Kerry McCreadie

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April 10, 2014
by Kerry
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Using technology in music

This was a short introduction to music on the 9th December 2013, with Hilary.  Hilary spoke about ideas to engage the children in music, particularly boys.  She demonstrated an action song that we then joined in with all about being a train.  It was a simple repetitive tune but one in which children can easily join in and develop further by altering the tempo.  It was suggested that children watch and listen to a variety of trains, especially steam trains as they produce a distinctive noise that can change pace.  The children can then use various instruments to replicate the sound of a train.

We then looked into using technology in music, starting with the Garageband app – this is great fun! You can record something e.g. your voice and distort or change it to something completely different, like a robot voice.  Children would thoroughly enjoy this but it would have to have a purpose!

Hilary also showed us an online resource called Chimes, this can be used on an IWB and is very bright and visual.  As suggested the children can use this to add sound effects to stories.

For use on a IWB - you just touch an area to make a sound.

For use on a IWB – you just touch an area to make a sound.

April 10, 2014
by Kerry
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Mark making

On 18th November 2013 we had an art session based on mark making in the early years.  Unfortunately I was unable to attend the session but I have accessed the powerpoint relating to it and spoke to my peers regarding the session.  From the powerpoint I understand that there were discussions regarding children’s mark making.  What is great for children in the EYFS is that they are free to experiment and mark make – there is not an expectation that they have to produce something identifiable, it can also be made using different materials, for example, pencil, paint, foam, chalk etc.

mark making

This is helps creative development – but then by the time children are in key stage one, they start to dismiss their artistry and often make statements such as, ‘I can’t draw’ or ‘I’m not good drawing’ (I do this myself!), they even show frustration and lose any enjoyment in this activity.  What happens in the transition from EYFS to Year one for this to happen?

Different artists were looked at during the lecture and their use of various techniques to create their own individual style.  I have blogged about Henri Matisse and the interpretive work that the children produced in the style of Matisse.

handprints

April 10, 2014
by Kerry
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Presentation software

On 18th November 2013 we had an ICT session based on presentation software.  Unfortunately I was unable to the session but I accessed the powerpoint relating to this session and accessed some of the tools and resources.

Presenting lessons using technology has become an expectation – most classrooms now have interactive whiteboards (IWB), to use in place of a whiteboard, to access the internet for images and videos, and various IWB games to further or consolidate learning.  It is all the more effective if the children are allowed access to this resource.  I use the IWB quite often and particularly for games relating to phonics or maths, such as, buried treasure game (real or pseudo words) and topmarks for a multitude of IWB acitivities, which I predominately use for maths.

Great IWB game for children to blend phonemes and decide if it is a real or pseudo word.

Great IWB game for children to blend phonemes and decide if it is a real or pseudo word.

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After looking through the powerpoint I felt overwhelmed with the possibilities for children to create and present their work – I am sure they would thoroughly enjoy it.  I have focused on looking and accessing just a few of them.

It is great that there are so many opportunities for children to access and present work through the use of apps, but these predominately seem to be with an expectation that children have ipads, which in the school where I work, they do not.  Although, I do appreciate that alternatives are suggested for online.  There are an overwhelming amount of possibilities for children to create and present their work, as well as for teachers – these are some of the online resources I accessed:

Photopeach – I loved this, I found it very easy to use and I am sure that children will find it accessible to.  I intend to include it in the following term’s planning, in which the topic is all about the seaside  – the children can use this online tool to make their own slide show about the seaside.

Five Card Flickr Stories – I like this simple resource and it is very easy to use but I am unsure if it is suitable for the early years because they may not find the pictures as inspiring – can you add your own images?

Additionally, I looked at the Prezi website and like the different ways of presenting information  – I will take the time to explore and have a go at using this tool as an alternative way to present information to the children. I have included an example below:

April 10, 2014
by Kerry
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Digital literacy

This art lecture was based on digital literacy.  There was some initial discussion regarding the various children’s books we brought to the lecture about the different effects that illustrators use – particularly as with early years books they have to be very visual and engaging.  I had never really looked beyond whether I found the illustrations appealing or not, but we were encouraged to talk about what we specifically noticed about the different techniques that illustrators used – I began to see the use of layering, outline, photographs etc.  Although, all of these were unique to those illustrators, they all produced illustrations that allowed non-reading children to access books by interpreting the story through pictures.

The session moved on to explain how children are surrounded by digital literacy – even in our adverts.  We watched the John Lewis Christmas advert and discussed how the creators of the advert use different types of media to hook into our emotions, for example, the music and the animation.

Then it was our turn to create – the intention was to make our own e-book, unfortunately the session was a short one, therefore we did not have time to transfer what we made into an e-book, however, I used what I had learned from the previous ICT session and made a slide show on Photopeach instead.

You’d better watch out! on PhotoPeach

Nikki and I worked together – I was to create a character using clay and Nikki designed the scenery using printmaking.   I am not particularly artistic, as is evidenced in the slide show, but I did try to make a shark and a fish.  More importantly I learned how to join clay more effectively, using the slip and cross hatch method – children will really appreciate knowing a method as a lot of frustration has come about due to parts of clay not ‘sticking’ together properly!   I loved the visual printmaking effect Nikki created, using polystyrene cut into the various shapes to create the underwater feel.

I was unfortunate that this was a short session as it would have been good for all of us to have a go at both the clay and printmaking, however, Rebecca explained them both clearly, therefore, I would feel relatively confident to plan a series of lessons on this.

February 17, 2014
by Kerry
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Monday’s music

Music on Monday (10th February)was amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed our music session and four hours has never gone so quickly.  Singing in the session started early on – something I normally would not enjoy, however, this was relatively straightforward and fun.  Sue (Nicholls) provided us with a multitude of singing activities that can easily be used in classroom, additionally, these could often translate across other areas of learning – for example a song about trains includes mathematics, or singing a song to the tune of ‘One finger, one thumb’ about a traditional story covers literacy.  Please watch and listen to our special rendition of  Little Red Riding Hood.

There was more to the session than singing – Sue showed us some fantastic instruments that were made from either recycled material or items that were bought very cheaply – the children would love making these and they are simple to do and could be recreated at home for parents to enjoy their child’s musical talents!

music and art session 004

In addition to this I learned some musical terminology, such as, beat, rhythm, pitch and many others.   We also used a variety of musical instruments throughout the session and even created a very basic piece of music that included a beat with a rhythm on top.  I will hopefully be able to add a recording of this soon.

I was inspired by this music session (I do not consider myself musical in any way) and I have taken a lot from it, particularly confidence to just have a go.  I have now found myself often singing instructions to the children, and although I completely make it up as I go along, the children have responded very well to this new technique.  Music is definitely something I now look forward to teaching!  Thank you Sue.

February 17, 2014
by Kerry
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Art Day in School

You have heard of Sports Day, well the school in which I am currently placed had an Arts Day on Wednesday.  This was a whole school initiative.   The theme was based on Henri Matisse – it was left to each class to interpret a piece of his artwork using whatever materials they liked.  Foundation Stage two (FS2) and Key stage one were mixed between the 12 classes.

We based our artwork on one of Matisse’s Paper Cut Outs (gouaches découpés) called ‘La Gerbe’.  ‘La Gerbe’ used multicoloured paper cut out in the shape of leaves and was to resemble a spray of fowers (see picture below).  He created this in 1953.

The children suggested that it looked like hand prints, and from there the idea of recreating this image using the children’s handprints was formed.  This became the predominat activity for our class.  The children used clay to draw and cut out the shape of their hand and once that was dry they could paint their handprint.  The collective handprints produced this piece of artwork (unfortunately one of the hands had fallen off when I took the photograph – it has since been restored):

handprints

There were additional activities that worked on a carousel basis – these included: leave drawing, leave rubbing, and flour in a large tray to create a similar effect using their fingers.

The mix of ages and differing abilities worked well in the FS2 class where I was – we found the older children enjoyed their role of helping the younger children, and they took care over their work to model how it could be done.  Although, the younger children also liked to demonstrate and model how it could be done!

I had a brief walk round some of the different classes, they were all a hive of activity – it was noisier than usual but this was due to the high level of enjoyment that the children displayed.  The day was a great success and allowed the children to gain knowledge of famous artwork as well as having a day devoted to a subject that does not always have a lot of time dedicated to it.

Matisse artwork

February 17, 2014
by Kerry
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Outdoor Art

We had a very enjoyable art session (4th November) and had the opportunity to use the outdoors to recreate a piece of art.  Our inspiration came from the 16th century Italian painter,  Giuseppe Arcimboldo.  Giuseppe Arcimboldo used fruits, vegetables and fish to create portraits in likeness of the person.

Rudolf II as Vertumnus

It was back to nature  – art in the woods!  Being an advocate of Learning Outside the Classroom, this was a great example of using nature to enhance the learning experience.  I fully enjoyed the session and could clearly see how this could be a way to engage children in art, particularly those who can be anxious when faced with having to draw something specific in the classroom.

The idea was that we would create a character from a children’s story using natural materials.  We accessed the woods near the campus which is used as Forest School.  In our session we worked as a group of five and made a stickman, using the natural resources around us – this would link with the story ‘The Stickman’ by Julia Donaldson.  We all contributed to the making of Stickman and Michelle then used her newly gained ICT skills and made the pictures we took of the process into a trailer.

Stick Man

Additionally, another idea that came from this lesson was a Journey Stick – children go on a walk and collect items and stick them to their stick in order, they can then retell their story/walk with aid of the items – this aids sequencing.  For more information about Journey Sticks, visit the website:  Journey Sticks.

References:

Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (2013) Council for Learning Outside the Classroom. Available: http://www.lotc.org.uk Accessed 5th November 2013.

Fleetham, M. (2010). Journey Stick Thinking. Available: http://www.thinkingclassroom.co.uk/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=-cPJkdaIqyw%3D&tabid=39. Accessed 5th November 2013.

November 11, 2013
by Kerry
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Creative computing

This blog relates to ICT lecture on 11th November 2013.

We looked at various sites and apps for ideas on programming – taking away the mystery and demonstrating the ease of programming.

Additionally, we also looked at control technology, such as, floor robots.  Floor robots are programmable batteried ‘toys’.  Bee-Bots are one such example (see below) that children can programme directional instructions into.  Elston (2007) strongly recommends that schools invest in this technology and equipment so that children can ‘have a go’.  Although, they do accept that the cost can run high, due to initial purchase of equipment and the up keep of batteries.  Indeed, I planned a lesson, for the previous week, to use Bee-Bots as I knew we had them but unfortunately, they had fallen into disrepair and we did not have enough batteries.      

Children enjoy the physical beebots but this is an alternative to use with a variety of mats – I selected shapes as this links with our current maths area.

However, we had the opportunity to look at Purple Mash again today and we were shown the different directional programmes and activities that it offered. Following on from this session I then planned to teach a lesson on direction, using Purple Mash.  Prior to this, to underpin the ICT aspect and offer something concrete, as doing directional on the computer can be abstract, I asked the children to take turns at being a robot and giving instructions to each other.  We then moved to the computer suite and the children worked in pairs.  Black et al (2004) suggests that it is beneficial for children to work in pairs as it can help them brainstorm ideas.  The children did struggle to use this programme though, and ideally for year one children I think the programmable floor robots would work better for them. References: Black, W., Purple Mash (2014) Purple Mash. Available from: www.purplemash.com. Accessed 10th March 2014.  Elston, C. (2007) Using ICT in the Primary School. London: Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd.

November 5, 2013
by Kerry
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Introduction to ICT

This blog is in reference to the ICT on the 4th November 2013.

I am a self-confessed techno-phobe but I am well aware that in this, the 21st century, I can no longer hide behind this label, particular if I want to be a teacher.  However, Kennington and Meaton (2009) acknowledge that many teachers feel they do not have the knowledge or expertise to develop children’s learning effectively.  I have to begin to embrace some aspects of technology.  My first ICT session on Monday 4th November was the beginning.

I was amazed, astounded and overwhelmed at the sheer volume of online resources that there is on offer.  I have been using online resources on the IWB, however, the ICT session demonstrated that compared to what is now available, my resources appeared quite dated.  Therefore, I was eager to try out some of the other resources.  Purple Mash particularly interested me as it had a variety of different activities and most importantly looked user friendly.

I explored a number of different activities and looked especially at 2Animate, which was very easy to use.  I have posted my attempt of animating the seasons (see link below).  Children could use this programme with ease and could use it to retell a story.  This is a website that I will definitely use again.  I am beginning to enjoy ICT (computing!)

Click picture to animate

References:

Kennington, L. and Meaton, J. (2009) Integrating ICT into the Early Years curriculum. In: Price, H. (ed) The Really Useful Book of ICT in the Early Years. Abingdon: Routledge.