Editable & Printable Scratch 3.0 Blocks

Scratch 3.0 Classroom Display & Unplugged Activities

iCompute Scratch 3.0

Scratch 3.0 Blocks

Scratch 3.0 is out now and, following on from my previous post where you can download editable printable Scratch 2.0 blocks, I’ve made a Scratch 3 version.

The file includes all Category blocks along with Extensions: Microbit, Makey Makey, Video Sensing, Pen, LEGO WeDo, LEGO EV3, Music, Text to Speech and Translate.

Available to download by clicking/tapping the Periodic Table of Scratch 3 Blocks image (see below).  The blocks can be edited and scaled using image editing tools (e.g. Illustrator, Inkscape, Vectr).  The blocks are also provided in .png format.

It’s important that children be given opportunities to interact with physical programming blocks to help them understand both their function and the underlying concepts.  I use them in groups for the children to program me and/or each other as well as programming using Scratch 3 itself.

Printable Scratch 3.0 Blocks

Click to download editable, printable Scratch 3 blocks

Published by iCompute and licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.

Also available in the same format are Scratch 2.0 blocks and Scratch Jr blocks from this post.

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ERA Awards 2021

Education Resources Award Nomination for iCompute!

We are absolutely delighted to announce that the ERA Awards 2021 panel have shortlisted iCompute for a coveted educational resources award.

iCompute ERA 2021

Education Resource Awards 2021

The Education Resources Awards (ERA) are firmly established as a premier annual event to celebrate outstanding success for the suppliers and teaching professionals of the education sector throughout the UK.  The awards are recognised by the teaching profession as the benchmark of excellence.

After two rounds of judging, the panel selected iCompute as finalists in the Primary Computing (ICT) category according to rigorous criteria, taking into consideration the innovative nature of the products, their impact on teaching and learning in the classroom, and their cost effectiveness in terms of educational aims and results.

It is a huge honour to be amongst the other shortlisted organisations, schools and companies and we thank all of the teachers and schools who supported our nomination by providing amazing testimonials about how iCompute have improved teaching and learning in computing.

Find out more about iCompute’s primary computing curriculum and try our free computing resources by visiting our website.

Liane O’Kane, Founder/Author of iCompute, comments:

“Being shortlisted for an Education Resources Award is a fantastic achievement and a reflection of the dedication and hard work we put in to helping schools teach primary computing rigorously and well.  We constantly add to and update our computing schemes of work to bring innovative new computing resources and teaching materials that support and promote the teaching of computing around the world.  During the pandemic we are proud to be amongst the first to offer free home/remote learning resources enabling tens of thousands of children to continue learning throughout school closures.

We never take these things for granted and are very proud that our expertise and innovation in teaching & learning with, and about, technology has been recognised by ERA and BESA once again.”

The full list of finalists is available on the ERA Website.  ERA Awards 2021 winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony at 3pm on Friday 21st May.

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Coding Drones

Aiming High in Computing

Drone Lesson Plans

Aim High in Primary Computing

Using drones in schools has the potential to take learning, literally, to a higher level.  As they continue to become increasingly practical, attainable, tools for education, teachers around the world are now using drones in their classrooms for STEM and STEAM activities.

In computing, programming drones helps develop children’s skills in algorithms, programming and computational thinking as well as addressing the ‘controlling physical systems’ objectives of the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 2.  Exciting curricula and drone lesson plans are being developed that help teachers develop confidence and make the most out of connected devices.

Drones are revolutionising business and industry:  engineers use the technology for site surveys, filmmakers capture images that would otherwise be unseen, drones are used in agriculture; farming; conservation; military operations and parcel deliveries.  The potential for the application of drones and the rapid growth in the technology is huge.  Understanding how they work, their potential and how to control them through coding prepares children for the modern working world.

iCompute lead the way in teaching and learning using educational technology.  In anticipation of 3D robotics becoming the next big thing in education, we have extended our connected devices offering of comprehensive, step-by-step lesson plans, computing resources and assessment toolkits using Sphero and LEGO™ WeDo by adding an amazing, creative, 6-8 week coding with drones unit aimed at upper KS2 Computing (pupils aged 9-11 or higher).

Children learn how to program mini drones to fly, create aerial shapes, navigate obstacles, fire ‘missiles’, pick up and drop objects all set in imaginative contexts.  They program Santa’s ‘sleigh’  to deliver presents before going on an epic journey to a Galaxy Far, Far Away to take out the Death Star for the Rebel Alliance!

Drone Lesson Plans

The Force is Strong with This One…Visit our website to unleash your power!

We have a limited number of class packs of Parrot Mini Drones available to purchase at iCompute.  Visit www.icompute-uk.com/purchase/purchase-2.html to find out more.

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New Periodic Table of Primary Computing Resources

New Year, New Tech

Computing Resources

Some schools have been teaching primary computing since its introduction into the National Curriculum in 2014 and some have yet to really get going.  Either way, the very nature of Computing is that things change rapidly and it’s time to start doing something new.

One of the things I like best about Computing is that you can’t churn out the same old lessons year on year.  Technology’s rapid development demands we pay attention to change; that we learn; that we adapt and, most importantly, that we create.

We owe it to our pupils to keep abreast of pedagogical and technological change.  I’ve put together a selection of the fantastic computing resources, tools and technologies that I use to teach Computing, some of which you’ll know but lots of which I hope are new and you’ll give a go.  I’ve turned it into a periodic table of primary computing resources, now with hyperlinks!  I keep banging on about this but Computing is more than just coding and lots of the resources listed here are for you to use with your pupils to teach the other strands of the curriculum (digital literacy, information technology and eSafety) as well as to use with cross curricular approaches.

Periodic table of primary computing apps

Click to download

 

 

 

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There are many, many, more and I’d love to hear how you have been getting on teaching computing in your classrooms as well as hearing about the resources you’ve been using.

Our primary computing schemes provide full, progressive, step-by-step, lesson plans and all associated lesson resources and worksheets using the tools and computing resources included in the table.  Visit our website for more information.

Computing Vocabulary Progression

Effective practice in teaching primary computing involves rigour. To help achieve this, the precise identification of key computing knowledge and vocabulary is key.

As part of my work in primary computing assessment, developing a comprehensive assessment toolkit for iCompute, I have produced detailed skills progression guides for all four strands of the National Curriculum:

• Computer Science
• Information Technology
• Digital Literacy
• eSafety

computing progression document

I’ve recently added computing knowledge organisers for each iCompute unit and computing vocabulary progression grids. Combined they identify discrete unit-specific vocabulary and knowledge and help children make links with prior and cross-curricular learning. iCompute schools can access the resources at the computing assessment area of the member dashboard.

computing vocabulary progression

How to thrive during an Ofsted Deep Dive for Computing

Ofsted will be “deep diving” into a selection of subjects during their inspections with the “curriculum at the heart of inspection” focusing on curriculum intent, implementation and impact. I’ve previously written an article on this called inspecting computing for computing subject leaders. Now, with the benefit of feedback from schools using iCompute who’ve undergone a deep dive for computing, I explore what a deep dive for computing looks like with the aim of helping prepare computing leads.

I’ve also included a link (at the end of this post) to download a copy of my comprehensive guide to the Ofsted Framework and Ofsted Deep Dives for Computing which has been updated to include dozens of Ofsted Deep Dive questions our schools have been asked and support for addressing them.

Ofsted Deep Dive for Computing questions
Comprehensive set of Ofsted Deep Dive for Computing Questions
Continue reading

Primary Computing Knowledge Organisers

With Ofsted focus now on pupils acquiring and retaining subject knowledge, many schools are now using Knowledge Organisers in the classroom.

What are they?

A knowledge organiser is a document containing key facts and information that pupils can use to help acquire basic knowledge and understanding of a topic or concept.

Most will include:

  • key facts presented in a format that is easy to take in
  • key vocabulary or technical terms and what they mean
  • images such as charts or diagrams

What they include depends on the subject. In Computing, for example, a ‘Programming’ knowledge organiser includes definitions of sequence, selection and repetition along with images of Scratch blocks given as examples.

computing knowledge organisers

How can we them?

There are lots of different ways they can be used in the classroom but here are some ideas:

  1. Use the knowledge organiser for regular revision and assessment. Create mini quizzes
  2. Use them for discussion; talk through them and ask higher-level ‘why’ questions to stretch and challenge
  3. Identify gaps in knowledge and understanding
  4. Determine whether the children know more than the knowledge organiser contains and encourage them to make their own additions
  5. Improve teacher subject knowledge
  6. Link knowledge organisers to enable children to make links between topics. For example, draw comparisons between an ‘Algorithms’ unit and a ‘Programming’ unit. What concepts/vocabulary are the same?
  7. Use the them as a handy vocabulary reminder. Keep them accessible and encourage the children to use the correct vocabulary when discussing their work

Get Primary Computing Knowledge Organisers

If you have a current iCompute Primary Computing Curriculum licence, we have uploaded knowledge organisers for all of our KS1 and KS2 primary computing units to iCompute online; providing coverage for all strands of the National Curriculum for Computing at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

If not, you can download a template to adapt for your own use here.

Computing Home Learning Resources

computing home learning
Free, engaging, activities for learning computing at home

At iCompute we recognise the huge impact that COVID-19 (coronavirus) has had on school communities and learning and we want to help. In situations such as these the power of digital home learning becomes increasingly evident – and important.

We are passionate about preparing children for living in the modern digital world. We teach children about and with technology. We want to encourage as many children as possible to engage with computing around the world and have created a set of home learning resources to support schools, parents and pupils continue to learn at home no matter where they are.

Created by our author, a primary computer science master teacher, we have fantastic, engaging, resources and activities suitable for children aged 4-11. They are split into Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7) and Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11).

Key Stage 1

Key Stage 1 activities are for younger children learning with their families and are computing unplugged – i.e. you do not need computers or devices.

KS1 computing home learning
Learning Together Computing Home Learning Activities (Ages 5-7)

Key Stage 2

Our Key Stage 2 activities include online step-by-step interactive tutorials teaching coding using a variety of free programming languages. They are designed for children to use on their own and to use them you need computers/devices with access to the Internet.

Learn Programming Tutorials

Step-by-step, interactive, online coding tutorials (Ages 7-11)

Online Lessons

We have also converted our lesson plans designed for face-to-face teaching to online lessons. Subscribing iCompute schools get priority access to these resources which include:

  • 🎦 Explainer animations covering the whole-class teaching section of lessons
  • 🎞 Video clips
  • ⛓ Links to online resources
  • 👣 Step-by-step activities
  • 💪 Challenge activities
  • 🗒 Worksheets and pupil resources

These resources are compatible with cloud-based learning platforms such as Google Classroom.

What all activities have in common is that they are underpinned by developing computational thinking: the fundamental principles of computer science.

We hope you enjoy the resources and encourage you to share them so that children everywhere can benefit from them.

Visit our website for more information about highly acclaimed series of primary computing schemes of work, computing curriculum and resources at www.icompute-uk.com

Christmas Computing Activity

Create an Animated Snowman this Christmas

Christmas Animated Snowman Lesson

Click to download the lesson and resources

Christmas Animated SnowmanEveryone likes putting a festive twist on lessons during the approach to Christmas and I’ve been making festive computing lessons for my pupils.

I’ve recently produced a six week animation unit for Key Stage 2 (iAnimate) where the children learn about the history of animation, make their own flipping book animations, make thaumatropes and/or praxinoscopes, explore different animation techniques and, of course, design and make their own fantastic animations using apps and software.

This Christmas, I’ve put together a step-by-step computing lesson plan and teacher resources for creating an animated snowman GIF.  You can download the lesson and resources and use them your own classrooms for a little festive fun!

Christmas animated GIF

Create an animated GIF

The lesson plan contains lots of ideas for differentiation, extension and enrichment: from making a very simple animated sequence to more able pupils:

  • animating backgrounds as well as characters and objects
  • adding 3D effects (e.g. shadows)
  • creating more frames for smoother movement
  • switching backgrounds to create scene changes
  • animating more than one object

A little festive flavour of what our full six week animation unit offers and another Christmas gift to you!

 

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Christmas Computing 🎄 Get Jolly Good at Coding

 Free Christmas Computing Resources

Here’s at iCompute Headquarters there’s nothing we like more than creating Christmas 🎄 themed resources.  I’ve been having a great time designing and developing new lesson plans, tutorials and programs for this year’s festive season.

My latest offering is an absolute Christmas cracker 🎉!  A coding tutorial for Microsoft Kodu.  Kodu is helping Santa 🎅🏻 deliver presents on Christmas Eve but needs your pupil’s help coding him to deliver the presents 🎁 to the right houses.  I’ve made a Kodu tutorial for your pupils to use that will guide them through the coding process before letting them get on with completing the activity and then having some festive fun by making it their own.

iCompute Christmas Kodu

Get the lesson plan & tutorial

 

iCompute Christmas Kodu Tutorial

Another free Christmas computing resource helps your pupils get jolly 🎅🏻 good at problem solving using key computational thinking skills such as abstraction, decomposition, generalisation and pattern spotting.

Computational thinking lies at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing and our best selling (ERA and BETT nominated) schemes of work support schools teach it creatively and well.

Grab yourself a gift 🎁 with our free stuff for Christmas.   Visit www.icompute-uk.com for more free Christmas themed lesson plans and resources to support teaching primary computing.

christmas computing

Click to download