Today I was able to observe as my Mentor teacher modeled a guided reading group, providing some very useful information regarding insuring learning across the various literacy strands. During reading groups I was also able to supervise and provide scaffolded assistance to the reading group who were utilising the Sunshine Online program on the classroom computers. The students demonstrated their abilities to navigate around the familiar program using the mouse. As my mentor teacher is pro-ICT, the children are given many opportunities to interact with ICTs and are comfortable with the basic skills.
In other activities within the classroom today, my mentor used a story and related set of activities (The sheep who couldn’t sleep) on Sunshine online as a math group rotation where children extended upon their work on numbers to 100. My mentor provided an introduction and instructions by modeling the program on the IWB, allowing students to take turns to perform actions on the IWB. The math group rotations then began, with one group accessing the program on the class computers.
During the final session, my mentor announced that today was the birthday of a student currently on a family holiday in America, and that she had the families email address so the class could wish the child a happy birthday. Using the IWB, the teacher facilitated composition of an email. The children were introduced to email composition, inserting emoticons, changing font size and colour, inserting the email address and sending the email.
My main contribution to the day was running a math group rotation using a worksheet, MAB blocks and individual whiteboards. I was also able to incorporate the IWB to assist children in checking their work. I was also involved in the weekly library experience, reading a story, which the children greatly enjoyed; and assisting them use library software and scanner to borrow books.
Tomorrow I will use the IWB in conjunction with the student’s individual text books to lead a handwriting session; lead a session extending the children’s work on place value; and lead a one hour art session where children will decorate time capsules for their history unit using photocopies of photographs.
So … I’ve survived my first day of professional experience, dealt with a bleeding nose, knocked out tooth & head bump; but generally had a great day.
The children within the class range across the ‘normal’ spectrum of development and learning with the diversity that ‘normal’ entails. I have already been able to identify those children who require a little extra attention in regards to their learning, as well as those who are able to carry on with tasks largely unaided. All the children speak English well, including the two children of Indian descent.
I was pleased to note that my mentor teacher, Neva, already engages ICTs within her classroom. Today she used the Sunshine online program to enhance literacy skills for one group (rotated each day) during reading group rotation. She also utilised the IWB (Smartboard) within math, science and writing lessons, using a range of programs including SharkNumbers and Activeinspire Primary.
I was able to take a guided reading group as well as assisting with math, writing and science lessons and marking homework.
In response to our areas of interest question for this week, I’ve been researching the types of ICT products available for Early Childhood teachers and students. The tricky bit about this is that many of the plethora of programs available on line tend to constitute little more than busywork with little learning content. These in themselves may be useful, particularly in kindergarten settings where children are in fact learning about colours, shapes and are also developing the basic ICT skills including mouse skills.
In my search for something a bit more educationally substantial, I came across the PBS site that I shared via Diigo which lists a nice little range if IWB programs particularly designed for early years students.
The game Curious George.How Tall, uses the popular cartoon character Curious George and asks students to measure various items using non-standard units of measurement as required by the Australian Curriculum in Mathematics. I think this is a great tool as it is visually representative and required students to estimate the height of objects before actually measuring them out. The program also allows students to self assess as it doesn’t inform them if their estimation was correct or incorrect, instead, gives them the tools to discover the correct answer.
Another activity on the PBS site was Fuzzy Lion Ears. This program links with the Australian Curriculum literacy component, asking young children to listen to a word while viewing the word with a letter missing, then choosing the missing letter from a short list. This exercise asks that children listen effectively and use phonetics skills to decide which letter is missing.