Computer Science Unplugged

Want to teach digital technologies to your class but not sure were to start? Maybe this website can help you. Computer Technologies Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around. It requires no access to computers!

The website is suitable for lower primary aged students through to senior students and provides a downloadable book, activities and a wide range of videos to support the teacher in the classroom.

Below is a video example of an activity that supports students learning about Finite-State Automata (a Finite-State Automata follows a set of instructions to see if the computer will recognise the word or string of symbols). Sounds complicated but once you view the video it becomes clear. Click here to see the PDF of the activity that goes with this video (for ages 9 and up).

Thanks to Graham Cox who alerted me to this great resource.

Student lead parent teacher interviews

Wildwood Elementary School take a student led approach when their parents come in to find out about how their child is going at school.

“Parent teacher conferences at Wildwood Elementary are actually a time when the teachers do very little talking. Instead, the students run the conferences, informing their parents about how they’re doing, what their goals are going forward, and what kind of learners they are.” Student-Led Conferences: Empowerment and Ownership, Edutopia.

Click here to find out how Wildwood Elementary make these student led conferences work, the post also includes resources for teachers to use with students and parent to run student led conferences.

How can we involve students when we have parent teacher interviews? Do we have the students come in with the parent? Do we get students to show parents and explain their learning? Could we?

Continuing to develop formative assessment

Thank you to everyone who engaged in the formative assessment activities over the past few weeks. Hopefully being able to read and then discuss peoples ideas, trials, successes and failures over the past 18 months around formative assessment was a useful process. For those staff who were not here when we started our formative assessment focus I hope it has built a picture of where we have been and put into context some of the things we are doing now.

It is great to see and hear that teachers are still thinking about and using formative assessment strategies and acknowledging the importance of these for student learning. Remember, it is about changing your practice in the long term (embedding) not trying a million ideas for 3 weeks and then throwing your hands up and saying, “well that didn’t work!” Select one, maybe two formative assessment techniques and work on them, put time into them and adapt them. Ensure that your practice changes to benefit student learning.

Thanks to the teachers who were willing to share their thoughts in this post about what they are doing in their classrooms for the remainder of this year and into 2016.

IMG_4379 IMG_4380 IMG_4381 IMG_4382 IMG_4383 IMG_4384