Beatles Songs for House Music


Robotics and Programming in Year 6

Children in year 6 have been making and programming robots - using 'Lego Mindstorm' kits.
The pictures show children building the robots and preparing for a race.

Watch the race below...

Jonathan has a set at home and has added a few attachments including an extra sensor.
Watch the video below as his robot chooses somebody to fire some plastic balls at.


Album Art Work and Design by Year 6 Children

As part of our topic on 'Inspirational People' we have been studying the work of The Beatles. As well as their incredible music, they produced some original design ideas. The Beatles were the first musicians to have their own videos, animations and cartoons - The Yellow Submarine for example.

The artist who created The Beatles Yellow Submarine characters and film was called Jack Stokes.
He died this week aged 92. Click on his photo below to see an obituary.

Their album cover designs are still being imitated by musicians today.
The album cover below by Blur has copied the Beatles Let it Be along with the animations of Yellow Submarine.

The children of class DB took photographs of each other and turned them (using Paint Shop Pro) into animated drawings on a tablet computer screen.

Each member of the class choose a group of friends to put together an imaginary band. Using Publisher, an album cover was designed. It includes all sorts of details such as track names, record company, logos and credits.
This one below is designed by Jacob Gravelius.

Jacob quickly became skilled at using this pop art technique and develop his own particular style of portrait. He drew portraits of every member of the class. You can see them all in the video below.


Raspberry Pi in School

We have taken delivery this week of a revolutionary new computer.
The Raspberry Pi is the size of a credit card but with 2 USB ports plus internet and video connections.
It has been designed to be cheap (only about $30) and accessible. Although it is priced in dollars the Raspberry Pi is a British product - from Cambridge.
It aims to encourage people of all ages to get involved in computer programming. It does not have a hard drive - it takes an SD card with an operating system included. It also includes a basic programming software title called SCRATCH - which we have already been using in school this term.
Click on the logo below to go to the official website.

Children from class DB using the Pi - connected to a projector and the interactive whiteboard.

There is a website made by users of the Pi - called MAG PI.
Click on logo below. The site includes loads of helpful tips in its monthly magazines download as PDF files from the website.

Anybody stuck for Christmas or birthday present ideas for ICT enthusiasts should really consider getting one of these amazing kits.

Make Your Own Animations

Have some fun and learn some programming skills over the Christmas holiday.
You can make your own stickman animations using this free software called PIVOT.
Our year 6 children have had a go at making dancing stickmen in GANGNAM style.
Watch this video below.

Go to the ICT Section of our school website to download the software to your own computer.
It only takes a few minute to start making your own animations.

You can also see this video YOU TUBE


Programming with SCRATCH

Children in year 6 have been learn computer programming. They have been using a piece of software called SCRATCH. It is free (see link below). On it they learn how to put code together - lists of instructions. The aim is to make a character (sprite) perform actions linked with a keyboard. Using Scratch you can create your own animations and ultimately your own games.

Click on the cat above to go to a website where you can download the Scratch program to your own computer - it is FREE!

Example of some code created by Sam in Class DB.
Sam and Ronnie have created their own game. It has various characters and levels. It also has a scoring system and credits. You can watch a video demo below of their game.
Below are some of the characters. You can even import your own.

Sam and Ronnie have written some very clever code. For example, below is part of their gravity code. In other words they can make a character jump and fall back down.

Using Mindstorm Lego for Control Programming

Children from Class DB have made their own robots using Lego Mindstorm.
They include all sorts of sensors for sound, light and motion.
The videos below (made by the children) give you some idea of what they can do. 

Programming the robot

This one is an amazing demonstration of how the robot responds to light or dark colours.

Finally here is ROBOTS WAR!




Photo Editing Online

We have just started using (with our upper key stage 2 children) a photo editing website called PIXLR.
It is free to use and has easy to use functions which we have found very useful for photo editing. You can upload a photo from your computer, edit it and then save it back to our computer.

Digital Stories

Jed Seeley (one of our year 6 pupils) has been writing and drawing his own stories about a character called Nincompoop. With Mr Brook's assistance he has turned the drawings into a movie. Each of the 25 drawings was digitally photographed and edited. They were imported into 'Movie Maker' and given sound effects and music. You can watch the film below. Jed has written several other stories which he intends to turn into films soon.


ICT Assessment Software

We have been using a new piece of software called 2Assess to monitor our pupil's ICT skills. The children in every year group from 1 to 6 have a series of tasks to do within a set time limit. They receive a score for each activity which the teacher can see. The children get feedback on their performance and can have multiple attempts at the activities. The activities are QCA based but do cover a good range of generic skills. Our children have enjoyed using 2Assess once each term and have found the activities to be fun and motivating. 
Click on the picture to go the the 2Assess website. The software is a 2 Simple product and works really well on a school network.

New Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Design

We have recently bought a new style Gyration keyboard and mouse for use in assemblies or presentations. The mouse is quite different to the old design in that it looks like a TV remote control. The gyrascope is built into the hand held device. It has multimedia controls aswell as small left & right mouse buttons which can be operated without a surface. The keyboard also has internet and media controls. Both devices are radio controlled via the USB dongle. They both take AAA batteries which will last about 12 months. I have found this equipment very useful in our school hall as it allows the presenter to stand well away from the computer and projector. They have a 10 metre range.
Find out more from the GYRATION website
Each set of equipment costs about £100. It is worth shopping around various IT companies.. 

Digital Microscopes

These digital microscopes are powered by the USB port of your computer or laptop and allows you to view close ups of objects with up to 150x magnification. Record your images with its 1.3 mega pixel camera and even record video as well. Perfect for teachers and children in a variety of curriculum areas. Built in LED's provide illumination. Comes complete with a metal stand to hold the microscope steady.
To find out more click here for CELESTRON and TTS.
You can buy a Celestron Microscope for as little as £39. The TTS Easi-scope is £29.

We have used the microscopes in science recently when looking at different soils.
The images were projected onto the classroom interactive whiteboard.


Publishing Multi Page Documents

I have found a great new way of publishing and viewing multiple page documents such as our brochure. Mrs Miller does a fantastic job in the school office putting together various school documents. She has recently created a new brochure for our Nursery. Using a website called 'ISSUU' I was able to convert it into an interactive booklet. Click on the image below to bring up the interactive functions. A similar whole school brochure can be on the front page of our school website: http://www.roberthitchams.ik.org/


Free Hit Counter for your Website

Click on picture to go to website offering free hit counter for your website.


Build a New School Website

Do you want to create a new website for your school or community?
Click on this image to go to CommunityKit.
It is a free service to schools and charities.
You can easily build a simple website from a range of templates. As you become more confident you can add plenty of other features.
Plus it costs you nothing!
I have used 'Community Kit to create Robert Hitchams new school website and a Local Schools Eco Website.

Eco Schools

Click on the Eco Schools image to go to a new project that we have started in our pyramid (local group of schools).
It is a joit website promoting care for our school environment.
Each school in the pyramid can edit their own part of the site.
You can also see links to the National Eco Schools site where you can find out about Eco Schools Awards.

Singing Resources Online

Click on the picture to go to this excellent website.
It has resources and ideas to make singing part of every child's learning.
At Robert Hitcham's we are working towards a 'SINGING SCHOOL AWARD'.
Details can be found on this website.

As part of the Award we need to gather evidence of the singing that goes on in our school.
Follow this link to see the Music section of our BLOG


Stop-go Animation

As part of an activity week on SPACE the children have created their own stop-go animations in the style of Wallace and Gromit.

They bulit a simple set using cardboard and a moonscape piture. They used lego and plasticine to make space men, aliens and spacecraft.

A digital camera with mini tripod was used to take about 200 images. Space sound effects were created (using percussion intruments) and recorded using digital sound recorders. Other sounds were downloaded from the internet: televisiontunes.com

Everything was put together on 'Windows movie maker'. The children had great fun adding film style credits. The finished projects were saved as media files. An example below - see more on our events blog.

ICT and Cricket Coaching

One of our Year 6 boys is a talented cricketer. He wanted to make a series of films which might help others learn the techniques of cricket. We have taken digital photos, video clips, sound recordings and key terminolgy and put them together using 'Windows Movie Maker'.

Using films like this is a great way of recording physical skills. The finished films can be played over and over again to illustrate the techniques. They can also act as coaching exemplars for teachers.

Below is an examples of Alfie's cricket films. See our Events Blog for more.


BETT Show 2009

The BETT Show at Olympia (London) January 2009.

I went this year with the specific purpose of looking at notebook laptops for use with Primary school children. There are plenty of notebooks on the market, however, the most child friendly and versatile model is available through TAG. Their FIZZ BOOK has a 10 inch screen, 60gb hard drive and comes with a simplified version of 'office' called 'Ability Office'. The creen can be turned and flattened to become a tablet PC .

Promethean are introducing a new version of their Activ Board software. It combines all the features of Activ Primary and Activ Professional plus lots of new elements. It is called' Activ Inspire' and you can personalise the look you want from it. See their website for more details.

You can download a trial version from their website. The full verion will be available from March.


ICT and Local History

As part of my ICT support role in the local area I spent a fascinating day with the children of Dennington Primary School. They are looking at local history. I introduced digital cameras to a year 3 / 4 class. They quickly became confident with the new equipment. We talked about some important issues regarding photography:

  • the use wherever possible of NATURAL LIGHT

  • the importance of BACKGROUND and FRAMING in a photograph

  • the use of the CLOSE UP function (the 'flower' option)

The aim of the visit to Dennington Church was to acquire images of local history and to practise using the skills of taking good photographs. Thinking about taking photos also encouraged the children to look more carefully at everything in and around the church.

The image on their school badge, for example, was noticed in a carving on the end of a church pew. Photographs like these can be taken back to the classroom to stimulate further discussion and research.

The short film below includes a collection of pictures from outside and inside the church.

The church had a display of fascinating old technology. This included a sand tray for writing in - a sort of ancient message board. This short film shows a child using it.

ICT in Food Technology

We have been using ICT in more areas of the curriculum. Our Year 6 children have been making vegetable soup and felt that digital cameras and sound recorders could be used to make a short film which might help other children understand the various parts of the process.


Using new sound recorders

As part of my role within our pyramid I spent a day working with Easton Primary School on multi media skills around a theme of Ecoschools.

We learnt how to use our new Kodak digital cameras and Edirol Sound Recorders.

The children collected photo and sound (interviews) evidence from around school of the Eco friendliness of the school.

The children loved using the new equipment and very quickly got the hang of using the Edirol sound recorders. They produced some high quality interviews with children and staff about the schools eco friendliness. The Edirol R-09 Recorder produces high quality MP3 or wav files which can be easily transfered and used on computer.
Some of the children were able to combine their photos and interviews using 'Movie Maker' software. You can see some examples below.