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Come Alive Superheroes

  1. Publisher Yellow Door

  2. Foundation Stage and KS 1

  3. Literacy

Professional Review by Christian Duckworth

Your Professional Context
I am a teacher working with children aged 4-11 in a small primary school. Our school is in a semi-rural area and has 110 children in four mixed age classes. I teach ICT to all the children in school and am the ICT co-ordinator. I would use Come Alive Superheroes in the Foundation and Key Stage 1 classes as part of their ICT lessons with links to the Early Learning Goals and the Literacy curriculum.

Students’ usage
The students could use the program as part of their ICT and Literacy lessons. I usually teach ICT skills linked to a specific curriculum subject working with a year group at a time in the ICT suite, often with the class teacher working with a group of children on specific tasks or targets.
I would introduce the topic as a whole class lesson using the interactive whiteboard. The children could then work either on the computers individually or in pairs, using small world figures, in the role play area or in the reading and creative area.
The activities could be used by small groups of children and by individual children or pairs of children working together on a computer. It could be used on both the whiteboard and on the individual computer.
The activities can be used on a whiteboard; the Superhero Story starters would make excellent whiteboard activities but could also be used on individual computers or even printed out for work away from the computers. The Superhero Adventures could also be used either on a whiteboard or on individual computers.
There are a variety of activities that could take place away from the computers, such as print-outs of the main Story starter scenes and the Superhero Adventures. The Superpowers Revealed screens explore particular powers used by superheroes and would lead to other investigative work by the children away from the computers. There are also resources to produce original activities included in the program.
The resources are readily available from the disc but young children may find it difficult to locate them. The resources could, however, be saved in the pupil shared area to enable easier acces.
Most of the children would be able to use the program with adult help if access to the resources was simplified as above. The other resources for small world play and role play would not need adult intervention other than at the introduction to the topic.

Curriculum Focus
The program notes say that the program is designed to “give children practice in a range of cross curricular skills whilst developing their competence in ICT”.
It covers a number of topics. The main ICT skills used are be clicking/dragging, using a mouse or finger on an interactive whiteboard, making music using the computer, and using sound effects.
The program lends itself to the students working individually or in small groups at the computer or in a larger group using the interactive whiteboard.

When using this program, I will have a flexible approach depending on the topic and other resources that I use. Sometimes I will use it to introduce a topic; at other times it will be more appropriate to use it once the topic has been started.

The program is designed to support both ICT skills and Literacy particularly the area of fiction writing, rather than to teach a specific topic.
The program has been developed to the extent that there is sufficient content to enable the program to be used within the ICT lessons over a half term (in which children have one hour per year group per week as specific ICT skills lessons) and to support literacy work in class during this time. I would integrate it into my teaching and use it as an additional resource with other classes.

Value as a teaching resource
The program comes with a variety of ideas for teaching in both ICT and Literacy areas. The supporting materials are excellent. For example, the small wooden superhero figures support the main program but also enable children to explore scenarios and make up their own stories. The Cross Curricular Guide is full of excellent ideas for extending children's learning opportunities and outlines ways of using the materials in a variety of settings. I plan to use it in the coming Autumn Term as our focus topic is “people”.

The interactive screens are excellent and will stimulate a lot of discussion. I particularly liked the facility to import and use photographs of the children within the superhero scenes. The supporting material is good quality and fun to use.
The Superpowers Revealed section is good as a starting point but would need adult preparation and advice to be of most benefit; it is a starting point rather than an activity in itself. There are some videos that support this area but they are in a separate folder on the disc.
The Superhero Adventures games are attractive and enable children to practice clicking and dragging but do not offer any progression and scores cannot be saved on the computers.
There are a number of extra features worth mentioning. The program offers resources for teachers on the CD-Rom within the main program and in the Come Alive Superheroes cross curricular resource pack. A pack of wooden Superhero figures is available as is a role play cape and a set of Citi-scape building blocks. Whilst the extra resources are available as extras they are by no means essential and the teacher resources explain how to make your own resources if they are not available.

The content is appropriate to Foundation and Key Stage 1 children and to older learners who need support in writing and role play. The spoken instructions are very useful to support children who are unable to read yet or are poor readers. The topic is one which will appeal to most young children and will allow them to develop their own storytelling and role play fantasies.

Come Alive Superheroes is an interesting package of activities suitable for Foundation and Key Stage 1 children to use within Literacy and ICT lessons. The activities encourage collaborative talking and listening, story writing, role play and research skills. The topic of Superheroes will appeal to most young children and offers scope for individual teachers to develop the theme in the direction that suits the children they are working with. The ICT skills needed are those of clicking and dragging mainly so enabling children to work independently from a young age. There are additional resources for teachers to use within Smart Notebook or Promethean Activinspire formats to create new activities and resources.