Papermaker’s Tears

I was fortunate to learn from a group of artists at The DCA when I planned a project called ‘Paper’. The first live learning event was paper making, during this the artist introduced the concept of papermaker’s tears. This inspired a wee bash at animation.

(Another example of Papermaker’s tears)

Nest Building


After reading ‘The Magic Finger‘ there was a great deal of interest in nest building.

Trying to build a nest with a clothes peg or chopsticks is challenging!

These were created with recycled materials and some bark from peeling sticks.

Cling film, coated with PVA glue lined a disc cone and then strips were pressed across the surface. Each layer was painted with glue. Use sparingly!

Left to dry they peeled from the cling film relatively successfully.

inside nestgroup of nests

Aspirational, Autonomous, Awesomeness!

Some time ago we were invited to Be Very Afraid 5 at BAFTA with Stephen Heppell to share what we had learned from providing groups of children with a Nintendo DS and Nintendogs. (Just a wee reminder that at this point in history there were no iPads and I had just received the first iPhone as a Christmas present.)

Piloting and further roll out led to a research project. I learned a great deal about signature pedagogies through this project and this is the presentation I gave when I spoke with David Miller at the Game 2 Learn Conference in Dundee.

Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 10.04.52

 After many years I still hold on to these thoughts from those developments

  • The importance of play and child led learning. Children require space and time to learn. Observing from a distance and judging when to support and when not to is an art!
  • Shared devices require and enable collaboration. Enabling space for ‘huddles’ and the opportunity to move between ‘huddles’ builds capacity and confidence.
  • Summarising, making time for explanations, creating ‘how 2s’ is a valuable skill. There is a great example of this in the Moshling Zoo prezi.
  • A game can provide a challenging text. The incentive to read for information motivates children to decode.
  • And to name but a few it involved children in thinking strategically, planning out scenarios, collaboratively solving challenges in teams while having fun – essential life skills.

I further confirmed this for myself when I had the opportunity to develop some of the CfE capacities through the use of Moshlings Zoo for the DS with a Primary 1.

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The rewritten CfE technologies outcomes now include explicit mention of computational thinking. I have had the fortunate opportunity to focus on developing these concepts and approaches this past year. I have found the Barefoot Computing resources particularly helpful. I really like using the concepts and approaches poster to unpick the learning throughout the process. The game play and consequent creativity through the DS projects most definitely involved creating, collaboration, debugging, perseverance, evaluation.  The bullet points above continue to permeate the pedagogical approach I develop with the children I teach.

I still think these are my top 3!!

  1. I think we have a moral obligation to be aspirational for young people, to have high expectations of every individual.
  2. We need to create learning spaces and experiences that enable autonomy.
  3. The context and process of that learning should be awesome.

Triple A learning!!




Tea Party Time

After studying different pottery designs I supported some young artists to create their own.

We collected a selection of leaves and flowers.

These were arranged in many different ways until the artists were satisfied with their design.

The natural design was printed.

Every step was photographed and different stages in the process were printed.

The prints became teacups with the help of the wonderful Red Ted Art teacup printable.

These fabulous cups adorned a rather wonderful garden tea party.


Some time ago I visited the Design Museum in London, it was inspirational.

I was fascinated by this animation and I returned home to experiment with my camera and the macro options. Have a browse through the flicker album, link via image.


I painstakingly removed the individual parts by tweezer.

I laid them out separately and in groups in a bid to count the total number of parts.

I photographed the process to produce a set of images to stimulate mathematical discussions.

I hasten to add that I lost patience, perseverance and count!!

However  this idea has continued to develop over the years.