Arcade Fun

Yesterday the class joined in with the Create-a-long session broadcast in Teams by Digital NL and Education Scotland as part of #CSScotland23.

We had a bit of bother with the sound, so had get caught up this morning.

The session showed how to make a simple maze game with Microsoft MakeCode Arcade. The class changed the games a little to have a Christmas theme, we hope to use them at our Christmas Farye.

I was impressed by how easily the class managed to work around any problems. Their experience with micro:bit coding and scratch helped.

After we finished the game we started loading them onto our kitronic arcade devices. This took a bit of patience as our AirDrop has become flaky recently.

A montage of screenshots  some makecode arcade games.
Screenshot of the games online

The children have lots of ideas on how to extend the games and are exploring the tutorials to find other ones that we can use. Here are links to some of the games. I’ve not got links of them all yet.

Banton Mill

Last Friday we went a trip to Banton Mill. The was organised by Mr Carter, Mr Morecroft & Mr Barrie. Mr Barrie is the owner of the mill which is now the headquarters of Calders and the home of around 30 businesses. Mr Carter & Mr Morecroft are local history experts.

We learnt about how the mill operated, the water wheel and how it connected to the machinery. We also found out a lot about mill workers and the way the building had changed.

We had a tour underneath the mill to se where the water wheel used to turn, and the remains of the old spinning rooms.

Back in school we investigated how water wheels turn and made model pulley systems from lego.

Lego Pulleys

We also used the trip and work in the class to practise our note taking, the children produced some great mind-maps, here are a couple:

Montage of mind maps produced by pupils about Banton Mill and its workings
Montage of mind maps produced by pupils about Banton Mill and its workings
Banton Mill


We had our Halloween party on Friday last week. We took photos of all the Biggies against a green screen.

Greenscreen images

Today we took the photos and used the site to take away the green background to make transparent versions. We then found suitable background and created these images in Keynote. This allowed us to think about and practise using images in a way that respects copyright while having fun and learning a bit about graphics.

Micro Pets

For the past couple of weeks, we have been working on a micro:bit project in class. This is the first time some of the class have used micro:bits while others are more experienced.
We took the idea of a virtual pet from the makecode site and then extended it in different ways.

We started with the idea of making the pet happy by stroking it’s logo and making it sad by shaking it.

After that the class could extend it in lots of different ways. For the beginners this involved feeding and giving the pet a drink. The more experienced pupils surprised me with the complexity of what they were doing. We had health scores, feeding to keep healthy and avoiding starvation; being sick, with the chance of illness and death and being annoyed when petted too much!

Some of the class were intrigued enough to keep working in their free time and were great at sharing techniques. I was delighted to see a good understanding of variables and repeats shown by some.

Here are a couple of examples, click the play button, ▶️, to see them in action. Be sure to turn on the sound for giggles & squeaks.

My class made micro bit tamagotchi’s if we shook it it had to make a sad face and sound also on logo pressed it had to look happy and make a happy sound. We had to add other things in .

This is what mine does , 

My pet sleeps on button a and b using a led block and repeats it 8 times. 
On button a pressed it eats using a led and repeat block  If you press button b it dies and I also used a led block a repeat block and a on button b pressed block .

  • Sleep
  • Be happy if stroked (press logo)
  • Be sad if shaken 
  • Die (wait long enough and don’t feed it)
  • Be sick if fed to much(can be cured using b)
  • Be scared (by making a noise/blowing/filling the red bar 180+)
  • Be fed (using a)
  • Get a health check (A+B)

September Poems

We have been reading a book called Love that Dog In the book Jack tell of his literacy lessons with Miss Stretchberry. Miss Stretchberry read the class poems and Jack tries to write some. At the start he does not like it.  The Book also tells the story of Jack’s dog.

We have learnt about several different types of poem and tried to write our own.

The First type of poem we learnt about was imagist poems. Imagist poems try to make an image with words. We learnt about Lunes. Lunes have very few words, 11 in total, three in the first line, five in the second and three in the third. We wrote kennings, these are like riddles. We tried our hand at sound poems and shape poems.

We also read the Poem The Table by the Turkish poet Edip Cansever and wrote our own version.

Pupils’ Views

I’ve taken some quotes from the classes e-Portfolios where they reflected on the writing.

I liked writing my poems because you can write random words and the don’t have to make sense and you can write some and they can be as long and as short as you want .

When I was writing this poem I was thinking about a ewe lamb sale that I went to about a week ago. I thought I could think about what I brought back with me from the sale and I thought that could write a table poem about and what we got back from it

I enjoyed writing poems because it let me experience and explore different ways of writing and I enjoys how many things there are in this universe to write about but still it’s so hard to pick just one for a poem, I enjoyed how punctuation doesn’t alway need to be in a poem, how poems don’t need to make sense and how poems can be enjoyed by anyone anywhere at anytime!

I was thinking to make a dog poem and the kind of I’m going to was a Kenning I enjoyed making the poem because you learn something all the time.

I liked writing the something poem because it’s a concrete poem, it was really fun to write with all the different ways you can say the word, normal, with a capital letter, backwards, full stops in between, commas, all capitals with just one word. I also enjoyed some lunes that I was writing because it doesn’t take long.

I enjoyed writing poems because you get freedom to write with rhythm and beat and writing stories you can’t do that and poems don’t need to make sense.

I enjoyed writing poems because they don’t need to make sense and you can play about with the words that you are writing. It’s also fun because there are so many different ways to write poetry and you can learn new ways.

I like writing poetry because of the freedom. It doesn’t have to mean anything it could just be The Apple all over again. I like the amount of stuff that you can do it doesn’t has to be a number of words before the next line.

I liked the onomatopoeia in my poem.

I enjoyed writing poems because you could do anything you’d want with it and do things that isn’t real you also do a lot of punctuation and you get your brain moving then if you really like it you could show your teacher and they will like it to. It is really fun to write poems and my class is lucky we get a teacher that likes poems so we do things about poems almost everyday. That is why I enjoy poems.

The Biggies are Back in Class

We have got to the end of our first week. The children are settling well and we are starting to think about our routines.

We have started reading Mr Johnston’s favourite book, Love That Dog.  That means we read a lot of poems too. The first one we studied was The Red Wheelbarrow. The class all wrote poems based on this poem. They are great.

We a have also been working on a new class logo to represent out class, more of that later. And starting work on our Rights Respecting School class charter.

Today we had a visit from Steven from Future X, to show us what Future X entails and how to get involved. We had a great time:

The p7s have also been helping out with their buddies in p1, to make play dough and to get used to going for lunch.

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