Diary of a Lead Teacher: getting down to the workshops!

Author: Jo Hodge, Lead Teacher

What a busy few weeks it has been since my last blog! This term, I have delivered lots of workshops to support my own school, as well as the Funky Calculator session.

As I stated in my previous blog, I have been delivering Scratch workshops to a Year 6 class. For the final session, I continued to introduce the PRIMM (Predict, Run, Investigate, Modify, Make) model to the class to help them devise their own funky calculator. They began by writing an algorithm for one operation on the calculator and then modifying the code to build their own. It was so great to see the children fully engaged in the session and understanding the concept of variables. Their class teacher was superb (as always) supporting the class and let the children come to the screen, so I could see their work! It has been enjoyable working with Year 6 in this school and there are plans in the pipeline to deliver more!

In my own school, I wanted to try the Just Dance with the Algorithm but adapt it for Year 2 and I spread it over two weeks. When I initially discussed this workshop with the staff and mentioned the Waka Waka they were so excited as this was one of their favourite Just Dance videos! From the very beginning, I was extremely impressed with how well the children understood challenging concepts such as selection and repetition. As part of the workshops, I also included the Barefoot Alligator algorithm with actions – I still have children catch me in the corridor doing alligator jaws actions! They coped really well using the flow diagram and pictocards to write their algorithm – adding repetition of certain moves to build their dance routines. In the second session, we focused on the chorus by counting out the rhythm and singing the words to help them debug their algorithm from session 1. This really helped them look at how many times the moves were repeated, then use their best debugging skills to correct. At the end, they presented their moves and the class teacher is planning to give them time to swap and debug each other’s algorithms.

The teachers comment from the workshops were: 

 I thought the sessions were brilliant - thank you so much - I learnt loads and I know the children did too!!!!

To be honest, I loved delivering it too – so definitely try and book this workshop as so much fun!

At the moment, I have just started working with Year 4, introducing them to Mini Spheros through the Crazy Mazes workshop. They have already designed their Greek Gods and had a tinker with the Spheros by using them to power up their Gods. I felt it would be an interesting idea to link the workshop to Theseus and the Minotaur by getting them to make their own maze; adding in monsters and of course a princess to save! Cannot wait to see where this goes and how the children develop their algorithm and code.

So, like I said, a busy - but thoroughly enjoyable - few weeks and I would not have it any other way! Enjoy your half term break everyone and hopefully we will see some princesses rescued next time!

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