So at some point I got really annoyed at all the Greenfoot resources out there in the world. They didn’t teach anything other than how to answer a specific question in a certain style, if that changed (say, the exam board updated their spec) then the students just couldn’t achieve the same results and – worse – just had not idea why they were doing anything.

Worse, most of the resources are out of date and based on the old specification, they’re also nearly all just screen recordings of Greenfoot which, let’s be honest with ourselves, looks like 90s Java Swing just had a good day. Even the ‘official’ resources are just some dude speaking over a screen recording.

I set out to make a comprehensive set of video lessons to replace this stuff and serve as a gold standard of what I wanted to be teaching when delivering OOP to KS4. I decided that videos had to have the following characteristics:

  • Must cover the content from the 2017+ spec (current) including everything asked for in the example questions given during training events
  • Explain WHY we were building things in certain ways, or why things were happening
  • As much as possible only use native functions (unless dealing with specific exam-board implementations) so the skills learned can be reused
  • Have purpose build graphics and animations to support dual coding and explanations
  • Make it scripted so that there’s not lots of pausing for code or thinking
  • Give it a bit of personality so that it’s not the world’s most boring video course

I hope I’ve achieved that with this video set. If you’re interested in taking a look please do, you’re welcome to use them for your lessons, self study or distance learning. If you’re not as concerned about OOP as I am you can skip the first video almost entirely.

There are another few videos to add but the primary content is complete and it now works as a complete course.

I have produced a mock question paper to go along with it, as well as a starter scenario file to get you going, which you can download below.

As ever feedback is encouraged and appreciated, and if you get some mileage out of my resources I can point you to my posters if you fancy making your classroom a little brighter and supporting the site.


Pirate Island Worksheet

Just the PDF worksheet styled like a WJEC past paper question. Includes mark scheme on page 2.

Pirate Island Resources

A zip file containing the images needed, the greenfoot scenario folder and a copy of the worksheet. This can be distributed directly to students.

YouTube Playlist

The link to the youTube playlist that contains all of the lessons. It will be added to as new sessions are completed.

I’ve been teaching programming in Computer Science for fifteen years and I’m always looking for ways to make it better. Most recently I’ve been focussing on how students can take better notes when learning the concepts of programming through code, and I think I have a working model for note taking when dealing with code examples.

There is compelling evidence that hand-writing aids in the retention of information, so it’s important to ask students to hand write their notes when learning about a topic and programming is no exception.

After lots of versioning and trial and error I’ve come up with a two-page (or one double sided print) to support students in clear and useful note taking when learning code.

The front of the sheet is designed for notation of code samples and includes:

  • 18 code lines with indentation guides to support the syntax of Python and Pseudo as well as properly formatted code in other languages
  • Line-by-line annotation to encourage clear, descriptive explanations of code blocks
  • Topic, Concept, Filename, ELI5 (explain like I’m five) and Keywords boxes to encourage students to think about and explain what they’ve learned.
  • RAG rating for instant access to levels of understanding

The back is set up for further analysis, including:

  • Trace tables to dry run algorithms and code samples
  • Notes lined section for students own notes about the topics
  • Sections for Date and the Programming language to allow for searching later
  • Cheat sheet to allow students to identify key parts of code that they can reuse later
  • WWW, EBI section to allow evaluation of their practice

I’d really love to see what you can achieve by giving these a go, print them out for your students and run your programming lessons as normal – hopefully you’ll see the same sort of improvements that I am.

Go on, grab ’em – they’re free! If you want to support my work and say thanks then consider buying my classroom posters.

Download A4 PDF

Download A3 PDF

These remain the copyright of and are licensed to you for use freely in your lessons without modification. They should not be edited, remixed or reused in any other way  and are definitely not for reuse in a commercial sense without written permission.