Yesterday my mentor was sick so I stepped up and requested to teach the whole day. Looking back at my mentor observations (written down) I was able to quickly design the lessons for the day and provide the students with interesting and fun activities to reinforce their understanding of the new concepts I was about to teach. I found the whole day ran rather smoothly and the children were kept to their normal routine. Transitions flowed well as did behaviour management of the whole class. Although it was not the first time I had taken it upon myself to teach the whole day, it was the first day without my mentor present. The next day I showed her what I had planned and she was very pleased with everything I had organised. I am now feeling very confident and nearly fully understand how everything rolls. Two more days to go and hopefully all the boxes will be ticked. Tomorrow is ‘Superhero’ day so tonight planning again for some fun learning experiences. I have so far designed ‘Kryptonite ball toss’ to support their gross motor and to build on numeracy skills (counting to 10). They will be recording their scores /5 on a tally graph (they write their initials, press (4) dots if they got 4 balls in the bucket and draw the number 4 using the iPad. I used the Book Creator App and saved their drawing to iBooks which are both free downloads from the Apple iTunes store.
They will also be painting small rocks green and sprinkling with glitter to make their own Kryptonite (fine motor). Pinterest – Superhero games
Am really enjoying the integrated curriculum whereby all learning experiences can be tagged to different outcomes across the Frameworks (QKLG, EYLF). Two more days to go!!!!!
After two great weeks of Professional Experience, my third week continues to roll pretty much the same way. I am so fortunate to be under the wing of my mentor who has her Masters in Early Childhood. She is so supportive and accommodating to any ideas and lessons I come up with. Today she was very impressed with my lesson which sadly did not include any ICT however will be included as a run on from this one tomorrow. Last week I blogged about one little girl (5) who was interested in the ‘Author’ aspect of a book. Every day she comes up to me with a new book and asks “Did somebody make this book?” Today she was so excited to be able to become an author as she got to write her own book.
The children in the Kindergarten room are involved in a program where many subjects and outcomes are integrated with each other. Last week some of the learning experiences included conventions of reading, letter recognition and counting to 10. With all this in mind, and in support of student initiated learning (Ella wanted to write her own book), I created a lesson that would cover all areas. I made a booklet called ‘My numbers 1-10’. Students had to write their name on the front cover under ‘Author’. The lesson began with them each having their own bag of brightly covered buttons and each had a turn to count and place on the Ten’s Frame on the floor I had made. They would guess the number and prove it by counting one to one correspondence of each button. At the end I asked them ‘How many more would you need to get to 10?” when they had 7,8,9. They loved the challenge of the higher order thinking questions which were new to them as they are have been practicing counting to 10 but not adding! After that introduction, they all were given their own copied book of numbers 1-10 to glue in objects to match the number in the book. They were all counting each time they pasted 4 fluffy balls or 7 pieces of twine they had glued in. Ella loved it that she had made her own book and was now a budding ‘Author’ Tomorrow they will all get to finish the book and take it home to their parents. To incorporate ICT into the lesson and to amplify the learning, I am going to teach small groups how to create a story on the iPad using the iBooks App and save it to My Books. Although they will not get a chance to print this, the program App will be mentioned in the Storypark Blog the parents receive each day. They could practice using it at home, of course with their parents permission. I was so pleased to create a lesson that enabled the students to work across the curriculum (communicating/literacy, communicating/numeracy and Active Learning (ICT) tomorrow. In addition, many were also able to meet suggested outcomes in the EYLF and the QKLG.
With this being my last week, and as well as teaching most lessons throughout the day, I am also concentrating on daily/weekly planning, learning stories (blog) and transitioning the students in an orderly manner. The children are very good students and we are all having such a lovely time together…I think I’ll be sad to leave it all in a few days.
What didn’t go so well today#
The teacher was out of the room for a couple of hours for the day and I was left in the room with another staff member. It was really difficult for me to practice transition strategies with the students as the other staff member would often stop the children and give them a little lecture. I felt the students were becoming confused and tired with the different approaches so I decided to put off until tomorrow when the teacher was back in the room.
Another great week where I spent most of the day teaching. Being so young, the children have only two explicit sessions throughout the day. The first session occurs after play and morning tea at 10.00. This runs for approximately 1 hour and usually includes a literacy or numeracy session followed by rotational play based activities that the students are encouraged to join in with. Many of these activities are centred around fine motor development. There are also opportunities to develop their gross motor with outside game activities also incorporating the new learning. In the afternoon the students also have another small window of learning experiences such as reading conventions, show and tell and/or recapping of earlier learning experiences.
I have had a really great week where I have planned and delivered 5 engaging lessons. My mentor has given me nothing but positive feedback and has been hugely impressed with the plan and the activities that I have created to support their new learning. Although the students are young, there have been many opportunities to incorporate some form of ICT to amplify their learning. I have really loved the teaching experiences in this environment. The children are old enough to sit appropriately, engage in discussions and actively learn from the experience. I have ensured that all of the lessons are hands on and accompanied with bright and colourful concrete materials and multi modal presentations to engage.
One particular student named Ella (5) stood out yesterday. Over the course of the week, I have been teaching the students the conventions of reading. They have learnt that books have Authors, spines and titles. I have read a couple of Jeannie Baker books to them and had explained that many authors use similar themes and if they like a book they can find others by noting the author. Ella brought a book to me after quiet reading and said ‘Did somebody make this book’? All of a sudden there were another 4 children around asking about the authors so I showed them where they could find their names on other books. Then we decided that we could help each other to make a book next week. I also showed them the the iBooks App where they could make a book online and print it out. They loved drawing lines and faces on the App I had downloaded. This intentional teaching episode has prompted me to organise activities and lessons next week around the creation of their own book where they will become authors. In the The Early Years Learning Framework Professional Learning Program newsletter, ‘Intentional teaching is thoughtful, informed and deliberate’.
I am really fortunate that my mentor incorporates some form of ICT to amplify the learning each day. With only 1 smart board and 2 iPads, she really does make use of the limited devices. It is a shame that, as Karey mentions, many early years facilities do not utilise the tools as much as schools. This week I have used the following ICT tools to amplify learning by using:
- Graphic organiser of the lesson objective and activities
- To project multimodal presentation of song and rhyme (Olives rhyme and story) about letter ‘Y’
- Used to project the beginning of the story ‘Where the forest meets the Seas’ by Jeannie Baker. Children loved listening to sounds of the bush and sea and enjoyed seeing the bird fly around. After playing the first minute, I then read the book. It was great to prompt prior knowledge about the sea and forest which many had not experienced. We also had a discussion about different ways of reading a book.
- Projecting a slide I had created for the children to come up and place their object (foam shape) onto the correct same shape column in a ‘sorting into groups by attributes’ maths activity.
- Used to present a fun, engaging episode of children’s yoga (10 minutes) after we had discussed and sorted ‘sometimes’ and ‘often’ food we can eat.
- Used to practice writing their letter of the week (G)
- ICT lesson (Active learning QKLG): Discussion of how to hold and use safely and explain safe use of Apps.
- Literacy (Communicating QKLG): Children practiced drawing faces and writing their names as authors on iBooks, learning about conventions of print.
- Used in Maths lesson (Communicating) in a rotational activity to engage in sorting experiences using several Apps after a lesson.
- Queensland Handwriting App used to invite individual students forward to practise writing letter of the week (Y). (Communicating)
- Used to hold steady and scan QR codes of alphabet names of fruit/veges I had created and embedded. (Active Learning/Communicating)
- Used to take photos of each other to place on their Kindergarten Story Park blog.
- (Active Learning) Used to show different means of reading a book and safe use (ask your Mum and Dad if you can use – don’t just take!)
- Used to QR scan codes
Another lesson down. Students were recapping last week’s letter of the week (G), other letters and sound they have learnt and their new sound ‘Y’. Devised a plan to cover all three stages using Blooms taxonomy to ask questions such as ‘What is?. Where is? How could you?. Can you? and What other?’
Prior learning of letters and sounds and new learning experience of the letter ‘Y’. Then recapping their new learning with a You Tube clip ‘Olive and the rhyme rescue cue – letter Y and further adding ‘Y’ activities to their rotations. Note to self…do not place fine motor gluing activities on a table under the fan!!!! Anyway the lesson went to plan and the teacher feedback was very positive. Also found some really great kindergarten letter/number activities on kidzone. Very helpful for extra activity sheets.
As part of the QKLG’s Learning and Development Areas, Active Learning suggests children should use information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking. Students should explore tools, technologies and information and communication technologies (ICTs) in play and active learning using information and communication technologies for a range of purposes (QSA, 2010).
Keeping to the above curriculum, today I presented a really engaging lesson for the children. My idea stemmed from the children all wearing superhero or other themed tee shirts and hats to kindergarten each day, i.e, batman, hello kitty, Dora, cars, Barbie. We had a big discussion about symbols and their purpose and brainstormed where we see symbols in the real world. I had also taken some photos of the symbols and showed them on the iPad. I showed them a barcode and QR code and some of them recognised both symbols. Then they learnt how to hold the iPad safe and steady to scan a QR code. They loved guessing the name of the A-Z of fruits/veges that I had typed into the code and they enjoyed watching the green line scan and beep. They want to have another go tomorrow! Although they don’t really understand the concept of the codes, they were able to practice using the ICT safely and steady and the opportunity arose to discuss safe ICT practices at home e.g., don’t touch Mum or Dads phone without asking! The lesson cut across many areas of the curriculum including Active learning – ICT and Communicating – Symbols, purposes of text. The teacher thought the whole lesson was was an engaging and fun way to teach the students how to safely use devices. She was very impressed.
Decided to integrate all my lesson plans to meet several outcomes in the EYLF and EYCG. First lesson was a hit! The children were really engaged from the beginning by focusing on a brightly coloured visual organiser displayed onto the whiteboard. They could see what they were doing and I also showed them two of the completed activities so they knew what was expected of them. We then had a big discussion about the foods we can eat sometimes and the foods we can eat often. They have started a sort poster and are bringing in images from home to place each day on the chart. A numeracy lesson later in the week is centred around sorting so hopefully will keep the wellbeing discussions going as well. After we had our discussion, the students followed a very bright multimodal visual of someone performing yoga movements for 10 minutes (saved me doing it – plan B!!!!) The IWB appears to be a great success for such activities as it is so bright and colourful and so large. All of the students followed the movements (4-5 years) and were completely engaged throughout the whole session. We then made pretend kebabs with a gluing activity and they also cut up real fruit to place on a kebab stick and eat.. Now they are ALL sleeping. A very healthy theme today and every child met the outcomes of the day. We shall finish off with the story of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ later when they wake up.
One moment that really stood out was when I showed them a packet of popcorn and half of the class said it was for ‘sometimes’, and the others said it was for ‘often’. The students had a really healthy discussion on why they thought it would go this side or the other. They were all using their manners and describing words such as salty, sweet, buttery! In the end we read the packet which said ‘SALTY, SWEET POPCORN’ they all discussed further and voted on where it should be placed. The votes won for the ‘sometimes’ side and I asked a student to tell the class why he chose to put it there… he pointed to the words on the packet and said they were like chips – sometimes!
My mentor gave great feedback and said the activities I had chosen were very different, effective and engaging. I thought my lesson ran very well and it appeared the students all had fun, especially the yoga session. The students will be able to look at images of themselves and stories when they log in with their parents tonight to Story park and reflect on their learning throughout the day.
Learning stories are used to note student’s emotions and actions that provide teachers and parents with a ‘point-in-time snapshot’ of the students learning that is continuously evolving (QKLG, 2010 p.17). The learning stories uploaded to the Story Park blog site will fit nicely with Connectivism theories as students use technology (parents laptop) to participate in discussions and interact and reflect on their learning (Siemans, 2005 p.6). Piaget and Vygotsky theories were also followed to help students form relationships when they participated in a learning experience (wellbeing discussions and yoga) with the whole class. .I also feel that the use of the ICT (Interactive Whiteboard) amplified the students learning when using the brightly coloured multimodal presentation (Yoga/graphic organiser) to engage all learning types in the room. Without the ICT, the students would not have had the yoga experience and the discussion about how good they were feeling afterwards.
Anyway 2 down and 3 to go!
What a great week but like Emma a very busy one! Loved the bouncy balls website that Emma has put up and will definitely use for some music time next week. Finally got to teach a full lesson to whole class, however the teacher was called out of the room ….. ! oh dear – but really pleased to see the children all engaged and it all went well. The IWB had connection problems but I was able to hotspot my iPhone and bring the YouTube clip up on my laptop. They were learning the conventions of print and it was great to be able prompt their thinking about beaches and forests by watching the beginning of a multimodal story of ‘Where the Forest meets the Sea’. They saw birds flying and heard all the forest and sea noises. What stood out to me was that everybody had a chance to identify with the features of the beach and forest as some had not been in a forest. They really loved the book and wanted to watch the whole video of the story….next week!
My mentor is so lovely and helpful and uses technology whenever she can. On Monday the students are going to practice holding the iPad steady and using it safely while they scan a QR code. I have coded names of healthy fruit and vegetables from A-Z underneath as they are learning letters and sounds at present. Hit a wall when I had to think of a vegetable or fruit starting with X! Anyway free Apps from Apple to scan and free coding site here. Just type a word and it automatically creates a QR code to print out. It will be interesting to see their reaction when their scan reads a word! All of my lessons have been created and will follow a ‘healthy’ theme next week. Hope the IWB works though or I will have to create my own Yoga lesson!!
Day 3 was filled again with observations and small group intentional teaching episodes. The kindergarten runs with the same letter and sound of the week so have planned to teach a couple of learning experiences around that. Trouble is the little students choose and vote on their own letter. Hopefully the teacher will let me direct them into learning about the letter ‘Y’ that I have designed my lesson around. Because all KLA’s are integrated with each other into rotations, I have designed my lessons to do the same running through the week. Everyday is different here, some days there are more than others, sleeping, eating and playing also take up a large chunk of the day so am trying to offer small teaching moments to individuals and groups where there is opportunity. Any way my 5 lessons will all run together through next week and hopefully I get to teach a whole learning experience to the whole class…..unless, as happened this week, three times a week half of them leave to attend a extra curricula affair (dancing and soccer!)