Excellent free self paced coding course for teachers and students

If you are a teacher required to, or keen to teach your students how to code but have no idea where to start, fear not.

The Catholic Education Office Ballarat has created a self paced course for teachers and students designed to run between 7 - 12 weeks.  And it's all completely free. 

It offers a mixture of plugged, and unplugged sessions and even a robotics module.  Students in grades 3 - 6 can learn everything around coding and algorithms in a structured, engaging and logical manner.

Absolutely everything you need is here, including tutorial videos, resources, assessment tasks and even links to the Victorian curriculum. 

The course can be found here and is highly recommended.

bit.ly/ceocoding

 

Free Computational Thinking Graphic Organizer

Computational Thinking is being adopted through curriculum the world over as an essential thinking and problem solving strategy every student should know to survive in the 21st century workforce.

Don't let the name scare you though, computational thinking is  an incredibly simple concept which doesn't even require a computer.  Students aged 5 and up can apply it, and you have probably been using parts of it for decades without actually knowing.

It is a four step thinking process that can be applied to any problem, challenge or task.  The four steps are decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction and algorithmic design.  Be sure to watch the video below for a detailed explanation each of the four elements and how they work together. 

When you are ready to give computational thinking a go be sure to download our FREE COMPUTATIONAL THINKING GRAPHIC ORGANIZER which briefly explains the purpose, order of operations and context of Computational Thinking

Click here to download.  And, as always enjoy!!

Literacy Ideas for primary and elementary teachers

When I first started teaching many moons ago finding resources on the internet was quite a different process to what it is today.

There was a lot less commercialism, things were a great deal more disorganised and so on... I always remembered using a website with my kids called Jenny Eather's writing fun which just had great ideas for teachers and students about teaching different styles of writing.  It was really easy to use, engaging for the kids and just made sense... It was great.

Anyhow, writing fun got bought out by a larger company and became a paid website which greatly reduced it's appeal.

But last week I was introduced to a very similar site to writing fun called literacyideas.com.  It's completely free, broken down into different styles of writing and actually has a a load of great free content to downlaod or share on an interactive screen with your students.

I strongly recommned taking a look at literacyideas.com if you teach writing to primary / elementary students and would love to hear if you know of any other great sites similar to this. 

Bebras Australia Computational Thinking Challenge

The next round of the BEBRAS Australia computational thinking challenge is occurring over the following weeks for teachers and students from years 3 - 12.

This is similar to challenges such as the Math's Olympiad but is more focused on general problem solving and use of logic. It is completely free and offers amazing data and analytics for students and teachers who are participating.

Above all else Bebras offers highly engaging resources and teaching and learning opportunities which are globally recognised as key components of a 21st century curriculum.

I can't recommend this enough for all teachers and am confident it will become a regular event on your school calendar.

http://www.bebras.edu.au/

Free interactive iPad skills poster for teachers and students

Download this in PDF Format below.

Download this in PDF Format below.

This free poster serves two purposes to both inform and educate students and teachers about nine essential iPad skills which enhance teaching and learning through the iPad.

It informs by visually prompting and reinforcing these skills to teachers and students as a simple poster.  More importantly it educates teachers and students about how to perform and use these skills through the use of video clips and other online resources.

To access these resources you will need to download a free QR reader on your iPad and scan the codes on the poster.  One I can recommend is Qrafter but any QR app should do.

The 9 essential skills are.

  • Mastering control center
  • Sharing your screen
  • Splitting your keyboard
  • Using Spotlight search
  • Multitasking and screen splitting
  • How to take great photos
  • Using Cu, Copy and Paste effectively
  • Saving images and screen capture.
  • Connecting to the clouds

I hope you find this resource useful and please share it with others via social media and the web.

You can download this free high resolution poster by clicking here.

Learn computer science through Pixar and the Khan Academy

Finding Dory represents nearly thirty years of innovation and computer science.

Finding Dory represents nearly thirty years of innovation and computer science.

In 1995 Pixar reinvented animation as we know it when they released Toy Story.  Nowadays it is hard to find an animated film that is not built upon a digital animation process.

What many of us fail to understand is the marriage of art, science and technology required to bring these films to life.  There are some incredibly complex technical and artistic challenges which have spawned an industry to deal with making magic come to life through the use of computers in animation.

Pixar have partnered up with the Khan academy to produce a course that aims to introduce secondary students to the world of digital animation and let them use interactive online tools to deal with the challenges and solutions involved in this process of film making.

Whilst Pixar films are generally aimed at a younger audience I can guarantee you that most of the concepts dealt within this course are way beyond that of any elementary student.  This is really aimed at the tween audience with skills in the area of maths and computer science.

It is a shame there is not a simplified course for juniors but I will continue to live in hope...

Take a look at the course for yourself here,

Which search tool should I use: Free Classroom Poster

This poster highlights the 'Big Three' search engines for teachers and students and highlights the strengths and weaknesses for each one.

Google Search
Wolfram Alpha
Wikipedia

Your students will definitely find this a useful resource next time they reach for a computer to look something up as it gives them both purpose and direction on what to use and how best to use it,

I would recommend also taking a look at our "How to use Google Search like a Boss" Which has been hugely popular in teaching students how actually use Google Search with purpose and direction.

It has been a while since we have done a poster freebie.  So it would be great if you could give us some feedback.
 

Click here to download your free high resolution poster as a PDF document

Seven simple poetry styles your students will love

Poetry is one of the few styles of writing which openly encourages students to let go of their emotions and share them with others.

This is not an easy thing for students to do and can the process can be made even more difficult if we expect them to write deep and meaningful styles of poetry such as ballads and free verse without developing an appreciation and understanding of poetry through fun and simple structure.

These eight styles of poetry are a great entry point for teachers and students to approach poetry with confidence yet still allow for creativity and emotion to be part of the writing process.

Each style contains a clear structure you can teach your students by following the instructions, alongside diagrams and the highly recommended audio recordings by our resident voice actor Alan Munro.  Just click the audio button for each style.

These poems come from a collection of 19 styles of poetry from Innovative Teaching Ideas which include 44 pages of templates, rubrics and more for all major styles of poetry.

Clerihew

A Clerihew is a light hearted poem consisting of two couplets and a specific rhyming scheme of AABB.

A clerihew usually deals with a person or character within the first line.

Clerihews have frequently been used to mock famous people such as politicians and celebrities.

As a class start with a familiar character such as Harry Potter and compare efforts.

 

The Epitaph

An epitaph is a brief poem inscribed on a tombstone praising a deceased person, usually with rhyming lines.

Epitaph’s are usually written in a light hearted manner but they can be serious if need be.

Epitaphs have a simple rhyming pattern of AABB

Epitaphs can be used to teach us a lesson for example why we shouldn’t eat candy too often.

 

Irish Limerick

A Limerick is a rhyming humorous or nonsense poem of five lines.

It has a rhyming pattern of AABBA

Lines 1, 2 & 5 should contain 7 – 10 syllables

Lines 3 & 4 should have 5 – 7 syllables

Limericks frequently start with “there once was a…”

 

Palindrome

A palindrome or shadow poem reads  identical both forwards or backwards.

You must use the same words in the first half of the poem as the second half

Reverse the order for the second half

Use a well considered word in the middle line as a bridge from the first half to the second half of the poem

Slide18.JPG

 

Shape and Concrete Poetry

Poetry takes on many forms.  An artistic expression is for your poem to adopt the shape of its subject.

Shape poems are either an outline or fill the space within an outline.  Poetry within a space is also known as concrete poetry.

Any style of poetry or writing can be applied.

Start with an easy shape and change your text size for best fit.

 

Diamante

A Diamante is a seven-lined contrast poem laid out in a diamond shape.   It is highly structured and simple to understand.

Line 1: Noun or subject

Line 2: Two Adjectives

Line 3: Three -ing words

Line 4: Four words about the subject

Line 5: Three -ing words

Line 6: Two adjectives

Line 7: Synonym/antonym for the subject

 

Monorhyme

Monorhyme is a poem in  which the end of all lines rhyme.

There are no rules as to how long or short a monorhyme should be.  Stanzas are not used in monorhyme poetry.

This is a great starting point for developing rhyming skills.

Words ending in Air, Ate, it, Ing &Oh have many rhyming words.

 

I hope you find these styles of poetry useful with your students and remember to check out the entire collection of 19 styles of poetry here.