Samorost came out in 2003 - fifteen years ago no less - and the children I showed it to then are now in their mid-twenties...a scary thought but it's definitely still worth showing to a whole new generation.
I introduced it to a Y3 class at the end of a half term when we had finished a project the previous week and wanted a 'one-off' to f̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶e̶ engage their problem-solving skills.
The rules were simple - I could not give any advice. They could ask any of their friends for hints and tips. The buzz in the room as the penny finally drops on certain parts is worth watching, and there's loads to discuss around perseverance and resilience. Growth mindset wasn't a thing in 2003 (not by name anyway) but it seems resources such as Samorost continue to help learners to tinker, make mistakes and ultimately learn from the experience. The quickest Year 3 (7 & 8 year-olds) managed to crack the first Samorost in around 30 minutes. Try it in your class - there's Samorost, Samorost 2 and the new Samorost 3 if they're really keen. Spoiler alert - I've not used Samorost 3 in class so can't vouch for it being classroom-friendly, although if like the other two it should be fine. There are obvious links to use this as a writing stimulus as well. Check the video out to know what to do if you would like to be ahead of your students...
Our Mentimeter feeedback, 2018-style:
I recently ran some Professional Development sessions at my school for Google Classroom users. It was billed as an advanced session - for those who have at least used Classroom with their students a little, either now or in the past.
Dubbed 'Digging Deeper with Google Classroom', the session introduced 20 key features or areas that may be unfamiliar to the busy teacher. The session was also broken up with a Quizizz after every 5 features - keeping it interactive and making sure energy levels were propped up on a Friday afternoon.
The Quizizz quizzes that go with the session can be found here or click the image below:
The presentation can be found below. The yellow Quizizz slide indicates that it's time for a quiz.
See if your learners have been following what you've been teaching them.
1. Get the children to remember the adage below. They might think it's pretty gross but it certainly sticks in their mind:
2. Play this Passwords Quizizz challenge:
3. Get the children to guess the most used passwords of all time:
4. Although slightly dated(!), this video has the right message at heart:
5. This video can also start a conversation on password security:
6. Check out how secure your new password is on this site:
The world has moved on since Microsoft Publisher 2010. Many primary school newsletters haven't...
We live in a technological age of Airbnb, Spotify, Uber, Google Chrome, 4G - the list goes on of things that were unheard of 5, 8, 10 years ago, and that we now take for granted. Considering this and the amount of technology in most schools today, it is often the school newsletter that remains firmly rooted in another age. Perhaps a Publisher 2010 template dusted off every term? An aging Word document hastily converted (if you're lucky) to PDF before uploading to the school website? It's 2017 and we can do better!
5 tips to bring your school newsletter up-to-date:
1. Consider publishing an online newsletter. I signed up to Lucidpress - it's free and a couple of clicks if you have a Google account. There are a number of free newsletter templates to help you get started:
2. Include lots of interactive content. Add hyperlinks to images and embed videos - from the swimming gala, summer fayre or wherever. It doesn't have to just be a static document any more.
3. Consider using a URL shortener such as goo.gl, or bit.ly when sending out the newsletter to parents. This way you'll be able to track how many viewers you have, for free, when you log back in to the URL service. It's a paid feature on Lucidpress but you can easily see your stats without having to pay for the subscription.
4. Using a free digital publishing platform such as issuu makes your newsletter come alive - they also give you tools so you can easily embed your newsletter onto your learning platform or school website:
Let's bring the primary school newsletter into this technological age!
(NB I know there are many schools that do the above, but they're certainly in the minority!)
Google's latest offering helps teach children to be safe, confident explorers of the online world. I used it with a class of Y5 children today and the consensus was overwhelmingly positive. The children play in four areas, tackling hackers, phishers, oversharers and bullies.
Interland is split into the following four worlds:
This game teaches children to be respectful and kind online and to report cyber-bullies.
Here the focus is on sharing information online only with people you trust.
Tower of Treasure
Tower of Treasure is all about making strong passwords...
The fourth game teaches children to steer clear of phishers and other fake stuff online.
There's also teacher resources available and a YouTube collaboration in the form of the so-called #BeInternetAwesome challenge - have a look at the videos below to find out more.