An interesting music lesson

A lesson on prac I enjoyed watching was a specialist teachers music lesson.  The students watched a story being read on the IWB while the teacher had to give a couple of students a catch up test outside the class.  The students discussed this story when the teacher returned and went on to writing music notes in their books. For this the teacher used the IWB to demonstrate music notes and moved them around the screen as required. This was a great visual way for students to see where each note was placed.  They then made trains and moved around to music and were given instruments to play while in a circle. Within this hour lesson so much happened and there were many multiple intelligence areas covered – audio, visual, kinaesthetic and musical. To add extra ICT to this lesson virtual instruments could have also been included. This is a website has virtual instruments which students could play – of course they wouldn’t replace the real thing but I thought they would be a great way to introduce different instruments and sounds.

To blog or not to blog?

The question was asked by Corinne on a Facebook study site – who will continue to blog when this subject is over?  I think there were a few groans, from me in particular as studying over Xmas has taken its toll and I haven’t had a decent break for a year.  The thought of more time spent staring at this screen is too painful to imagine.

So I googled ‘why people blog’ and found many answers – religious reasons, social connections, personal journals, business expertise… the list goes on.

The reasons most people blog it seems is to give themselves a voice.  A blog is a tool which can do this.

Well.. I have liked having a voice and I also have enjoyed other’s voices through blogging so after my break I might just find I will continue to blog. You never know? After all there is something to be said for the difference in wanting to and having to be a blogger.



Topic of interest – IWB in early childhood

Although we do not have an IWB at the kindy I work in we are looking at getting one so for this reason this is a topic of interest. I began to do some research to find how we can use them in the classroom to assist with children’s learning.  I came across a site here which asks this question and a student has completed this research for an assignment.

The student has listed and discussed helpful sites and linked articles on the advantages and disadvantages.  A link takes you to 65 free IWB resources and another link provides a look at the ways IWBs can be used e.g. group times, EBooks, digital story writing, free play and to capture audio and video work samples.

Here a fellow student Amy has discussed an IWB community called Promethe Planet in which her mentor has encouraged her to try.

There seems to be an endless supply of resources and many can be adapted for the early childhood context.

Topics of interest – ICT’s in Early childhood

After discovering the digital Story Bird site through fellow students I investigated this in action at work this week. My original plan was to use this site to create social stories on current issues such as sharing and either make hard copies to be placed in book corner or email them home for parents to reinforce and share with their children.

However, an incident occurred and which took this into a different direction.  The children asked for a story to be read and as it was very familiar they knew all the words so we read it aloud together. One child began being really silly and making up silly things that happened which was great as it inspired the other children’s input and imagination.

This gave me an idea – the children could each do a page on Story Bird on something funny that happens in the story. Although this took a couple of days and was doable as we have a fabulous student helper the children came up with their ideas, added illustrations and made it into a hard copy and read it aloud at group time.  The children really enjoyed seeing the results and have ownership over this book.  The best part of all was being able to email home to parents so they could read it also with their children.

Are blogs dangerous?

This week at work we were visited by our curriculum advisor and as I have been wondering about setting up a blog for our kindergarten class  I asked her if there were many kindergartens who had implemented one.  She explained although there has been a few recent debates upon the subject at this stage we are not allowed. I say at this stage as I am sure once the idea becomes a norm they will lose their caution. I have found an inspiring article here called ‘Social media in Education”  which highlights the reasons one kindergarten is finding this successful.

One point which stands out on the benefits of a blog is obvious but to facilitate communication with parents.  People lead busy lives and this provides a tool for parents to sit down with their child for a few minutes and capture the snap shots of the child’s day (minus the child in the photos of course).  As well as keeping parents informed this sparks conversations on the child’s day and as a parent we all know the child’s usual answer to what happened at kindy/school is ‘nothing’. Blogging gives children a voice and an audience to share their voice.

There are of course risks that come with blogging and I have found one site called ‘The dangers in blogging’ which if one day we get green light to go ahead I will be sure to take note of the advice given here.

Shhh! look quick, it’s a dinosaur

An incident at work last week made me see how negatively parents are using  technology for young children.  In this example a child who was leaving kindy was screaming and yelling and his mother simply looked at him with no reaction but to hand him her iphone with a picture of a dinosaur.  The child stopped screaming and calmed down to stare at it. Although this may seem like a successful strategy is it just another opportunity to quiet a kid down with screen entertainment?

I stumbled across an article called “Is technology sapping children’s creativity?” which asked this very question.  It stated “screens can occupy, distract, and entertain children for sure; the appealing game or show really “works” in the short term. But harmful habits set in early on both sides: for the child, learning to look outside of oneself for happiness or distraction in tough times; for parents, learning to rely on screens instead of our own ingenuity to soothe and occupy kids”

As the article states by distracting children with screens to overcome their sadness they lose opportunities to learn resilience and social skills.  What a shame!

Tuning in on the blah blah blah

Over the last week especially it has really hit home that this ICT course has changed my outlook and interest in this area.  One instance was tonight on the way home from school my son was explaining an assignment he was required to do. In amongst his complaining of the injustice of it all he listed off his choices.  Instead of hearing blah blah blah my ears pricked up at his choices. One choice was Story Bird – where had I read about that before?  I was quick to encourage him to use Story bird for my learning benefit as well and later remembered I had read about this on a blog.  I have located the blog and would like to thank Vicki for this moment as because of her I heard more than blah blah blah and have now located a fantastic website full of stories and ideas!

Ebooks vs hard copies

I read a post by a fellow student Ashleigh who questions the growing use of ebooks. Although I really love my kindle and the fact I can get a book without stepping out the door I do agree with Ashleigh as I also like to have a concrete object.  I am always a bit confused when I see children’s picture books as Ebooks, how can they look at the beautiful illustrations on a digital screen?  Maybe they can be used on a IWB but I cannot imagine how you could sit on the couch with a group of kindergarten children all peering into the little kindle screen. JK Rowling is not a fan of ebooks and has purposely set her Harry Potter ebooks price higher than a hard copy.  However after thinking about this issue of ebooks for children I came up with an obvious advantage – Children can’t rip the pages!

Villemard’s vision

Today on study desk I found a fascinating look at cartoons drawn in the early 1900’s which depict life in 2000 click here. Although the artist had some wonderful ideas on what life could be like, he had a total underestimation of technology.  I especially enjoyed the classroom scene with the students plugged into overhead head gear.  Off the subject of ICT I also quite was amused with the clothing he envisaged people of today wearing as the students were drawn in tights and knickerbockers. However in some ways  he was ahead of the time. Where was the paper – students today still rely on writing even if it is on a key board?  Were the books shown being placed in a shredder?

Is Scootle a secret?

Before this course I had never heard of Scootle unlike other students who were most excited when we were asked to investigate activities through Scootle.  This is not surprising as most things are new to me, however I have asked 3 teachers from different schools if they use Scootle and have got blank looks every time.  Upon explaining Scootle is a website containing digital resources which support the Australian curriculum they still look bewildered. I am finding this very strange, afterall teachers are the ones this website is directed to and what a fabulous information it provides. So I began to wonder how are schools missing this information?  And if there is one thing prac students can teach their mentors perhaps this is it?