Monthly Archives: July 2011

Popplet – Multimedia presentation.

I’m spending some time looking at resources to use in IT across the school. I’ve been reading many of the blogs listed along the left hand side of the page and I came across Popplet via Ian Addison’s Blog. I’ve embedded the YouTube video from the site’s front page which will show you what the program can do. How it can be used is down to the children (and teachers), but I felt it could be used in many ways.

I like pieces of free software like this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they’re free – this means that school budgets are saved but more importantly I believe, children and their families can use the program for free at home. That ties into my second reason.

Children and families can use free pieces of software at home, friends houses, relative houses etc, as well as in school – sharing their work between the two places. This provides an added benefit being that this also allows children to share their work with their parents and family helping to ‘lift the lid’ off their education.

Watch the video and see if you think you could use it in school.

Free Technology for Teachers

This site, run by Richard Byrne is a wonderful resource. On a daily basis Richard highlights pieces of software (usually free) which can be used in education and some idea on how they can be used.

Here is his slideshow ‘Best of the Web’ which he presented at the Missouri RPDC Technology Conference.  For more of the resources and ideas he has found look at his website. He has also written several e-books which are available to read and download for free from the issuu website.


I found out about this event via @ewanmcintosh and @tombarrett on twitter this morning. Rather than me explaining it, I’ve clipped the explanation from the TEDxKids@Sunderland page itself. 
It turns out that TED conferences for kids had begun in 2009 
This seems like such a brilliant idea! I love the talks on the TEDxkidsSLAND site. The children have such an interest in their chosen topics and they talk about such a diverse range of topics. 
It’s set my mind moving, thinking about how we could do something similar in our school. 

About this event

We began our project by exploring the nature of a great story and, therefore, of a great speech à la TED.
The teachers at Thorney Close Primary School were also introduced to a wide number of the TED talks and encouraged to discover, view and discuss a even more amongst themselves and with their students. Carefully selected examples were then used with the classes and unpicked to reveal the elements of their success – as session starters and finishers, these talks provided a superb, uplifting means of involving everyone in the class.

We would start by watching videos without any audio, then have one of the students (or a small group) provide a live commentary, that is, the speech they think they would give to go with the images – Nathan was first up, but it’s still amazing to see how far he came in this project, from the shy, quiet chap here to the forthright young man we heard two months later at TEDxKidsSland. Finally, we’d let the students listen to the ‘real’ talk, audio and visuals, before discussing what they liked most (two stars) and what they thought could be made better (a wish).

Through team teaching, example lessons, activity and project ideas we began to explore with the children what they would like to talk about. The Year 3 and 4 children were set the challenge of speaking passionately about a topic that is meaningful to them. At this point, our work concentrated on teachers’ questioning skills: if you ask your average eight-year-old what’s meaningful to him or her, the answer will invariably be “football”, “my hamster” or “mum”. Great questioning from the teachers swiftly, and sometimes painfully (!), moved almost all the students beyond these lower order solutions to “Have you ever wondered…?” questions that had most adults in the room pondering the students’ prospective answers with genuine interest.

Our project culminated with the Year 3 and 4 children organising and running the TEDxKids@Sunderland. They were involved in every step of the process from applying for the license, setting up Twitter accounts to phoning around to book the venue.

So on May 27th in a lecture hall in Sunderland sixty 7, 8 and 9 year olds explored topics such as the secret language of animals, why slugs have slime and what family means – and made history in the process by participating in the first ever TEDx event for under 10′s.


Wii Sports for Mean, Mode and Median.

This first appeared on January 23rd 2010 on my old blog. I’m re-posting some material which I have salvaged from that mysteriously disappered blog here. I hope you find it useful


My final lesson of the week to involve the Wii used the practice option for batting on Wii sports baseball. I decided that I wanted to create a larger range of numbers for the children to find the median number of. Wii sports baseball batting practice allows you to have 10 swings at 10 pitches. It records (quite quickly) what the distance is that you hit it. It was this data we recorded for our averages lesson. As with the bowling, there were 10 numbers to record, meaning we had to split the 5th and 6th numbers to find the median. After a discussion about the best way to do this, we managed quite well and got better at it as we progressed through the tables taking their turns at batting.

The children were by now quite good at finding the mean and mode for the range of numbers. One of the more interesting discussions we had whilst using the Wii for averages, was the way the modal average differed between the bowling game and the baseball game. In the bowling game, the mode was 10, and the mean average score was frequently around 9. The children could clearly see that the mode and mean were closely related in that scenario. However, despite some of my group being ace sluggers, (the record was 7 homers out of 10 attempts!), the mode for each set distances was 0. This was not close to the mean average, which was around 110m.We briefly discussed the reasons behind this and talked about which average is most useful in which situations.

One final thought about the Wii bowling. The scoring of bowling is quite complex when spares and strikes are involved (which with my class they always seemed to be) I wonder i there is some maths to be investigated  in how the scores are made, maybe with a secondary class devising new scoring methods for bowling and using the Wii bowling game to see how they would work, comparing the scoring methods with each other. The children throughout the week certainly enjoyed our use of the Wii, and they seem to have learned how to calculate the mean, mode and median averages for a set of numbers. An enjoyable and productive week in maths.

By The Library of Congress 

Wii Sports for Mean, Mode and Median – The Outcome.

This first appeared on January 20th 2010 on my old blog. I’m re-posting some material which I have salvaged from that mysteriously disappered blog here. I hope you find it useful


I thoroughly enjoyed our maths session on Monday, using the wii and I think the children did as well. As ever, I’ve learned a few things which would lead to a few ‘tweaks’ if I was to do it again. Before I discuss those I must say the P7 children are all far better ten-pin bowlers on the wii than I am and had a range of entertaining styles all of which proved to highly effective! The lesson had a sparkle to it to begin with as the class noticed straight away that the wii was set up. ‘Are we using the wii in maths?’ was a popular question! That moved on to ‘We’re not using brain training are we?’ which I found interesting and probably reinforced the point that just having a wii on for maths isn’t enough. It needs to be properly targetted and integral to the lesson, not just the lesson itself.

We formed our teams and each team played out their first frames, and we got used to recording our scores. Bowling is good for this, as you can pause between throws to make sure everyone is up to speed. On the second frame I introduced the idea of modal average. The skills on show ensured that we quickly identified 10 as the modal score. The class found this quite easy.

After the third frame for each team we introduced the mean average. We needed a bit of calculation help on this to get the division by 12 done. We also spent some time working on rounding to 2 d.p. After the fourth frame we began to find the median also. In hindsight I shouldn’t have had 4 teams, as it meant we always had an even number of scores to find the median for, and this made understanding of this concept harder.

We carried on and completed the game. I changed my idea of getting the averages onto the board and adding on points as I felt I didn’t want to pressurise the groups too much! We also dropped finding the mode after 6 frames as it was always going to be 10! In summary the class and I enjoyed it, the lesson had an exciting feel to it and I feel the children learned the objectives I had for them at the start of the lesson.

By George Eastman House

Primary Games Arena.

The Primary Games Arena is a site which contains lots of games aimed at children in the primary age range. There are games for a wide range of subject areas aimed at learners right across the primary years. The games are available on android mobile format, ps3 and wii (which my class feel adds to the ‘cool’ factor).

Have a look at the site and see what you think.

The link is 


Wii Sports for Mean, Mode and Median

This first appeared on January 17th 2010 on my old blog. I’m re-posting some material which I have salvaged from that mysteriously disappered blog here. I hope you find it useful


I’m teaching averages this week with my maths group and I decided yesterday to begin the week by using wii sports bowling to create the data for is to work with. I first came across the idea of using the wii for maths through Tom Barrett’s Site and from Tom’s interesting ways. I know the children will enjoy using the wii – it’s always the most popular choice in Golden Time, so that part of the plan seems fine. I also know from assessment of the group that they need to learn about averages. Averages can tend to be a once or twice a year topic so I thought using the wii would make it memorable and thus allow the children to recall their learning easily. I’m going to split my group into 8 groups of 3, and then into 4 groups of 6. These groups will then be the 4 teams for bowling, with each team member bowling consecutively on their team. The teams will each have to fill in a scoresheet for each bowl from every team. This will just record the total for both throws (not the actual bowling score with strikes and spares). From round 2 onwards we will calculate in each team, the mean, median and modal score for the entire game. One member from each team will then write their answers on the board. If the team gets all 3 answers correct I will award 5 more pins to their team score in the final total at the end (or on the excel on the IWB, not sure yet!) We will do this until the game is complete. I need to think about where I position the wii and TV in the class and how to place the tables I will have to move. I need space for the bowlers and space to let the group see the events. I need access to the chalk board for teams to write their averages up and also space for them to work without other groups overhearing them! I’m really looking forward to it, let’s see what happens! 


AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by (aka Brent)

Automatoon- Easy Animation For The Web!

Really like the look of this. Hope it works on our computer network. I would like to use this next year with some of our classes. I think the children would really enjoy this and could create good results quite easily.

2011-2012 School Year

Next school year, which begins in August in Scotland, will be a very exciting one for me.

I will be teaching IT and some Games Based Learning across the school as the McCrone cover teacher. This is something I am really excited about. I have spent some time in school organising the new classroom/IT room and I am beginning to get stuck into some planning (bit scary when thinking about P1 as I’ve never taught that age range before).

I spent today printing and mounting a range of posters about ICT, these came from two sources, Simon Haughton’s blog and The posters inform and explain a range of key IT skills and techniques, and I found a range which would be suitable for all of the ages I will be teaching.

I particularly like the keyboard shortcuts display, as I think this is an area all of our children could develop.

Once the displays are up, I shall photograph them and share them here. 


Remington Rand Computer :

Consolidated/Convair Aircraft Factory San Diego EquipmentSan Diego Air & Space Museum Archive

New Starts…

Just the other day I was thinking about what I would do if I was going to start blogging all over again. Well thanks to a WordPress upgrade that went wrong, I am starting blogging all over again. This time however I haven’t gone for a wordpress blog, but a posterous one.

There’s no major reasons for the swap. I like the simple theme I found on posterous, and having used the platform before I think it can do everything I want it to.

There will probably a few less whistles and bells on this blog (as I can’t do any html coding stuff), but the main purpose of the blog is to share. Share ideas, resources, links, thoughts, reflections and any other good educational stuff which I come across.

Here we go!