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Saturday, 24 May 2014

15 iPad lessons for the World Cup

I am proud to announce that my first ever eBook is now on the iBooks store. "15 iPad lessons for the World Cup," is the perfect companion for any teacher using the World Cup as a topic in a classroom with iPads over the next half term.

Although all the ideas are tailored to the World Cup they can easily be adapted to any topic or focus. You can download a copy of the eBook for the very reasonable price of 99p by clicking the picture below. If you like the book and find it useful I would really appreciate if you could rate and leave a review on the iBooks store - click here.

Thank you for all the continued support with this blog.

Update - 25th May - Just a day after release, the book is currently sitting number 8 in the iBooks chart for ALL books:


This fantastic achievement was then picked up and shared in the Manchester Evening News.

I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has purchased and downloaded the book! It means an awful lot! I also want to say to special thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to leave a review or rate the book! Here some of the reviews, thank you to everyone who took the time to write a review:

Very inspiring and great ideas for more than the World Cup ★★★★★
by MJH13579 - May 27, 2014
This is a great iBook to have with some great ideas of how to use iPads to enhance learning. All the lessons have the links to the new curriculum which is fantastic. The ideas can be used for a range of topics, it's just great to see how it has worked in an actual classroom.
Superb Resource ★★★★★
by BrynGooan - May 27, 2014
This fantastic book is a great resource for any teacher who is keen to relate their children’s learning to the world cup. The ideas contained in it will surely enagage all the children in any class. Just as importantly, the standard of work that can be produced with these ideas is sure to be outstanding.
Eager to get going ★★★★★
by Swordfish SPS - May 27, 2014
Very useful - practical and engaging ideas.
Fantastic resource! ★★★★★
by Addicted2wordz - May 26, 2014
A superb resource for teachers of all age groups. Fantastic ideas for most areas of the curriculum which will surely get all children excited about the impending World Cup. I cannot wait to get started on some of the lesson ideas.
Amazing! ★★★★★
by Mr W 10 - May 25, 2014
A fantastic bank of ideas for any teacher, engaging, interesting and forward thinking (totally unlike the current England side). Buy this now!
Charlotte Davies ★★★★★
by @cedavies84 - May 25, 2014
What a fab book - full of excellent ideas that are explained simply to make them easy to use. I have been trying to decide on some World Cup activities to do with my class for a while now, and this resource is just the help I need! I particularly like the movie and gaming suggestions, and know the boys in my class will love the commentary and comic activities. Brilliant - thanks Mr P!
Great resource ★★★★★
by Anthonyh1187 - May 25, 2014
Fantastic resource. Would advise you all to check out the blog too!
Very useful ★★★★★
by Natty2107 - May 25, 2014
Full of good ideas that can easily be used in the classroom. Everything is clearly explained and there are videos in there that give really helpful examples of work that children have produced. (Just make sure you turn your iPad landscape to see it all properly - thought it didn't work on my iPad mini at first!)
Miss ★★★★★
by Vlee88 - May 25, 2014
Wow what a fantastic iBook. I love to magpie Mr P's ipad lessons and trial them @wyndham_academy I look forward to the next iBook. Well worth 99p!!! :)
A super time saving resource! ★★★★★
by @debi_tr - May 25, 2014
Inspiring and straightforward to use and importantly it will be easy to substitute the World Cup theme for another theme. It has cross curricular links to the New Curriculum and links to the APPS needed. So, even if you're not planning to cover the World Cup, this eBook is definitely worth 99p! It could save you hours of planning time!
15 ipad lessons based on the World Cup ★★★★★
by Paul Cooper - May 25, 2014
Great ideas once again from MrP. Children will be actively engaged in these super lessons. If you are thinking of an INSET for your school on ipad integration this is the guy you need. Brilliant!!!
Amazing iPad resource ★★★★★
by MediaShaw - May 25, 2014
Cannot wait to get into the classroom to try out these fantastic lesson ideas. My classes will love using the World Cup as a stimulus, I'm sure they won't feel like they're working! :) Thanks @ICT_MrP great work, yet again... #twitterhero
Mr ★★★★★
by Bijou999 - May 25, 2014
This is great!
15 iPad Lessons for the World Cup ★★★★★
by Fcesc4 - May 25, 2014
This is a fantastic collection of lesson ideas linking the creative use of technology with literacy and maths, all under the umbrella (or should that be parasol) of the World Cup. A must have iBook for every primary school!
Brilliant - I can't wait to get started on these ideas! ★★★★★
by Grantalien - May 24, 2014
I have been borrowing (stealing) ideas from Mr P for about a month now via his blog and I can honestly say it has changed my teaching. Lee has opened my eyes to the way in which iPads can be used to inspire a different way of doing pretty much anything and the things I have started to think differently as a result. This ebook is fantastic, because the ideas are fresh, simple and easy to adapt for your own class. My boys will love the Score app, and we are just getting to grips with Explain Everything, so the World Cup is a great way to inspire them. I'm looking forward to trying out some of these activities and then taking some of them further as we move into the new academic year. The inclusion of the videos is great, because sometimes you need to see something in action to truly believe it can be done, and all credit to the children who present so well. An essential resource, absolute bargain at 99p; I would have paid more, especially for the amount of quality teaching experiences I know will get out of it. Great stuff Mr P! Let's have more please!
Brilliant resource! ★★★★★
by @mancc - May 24, 2014
A must for all teachers who intend to use the World Cup as a topic next term (even if it is not your topic, it still provides great ideas!) The videos help and the links to the New Curriculum are helpfull too! Love the idea about the children creating their own stadium! Great work, Lee!
Great resource for teachers ★★★★★
by Tinks2204 - May 24, 2014
Straightforward, practical and inspiring, this is a great book for teachers looking for useful ideas when using iPads in the classroom!

If anyone who has downloaded the book uses some of the ideas, please email and share examples of work, I will happily post any links on this blog post.

Thanks again!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Enhance your end of year performance with the iPad

SATs are over! Well for at least the rest of this year! Most teachers will now be planning the BIG end of year production.

What some teachers may struggle with, is keeping their class engaged when they are not on stage. I thought it would be useful to share some ways in which the iPad can be used when rehearsing a school production. I have previously blogged about how to use a production as a focus for lots of cross curricular activities (READ HERE). All of these ideas relate to how the production can be enhanced using the iPad.

1 - Production Posters 

There are a range of different poster making apps on the iPad. My three favourites: Pic Collage, Phoster and Comic Life. Using the iPads, ask the children to research and look at different film, TV and theatre posters to create a checklist for what they would need to include on their effort. Being able to add backgrounds, images and choose from a range of different fonts and colours will encourage the children to be as creative as they can in advertising their play.

2 - Learn lyrics with Emoji

Want your class to learn the words of the songs to your show quickly? Ask them to rewrite them substituting as many words for Emoji symbols as possible. The visuals will help and they will be constantly reading the lyrics. Read more about using the Emoji Keyboard here.

3 - Retell the story of your play using Puppetpals 

Once the children have read through the script a couple of times, challenge them to retell the story using Puppetpals. They can add images of the characters or take pictures of the children in costumes and use them. These could be shared during the interval of the performance. It is a great way of deepening the children's understanding of the plot. Here is an example of Puppetpals, used to retell a poem.

Puppetpals the visitor.wmv from Davyhulme Primary School on Vimeo.

4 - Character interviews

Using the app Tellagami, children can design their digital avatar to look like a character and record themselves as the character, explaining the role they play in the show, their characteristics and motives. This can then be exported and added to an interactive digital programme.

5 - Interactive digital programmes

Allow children to create programmes for their performance on the app Book Creator. They then have the ability to pictures, text, videos and sound recordings into their eBooks. They could add interviews with the cast as videos or audio recordings, write a synopsis, add trailers and posters or even audio recordings of the class singings some of the songs. Each book can then be shared to Dropbox and create a link as a QR code to be printed on tickets issued to parents.

6 - iMovie Trailers

To create a buzz around school before the performance, allow children to create their own movie trailer based on the show. Choose a theme from the wide range provided and ask children to add pictures or videos of the children practising their show. The finished videos can be uploaded to the school website/blog or added to the children's digital programmes.

7- Special effects backdrops

The iPad allows children to create videos where they can be anywhere in the world! Doink Greenscreen will allow children to record themselves in any location by recording in front of a green background. This means parts of the play can be prerecorded and projected on to the stage during the performance. It may mean children who fear performing live can still have a part and also adds a different element to the show which will WOW your audience. Below is an example of Green Screen used in storytelling:

The children could also create other spectacular backgrounds by using apps such as Action Movie FX which allows them to add Hollywood style effects onto videos. Your only limitation with these apps is your imagination.

8 - Stream your performance LIVE!

There could be no bigger buzz with your children than to tell them their performance will be broadcast across the internet LIVE! It is great for family members who live away from the school, or parents who are unable to attend. I have previously blogged about the best ways to live stream from the school and you can read it here and here.

9 - Record and upload your performance to YouTube.

Make sure you have permission from parents first! Once you have the all clear film the performance and upload it to YouTube. Children then will be able to rewatch and enjoy their last performance in Primary school and any family members who couldn't attend the show can view and enjoy your master performance. Here is our KS1 Nativity play 2013 which was shared on Youtube:

10 - Create a goodbye video using iMovie

Collect pictures of children's journey through school, find a heartfelt poem, I suggest this add some emotive background music and you have the perfect keepsake for children to have as they leave Primary school. Here was our effort last year:

Year 6 Leavers Video 2013 from Davyhulme Primary School on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Flipping the genre, altering characters... being creative with stories!

Another idea from one of my favourite books "50 ways to retell a story," by Alan Peat has been the inspiration for this blog post, along with my recent post about using Pixar in the Classroom.

Last Halloween, I decided to challenge the children to rewrite familiar fairytales as horror stories after watching a video shared by @SparkyTeaching :

This idea challenged the children in two ways - firstly, whether they could write a story using the features of a particular genre. Secondly, to show a thorough understanding of the original story. They had to use the same characters and loosely the same events in the story but tell it differently to create the haunted tale. Once the children had written their stories they recorded them using Audioboo to create a spooky podcast!

The children loved creating an interesting spin on these familiar stories and the same can be applied to plenty of other genres. After another video was shared on twitter over the weekend by @Bennett31 inspired me to find some other flipped genre movie trailers:

After a little search on YouTube I came across some other examples of flipped genres, here are a couple of my favourites (not all appropriate for the classroom):


I decided to give this a go with a class to see if they could take a familiar film/story and rework it to create a completely different type of film. To do this they used the app iMovie and the range of trailers available. Here are some of their efforts, these then could inspire a story/blurb/persuasive review written in the genre different to the original film/story:

I also really like the pattern that is emerging in popular culture looking at stories from different perspectives. Again it demonstrates children's understanding of a story, but also makes them consider reasons why a character thinks and acts a certain way. @InspiredMind5 is a big advocate of this in his comics approach and you can read some of his examples here. The theatre musical Wicked is the perfect example of this, telling the story from a different perspective and forcing the audience to look upon characters differently with empathy and justifying their actions. Even Hollywood seems to be taking note with one of this summer's biggest blockbuster:

Again as a writing stimulus in class, this could really challenge the children to apply their knowledge of a story in a different and creative way. It would really demonstrate the children's understanding If you have a go with this approach in class, please tweet or email me the results and I will post a link on this blog. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

How Pixar can help develop writing!

I am a massive fan of Disney, especially Pixar! Each film is always a box office smash and they continue to be at the forefront of animation and storytelling in the movie world.

Over the past few weeks, I have been talking on twitter with @pinkhev about ideas you can use in the classroom from Pixar. What I believe makes Pixar stand out isn't just that they have been one step ahead as far as the technology they use in their films but the incredible stories behind each one. I truly believe the approach they take towards creating stories is one that should be shared and used in the classroom.

I recently watched the film, The Pixar Story, which tells the story of the company and that itself is a completely inspiring tale about how you should never give up and follow your dreams.

There are resources online that share some of Pixar's wisdom behind the art of their storytelling. This clip, which @Pinkhev pointed my way is a great video to share with a class and use to develop stories:

This would give your class a really good starting point for a story with examples from stories they will probably be very familiar with.

Then there is this- 22 rules of phenomenal storytelling by Pixar:

Pixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling from Gavin McMahon

Some of these are again great tips to share with children. I especially like rule 4 as a very basic story spine, which you can then build on and also links well to the video above. But most are great ideas to help improve story writing in the classroom.

As far as using Pixar films in the classroom, there are plenty of ways in which Pixar films can be used to develop writing. Look no further than the opening ten minutes from the film Up! Which could be the initial video to share with the children and compared to another similar story like Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs. Some ideas can also be found on the Film Trailer Shed on the Literacy Shed.

I have previously blogged about how you can use short clips from some of the Pixar films and rewrite them as works of Shakespeare! 

Disney Pixar films also have great soundtracks that can be used to inspire writing. I have previously blogged about this idea and you can view it here. But here are some examples of a children's stories inspired from listening to part of the soundtrack from Finding Nemo -

There are also some of the Pixar short films that can be used as a focus in class and inspire some fantastic writing, here are just a couple of ideas:

Day and Night

This Pixar short is perfect for developing descriptive writing in particular similes and metaphors! All of the sounds and visuals in the background can be used to create similes for the actions and emotions of both characters. Ask the children to list as many sounds they hear and objects they see and then ask them to create similes or metaphors based on this.

It could be used to inspire a similar story where Hot meets Cold? Big meets Small? New vs Old?
 A contrasting description of what is great about hot weather compared to cold or even a discussion text arguing which is better.

The Blue Umbrella

Although this clip isn't the full short film, there is definitely enough here to use to inspire some great writing. I love the idea of bringing inanimate objects to life and creating stories from a completely different perspective. Start by discussing the text -
How does the umbrella feel at the beginning? How do you know? Why does he feel this way?
What helps him to escape? What other inanimate objects come to life on his journey?
How does his mood change? What causes this? What is he trying to achieve?
Is it a happy ending? 

Children could write a version of the clip or continue the story in role as the umbrella. What would be interesting with an object like an umbrella is that it only really appears when it rains. Generally, rain is linked to a sad and miserable atmosphere, whereas umbrellas must thrive and love the rain as that is when they are most alive so to speak.

Children could choose another inanimate object to bring to life and write a story from that perspective.

One final thought from Pixar, lessons to be learnt from the films (picture found on twitter):

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Inspiring writing through the new Pixel Press App

Prince of Persia - £335 million at the box office.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - £150 million at the box office.
Resident Evil - £200 million at the box office

What do all these movies have in common? They are all video games that were developed into films.

With other popular video games currently being made into films, such as, Angry Birds, Temple Run and Assassin's Creed, it seems Hollywood is exploiting the popularity and the storytelling potential of video games. Why not do it in the classroom?

I am a big believer in using Camouflage Learning as a technique to engage reluctant learners and 'trick,' children into learning. To read more about Camouflage learning Click HERE.

I have also previously blogged about iPad apps that allow children to create their own iPad games. To read that post, click here.

This week saw the release of the eagerly anticipated "Floors," app by Pixel Press.

This incredible free app allows children to design their own computer game by hand or within the app.

They can download the Sketch Guide from the Pixel Press website and carefully draw and design their own platform game. Once completed they can use the iPad camera to scan their picture for it to be analysed and added into the app. The app then allows children to design their level with different themes, colours and options. Then the fun bit, getting to play their games!

I used this app with some Year 5 children today and the response was incredible! To have the ability to be as creative as they could and add so many different elements to their game had them excited and eager to work. Adding ladders, coins, monkey bars and portals to name just a few of the game features, had them discussing, planning and designing their game intricately.

Unfortunately, when it came to scanning their plans, it wasn't possible using the older iPad 2 model.

Having the discussion about my day with my stepson when I got home led me to show him the app. He was hooked, instantly wanting to create his own game.

I used it as a chance to get him to do some creative writing! And you have to believe despite being quite a talented writer, to get Callum to write off his own back is a real challenge!

However once he had created and played his game, I asked him to describe the game as if it was a story and challenged him to write a little story of his gameplay. He relished the challenge as he was so proud of the game he had created. Once finished, I recorded him reading his story over a video of the gameplay (which has been slowed down to fit with the narration.)

I think the potential for this app to inspire creative writing is fantastic! With different themes to choose from and the ability to purchase enemies and power ups it will only inspire children's imaginations more! And just like Hollywood, create some BLOCKBUSTER stories based on video games!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Improving locational writing using Minecraft

It's simple, the more I use Minecraft in the classroom, the more I think of the incredible potential to this app. I have used it for a number of activities such as Area and Perimeter and designing a classroom. Teachers know what Minecraft is through how much their students will talk and talk about it. As a strong believer in Camouflage learning I wanted to again see whether the use of a game the children are obsessed with, would firstly enthuse the children to write and also inspire them to produce some quality writing.

A mindmap showing how Minecraft can be used across the curriculum.

Minecraft has two modes of gameplay- survival and creative. Survival mode is much more like a video game where players must survive against different elements, collect tools and resources and protect themselves against different threats. Creative mode gives players access to all the resources and allows them to build anything. This mode has big potential for use in the classroom, here is one way we used minecraft to inspire writing.

Working with a Year 4 class, I set the children a task to create and build a haunted house, over the wifi 4/5 children can join the same world and work together to create a setting for their story. The rich talk, collaboration and teamwork while building their houses was incredible! The instructions were simple, try to make the creepiest and scariest house you can imagine.

By children building their own haunted house, they knew everything about it, they were so much more familiar with the setting and this gave them a wide range of ideas to work with. Once the settings were built, I asked the children to write an descriptive paragraph about their haunted houses. We discussed a range of different techniques to make their writing as chilling as possible.

Using the new AirServer, which allows for screen recording, each group created a video where they navigated around their setting. This was then shared onto the children's iPads. As an editing tool, children recorded themselves reading their writing over their video. By listening back to their writing, they could hear what sounded effective and what needs changing and improved. For the higher ability children, this was used as an extra challenge to try and make their writing fit with their video. Creating a finished digital story that not only shows children's writing skills but also their oral speaking skills demonstrated how great the iPads can be for producing work using a range of different skills.

Here are some of the children's haunted house descriptions:

Grid Guru 2 - Guidance through the Grid Method

I recently came across this app and have wanted to try it with a class for a while. Grid Guru 2 is an app from Primary Apps which looks at guiding children with their long multiplication through the grid method.

It is often difficult and frustrating for children when they solve a long multiplication problem when they realise somewhere along the way they have miscalculated and therefore got the wrong answer.

Grid Guru supports children through every step of the grid method by checking every calculation the children solve. The children can choose from a range of calculations such as TUxU TUxTU HTUxU or HTUxTU or even choose their own numbers.

The app then displays the calculation in the grid method. Children can then press the partition button which then partitions the numbers into the correct grid. It would be great if children could input this themselves rather than having it done for them. However by asking the children to discussing and writing how to partition the numbers they could then check their answers against the app.

The children then solve every calculation which they can check and if they are incorrect they can correct before they go onto the next calculation. I found it really helped children who just lacked confidence with their calculations, it deepened their understanding of the method and gave children instant feedback so they reached the correct answer at the end. 

As a starting point for introducing the grid method, I think it is a great app and well worth a download. Currently priced at £1.49. Primary Apps provide a range of engaging apps designed to improve children's understanding in Numeracy.