Learning to Type in the Early Years Classrooms

Learning to type is a basic skill that is now 100% necessary for our students to learn in order to be a successful part of the community in the 21st century.

Typing skills can be developed through easy, slow paced engaging games that teach your students how to touch type effectively. Below are a list of websites that offer engaging typing games and/or programs that will assist your students with the skill of touch typing.

1. http://www.abcya.com/keyboarding_practice.htm

This website is a game that can be altered depending on the level of the students e.g. beginners and is a fun, engaging way for students to learn to type. The game is aimed at a Foundation year to possibly year 1.

2. http://www.funtotype.com/

This website has a number of games available and can also be altered depending on ability. There are multiple games (mostly aimed at boys) that engage students and encourage touch typing. These games are aimed at Year 1 – year 2 aged students.

Learning to type correlates directly to the General capabilities through Literacy and Critical and Creative thinking, and is able to cater for differentiation by providing difficulty levels based on ability.

Do you use your Interactive Whiteboard effectively?

Many teachers throughout Queensland now have Interactive Whiteboards installed into their classrooms, however many teachers often express that they aren’t sure what to use it for?

Some teachers use their interactive whiteboard as a projector only and minimize it’s amazing ability to cater for all learning needs in any classroom, as well as support and maintain engagement in any learning area.

Did you know you can play an interactive game through your interactive whiteboard where your students can be actively involved in their own learning journey?

by clicking on the link below you will be taken to a link of educational interactive games for Foundation year aged students – by using a website such as the one provided you are able to play games on the big screen where the students are able to utilize the space and be in control of their learning.

Interactive Whiteboards also come with five coloured pens in which the students can use to circle pictures on the interactive whiteboard, or draw on an empty word document.

There are many way to utilise your interactive whiteboard and this link below provides many examples of how you can do that!

http://www.boxoftricks.net/2008/06/33-interesting-ways-to-use-your-interactive-whiteboard/

AND/OR

You can watch this Youtube video on a couple of ways an early years teacher uses her Interactive whiteboard

The interactive whiteboard can be effectively used across ALL learning areas and therefore caters for everything general capability and cross curricular priority. Utilizing your Interactive whiteboard in these effective ways will change the rest of your teaching career and possibly even add further value or depth to your personal pedagogy!

SCRATCH – An inventive way to capture the attention of your early years classroom!

With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations, which is a FANTASTIC way to cater for the differentiation in your classroom. You can decide on background and basically choose a personality to suit the needs of your specific classroom for any of the key learning areas. Most importantly, it will ENGAGE ALL YOUR STUDENTS with it’s quirky way of directly addressing the curriculum needs through a digital system.

Above is a basic tutorial of how to create a scratch for your class.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century!

See the website below to see examples of scratch in action…

https://scratch.mit.edu/

AND/OR

click on the link below to see how educators can facilitate SCRATCH in the classroom and how it can cater for differentiation through a range of resources

https://scratch.mit.edu/educators/

As scratch can be used throughout any learning area, it effectively caters for ALL areas of the General capabilities and cross curricular priorities and is a great way to engage your class for the best possible learning experience in any learning environment.

Stationery Studio – writing enhancer software

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In the Early years, especially in the year 2 curriculum, students are expected to write in a range of formats, including letters, reports, book reports etc. This downloadable software allows students to engage with curriculum-based images, lessons, and activities designed to engage them in personalized learning.

Stationery Studio allows opportunities for students to:

  • Build literacy skills and supports differentiated instruction.
  • Promote writing in math, science, social studies, and language arts with standards-aligned activities.
  • Motivate students to publish books, essays, reports, letters, and more.
  • Allow teachers to customize stationery for handwritten activities.

Stationery Studio Supports Universal Design for Learning

The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) teaching model that advocates incorporating multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement throughout the curriculum. Stationery Studio’s curriculum-based designs inspire young learners to write, research, explore, and create a product of which they are proud. Students bring their own individual style to the writing process and experience success. These positive experiences prepare students for a lifetime of learning and encourage all learners to reach their true potential.

The Stationery Studio program allows differentiation across all learning areas through it’s ability to engage multiple interests, characters and personalities. The Program is extremely student friendly and is easy to navigate and use through visual and auditory instructions.

The general capabilities are met on many levels as the program can be embedded into any learning area.

Literacy: Develop knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret and use language confidently for learning and communicating,  listening to, reading, viewing, speaking, writing, visual and digital texts, and using and modifying language for different purposes in a range of contexts.

ICT capability: appropriately to access, create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively in all learning.

Critical and creative thinking: generate and evaluate knowledge, clarify concepts and ideas, seek possibilities, consider alternatives and solve problems

Click on the link below to explore the program.

http://shop.fablevisionlearning.com/stationery-studio-writing-collection-deluxe/fa/shop.detail/productID/2563/#.VWUpr8-eDGc

Sensory World – Supporting Differentiation in the Early Years Classroom through Digital Technologies

sensory_house

Sensory World is a an online world which highlights all of the sensory environments in different areas of the home and garden, including the kitchen, laundry and bedrooms. On this website, you can choose for it to be day or night, summer, spring, winter or autumn, raining, sunny etc. which can be extremely useful when completing a Calendar of weather and seasons unit in the early years.

The site also highlights safety hazards in the mentioned areas, such as a boiling kettle, or water on the floor.

The website is best used on an Interactive Whiteboard, however can be used on an iPad or computer also. For a whole-class approach, a lesson can be made from this website through discussions and tasks can be created through worksheets, student-centered discussions and safety talks. The website could also be used as an introduction to cooking tasks for reminders about kitchen safety, or if your class is completing a gardening unit, it can be used to introduce garden safety.

The website benefits all types of learners through the classroom as it provides learning opportunities through visual, auditory and Kinaesthetic engagement. The website can be used as an introduction or as an en extension activity and in turn caters for all learners to support differentiation.

The general capabilities are met through literacy ( listening to, reading, viewing, speaking,visual and digital texts, and using and modifying language for different purposes in a range of contexts), ICT capabilities (create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively in all learning areas at school, and in their lives beyond school. Cross curriculum priorities can be met through sustainability in gardening safety and investigating.

Click on the link below to be directed to Sensory World
http://www.sensoryworld.org/sensory_house.html

Digital Hardware in the Classroom

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The use of Digital Hardware in the classroom – this may include laptops, interactive whiteboards, digital camera’s, or iPads. However, this blog post will focus on ways to effectively use a digital camera on a daily basis in the classroom.

Thanks to Scholastic Australia, you will have 100 new ways to effectively use not only a camera, but a number of digital hardware’s in the classroom.

  1. Take photos or videos of field trips.
  2. Take photos or videos illustrating vocabulary words.
  3. Take photos or videos of plant growth
  4. Take photos or videos of community
  5. Use photos for seating charts.
  6. Take photos to illustrate stories or poems
  7. Take photos or videos for illustrating emotions
  8. Take photos or videos of classroom pet
  9. Take photos to prompt creative writing
  10. Take photos of learning centers for a choice chart
  11. Take photos or videos of bulletin boards or classroom ideas from other teachers
  12. Tape a student’s photo on their desk nametag so that other students and substitutes learn names.
  13. Use photos for attendance chart
  14. Use photos for graphing
  15. Use photos for story about the child
  16. Use photos of family to create a family book
  17. Use photos or videos for step by step directions.
  18. Use photos for sequencing
  19. Use photos or videos for an ABC book
  20. Use photos to create a book about the school and workers
  21. Create a staff directory
  22. Use photos or videos for a school or classroom handbook
  23. Use photos for passports during a travel unit
  24. Take photos or videos in Physical Education to record events and skills
  25. Take photos or videos for assessment
  26. Take photos for a book about colors
  27. Take photos for a book or chart about numbers
  28. Take photos for a book about shapes
  29. Take photos or videos of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs
  30. Take photos for a rhyming book
  31. Use photos in thank you cards or invitations
  32. Take photos of events and make a calendar of memories
  33. Using photos create a body part book
  34. Use photos to create a community workers or school workers book
  35. Use photos or videos for concept illustration for curriculum areas
  36. Display student work on your website by taking a digital photo of it
  37. Send a camera home with a student to take photos of family traditions or scan photos that students bring for a Traditions Book
  38. Use photos or videos to create an Open House slideshow or display.
  39. Use photos in letters to e-Pals
  40. Create a digital yearbook or memory book
  41. Use photos or videos as a reminder to a teacher or substitute of how to plug in cables to the TV, VCR or computer.
  42. Take photos or videos to explain a hobby or collection
  43. Use photos as graphics in student work
  44. Take photos or videos of art concepts – line, shape, texture, form and color
  45. Take a photos or videos of something in the classroom that is a problem area. Have the students brainstorm how to change the area.
  46. Take photos or videos of the weather and seasons
  47. Use photos for the classroom helper chart
  48. Laminate photos of students for voting, selecting partners, choosing centers, graphing
  49. Take photos of classroom events for student journaling. Write about the photo of costume day, hat day, book character day, etc.
  50. Create a Birthday Book. Add a photo to a page that the child has written about birthday plans. Print one for the book and one to send home.
  51. Take a photos or videos of the students on their birthday
  52. Use photos to create classroom awards. Act of Kindness, Caught being good, Great reader
  53. Send an email with a photo attachment of the student caught being good
  54. Use photos to create postcards
  55. Use photos to create faces for puppets
  56. Scan photos that students bring of their pets for creating a book aboutcaring for pets
  57. Take photos or videos for a classroom inventory
  58. Document vandalism with photos or videos
  59. Email classroom events to the local newspaper or school board
  60. Use classroom photos as computer screensavers
  61. Create a “Welcome to Our Classroom” book
  62. Take photos of the various school lunches for a “What’s for Lunch?” chart
  63. Scan photos students bring of extended family members to create a family tree.
  64. Take photos or videos for animal reports
  65. Take photos or videos of parts of a plant
  66. Take photos or videos of types of clouds
  67. Make a “Five Senses” book. Students take photos illustrating each sense
  68. Take photos of environmental print for an emergent readers’ book – stop sign, Target sign, exit sign
  69. Take a photo of an object zoomed in. Have students guess what it is.
  70. Take photos or videos of assignments and post them to your website for parent communication
  71. Create photo vocabulary cards for ESL students
  72. Photograph books that you read to add to a list or chart
  73. Photograph class schedule for special needs students or substitute
  74. Photograph or videotape procedures for parent volunteer training
  75. Print two copies of photos to make a matching or concentration game.
  76. Show safety rules through photos or videos
  77. Create photograph bookmarks
  78. Create”It’s My Turn” name cards with student pictures for choosing who gets the next turn.
  79. Post the “Character Education Word of the Week” with photos of students who fit that description. For example: Punctual, Responsible, etc.
  80. Create videos of students acting our Character Education concepts.
  81. Create a video of directions for a project
  82. Create brochures using photos
  83. Use photos or videos to “argue a point”
  84. Video a student as an assessment tool
  85. Take photos of rhyming words
  86. Create a chart of words that begin with the same sound using photos
  87. Create videos of poetry, tongue twisters or other phonemic awareness activities to send home with children for extra practice.
  88. Create a video book report complete with costumes and action
  89. Use video to record student’s demonstrations for assessment
  90. Create video thank you messages
  91. Capture interviews with video
  92. Have students record their “sales pitch” for advertising on video
  93. Photograph unit resources and place in thematic unit folder
  94. Create a game for matching student photos and student names
  95. Photograph samples for graduation standards. What is a “4”? What is a “3”?
  96. Create a photo memory book for a student who is moving away.
  97. Use photographs or video for conflict resolution role playing.
  98. Create a postcard with the teacher’s picture to send to students in the summer.
  99. Use photographs for a visual schedule.
  100. Use digital photographs for a student teacher bulletin board.

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/100-ways-use-digital-cameras

Using digital cameras in the classroom enables differentiation immensely through visual and personalised schedules,  capturing samples of work, and to facilitate stimulus’s.

General Capabilities are met through literacy in viewing, reading, visualising. As well as ICT’s where the Australian Curriculum states;  in a digital age, with rapid and continuing changes in the ways that people share, use, develop and communicate with ICT, young people need to be highly skilled in its use. To participate in a knowledge-based economy and to be empowered within a technologically sophisticated society now and into the future, students need the knowledge, skills and confidence to make ICT work for them at school, at home, at work and in their communities.

Cardboard Box Tools – Explain Everything

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“We can learn a lot from children’s infatuation with cardboard boxes. It shows us how much they want to shape and construct new things, how they long for the freedom to create.”

The focus of this blog post is on how teachers spend hours, days, weeks, months and years trying to develop resources and strategies to embed  into their classroom (adding to their pedagogical toolbox).

Teachers need universal tools that accomplish a desired set of objectives, regardless of the device. And, more important, we need them to be empty and timeless – just like a cardboard box.

Just like a cardboard box, the app ‘Explain Everything’ is a unique interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool used by over 1.8 million students and educators.

The ‘Explain everything’ app has a huge range of uses, such as;

  •  Documents (PDF, DOC, PPT, Keynote), pictures, videos, sound files, active web browser windows can be added to your project in an instant.
  • Use a pen or laser pointer, annotate, highlight text and add shapes with full color palette and transparency. You can draw on anything (including videos!). Annotations stick to documents and move with them.
  • Every object including drawings, annotation, video, and web browsers, is movable and can be grouped with other elements of the slide.
  • Use an infinite virtual canvas that allows you to show everything you need.
  • Connect to many cloud services: Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, WebDAV, Box, OneDrive, YouTube, Vimeo,

This Digital Technology can be used with ANY year level, however due to its visual and interactive stimuli – it encourages younger students to be involved. This can be used to interactively name countries on a world map, draw on key concepts in a video, or record data from a science investigation.

This resource meets the needs of the General Capabilities across almost all areas – Literacy, numeracy, ICT’s or critical and creative thinking, depending on the context and manner it is used in by its ability to cater for all learning needs (differentiation) e.g. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic.

Take a look at the link below, and find out how you can utilise the app as your very own ‘cardboard box’.

http://www.morriscooke.com/applications-ios/explain-everything-2

Digital Technologies to Enhance Creativity

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People often talk about how the digital age is driving the creativity out of our students. However, this interactive, student-friendly iPad app prepares our learners for the real world that is competitive and challenging. Popplet assists in the development of meaningful ideas, forms, methods and interpretations. Our students don’t need to be passive consumers of digital or analogue culture, they need to be INVOLVED in SHAPING it – creativity is the key in doing that.

Popplet is used as a mind-map and assists students in thinking and learning visually. Students are able to capture facts, thoughts, images and are able to create relationships between them.

Popplet can be used during the classroom in almost any Key Learning Area, and develops the embedment of digital Technologies. Examples of uses of Popplet include brainstorms, documentation of discussions and meaning-making. General Capabilities are met via listening, reading, viewing, speaking, and utilising visual and digital texts.

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Click the link below to explore Popplet!

http://popplet.com/

Teaching Digital Safety and Citizenship to Young Students

The link below provides an online interactive game to prepare young students for Digital Safety and Citizenship. The Game, which was created by the well known and trusted PBS kids website, allows students to engage in what is called the ‘Wedonauts Academy’.  Through interactive games and levels, young students can learning about safe online behaviours. This is an effective way to introduce Digital Technologies to young students as it prepares them for their lives in a digital world.

This resource would need to be used in an effective manner. Perhaps, as an example, it can be used as a classroom lesson. Have a classroom discussion and dig deep for the students prior knowledge of all things digital, including the internet, iPads, laptops, computers, cameras etc. A concept map could be an effective way to jot down the students ideas – this can be done using the interactive whiteboard using an interactive concept map website such as: https://bubbl.us/

From there, the students have the opportunity to learn Digital Safety and Citizenship by completing all of the Webonauts missions, and learn key words and concepts such as:

  • Citizenship: membership in a community
  • Contribute: to give to a common cause; to participate
  • Credibility: the quality of being believable or trustworthy
  • Cyberbullying: online abusive behavior
  • Information literacy: knowing how to think critically about resources‚ such as what makes a website reliable
  • Motto: a short saying that expresses a rule to live by
  • Observe: to watch carefully; to follow a rule
  • Private: belonging to a particular person
  • Profile: information a person shares about him or herself with others in a social network
  • Public: available to all people within a broad community
  • Respect: to value‚ admire and treat well
  • Rumor: unverified talk or opinion that is easily spread to others

Students then have the opportunity to graduate from the Webonauts Academy and receive a certificate.

This resource allows Teachers opportunities to embed General Capabilities such as literacy as they interpret and use language for communicating through listening, reading, viewing and speaking.

This resource effectively caters for differentiation as it values the use of listening and visual stimuli’s. It also can be taken in small steps, and does not need to be completed in one session.

Click the link below to visit the Webonauts Academy, and get started on your students Digital Safety and Citizenship!

http://pbskids.org/webonauts/