Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy

I want to share the creation of Lena’s animation and retelling of ‘Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy’. Lena decided she wanted to animate this story, one of her favourites, so we discussed how we would be able to do it.  She decided that she would draw the various characters in the story and then film them. This self -set drawing task took Lena two days to complete and then another day to film her movie. 

On the fourth day we recorded the voice over and then she was able to share her accomplishment with the other children at mat time. As usual I burnt the movie into a CD so that Lena could share her work with her extended family, at home.

 Lena's Movie

I spent part of my time at Ulearn this year exploring the use of Ipads/Ipods in education and plan to make this part of our equipment for the children to interact with next year. Since attending the related breakouts at Ulearn I have spent some time thinking about how to apply what I learnt, and have since discovered through my own exploration, into my teaching practice with our children. One thing I have come up with is to create a folder of all the movies the children are making and having it available for the children to use. I am also going to do this on the Imac the children work on.

My rationale for this is that any time the movies are played on, or through, my laptop there is instantly a large audience of very interested children. There is something about the animations that totally engages the children’s interest and enthusiasm. I am still pondering on why this is. Is it that they have observed the creation of the movies; is it that they see a lot of ‘cartoon’ type television; is it something about the simplicity of the animated stories; is it the fact they have been created by someone they know? I plan to explore this further and see what I can discover.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some of the ICT's our children use

I have been thinking that I should share some of the ICT’s the children at our Kindergarten are interacting with. We have worked hard over the years to fund raise and purchase a relevant and effective range of equipment for the children to use.  Every item we have has only been purchased after much forethought and discussion to its relevancy.

We have two Apple computers for the children to use, an Emac running OS10.4 because it supports the classic environment that we need to run some of our software. The other computer is an Imac running OS10.6 that we use for a multitude of purposes with the children including a Digital Blue microscope, Bamboo Touch tablet, an Akai Professional Keyboard and a variety of software including Kidpix and Comic Life. 

 The children have several digital cameras available for them to use and they download their photos and create learning stories using Comic Life for their portfolios. 


We have a lot of peer tutoring supporting this as the ‘experts’ help those still learning. When the Imac is connected to the internet the children have several favourite sites they like to visit like and, amongst others.

For group work we have a projector and visualiser with a ceiling mounted screen we can pull down. The visualiser is invaluable to use for sharing photos, small books, using as a microscope and looking closer at small objects. We also use our laptops with the projector to share movies we have made with the children, research on the internet, etc.

At Ulearn I purchased, for the Kindergarten, some 'Logi-Blocks', a set that helps develop an understanding of circuits. The children on exploring these have quickly grasped the way that they work and the meaning of the symbols that are on the blocks.  There is a robot that links to these blocks and I  plan to introduce this soon.  I am looking forward to seeing how they work with this extension, building on their understanding of robotics in another format, rather than just the Lego version. 

For the past few weeks we have been very busy at Greenhithe Kindergarten getting ready for our major fundraiser for the year - The Great Greenhithe Garden Tour, on  the 14th November - this this be the 17th year for our annual garden tour. It is thanks to the generosity of our local gardeners in opening their gardens to the public for one day a year in support of the Kindergarten that we have been able to provide these fabulous resources for our children to explore and learn with.