Gill's PGCE blog

An update into the experiences and activities of an early years PGCE

Coming to an end …….


As I come closer to the end of my PGCE i have been able to recognise the importance of multisensory media in not only the early years but also throughout the whole of primary school.

The sessions i have taken part in have given me numerous ideas and have inspired me to use the different techniques and programs that i have witnessed during this time in the classroom.

The module ‘Multisensory Media for Teaching and Learning’ has showed me some great ways of incorporating ICT, Music and Art throughout the curriculum and has given me a great understanding of how simple it can be to develop this knowledge and skills in young children’s learning.

The LRC (Lexicon Reading Center) talks about the importance of multisensory teaching and states,

“Multisensory teaching techniques and strategies stimulate learning by engaging students on multiple levels.

They encourage students to use some or all their senses to:

  • Gather information about a task.
  • Link information to ideas they already know and understand
  • Perceive the logic involved in solving problems
  • Learn problem solving tasks
  • Tap into nonverbal reasoning skills
  • Understand relationships between concepts
  • Store information and store it for later recall.”


This module of the course has given me opportunities to carry out the majority of these things and has provided me with a wealth of knowledge as to promoting multisensory teaching and learning in order to support the development of the children.

I have thoroughly enjoyed testing out the different things that i have learnt about whilst on my placements and look forward to incorporating them into my own classroom as i embark on a new chapter of teaching the future generations.

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Putting it into practice.


There have been so many ideas, apps and resources that I have come across within the Multisensory Media module that have given me opportunities to create exciting lessons whilst at my placement schools. I have been able to offer suggestions to mentors in the use of some of the fab things that available and have truly been able to put this information into practice.

Not only through the sessions however but in discussion with other students on the course, I have swapped and shared sites, apps and information to take into school and create effective lessons. For example in discussion with a student, I explained that I was looking for some support material for a music lesson.

It was suggested that I look at the BBC School Radio website which provides numerous songs and ideas for teachers to use within the classroom.

An example can be seen below.


As already mentioned within my blog, there are numerous apps readily available for use within the classroom now and in an ever changing technological environment, it is extremely important as ‘up and coming’ teachers that we are equipped with the knowledge of what is available and how it can be used for the benefit of children’s learning.

Humpal and Kern (2012) in their book ‘Early Childhood Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders …’ look into the benefits of apps, Ipads and technology in conjunction with music to engage SEN children and provide them with a variety and wealth of opportunities to engage in lessons.

Humpal, M. and Kern, P. (2012) Early Childhood Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Developing Potential in Young Children and their Families. London: Kingsley.

When thinking about the vast differences in needs and learning styles of all children, Ipads and apps can provide a valuable visual stimulus for children to work from. Creating opportunities for creativity, communication, partner work etc, children are being brought into a new and exciting educational environmental rich with resources and activities.

In discussion again with another student, I learnt about a school who use ICT to build profiles for children and reducing paper work. Lynn spoke of a great idea of how to use online sources (all equipped with EYFS links and references) to carry out assessment and build the necessary observations of children with ease. Lynn’s blog explains this in much more detail and even shows some of the great ways in which she has also taken the course into the classroom.

Another great example is Tracey’s blog . Unlike myself, Tracey finds blogs, technology and ICT very easy and accessible which is extremely evident within her educational blog. You would almost think that you were reading a professional (‘been around for years and knows their stuff’) kind of blog, which is exactly why I have created the link above taking you straight there.

Therefore I also think it is beneficial to my own knowledge and practice to thoroughly read and take in some of the great ideas and information that she has kindly shared.

Some of the things she says and does are inspirational and make me realise how brilliant involving children in all the things covered within this module is.






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Art Session 3


This session got us thinking about the creation of an e-book using our recently acquired skills of ICT technology, artistic creativity and musical media. Working in small groups we al had our own role play in creating the different aspects of the e-book.

For example, 2 members of the group created the background for the scene of our story using different techniques involving printing and using various materials.

The background was created using printing paint which had been rolled over the table surface in a large enough space to cover a piece of plain paper. Templates were then placed on top of the paint before the paper was pressed down on top in order to create the desired pattern. In doing so various ares were left white which created a nice effect.

Various other techniques including etching patterns into polystyrene to create patterns were also used to develop the background for our story.

Whilst doing this, myself and another member of the group used air dry clay to create the characters for our story. We did this by using the techniques we had watched previously of moulding the clay and connecting different pieces together to create the desired character. Using ‘slip’ (a glue for clay created using a small thumb pot made of the clay, filled with water and using a paint brush to mix some of the clay with the water) and cross hatching the different areas using specific tools to combine the pieces.

Once we had got all of the relevant parts ready for our story we then used the I-Pad to create our e-book. We used an app called ‘StopMotion’ which allows several still images to be put together to create a short moving image and therefore creating a moving page of a story book.

The link below should open the page we created and give you an idea of the various techniques we put together throughout the session.


The app we used was very simple and easily accessible, therefore it would be a great tool to use within the classroom that would allow children to create their own movies, e-books and digiatl literacy. Although some aspects may need to support and guidance of adult overall i think that the ICT software that we used would be very beneficial in the classroom.

Allowing you to use your own personal images and photographs makes the app very appealing and would gain the children’s interest as they could involve themselves as characters in their stories. The app allows you to add sound also and therefore adding another level to the e-book.

The creation of the e-book makes many links throughout the curriculum and provides endless opportunities for learning both at school and at home. It could also be used to engage those who are less interesting reading and literacy,bringing a new level to story time could introduce a lot of interest from all children.

It could also be used as a role play activity in which children reenact their favourite story and become the various characters.

With many possibilities of how this could be used in the classroom it can also be extended to show differentiation across the curriculum in making the learning opportunities more challenging or simple to include all children’s abilities.


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Visual aids as a stimulus for creativity


As explained during today’s music session, video clips and pictures can be used a visual stimulus for experimenting with and creating music. For example, a video clip of heavy rain could inspire children to use a variety of instruments or ICT equipment (as talked about in a previous post) to create apiece of music to represent this.

There are many opportunities for children to be creative in this way with the vast amount of technology that now available and easily accessible.

During today’s session we were asked to create a short piece of music or some sort of sound to represent a picture of a steam engine. As part of a small group we created the following:

Using a mixture of body percussion, voices and ICT equipment we were able to create this composition as a representation of the visual stimulus we were shown. Proving that a range of media can create many possibilities within the classroom and can therefore support many aspects of the curriculum.

We created this composition using ‘Garageband’ which allowed us to overlap sounds, change the temp and dynamics and overall create an effective piece of music.


During our Art session we also discussed how children can engage in practical activities linked to well known artists.
One picture shown to children and adults can provide great amounts of inspiration for a variety of creative activities that can be implemented in the classroom.

The National Gallery has created a scheme for primary schools called ‘Take One Picture’. It is a country wide scheme which focuses on one painting from a collection to inspire cross-curricular work in the classroom. School’s are given one picture from an artist and are then challenged to create a cross curricular scheme of work based around this.

The National Gallery provide training for the ‘Take One Picture’ program as part of teachers professional development. Teachers will explore the possible ways of using a particular painting across the curriculum.

To show some of the ways that this can be done I have decided to give a quick insight into one particular artist and how we can use their paintings in the classroom.

 Magritte …..

Rene Magritte was a surrealist painter who was born in Beligium in 1898. He aimed for people to look at ordinary, every day things in different ways. Magritte painting objects in unusual places and where things didn’t belong for example in his picture ‘Time Transfixed’

René Magritte. La Durée poignardée.

Magritte’s unusual style of painting I feel would capture the imagination of young children and inspire them to create their own art work. Magritte’s art i believe would interest children with its different way of looking at the world and its unusual style.

Magritte also created paintings where he confused the foreground with the background as seen below.

René Magritte. The Large Family.

I simple technique of placing one painting/template onto another would allow children to recreate this style for themselves.

As well as creating their own creative designs in the style of a well known artist, the children can also put together art and music by creating a piece of music that they feel captures the picture.

Soundscapes can be created by children musical instruments or other items and objects from around the classroom to create sounds that they think suit the painting or sounds that they think they would hear if they were to step through the painting into a different universe. For example, whilst looking at the work of Magritte, what they think they would be able to hear if they were to step into the surreal and unusual world that he has created.

In doing so, children are emerged in a cross curricular approach to learning as they find out about the creative, expressive arts through a variety of digital technologies.

ICT equipment can incorporate both art and music together as the children use these different types of media to put together all of the difference pieces that they have created, their painting, their soundscape etc.

Inspiration in the classroom …..

Using Magritte as a stimulus for learning, creativity and digital literacy, children can engage in a variety of opportunities in the classroom.

For example, children can create their very own unusual art work in the style of surrealism. They can use their imagination and come up with some wacky and wonderful ideas without the stress and strain of having to create a perfect representation of something.

The video below shows how ‘Surrealism’ can be used to promote learning in school.

This type of art work can support the use of different mediums to create their own imaginative art work. Children can use a mixture of real life and imagination to enter a world of their own being and truly show off their creative talents.

All of these different ways of encompassing ICT, Music and Art show clear links to ‘Understanding the World’ as children explore technology and ‘Expressive Arts and Design’ through the use of various media and materials.

Please follow the link below to Earlyarts which explains the need for art in the early years and the importance of creativity and imagination.



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Music Session 2


This weeks music seminar got the group thinking about the different ways that we can combine music and ICT skills within the classroom. With current technology being an integral part of daily routines, the session looked at current apps, computer programs and relevant websites that could be seen as useful for both teachers and children.

Music can be used across the curriculum within the classroom and as the government place emphasis on the importance of music in school it is becoming increasingly evident that all children need access to musical opportunities.
They should be able to both enjoy and appreciate music as they given a variety of possibilities to participate in musical creativity.

This weeks music session began by looking at how to engage children in music straight away at the beginning of a lesson. For example a simple game of ‘Follow the Leader’ can catch children’s interest and set the lesson off to a good stat.

With the teacher beginning by showing some actions, the children then copy these actions. Incorporating music the game could include background music in which the children then need to carry out actions in time with the beat.

Whilst on one of my placements, the school brought in a music specialist to carry out music lessons with the children. She   began by using a whistle to create a tune which the children would then copy by clapping the rhythm. She then moved on to playing a familiar piece of music and encouraging the children one by one to create a pattern of actions in time to the music and the beat. The children clearly enjoy their music lessons with the very popular ‘Miss Honey’ and show progression in their musical development each week.

Whilst on placement I took on this process of creating various rhythms by clapping and getting the children to copy in order to gain their attention ad get the children’s focus back on me.

It proved to be extremely effective and save the harsh reality that is evident in the majority of classrooms of having to shout above the children’s voices to gain their attention again.

ICT and Music Combined

With technology progressing daily and ICT becoming a very large part of most peoples daily routine, today’s sessions focussed on how to implement music lessons with the support of ICT and in particular various apps that are available.

One of the apps that i thought would prove to be very effectie within the classroom was the ‘Garageband’ app. with its many uses i feel that the app could be used within a variety of lessons and support the idea of cross curricula learning.

Most of all however i feel that Garageband provides an opportunity for everyone to experience music and the sounds of various instruments without the need to spend large amounts of money on music lesson, instruments and tuition.

As DfE states in the publication ‘The Importance of Music, A National Plan for Music Education’ (2011)

“Most children will have their first experience of music at school. It is important that music education of high quality is available to as many of them as possible: it must not become the preserve of those children whose families can afford to pay for music
tuition. While music touches the lives of all young people, the disadvantaged can benefit most.”
DfE, dcms (department for culture, media and sport) 2011, Crown Copyright.

Everyone should be entitled to experience musical creativity both in and out of the classroom which is exactly what the app allows us to do. It provides opportunities to explore sounds and experiment with them in a variety of ways using imagination and enjoyment of music to be the sole purpose.

“The new GarageBand for iOS makes the most popular music creation app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch better than ever. Play, mix and record your own songs. Then share them — across the room or across the globe — with just a few taps. It’s never been easier to create great music and get it out there.”

For those children who simply can not afford to play and instrument or those schools with less opportunities, Garageband provides great possibilities of support musical development for everyone in the classroom.

Not only just music however, Garageband has various other uses also. For example, children are able to record their own voices, the app can support observations, children can record their own reading or they can simply have fun.

With a simple click of a button on numerous search engines, their are many ideas and examples of how to use the app within schools which show imagination, ingenuity and creativity.

Not only did we look at apps like this though, we also also looked at apps such as ‘Simon Says’. A simple memory game that will not only keep children entertained but also support memory through colour and sound recognition.

The memory game shows buttons light up in sequence which are to be repeated in the same pattern. As levels are completed and the sequence grows longer it becomes much harder and challenging to remember the correct pattern.

iPhone Screenshot 1

As well as this we also experiented with an app called ‘soundOscope’ which is described as “Your own sound and music laboratory”.

iPhone Screenshot 1

soundOscope will encourage children to explore music and sounds whilst developing their knowledge of pitch, frequency and speed. The app allows children to record, analyse and manipulate sounds changing sounds such as their own voice into something entirely different.

Knowing much more about music now than i did before the session allowed me to experiment with and explore the various types of ICT that can support music within the classroom and give me many ideas of how to implement these whilst on my different placements.







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A world away from traditional methods …


Nowadays it is easy to be able to move away from the conventional method of creating a story in a literacy lesson with your standard pencil and piece of paper. There are so many resources available that it would be a shame not to share some within the blog.

For children who find writing difficult, apps such as Purple mash are fantastic in giving these children the same opportunities in becoming creative with their ideas and story telling.

Purple mash is a fab resource allowing children to combine a mixture of music, characters, settings etc with their own work and creations to share their ideas. Purple mash also helps to support writing by offering a text box at the bottom of the story maker allowing children to add their own lines and captions. It is an exciting way for children to enhance their literacy development in a new way.

As suggested by Whitebread and Hayes (2006) children’s communication, language and reading skills can benefit greatly from video and sound/audio. Apps like purple mash are providing a great deal of flexibility in the ways that teachers are supporting children’s progress and carrying out inclusive practice for those children who may find traditional methods such as ‘sitting at a table with a pen and paper’ quite difficult. Resources and software like this one are supporting children ideas and giving them responsibility for their own learning as they make their own creations.

Whitebread, D. and Hayes, M. (2006) ICT in the Early Years. Berkshire: Open University Press.


Created by 2simple, Purple mash is a really good tool to have available within the classroom. As with the other resources that are provided by 2simple, children can be give a vast variety of opportunities of learn and develop in a new and changing world that is slowly becoming reliant on technology.
Providing benefits for children of all differences and with varying needs, the options that are available for children and teachers now are fantastic and I strongly recommend they are used on a regular basis as they will be within my own classroom.



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Musical Madness!


During a music a music session I recently carried out I explored the variety of ways in which music can be used as a tool for teaching and learning in the Early Years.

Music plays a crucial role in the development of children and therefore we need to be giving children the opportunity to play with sounds, songs and rhyme in order to promote their holistic development. We need to be able to offer children activities that stimulate them and create positive experiences for learning.

Music provides and fantastic opportunity for children to socialise and interact with others and therefore develops their communication and language skills. It also encourages movement as dance and actions are integrated into the musical activity.

Gross motor skills are promoted through creating opportunities to act out rhymes and songs, for example marching like the soldiers in ‘The Grand Old Duke of York.’

Fine motor skills are developed through opportunities to use and manipulate instruments such as beaters, a triangle or castanets.

Already highlighting the vast links that music creates for the development of children with the early years, musical activities are a great way of stimulating child-initiated play also.




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Expressive Arts and Design


 What is line?

Another activity within the Art session looked at line and what my idea of line was. Given freedom to use a variety of media and materials, I worked as part of a small group in creating a piece of art work that looked at an aspect of line. Steering away from the obvious choices of 2D masterpieces, confined within a space on a blank piece of paper, I suggested that we created something a little different.


The session really helped us a group to identify that art doesn’t have to be restrained and simple. It can involve ingenuity and imagination and be a product of complete creativity.

Throughout the session we used a variety of different media and materials to look at the ways that we could use art in the classroom.

For example using various sized balls a small group including myself created our very own masterpiece using a numerous different techniques of rolling, bouncing, dropping balls ets onto a large piece of paper after being placed in different coloured paint first.


Here we are getting to grips with the idea of expressive arts and design and having a lot of fun in doing so.

Below is the final product that we created!


Children could have hours of fun making their own artistic creations in a similar way to this and will therefore develop their own knowledge and skills.

For example as the Early Years Foundation Stage states, a child aged 40 – 60 months should

“• Explores what happens when they mix colours.
• Experiments to create different textures.
• Understands that different media can be combined to create new effects.
• Manipulates materials to achieve a planned effect.”


Early Education (2012) Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). London: DfE.

This activity would be appealing to all children and could be differentiated effectively to meet the needs of all children. It is a great activity for getting children to work together in a group and therefroe shows many links across the curriculum including ‘Communication and Language’ and ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’ along with the obvious ‘Expressive Arts and Design’.




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Music in the Early Years


The objectives of today’s music session was to understand the importance of music in the development of the whole child and to develop my own knowledge and confidence of playing with music and sounds with the classroom.

The session was extremely useful in creating simple ideas of how to use music with children to promote their holistic learning and development. it gave me the opportunity to explore the different ways that children can engage with songs, instruments and simple physical activities.

During the session we were shown how easy it can be to create new songs for children relating to everyday routines. In small groups we were asked to create our own song to a familiar tune.

At first i thought that I would struggle creating my own song and having to think of the various different lines but in fact it turned out to be quite an easy task. As a group we put our ideas together and created a song about traveling to school to the tune of ‘London Bridge is Falling Down.’

Below is a link to the song that we created.

The lyrics are as follows;

On the way to school I heard, school i heard, school i heard.

On the way to school I heard a

The song makes links to numerous areas of the EYFS such as Expressive Arts and Design and Understanding the World from noticing the things within the environment around them.

Singing in general make links to PSED as the children are participating in a group. The song that we created however offers opportunity for children to take turns in telling us what they saw or heard on the way to school. Therefore meeting the EYFS goals “Children play co-operatively, taking turns with others.”  and “They are confident to speak in a familiar group.’ (40-60 Months) Therefore also linking to Communication and Language.

The song is simplistic and can be easily extended to support more areas of development also. For example, musical instruments could be introduced to add percussion, or children could go on a short walk around the local community to find new ideas to input in the lines of the song also. Introducing mathematics can also be a simple task, for example each line could show number progression also,

“on the way to school I saw 3 blue cars ……… on the way to school I saw 4 dogs running….”

Music offers opportunities for children to express themselves and be creative whilst also supporting all aspects of their learning and development.

This session has showed the importance of music within the early years and also the multiple opportunities that can be provided for children through the use of music.

Department for Education (2012) Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage. London: DfE


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Instruction, Programming and the Real World!!


Today’s ICT session got me thinking about the use of programming in accordance with the new National Curriculum. Thinking about the ways that programming and instructions can be implemented within lesson and real life I was asked to think of a few teaching ideas of how to engage children in both ‘plugged’ and ‘unplugged’ activities using a variety of ICT resources.

Unplugged activities (those away from the computer) gave me the idea of thinking about instructions and commands within every day life. Thinking about activities suitable for children, myself and my partner decided to look at lessons that could be created in conjunction with P.E or using the outdoor environment.

Instructions into Programming.

The teacher would create a treasure map before the lesson which would be provided to the children within the group who would be split into pairs. They would be given an opportunity to in pairs, instruct/command each other with directions in order to reach the treasure. Moving around various objects the children would have to think of the best way of being able to manoeuvre around the space.
For example, “Two steps forward, Turn to your left and take three steps forward …..”

Taking it in turns, each child would have the opportunity to use instructions and reach a particular point.


Moving the activity on in order to develop learning using the skills of instructing previously learnt and to introduce the use of ICT, myself and my partner decided to think about how we could use the Bee Bots in a similar way.

Moving instructions into programming, we though about using the same idea of reaching a particular point by using a set of instructions but also programming these into a piece of ICT.

Below is a video of myself and my partner following instructions and programming a Bee Bot to reach the end goal. 

Shown below is video of how Bee Bots can be used within the classroom.


The Real World!!

We were asked to make links to the real world and how these activities can be developed to introduce some real life situations. Continuing with the idea of instructions, we thought about maps to school.
Children could be asked to think about the different ways that they get to school and what they might see along the way. With this in mind the children would then draw/write a map and a set of instructions to get from there house to school.With differentiation in mind the activity could be changed through telling someone the instructions (“Past the post box and left at the tree …..”), they could draw a map or they could write the instructions down for someone else to follow.
The activity could be changed in order to make it more simplistic by changing the start and end points, for example getting from the classroom to the school hall, or from one classroom to the next.

With technology almost everywhere we look it is important that the children identify the various ways that instruction is used within the real world.

Sat Nav’s are a great way of looking at instruction and ICT with children.


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