This is the page for Cotswold Prep School. Our new website is at Cotswold Prep


I am the computer lab teacher at the school and I have a reflective blog at www.cotslabnotes.blogspot.com





  • We used this opportunity when talking about critical thinking to teach the children to play chess. Most of our Grade 3's have never played before. We don't have enough real boards for everyone so I used a free game download for the computers in our lab. The advantage of playing on the computer is that the computer stops them making ├»llegal moves - especially in the beginning stages. It's quite difficult for one person to keep an eye on numerous games. We explained that chess is a game of strategy and strategy requires critical thinking. They have become enthusiastic players.

  • Challenges of being a hunter-gatherer: In this activity they were given a scenario. They are hunter-gatherers/ cavedwellers. There are no wheels, phones, guns, shops, plastic, convenience stores etc. The wife says the family is running out of meat from the last hunt and it is time to go out again. The men set out in a group of 6 to hunt and come across a buffalo. They kill it using bows and poisoned arrows and a spear (children's idea). They looked up the size and weight of a buffalo. They then had to work out how they would get this buffalo to the women to prepare a meal. For this activity they were given a scaffolded sheet with the story and they had to complete it in story form incorporating their solutions. Some of their responses have been posted on our website blog.

  • Brainstorming is a great skill to develop early. We are using the question, "Can we survive without trees?" to practice this. We started out by getting them to brainstorm in pairs what they know about trees. When the teams have finished the brainstorm they then research what trees give us. Working in two's they write a report answering the question using their findings and format their document with fonts, colour and images.

  • Intel's Visual ranking tool. Using this tool the students work as a whole group and formulate a list of important inventions. They then open a visual ranking project and log in. They are required to rank the inventions from most important to least important. When everyone has ranked the inventions they compare their list with that of other groups. After this they discuss why they thought a particular invention was more or less important.

  • What happens to our food when we swallow it? In this activity the children open a blank line drawing of the body in Paint. They use the tools in Paint to draw what happens to their food and how it is used by the body for all cells. For some of our children this is a big mystery...

    • Internet Safety: Students watch a short videoabout a child who falls into a trap set by an online predator. They analyse the video and list the mistakes the girl made. They then blog/ make a poster/ presentation on staying safe online - especially with regard to "stranger danger". Refer back to the two videos used at the start of the course and discuss which kind of thinker the girl in the video represents.

    • We started a blog in Kidblog.org - one for each class with all members of the class linked. We reviewed the online safety principles from the last lesson. I gave students the opportunity to browse our school photos in the shared folder on our lab network and they inserted one into their blog. They then had to give it a title and write a paragraph about it using creative thinking skills. The next step is to give them the opportunities to come up with ideas of how to post appropriate comments in others student's blogs. If they don't cover all the guidelines I will make sure they are aware of the need to be polite, positive and encouraging. I have made contact through Twitter with a teacher in USA who has a class of Grade 3's who have also just started blogging in Kidblog and we plan to get the two classes commenting on one another's post. Awesome authentic global connections.

      • We have connected with a class from Sydney, Australia and one of our Grade 3 classes is hosting their Flat Rosie. The connection was made through the power of Twitter to connect teachers and students across the world. Here is a link to the landing page for the Flat Rosie connection.


        The rest of the Grade 3 classes have written a new blog post this week entitled: What does it take to be a champion? This topic is a follow up to the exciting Olympic and Paralympic games we have just witnessed. I am using a real world situation and an open question to give the children the opportunity to think critically.