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Jennie Bales

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What will you do to give libraries a voice? Laurinda Thomas advocates for libraries.

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These two units target different age groups. An exploration of digital technologies focusing on the book targets Year 2 students and uses the wonderful "It's a book" by Lane Smith as the springboard. A unit of work based on introducing and then applying Scratch visual programming is presented for Year 6 students. There are so many resources available online that I tapped in to these to provide the 'flesh' to the outline of the unit. #cserportfolio

Option 2: A classroom activity using Scratch: Pirate Treasure Map Puzzle Years 3 and 4
This activity presupposes students having some prior experience in using Scratch.
Australian Curriculum Content Descriptions:
Geography Years 3 and 4
· Represent the location of places and their features by constructing large-scale maps that conform to cartographic conventions including scale, legend, title and north point, and describe their location using simple grid references, compass direction and distance (ACHGS029)
Digital Technologies Years 3 and 4
· Recognise different types of data and explore how the same data can be represented in different ways (ACTDIK008)
· Define simple problems, and describe and follow a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve them (ACTDIP010)
· Implement simple digital solutions as visual programs with algorithms involving branching (decisions) and user input (ACTDIP011)
Part A: Geography mapping task – in pairs or small groups students design a treasure map adding geographical features, a compass, scale, coordinates and legend. Using the coordinates, record a series of steps as a challenge for peers to successfully locate the treasure.
Part B: Scan map and save as a file for importing as a background into Scratch. Rewrite the instructions into visual code drawing on previous Scratch coding experiences. Develop and test a simple maze game based on the map by applying the code to traverse the map and locate the treasure.  #cserTask7

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Option 2:  'In a cottage in a wood' is a favourite traditional song that Grade 1 and 2 students love to sing with accompanying actions. The challenge is to repeat each verse, with each successive line being acted, but not sung. Children (and teachers :-) often lose the plot about half way through. I can see the power of applying algorithms to help students correctly sequence the song, actions and silent parts.

Involve students in developing a picture code for the actions - this code will also represent each line of the song. Students can chart the song applying the picture codes to identify the sequence of 'silent' lines in each successive verse.

The words of the song may vary but the version I am familiar with is:
In a cottage in the woods
Little man by the window stood
Saw a rabbit hopping by
Knocking at the door.
"Help me, help me, help me”, he said
Or the hunter will shoot me dead
Come little rabbit come with me
Happy we will be.

The music can be found at:

There are numerous youtube clips online, the following one includes a clear demonstration of the actions. In a cottage in a wood - an action rhyme for the nursery. #cserTask6

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Part 1: Childnet International has a wealth of resources for children, teachers and parents. Finding resources for younger students is often hard and I particularly like 'The Adventures of Kara, Winston and the Smart Crew for F-2. A freely downloadable resource - one movie or 5 separate clips each with a specific teaching focus.

Part 2: SafeshareTV for editing out the often inappropriate material on youtube pages - both clips and comments. Plain English youtube clips to help me, and students, to undertstand aspects of the web and technology beyond my basic comprehension. Here is an example displayed in SafeshareTV A third favourite is Creative Commons - the most powerful way I know to have students respect other people's work is to teach them how to share theirs with CC licensing - demonstrates that their work is of value.

Part 3: Rather than best keywords two search engines. Google Advanced is an obvious one but have this set as the default and quickly teach students to scroll down to select difficulty level. Second one is Boolify to visually demonstrate boolean searching. Worst searches were looking in youtube for fairytale and nursery rhyme material, with the students present - beware the wolf and little red :-( and hence my discovery of SafeshareTV


Part 1 cser#4. In the early 1990s I enrolled in a Distance Ed Masters degree. I had to purchase everything and went to the considerable expense of upgrading the new PC memory from 4mgs to 8 on purchase. The external modem set me back around $500 and the 8kbs dial up cost around $100 a month. The downloading of course content and forum messages was a nightmare and, not knowing anything about the cache, my PC fell over in the first 6 months running slower and slower until it ground to a halt. Great story to tell the kids at school - their reaction isn't about the technology though,  but about me: "Geez you must be old!"
Part 2 cser#4: The computer lost its mouse and relied on solar power for its daily dose of energy.
(Tried to come up with several key words to play around with that could change meaning considerably).

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For #cser3 I have prepared a lesson to graph the most popular non-fiction subjects borrowed by Year 2 students. The lesson covers four different ways to organise and present the same data and is outlined in a powerpoint presentation. Note that I have done this successfully with younger students as well - Preps go goggle-eyed (a change from being google-eyed) as they watch the pictograph change with the input of new data.

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If it were my Home is a website for students to compare data between two countries. The link below defaults to compare with Australia, but this can easily be changed.

Students from around Grade 5 up find this site fascinating as they compare their own circumstances to those of other nations. It supports the Geography curriculum and encouraging students to consider why the statistics differ will build geographic and social understandings. Extensive explorations show that the data topics vary - which could lead to students considering how the data is collected and circumstances that would impact on its availability.

Enjoy comparing :-)

The presentation of the data requires students to interpret the statements carefully and offer interesting challenges to convert these to a visual representation.


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Mobile technologies provide exciting new opportunities for students to engage in programming and develop logical thinking as they engage with their devices. Instead of purchasing game apps, they can start creating them. Recently introduced to GameSalad (for PC and Mac); this task has sent me off to explore what's available for students to use on tablets. Released this month, Tynker is free on the App store and uses visual code blocks. BTW, Hopscotch has good reports too (
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