I’ve been using PicCollage for two years now. I use the app when blogging the children’s photos for their individual blog. I usually use PicCollage to sequence a series of photos of the same activity a child is taking part in. It’s good to show the process from A-B in an activity or a before and after.
I then decided, why not let the children do the same. As part of our ‘under the sea’ topic one story we have read is ‘The Rainbow Fish’. Naturally, around the room I had activities that linked to ‘The Rainbow Fish’, one independent activity being a story sequencing activity. The children used PicCollage for this activity. To order the pictures of the story from beginning to end. This was a success. Both the boys and girls were keen to complete this activity, improving and developing their speaking and listening skills on the way. Some children worked independently and others worked in pairs.
A lot of discussion took place with this activity and it will be surely something I use again the future and in my reading area. Children were able to speak in full sentences about each of the pictures and talk about what was going on. Some HA children were also able to talk about what pictures were missing.
Story writing is something I love to do with my children in Reception. Their ideas during shared writing are fantastic, however, I am conscious that these ideas do disappear when it comes to their independent writing. . . This is where PuppetPals is very handy for my children.
PuppetPals is an app which allows children to create their own characters, setting and stories and truly bring them to life.
When the children choose their characters and setting they have the option to record their characters moving and speaking, creating their own story along the way. Once recorded and finished, children have the option to then watch their story being performed.
At this point I give the children the title of being ‘producers’ and afterwards explain to them that to become an ‘author’ like the ones we love in class we have to write our story down. It is truly amazing how many children choose to access the writing area and then write their story down.
In Reception we then have the story read out to the class by the ‘author’ followed by the ‘PuppetPal Production’ .
With the major focus on speaking and listening in the Early Years currently and on Communication Language this app provides opportunity for children to link sentences, words and phrases, speak in different tenses and the list continues.
Another great app I cannot wait to continue using next academic year.
When I started my career I developed an unhealthy obsession with data and tracking my children in each area of learning to an crazy degree. To an extent that impressed and shocked my moderators who moderated my judgements at the end of my NQT year and justified my judgements against each of the 17 ELGs.
After looking and analysing my data during the year I noticed that there was a hole in my communication language area of learning within the children’s data. Instantly I had a panic as these ELGs had to be met in order to achieve the Good Level Of Development, so I had to put my thinking cap on. How could I encourage independent speaking and listening?? Conversation station.
With a bed canopy from Ikea, a lips cushion, I was all set. The children loved this and did use it during their independent learning time. After a few weeks new items were added to continue with the interest such as puppets, microphones etc, and the children still got a lot from it. My evidence for CL increased and again supported my judgements which were made at the end of the year.
My TA and I modelled to the children how it could be used, however, like everything, the children took their own spin on it but still used it efficiently.
Pirate Pat was a brilliant resource that got so much vocabulary and writing out of my Reception class last year.
He was used when our topic was all about pirates. As an incentive to get the boys writing, he really did his job.
The children were shown a powerpoint of Pirate Pat in the positions you see him above. After each slide there was a brief discussion on what he was doing and what they think would happen next. My class had a great imagination however, getting it onto paper was like trying to get them to put lids back on felt tips.
As we were coming to the end of our slideshow, I told the children that my camera had broken and that they had to guess what Pirate Pat did next. After brief opportunity to talk to their partners, their answers were amazing! A lot better than what I had hoped.
Children didn’t want to wait until the adult led activity and my writing table was full of children (including the boys) writing about or to Pirate Pat.
The little touches like making ‘pirate paper’ with them really helped and encouraged them too.