Using our resources

GCSE

Before the lesson for homework

Craig’n’Dave support a flipped classroom approach to teaching and learning.  You don’t have to use our resources in that way, but it’s how they work best.  Students should watch one or more of our videos BEFORE the lesson for homework.  These are signposted in lesson plans, one for each lesson that can be shared with the students during a lesson.

Take notes icon
Take notes icon

As students watch the video, they should pause it when they see the “take notes” icon.  They should then record the information on-screen in an exercise book in preparation for the lesson.  This is the classic “teaching” or “chalk-and-talk” part of the lesson.  They will need these notes to complete activities within the lesson.  The great thing about video is students can pause, rewind and re-watch.  Absent students can catch-up on the lesson too.

Pedagogy: read more from us about homework.

Pedagogy: read more from us about using the Cornell method of note taking from the videos.

Videos for every bullet point of the specification are provided on our student website and hosted on YouTube for FREE.  Your students don’t need access to YouTube in school because they watch the videos for homework.  However, if you want to host them locally, they can be purchased on a memory stick from our shop.

The lesson plan

Every lesson of the whole course has an easy to follow lesson plan in PowerPoint format.  This means you have zero preparation to do, and you can literally walk into the classroom and display the plan on the board without even looking at it in advance!  Everything you and the students need is right there, including their first starter activity embedded.  We reckon even non-specialists could teach most of our course.

Part 1. Starter

5 mins – every lesson has a starter activity that should be shown to the students on the board so they are “engaged on entry”. These are throw-away activities that just get the students thinking about the topic before the lesson starts.

Pedagogy: read more from us about starters.

Starter

Part 2. Set homework for next lesson

2 mins – students make a note of which video to watch for homework in their diaries, or whatever method your school uses.

Part 3. Share the objectives

1 min – objectives are shared with students, included in the plan.

Part 4. Theory activities

20 mins – most lessons are split into two main parts: theory and programming activities.

Using the notes that students took for homework, they complete pages in the PowerPoint format workbook. Instructions for students are written in the notes section of each slide, but can also be introduced by the teacher.  Use this time to question individual students more deeply about their understanding of the topic.

Pedagogy: read more from us about challenge.

Workbook

Part 5. Practical programming activities

25 mins – students largely work independently on programming.  We provide both learning tasks, and differentiated challenges in Python.  The time is flexible.  Some lessons will require more time for theory, others less.  You may also want to have the occasional full lesson just working on programming.

We present challenges in a range of formats including worded scenarios, flowcharts, pseudocode and Parsons problems. Students are not expected to complete every programming challenge!

Use this time to help students who are struggling, and review completed challenges.  Students should call you over to look at their programs when they are complete.  Look out for use of comments, descriptive variable names, appropriate use of counter and condition controlled loops and selection statements.  Immediate verbal feedback for this work is more effective than written feedback.  Challenge the more able students to ensure their programs have full validation and exception handling.

Pedagogy: read more from us about programming.

Pedagogy: read more from us about differentiation.

Programming tasks
Programming tasks 2
Programming tasks 3

Part 6. Plenary recap and questioning

7 mins – recap objectives at the end of the lesson.  You can also use this time to have class discussions and question overall understanding of the objectives of the lesson.


This is a very broad structure, but is typical of a Craig’n’Dave lesson.  This structure can easily be adapted for shorter lessons.  Some lessons will be entirely theory based (with practical components), and some lessons will also be entirely programming.

Full lesson plans with starter activities, workbooks, exemplar workbooks, programming tasks and challenges are provided with a premium subscription.


Assessment

Student workbooks are assessed for breadth, depth and understanding.

Each topic has a mini-test of 20 marks.
Mini-test

Assessment grids, revision checklists and mini-tests and answers are provided with a premium subscription.



A’level resources

Before the lesson for homework

Students need to watch one or more of our videos BEFORE the lesson for homework.  Unlike GCSE, there is no “take notes” icon.  This scaffolding has been removed to prepare students for University.

Students should make their own notes in an exercise book, ideally using the Cornell method of note taking.

Pedagogy: read more from us about homework.

Videos for every bullet point of the specification are provided on our student website and hosted on YouTube for FREE.  Your students don’t need access to YouTube in school because they watch the videos for homework.  However, if you want to host them locally, they can be purchased on a memory stick from our shop.

The lesson plan

Lessons at A’level are much more flexible.  We don’t supply lesson plans in order to give A’level teachers more freedom.  However, we do supply hundreds of activities for students to engage with so that a lesson plan doesn’t really become necessary.  They are all relevant to A’level exams, and exactly matched to the requirements of the course.  These are not generic A’level activities.  The lesson plan is “have a go at the activities and programming tasks”.  It may sound repetitive, but the activities are varied, but also not overwhelming.  They are small bite-sized chunks of learning that build to a bigger whole.

Students have a “student learning record”, or SLR for each theory topic.  This contains a number of blank pages titled with a key question.  Students are given a range of mini-activities that once completed provide them with “assets” to paste into their SLR, creating their own workbook of the topic.  The scaffolding provided at GCSE has been significantly scaled back.

We suggest students complete their SLR at their own pace during a lesson, and during private study periods.  However, they should not spend a whole lesson working on these activities, but instead be selective about which ones help them answer the key question by providing evidence of learning, and then spending much of the time on programming activities and challenges.

You spend time with individuals checking their understanding.  From time-to-time you will want to stop all the students and go through the answers to some of the activities on the board.

At A’level we encourage students to have another go at the same programming tasks and challenges in a different language from what they learned at GCSE.  We use Visual Basic, not because it is a good or industry-standard language, but because it most closely resembles the pseudocode students will see in exams and provides a nice transition to Monkey-x that we use for games development too.

Hundreds of mini-activities with answers, SLRs, exemplar SLRs, programming tasks and challenges are provided with a premium subscription.

Assessment

Student learning records are assessed for breadth, depth, presentation and understanding.  Each key question can also be assessed using Solo taxonomy.  Symbols are provided on each slide.

Pedagogy: read more about solo taxonomy

Each topic has sample exam questions inside the SLR.

Assessment grids, revision checklists, sample exam questions and answers are provided with a premium subscription.

Project support

We teach our students Monkey-x, which they can use as a base engine for 2D computer games.  It’s a free and simple to learn framework as well as being suitably frustrating!  However, students can undertake almost any type of project providing it has sufficient algorithms and complexity.  Students are supported with a comprehensive 46 page guide book telling them how to approach each section of the project write-up and development.

Full walk-through tutorials and mini-projects for Monkey-x, support guide, templates, project trackers and suggested timelines are provided with a premium subscription.

Free samples

Would you like to try a sample of our resources before committing to a subscription?  You can download a small part of what our subscribers have access to.  Whilst they don’t do justice to the full range of classroom activities we have to offer, they will allow you to assess the quality, and whether our resources are right for your classroom before purchasing a subscription.

Go to “try us for free” page