Do you have WALT and WILF in your classroom?

This question was raised by Bec on her blog and I like the concept. These classroom signs can be downloaded from this site and will make great prompts for the teaching team.

A quick trip around the classroom this arvo has seen a few people commenting on prac and reflecting on the assignment. Katie commented on her prac and busy schedule and Janine asked the question has prac changed what we would do. For me no, but I had a marvellous mentor and loved every minute of the prac.

Some Students seemed to be hosted by less than ideal mentors who were not really putting the best of the Teaching profession on display. Hopefully for these people it has made them stronger (now they have had time to recover) and will lead to them to know what they do not want to become.

Janine also mentioned Tina Holst’s blog and a link called Teaching Made easy. There is also another link that I really like called Free Technology for Teachers and one for Early childhood linking to meaningful observations. Shannice made some more iPad connections and Mrs Frintzilas seemed to  have great time teaching poetry and connecting to the real world outside the classroom.

Jody directed me to a site called Fun Brain so I will leave the link here for you to check it out. Fun brain has many different types of games and would be a child’s delight I think.

So the closing date for the last assignment is tomorrow at midnight. Despite my best intentions I have yet to complete this. I am probably about 4 hours away so that’s where I’m off to now.

Linking is Learning and Learning is Linking.

Even as this semester draws to a close I am still finding links for learning. Reading through the Diigo site earlier today I found so many things that I can still link to and learn from. I read somewhere that the effectiveness of a link is determined by the activity of that person or blog that the link is linked to. Sort of makes sense really. Linking is a bit like professional gossip in the nicest possible way. The more you pass it on the more it grows.

One of the topics I worked on during my prac was Maths and subitising. I found this link today it has many different links for maths so have fun.

I also want to share with you some of the amazing technology we were shown as part of the last weeks learning path for EDC 3100. The new technology that is on the horizon is awe inspiring to say the least, however adding it to this page is proving to be more difficult so I will be right back. Sue at Edublogs help had the answer. If the uploaded clip is too wide for the screen just change the dimensions in the height and width section. So easy when you know how!

Up Down and Around-A great book to add to your class list.

During my prac I found this book Up Down and Around by Katherine Ayres at the local library and the children really enjoyed the beautiful pictures and the simple rhyme of the text. The story takes place in a vegetable garden Katherine Ayres is the author and I have added her blog here as a link for you. I also found this site which has lots of good reading attached. Katherine’s books also have a Curriculum Guide attached which is American but could easily be adjusted to meet the Australian Curriculum Guidelines and requirements.

I have copied some of Katherine’s own words here from her blog post back in 2011.

“I was recently interviewed by an online book shop, Little Ones Books, about my picture book Up, Down, and Around.  They asked some fun questions, so here’s [some of] the interview—

Q: What is the main message you want children to get out of your book Up, Down, and Around?
Ayres:  Help! No messages! Books are to enjoy. I hope children will get excited about seeing those giant carrots, and oh my goodness, how many ants are there on the pages, and look there’s a worm under the ground. The sense of wonder is one of the most precious gifts of childhood and I’m hoping my books appeal to that sense.
Q: What was the most fun aspect of creating and writing UP, Down, and Around?
Ayres:  Seeing the art! You write a picture book text and sort of imagine how it might turn out, but once I saw some of Nadine Westcott’s sketches I got very excited. The writing wasn’t too hard, as there aren’t too many words in this book. I did fiddle around with the verbs–climb, vine, twine, wind. That was fun.

Apps for appiness in early childhood.

Once again a visit to one of my peers Emma and found a list if apps for early childhood. Karla also commented on a post by Emma about the digital microphones. This is one tool I used during my prac but just realised I had not blogged about it so I will leave you with Emma’s link. I have also visited Michelle’s post where she compares the use of interactive projectors over the traditional IWB. Being new at the whole IWB experience I can still see the benefits as Michelle describes especially for the younger students and the reduced cost for the initial purchase. Worth considering I think.


More links for Early Childhood.

I went visiting again this morning and on Rachel’s blog I discovered a link to some more sites for Early Childhood. These all require a Facebook account to view them but they have some great resources. Childs play music and then their is Funtastic Early Childhood Ideas set up by an experienced Early childhood member who has collated lots of ideas. The ICT site has so many wonderful ideas, if only I had found this before prac!! I looked a few sites on the ICT site and I really like this one with the alphabet.

The Alphabet 2 from n9ve on Vimeo.

Today is the last day I am working on Assignment 3. I have read, collated, edited etc. and now I think it is finally time to submit. When I began this learning journey into technology I had no idea how much I had to learn. There is still a huge expanse waiting to be filled with ICT knowledge but it will have to wait.  I still have some blogging to do as part of the last week of the course then it is time to log off for a while and check out the rose garden!

Books and blurbs create more books.

Jamie has started a great conversation books versus kindles, ipads and ebooks, about reading a paper book versus a ebook on a tablet of mobile device of some description. Jess has also joined in the conversation and now I want to add some comments of my own and direct you to a great new book.

The article the Jamie linked to is about the importance of getting students to read and I agree this is the most important part of the argument. It really does not matter what or how the students read what is important is that they are reading and experiencing the joy of journeying through another part of the world through someone else’s eyes.

I love books, this is widely evident in the many resources I use for teaching and for personal enjoyment. I have a new book added to my bookshelf just recently which I recommend for all teachers but especially those who may have a child who has added challenges in life.

William Wattley-Smith by Wendy Law-Davis (2013) is the story was written  by Wendy as part of her Bachelor of Education Early Childhood Course at ECU and is modelled on a child who does not grow as expected and so is a potential target at school. Wendy used to create her book.

I have used part of Wendy’s reflection here as she describes her book:

The plot is chronological, following a number of days in William’s life. Some simple flashbacks (Lynch-Brown et al., 2011, p. 37) provide information that help the reader to know the character of William. There are two conflicts presented in the story. The first is a “person-against-self conflict” (Lynch-Brown et al., 2011, p. 35) as William struggles to understand why his heart is so important when it seems that size and appearance are considered to be the essential ingredients for a happy life and the second is a “person-against-person conflict” (Lynch-Brown et al., 2011, p. 36) as William deals with the feelings of hurt caused by a much larger boy calling him names. William has to make a moral choice of whether he will return nasty feelings or offer kindness to Harry. The story ends with the resolution of both conflicts.

Reference: Lynch-Brown, C., Tomlinson, C., & Short, K. (2011). Essentials of children’s literature (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education Inc.

Aim for the impossible.

Listening to and watching a video with Gary Stager
posted back in week 4 of EDC3100 has provided some real food for thought as the speaker touched on many key points of learning for Early Childhood. He spoke of providing periods of uninterrupted play, of expecting students to achieve by providing them with time and opportunity to construct their learning and of aiming for the impossible.

I feel that so often we limit student learning by interrupting them for all sort of reasons such as time to eat, time to pack away, time to rest etc. etc. This video is 40 mins in length but worth every minute when it comes to clarifying what is important in creating the opportunity to learn new and exciting ways to construct knowledge.

The Tower of Babel in reverse.

This comment caught my attention as we have recently been discussing the effects on the Tower of Babel and I thought what a clever analogy of Information Communication Technologies this is. Not so long ago a mouse was a small fury animal that squeaked and no-one wanted them in their home and the desktop was the top of the desk. I’m sure their sure many more that could be compared. So much has changed with the ’21st Century language”.

I have been reading an article by Chris Dede (2009) a Harvard Graduate who has collated many different frameworks and ideas about 21st Century Learning and he uses the phrase about the Tower of Babel to describe the confusion that is perceived when incorporating a new technology language into the existing language where words that have a familiar meaning such as mouse suddenly have new meanings which people then need to be able to learn in order to communicate effectively.

I can see where some of our course material fits within these frameworks but will spend more time reading and linking to literature.  Chris also provides many new references that we can use directly when considering how to integrate ICT into the classrooms.

Thought I would also share with you the ICT capabilities page from the Australian Curriculum since this has been the basis for so much of the course discussion.

FUN enables the learning in Early Childhood.

I have looked and linked to so many sites today if I had a piece of string attached to my mouse I could have knitted a cable sweater I’m sure. Thinking of knitting that is about the only task I have not found on the sites I have visited today in search of technology that can be introduced and integrated into the Early Childhood classroom. So grab a Kit Kat, a box of Cadburys or an apple and read on about the amazing opportunities out there for students to develop digital literacy skills as described in this article from Early Childhood Australia.

On the PBS kids site I could not go past the range of activities attached to the Dr Seus series as our family has a long association with this master of language and rhyme. This site has tips for Parents and resources for Educators. It is sure to  become a favourite for me. I was directed to this site by Michelle on the class forum.

The Turtle diary is also a great resource in that it has each range of activities separated into age groups and the site is easy to navigate around. The English area has both letter names and phonics available so it gets a double vote from me for that as so many I looked at only had the letter names and this is not what is being taught in school at Pre-primary level. The site also has letter names but they are separated and labelled accordingly, my thanks to Kirstie for this link..

The artisan website has lots to offer but I think it is aimed more at older primary age students. This includes make your own comic links, stitch your own duvet, self portraits just to  name a few. I have included it here for those who have older children to consider. Thanks Michelle for the link.

The sheppard website also provides a wide range of materials to be used in Early childhood education from games and quizzes to maths and language there is something here for everyone, once again thanks to Michelle.

The Sparkle box provides free teaching resources which can be downloaded and printed. There are resources for Parents and some resources are available in 12 different languages which is excellent when looking for different language resources. Belinda directed me to this site from the class forum.

Emma introduced me to Bee Bots which I have only ever heard about briefly and while I think they may be great for lower primary I wonder how pre-primary would cope with the concepts, though being in the pre-primary class the last three weeks and watching them adapt to iPad technology I probably know the answer before I finish the question. They would be fine. This link provides some more information about Bee Bots.

Natalie has provided some Time Management Resources which I think will be useful regardless of the age of the teacher or the students. I had a quick scan of the index then went and read about the 5 Time Zone Concept. Zones featured are: Goals, Plans, Personal organising system, Commitment and Energy. Now I have a few plans for post study so I might experiment with how to implement some of these. Natalie also had a Quiz about time Management that I like. Thanks Natalie for some very relevant information.

The link to Using ICT in the Early Years also came from Natalie and is a great website to find all sorts of resources for Teachers and Parents about implementing the use of ICT in the Early Years. There are links to websites for Teachers and for children. opened in 2002 as a free public service to teachers and parents and provides a wealth of information on one site. The opening line says ” where children learn to read”, it is an American site with some ‘interesting singing’ but still children will engage with the colour and entertainment while they learn.

I have only linked to a few of the many sites and resources available for use in Early childhood, but to quote a link that our lecturer provided this week, Cheryl on her website says the  ‘without knowledge we are powerless to make effective decisions in this changing society and  information age’, how true that is.

The way to bring the information into the class is to start early so that students are ready for the new technologies and opportunities of the future.