A second bite at the cherry

23 04 2009

img_0154bI had such a fun day yesterday with our nursery children. The sort of stuff that makes me remember why I became a teacher!

Just before Easter we went on a bug hunt. Children took photographs, video, recorded sound. Today was the day to review that work. The children were super, completely absorbed, watching themselves looking for bugs, identifying them, taking pictures and video of them. They were fascinated, watching and absimg_0151orbing everything on the large IWB.

I asked the children to help me record their experiences using talking postcards, to record information for their parents to tell the what they had been doing. After all, as I expained to them, the children are the experts, as they had been on the bug hunt, unlike the teachers in the room!

The responses I got were amazing, and amazed te teachers too. I had children come and draw who would never choose this type of activity. I had children with English as an additional langauge want to record their ideas into a postcard. Children drew the most amazing pictures of slaters under logs, bees with them chasing. They wre running around the garden dressed as bats and ladybirds, the bats trying to eat the ladybird… “because that’s what bats do isn’t it?” (yes the teachers replied and extended discussion on food chains) Children were keen to examine plastic mini-beasts and rehunt for more real bugs.

But would the children have done this anyway? Did ICT really enhance learning? Well we think the answer is a tentative yes. Staff in the room believe the watching of the work undertaken before easter was important in the following ways.

  1. Children watched it very carefully beacuse they had made it and they were in it.
  2. Children remembered what they had done and wanted to talk about it again, reinforcing previous learning
  3. Children were keen to draw/talk/play to extend their experiences even further. Vocabulary and concepts were visibly stretched, perhaps due to their second bite at the cherry?

Anyway, I left a happy room. I felt energised, staff were full of smiles and the  children were making me invites to their next playdough tea party !


Getting down and dirty!

26 03 2009

img_0087That’s what yesterday was all about!

I spent the morning on a bug hunt with one of our Nursery rooms. 30 children excitedly crawled around under bushes, peered under logs and squealed in delight (most of the time) as they discoved ‘bugs’. We enjoyed using Google earth to track our finds, video and a digital camera to catch the action, and sound to record our findings.

Children loved the experience and i was amazed at the indepth knowledge of some and the complete lack of previous experience of others. My digital natives did not need to be show how to use the camera, although the video recorders red button did beckon a few (causing them not to video!)

And so what did I learn?

  • never assume anything. The previous experience of minibeasts varied greatly
  • to think about the vast amount of digital information children can create in a short time!  Next time I will limit this more
  • that I do not need to spend time treaching the technology to the children, much better to spend the time discussing why I am using it and the benefits..
  • that if you do bugs with four year olds, at least one will smile at you and tell their mummy you are the bug lady!
  • Nothing can quite match the enthusiasm of a four year old.

10 steps to using ICT to enhance active learning-

23 03 2009

a new page in my early years section outlining how we have introduced ict activities which embrace the idea of active learningimg_00452