Temple Run- games to inspire

downloadUpdate: Click here for the resources and presentation slides used!

Following some inspiration from Mr Parkinson (again), I decided to plan a unit of work around the game Temple run. Our topic for the term is Survival, so this fitted in nicely.

I found using a game such as this, made the world of difference to the pupils: both on engagement and achievement. Tapping into the pupil’s popular culture is fundamental and this example highlighted this clearly.

download (1)We started off submerging the pupils in the app. I allowed them to play the game (and did throughout to engage and refresh) and then asked them to produce a mindmap on the topic. For this, I used a great app called Popplet. In an essence, this is an online version of spider diagrams: it’s great for linking and gathering ideas.

Here’s some of the examples which they produced:

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From this, I planned a sequence of lessons, focusing on areas on which my class needed to work on, all based around the game:

  • First we looked at ambitious vocabulary, aiming to up-level- our verbs for how Guy was running out of the temple and adjectives for the setting
  • 2Next we focused on withholding information. For this, we wrote a story opener starting with Guy running away from the temple. I set them some rules of which information they could not tell the reader, merely prompt ambiguity in these areas. This challenged the way in which they used their vocabulary

‘Out of the blue, sharp claws cut my shoulder: I was running for my life. I could feel my heart skipping a beat, the tune loomed over me, protecting me from the luminous sun. It felt like the rest of the woods were against me. The wind targeted my ear and it seemed the plants wouldn’t stop taunting me. All that kept me from the end was an old rickety bridge’

  • 3The next lesson was on a Show not Tell lesson, i.e. SNOT. This was to develop children to extend their descriptions by implying and showing actions. For example rather than saying the character was nervous, we would show that he was sweating or trembling, etc. A great resource for emotion prompt sheets can be found here.

‘Sweat ran down my bright red face, my heart skipped a beat. Gloom overshadowed me. In the distance I saw a bright light. I took a deep breath as the light pulled me closer towards it. I hesitated and thought to myself, ‘what if it is a trap?’ As I released my breath, I knew it was the only way in.’

  • The next session was on character descriptions. For this we tied in Indiana Jones as our character, a good link to temple run. We looked at four key areas, focusing on movement, appearance, feelings and speech to improve our descriptions.

‘The sweat ran down his face as he cautiously crept through the damp, dark tunnels of the temple. His shirt was blackened: stained with the stories of adventures that led him to where he stood. His brave face masked the unknown fears running through his mind. Dr Jones took small steps as his feet trembled, where did the tunnels lead? With a suspicious frown take over his forehead, he cleared his throat, “This way, stay close” he softly murmured, trying not to attract attention.’

  • Lastly we focused on linking paragraphs, highlighting the importance of repetition, and connections using time and place. This lesson wasn’t specific to Temple Run but we used the story of Indiana Jones stealing the golden idol as a stimulus. I used a great video from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the lost ark, as suggested by Literacy Shed


Again some great work was produced. I asked the children to read and share a few extracts of their work which can be seen here:

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These reflect only a handful of the amazing work produced by the pupils. It was extremely evident that using Temple Run as a stimulus had an amazing effect.

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Staying Safe Online

Online safety seems to be an ongoing issue within schools. In a recent staff meeting, it was something I felt important to highlight. Children growing up today won’t be using Facebook, or Twitter; if recent trends are to go by. Technology is ever changing and adapting: it is fundamental that children can stay safe online and understand the importance of their digital footprint.

How many of these apps can you identify..

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All of these have/are being used by pupils in my primary school…

Being a Year 5 teacher, and interacting with a school instagram account (@linchfieldmissvidler) allows me to keep in touch with children ‘of this day and age’s’ online world (not monitor!). It is scary to see how many past pupils, of whom are at seconday school, will happily post their snapchat, oovoo, kik, email and phone numbers to their 500+ ‘friends’.

I’ve found a few e-sefety videos that provide great stimulus’ to spur conversation amongst pupils, obviously age dependant. If you have used any others, please comment so I can collect a good resource to share.

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Flocabulary- Oversharing: http://www.flocabulary.com/oversharing/

Let’s fight it together: http://www.digizen.org/resources/cyberbullying/films/uk/lfit-film.aspx

Can I be your friend? Found here by @chrismayoh

Mr Selfie

Mr Selfie from weareseventeen on Vimeo.

New to Coding- Hour of Code

Hour of code is a great resource for teachers that need a little help taking their first step on the computing curriculum. Hour of code provides lots of different activities, aimed to be completed within an hour. It is a simple and engaging way to get pupils motivated and show them they can code.

The activities are designed for pupils: so far we’ve using angry birds, plants vs zombies, flappy birds and frozen. Click on the pictures below to take you to each activity.

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The beauty of the Hour of Code, is that you don’t have to be a coder to know what you’re doing. Each unit comes with an introductory video and instructions for each level. If the pupils get it right, it will mark the level green at the top, providing a great assessment tool. If they get it wrong, it will provide hints and messages to aid them, ergo very little knowledge needed from teachers.

B1sskjbIEAAQa4sIts a great way to introduce coding to pupils in a simple format. The drag and drop instructions make it user friendly and I find this format lends itself well to progress onto using Scratch’s format, another great programme. Another brilliant aspect is after each level, it also gives the pupils a chance to see their code written. We have utilised this within lessons, exploring the written form of code.

As it’s winter/like the ice age outside at the moment, frozen is very apt. Using this is class recently, I found the extra level at the end to be brilliant. All the levels, in all games progressively introduce new concepts. With frozen, after everything has been taught, level 20 allows the children to create their own snowflake. Cue assessment of the pupils application. I asked the pupils to create their own snowflake and screen shot it. This gave me a perfect opportunity to see if they can then use code independently without any guidance given. Brilliant.

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String: Augmented Reality in the classroom

If you’re thinking what? where? who?

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Thank you Wikipedia, but no thank you. In a nutshell, it’s basically cool things, coming out of nowhere, providing one of the most engaging stimuli possible.

If you’re still unsure, then here’s your stepping stone to using augmented reality in the classroom. Try an app called String. String is a free app which creates augmented reality in four different forms: a dragon, an alien, a trainer to personalise and graffiti free writing.

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You can find the pictures online here, and each print off provides the stimulus for the augmented reality to take place.

I’ve used this app in the classroom as a stimulus to inspire writing in English lessons. The best two images, in my opinion, are the dragon and the alien. Have a look for yourself…

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The dragon I used within a Year 5 lesson: it’s great as a link on to another app used called Epic Citadel (post to follow).  It creates a portal to another world, through which a dragon then enters the classroom. In simplest form, we opened our story with a setting description. Here being some of the work the pupils produced…

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The alien I used last week in a year 1 class, as part of their topic of Space. This was used as part of developing their descriptive language. Above anything, their faces when they first saw an alien appear on their tables, painted a picture. If you’re wondering how to incorporate the slightly odd picture to be scanned, it was a postcard, obviously… We gave pupils the opportunity to look at the alien, have their photo taken with it, in preparation for a character description.

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I chose to use this app alongside Explain Everything, another fantastic app, creating a presentation for them to orally record their ideas on. I made this, shared it onto the pupil ipads via Dropbox, then the pupils simply recorded their ideas.

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If you haven’t used String before, I certainly recommend it!

123D Catch

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An app that augments just about anything!

I love this app and recently used it with my pupils within a Design and Technology lesson. We were working on a project of making a volcano, with some fantastic models (no bias at all..), and I wanted to be able to share their work, thus, 123D.

In a nutshell this short video shows you about the app…

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The app allows you to take photos of just about anything to produce a 3D online augmented model. The pupils took photos of their volcanoes to create their 3D versions, which, in turn, produced a link for each project. We went on to share our links on our blog, allowing parents to see the model. However, this app not only allows you to see the model, but to rotate around, zoom in and out, really bringing the pupils work to life.

Alongside this, 123D catch provides an online database for all models. This provide endless opportunities, from being able to look around prehistoric burial ground in Sweden when covering the stone age, or just looking at cupcakes..