Connecting with Parents at PBAS

There are significant benefits to communicating a child’s learning to parents outside of the traditional term report, take home book and parent teacher interview. This post looks at two ways to engage parents and caregivers beyond the traditional structures schools put in place to connect student learning with home.

The following are benefits resulting from increasing parent involvement in a child’s learning:

  • Children tend to achieve more, regardless of ethnic or racial background, socioeconomic status, or parents’ education level.
  • Children generally achieve better grades, test scores, and attendance.
  • Parents have a better understanding of the teacher’s job and school curriculum.
  • Parents’ perceptions of the school are improved and there are stronger ties and commitment to the school.
  • When schools have a high percentage of involved parents, teachers and principals are more likely to experience higher morale.
  • Teachers and principals report an increase in job satisfaction.
  • Schools that actively involve parents and the community tend to establish better reputations in the community.

To see another 16 reasons why engaging parents with their child’s learning is important click on the following link: Excerpt from Home-School Relations: Working Successfully with Parents and Families, by G. Olsen, M.L. Fuller, 2008 edition, p. 129-130.

The following two communication methods are practical examples of how classroom teachers can connect with parents. Both methods have been successfully used this year by Kelly and Ange.

Kelly uses the Seesaw app  (available on Apple and Android devices) which allows moments in time to be captured via image or video along with student or teacher comments and made available instantly to the parent of that child. If time does not allow for sharing instantly then video, images and comments can be uploaded later at a more convenient time. It allows Kelly to create portfolios of work for each child with control over what is posted, who can see it and when it is posted. These portfolios can be divided into subject folders.

The benefits that Kelly has found by using Seesaw over traditional take home books include:

  • The ease at which information can be sent home.
  • An instant connection with parents. Parents will often comment on their child’s work the same day it is sent.
  • It provides parents with a more regular up date of their child’s progress as opposed to a take home book that only goes home at the end of each term.
  • The regular nature of sharing student learning allows parents to have better informed conversations around their child’s learning at home.
  • Seesaw allows video to be used which is much more powerful (at times) than static work samples or images found in a take home book.
  • Kelly no longer has to store and keep track of a take home book for each child.
  • Kelly no longer has to spend time cutting and gluing work samples into a take home book.
  • NIT teachers for Kelly’s class can be connected to the account and add to student portfolios.

 

On Thursday of week 10, term 3 Ange invited parents in for the last lesson of the day to have her students show parents some of their learning. This began by showing parents Mindset videos students had made around the topic of maths. This was very powerful as not only was it reinforcing the importance of mindset to students but it was educating parents at the same time. This means that a certain level of consistency has been created between what students are learning and what parents understand to be happening in the classroom. Students then took parents out into the wet area and demonstrated their coding skills with the Bee Bots. The students final task was to show their parents two Keynote presentations which had been made on the iPads. Students had to go through their presentations explaining the content they had created. One presentation was on spiders and the other on a country of the students choice.

Ange’s classroom was packed with parents and caregivers all keen to see what their child had been doing. Every child had an adult attend.

Having had conversations with the parents and teachers involved in these communications methods it is clear there has been some significant upside including improved parent understanding of the curriculum and the teacher’s role, improved parent perception of the school, improved parental engagement in student learning and a sense of job satisfaction felt by the teacher.

Makers Empire – 3D Printing in South Australian Schools

Makers Empire are an Adelaide company that produce software and programs for schools in the area of 3D printing. During Feb – June of 2017 Makers Empire partnered with DECD to roll out 3D printing programs in 50 primary schools. The program, titled Makers Empire learning by design involved a 20 hour professional learning program which culminated in schools presenting their completed projects at Grange Primary School. To read more about this click here. To see a list of schools involved in the project click here.

Makers Empire does not supply or sell 3D printers but supplies the training, software, programs and lessons for teachers to use 3D printing in the classroom.

See how the Makers Empire software works

 

Here are some examples of how schools have used the Makers Empire software.

To see more videos from schools and how they used Makers Empire click here.

Parrot Airborne Cargo Mars Mini Drone

Daniel has made a demonstration video using the Parrot Airborne Cargo Mars drone. The video demonstrates some of its features as well as explaining the app Tynker which can be used to program and control the drone. This app is on our class set of iPads. While the app allows you to control Parrot brand vehicles it is also a coding app that teachers may find useful as alternatives to Daisy the Dinosaur, Kodable and Hopscotch.

Please note: I have only recently put the app onto the iPads and did not 
realise extra content had to be downloaded into the app (all the Tynker 
projects). This cannot be done through our filtering. So I will need some 
time to download the programs at home (15 programs per iPad x 30 iPads). 
Once these programs are downloaded they will work without the need to 
access the Internet so our school system will not be a problem. I have 
tried this process with the program Daniel used to run the Parrot Drone 
and it worked. Students can also be save their coding locally to the app.

To find out more about Parrots mini drones click here.

To read a review click here.

To find out a price click here.

 

Five classroom ready STEM projects

The following is taken directly from the Power Anchor website.

“The Power Anchor is a smart way of delivering power to car, ground effect vehicles and aircraft deign projects. The beauty of this is the vehicles aren¹t weighed down by batteries. You don¹t have to worry about any steering either because the vehicles are pulled around the Power Anchor by the same cable that delivers the current. The vehicle designs can be kept simple and when it comes to testing, results can be reliable because many of the variables are removed.

  • It is portable with the four 6V batteries fully enclosed in the base, there is no need to plug it in.
  • It is sturdy, made from tough materials.
  • It is easy enough to use that even young students can work independently.
  • And it looks great which adds to the classroom excitement when doing project work.”

The Power Anchor comes with five classroom ready STEM projects which all use the Power Anchor to control and test the project.

What is the Power Anchor?

Power Anchor includes tether cables and hand controls (4 x 6V batteries not included) $950

Full set of 5 Teaching Resource Packs $450 ($185 each if bought separately)

 

Power Anchor STEM Project 1- Race Chase (Year 4 and up)

Equipment: Scissors, screwdriver, Power Anchor, teacher resource pack $185, Class pack 30 students $390.

Concepts: speed, acceleration, velocity ratio, power, terminal velocity.

Power Anchor STEM Project 2- Helicar (Year 6 and up)

Equipment: Rasping file, hot glue, soldering iron, Power Anchor, teacher resource pack $185, Class pack parts 25 students $240, class pack modelling foam 25 pieces $95.

Concepts: speed, acceleration, aerodynamics, terminal velocity.

Power Anchor STEM Project 3 – Protocar (Year 8 and up)

Equipment: Scissors, hot glue, soldering iron, Power Anchor, teacher resource pack $185, Class pack 25 students $255.

Concepts: lift, ground effect.

Power Anchor STEM Project 4 – Skylab (Year 7 and up)

Equipment: Scissors, hot glue, soldering iron, Power Anchor, teacher resource pack $185, Class pack 25 students balsa sticks and sheets $185, class pack of parts 25 students wheels/axels/motors/propellers $195.

Concepts: lift, drag, centre of mass, control surfaces, thrust.

Power Anchor STEM Project 5 – Downforce Racer (Year 8 and up)

Equipment: Screwdriver, hot glue, soldering iron, Power Anchor, teacher resource pack $185, Class pack 25 students Forex car parts cut to size (or templates for schools with CNC or Laser Cutter technology) $165, class pack of parts 25 students wheels/axels/motors/gears, gear box, spares $345.

Concepts: friction, power, gear ratio, acceleration, down force, drag.

 

Team Shake App

This is a great app for creating teams in PE lessons or learning groups in your classroom. One of the powerful functions of this app is the ability to group students based on strengths. It can also be set up so that:

  • certain students will never be in the same group
  • certain students will always be in the same group
  • groups can be all male, all female or a mix
  • the teacher can randomly select one student.

These two videos provide a good overview of the app and its functions.

PBAS STEM 10 – What are other schools doing?

This post highlights some of the resources and approaches being taken by the NSW Education Department in the area of STEM. Click on the links provided to be taken to a variety of resources including: planning for STEM (primary & secondary settings), how schools are embedding STEM, Maitland Grossmann High School’s iSTEM curriculum (now used in over 135 schools in NSW), STEM resources page and STEM in industry (agriculture).

 

Planning for STEM

What thinking is required to plan for and implement STEM in schools? STEM learning experiences involve explicit learning and teaching of syllabus content which is applied in project, problem or inquiry-based learning situations that are authentic and contextual.

How are schools embedding STEM Stage 3 (Year 5 & 6)

The Stage 3  Integrated STEM Project involves teachers from 35 schools working either as individual schools or communities of schools. Schools will document their journey in STEM education, highlighting their processes for embedding STEM in their school culture and in classroom teaching and learning practices.

How are schools embedding STEM Stage 4 (Year 7 & 8)

The Stage 4 Integrated STEM Project promotes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Stage4. Teachers engaged in cross-curriculum planning with a major focus on aligning syllabus outcomes, promoting higher order thinking through authentic project-based tasks.

iSTEM Curriculum (Years 9 & 10)

In 2013 Regional Development Australia – Hunter’s ME Program Director Dr Scott Sleap, in collaboration with local industry and STEM teachers at Maitland Grossmann High School developed the iSTEM curriculum. iSTEM is a student centred subject for students in Years 9 and 10 that delivers Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in an integrated way.

This page also provides resources associated with the iSTEM program including syllabus documents.

STEM Resources

A broad range of links are provided on this page including links to the following:

  • University of New South Wales – Girls do the maths
  • Scientists and Mathematicians in schools
  • F1 in schools
  • Australian STEM Video Game Challenge
  • Science Bootcamp
  • FIRST® Robotics Australia

STEM in the agricultural industry 

Three videos discussing the science, technology, tools and techniques used in cattle breeding, dairy farming and cotton farming.

Apps available on PBAS iPads

This list covers most apps available on the PBAS iPads. If teachers have any apps they would like added to the iPads please let me know and I will put them on.

Any teachers from other sites who would like to share apps that they have found useful please feel free to do so in the comments.

Collaboration/Presenting/Creating

Pages

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Create beautiful documents
• Write and edit documents using the onscreen keyboard or a wireless keyboard with Bluetooth
• Format your document with gorgeous styles, fonts and textures
• Your most important text formatting options are right in your keyboard, and always just a tap or two away
• Easily add images and video to your document using the Media Browser
• Use auto-text wrap to flow text around images
• Animate data with interactive column, bar, scatter and bubble charts
• Organise your data easily in tables

Keynote

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Create stunning presentations
• Use predefined text styles or choose text options to personalise your slides
• Easily change slide masters and backgrounds
• Quickly add your photos and videos from the Photos app using the Media Browser
• Edit down to the pixel with rulers and alignment guides
• Use Instant Alpha to easily remove image backgrounds

Explain Everything

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Create slides using an infinite canvas, use laser pointers, draw in any color, add shapes, text, videos, images and audio files
• Record everything you do within the app (even yourself while using the front-facing camera) to create high quality and creative content that you can quickly share on YouTube or Vimeo for others to learn from
• Import many common file types: PDF, DOC, PPT, XLS, RTF, TXT, HTML, KEYNOTE, PAGES, NUMBERS, JPG, BMP, PNG, GIF, MP4, MOV, MP3, M4A, WAV, AAC and more

Book Creator

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* Add text, choosing from over 50 fonts
* Add photos and images from your iPad’s photo library, from the web, or use the iPad’s camera
* Resize, rotate and position content as you like with guidelines and snap positioning
* Add video and music, and even record your voice
* Use the pen tool to draw and annotate your book
* Choose from portrait, landscape or square book sizes
* Add super powers to your books with comic templates, stickers and styles
* A quick tap and you’re reading your book in iBooks!

iMovie

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With a streamlined design and intuitive Multi-Touch gestures, iMovie lets you enjoy your videos and tell stories like never before. Make Hollywood-style trailers. Create beautiful movies.

Puppet Pals2

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Children unlock creativity with this easy to use (but hard to put down) interactive puppet show! Even young children can create high quality cartoons from their imaginations. Kids can even star in the show along side the built-in characters!

Popplet

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Popplet is the simplest tool to capture and organize your ideas. With Popplet you can quickly jot down your ideas and sort them visually.

POW Strip Design

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Make your photos come to live and tell a story you can share with friends and family. With Strip Designer you will create comics from beginning to end: Sketch, draw, mask, add warped 3D lettering, balloons, and combine everything with complex panel layouts.

File Sharing

FileBrowser

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Use File Browser to allow students to move their learning between the iPad and their student folder on our school server.

The Arts

Art Set

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This stunningly beautiful app is like having a virtual art set right inside your iPad. Paint and draw via the photo realistic interface with tools that look and feel like the real thing.

GarageBand

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GarageBand turns your iPad into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio — so you can make music anywhere you go. And with Live Loops, it makes it easy for anyone to have fun creating music like a DJ, by triggering loops and audio effects in real time. Use Multi-Touch gestures to play keyboards, guitars, and drums. Enjoy Smart Instruments that make you sound like a pro — even if you’ve never played a note before.

WordFoto

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You’ve probably heard the tired cliche about a picture being worth a thousand words. We’ve taken this phrase quite literally and created WordFoto, an app that turns photos and words into amazing typographic works of art.

Science/HPE

Build-a-Body

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Build-a-Body: In this gutsy educational game learn about the human body’s major organ systems.

SunSmart

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The SunSmart app lets you know when you need sun protection across Australia and when its safe to get some sun for vitamin D, making it easier than ever to be smart about your sun exposure all year. With a few clicks, you can find a 7 day weather forecast, the UV level and sun protection times for your local area in Australia so you will always be prepared for the day ahead. Personalise the sun protection alert to remind you of the daily sun protection times, either at a time of your choice or when the UV reaches a level where sun protection is required. Use the vitamin D Tracker to find out if you are getting enough UV exposure to help with your vitamin D levels.

CoachNote

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Manage and control players’ movement, number, colour and direction of rotation. With CoachNote, you can even trace players and ball movement. Switching players is seamless and easy; you can set player direction and watch your plays come to life in a wonderfully animated motion. Use your finger to effortlessly create your plays for multiple sports.

Burstmode

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Burst photos are perfect because they allow you to capture multiple shots as your subject moves. Just keep your finger pressed down on the shutter button while the subject moves through the scene. Once you’ve taken a set of burst photos, you can then select the best shots from the action sequence.

WhackABone

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Whack A Bone is the best way to learn the human skeletal system on the iPad. The game is designed to draw beginners into the curious and fascinating world of anatomy, guiding them toward a commanding recall of the major bones of the human body.

Cardio Buddy

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Instant Heart Rate
– Heart rate measurement with the front-facing camera
– Learn interesting facts about your heart

My Body

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Children explore and learn about the basic functions of the human body through hands-on gameplay – guided by their own curiosity. Guessing, rotating, pulling… in each area there is lots to discover and to do.

EasyTag

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Frequency statistics are displayed and data can be exported for number crunching. EasyTag-Note is an easy way to make notes on the performance-defining events of a game or practice as it unfolds – simply tap buttons to describe the KPI (key performance indicators) of your activity. You add the buttons that you need and aren’t bound by someone else’s predefined ideas of what is important to your team. Could be used to record any data not just sports statistics.

Workouts

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Ten different 5 to 10 minute targeted workouts, 10 to 30 minute randomized full body workouts, 95+ exercises, Great for both men and women, Video showing how to do each exercise, Developed by a certified personal trainer, On-screen instructions and timer, No internet required to do the workouts.

Solar Walk

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This 3D solar system model lets you navigate between planets, see their positions on a specific date, explore how they move and why. You will see the entire Milky Way galaxy from a far and zoom in to study all the planets and satellites in close-up, learn their trajectories, inner structures, history of their exploration, and geography. Every planet has extensive information: size, mass, orbital velocity, exploratory missions, thickness of structural layers, and composition of atmosphere.

Planets: Sun, Mercury,Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto
Moons: Phobos, Deimos, Callisto, Ganymede, Europa, Io, Hyperion, Iapetus, Titan, Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Enceladus, Mimas, Oberon, Titania, Umbriel, Ariel, Miranda, Triton, Larissa, Proteus, Nereid, Charon
Dwarf planets and asteroids: Ceres, Makemake, Haumea, Sedna, Eris, Eros
Comets: Hale-Bopp, Borrelly, Halley’s Comet, Ikeya-Zhang
Missions and satellites*: Curiosity, Luna 17, Apollo 11, Apollo 17, Hubble Launch, SEASAT, ERBS, ISS, Aqua, Envisat, Suzaku, Daichi, CORONAS-Photon
Educational movies*: size comparison, Earth’s cycles, solar eclipse, moon phases, tidal phenomena, major circles of latitude, zodiacal constellations, Cassini-Huygens mission

Video Physics

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Video Physics is perfect for science students and instructors. Perform on-the-go analysis of interesting motion. Measure the velocity of a child’s swing, a roller-coaster, or a car. Or, take a video of a basketball free throw shot. Video Physics will display the path of the ball and provide graphs of y vs. x as well as the x and y position and velocity as a function of time.

Numeracy

Bugs and Buttons

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Join a beautiful world filled with adventure in Bugs and Buttons while exploring 18 mini-games and activities that make learning fun. Count colorful buttons, recycle with marching ants or dainty ladybugs, recognize letters, solve bug mazes, and more! Kids, parents and even bugs will want keep playing over and over again!

Bugs and Numbers

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Bugs and Numbers provides an extensive collection of unique games dedicated to learning and practicing a wide range of math skills in a non-traditional way. Organized into three basic stages, the app grows with your child through 18 games ranging from basic counting to early fractions.

iCan Count Money

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I Can Count Money Australia is an exciting & fun 8 games-in-1 money counting game for kids ages 4-12. An excellent learning tool for children of all ages. Ranked in Top 10 Educational Apps in Australia.

Mathmateer

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Math can be fun! Build your very own rockets and fly them to the stars with Mathmateer! While your rocket is floating weightlessly in space, the real fun begins! Play one of the 56 different math missions. Each mission has touchable objects floating in space, including stars, coins, clocks, 3D shapes and even pizzas! Earn a bronze, silver or gold medal and also try to beat your high score.

Math Bingo

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5 BINGO games: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division and Mixed.Three different levels of difficulty: Easy, Medium and Hard.

Literacy

A to Z Mrs Owls

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Join Mrs. Owl in the Learning Tree’s treehouse classroom as she takes you through the complete alphabet with beautiful pictures, illustrations and great sound effects.
Mrs. Owl also knows all the correct phonetic letter sounds, so she can help you with those too, if you need a little help.

abc PocketPhonic

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PocketPhonics shows children how to write letters using an arrow they can follow with their finger or stylus. PocketPhonics supports two different writing styles, and for each style, kids can write in lowercase, uppercase and cursive. Using a unique, “letter sounds make words” spelling game, children learn how to sound out and spell 160 frequently used words. PocketPhonics uses the synthetic phonics method recommended by the Australian Federal Government’s Teaching Reading Report in 2005.

Phonics Vowels

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Phonics Vowels teaches each word’s phonics spelling, beginning sound, word family phonics, short vowel sound, and images with animations and interactions for each word. There are 30 different vowel sound combination groups which focus on the short vowels, long vowels and two vowel combinations phonics learning.

Literacy Planet

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NOTE: You need a student account to use this application. LiteracyPlanet is a fun, safe and motivational learning environment for children, which encourages them to learn at their own pace and presents a solid foundation for the development of invaluable literacy skills. Our interactive content has been developed by reading specialists and experienced educators, and all exercises are designed to align with English curriculum standards. The LiteracyPlanet app currently includes Spelling, Stories and Comprehension content.

History

Timeline Eons

Timeline Eons

Timeline Eons, a graphic representation of the entire natural and human history!
– Scrollable timeline thousands of times longer than the Earth’s circumference, with a time range that spans billions of years into both the past and the future.
– Extensive and wide-ranging events, from the Big Bang to historical events and future projections.
– Concise and fun facts with links to additional external resources.
– Includes Natural History, World History, U.S. History, Science & Technology, Sports, and Art & Architecture.

World War 2 Interactive

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Read about the major battles and events of WW2 in detail. Swipe through the timelines for every month of the war. Watch rare video clips. Listen to famous speeches. See amazing photographs. Learn about the leaders, weapons, conferences, major operations, etc.

Gallipoli – The first days

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Watch and explore the events of Gallipoli as and where they happened in a 3D map space. From the first sightings of British Naval ships by Ottoman platoons and the unfolding chaos of the pre-dawn landings, to the ANZAC struggle to make gains in the unforgiving terrain. An entirely new way to look at the Gallipoli Campaign produced by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the ABC.

Geography

The Barefoot Atlas

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Barefoot World Atlas puts the world at your children’s fingertips! With this incredible app, anyone can fly around the magical, interactive 3D globe and discover the rich wonders of our planet.

Coding

Hopscotch

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Hopscotch is a free award-winning programming app for kids aged 9-13. Learn to code by creating your own games. You can use our video tutorials, or create your own projects from scratch.

Daisy the Dinosaur

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Built by the creators of Hopscotch. This fun app has an easy drag & drop interface that kids of all ages can use to animate Daisy and make her dance on their screen. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges.

Tynker

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Tynker is the easiest way for kids to learn programming. Solve fun puzzles using visual blocks or Swift to learn the basics. Then you can create your own amazing games using over 100 step-by-step coding tutorials.

SUPPORTS CONNECTED TOYS
Do you have a Parrot minidrone or a Sphero robot? You can use Tynker to program these toys! Build a flappy drone game with a real drone, draw shapes with Sphero, or program your own stunt flips. This version supports Sphero, Ollie, Parrot minidrones, Lego WeDo2.0, and Philips Hue and Lux personal lighting systems.

Environmental

WWF Together 

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WWF Together brings you closer to amazing and endangered species than you ever could have imagined, letting you discover their lives and the work WWF does for them. Try out “tiger vision,” flap your wings like a migrating butterfly, and chop the panda’s bamboo. As part of each story, you’ll get to bring an animal into your world by taking a selfie with its origami or placing it in a scene.

Australian Curriculum Lessons – Website

The Australian Curriculum Lessons website has been around for a few years now and has built up a wide range of free lessons and programs for teachers which are linked to the Australian Curriculum. This is a great resource particularly if you have limited experience in a subject or want to refresh an old program with new ideas.

Teacher resources can range from one off lesson plans to complete 6 week programs with detailed lesson notes. All resources needed for each lesson/program are provided at the bottom of the lesson/program outline.

Check out these examples and explore the website to find lessons and programs from your subject area.

100m Sprint Analysis – A PE Lesson Based on Usain Bolt! (Yr 7-10)

Global Systems Impacting Our Planet – A 15-Page Science Resource For Year 10

Introduction to Programming via Bee Bots (F/ 1/2) Lesson Plan

 

Procedural Writing with Digital Technology Unit: George’s Marvellous Medicine (Year 2 5-6 week program)

 

Changing Nations (The Population Shift) – A Geography Lesson for Year 8/9

 

We’re Going On a Bear Hunt – Music Lesson Plan for F-2

 

Paper Houses – 3D Shapes, Area and Volume Yr 5-7 Maths

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All images from the Australian Curriculum Lessons website.

Movement stories for junior primary students

I was listening to a PE Geek Podcast the other day and came across a great resource for junior primary teachers that gets kids moving using stories as a basis for those movements. The stories are produced by BBC School Radio and posted to their website. The idea is that students listen and as part of the story the narrator instructs students on different movements that connect with the narrative for example, stomping through a forest, sneaking into a dragons cave or clanking around in a knights suit of armour. I tried one with my R/1 PE class today and they absolutely loved it! The story we listened to was called Knights, Castles and Dragons.

Knights, Castles and Dragons – the students loved it!

 

Click here to view all the available BBC Let’s Move podcasts. Each podcast can be downloaded to your computer so internet access is not required when you play the file.

Keep in mind that these are just audio files. The next time I use one of these with a class I am planning to make up a slide show of images that relates to the story so the students also have something to look at while they are moving and listening to the story.