Using Paul Long's Ultimate GCSE resources with Craig'n'Dave
Planning the student experience
Both sets of resources provide a comprehensive learning journey for students. A traditional teacher-led delivery model with Paul Long's Ultimate GCSE (PLUG), or a contemporary flipped classroom delivery model with Craig'n'Dave (CnD). However, it is also possible to get the best of both worlds when the resources are combined. Often you may find when using the CnD resources that you would like a few more examples or different activities to use with the students. This is where PLUG can fill the gap (see what we did there!) Conversely, if you primarily use PLUG, you may find the starter activities, CnD workbook answers (as knowledge organisers or homework) and differentiated programming challenges extremely helpful. However, this will mean you will need to plan the lessons to enable the student experience you are looking for.
To help you achieve this, we have considered the main lesson phases and outline below how you may choose to use the resources in each of these phases.
More detail about each lesson phase is provided below, but here is a quick summary of using the two sets of resources in a pick and mix approach to teaching:
Build lessons using a combination of both resources interchangeably.
Before the lesson
The first decision is whether you want to give students a flipped learning experience. With flipped learning students learn the body of the "taught" content for themselves in advance of the lesson. This means they come to the lesson prepared with much of the knowledge already and can begin activities immediately. This contrasts with a more traditional "chalk and talk" approach where the teacher introduces the topic of the lesson and teaches the content before students start activities.
Flipped learning requires a new approach to teaching and learning that some students may have difficulty adapting to, because it is not how they are used to being taught. You may find that your students lack the maturity for this approach, and therefore using PLUG with activities supplemented from CnD gives you a perfect delivery model.
If you choose a flipped approach, then students will need an opportunity to learn the content. You could do this by setting the students a video to watch from the CnD student site, or by reading relevant pages from the PLUG e-text book. Either way, a critical component of this approach is that students write summary notes using the Cornell method of notetaking in an exercise book. They bring these to the lesson to assist them with their classwork since there is no teacher-led component at the start of the lesson.
Start of the lesson
We suggest giving students something to do as soon as they enter the classroom to minimise the "down-time" and enable, "engagement on entry". Students will arrive at the lesson at different times, and this can cause disruption and lost learning time if not managed effectively.
The CnD resources include a short starter activity for every lesson that can be displayed on the board. It does not require further introduction from the teacher and all students should be able to engage with this if they are following the flipped classroom approach. If not, we suggest starting every lesson with 5 minutes of Smart Revise. Get students into the habit of self-starting their own lesson by setting this expectation. See more about Smart Revise below.
PLUG resources include a "Read page xx" at the start of each PowerPoint. This is a good opportunity for students to do this if you would prefer to have a silent start to the lesson. Be mindful that reading may be challenging for some students.
It is a misconception that students learning in a flipped classroom approach have no teacher input. The difference is that instead of introducing and teaching new knowledge, the teacher uses this time to reflect on the learning and pose questions to the class. Flipped learning simply accelerates the start of the lesson.
If students have watched a CnD video ahead of the lesson, you can use the PLUG PowerPoint slides to summarise the key learning points. If students read pages from PLUG resources, use the CnD PowerPoint slides to help summarise the key learning points instead. Equally, it may not be necessary to provide any summary and you can engage in a Q&A session instead.
The PLUG resources include many illustrated and animated examples in the PowerPoint slides. These are great for consolidating and exploring the knowledge students gain from watching CnD videos.
With a more traditional approach to the content delivery consider whether using the CnD PowerPoint or PLUG PowerPoint will enable a successful delivery. It is often a good idea to mix it up so that lessons do not become too formulaic. Pick and choose between the resources to suit your learners.
Different examples are used in the two sets of resources to explain the same content, and this makes them ideal for use in the classroom. Watch a CnD video for an overview and explore in more detail with PLUG.
The CnD workbooks provide students will short, easily achievable activities. When a topic is complete the workbook becomes a revision guide or knowledge organiser because it will only contain essential content needed for exams. They are written with the intention that some of the lesson time will probably be used for programming activities too so they are not intended to take a whole lesson to complete.
Within the PLUG e-book and PowerPoint slides there are a number of activities for students to engage with too and these work particularly well with a more teacher led, step-by-step approach.
An alternative approach is to use the CnD workbooks as homework workbooks. This is particularly effective if you are not teaching with a flipped classroom approach and need to set more traditional homework. Students can complete their CnD workbook at home. With some minor adaptations you could even print these workbooks for students to take home. As each activity is only intended to take approximately 20-30 minutes, this is the perfect amount of time for homework.
PLUG resources include sample exam-style questions for students, or you could use Smart Revise.
Both CnD and PLUG use a PRIMM approach to teaching programming. CnD is intended to be a self-study approach called T.I.M.E, with PLUG intended to be led from the front of the class. You may find giving the CnD T.I.M.E. resources to the most able students to allow them to progress independently at their own pace while using the PLUG resources to teach or reflect on the key concepts with the rest of the class is effective.
You could also introduce programming concepts using the PLUG resources to structure the learning and lead it from the front, but use CnD T.I.M.E. to provide additional differentiated challenges, or even programming assessments.