Tag Archive for 'primary'

Primary Games for Learning Gains

Primary Games Arena is a site aimed specifically at pupils in primary schools and comprises free online games for all ages and stages, as well as all areas of the curriculum.

There is a huge selection of high-quality games which have been identified to individually address the needs of the curriculum first and foremost to address the learning required for specific ages and stage and each curricular area, and are also visually very engaging. Elements of games-based learning which are also incorporated include badges (online medals) for rewards for pupils to reward their playing the games. There is a like button on each game, and this feeds back to the home page which displays the top-rated popular games at any time. And users can easily share what they find with a link to a specific game (the link for a specific game appears on that page, as does html embed code for sharing on websites or blogs or VLEs).

Each curricular area and and range of games is linked to external curricular-related material which supports users of these games (either to help pupils in improving their skills when then playing the games or to develop further in any areas) and shows how what they are doing is matched to the requirements of the curriculum.

And if you find a great online game somewhere which would be great to add to this site (and which would then have the gaming reward medals available to users everywhere) there is a simple contact page to send details to Primary Games arena who can check it and add it as appropriate.

There are different ways of pupils or teachers finding a game to support them in any area of the curriculum – you can click on the home page curricular links or the age/stage links. Each provides further lists of games specific to the curriculum for the area or stage. Or you can simply enter into the search box whatever is being taught so the appropriate range of games is then displayed.

The site provides code to easily add Primary Games Arena onto your school website so the games can be even more easily accessed by pupils.

Tutpup for pupils gaming to improve numeracy and spelling prowess

Tutpup, where primary pupils can compete in fun, educational games against other children in a safe and secure online area from all over the world. Tutpup aims to provide simple, fun, competitive games that help children learn and gain confidence with addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and spelling. The games are given child-friendly names but the graded sequence of development of skills in these areas make it great for teachers to see what has been learned.

Teachers can create a class account, and pupils then use the generated class code to take part. Pupils each create a Screen Name (which is what they will use and see displayed to avoid their own name ever appearing on screen). All names are a combination of a colour, animal and number e.g. YellowCow99. This is one school-friendly feature built into Tutpup. The site also has no chat facilty for pupils to talk to each other, and there are no adverts.

There are two ways to play a game in tutpup: Pupils can create their own game – they choose the type of game and then wait for someone else to challenge them. Or they can join a game – find a game created by someone else and challenge them. Real names are never revealed, just the screen names.

What happens during the game? Once the game starts players have 60 seconds to play. During the game players can find out if they’re winning in one of three ways: From the score on screen, or the sort of funny face can you see which grapically indicates if you are losing, equal, or winning; or from where your avatar is on screen, who is in front.

At the end of a game a player will see a summary screen showing: Who won and Questions they got right and wrong.

There are different ways pupils can see how well they are doing. They can look at the Hall of Fame, which is for the whole world, their country or just their class (based on number of wins) or they can see how many medals they have on their Win Wall.

For a review by Simon Haughton of how Tutpup was received by pupils in his primary school click on this link.

Watch the video below for a quick overview of Tutpup.

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Ideas to Inspire – tips for using classroom tools shared by many teachers

Looking for ideas to help you use online tools in the classroom? Not sure how to make best use of that ICT equipment in your school? Just looking for fresh approaches to using tools with which you are already familiar?

Well Mark Warner has created Ideas to inspire to help teachers everywhere. And it collects ideas generously shared by many, many teachers into grouped presentations. You can browse through anything which grabs your attention or choose a presentation on a topic about which you are looking for some help. There are presentations on using images in imaginative ways in the classroom, interactive whiteboard ideas, making use of digital cameras, ideas for maths and numeracy, literacy, active geography and much, much more. There are ideas for making engaging classroom displays, tips for incorporating games based learning into learning, and hints for making internet research more meaningful – and each presentation continues to grow as further teachers add their ideas too – so it is always worth rediscovering – indeed they are Ideas to Inspire!

Writing Pads – for online collaborative real-time writing

When you want your class to be able to collaborate on writing there are several ways of doing so. One way of doing this is to make use of an online tool which permits real-time collaboration with multiple users all at the same time. Etherpad-type tools or writing pads (of which there are several) provide the facility to have several pupils working on the same document while using different computers and from different locations. More than one person can edit the same document at the same time and everybody’s changes are instantly reflected on all screens. Wikipedia describes etherpads as: “Anyone can create a new collaborative document, known as a “pad”. Each pad has its own web address (URL), and anyone who knows this address can edit the pad. Password-protected pads are also possible. Each participant is identified by a colour and a name. The software auto-saves the document at regular, short intervals, but participants can also save specific versions (checkpoints) at any time. A “time slider” feature allows anyone to explore the history of the pad.”

This can then be used where you have multiple computers available in a class, or ICT suite, or for collaborative writing between classes in different schools. Features of writing pads are:

  • when a user logs on (and adds their name) any writing they add, deletions or writing they make, are indicated on the shared writing space in a colour specific to them.
  • there is the facility to use a time-slider – so users can slide the writing back to any chosen previous version – handy to see the writing as a process of thoughts (and to go back to a previous version if corrections are later desired to be revised.
  • text can be imported or copied and pasted from elsewhere (so a starting document can be used for collaborative real-time editing within the writing pad)
  • the edited writing pad document can be exported as a document (or can simply be copied and pasted elsewhere).
  • they are free to use as public versions (when you generate a new writing pad it generates a new writing pad with a long string of random characters in the web address, this address then to be shared with users perhaps by email with whom you wish to collaborate and which makes it unlikely to be found by uninvited others).

Each writing pad available also has features specific to them. Some restrict the number of users, some the length of time they will be available in public (without paid subscription). For classroom use clearly teachers would wish to consider who can see the document and some paid-for subscription versions can provide locked-down private writing pads. Writing pads are intended for real-time collaboration between people. They are not meant for long-term document storage – so for working on a piece of work at a particular stage of the writing where it would benefit from real-time multiple user collaboration the writing pad provides a tool which can be very useful. Copy and pasting a starter document from elsewhere, and then doing likewise at the end of the collaborative working session means the tool fills a gap for short-life tasks.

Some of the writing pads available are shown below:

http://primarypad.com/ Aimed specifically at schools the basic free features of Primary Pad include: unlimited pad creation,  30 days until your pad is deleted,  up to 15 people collaborating on a pad,  chat functionality,  50 revision saves,  and time slider to see how your pad has evolved. With a paid for professional account users get image import and support, pad management, password security, your own subdomain, facility to create templates, delete pads, embed pads into your website/blog/vle, document import and export, and facility to watch changes in real time across multiple pads.  PrimaryPad was conceived by a teacher and has features specifically for use in classrooms. In addition it has a getting started guide, lesson ideas, lesson plans and a help guide for teachers. There is an option to generate QR codes for sharing with others to access a shared pad, and a colour picker for a wider range of colours to identify individual users. Also there is a collection of ideas shared by other teachers available. And there is support, a user community, wiki and blog where ideas or issues can be shared and resolved.

The video below provides a tutorial to using PrimaryPad:


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http://meetingwords.com/ Up to 32 people can type on the same document at the same time in Meeting Words. You can use it right away without any sign-up, it is free and your text is stored on the web so you can access it from any computer. You can also invite other people to type with you. Pads may be deleted if they haven’t been used in more than seven days.

http://titanpad.com/ – Titan Pad lets you create a private password-protected pad for free. It also has a free public pad option which requires no registration. Public Pads in Titan Pad are accessible by everyone who has access to the URL. So public pads are best used only for shortlived non-sensitive information. The free private pads created with Titan Pad are by default only accessible by users who have an account in the free subdomain you create or who have been provided with a password.  Public Pads are limited to 8 simultaneous users. Private Pads have no limits on users but the Titan Pad help-page suggests that usability degrades with too many users all working simultaneously.

For other alternatives to the above see also http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20004686-248.html

Whichever writing pad best suits your need they provide a tool for pupils or staff to work together on collaborative writing for any purpose, such as story or report writing, or for meeting notes, brainstorming/thought-showering sessions, homework,  and more. Text on a writing pad is synchronized as you type, so that everyone viewing the page sees the same text. This allows you to collaborate seamlessly on documents. Used for short-term tasks which require the immediacy of collaboration in real-time (and where the end results are then copied and pasted for storage elsewhere) they are a useful tool for the classroom.

Composing with Pictures – music sequencers for the primary classroom

The creation of music in primary schools is simplified by using software or online tools which let pupils, with limited or no music notation skills, choose musical phrases and sequence them in any order which the pupil wishes. The facility to drag these graphics around, play back and edit their order, instrumentation and tempo until  the whole sequence sounds the way the pupil wishes is a useful way to be creative with music-making without the need to have developed music notation reading skills. And the music files created in this way by pupils can then be used in pupil presentations, whether online in blogs or webpages, or in Powerpoint or other presentation forms.

Compose World Play

Compose World Play from ESP is an easy to use piece of commercial software aimed at primary schools which lets children create music by dragging pictures into a sequence of their choice, where each picture represents a musical pattern. This program has a long pedigree in educational software, having been developed for the BBC computer. Latterly the software was called Compose World Junior.

How do you make Compose World Play work?

The main screen is displayed divided into two sections.

Top of screen contains list of phrases that can be used to make up your tune, usually represented by pictures. The lower screen is used to build a sequence of phrases. This is the sequencer.

The initial file consists of nine different pictures, each of which represents a musical phrase. To listen to them: Double-click the pictures at the top of the screen.

To move a phrase to the sequencer:
Move mouse over phrase you would like to put on the sequencer. Hold left mouse button down and drag and drop the phrase to a box on the sequencer. Repeat this process to construct a sequence of phrases.

Click on Play button to hear the created composition. Click on tempo arrows to increase or decrease tempo. Click the Loop button to make the sequence play repeatedly.

To replace contents of one box on sequencer with another phrase, simply drag another phrase to box. To delete a phrase from the sequencer, drag it back to the phrases at the top of the screen. To delete a blank box and move the phrases along, drag the blank box to the phrases at top. If you wish to save a file to use in another multimedia presentation (such as Powerpoint) then save as a Midi file.  This can be played in a media player such as Microsoft Windows Media Player.

To make a longer composition, simply change the number of boxes on sequencer, thus enabling different number of phrases: Click View, select Sequence, then Options. Sequence Layout dialog box appears. Change width and height.
Number of boxes on sequencer can be changed up to maximum width of 16 and height of 16.

So how might you use Compose World Play in the classroom?

On the default opening sequence the pictorial icons are tree, car, apple, house, star, mug, yacht, plane, teapot.
Start a tune together and children try to complete it looking for patterns that complement the start.

There are 70 different sets of pictures and phrases to choose from and each set explores a different aspect of music or can be used for a variety of topic-related musical activities.

The files are grouped into folders as follows:

Compose folder has Compose 2 (racquet, balloon, cube, glasses, flag, umbrella, anchor, kite, bat); Compose 3 (cube, pipe, candle, cheese, moon, city, mouse, castle, wall); Compose 4 (Chinese icons temple, worker, willow, junk, lantern, house, bowl, pot, bridge); Compose 5 (snail, butterfly, dragonfly, tree, fish, sun, pear, tree, bird);
Compose 6 (Ancient Egyptian pyramid, coffin, urn, mask, letters, person, head, snake, dog); Compose 7 (phone, key, bridge, train, boot, rocket, tree, flag, pop); Compose 8 (arrow, grapes, castle, snooker, chair, mower, spray, bars, flag).

Jumbles folder can be used to develop auditory memory by re-ordering phrases of melodies to songs pupils may know well: Three Blind Mice, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Land of Hope and Glory, Sailor’s Hornpipe, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, London’s Burning, Skye Boat Song, Teddy Bear’s Picnic, My Bonnie lies over the Ocean, The Star Spangled Banner, and Jingle Bells.

Learn folder has Beat (rhythms in 4/4, ¾, 6/8 and 5/8) where you can create a rhythm track to which pupils add own instrumental or sung performance; Chord 1 (ascending and descending arpeggios in selected named keys) – to use to accompany children’s playing or singing; Chord 2 (block chord labelled sequences) – again for accompaniment to pupil playing or singing; Echo; Notes; Racket; and Shape Colours.

Melody folder contains Bathtime icons; Carpenter (tools); Express (facial expressions); Fruity – try AABA or ABAC form.  Put computer on continuous play and pupils accompany with percussion instruments playing one of the rhythms only; Garden (tools); Home (types); Kitchen (utensils); Mountain (winter holiday); Oversea (boat types); Pets; Roadsign; Shape; sporty (various sports); Ticktock (digital times); and Veg (vegetables).

Moods folder is ideal for story-telling effects, e.g. midnight (Hallowe’en theme), dreams, PlSolo, thinker, up_down – Experiment with tempo controls and different sounds, or create an ostinato (repeating pattern). Dreams has 5 instruments, with sustained timbre – try changing instruments, or vary the tempo, to alter mood. Alter balance between instruments to change dominant sound.

Play folder has Along (play or sing along to the catchy rhythms and harmonies); Bass Only; Bass Plus; and Tune.

Scales folder (phrases incorporating various scales) has Chromatic (chromatic runs phrases); Pentatonic; RagaTodi (world music); Space (outer space icons); Whole Tone – musical words: Scale, Start, One, Two, harmony, Invert, Reverse, triplet, chords.

Story folder has Themes to accompany a story, or as a class create a suite with different movements created by different groups of pupils, e.g. Cloudy; Popups (space creatures); Rocket (space travel icons) – change tempo and instruments to illustrate musically a journey into outer space; Travel suite (pedestrian, cycle or car icons) e.g. setting off, country lanes, the motorway, traffic jam, arrival; Weather suite for storm e.g. Calm, build-up of storm, storm rages, Fade to calm.

Styles folder has musical styles Baroque, Calypso 1, Calypso 2, Folk, Fugue, Jazz, Mozart, Ragtime, and waltz. Handy where pupils can create their own music in their chocie of musical style just by manipulating the order of icons.

Free online music sequencers suitable for primary school use

Roc from the Aviary suite

Roc from the Aviary suite (no longer available as of 2012). Roc is more akin to a professional music sequencer in that the user chooses the instrument from a text list, chooses the rhythms, tempo and volume for each musical phrase assigned to specific instruments.  The tool lets the user then select where the phrses is to appear – hear it played back, and edit as often as required to get the sound desired. Then it can be saved online (sign-up required). Roc (as with the rest of the Aviary suite of online tools) is free and is aimed at school use. Click here for a tutorial on the use of Roc.

Isle of Tune

Isle of Tune http://isleoftune.com/is a free online musical sequencer where you create a street scene as musical phrases, and cars as players. As you drag the various pictures of parts of the street scene into place these pictures have musical phrases associated with them. Then when the car goes past that street scene element that phrase plays until the next scene musical phrase is encountered by the car. Users can add several cars and therefore several layers of musical phrases playing at the same time.

Jam Studio

Jam Studio is a free online tool for dragging and dropping icons for music chords and rhythms along with choice of instruments to create a music track. It is free to use, though payment is required for download of mp3 files. Click here to see examples of work created by pupils at Clackmannan Primary School using Jam Studio.

Audio Sauna

Audio Sauna is a free online tool which lets users create a music track with multiple layers and export as an audio file for use elsewhere. It is not aimed specifically at schools and has a comprehensive range of tools with plenty of support material to guide users.


UJam – an online tool where you sing or play a single melody by voice or any instrument (you can also just speak) and the tool then takes your audio and automatically adds a music backing track with chords and beat. All can then be tweaked from a range of isntrumentation, and many other changes, before downloading as a completed mp3 file for use elsewhere.

Handling the Information – Databases in the Primary Classroom

Handling the Information – using Databases in the Primary Classroom.  In this information  age being able to use a database is an essential skill.  Databases are all around us and being able to use them effectively is seen as an essential skill for pupils.  The task for the teacher is finding age-appropriate databases  and contexts which will appeal to pupls in a primary school.  And then pitching the activities to a level appropriate to the skill development of the pupils.

All Falkirk primary schools have the software RM Information Magic on all PCs.  This database software provides a child-friendly database program which can be used to support project based learning, putting the use of the database in a context, or it can be used to support information handling within the teaching of that aspect of mathematics.

RM Information Magic has four levels – youngest pupils would use yellow level – this presents them with few menus and larger icons.  As users progress through the levels Green then blue and finally Red they are presented with more and more icons and menus.  All levels have speaking toolbars and access to a school-friendly picture bank.  Click here for step by step guide to how to use RM Information Magic Basic Data Handling 

Angus Council Education Department produced a programme of study progression of skills for the use of databases in their primary schools using Information Magic.  http://www.ict.angus.gov.uk/Programmes%20of%20Study/POS%20SKILLS/index.htm

RM Information Magic/Workshop database activities suggested for each stage have been included on the links below :
Primary 4 (including a Vikings in Scotland themed Information Magic database included for download, along with associated activities) http://www.ict.angus.gov.uk/Programmes%20of%20Study/POS%20SKILLS/Pupil%20Area/Stage%204.htm
Primary 5 http://www.ict.angus.gov.uk/Programmes%20of%20Study/POS%20SKILLS/Pupil%20Area/Stage%205.htm
Primary 6 http://www.ict.angus.gov.uk/Programmes%20of%20Study/POS%20SKILLS/Pupil%20Area/Stage%206.htm
Primary 7 (including an Evacuees in Scotland themed database activity) http://www.ict.angus.gov.uk/Programmes%20of%20Study/POS%20SKILLS/Pupil%20Area/Stage%207.htm

Ceredigion LEA Network have produced a great resource (available through NGfL Cymru) for supporting the introduction of RM Information Magic/ Information Workshop primary database software.  This serves as an introduction to data handling, and instructions are given on how to create a new database and how to search, sort and graph from database using Information Workshop/RM information Magic.  The data file ‘Survey’ and relevant worksheets are available to download:

The NGfl Cymru Data Handling section also has excellent animated interactive activities using database on-screen activities which require no download or software or files.  These can be accessed here:
This online resource presents how to sort, search, graph and create a database and is in 5 parts:  sorting, searching one field, searching 2 fields, graphing, creating a database.
http://primary.naace.co.uk/activities/whodunnit/private/start.htm is a free online interactive database activity aimed at upper primarry school where pupils take on the role of a detective and use the information in the database of suspects to solve the case of “Whodunnit?”
http://www.purplemash.com/has a series of online database “apptivities” aimed at primary schools.  Go to http://www.purplemash.com/ and enter “database” in the search box to see the activities which use visually engaging and very child-friendly activities using online database tools in contexts pupils find inviting.
Greenfield Road is a database activity aimed at use by primary pupils based on using an online database of details taken from a 19th century census information for Greenfield Road.  Pupils are presented with questions to answer and the online database to make their choices in order to find the information.

Fun or fear? Spreadsheets for Problem Solving in the Primary Classroom – fun over fear!

Spreadsheets - fun or fear?Mention spreadsheets to some primary teachers and there may be a visible shudder!  For those unfamiliar with the use of spreadsheets in a primary classroom they don’t tend to conjure up ideas of a fun activity for pupils.  Part of the reason for that is that for those who have used spreadsheets in their adult life, or are aware of their uses,  it has often been the ubiquitous Microsoft Excel used for business applications that has been their experience.  Microsoft Excel is an extremely powerful and versatile tool for those who know how to use it.  For those just starting out it looks somewhat daunting to use.  Part of the reason for that is that it opens as a blank page with an array of toolbars and menus.

But the “what if” question in a mathematics or numeracy lesson in a primary clasroom is exactly where a spreadsheet comes into its own.  Having a bank of pre-made classroom-related real-life examples of number problems presented in a visually engaging way, and in a spreadsheet tool which makes the toolbars more child-friendly, seems to do the trick.  So if a pupil can change a number in a list and see, as if by magic, how that changes the total, it gives more time in the classroom for the important “what would happen if I changed this number” question – rather than the mechanics of addition.  Of course a skilled teacher will incorporate mental maths and thinking time for a class to try to predict an answer before getting the spreadsheet to do the chore.  And that adds to the fun.  It also reinforces the need for mental maths – checking even, by estimation for larger claculations, that a predicted answer is matched by the output of a spreadsheet calculation – it being an important lesson that “garbage in, garbage out” applies, so when setting up a spreadsheet a test with some data gives the answer predicted so that users can rely on the information later given.

In a primary school there is a need for a clear progression of data handling activities involving graph-making tools and spreadsheets. The emphasis is on finding child-centred contexts which quickly grasp the imagination of the pupil to provide engaging activities, where the children can have fun while learning through the use of number-modelling software. The following links are to resources which try to emphasise that, far from being what some adults may consider dry number-crunching tools, if presented in imaginative ways and at an appropriate level for the pupils, spreadsheet tools can provide an outlet for creativity with numbers.

Spreadsheet software which is available to all Falkirk primary schools includes RM Magic, RM Starting Graph, 2Simple Infant Video Toolkit and Microsoft Excel.  The addition of speech, as well as child-friendly visually appealing and child-centred classroom-related activities distiguishes RM number Magic, 2Simple Infant Video Toolkit and RM Starting Graph from Microsoft Excel.  Excel still has its place and links to resources aimed at primary schools using Excel are also given below.

Infant Video Toolkit from 2Simple is nothing to do with video (other than having a bank of excellent tutorial/class leson videos for using with the program with a class). Click here for more about 2 Simple Infant Video Toolkit.  This comprises six programs for early years introducing basic skills, and supported by excellent video lessons aimed at teachers using them with the pupils (that’s where the “video” fits in the title!).   The spreadsheet elements are 2Count (exploring counting with pictograms) and 2Graph (making graphs, bar charts & pie charts in seconds).  This program is designed for the youngest pupils in primary school.  The software is very visual with the activity clearly displayed and the associated videos created as lessons for the primary classroom, designed for use with an interactive whiteboard if available.  There are several classroom related real life curricular topic uses for the spreadsheet element of the program – and while they really are spreadsheets the entry to their use does not immediately look like what a spreadsheet would look like.  The Infant Video Toolkit does not attempt to be everythign to everyone – it has a specific target user age group in mind and presents the tools at exactly the right level for them.  The combination of the video lessons (designed to be very effective if used at the interactive whiteboard with pupils) with the ease of use of the program make this ideal for introducing the idea of entering information on a spreadsheet and displaying it in graphical form for ease of then interpreting the information presented at a level appropriate to the early stages of the primary school. Infant video tool kit also makes up part of Purple Mash online subscription service, giving home access too for subscribers.

RM Starting Graph does what it says on the label! It is a spreadsheet program which comes bundled with pre-made example files for use in the classroom.  And it is aimed at being able to be used at early stages of the primary school.  In addition it is set by default to be in “touch” mode which means by clicking on the object (such as chosen eye colour) the spreadsheet increases the number and the graph automatically increases.  It re-scales graphs automatically. The in-built pre-loaded files also have images already included so younger pupils simply click on their selected picture to be able to see the resultant graph.

The in-built examples all include an on-screen question or task sheet with the opportunity for pupils to enter their responses and print if required.  These are also useful for teachers as starters for ten in thinking about questions to ask pupils in order to raise the use of the program from merely recording information to being able to ask questions at various levels to support interpretation of the information (at a level appropriate to the understanding of pupils).

The in-built examples include the following: Parking Survey; Car Ramps; Car Colour; Eye Colour; Favourite Fruit; Hair Colour; Party Planning; Pet Shop; and Travel Survey.This tool has been used effectively by teachers at the older stages of primary school since the speed of entry of information, and immediate graphing, makes it very accessible.  Pupils can select from a range of graph types.  And for older pupils wishing to type in numbers (particularly where larger numbers are involved) it’s a quick click of the “Yellow” touch mode icon to take the program into “editing” green level which lets users then input larger numbers by typing rather than by clicking.  Often the difference between  early uses of spreadsheets and graphing and use with older primary pupils is both in the display options (which the green editing level of RM Starting graph provides) and in the interpretation – the questiosn asked of the pupils or by the pupils using the information.  So a move from “which fruit is most popular?” to predicting in a science experiment with a model car and a ramp how high you would need to make the ramp in order for the model car to travel a specified distance.

RM Number Magic – click here for An Introduction to Spreadsheets using RM Number Magic. This has a bank of built-in pupil activities manipulating numbers such as Flowers, Bus Fares, Christmas Party.

To access these activities:

1. open the program in Yellow, Green or Blue Level
2. File
3. Open File
4. Exercises

5. Choose “Flowers”On each example there is a tab along the bottom of the worksheet called “Report Sheet” which gives instructions and in some cases a “fill in the blanks” on-screen sheet for the pupils to complete as they work through the tasks.

Click here for a video explaining about a possible classroom use of the Flowers file for early level in the primary school

The in-built activity files are: Force Measurer; Bus Fares; Car Hire Firm; Christmas Party (click here for a video explaining how this Costing the Christmas Party spreadsheet might be used for an enterprise project in second level in the primary school); Cola Price Survey; Electricity Bill; Elephants; Eleven Times Table; Fabulous Fruit; Farm Visit; Fencing Fileds; Flowers; Function Machine; Hackney Carriage; Hit the Target; House Valuation; My Age; Newspaper Survey; Number Patterns; Pentathlon; Plants; Pocket Money; Postage Stamps; Reaction Times; Steelworks; Sweets; Taxi Fares; The Milk Round; The Tube; Think of a Number; Traffic Survey; Video Recording; Weather.

Number Magic also has a number pattern creator built-in – useful to show patterns of times-tables.  Click Activities , Number Patterns , Create Grid, Show Pattern of 2 with pattern of 3 (or whatever tables you wish to show).

For a classroom poster showing how to use RM Number Magic click here http://www.rm.com/_RMVirtual/Media/Downloads/NM_Chart_Final2.pdf and a brief descriptive poster click here: http://www.rm.com/_RMVirtual/Media/Downloads/NumberMagic_outer_Final.pdf

For spreadsheet activities in primary school contexts using RM Number Magic software go to http://www.learningalive.co.uk/t_resources.aspx

RM Number Magic has four levels – youngest pupils would use yellow level – this presents them with few menus and larger icons.  As users progress through the levels Green then blue and finally Red they are presented with more and more icons and menus.  Red Level behaves in a very simar way to Microsoft Excel – but retains the speaking toolbars and access to a school-friendly picture bank.

Microsoft Excel – there is a wide range of resources online using Microsoft Excel as the tool to put spreadsheets in a context suitable for use by pupils in a primary classroom.  Some links have been provided below.  Some of these provide tutorials in the use of Excel while others provide the ready-made files along with classroom teaching notes.

For early stages in the primary school there is an online pictogram graphing tool which serves as an early introduction to spreadsheets here http://gwydir.demon.co.uk/jo/numbers/pictogram/index.htm

Click http://www.amphi.com/~psteffen/excel.html for a wide range of resources for using Microsoft Excel in the classroom at all levels, providing real-life contexts where the spreadsheet has a purpose.

http://its.leesummit.k12.mo.us/excel.htm provides links to resources for using spreadsheets for contexts in the classroom as well as online tutorials.

Simon Haughton has a series of lessons on introducing spreadsheets to primary 5 class http://simonhaughton.typepad.com/ict/introducing-spreadsheets/

And Simon Haughton has also produced a series of spreadsheet activities based on a theme park context http://simonhaughton.typepad.com/ict/theme-park-spreadsheets/
Online animated interactive simulations using spreadsheets for primary school classroom use from NGfL Cymru can be found at:
Because these are animated simulations (with which users can also interact) there are ideal for use with an interactive whiteboard as a class activity or for pupil self-study.

Free spreadsheet tools: Where pupils or staff wish to work on spreadsheets outwith school, and where they don’t have access to the above programs there are free alternatives available which can open Microsoft Excel files.  One such program is part of the free Open Office software download from http://www.openoffice.org/ while another is the free online Google Docs at http://docs.google.com


http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/ is a versatile and easy to use free online tool aimed at use by children where they can enter the information on an online spreadsheet by making choices and entering the information.  Then the user can choose the form they wish to save the information, either online or downloaded or sent by e-mail in a variety of formats including picture or pdf. Click below for a video introduction to Create-a-graph:
What-2-Learn site provides a snakes and ladders style game for use in teaching about spreadsheets. This game can be played in one of two ways. It can be played as a whole-class activity on an interactive whiteboard by dividing the class into two teams. Alternatively, if you are in a computer suite the class can play against one another in pairs. This game covers the features of a worksheet (columns, rows, etc), using functions and formulae, organising data and presenting it accurately. It can be played online or downloaded and adapted to your own questions.
Primary Technology has a free online Pictogram Creator on their site. This lets you choose from pre-created templates, such as favourite sport, fruit or colour. Or you can create your own. You can also add new columns with ease. And when you type a column name the Pictogram Creator automatically presents you with an image (though you can also easily browse to other presneted image choices). Then to use you simply click on the column to increase or decrease the number of items – so will work well either with a PC or interactive whiteboard. A nice feature is that you can also embed the tool onto another site. A nice visual introduction to data handling.
Maths is Fun Online Graph Creation tool lets you choose the type of graph, add the data and then display the chart online. You can edit the columns and title, as well as choose to display the data on the chart, or to show the information as a table. Anything created can be printed from the online tool. The speed with which these charts can be created and the way in which it can all be done by clicking onto the graph makes it ideal for use with an interactive whiteboard.
Chartle.Net – a free online tool which lets you create, without registering, a whole series of different forms of graph, chart or map. These created charts can be embedded elsewhere (and will be interactive) or can be downloaded and shared as images. Here’s a video tutorial about using Chartle.net http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlGKssKbbWA

Want to know more about using Excel?

SpreadsheetoSpreadsheeto – if you are looking to find out more about using Excel spreadsheets then look no further than this free online resource with video tutorials and a range of posts about specific tools within Excel which explain as a step-by-step guide how to undertake a variety of tasks forwhich Excel spreadsheets can be used.


Online Music Resources for Primary School

Click here for a presentation about free online resources to support music teaching in the primary school.

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