Monday, 31 March 2008

ICT and everyday activities

For years we have got children to do the same activities over and over again. Some children like doing them, some do not. Some of these activities do not suit everyone but are typical 'drill and kill'. Revitalise those activities and they may attract a different audience.
An example of this is in the subject of Spelling.

Write this word '3' times.
or Match the Capital and lower case letters

endings of words

or contractions

How many times have you had children finding dictionary meanings for words?

And then unjumbling words or writing in the missing letters.

Think about some of the activities you do on a regular basis. Which of those could you recreate using Word, PowerPoint, Pages, Keynote, Kidspiration, Inspiration or any other software you may be using in the classroom. These are also great interactive whiteboard activities. They can be shown on the projector for children to do in their books and then followed up later as fast finisher activities or learning centre activities.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Youtube and downloading

Youtube is a great resource, but not always the best one to show in front of students. This is because people can post inappropriate comments or the side panel might show other examples of movies that are supposed to be similar to what you are watching but in reality might be a little bit suspect! Therefore it is a good idea to download the movies you want and store them on your own hardrive.
So how do you do that?

Windows Users.
There is a very handy application called youtube downloader

Download this application, double click to install it

Copy the URL from the youtube video page

Paste it into the youtube downloader window
Click Ok and the movie will download to your desktop. (You may need to play around with the Convert to settings to find out which is the best conversion for you)

Mac Users
Copy the URL from the youtube video page
Go to and paste the URL in the box
From the pull-down menu, select "MP4 for iPod" (this is a both efficient and compatible video format)
Click 'start', and wait for it to convert and download
When it is downloaded, drag'n'drop the file into the iTunes application or play it through QuickTime Player

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

KidPix and modelling writing

A great way to introduce KidPix to young children is to use it when you are modelling your writing. If you have a projector in your classroom...great! But otherwise you could use your class computer and work with a small group.

Tell them what you are doing as you are clicking on each option, that way you are showing them how to use KidPix, don't assume that they might know it!
Click on the ABC tool. Click on the page and your text box will appear Now we are going to type our sentence 'We went for a walk in the park'
"What do we start our sentence with? "
"A capital letter!"
"How do we do a capital letter on the keyboard?"
"We hold down the shift key on the opposite side of the keyboard to the letter we want to use."
The teacher demonstrates and gets children to have a go as well. The lesson can continue in this way.

Over time and different sessions introduce new buttons and tools such as the drawing tools.
Limit drawing tools to pencil, colour and paint can.
A great story starter is to click on the Background button and insert a background

Use the Stamp tool, add stamps to the background to build up a story. Use the text tool to type the story.

Interactive PowerPoints

What are 'Interactive PowerPoints?'

They are PowerPoint slides where students can click on text, graphics, photo or a button and it will hyperlink to another page, another file, another programme or to the internet.
Teachers can use this medium to create interactive activities for children targetted at their level.
This example uses WordArt. The WordArt is hyperlinked to the appropriate website. Children click on their choice of activity and the website loads up.
How to create a Hyperlink.
Open PowerPoint first, type in your title for your whole PowerPoint on this introduction slide(i.e. Reading Games). Insert a new slide and choose the 'Title only' slide, type in a title (i.e. could be the name of your reading group for that slide). Open your Browser (Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox) Find the website that you are going to link to (i.e. Starfall or BBC), click on the address to highlight it, Mac people press Apple-C (or Ctrl C for Windows) to copy address, go back to PowerPoint, create a WordArt Heading (or insert a graphic), click on the WordArt button, type in the name of the activity, click OK. Go to Insert-Hyperlink, press Apple – V (or Ctrl V) and click OK.
Children need to be in Slideshow view to play game.

Monday, 24 March 2008

PowerPoint and Visual Dioramas

Jenny has been using Kidspiration to make picnic scenes. I suggested that she should try a visual diorama next. A visual diorama is a background photo placed on one slide in PowerPoint

and then children find graphics that have no backgrounds and place them on the photo. They can build up a story by what they place on the photo background. This is the ideal opportunity to teach children how to resize and move graphics on the page. More able students could also learn how to move graphics behind and front of other graphics. This is also the ideal time to identify those visual spatial students, the ones who are aware of space and perspective.

An extension to this activity is to use the presenter note space below the slide. Children can type a story here, this could be a draft or the final published view.

To print it out, make sure when you go File - Print and select the Notes option .

It will print out looking like this.

Or you could add lines to the Presenter note space using a simple trick like this
  • Click in the Note space
  • set your font size to at least 26
  • hold down your Shift key
  • tap or hold down the minus/underscore key on the keyboard
  • the page will fill up with lines
  • this can then be printed out and the children can write directly onto the lines

This is a great writing motivator for children as they create their own stories out of the pictures they have chosen.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Artrage and Portraits

Artrage is another one of my favourite programmes for several reasons
  1. it is free with a limited palette of tools (but it is worth paying the $1 per license only available to New Zealand schools for all of the tools)
  2. it has been created by New Zealand developers
  3. it is a fantastic programme

Martha's art lesson is all about portraits. She had thought about the children doing something using the computer. I suggested she use Artrage. There are some wonderful youtube movies that demonstrate drawings and paintings being created in Artrage. These movies are great motivators to show children how art can be created using software.

Another feature of Artrage is the ability to import photos into Artrage, by clicking on the Tracing button (0r add tracing image in the older versions), navigate and find where your photo is saved (for portrait photos ensure that the face fills most of the photo).

Use the pencil tool and set pressure high, softness and tilt angle low and draw around the outline. Remove the photo by clicking Tools- Tracing options - Clear Tracing Image. This can then be printed out, photocopied up to A3 and use what ever medium you choose to finish off the art piece.

Or maybe for some of those children who have those highly developed intrapersonal and visual spatial skills (and time) let them use the painting tool to finish the painting in full.

This programme is updated regularly so make sure that you download the free updates. The instructions in this post relate to version 2.5.20

Audacity and Listening Posts

Marama wants more listening post stories, particularly ones based on what the children are reading. She runs a bi-lingual class and would like to have some in maori as well. I suggested that she record her voice using the free software Audacity (available in Windows and Mac, but I would use GarageBand in Mac), export as a Wav file and burn it onto a cd. It can also be exported as an mp3 file and downloaded on mp3 players like iPods. iPods can be listened to by individual children using head phones or more children can hear the story by putting the iPod onto a dock fixed to a speaker system.

Initial letters and Kidspiration

I was talking to Victoria about the way you could use computers with 5 year olds, particularly children who have had little experience with a keyboard. I suggested that they need lots of practice using the mouse and clicking and dragging and that she should design activities around that skill. She needed more activities based on initial letters and blends. So we made some activities using Kidspiration.

In this example children click on a picture and they will hear the word (you need to click on the Listen button first), they then drag the picture down into the correct SuperGrouper.

youtube movies

I am a great fan of youtube movies. They are my first port of call when looking for information on a particular topic. This is one of my favourites for motivating spontaneous art work.

I suggested to teachers that they show this movie to children and then set up a wall that has a large piece of paper and black vivids available. Decide on a theme and then let the children create. The rules are anybody can draw and add to the picture. This is an activity that children can choose to go to. Here is an unfinished example from Philippa's junior classroom.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Hot Potatoes

I worked with several teachers today designing activities using 'Hot Potatoes' software. Hot Potatoes is free downloadable package. It is not fully functioning until you register the software and you will need to provide a school email address.

The main focus in this school is developing Cloze activities.

Click on JClose. Type in the text as it appears in the book. Highlight the focus word and click on Gap. Add a clue or leave it blank. When finished click on Save. To see the activity as a webpage click on the Export button . Save the file and then open it by clicking View the exercise in my browser

When the webpage opens you will need to teach the children to activate the page by clicking on
Select Add Blocked Content Click Yes.
Students click in the text boxes and type the answer. Click on the question marks for clues or click on the Hint button for the first letter of the answer. When they have finished all of the boxes the software will calculate the total of correct answers.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Fluency in Reading

Ofa is trying to develop her children's fluency in reading and wanted some ideas using ICT. We thought of how we could use PowerPoint and the children's instructional readers. Type in the story exactly as how it appears in the book, a page a slide, highlight the spoken text in different colours to indicate which character is speaking at the time. Don't forget to save the PowerPoint as a 'Show' rather then presentation which will mean it will open up directly into a slideshow. As an added extra you could record different children's voices reading the narration and character parts.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Comic Life and new students

Anne's children have been creating podcasts using Garageband. They have been turning their report writing into news broadcasts. New children to the class have introduced themselves by creating their own comic page in Comic Life. (Images and names have been altered!)

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Report writing in KidPix

Caridad's class are using KidPix for report writing. Children are selecting a background picture in KidPix and then use the textbox button to type in their report over the top of the background picture.

Recount Writing

Jack's Year 5/6 Class are writing recounts at the moment. Some of the children are using a recount framework created in Inspiration

The structure of the template guides the children through writing an introduction (with notes reminding them about Where, when, why, how etc). The body part of the template has notes attached with examples of 'vigorous verbs', 'awesome adjectives' and good examples of starters for sentences and linking sentence words. Finally the conclusion box reminds the writer how to finish their recount.

Art and Digital Photo Assessment

Patsy has set up an innovative way of using ICT to assess her children's art work. She takes photos of the progression of her Year 0-1 children's art work. The children make comments and these are collected and kept in individual manila folders.

Once the children have finished their art work she adds a copy of one of their progression examples to the art piece.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Interactive PowerPoints

Remember when you are setting up your interactive PowerPoints that they should be level targetted. In other words if you are setting up a maths PPT, set a different one up for each maths group targetting their level and understanding. The activities hyperlinked on it should relate to the teaching and learning that is going on in the classroom. So if you are teaching addition of 10s and ones up to 100, then that is what the activities should be. Do not put too many activities on one slide as children are tempted to go from one to the other without spending much time on one particular activity. Make sure that children know that they do have a choice but they must finish each activity in its entirety.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Junior Class in Action

Saw some great ideas and work in action in a junior class today. Philippa has been using SOLO with her children. She has found that it promotes a lot of discussion in her class and her children are very aware of their thinking and how they are learning.

Weather is her topic at the moment and she has a NZ map on wall and children are labeling the map with weather icons, she is using the video camera to record the children reporting the weather standing in front of the weather map. Children have viewed several different weather presenters from youtube movies she has downloaded.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

How to Hyperlink to Websites

Open PowerPoint first, type in your title for your whole PowerPoint on this introduction slide(i.e. Reading Games). Insert a new slide and choose the 'Title only' slide, type in a title (i.e. could be the name of your reading group for that slide). Open your Browser (Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox) Find the website that you are going to link to (i.e. Starfall or BBC), click on the address to highlight it, Mac people press Apple-C (or Ctrl C for Windows) to copy address, go back to PowerPoint, create a WordArt Heading (or insert a graphic), click on the WordArt button, type in the name of the activity, click OK. Go to Insert-Hyperlink, press Apple – V (or Ctrl V) and click OK.
Children need to be in Slideshow view to play game.

Welcome to ICT Teaching and Learning

Welcome to my new reference site for teachers. This is where I will put references, websites or anything I have talked about to you that can be shared with everyone. This is available to all my schools. Please feel free to leave comments and interact on this site. Keep checking as I will be updating frequently. The first lot of information that I have added to this site is the websites that are suitable for Hyperlinking to from PowerPoint or Keynote.Other things that I will be adding in the future are youtube, teachertube, googlevideo links that are related to your topics, HOT links and ideas for the continuation of integration of ICT into curriculum areas. I will also be taking photos of great things I see happening in the classrooms, so look out for your room! Please bookmark this site on your computers!

Monday, 3 March 2008

Interactive Software

I have included links in the side bar called Interactive Educational Websites. These websites have many activities that are perfect for making links to in interactive PowerPoints or Keynotes. Remember you can hyperlink WordArt, graphics, photos and text. Think about making separate PowerPoints or Keynotes for each group of children which will ensure that your links will be appropriate for their age and level.