the classroom. So I thought I’d share a few ideas with you that might be useful as a starting point.  Some of them you might have come across before and some are ideas I’ve created to use in school but hopefully there’s something for all.

I’m sure many of you have come across the CAFOD website and it’s excellent resource section. Well there are some fantastic downloads and ideas to use during Fairtrade Fortnight included in both the primary and secondary sections. I particularly liked the look of the Banana split activity listed on the secondary resources page but also suitable for UKS2 too. And there are lots of other useful websites you might like to look at. The Fair Trade Resource Network also offers a range of teaching resources and if you want something more visual, or feel like creating some multimodal PowerPoints there are plenty of useful clips available online.

One activity I thought of was to create a Publisher cook book using a suitably themed template and this website. I have to say some people might be disgusted by some of the recipes but pupils can ones they liked, looking for suitable images to accompany them etc. If you don’t want to produce a cook book why not use this themed publisher paper to get you started on a poster or something similar?

You could create a survey about the use of Fairtrade products and use the data collected in Maths sessions to link into data handling.   Younger pupils can also have fun with Fairtrade: get them to produce posters or leaflets on Fairtrade produce using 2Publish+ or look at some of the nice activities on Oxfam’s Cool Planet and Dubble that could be used to tie in with Fairtrade. I’ve also put together a Healthy Eating Challenge Pack which has a number of PowerPoint Templates that may come in handy (one of the activities is also Fairtrade based and you could adapt the others if you wanted to) for pupils in KS2. Another idea would be to use Google Earth, to follow a banana’s journey, or to create some informative multimedia work with Prezi, PhotoStory, Animoto and PhotoPeach. I’m sure you can think of some other fun ideas too (please share them here if you’ve found or created anything fabulous!!!).