Hour of Code – Online

https://hourofcode.comThe Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.

This week at IST students from all grades had the opportunity to participate in Hour of Code activities. For the older students the Hour of Code website provided a vast range of activities to learn and practice coding.


The favourites amongst the IST students included:

  • Minecraft
  • Frozen
  • Lightbot 

Hour of Code – iPads

The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.

This week at IST students from all grades had the opportunity to participate in Hour of Code activities. For the younger students, EC – Grade 2, the Scratch Jr App on the school iPads provided a great opportunity to learn some programming basics.

Students chose characters, objects and backgrounds within the Scratch Jr App. Then chose what movements, actions and reactions would occur between the characters and objects in each scene. Some students particularly loved designing the costumes for the characters, others making the characters move around and dance. Overall the students enjoyed a simple form of coding!



Retelling Stories as Comics

This week working with Grade 1 classes we have integrated technology into retelling stories on the iPads. Some classes chose to use the classic apps of Puppet Pals 2 and Toontastic, while others chose to experiment with the new ‘comic’ style layouts in Book Creator.

Using the built-in camera on the iPads, the students chose a few key illustrations from their favourite story books and took photos. These photos were then inserted into the comic layouts, along with captions, speech bubbles and ‘wow’ text. Students also then could retell the story verbally and record their voice for different sections of the comic. The different format encouraged students to really think about the important aspects of their story and to summarise the plot effectively.

Minecraft Erupts!

Image: http://www.minecraftgallery.com/minecraft-volcano/

This week we had the opportunity to engage with a grade 4 class and their experiences with a volcano simulation in Minecraft. The upper elementary ICT Integration teacher demonstrated an authentic use of Minecraft in context. The volcano simulation involves students as a class building houses and decorating their town. Then, all building ceases, three nearby volcanoes erupt and students have to scramble to save their houses and characters lives. It was an amazing experience watching the students help each other survive the natural disaster.

The student-driven inquiry that led from this simulation was phenomenal. Students had amazing insights, questions and ideas for further research, all based on their ‘first-hand’ volcano surviving experience. Following this, we’re keen to find further examples of authentic links to use Minecraft in various Units of Inquiry.

Using Kidspiration to organise ideas

Throughout many lower Elementary classrooms we have used the Kidspiration app with students. It’s a simple app (EC 3-year-olds use it) that has a plentiful image library. It can be used for younger students finding their favourite things, objects that they identify with and making connections. For older students: maybe planning a project, showing a process of events or retelling a narrative.

Enjoy a variety of photos.



Parent Workshop – iPads in the Early Years


Parents at the iPads in Early Years workshop

This week we hosted a morning workshop about iPads in the Early Years at IST. All our classes from EC-Grade 2 have access to sets of iPads. We ran this workshop to encourage parents to come and hear, see and experience the learning that takes place on these devices.

All parents were welcome – although this was particularly relevant to parents of children in EC – Grade 2. Please see slideshow below (links may not work due to student-work-privacy concerns)

Students – teaching – Teachers

It’s been a fairly quiet at school recently, due to background political events, which has provided the opportunity to ‘experiment’ with some ICT related projects that normally might not make it into the weekly planner book. With small class sizes (attendance is around 50%) students have become the experts and are teaching their teachers how to use iPad apps to be creative.

In a particular class, working with me at the moment, students were grouped in pairs and taught themselves how to use one of the following creativity apps:

Book Creator


Puppet Pals 2

Paper 53

PS Express

Draw & Tell




Students with this knowledge then demonstrated the app to the class and took turns explaining how to be creative using the app with the teacher. A colleague experimented too, and had students collaborating to lead their teachers through a Minecraft tutorial. Students-teaching-teachers…. I won’t have a job for long!