Diary of a Lead Teacher: a busy start to spring!

Author: Jo Hodge, Lead Teacher

Yet another term has flown by and it has been a busy one getting my own class ready for SATS, as well as exploring the new wonderful Discovery Tour resources!

In my own school, for the first time, I ran two Early Years workshops focused around algorithms and instructions. The children did hand jive actions to learn how to say and remember ‘algorithm’ and I based it around the alligator algorithm rap.

I can hear you all saying Digital Schoolhouse do not do Early Years, but I felt it was a good opportunity to see where the children I am teaching start from. I also took with me some of my Year 6 Code Club Ambassador girls to be my glamourous assistants which the Reception children loved! To be honest, the classes (and Ambassadors) were brilliant, and we even got to plant a human-sized bean and then watered it to help it grow.  I began by explaining what an algorithm was and then we broke down the algorithm into al-go-ri-thm and did a simple action for each i.e. go was like you were running.

I then had instructions on glittery, bowler hats and they had to out themselves in order for how to plant a seed – I used some of the Barefoot Computing Cards for this. Once we were all happy with our algorithm, we then tested it out by using a big plant pot and using a child for a seed. We added soil aka coloured tissue, and then all hovered our hands over the seed acting as the sun. Amazingly, the seed, once watered grew! Obviously, pretend water! I must say, it was great to see how confident the children were at sorting the algorithm correctly. They knew exactly what came next and why. Definitely, a fun session for me and a real eye-opener!

This year, I also asked to be part of the Assassins Creed Discovery Tour working group as I felt this was an exciting resource and wanted to know more about it. If you do not know of this, the Discovery Tour, created by Ubisoft, uses content from Assassins Creed for educational purposes and we, at Digital Schoolhouse, are privileged being able to soon offer it as a new workshop. It is already being used in Canada and there are plans associated with it. So, as part of our involvement, we were split into pairs and asked to review the resources and explore the Ancient Greeks Tour.

To say that the graphics are amazing is an understatement, all of the playability of Assassins Creed is there, but you play as an explorer of the content and find things out. It really gives you a feel as if you were around at the time – bringing history to life. For example, there is the Greek Olympics section where you can walk around and explore the training track and talk to the athletes. There are specific quests that you go on to answer questions and at the end of each quest there is a short test to see what you learnt.

Our main task was to unpick the Greek Theatre section and already it is easy to see, for example, that English, PHSE, History, Art and DT could easily be covered through this. Art could be designing and making their own Greek Tragedy character mask whilst English could be acting out a play. The cross-curricular opportunities are endless, and I am positive it will be extremely engaging for Primary School workshops because it is so unique. Why not find out more about the Discovery Tour by checking out their website.

And finally, I am starting preparations for my Year 6 Esports competition. The Nintendo Switch has been dusted off and the children, once SATS are over, will begin to hone their Super Mario Kart skills to learn all about the Esports industry. On several occasions, I have had to force them outside to get some fresh air! Also, many of my class last year said they would consider working in the Esports industry as they all just assumed it was about being a gamer – how they were wrong! There are also some things in the pipeline to possibly get together with some other local schools and run our own Esports Tournament – watch this space!