Sunday, 7 December 2008

Animation,Christmas,Tech Support Guidance, Bad Powerpoint

Welcome to another update from Redbridge Primary ICT. I hope your classrooms look as festive as our office!.

(see poor quality cameraphone image below- can you spot the festive Dalek?)

I know many of you will be using ICT to in your Christmas lessons, there are great opportunities here in everything from making cards to wrapping paper designs to animations of the nativity and spreadsheets for Christmas Gifts. If you do any of this, then please share with me and I'll post it on this blog.

In this Issue:

Woodland Infants Year 2 Animations

Christmas Resources

Guidance on Technical Support Document

Bad Powerpoint - a message for all those Inset Session Leaders

Last minute links

Woodlands Infants - Year 2 Animations

A Year 2 class in Woodlands Infants recently created short animations in groups of two - three, based on the story, 'Thad gets to the Moon'. I was pleased with the outcomes and the children greatly enjoyed working on the project, which lasted two mornings.

The key to the success of this work was the dedication and hard work of the teacher, Mrs Yee, who was very prepared and had prepped the children well too! :

  • Each group had created 4 background for each part of the story

  • Each group was provided with an A4 size photocopy box, with a cut away front

  • Children all brought in a selection of action figures, which would be used to play the part of Thad or the Aliens

  • Children created the backgrounds and the Space Rocket in their art lessons

During Morning 1, children spent some time getting to know the how to use Digi- Blue software and camera. They created their own mini films of action figures walking about in space or encountering aliens.

By Morning 2, the class were familiar enough with animation techniques, to be able to begin creating the films. Here the class:

  • Were restricted to around 75 frames per scene- this equates to approximately 5 seconds per scene and meant each group created a film that lasted around 30 seconds

  • Worked together and many children developed and honed their skills of collaboration and supporting of each other. Some children acted as mentors to other children if they had finished early and this means that everyone got finished by Lunchtime.
What was needed:

On this occasion children used laptops and worked in groups of upto 3, one child operated the computer while another was a director, leaving the crucial job of altering the position of the props to the other group member. It is worth noting that the use of commercial action figures rather than plasticene considerably cut down on disruption to the animating process. Each group used a Digi-Blue Version 2.

Want to learn more?
Last year Nicholas and I put together a wiki site as an electronic handout for our animation course - see it here

You could also take a look at this help sheet for Digital Blue work from Sheffield CLC here


Christmas Resources

As you know, all good things come from Wales, and these resources for your Whiteboard are no exception. The NGFL, which is the Welsh equivalent of the London Grid has a large store house of resources for all Primary subjects, many of which work well on the Whiteboard to introduce or consolidate work/topics.

They describe their Christmas resources as:

Interactive activities for whiteboard or computer on the Nativity story and how Christians celebrate Christmas today. Activities are differentiated at various levels. They include an electronic version of the Nativity story, discussion topics on the meaning of Christmas, matching and sequencing activities, multiple choice question games, creating nativity pictures, matching pairs games and jigsaws.

Find these resources via the NGFL (English Version) or click here

IBoard also provide a number of Christmas activities and can be found in the content grid of LGFL, however these resources are also free to everyone thanks to Steve's generosity -click here for a link to their free free forever activities. These include templates for letters to Santa, a Christmas card designer,

SMART Board Advent Calendar
I love this SMART Board resource from Oxfordshire LA, click on the image below to download. It gives a new Christmas fact each day . There is of course the Doctor Who Advent calendar too, but that is not so educational, though your class will love it!

If you are an Activ Primary School, then of course you can customise your board and create a myriad of IWB resources using the themes and resource packs. These are free and can be downloaded from Promethean Planet. The picture below shows the Winter Holidays pack, this covers Diwali, Christmas and others too.


Guidance on Technical Support

In response to some queries and requests from Headteachers, we have complied the attached document. It is based on the model of having an oust side provider for network support, who take care of most of the big server stuff, while the in-house technician looks after the day to day running of systems. This is a model that works in most of our schools, though the technician's job descriptions from BECTA, could do with some fleshing out. This is what Alex, Gary, Nicholas and myself have attempted to do in these notes. Please note these are entirely voluntary and may not suit your school situation, though equally you may find they help you move towards a more proactive way of working.

Here is the PDF version - if you require the original Word Version, do email me. As you can see, I have also used Scribd to embed the document below. If you are a blogging school, then this is surely a tool worth looking at, as it allows the embedding of documents, it may even work with Fronter?!

As usual thoughts in the comment box or emailed to me at the usual address

Technicians Suggested Regular Tasks


Last Minute Links

The Rose Review - here is a link to the interim report - more on this later on my own blog - at present the highlighter pens are out while I look at it in more detail, but for now lets all be pleased that ICT is mentioned very strongly. You may want to read the chair of NAACE, Gareth Davies's response on his blog, 'Never Mind the Technology,Wheres the Learning?'

Simple Science

This site has a number of excellent video clips of Science Songs that literally sing the content of the Key Stage 2 QCA Units. These make great revision aids and could be embedded within blogs and (possibly) your MLE.

Enjoy this song about Unit 3A -Teeth

3A Teeth Song from Simple Science on Vimeo.


Bad Powerpoint
Last week I took part in a number of online discussions around the bad use of Powerpoint. I enclose two resources to get you thinking on this and some further reading.
The first is a quite famous video that illustrates, in a quite humorous way, just what are the features of Powerpoint missuse Look like, once you have seen that, then scroll down to the online presentation, which should give you some pointers for improving your presentation formatting skills.
Thanks to my fellow educational blogger for their thoughts and links

Death by PowerPoint
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: tips powerpoint)


  1. Interesting stuff, Anthony. I also responded to the Rose Review, but slightly more critically than Gareth:

    I can thoroughly recommend the first PPT video: have used it myself.

    Don't know the other one but will watch it now.

  2. sorry, I lied! I have seen the second one before. That, too, is very good. Thanks for posting them, Anthony.