You don’t need computers to teach code!

This post is about my favourite lesson from the free ‘Get Started With Code’ teacher guide by Apple. I love Lesson 5 because the progression in language, understanding, teamwork and sequencing is always great. In this free teacher guide, every lesson has a practical activity which teachers a computational thinking skill to solve a problem in ‘real life’.

This means you can teach coding without needing a computer!

The lessons do progress on to a free coding app called ‘CodeSpark’ where young learners use arrows (like on a Bee-Bot) to make characters move on screen. But the first part of each lesson plan is effective because it teaches the language and thinking of computing in a practical, off-screen activity. Children understand the concept in a real-life experience before applying it to on-screen coding. It also helps you to teach children how to problem solve and impacts on the Characteristics of Effective Learning by helping them to think critically and change the way they are approaching the task.

Download the free ‘Get Started With Code’ teacher guide here.

The practical activity in this lesson is called ‘Robot Fun’ and uses a squared floor grid with direction cards of forwards, backwards, left and right. You help children to ‘break the problem down’ and solve in it in manageable chunks. This a computational thinking skill called ‘decomposition’. It also helps children to understand what the commands of forwards, backwards, left and right mean in a real life, before applying this to a Bee-Bot or the CodeSpark app (OR BOTH!)

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Lights! Camera! Critical Thinking!

I introduced my class of 4 & 5 year olds to green screen filming this week and even though it felt like a technical process to learn, the ease of the software and the creative process gave the children opportunities to demonstrate their critical thinking and problem solving skills.

I began by setting up an area of the classroom for the filming to take place and I wanted this space to give immediate visual feedback to the children throughout their filming process. I included a TV screen with AirPlay, a small green box to act as the stage, an iPad with DoInk’s Green Screen app installed and some PJ Mask characters.

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Climate Action: global lessons for young learners.

I was set to travel to Isle of Wight and work with teachers on a Stories of a Lifetime project this week but Storm Ciara disrupted those plans. As weather becomes more unpredictable and increasingly extreme across the planet the conversation of climate action becomes more important.

“The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our international commitment to end poverty, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.”

United Nations Development Programme

During January I have been unpacking the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and sharing ways that the goals can be discussed with young learners in school. These ideas link to the Young Children Can Create a Better Planet books which apply drawing, music, video and photography tools of iPad.

All 193 member countries of the United Nations signed and agreed to take action towards these goals, including Canada, USA, UK and Australia. Therefore, we have permission from the leaders of our countries to take action towards these goals in our classrooms. It is our duty to educate students on these global issues!

One target for this goal is to “Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning”. Acting on the climate begins with developing a relationship with plants and animals. Young children need to connect with the local area, their favourite animals and build knowledge about other habitats. With a strong relationship with plants and animals, children will be able to evaluate decisions and make informed choices.

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Life Below Water

At the start of the new decade a time of reflection swept the world and global goals shaped many of these moments, particularly with the devastating fires sweeping Australia. 10 years ago though, the United Nations replaced the “Millennium Goals” with the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world.

“The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our international commitment to end poverty, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.”

United Nations Development Programme

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All 193 member countries of the United Nations signed and agreed to take action towards these goals, including Canada, USA, UK and Australia. Therefore, we have permission from the leaders of our countries to take action towards these goals in our classrooms. It is our duty to educate our students on these global issues.

But how might we tackle such huge topics with the youngest children in our schools?

Kristi Meeuwse and I designed a series of a lessons around plants, animals and people which might help teach towards some of these global goals. Let’s start this blog series by exploring lesson ideas which can support Goal 14: Life Below Water.

Goal 14 sets targets to reduce marine pollution, sustainably manage coastal areas, regulate overfishing and increase scientific knowledge of marine biodiversity.

There are 3 books in the ‘Young Children Can Create… a better planet’ series and each book contains activities to use drawing, photography, video and music. These creative mediums help young children to capture their world and make decisions about their environment or learn about other habitats.

Here are some examples of activities to help young children engage with Goal 14: Life Below Water.

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Measuring Material Footprints

We have 10 years until the deadline for meeting targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of universal goals that address the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world. The debate is already out as to whether we have achieved any of these targets or not.

“The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our international commitment to end poverty, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.”

United Nations Development Programme

Screenshot 2020-01-18 at 10.29.23

All 193 member countries of the United Nations signed and agreed to take action towards these goals, including Canada, USA, UK and Australia. Therefore, we have permission from the leaders of our countries to take action towards these goals in our classrooms. It is our duty to educate our students on these global issues.

But how might we tackle such huge topics with the youngest children in our schools?

Kristi Meeuwse and I designed a series of a lessons around plants, animals and people which might help teach towards some of these global goals. This is the second blog post of this series which will explore lesson ideas which can support the teaching of Goal 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production.

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It is predicted that by 2050 we will be need the equivalent of three planets to sustain our current lifestyles. Therefore Goal 12 sets targets to sustainably manage our natural resources and use them efficiently. Air, soil, food and water conditions are all monitored in this goal. Recycling paper, plastic and aluminium is fundamental to improving consumption and production targets.

There are 3 books in the ‘Young Children Can Create… a better planet’ series and each book contains activities to use drawing, photography, video and music. These creative mediums help young children to capture their world and make decisions about their environment or learn about other habitats.

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Here are some examples of activities to help young children engage with Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

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Life on Land

At the start of the new decade a time of reflection swept the world and global goals shaped many of these moments, particularly with the devastating fires sweeping Australia. 10 years ago though, the United Nations replaced the “Millennium Goals” with the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world.

“The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our international commitment to end poverty, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.”

United Nations Development Programme

Screenshot 2020-01-18 at 10.29.23

All 193 member countries of the United Nations signed and agreed to take action towards these goals, including Canada, USA, UK and Australia. Therefore, we have permission from the leaders of our countries to take action towards these goals in our classrooms. It is our duty to educate our students on these global issues.

But how might we tackle such huge topics with the youngest children in our schools?

Kristi Meeuwse and I designed a series of a lessons around plants, animals and people which might help teach towards some of these global goals. Let’s start this blog series by exploring lesson ideas which can support Goal 15: Life on Land.

Screenshot 2020-01-18 at 10.41.26

Goal 15 sets targets to sustainably manage forests in order to protect wildlife, combat climate change, preserve indigenous communities and maintain natural resources.

There are 3 books in the ‘Young Children Can Create… a better planet’ series and each book contains activities to use drawing, photography, video and music. These creative mediums help young children to capture their world and make decisions about their environment or learn about other habitats.

Here are some examples of activities to help young children engage with Goal 15: Life on Land.

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Connecting with Emotions

Asking questions about feelings happens every day in early learning classrooms. Whether it be a conversation about moments in play, events in stories or when our young learners are unwell. We regular ask children to communicate their emotions. We are skilled at using signs, symbols and language to scaffold these conversations. There are years upon years of quality PSED resources to help us plan meaningful activities to build emotional literacy too.

“Children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable.” Early Learning Goal: Managing Feelings and Behaviour

They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.” Early Learning Goal: Making Relationships

They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this.” Early Learning Goal: People and Communities

They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.” Early Learning Goal: Being Imaginative

They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.” Early Learning Goal: Speaking

Emotional understanding is referred to throughout Early Years Outcomes and the goals that 5 year olds should achieve by the end of the first year of school. So this year for Safer Internet Day, let’s talk about feelings when using devices and communicate how we might feel during different uses.

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Have a Safer Internet Day with PENGUINPIG!

This year’s Safer Internet Day takes place on 11th February 2020 and even though online safety should be embedded across the curriculum all year, this event is a chance for school aged children across the country to speak up about their experiences online. For Safer Internet Day this year I have designed an activity themed around the story PENGUINPIG for our younger learners at school.

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“PENGUINPIG is the number one best-selling story about a little girl who reads of an exciting creature known as a penguinpig on the Internet. Filled with delight and intrigue, she decides that she must go and find one.

However, her parents are far too busy to take her and so she decides that she will sneak out and find the adorable PENGUINPIG all on her own. Carefully, she follows the instructions from the website – but does she find her delightful PENGUINPIG?

Amazon.co.uk

Stuart Spendlow’s storybook is perfect for younger children and is a great way to begin early conversations about safety online. Stuart writes a whimsical story that early learners can relate to; they can easily spot the mistakes the little girl makes. The moral of the story gives practitioners the opportunity to talk about pop-ups, adverts in games and messages young children might see when they are using mobile devices.

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The Rich Potential of Young Children’s Video

I’m always excited to hear from followers of my blog and connecting with readers through Twitter or by e-mail. Recently, teachers from Mere Green Primary have shared ways they have been using the Young Children Can Create books, which I published with Kristi Meeuwse and Jason Milner in August 2018. This is the third blog post which has been written by Rebecca Murray from Mere Green Primary School. In this post, Rebecca shares the impact that The Rich Potential of Young Children’s Video guide has had on early years practice.

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Rebecca Murray is the IT Lead for Early Years at Mere Green, she has 5 years of teaching experience in Early Years and promotes the use of iPads to encourage levels of independence.
Mere Green Primary School is an outstanding two form entry, family orientated school. We are driven to ‘make a difference’ for all our children, through support, nurture and trust. In addition to our mainstream children, we also have 20 places for children with statements for speech, language and communication from North Birmingham, who have enhanced speech provision across the school day. We are a fully inclusive primary school, which reflects the society in which we live.  We have a whole school vision for embedded use of IT to enhance authentic learning opportunities.

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The Rich Potential of Young Children’s Photography

I’m always excited to hear from followers of my blog and connecting with readers through Twitter or by e-mail. Recently, teachers from Mere Green Primary have shared ways they have been using the Young Children Can Create books, which I published with Kristi Meeuwse and Jason Milner in August 2018. This is the second blog post which has been written by Terri Coombs and Rebecca Murray from Mere Green Primary School. In this post, they share the impact that The Rich Potential of Young Children’s Photography guide has had on their early years practice.

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Terri Coombs is the IT Lead for Mere Green and SLE in Computing and IT across the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership. She has 20 years teaching experience which includes 10 years of leading IT and is passionate about using technologies to inspire creative teaching & learning and enable all children to engage.
Rebecca Murray is the IT Lead for Early Years at Mere Green, she has 5 years of teaching experience in Early Years and promotes the use of iPads to encourage levels of independence.
Mere Green Primary School is an outstanding two form entry, family orientated school. We are driven to ‘make a difference’ for all our children, through support, nurture and trust. In addition to our mainstream children, we also have 20 places for children with statements for speech, language and communication from North Birmingham, who have enhanced speech provision across the school day. We are a fully inclusive primary school, which reflects the society in which we live.  We have a whole school vision for embedded use of IT to enhance authentic learning opportunities.

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