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Animated beans

From citizenship to opera, a narrative poem has been used to provide interactive activities across the curriculum, says Pam Turnbull

Jack and the Beans Talk pound;285 (site-licence) Shoo Fly Publishing Tel: 0191 519 1800

This impressively produced resource uses the traditional folktale Jack and the Beans Talk to provide links across the curriculum from literacy to citizenship for Years 2 to 6, via music, science and geography.

With an audio CD and CD-Rom as well as a handbook, this resource also offers good value for money.

The CD-Rom provides an animated book, whiteboard activities and a bank of resources. The book can be used on stand-alone computers as well as on an interactive whiteboard and children can be read to or read the story themselves. Good animation, sound, rhyme, pace and graphics make for an engaging tale and the basis for masses of literacy activities.

Using this on an interactive whiteboard gives you access to 10 open activities, all based on the poem. For instance, by showing a page at a time, you can use the built-in tools to mask words and replace the rhymes, using the pen tool to circle letter strings, or the spotlighter and reveal tools to discuss how words are constructed.

Alternatively, you can have a page free of text and create your own version of the story, or one without colour or words, allowing a totally new story to be told.

Other activities offer labelling, sequencing of events, instructions, alliteration and character passports, all supported by differentiated photocopiable worksheets.

The ideas in the handbook encourage teachers to integrate the themes into other areas that enhance creativity and enjoyment. To help with this, the resource bank provides the tools to make your own whiteboard activities, displays, group and independent tasks using the backgrounds, characters and objects from the tale as well as photographs of real runner beans, theatres and puppets.

The audio CD holds the author's introduction to this version of the classic fairytale story, and songs and instrumentals with which to create your very own Mini Bean Operetta while dancing to the Bean Polka. This package could be dipped into for specific needs, but would work really well as a whole-school or key stage project.

l Requirements: Smart or Prometheon whiteboards - other boards present the activities as PowerPoint documents which you can use your whiteboard tools with in the normal way.

Pam Turnbull is ICT co-ordinator at the Heys Primary School, Tameside

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