Bev's adventures in ICT

Posts tagged ‘Thisissand’

Back to School

So, the Easter holidays are finally coming to a close and there seem to be a plethora of great things happening in the world right now (or very soon) that are perfect for covering in the classroom. There’s the forthcoming general election, the recent Icelandic volcano incident and a little matter of the football World Cup. This could make it a topical and jam packed term and it seems a shame to sit and let such opportunities pass. So …what to do?

Election wise there are opportunities for producing persuasive information, possibly using the recent Marmite adverts as a stimulus to get them to design adverts for imaginary products – both printed (using Microsoft Publisher or 2Publish+) and as a multimedia task (using Movie Maker, PhotoStory or PowerPoint). Ideas for this could be planned out using storyboards or writing frames and then move on from there.

In terms of linking some work to the recent volcano incident; unfortunately there has not been much evidence of the ash cloud in our own local area, but there are opportunities to use a lot of stuff that’s already out there as part of their study. There are some fabulous useful bits and pieces on The Whiteboard Blog, another usable site here and the every lovely and industrious Simon Haughton has posted some great stuff in the TES Resource Bank. I am currently putting together a selection of Icelandic photos and creating some resources for Communication 4 All but, if you want to get a presentation together, you can use this PowerPoint template to get you started. I’m thinking of also covering this topic fleetingly – maybe some ‘lava pictures’ using the wet paint and ink settings on 2Paint a Picture or use This is sand to create a volcanic landscape. I’m sure you can come up with other ideas.

Finally I’m going to talk about the football World Cup. I think it’s going to be a marvellous topic to cover for a number of reasons. For a start pupils in our area will not automatically support England (we are, after all, Welsh) which always makes for a good split in the classroom and a great deal of discussion – so they will be enthusiastic already! But the possible links to different areas of the curriculum are fantastic. I’m just about to finish an ICT challenge pack (I’ll post the link when it’s ready) covering ideas that link to maths, geography, history and literacy and there are already a number of great ideas out there! There are some truly fantastic resources available for this topic already! The selection here is truly mind boggling and comprehensive and there are also useful resources available via The Literacy Trust . Another great find (thanks to EBD35) is this site linked to the  Paralympic World Cup which has some great free downloads. For me the possibilities, particularly from a mathematical standpoint, of activities that could link to this famous event spurred me to create this pictogram activity for Excel 2007 (it also includes instructions for creating one in 2003) and a few additional mathematically based resources but there are so many good angles I’m sure you’ll find a way in that pupils will love. In fact I’m sure you’ll be able to link to all three ideas (although, as Meatloaf said, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad)!

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Just wasting time…

It’s been a busy and unusual day for me and today’s rushed feeling got me thinking. Sometimes we all need to unwind. There are times when I just want to sit at the computer and waste a bit of time doing nothing much – just kill time. I’m sure we all feel like that sometimes. Luckily there are plenty of activities to keep me busy when i feel like that, and plenty more for children to try out. Here are a few of my favourite time wasting activities! I find some of them quite addictive (much to the annoyance of my friends) – see how you get on with them 🙂

My number one method of killing time on the internet is to visit this is sand.  A super simple idea  – making pictures out of virtual sand – that is creative, fun and fairly pointless, The gallery is full of colourful ideas and you can create some astounding images. Rather than add to the gallery, I save my creations by using Gadwin Screen Capture but you could also use the Print Screen key. This could be a nice filler/extension activity for an Egyptians topic as you can create beautiful pyramid scenes.

Another bit of mindless fun is to be had at Line Rider – a really basic concept simply executed. I like to deliberately create slopes that cause the rider to crash and burn because I feel that’s all part of the fun. You may think differently (each to their own says I) but I guarantee that you will be hooked.

Of course, I don’t want you all to think I spend all my time having mindless fun (who – me?). Sometimes I like my challenges to be more cerebral. On those occasions I go straight to bloxorz or spelling bee. And I know I’m not alone with my addiction to these: I know of others, like my grandson, who have discovered bloxorz through Cool Maths Games and are on it whenever time allows. There’s also Spelling Bee – one session and you’ll be hooked!

Finally, I’d like to share a site that, although not exactly a time waster or mindless fun, is something I’ve found that keeps the ‘little ones’ happy when they visit: it’s called Shidonni.



Now this may not be to everyone’s taste but i just love it’s retro, hand drawn feel.draw and animal and give it a name. Draw some food, create a background and – voila – you have a little animated character.

Well, there we have it! Now, the next time you find yourself in front of a computer with a bit of spare time to kill have a go at some of the activities above. You’ll be hooked in no time.