Who are WALT and WILF?

Do you have WALT and WILF in your classroom?  We do!  In my professional experience classroom, my mentor teacher actively uses WALT and WILF, and encourages me to incorporate them into my lessons as well.

WALT and WILF are  classroom helper signs which she fills in collaboratively with the students at the beginning of each lesson and can be referred back  upon at any time during the lesson.  WALT can also be to reflect upon the lessons objectives at the end of the lesson, while WILF ensures that students are producing the work that the teacher requires.

WALT – We are learning to …

WILF – What I’m looking for …

WALT and WILF signs can be downloaded from the Mrs Pancake website and can then be laminated so that they can be reused for each lesson.

Professional Experience Loge – Day 4

Great day today.

My history lesson was very successful and I got some great feedback from my mentor;

  • Subject Knowledge – Good understanding and thinking through of the learning outcomes.
  • Preparation – Well thought through variety of resources – story, YouTube clip, timeline. – Consider classroom positions (of students for each segment)
  • Interaction – Lots of positive comments. – Ensure teacher control and respect.
  • Communication – Appropriate level of questioning and explanations. – Ensure careful, step by step instructions of the activity.
  • Presentation – Use of story and pictures to sequence good introduction. – Great transition of muddled pictures and then sequencing together on timeline. – *Timing!?
  • Classroom Management – Ensure monitoring of the whole class; tuning in, listening to each other. – Use of questions to ensure all are listening. – Consider position of students for focus; carpet or desks. – Be careful not to talk over students.

Next time – ensure all students are tuning in and listening when you are speaking.  Follow through.

Ways to improve – consider positions of students.

Strengths – lesson steps and building of knowledge.

Exciting – variety of resources; story, clip, pictures.

Nice reference to WALT!

Monitoring/feedback of completed work.

So … lots of positives there as well as plenty to work on.  I was very pleased about how my ICT inclusions were received and the impact they had on the learning of the children.

Professional Experience Log – Day 3

Today was an interesting day, I took a one hour art session which introduced the history unit that I will be leading over the next two and a half weeks.  The children are compiling personal time capsules which contain items brought from home which they will explore and arrange chronologically.  The art session involved decoration of the large cardboard tubes which are being used to contain these items.

In discussion with my mentor teacher, I decided to use photographs and other images to decorate the cylinders.  The children viewed a selection of images on the IWB which demonstrated the types of effects that would by applied to the photographs and images.  Digital photographs were taken of each child which were printed out in black  an white and the children hand coloured these with water colours using this Marilyn Monroe image by  as inspiration

Black and white clip art images were also printed off and decorated in the style of the Spock print as viewed at the Artyfactory website.  The children drew a freehand grid and then coloured it in with pencils producing some spectacular effects.

 

Finally, the students dipped black and white clipart images into a strong tea solution to reproduce sepia style pictures.

This lesson didn’t go quite as planned as my final preparation was lacking, however, all children completed their artifacts and some produced some quality work.

Tomorrow will be a big day as I lead my first history lesson which includes several ICT applications including the IWB, listening to an MP3 recording and viewing and discussing a Youtube clip which features  morphing to demonstrate age progression in humans.  My preparation is much more thorough for this formal lesson and I am confident that the students will gain knowledge through it.

Professional Experience Log – Starday 2

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.

 

Professional Experience Log – Starday 1

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.

The Seven Principles for Integrating ICT’s into the Early Years Classroom

So, I’m still looking at ways to integrate ICT’s into classrooms in the Early Childhood sector. Doing a bit of Googling when I came across an article, Children using ICT: the seven principles for good practice (DATEC, 2000).  The seven principles expanded within the document are;

  • ensure an educational purpose
  • encourage collaboration
  • integrate with other aspects of curriculum
  • ensure the child is in control
  • choose applications that are transparent
  • avoid applications containing violence or stereotyping
  • be aware of health and safety issues.

Some of these seven principles can be linked to TPACK which would encourage all ICT integration to perform an educational purpose and integrate with other aspects of the curriculum, so here I’ll look into the other five principles.

Encourage collaboration – either through simple turn taking or activities and programs which require children to work together to reach an outcome provides children with cognitive challenges and is seen as beneficial in facilitating the young child’s problem solving and social development.  An interesting use for ICT’s within an early childhood facility was presented by the paper; the UK facility installed a system of CCT cameras and monitors which linked the different rooms within the facility, the children use the CCT system to communicate with other rooms and extend upon the experiences of others within their own settings, the facility also utilised email and walkie talkies, which the children used to communicate between rooms – what a great idea!

Integration and play through ICT Interestingly, the authors of the document’s 2002 update (as opposed the the original that I began reading), make specific mention of play within the curriculum of early years programs and encourage the use and simulated use of ICTs in authentic manners through make believe play as well as in project work in order to build ICT knowings and understandings from a very early age.

Ensure the child is in control although the authors acknowledge the usefulness  of closed problem solving and programmed learning software in skill development, which may control the child’s thought process.  They encourage the use of open ended software and exercises which allow for creative problem solving and multiple solutions.

Choose applications that are transparent – by this, the authors are encouraging the use of applications in which the functions are transparent, intuitive  or easily accessible.  They recommend drag and drop type programs or those with a single operation for each task.

Avoid applications containing violence or stereotyping – a bit of an obvious one, but something to ALWAYS check.  Make sure that anything children are to use, view or listen to has been thoroughly checked, from beginning to end.  Be careful of Youtube clips as the advertisements or links before and after can cause problems, in order to remove this issue when using Youtube within the classroom, simply save the Youtube clip using Keepvid, you can then email it, save it to your USB or onto your desktop without worrying about inappropriate material being attached (make sure you keep the reference details and cite the work appropriately each time it is used).  I was given the Keepvid tip by my mentor teacher at my last prac site.

Be aware of health and safety issues – to combat concerns about the physical problems including posture, carpel tunnel syndrome and sight defects that may be caused by prolonged use of computers, the authors suggest that children of three years of age be limited to 10-20 minutes continuous use and that an eight year old should be limited to a maximum of 40 minutes.

A further principle, parental involvement, and the updated version of the article can be viewed at the DATEC website.

Happy blogging,

Bec.

ICT Resources for Early Childhood Classrooms

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.

Interactive upper primary lesson tools from Mr. Haughton

I’ve linked information to Simon Haughton before in my blog and he’s proving to be a great resource in my PLN. From what I can gather, Simon is a specialist ICT teacher working in a primary school in the UK, and he appears to be incredibly passionate about his job and very sharing of his knowledge. Today, Simon posted a digital poster advertising free classroom resources that he’s developed.

simon-haughton-poster

It seems that the math website is still under development, however, looking at the literacy website, I was very impressed. The site is easy to use, (even teachers will be able to find their way around!) and gives resources for the students to build their own literacy artifacts in different traditional mediums; advertisements, diary entries, discussion text, instructional text, letter writing, narrative story, newspaper report, non-chronological report,playscript and recount.

This is an example of the writing prompts for a narrative story.

narrativeprompts

Another useful site that Simon has advertised on his poster includes one with lesson ideas for ICT skills which could be embedded into any subject. The site gives students (and teachers) a simple, illustrated checklist of markers of good, great and super ICT use for a whole host of text and image programs, a list of digital creativity tools, a list of programs which enable multimedia authoring such as creation of interactive educational games, a list of sites which allow students to experiment with computer programming and finally a range of activities based around digital research and communication. In her blog titled Expanding my assessment toolbag compartment, Mrs Frintzilas has spoken about ways to assess student learning through ICTs, in particular Google forms. Using Simon’s checklists for digital skills could be a great way for both students and teachers to assess student ability in various ICT skills either as formative or summative assessment.

I’m really impressed that these lesson tools are authentic, user friendly and fit perfectly with the TPACK idea that ICT should not be included in classroom activities purely for the sake of having and ICT component. These lessons actually teach and support learning outcomes for the student.

The wonders of the Promethean Board

I recently had a discussion about classroom ICT practices with my sister-in-law (Janette) who is a kindergarten (prep) teacher in NSW.  She was quick to espouse the virtues of a product that she has in her classroom.  Each classroom within her school has a Promethean Board, which is basically a brand of interactive whiteboard [IWB].  As Mrs Poulter  expands within her blog post IWBs. The what, why and how, IWBs are a presentation tool which is a cross between a standard whiteboard and digital projector, which integrate sound and are touch enabled, depending on their age and the budget constraints of the individual school.

Janette is impressed by the ability of the Promethean Boards multiple user mode which allows up to four students at the one time to use the board, great for collaborative and scaffolded work.  I’ve found the following demonstration of Promethean Boards on youtube, it’s fairly extended at over 14 minutes long, but shares some great aspects of this tool while also giving some ideas that IWBs can be used for within the classroom.

 

 

Promethean also offers further support and resources through it’s website and online community, Promethean Planet, where technical advice, professional development, an interactive online community and Promethean Store are available as well as free Promethean resources that have been created by teachers and shared within the network. What a great addition to a PLN for Promethean enabled teachers!

Another Learning Framework: Dimensions of Learning

There seems to be an endless list of resources that teachers can use to ensure that they are planning their units and lessons in ways that not only impart knowledge but do so in continuum’s which follow a logical order of knowledge construction.

The well known Blooms taxonomy is perhaps the basis for many of these frameworks.  It describes a learners construction of knowledge from it’s basis, through to higher order thinking skills.  A graphic description complete with key words was found at Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day and provided by Enokson via Flickr under Creative Commons.

 

The Dimensions of Learning model is represented by six phases, I found a quite detailed description of the framework on the Prince George’s County Public Schools website (USA) which I have taken information from and compiled into a table so that it can be easily accessed and compared with the Blooms Taxonomy table we’ve just looked at.

 

My first thought about the framework is that it begins, not with the basics of knowledge, but with the attitudes of the individual students, class as a group and the teacher.  That successful knowledge construction and transformation begins with pedagogical choices which impact upon the learning environment.  The framework then moves on through the basics of knowledge, thought processes and authenticity to finally arrive, as Blooms does, with higher order thought.

As interesting as this exercise was, I decided, for the purposes of my assignment focusing on Year 2 Science, to use the 5E’s model which was specifically designed to assist teachers in meeting curricular requirements of the Science thread of the Australian Curriculum.