The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl

Pupils from all over the world have been celebrating the year of Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday through using Minecraft. The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl is a literacy based Minecraft project designed to develop reading and writing skills. It was designed to be delivered over three weeks as a literacy unit.

Pupils from 95 schools took part in the global project by reading a range of Roald Dahl’s texts and building some of his most memorable settings using Minecraft. It has been fantastic to see the weird and wonderful Dahl creations inspired by so many of his books. Schools approached the builds in a variety of ways. Some classes focused on building different settings within one book – for example the different parts of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Other classes asked pupils to create settings from a range of books within one Minecraft map. Do you recognise any of the settings in the images below?

 

 

Following this, pupils developed their writing skills through creating their own imaginative settings in the style of Roald Dahl. Pupils were asked to plan stories with and imaginary settings before creating the setting in Minecraft. The pupils then used their Minecraft settings to write their own stories in the style of Roald Dahl. This was a really engaging part of the project and the pupils created some amazing settings for their own stories. The images below show a range of imaginative settings created by pupils. One story was centred around a boy with a secret football pitch hidden by tall trees in his back garden. Another story, inspired by James and the Giant Peach, revolved around a little girl who painted a picture which grew to an enormous size. Everything the girl painted came to life and stepped out of the painting. To make Minecraft setting more realistic she added a dispenser to her painting so items could emerge from it.

 

Schools were then invited to enter their Road Dahl Minecraft maps into a competition which will be judged by a panel of experts from around the world. Schools used a range of versions of Minecraft during the project and submitted their entries in a range of formats including: Office Mix presentations, videos and Sway. Here are some of the Minecraft presentations which the children have created.

In Wales, to promote school to school collaboration, I created a network on Hwb, the all-Wales VLE,  for teachers to discuss and share resources. In addition, schools in Wales used a collaborative area on Hwb+, the all Wales VLE, for pupils to share work and discuss ideas. It was an effective way to encourage schools to take part in meaningful collaboration by providing them with a safe environment to discuss ideas and share work. Pupils used the site to share their Minecraft worlds and blog their final pieces of Roald Dahl inspired writing. Thank you Jane Grubb, from Central South Consortium, for creating and managing the Hwb+ site.

During the project, the pupil Digital Leaders from Darran Park Primary School visited a number of the schools taking part to lead Roald Dahl workshops.  From my experience of working with teachers on a number of different projects, one of the main barriers to using Minecraft in the classroom is teacher confidence.  I discovered very early on that my building skills would never be as good as the pupils in my class…and that is absolutely fine! As a teacher it’s my job to provide purposeful learning opportunities and the context for using Minecraft. The pupil workshops, which the digital leaders have called their Minecraft Roadshow, were designed to introduce teachers to Minecraft and demonstrate how pupils can lead the learning. Our digital leaders have worked with over a hundred schools throughout Wales and are planning to visit schools in England and Scotland this year.

 

The project illustrates how Minecraft can be used as a stimulus for learning and to engage learners. It is also important to remember that the focus of the project was to develop reading and writing skills and quality of the Minecraft settings is reflection of the planning and time allocated by teachers to develop these skills.  Feedback from most of the schools taking part reflected improved standards in writing and also higher levels of engagement – particularly with boys.

Over the next few weeks finalists of the Wonderful World of Roald Dahl competition will be judged an expert panel, with winners to be announced next term to coincide with Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday.   Please click to view the finalists in the Wonderful World of Roald Dahl competition.

More importantly, I am over the moon with the way teachers have transformed learning through using Minecraft in their classrooms to develop effective pedagogies and engage their pupils.

If you’d like to find out more about the Wonderful World of Roald Dahl or using Minecraft in the classroom please contact me using the details below.

Email: jamesprotheroe@hotmail.com

Twitter: @DpDarran

 

 

The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl at Insomnia 58

I was really excited to showcase The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl Project at Insomnia 58, the UK’s biggest gaming festival, at the NEC in Birmingham as part of the Immersive Minds Outreach Team.

The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl is a literacy based Minecraft project designed to develop reading and writing skills. Pupils from 95 schools from all over the world have been celebrating Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday by building some of his most memorable settings using Minecraft. Following this, pupils developed their writing skills through creating their own imaginative settings in the style of Roald Dahl. Their writing was then used to build their own imaginative Minecraft settings. Schools were then invited to enter their Road Dahl Minecraft maps into a competition which will be judged by a panel of experts from around the world.

Please click to see the finalists of the competition

Schools used a range of versions of Minecraft during the project and submitted their entries in a range of formats including: Office Mix presentations, videos and Sway. In Wales, to promote school to school collaboration, I created a network on Hwb, the all-Wales VLE,  for teachers to discuss and share resources. In addition, schools in Wales used a collaborative area on Hwb+, the all Wales VLE, for pupils to share work and discuss ideas. It was an effective way to encourage schools to take part in meaningful collaboration by providing them with a safe environment to discuss ideas and share work. Pupils used the site to share their Minecraft worlds and blog their final pieces of Roald Dahl inspired writing. Thank you Jane Grubb, from Central South Consortium, for creating and managing the Hwb+ site.

In addition, the digital leaders of Darran Park Primary School have visited a number of different schools to lead Minecraft workshops. One of the main barriers to using Minecraft in the classroom is teacher confidence.  I discovered very early on that my building skills would never be as good as the pupils in my class…and that is absolutely fine! As a teacher it’s my job to provide purposeful learning opportunities and the context for using Minecraft. The pupil workshops, which the digital leaders have called their Minecraft Roadshow, were designed to introduce teachers to Minecraft and demonstrate how pupils can lead the learning. Our digital leaders have worked with over a hundred schools throughout Wales and are planning to visit schools in England and Scotland next year.

 

 

During Insomnia, people had the opportunity to explore Roald Dahl themed Minecraft maps, created by pupils taking part in the project, and add their own imaginative settings.  It was great to see such a positive reaction to the children’s Roald Dahl creations – particularly from children and parents.  This was reflected by the amount of time spent exploring the Roald Dahl maps and adding their own imaginative builds. At the end of the Saturday, one boy asked if I could ‘take care of’ his unfinished building until he came back on Sunday. It was great to see how engaged and on task he was – particurlarly with all the amazing distractions at Insomnia – the UK’s biggest gaming festival.  It was also great to hear the views of parents about using Minecraft in the classroom.  Many of them really liked the idea of using  Minecraft as a hook to engage learners to develop other skills: in this case reading and writing skills.

Here is a selection of the imaginative Minecraft settings created during Insomnia:

One of the things I enjoyed most about the Wonderful World of Roald Dahl project was working with so many teachers from around the world. At Insomnia I had the privilege of meeting and working with Joseph Hammond, who had been doing the project with his class at Hillingdon Primary School. It was brilliant to hear about the impact the project had on engaging learners and also to meet one of his pupils who took real pride in talking about her Minecraft work. Here are some of the their Roald Dahl inspired Minecraft builds.

 

A massive thank you to Stephen Reid and the Immersive Minds team for inviting me to showcase the Wonderful World of Roald Dahl at Insomnia. It was brilliant to see and hear about all the fantastic ways they use technology and games based learning to engage and inspire learners. Their work is truly inspirational and I really hope to work with them again soon. Please click to find out more information about Immersive Minds.

The project illustrates how Minecraft can be used as a stimulus for learning and to engage learners. It is also important to remember that the focus of the project was to develop reading and writing skills and quality of the Minecraft settings is reflection of the planning and time allocated by teachers to develop these skills.  Over the next few weeks finalists of the Wonderful World of Roald Dahl competition will be judged an expert panel, with winners to be announced next term to coincide with Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday. More importantly, I am over the moon with the way teachers have transformed learning through using Minecraft in their classrooms to develop effective pedagogies and engage their pupils.

If you’d like to find out more about the Wonderful World of Roald Dahl or using Minecraft in the classroom please contact me using the details below.

Email: jamesprotheroe@hotmail.com

Twitter: @DpDarran

 

 

 

Microsoft Redefining Learning: Darran Park Primary School

Collage 2016-06-12 14_10_28

On 8th June 2016, the pupils and staff of Darran Park Primary welcomed over eighty educators and school leaders from across Wales to our Microsoft Redefining Learning event.  The event was a great opportunity for us to share our journey as a Microsoft Showcase School and how we have used technology to transform teaching and learning. We were proud to welcome Steve Beswick, Microsoft Senior Director of Education, to our school for the first Redefining Learning event ever to be held in Wales.

Opening speeches

Mr Chris Coole, Headteacher of Darran Park Primary School, opened the event by sharing the school’s vision and approach to developing digital competence. He discussed the importance of being innovative and the school’s commitment to CPD. Through working closely with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council the school became a Microsoft Academy in 2014.  As a result eight teachers have gained the Microsoft Certified Educator qualification and four teachers are currently Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts.  I concluded the presentation by discussing our approach to developing digital competence and Microsoft 21st Century Learning design through a project based approach to learning.

This was followed by an inspiring keynote speech by Steve Beswick. He discussed the importance of providing learners with the skills they need to flourish in the 21st century. He shared Microsoft’s approach to education and discussed how schools are using technology to inspire and empower learners.

We then invited our visitors to the classrooms to take part in pupil led workshops. The first workshop focused on using the Office 365 tools Sway and OneNote in the classroom. Both tools were accessed through Hwb, the All Wales VLE. The pupils discussed how they have used these tools within their topics and shared some of their latest work, including a OneNote notebook linked to their current literacy project The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl. Mrs Protheroe, Year 5/6 teacher, and the children from Foxes class enjoyed sharing how they have used Sway to create online presentations to share their learning from their Technotastic theme.

The second workshop focused on using Minecraft in the classroom. The pupils discussed how they have used Minecraft as part of a project based approach to learning.  They shared the Tudor village they created during the topic Off With Her Head, the Rhondda Heritage Park from Black Gold: Hearts, Souls and Mines and their most recent map – World War Two Ferndale from their topic Blitz: Wales at War.

One of the Year 6 digital leaders shared an OfficeMix he inspired by his Minecraft work and talked about how it had been shared with people from all over the world at Microsoft’s global E2 conference in Budapest. Following this, pupils shared the Roald Dahl map which has been created as part of The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl literacy project. The children discussed how they have been developing their reading skills through using a range of Roald Dahl texts and building their own Roald Dahl world.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The final workshop focused on using Office Mix to bring PowerPoint presentations to life and using Hwb+, the All Wales VLE, as part of a project based approach to learning. Chris Ingram, Year 3/4 class teacher, discussed the Road to Rio project, the latest collaboration between Rhondda Cynon Taf and Microsoft Academy. The pupils showcased a shared  Hwb+ site they have been using to collaborate with pupils from fifteen different RCT schools. The project has been designed to develop digital competence and Microsoft 21st Century Learning Design. The Year 3/4 pupils spoke with great enthusiasm about the project and loved sharing their work with so many new people. In addition to the Hwb+ workshop, some Year 6 pupils shared how to use Office Mix – a free add on the Powerpoint. They started by sharing an Office Mix they created about rich and poor Tudor houses during Off With Her Head, a Tudor based theme.

They followed this with a hands on workshop showing some of the great features of Office Mix.  They particularly enjoyed sharing how the screen recording feature can be used to capture their Minecraft worlds.  Another great feature of Office Mix is that completed presentations can be turned into videos, making them really easy to share with others.

A big thank you to all the pupils and teachers who led these workshops. We are really proud of the way they spoke so enthusiastically and knowledgably about their learning.

The event also included a presentation about using digital technology to promote school-to-school working. Hayley Brady, Deputy Headteacher Llandough Primary School, and Ben Beard, Ysgol Gynradd Pen-Y-Pil, joined to talk about our School Improvement Group project Blitz: Wales at War. During this topic pupils collaborated using a shared Hwb+ and using Office 365 tools available through Hwb. During the topic, pupils learned about the impact World War Two had on their communities and developed their historical understanding by creating their own Minecraft maps about their local community. Collage Blitz Wales at War

The topic provided gave pupils a meaningful context to develop digital competence and collaborate with others pupils from Cardiff, Bridgend, The Vale of Glamorgan and Rhondda Cynon Taf. A big thank you to all the schools who were involved in the project.

The headline act was the presentation by our pupil Digital Leaders. The children discussed how our the role of a Digital Leader has evolved over the past few years. They talked about how they have worked with children in over forty different schools as part of the ‘Digital Leader Roadshow.’ This has involved visiting each school to lead a range of workshops aimed at developing digital competence. The workshops have included: using Minecraft in the classroom, Hwb+ and coding. They also discussed the recent Digital training event they led for Central South Consortium – Developing an Effective Digital Leader Council. They have also led staff training with teachers from a number of different schools. We are incredibly proud of the work they have done to develop digital competence with so many different pupils and teachers from so many different schools.

A big thank you to everyone who attended the event – it was a pleasure to welcome you to our school. If you would like to find out more about how to use Sway, OfficeMix, OneNote or Minecraft, please visit the Microsoft Educator Community .  It is a great CPD tool and is completely free to sign up.

If you would like any more information, or would like to collaborate on a future project, it would be great to hear from you.

Email: jamesprotheroe@hotmail.com

Twitter: @DpDarran     @DarranPark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wonderful World of Roald Dahl Launch Event

Had an amazing day working with over thirty teachers at the launch of the Wonderful World of Roald Dahl – a literacy focused Minecraft project.  The project was designed to celebrate the 100th birthday of the well loved author Roald Dahl by creating some of his iconic settings using Minecraft whilst developing their reading and writing skills. Please see the Sway below for an overview of the project.

The first session focused on  developing purposeful reading activities for the project. We discussed a range of activities including:  comparing texts and video clips, setting up reading stations, using images to develop higher order reading skills and mapping and sketching settings based on Roald Dahl’s novels. To promote school to school collaboration, I set up a network on Hwb, the all-Wales VLE,  for teachers to discuss and share resouces.  Please click the link to join the Hwb network:

Wonderful World of Roald Dahl Hwb Network

We also shared the collaborative Hwb+ site which will be used by the pupils throughout the project to share work and discuss ideas. It is an excellent way to encourage schools to take part in meaningful collaboration by providing them with a safe environment to discuss ideas and share work. Pupils will use the site to share their Minecraft worlds and blog their final pieces of Roald Dahl inspired writing. Thank you Jane Grubb, from Central South Consortium, for creating the Hwb+ site and adding all the users.

The next session, using Minecraft in the classroom, was led by our Year 5 and 6 Digital Leaders. After showing teachers the basic controls, the children decided to set the teachers the challenge of creating their own Roald Dahl Minecraft settings. This was designed to take the fear out of using Minecraft in the classroom and show teachers that lots can be achieved in a sort session as long as its properly planned. Within twenty minutes each teacher had created settings using a range of Roald Dahl’s texts as their stimulus including: James and the Giant Peach, The BFG and of course… Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I am incredibly proud of our Digital Leaders and the way they share their expertise with teachers from other schools. To date they have worked with teachers from over a hundred different schools.

They also shared a video to help teachers to set up their own Minecraft servers in their own classrooms:

During the afternoon we discussed how  Minecraft work can be shared using Office Mix and OneNote Class Creator.  During the OneNote session I shared a Roald Dahl themed class notebook used by  children  during the project.  Teachers particularly liked the collaboration spaces and individual notebooks the children can access within OneNote.

Office Mix is also a really great tool for getting children to create videos about their Minecraft settings. The screen recording function allows the children to record as their wander through their worlds. They can also add a voiceover to accompany their virtual tour.

There are some really useful courses and videos about how to use Office Mix and OneNote in the classroom on Microsoft Educator Community website. It is a great CPD tool and an excellent way to share ideas with educators from across the world.

Microsoft Educator Community

Thank you to all the schools who took part in the training event. Really looking forward to seeing the children’s Roald Dahl inspired Minecraft worlds. I’ll be posting some exciting news about the competition very soon.

If you’d like more information about the project please contact me using the details below.

jamesprotheroe@hotmail.com

@DpDarran

 

The Wonderful World Of Roald Dahl Minecraft Literacy Unit

Really excited to announce the launch of the The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl – a Minecraft driven literacy unit to celebrate the 100th birthday of the legendary Welsh author of classic children’s novels such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.

The aims of the unit are:

  • Develop reading and writing skills through engaging with a range of Roald Dahl’s texts.
  • Create Minecraft settings based on Roald Dahl’s texts.
  • Create brand new settings to feature in a book to celebrate Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday (these will be written and created using Minecraft).
  • To create a movie compiling the pupils’ Minecraft worlds to celebrate Roald Dahl’s birthday to be screened globally on 13th September.

An overview of the unit will be emailed to schools the week beginning 11th April. The unit is designed to be delivered over three weeks.  Schools are free to create their worlds using any version of Minecraft throughout the project.

The completed Roald Dahl Minecraft worlds need to be submitted, as a Microsoft Office Mix video, by July 18th. There will also be a competitive aspect to the project – with three schools being awarded special prizes.

For schools in Wales, a collaborative Hwb+ site will be created for pupils to share their writing and collaborate throughout the product. Training events will also be scheduled for the summer term where pupil digital leaders will be on hand to share their Minecraft experiences and answer any questions and concerns about using Minecraft in the classroom.

We already have schools taking part from all over the world so this unit offers pupils the opportunity to collaborate and share their work on a global stage.  If you are interested in being part of this unique project, or would like further details, please contact:

Email: jamesprotheroe@hotmail.com/ protheroej8@hwbmail.net

Twitter: @DpDarran

Phone (UK): 01443 730450

And remember:

“Tremendous things are in store for you! Wonderful surprises await you!”

(Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

 

 

 

 

 

Training Event: Using ICT Across the Curriculum

 

Really enjoyed working with teachers during our ‘Using ICT Across the Curriculum’ event for Central South Consortium.

Here is a recap of what we covered during the event:

Using ICT to create wow starters:

Weebly websites:

Weebly site are a really simple way of creating websites which can be used as wow starters. Here are a few examples:

Poetry based on the Jabberwocky

Fantasy stories

  • Choose a suitable theme – remember some of the themes are blogs.
  • Drag the tiles onto to page.
  • If you want to include a youtube clip on your site: drag the YouTube tile onto your page, find a video you want from YouTube and copy the URL, paste the Url onto the YouTube page on your weebly page

Over the next few weeks weebly are putting on some webcasts called a ‘Beginner’s Guide to Weebly.’ You can find out more here:

Beginner’s Guide to Weebly

Office Mix

Office Mix lets pupils create engaging and effective presentations. We shared how we have used it with the pupils to share their Minecraft worlds:

 

The Microsoft Educator Community has an excellent course about the basics of Office Mix:

Office Mix – the basics

Using Apps in the Classroom:

Tellagami  Edu- Pupils can create and share animated videos

Plickers –  Teacher questioning and assessment tool

Book Creator-Creating ebooks (remember these can now be turned into videos)

Decide Now

Hwb:

Office 365 tools:

Sway: a really simple to use digital story telling/ presentation tool.

OneNote:

The Microsoft Educator Community offers great courses on both of these.

J2E  – JIT5: this is particularly useful for Foundation Phase. The chart tool is really effective.

Hwb+

We also looked at how collaborative Hwb+ sites can be used to facilitate school to school working and shared the examples of Black Gold: Hearts, Souls and Mines and Blitz: Wales at War.

We really covered a lot during the day. My advice would be to start with one of two things to introduce to staff and really try to embed them.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the day or would like any support implementing anything in the classroom.

Thanks to the teachers from Caradog Primary, Llwynypia Primary. Maerdy Primary, Dolau Primary, Porth Junior School and Ferndale Infant School for attending the event. Thank you to Miss Sophie Mills and her pupils for leading a workshop on how she had integrated ICT into her Year 3/4 class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

E2 Educator Exchange Budapest: Panel Discussion Minecraft in Education

Really amazing morning at Microsoft’s E2 Educator Exchange #HacktheClassroom. I  took part in the panel discussion, Minecraft in Education, along with Microsoft Innovative Expert Educators Andre Spang, from Germany, and Brian Aspinall from Canada. It was fascinating to hear about the innovative and creative ways Minecraft is being used to inspire learners.

During the panel I discussed the highly successful Black Gold: Hearts, Souls and Mines project I led for Rhondda Cynon Taff in 2015. In this history based theme, pupils from 16 schools worked collaboratively to build the Rhondda Heritage Park – a museum dedicated to the rich mining heritage of South Wales.

Please click to see the Black Gold Minecraft work

During the discussion we talked about lots of creative Minecraft projects and discussed the endless possibilities that using Minecraft in the classroom provides. We also discussed how Minecraft allows learners to take the lead for their own learners. I talked about my school’s Digital Leaders and how they have visited schools across Wales to deliver Minecraft workshops.  I also discussed setting up shared areas on Hwb+, the All Wales VLE, where pupils can collaborate and share their Minecraft work.

Really enjoyed the experience, especially listening to how Minecraft has made such a massive impact on pupil engagement throughout the world. A huge thank you to Neal Manegold for inviting me to be part of the panel.

I will shortly be leading a literacy based Minecraft project to celebrate the 100th birthday of the famous author Roald Dahl.  If you would like further details of how to take part, or would like to dicuss Minecraft in the classrrom further,  please contact me @dpdarran or leave a comment on the blog and I’ll get back to you.

Really looking forward to the next few days at E2 Budapest!