Author Archives: Paul Adams

About Paul Adams

My name is Paul Adams. I am, first and foremost, a teacher. I have spent most of my career teaching in Primary Schools. I have also taught ICT in a secondary school, been a primary school headteacher, and worked as senior lecturer for a university. Find out more by clicking on 'About' from the navigation bar above.

Google Maps – interesting places to visit

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I’ve (started) putting together a collection of interesting places to visit using Google Maps.  The places should be set to open in street view format for easy access by students.

Location & LinkDescription
Furze Down SchoolThe location of our school.
Ashmolean MuseumMuseum in Oxford. Look out for the 360 degree views.
Google Street View- ExploreLinks to amazing places to visit around the world and in the oceans.
Taj MahalThe Taj Mahal in India is beautiful.
Mount EverestThe world's highest mountain.
OceansOceans of the world
Ambrym Volcano360 degree view of a Volcano
Airplane BoneyardLots of aeroplanes!
UluruAlso known as Ayer's Rock
Hippo PoolLots of hippos!
Penguin RookeryAntarctica
Grand CanyonGrand Canyon, USA
Sheikh Zayed Grand MosqueAbu Dhabi
The Great PyramidEgypt
Tower of LondonEngland
The home of football😉
Wembley StadiumLondon, England
Amazon rain forestAmazing views
Great WallChina
DubaiLook for the palm tree shaped islands.
Burj KhalifaTallest building in the world. Located in Dubai.
Eiffel TowerFrance
Machu PicchuPeru, South America
Il DuomoFlorence, Italy


Positive impact of game making part II – trip to Sweden

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On 24th April 2017, I was privileged to visit Gothenburg, Sweden as part of the game project. I have blogged about the project previously – link to my previous blog post.

The Games Project is an action research, collaborative project between Sweden and the UK, funded by the Erasmus+ programme – more information is available from the website:

Whilst at a first look it may seem that developing computer programming skills is at the heart of the project, this is far from the sentiments portrayed by everyone involved; first and foremost is the desire for students to develop social skills, including teamwork and respect.  The game making process also gives students opportunities to take a real pride in their achievements and, perhaps most importantly, develop their own self esteem, via making games or supporting peers in developing skills.  Championing the project is teacher Tom Boardman.  Tom has a really useful and interesting blog, which can be read at:

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Scribbling on a PDF using Smart Notebook

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In this short (3 minute) video clip, I  demonstrate how to import a PDF document into Smart Notebook.  Why would you want to do this?  Many teachers have PDF documents downloaded from a variety of sources; with such downloads, teachers may wish to add notes, labels or highlights.   Please note: whilst I discuss ‘editing’ a PDF in the video, what I really mean is ‘scribbling over the top of’; to edit, tools such as Adobe Acrobat (not Adobe Reader) are required.

Scribbling on a PDF

Scribbling on a PDF


Word Aware – Electronic resources

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Spin Game

Pinterest –   Twitter:  @wordaware

Written by Anna Branagan and Stephen Parsons, Word Aware is an evidence-based approach to Teaching Vocabulary.  It is a ‘Universal’ intervention, designed for all pupils.  It is intended to be part of the life of the school, embedded rather than arbitrary.  Related text books include the  Language for Thinking series, which help teach increasingly complex questions.

During our school based training, Anna described how words are used for speaking, reading and understanding. Children have to be interested and engaged in word learning.  The spiral of being interested and enjoying reading is linked to the development of a wider vocabulary.  Enjoyment can be via a range of activities including crosswords, wordplay and other games. Our students are beginning an independent journey to developing language, based on engagement and enjoyment.

The approach for Word Aware is for the learning to be embedded in the school day, taking place regularly.  A STAR approach is used – Select, Teach, Activate and Review:

  • Select involves identifying appropriate vocabulary, considering whether the words are ‘anchor’ – thoroughly understood, ‘Goldilocks’ – desirable for students to use, or ‘Step-on’ – topic specific, not usually needed for writing.
  • Teach involves a range of elements to teach the vocabulary, including using the ‘Word Wizard’ (available from the book or CD-Rom).
  • Activate involves adding more meaning and making sense from the student’s own perspective, with lots of opportunities to hear and see the word.
  • Review is intended to help fix the word in long term memory.

Electronic resources

I’ve put together a few resources linked to some of the games and activities that I hope may be useful if you are using Word Aware. Continue reading

The positive impact of creating digital games

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Today, I was privileged to attended a workshop organised by Stony Dean School, entitled:

Understanding and developing the use of digital games as a pedagogical tool in the classroom

The workshop featured presenters taking part in ‘The Games Project’.  The Games Project is an action research, collaborative project between Sweden and the UK, funded by the Erasmus+ programme – more information is available from the website:

The ethos of the project is centred around ‘Maker Culture’ (Maker Education Initiative – Every child a maker –, following the assertion that if pupils are makers they are more actively engaged.  In this project, such making is facilitated by computer programming to create and play digital games (artefacts). Continue reading

The amazing Class Dojo

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Class DojoI’ve just received our ‘School Report’ for the year from Class Dojo.  The highlights include:

  • 17 teachers in our school used ClassDojo
  • 7 parents connected to our school
  • 25 Story posts
  • 1,628 moments celebrated
  • On Task was the most awarded skill

If you’ve never heard of Class Dojo before, it is an online tool for celebrating the success of your pupils.  Incredibly for such a feature rich tool, it is completely free, and can be accessed from a PC or using the Class Dojo app on tablets. Continue reading

Book Creator – from indifference to magnificence!

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When I was first introduced to Book Creator several years back, I have to say I was a little indifferent.  I couldn’t really see back then how it did anything different to other apps such as Keynote or Google Slides.  How very wrong I was!  Book Creator is now our most widely used app, and when used in conjunction with the accessibility features of the iPad (0r Android/Windows 10), it has allowed our pupils to communicate their thoughts in whole new ways.  It is intuitive, and really does make the best of facilities such as the camera and microphone which are built in to the iPad.

We use Book Creator for:

  • e-portfolios of computing work
  • as a teacher tool for recording evidence in, for example, Forest Schools
  • maths lessons, for pupils to take evidence of achievements that are ordinarily tricky to record, such as creating 3d shapes
  • science lessons for taking photographs and describing
  • creating comic books
  • mindmaps

…and of course….making books.   I put together an ‘Apps in a Flash’ video to showcase what can be done with Book Creator.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Link to Book Creator in the iTunes store

Iris Connect – getting going

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After several months now of exploring using Iris Connect, this post is to share my thoughts so far.   Iris Connect is a platform for filming, and subsequently reviewing, teaching and learning in the classroom.  The hardware element consists of either one or two iPads, and either one or two iPod Touches.  The iPad (or iPads) record video; if two iPads are used then the video is synchronised, giving the viewer multiple views of the classroom.  The iPod Touches are used to record audio, the audio being synchronised with the video.  One iPod touch can be used for recording sound from the presenter, the other can be placed on a table to record pupil voices.  The iPads come with tripods to allow flexible positioning.  Also available is a ‘live view’ 360 degree hardware device that I haven’t tried just yet. Continue reading

Writing with shapes and technology

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Shape Coding is used in many schools to support language including writing.  The official source of all things Shape Coding can be found at the Moor House School and College website.  Here is a link.

However, many schools have created or adapted resources to support writing, including ourselves.   We have developed an iPad app called ‘Furze Down Shapes’.  To respect the wishes of Shape Coding’s author, we are only using the app internally.    The app allows shapes to be used to support the writing process.  It features text to speech synthesis to read words to students and a limited selection of words in word banks.

FDS ShapesWe have just started using the app with students, and staff have already provided some feedback:

  • “Best thing I’ve seen for using with our students on an iPad”
  • “It’s very useful”
  • “I like the way sentences can be rearranged”


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Teaching Creative iMedia – a reflection after the first year

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I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to teach Creative iMedia this  year for the first time.  This post describes some of the software applications and hardware that we have used in meeting the requirements of the three units taught this year.  For more details of the course, including all of the units, visit the OCR website:

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