Advent Calendar of Christmas iPaddery – 10th December

Activity 7 – Excitable Edgar (John Lewis) – any year group with appropriate adaptation

Continuing the theme of Christmas ads, John Lewis (and Waitrose) have done it again with their delightful Excitable Edgar ad. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should watch it now.

As with last year’s Moz (also worth another look as most of these ideas hold good for that too), there is no dialogue in this advert which makes it ideal for linking media literacy with literacy. It’s really rich in visual clues especially through the expressions on the characters’ faces (real and animated) which give real insight into their thoughts and feelings.

You could start by “boxing it up” again, break it down into sections, how does the story build. Snapshot key moments from the film (either as a class on the whiteboard or in pairs on the children’s iPads). As a class have a go at constructing the narrative (use the pictures for vocabulary). Book Creator would be great for building a story book from the pictures, no sound this time just a written narrative.

I could go on, but I won’t because as I sat down to write this this morning an email dropped into my inbox: Mr P (Lee Parkinson) has already done it in what looks like considerable detail. You can get his comprehension questions for free via the link above and sacrificing your email address. Subscribe to his resources and there is enough planning to keep you going with a unit of work lasting several weeks. The suggestions are there for free.

I would suggest that you then go along to John Lewis and buy the dragon toy so that you can bring Edgar into your school using green screen in iMovie, but as I expected they are sold out. We’ll just have to be quicker next year!


Advent Calendar of Christmas iPaddery – 9th December

Activity 6 – (KS1 and 2) – Christmas Ads

Christmas ads are always great for classroom projects. This year the Church of England has entered the stage with the release of its Christmas Ad this weekend #FollowTheStar.

This is an easily reproducible format that you might like to copy as a school / class. You could begin by “boxing up” theirs. Break it down into sections, consider what techniques are used, how are the shots framed, where is the camera (angle), how is sound used?

Then plan your own: what carol would your children use? How would they illustrate each line? How would they use your school building / your church? Could you film the children performing the carol as the backing track?

Children could easily work in groups on sections of the film and then airdrop to one iPad so that a group (perhaps your digital leaders) could edit up the film. Younger children could use Book Creator to do this page by page the use the combine books feature and export as a movie.

Go on … give it a go, and if you do please make sure your share the result with me – and even the wider world by tweeting with the C of E’s hashtag #FollowTheStar

Advent Calendar of iPaddery – 6th December

Activity 5 – More Christmas Cards – Scratch Junior (KS1)

This is a scaled down version of the Scratch programming from Y4 at Credenhill on Tuesday and I’m grateful to Y2 & 3 children @BosburyPrimary for being the guinea pigs this morning.


Like it’s big brother, Scratch Jr is not rich in festive content and as you can’t easily import artwork to become sprites we focused on the one winter background and Christmas (ish) tree. We made flashing lights (show / hide in a repeat loop – see above) added a bit of text, recorded the class singing and hey presto! We also experimented with different start conditions (green flag, tap, and even send and receive messages between sprites) but this class have done quite a bit of coding in the past and are good at it.

It’s also not easy to share work created in Scratch Jr, the only options being air drop and email (requiring an email account to send from and Scratch Jr on the receiving device) so a bit of fiddling around might be needed. At Bosbury we turned them into video format using the screen recording tool (needs to be turned on in Settings – Control Centre – Customize controls) but I’ve probably lost you by now and it is Friday.

Enjoy these two by Avena (featuring a Christmas Tree eating green horse)  and Emily who said I could share them with you.

Advent Calendar of iPaddery – 5th December

Activity 4 (all phases) – Christmas Trees in Pic Collage

Here’s an idea that has proved hugely popular with the children at the Pupil Digital Leaders conferences for a couple of years. If you have a team of them in your school they may already have worked with classes on this activity; they’ve certainly sent me many Christmas Trees.

Holmer CT

The original planning is here but you may find these three sheets I adapted from it more helpful:



Advent Calendar of iPaddery – 4th December

Activity 3 (all phases): Personalised green screen Christmas cards

Green screening is a great technology that children love. You just need a bright green (or blue) plain background.  If you have Do Ink’s Green Screen app that’s probably the easiest way to get a still image; however, as of this summer you don’t need a specialist app any more for video as Apple’s free iMovie app now does it beautifully.

Get your children to select a great Christmas backdrop (or photograph their own work), if you have Christmas costumes get them to dress up appropriately then use the Green Screen app to photograph themselves in their chosen Christmas scene. Here’s one of many we made at Blackmarston:


The finished photograph can be turned into a printed Christmas card using whatever software / device you are most comfortable with.

You could go on and create a piece of video in the same scene with the child giving their own Christmas message and attach that to the card with a QR code to bring the card to life. More about that to come.

Advent Calendar of iPaddery – 3rd December

Activity 2 (Year 3-6): Christmas e-card in Scratch

It’s great that children can now code in Scratch on an iPad, it means that so many excellent lesson resources that are out there can be used even if you don’t have laptops any more (though you need to avoid anything that involves keyboard presses or mouse / pointer following behaviour). You need to create a teacher account in Scratch and then create logins for your children.


I had a bit of fun with this lesson at Credenhill this morning in Year 4. Here is the inspiration for the lesson: We first decomposed this example by talking through the sprites and what their coding might look like. The children then searched through backgrounds and sprites (there is next to nothing unfortunately) but we then learned about .png  files (transparent backgrounds) and they quickly found plenty of material online. A bit more time spent particularly on repeats and repeat loops and forever loops and they were away.

Jane is going to show them how to copy the link from Scratch to Seesaw, so that a QR code can then be created. These will be printed out and stuck onto the back of the real life physical cards the children will create later in the term so that the recipient can scan with a smart phone / tablet to see the e-card too.

Here’s one of the children’s cards

Advent Calendar of iPadery – 2nd December

Here’s the first offering for this year’s Advent Calendar of iPad activities for Herefordshire primary schools (and anyone else who drops by).  There will be one more for each school day from now until Christmas. Some of them will be new others recycled from previous years. Happy Advent! Mark

Activity 1 (Year 3+4): Advent Calendar using thinglink 

Thinglink is a website (, so no need for any app install (though there is one) and of course you can use it on computers too.  Just get a teacher to create an account for their class (it’s free) and get going.

You add a picture to create your “thinglink” then share it with the class, via a web link or by creating a QR code to display on the whiteboard (children will need a QR code reader on their iPads to read a QR code) they can all add tags to the picture (after research). Take a look at the Settings – you can open it up so that anyone with the link can edit and keep it “private” so only those with the link can see / edit it.


Here’s one I started. (or scan the QR Code below).


It’s open for editing and private to the people with the link. Try adding your own fact about Advent (it’s anonymous unless you choose to add your name!) If you’re really pressed for time just invite the children to contribute to my one. Don’t forget to share what you make with me.