Session 6: Technology Enhanced Learning and Early Years Art


Posted by Molly Huish | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on April 28, 2014


Today was out final session of Multisensory media for teaching and learning and it was a fun-filled, informative session that kept me engaged throughout. Before I properly started today’s entry I just wanted to share with you my journey through this blog. I have never been interested in blogging, in fact one could say I’m generally anti-computers in terms of making constant use of it. In my interview for this course I brought up the issue of computers and how they were starting to take over the classroom and that I didn’t agree with it – I believed that if children spent their whole time on computers and iPads they would forget how to write (or even type if they use touch screens) and these are such vital fine motor skills that I believed that nothing was worth jeopardising these for. I also thought it was very sad that children could play their favourite game on an iPad or iPhone before they had even learnt to dress themselves or learnt to talk. I certainly did not want a class of mine to put more focus on computing than writing or reading from a book.

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when it was explained that this module would be assessed by a blog, and I had to write it in order to pass the whole course. At first I was annoyed, this was yet another example of computers and technology taking over for no good reason as I saw it. My nightmares of writing this blog were further affirmed by my first blog entry where I tried to use pictures to explain a story – I could not for the life of me get these pictures to align and the words to go in the correct place. I must have spent hours on that blogpost and sure enough I was absolutely dreading the next time I would have to write a blog entry.

But something changed, as I started writing my second blog entry I found myself suddenly spending hours researching the topics I was writing about, joining the social network sites I was discussing the benefits of (that I said I would never join) and suddenly I was a convert. I found myself realising that technology is fantastic for teachers and from there I started thinking about children could reap the benefits of what technology had to offer, so I threw myself right in for the rest of the blogging experience. So, congratulations multi-sensory media for teaching and learning – your course worked.

Today’s learning objectives:

  • To learn how to use the MyPad tool for recording, reflecting and sharing learning in an ePortfolio.
  • To think about the role of interactive whiteboard and presentation software, and the range of ways they might be used in early years settings to promote active and authentic engagement.
  • To gain experience of using mobile devices for content creation, capturing learning, collaborating with others, and for personalised and differentiated learning.
  • To understand how outdoor scenarios can promote play that is open-ended, child-initiated and child-led, and think about the role of technologies can in capturing these experiences.
  • To explore a range of techniques for facilitating digital storytelling in the Early Years drawing on appropriate pedagogy.
  • To examine a range of technologies that might be used to enhance storytelling and support emergent literacy.
  • To become aware of issues of equity, access and eSafety when selecting, using and evaluating technology and media for early childhood settings.

We had a really interesting lecture today involving how to present information using apps and devices.

We made use of this information in our art session following the ICT session. We were in groups of four and two people had to create a clay character for a story and the other two had to create a background using a variety of printing methods. I learn about the methods of using slip and hatching to join pieces of clay together to create characters and I was really very impressed by what I could achieve especially as I had never been taught how to use clay before. it just goes to show how much you can achieve through simple but effective teaching methods. By being clear but leaving an open ended goal children can be engaged and become very creative in what they can achieve.

When both figurines and background had been created we were given iPads to use to create a story with our characters. We had a look around and then settled upon using Doodlecast pro which was an app you have to pay for but it is well worth it. We were able to use it to take pictures of the animals against the background, draw on top of the pictures, sequence the pictures and then record a voice recording over the top of it all. We then were able to create a youtube video that is below:

It was such a fantastic application, I would highly recommend it to anyone. Children would easily be able to use it and it links art, ICT and literacy altogether which is fantastic.

Apps can be a marvellous way to access learning and engage children. I just want to make a note of another fantastic app that can be used to create early years profiles. It is another 2simple app and I just wanted to let you know how fantastic it is.


Signing off,


Session 5 Technology Enhanced Learning: Computing and Media Techniques


Posted by Molly Huish | Posted in ICT | Posted on April 28, 2014


Today’s learning objectives:

  • To gain an awareness of the relationship between control technology and constructivist learning theories and develop an awareness of how programmable physical devices fit into the early years curriculum.
  • To understand computer science terminologies such as ‘algorithm’, ‘procedures’, ‘data’, and how to explore these concepts with young pupils.
  • To think about how to provide opportunities for young pupils to design, write, run and debug executable programs.
  • To consider the role of images, video and animation in the curriculum, as presentation tools and as creative tools.
  • To gain experience of ways in which children can record their ideas in different formats and share them using a range of media.
  • To explore a range of hardware and software for manipulating video and for producing multimodal texts, including chroma key technology.
  • To understand a range of forms of assessment relevant to the early years and explore how digital tools can be used to promote different forms of assessment and capture evidence of achievement.

Today in our ICT session we looked at the new national curriculum and where ICT fits into it and what has changed. We also looked at how to incorporate computing into the foundation stage, specifically we were focusing on computer programming as the new national curriculum puts an emphasis on understanding how computers work not just how to use one.

In reference to programming, in the old national curriculum (DFES 1999) 2c states that children should be taught how to plan and give instructions to make things happen. Now, children are required to understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions. They should also be taught to create and debug simple programs as well as use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs (DFES 2014)

My first thoughts – what does that even mean and how on earth will I be able to teach that!?


Thankfully, Helen explained everything to us and by the end of the session we were all feeling pretty good and even excited about teaching the new national curriculum – what is most important is building up that subject knowledge and knowing how to teach the new national curriculum at a level that is suitable for your audience.

If anyone out there needs anymore clarification or a reminder of what all that technical stuff means check this guide out, it’s fantastic and a complete life saver!

Now, let’s get on to the more exciting stuff that took place during the lesson. We talked about unplugged and plugged programming. Unplugged is effectively the same as programming but it is not part of computing or digital technology – unplugged programming can be instructing your friend how to make a jam sandwich. A way of introducing programming to young children is through unplugged learning – get them to play games that involving giving and following instructions. Before they know it they have programmed something.

The use of beebots is just a step up from this – instead of programming and instructing you friend to move around the room you are now programming and instructing a computer device. This is the biggest step for children in the early years – they are not creating the programming codes but they are programming things to follow their instructions in a plugged context.

In the session we explored a lot of online games and programmes that could be used to develop programming skills for young children.

During the ICT session we were set a group task and IsabelEllen and I (Molly) worked together.

Our task was to take a look at several plugged resources and decide which one we thought would be good to use in a classroom setting. We took a look at the 2simple DIY resources available on Purple Mash . On this website there are lots of different games, quizzes and activities that children can both play and start to programme themselves.  We were all drawn to the snake game because we used to play snake as children and we remembered how much fun it was (the amount of time I spent on it proves that)!

The snake game has two options – you can either simply play the game as presented to you, or you can alter the game in many different ways. This is what we thought the children could do – a fun and interactive way into simple programming.

There are various different ways that you can alter the snake game. We started off by altering the snake itself – we turned it into a smiley red face with a big wide open mouth. You could effectively design the snake anyway you wanted including changing what it’s body was made up of. Next we decided what the ‘food’ would be for the snake to eat, we wanted the game to link into other aspects of learning and so decided that we were going to create a healthy eating snake game. If the snake ate healthy food it would grow bigger and stronger, but if the snake ate unhealthy food the game would end – thus promoting fun, programming and healthy eating all in one game. We were relating the programming aspect of computing with something in the real world.

snake1 snake2 snake4 snake5 snake6

Here is a link to a blogpost that my fellow group member Ellen wrote about our programming task – Ellen’s blog

I think Ellen sums up what we did and why it was important pretty well, she has reflected really well about the session and what the task taught her.

I personally didn’t realise that this was simple programming, I think I just heard the word and didn’t listen to what came next as the prospect seemed too scary. After completing this task I can see that programming is much simpler than I had worried about, it can be fun and engaging for children and it is relevant to them. The session was really informative and made me feel a lot more comfortable about teaching computing than I did before.

And I am now officially a basic programmer – I can’t wait for the kids in my class to be too!


The National Curriculum, DFES, 1999.

The New National Curriculum, DFES, 2014

Here’s a blog if you want to know more about how the changes to the national curriculum are affecting the teaching of computing:



Posted by Molly Huish | Posted in Music | Posted on April 28, 2014


Sadly  I missed out on the first part of our second music session due to a meeting so I cannot share with you everything that happened in our wonderful music lesson today.

When I entered the classroom everyone had been given iPads and were working in small groups to use a strip of velcro and pictures of different drums to represent a musical score. We had to decide what drums we wanted to use and for how long and then stick them in that order on the strip of velcro. We then had to use garageband to play our drum score – we chose to record our drum piece to share with you all on our blogs.

I think that using garageband this way is a fantastic resource as children who can’t play instruments immediately have the ability to create music at their fingertips. They can experiment quite easily with different sequences and rhythms using the instruments on the app without it being too much hard work and can use the pictures on the cards and the app to match the instruments. By having visual images as the score and on the app this means that this exercise is accessible by all – children with EAL can still see that the two instruments are the same and that when someone shows you the picture of the snare drum they clearly want you to play it. Equally children with SEN needs can get a lot out of this exercise too as they benefit from having a very visual learning environment, including visual timetables. The velcro picture score is not dissimilar to a visual timetable except that it tells you when to play certain instruments rather than to do certain activities. I think it would be very easy for any vulnerable groups to access and get the most out of this activity and application.

I found this article explaining how garageband can be effectively used in the classroom and think it has some very good ideas of how to use it – however, not all ideas are relevant to the age group that I am teaching, there are still definitely some ideas I will be using in my future music teaching.

Teaching music in this way can be truly inspiring and should catch the attention of all the children.

We then revisited the ‘I’m a train’ song that I mentioned in my previous music post  and developed how we could teach music and ICT with this song. First of all we watched this video:

Then we had to try and recreate the sounds of the steam train ourselves and using body percussion. This was a really fun way to develop our musical skills – by identifying key sounds in what we hear we start developing the ability to pick apart pieces of music and find out what it is made up of. If we cultivate this skill enough when the children are young then can become very competent as they mature.  The EYFS is all about equipping children with skills they will use throughout the rest of their lives, and even though this may not seem to be an essential skill it is useful and exciting nevertheless.

We then explored the app steamtrain and used this as inspiration for creating our steam train journey improvisations. Here is a link to ours:

We decided to make our train visual as well as just sounding like a train – we wanted the whole composition (video and audio) to represent a steam train. This is certainly how I would approach this task with the children in my setting – by physically pretending to be a steam train they are much more likely to be able to get into character and perform the sounds of a steam train on a journey. If the children are not connected in this way they may not be able to engage with the task fully. It also meant that when we presented the video to the rest of the class, that it was visually appealing and enjoyable as well.

Throughout the rest of the session we were allowed to check out the other recommended music apps available on iPads that would be useful for learning. I’m still not entirely convinced about using iPads to create music in music lessons, as there is something so wonderful as seeing children rush over to find out how to play a certain instrument they’ve never had a go a before and I also think that children with SEN and EAL probably get more from physically interacting with instruments than looking at them on a small screen. The beauty of music and musical instruments is how they are made and how it is that the way they are made is what makes them sound so beautiful, if you take away that link with real well-made instruments they may never appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into both making and playing musical instruments.

I found this useful website that is full of educational apps that teachers can use in their teaching. I was able to type in music into the search box and it brought up all the recommended apps for music to use in the primary school. I was intrigued by one application called Mibblio which is an application that is based on a musical storybook. Children can select what story they want to use and then they can create accompanying music for each part of the story – they can choose what instruments play along, and even create their own melodies. This is a great introductory application for starting composition based on an image or story and fosters fantastic links with literacy which means that children are both engaging in excellent musical composition skills they are also enforcing and supporting their learning and understanding of stories.

The other really fantastic music app that I found was Little Fox Music Box where there are three songs that children can sing along too as well as there being over one hundred interactive elements – this really does use both your ICT and music skills to work this one. Unless you know anything about iPads you may just sit there singing along to the songs but as soon as you realise that you can interact with the incredible illustrations you see just how much there is to offer. There is even the opportunity to record your own songs – this is a wonderful, engaging application that will keep children interested in singing even where there is noone there to sing along.


Here is the link to the fantastic apps for primary schools webpage:

More ideas:

Session 3: Expressive Arts and Design in the Early Years


Posted by Molly Huish | Posted in Art | Posted on April 28, 2014


Today we had a really engaging and thought-provoking art session.

The objectives for the session were:

  • To explore the inspirational process of art teaching and understand the possible and perceived challenges of teaching art.
  • To experiment with practical techniques and the personal journey of exploring, recording and making art.
  • To be aware of the importance of continuity and progression in different artistic fields including drawing, painting and digital technologies.
  • To be able to find out how practising artists develop work using a variety of techniques and how this practice can be used to develop innovative thematic planning in the early years curriculum.
  • To develop your own knowledge and confidence in uniting art practices and digital media.
  • To critique the value of engagement with cultural artefacts and new technologies in primary art.
  • To understand and value the process of expression and create individual multi-sensory educational resources and artistic responses to share with peers.

First of all we were asked to consider what art is and in particular what it is in the EYFS. Here are some excellent articles that I think explain why art is so important in the early years:

7 benefits of arts in the early years

Art influences learning

The importance of art in child development

These articles explain that art is not just made up of simple, discrete activities but provides the building blocks for learning development. Physical development is improved by art, especially those tricky fine motor skills – by teaching children how to hold a paintbrush and how to mark make you are setting them up for how to start writing and holding a pencil/pen.

This was followed on by ourselves exploring mark-making and how many different ways of mark-making there are. We were each given a sheet of white paper and a range of mark-making materials were put in front of us. We were then told a short story and we were told to draw marks on the paper based on the story and how we felt when we heard it. This was a very exciting task as even though we all heard the same story and had the same variety of materials to use, the pictures we created were so vastly different it was hard to believe in retrospect that they were based on the same story!

Here are a couple of examples from students in the class:

(these are from and

Can you even tell what the story was? I would definitely use this activity with children in the early years foundation stage as it shows that art is individual, that there is no right or wrong piece of art and will build up their confidence in taking part in art sessions more and more hopefully.

 After this we moved onto exploring different types of lines and as a group we had to create a picture using just one chosen line type. My group decided to use a sort of square spiral shape to create our image.

2013-09-26 12.59.14We decided that we wanted our picture to be more of a 3D collage and really get the most out of thetype of line we had chosen. I concentrated on creating the lines out of piper cleaners that I then attached to the pieces of paper at different angles, two of the group worked on making a huge paper spiral and sticking it onto the wall and paper and then we drew on some more spirals using chalks, water paints and any other types of material we could get our hands on. We were pretty pleased with our mark-making art piece as we felt we had gone beyond the brief and produced something really exciting and unique. It would be a fantastic and open-ended way to introduce mark-making and team work into the classroom – this is definitely an activity I would repeat with my own class.

After this we went back to our tables and were asked to create a piece of art on our table using unusual tools – on our table we were given a set of large balls and small marbles and lots of different coloured paint. Initially we just rolled the balls across the paper but then we started to think more imaginatively – I tried covering the ball completely in paint and then spinning it on the paper which created a really great splatter effect! Someone else tried dropping the ball from a height to see how they affected the paint spread. It was probably my favourite part of the lesson and reminded me that art isn’t just about producing something that represents something I can see, it is about expressing yourself and exploring different techniques. By sharing this activity with children hopefully I would be able to share the sentiment behind it as well.

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After the break we were given the task of creating images of the classroom to spell a word that is an art term. My group got really creative in finding letters in the classroom – we found a ‘b’ by taking a picture of a plant from a certain angle, and we used one of the line drawings to make a ‘u’. Can you work out what our word is?

2013-09-26 12.33.33 2013-09-26 12.33.59 2013-09-26 12.34.23





We did struggle with this activity quite a bit, especially as in the early years children’s ability to spell would be for limited words and if they couldn’t find something to represent that letter they may just give up – I think with art it is more important to stick to the creative, open-ended activities that children can use to grow in confidence rather than get frustrated by not being able to achieve a goal in art.

Directed Task

Select an artist of your choice and use this as a stimulus to create an entry in your e-portfolio, which demonstrates a range of ways in which learning through the creative expressive arts and digital technologies can be united. Endeavour to demonstrate this using a range of multi-sensory media; this could include your own or others artwork, sound, film or written ideas. Complete a short critical reflection on each idea you include detailing why you have selected it and how learning may occur, this could include references to wider reading to support inclusion. 

The artist I have chosen is sarahjane who is a blogger and artist and you can find her website here:

I decided to use her as the focus of this directed task because she shares her art over the internet through the medium of digital technology. She doesn’t stick to the medium of just painting either which  think is important when looking at an artist openly with children – she also gets her art printed onto fabric. This would make a really interesting ideas for an art lesson.

Idea 1) Children to use SarahJane’s artwork as inspiration to create their own artwork. The children could look at SarahJane’s fabric and then decide how they will turn their artwork into a pattern to create their own fabric.


They could design and create their own stamp and then stamp using different colours onto a piece of fabric. You could then extend this to be computer based work by using iPads and various apps to create a repeating pattern using art.

Here are some apps you could use: pattern artist; Foolproof art studio; picsop photo editor.

Creating a stamp would be quite difficult for children in the early years so this may be an activity better suited to an older age group.

    Idea 2) Blow up the image below and ask children what else might be in the background of the picture. Using drawing apps on the iPad you could draw on what might be in the background. You could use the concept of foregrounds and background, but talk about closer and further away. What is the first thing you can see? What can you see next? At each question get the children to draw what they can see and then take a

peace-be-still-blogpicture on the iPad. Through this you could create a video that shows the picture building up slowly. I think this would be an amazing idea and really inspiring.

However, the same problems would apply again with regard to perhaps it being a higher level art project that I could more successfully take on with a year two group. 





Development Mattters: EYFS document



Posted by Molly Huish | Posted in Music | Posted on April 28, 2014


Today we had our second session of Multisensory Media for Teaching and Learning which was the most amazing and inspirational music session.

The objectives of the session were:

  • To recognise the crucial role of music in the development of the whole child.
  • To identify the musical elements and to recognise their role as the ‘building blocks’ of music.
  • To develop your own knowledge and confidence through playing classroom and world percussion.
  • To engage with compositional processes through imitation and improvisation.
  • To recognise the value of child-initiated play on unconventional sound-makers: junk and recycled materials
  • To critique the value of exposure to a range of musical styles, genres and traditions in the Early Years.
  • To harness the musical experiences gathered in this first seminar and develop them into multi-sensory educational resources in the second session.


Sue Nicholls was our amazing music lecturer and she started the session off by introducing us to some welcome and warm-up songs. They were easy to learn songs that had a good, repetitive beat that children would easily be able to pick up, and it was easy to see how useful they would be when getting a new class altogether. Even if they didn’t all know each other they quickly have something in common – they would all be doing a silly rap about themselves. In my experience nothing makes me feel more at ease than if everyone in the room is doing something silly, and when children first come into a new environment you need to try and put them at ease as quickly as possible.

Throughout the session Sue introduced us to lots of different songs that could serve different purposes across the curriculum – she really showed me that music did not have to be limited to the music session you have allocated on the timetable, especially in the early years setting. My favourite song that she showed us was the ‘I’m a train’ song where four children (or adults in our case) will each put on a different Thomas the Tank Engine headband to take on the role of a different train. The whole class then sings the song, “I’m a train, I’m a train going down the line, when I stop, when I stop please get on behind!” as the trains move around the tracks. Children could learn a lot about tempo in this song, if they start off moving in time with the singing, then by moving the tempo of the singing faster then the trains would have to speed up and by slowing the tempo of the song down then the trains would have to slow down. This could be a really fun and exciting way to teach the concept of tempo to the children – alternatively the trains could decide to speed up or slow down and the children would have to match the speed of their singing to them. It would also be a fantastic song to use to teach simple maths in the early years – the teacher could ask questions such as how many trains are there in total? how many passengers does Thomas have? How many passengers are there in total? It would be a fun and stimulating way to get children to engage in addition.

The possibilities of using songs across the curriculum is something I had not really considered before and this paper takes a look at just how far the possibilities stretch for integrating music into all subjects:

In the next part of the session we looked at using musical instruments in our music sessions, and this was definitely my favourite part of the lesson. On a mat Sue had laid out what initially looked to be a pile of rubbish, but as you looked closer you could see that it was what could have been considered to be rubbish recycled into brilliant musical instruments.

Here are some pictures of the recycled instruments.2013-09-20 11.47.50 2013-09-20 11.48.00 2013-09-20 11.48.12 2013-09-20 11.48.45 2013-09-20 11.47.43 2013-09-20 11.46.48

There were some shakers made out of old gravy cans,  maracas made out of shot glasses tied together, drums made out of bins and so much more. I couldn’t believe how many instruments you could make out of recycled goods!










Sue shared with us how to make some of the items out of recycled materials – like the slither tray which you could make by getting a thin, plastic container and then filling with whatever you wanted (beads, rice, balls, marbles) and they would make a different sounds depending what you put inside. Creating these instruments could be an amazing and fun way to investigate sound – a science investigation where children are asked very openly what will happen if…? Children could then decide to put different items in the slither trays and make predictions about what would happen to the sound. Or the investigation could take off in another direction entirely – by providing the slither trays and the materials to put inside but by asking an open question children could take the investigation wherever they wanted. This just shows again how versatile music can be!

All of the items that Sue had used to make these fantastic instruments could be found in your home and so you could easily create a class orchestra by making these instruments and using them to support whatever musical endeavour the class was trying their hand at.

Next in the music session we listened to pieces of music and had to imitate the sounds we heard and then improvise our own pieces of music based on these. I really enjoyed trying to create a piece of music that was so complex by picking out small parts of it and I think this is something I could definitely use in my teaching of music – I think children would get so much out of improvising a piece of music based on listening to some music based on a theme they are learning about.Here is our  Improvisation Based On a Piece of Music.

Directed Task

At the end of the music session we were set the directed task to create out own song suitable for the early years that was set to a recognisable tune. I worked in a group with Ellen, Jess, Gillian and Isabel to create our song. We wanted to create a song that could be used as part of the children’s everyday routine and would help them to understand what was happening at this time of day. We decided we wanted to to create a song for the end of the day that would also include links for geography and types of transport as well as encouraging a creative, imaginative opportunity for them. The tune we chose to sing it to was  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star because we thought that all children would know this song and be familiar enough with it to at least be able to join in with humming the tune and thus making sure all children would be engaged. If children weren’t familiar with the song (EAL) then it was also simple enough for them to pick it up fairly quickly. The song went a little bit like this:

We’ve had such a wonderful day,

Learning lots, while we play.

Grab your coats, grab your bags.

It’s time for home, don’t be sad.

How are we getting home today?

Tell us [whichever child the teacher is pointing to],

[time for children to come up with a form of transport] Let’s be on our way!

We then decided that it would be even more accessible and fun for children if we came up with actions to go along with the lyrics, so for each part of the song there was an action and when the chosen method of transport was said all the children would pretend to be that form of transport. This would encourage children to be expressive, show confidence in what they were doing by performing in front of other children and also work on improving their physical development and motor skills by making use of actions that cross the body. The directed task also asked us to make use of percussion instruments to play along with our song and we chose instruments that could be used in the same rhythm and tempo as the song. If I was to perform this song with my class I would make sure that some children got percussion instruments and see if they could keep the rhythm and tempo throughout the song.

There are many different ways that this song could be used in an early years setting and a huge amount of links found across the curriculum throughout the music session. I look forward to implementing these new ideas that I had not thought of before and making music a part of the whole early years not just exclusively discrete music sessions. This session has made me consider music to be tool that can be used to teach other subjects.

Session 1 Developing a Professional Learning Network and Beginning Blogging/ Outdoor Art in the Early Years


Posted by Molly Huish | Posted in Art, ICT | Posted on April 27, 2014


Today we had our very first Multisensory Media for Teaching and Learning session. This session was split into two halves; the first session focusing on ICT and using the internet safely and professionally, the second session was an outdoor art session focusing on creating art through nature.

Developing a Professional Learning Network

In the first session the seminar focused on what a Professional Learning Network (PLN) is and why it is useful. We were asked to consider the changes in how we use computers and the internet over the last few years and reflect on how these developments have affected teaching. My own personal use of computers and the internet has greatly increased. I use facebook everyday to see what is happening in my friend’s lives, to communicate with them and share what is happening in my life (pictures/statuses).  I make use of educational websites to gain access to papers, journals and articles. I also get most of my information about what is happening in the word from the internet by reading news websites, blogs and watching videos. In the last few years the internet has become the place that I look to first to find out information and to share information – it is my primary source.

This leads on to the next point in the lecture – if it is our primary source for most information and communication then why can’t that apply to teaching as well? In the session we discussed all the other forms of social media, such as twitter, pinterest, flipboard, flickr and tumblr to name a few. A lot of these social networking sites were sites I had no interest in for my personal life – most of my friends use twitter but there isn’t much I want to share with the world every single day. The session opened my eyes to the uses of such social media sites for teaching and the opportunities are enormous. By following fellow teaching professionals on twitter you can open yourself up to different perspectives, pedagogies, resources, ideas and support that you could not otherwise engage with. For example, I was looking for ideas for provisions in the EYFS so I typed this into pinterest’s search tool and I was taken to this pinboard called EYFS: Creative where there were tons of brilliant ideas. I was particularly drawn to one pin of some rainbow slime and by clicking on this I was taken to a fantastic blog which had some amazing ideas for creative art activities and provisions. This just shows how using social media networks can lead me to discover resources and ideas I would never have the opportunity to explore otherwise.

I also found this blogpost that explains the power of twitter and how effective it can be for teachers in the profession. I think a good quote I found sums it up – “Twitter is a waterfall, always flowing. Just stick your cup in the water to take a drink.”

In the session, we were told about other ways that teacher’s linked together over the internet to share ideas and support each other – the teaching community has evolved so much through the internet and now there are online conferences, webinars, eBooks, and Teachmeets that are all available online, meaning that teachers can develop their teaching practise and knowledge in the safety of their own homes.  It is so much easier to meet other teachers (from across the world that we could never meet otherwise) and sharing information takes seconds.It has never been easier to access materials for development and this should mean that the teachers of today should be the best as the potential to learn and develop is so easy and accessible.

Social media such as twitter is not just valuable for resources, ideas and communication with other teachers, but it is also valuable for connecting with parents. By creating a class twitter page (with the right permissions) and posting pictures and tweets about what the children have been doing can help the parents to connect with what is happening in the school day. In the Early Years Foundation Stage connecting and sharing with parents is crucial and by using social media this can help to strengthen that link – if parents can see what children have been doing in the school day they can use this to continue this work at home! A class blog would also have the same effect – by blogging about what the children have been doing and sharing some of the children’s work, parents get to feel like they are more involved and their conversations with their children at home can be more purposeful allowing children to really connect with an idea or topic being explored. If you were in an older year group such as Year 2, your class blog could be created and contributed to by the students of the class. They could have an ICT session a week, where they could write about what they had been doing during the school week and what they had been learning about, this would then develop their ICT, communication and reflection skills as well as embedding the use of ICT in the classroom. This brings us on to the next part of the session – esafety.

Obviously if children were to be contributing to a public blog there would be safety issues that would need to be explored, explained and taken into consideration. Children would need to be aware of the e-safety issues surrounding the use of the internet and especially social media. Practitioners need to minimise the risks of using computers and the internet whilst maintaining and maximising the opportunities that children have to develop their use of ICT. Teachers need to be aware of what children may end up viewing if they are using the internet and they need to share the responsibility of restricting this access and this can be done in two ways. They can physically restrict the sites that are available to the children on the internet using filters and by educating children on what is and isn’t safe to view. As a teacher you also need to be aware of what may happen to children online – bullying, harrassment, inappropriate contact – and you need to be in a position to deal with it. By understanding how to deal with online safety issues is part of our responsibilities as a teacher, we need to stay up to date with e-safety, we need to know how to support children and we need to educate them. Only by doing all these can we say we are doing our jobs.

In the session we had a look at the different approaches you could take to sharing e-safety with children. We looked at some videos and also explored storytelling as a strategy. We also explored the website kidsmart which is a child friendly website letting them know how and why to be e-safe. We then looked at the website storybird which is a website that you can use to create ebooks which can then be shared among the website community. You can make use of a basic layout for each page of an ebook and use the vast library of artists pictures to illustrate the story you create. Using storybird to create an ebook on esafety was an idea we explored in the lecture and here is the ebook I created afterwards: It focuses on the character of Charlie the Chicken and his friends who all have problems involving e-safety issues and Charlie explains to his friends what they should do. This is a subtle and engaging way for children to learn them about e-safety.  


Outdoor Art in the Early Years

The second session of the day took place in the fantastic forest school site that is situated at the university. This was my first experience of a forest school and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The first thing we did when we entered the forest school site was to complete a risk assessment of the area. Completing a risk assessment of the area is crucial as while outside spaces can be used effectively and enjoyably, if something goes wrong then the experience is ruined for all. By following five risk assessment steps the teacher can be aware of all of what may go wrong, then can inform the children of these so they are all aware of what they need to look out for.

The five steps are as follows:

1. Identify the Hazards

2. Decide who might be harmed and how (particularly allergy sufferers)

3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions

4. Record findings and implement measures required

5. Review the Risk Assessment and update termly

From Earthwise Forest School – Forest School Handbook

We conducted the risk assessment in pairs and addressed each of these areas. We also considered the boundaries of the forest school area – boundaries need to be clear to children so they know where it is safe to go and move around in but also be visible to teachers. A way of addressing any hazardous items in an outdoor area is by implementing boundaries so that children don’t go near them. After conducting the risk assessment, we looked around the outdoor area for props that had been placed around and we had to use these props and an iPad to take pictures of them to create a story. I have created a separate blogpost to show and explain the story my partner and I created. We thoroughly enjoyed the story and we could see how beneficial using the outdoor area for literacy could be – by simply placing a few props around the area the options could be endless for such an imaginative age group.

The next part of the session was spent sharing our stories with each other and by using several stories we created one big class story that was about an evil King that we needed to find offerings for. We each had to look around the wooded area and find something to offer the evil King, I selected a leaf, and then we all put the offerings together and created an image of it. (See Ellen’s blog for a picture of our offering). This was an activity that came fluidly from what happened within our group story, and just showed how adaptable and spontaneous outdoor learning areas can be as well as the variety of activities that can stem from one small task when children are engaged with it.

We then were set the task of creating an item of clothing using only natural resources in the wood – my partner and I joined together to create a fern coat out of a fern tree. It looked magnificent like a huge fur coat and made me feel like a very powerful, rich woman – this activity could have been extended further by asking children how they felt whilst in the forest-made clothing and perhaps they could create a story based on that. The opportunities are endless. We also made a crown out of leaves that we weaved together – this shows how art skills can be taught in the outdoor area using natural materials and how you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create good quality resources for children to use. Many children these days spend their holidays and free time on computers or watching tv, whereas in my childhood I spent my free-time climbing trees, making dens and digging for treasure. By opening their eyes to the natural environment and what fun they can have there, children will be able to see what wonders the natural world holds and forest schools offer an opportunity for them to explore the unlimited options of the outdoors.

Here is a link to a video about Forest School.

Here are a couple of links relating to this blogpost topic:

Encouraging play in the Natural Environment: a child-focused case study of Forest school

Learning Fun in the Woods!


Posted by Molly Huish | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on September 23, 2013


Our first ‘in the woods’ session!

We had to go off in pairs, and using the randomly placed items around the wooded area, create a story.

Our story was based on a little boy called Timmy, and this is what happened…

Little Timmy had set off on his way to his Grandmother’s cottage for tea.

As Timmy was walking through the wood, he came across a strange looking tree.

As Timmy stepped through the tree, he saw another boy climbing through a tree as well. As Timmy got closer he saw that the boy looked exactly like him!

As Timmy looked around, he saw that there was two of everything – the tree on his left had a mirror tree on his right! Timmy realised he had entered some sort of strange mirror-world!

Timmy started to worry that he would never be able to get home. He needed to find someone to help him.

After searching the mysterious land for what seemed like hours, Timmy saw a strange looking man. He asked the man how he could get home but the man responded in a strange language Timmy didn’t understand, “eert eht otni kcab og.”

Timmy, desperate to get home, began climbing through all the trees. He was hoping he would stumble upon the strange tree he had entered the mysterious world through.

Timmy thought that he must have tried all the trees in the land, and yet not one of them had transported him back to where he belonged. He was about to give up when…

…Timmy spotted what looked like Grandmother’s house! He ran towards this cottage and flung open the door to find it leading back to his own world and his own Grandmother’s house!

And there was Timmy’s Grandmother waiting for him outside her house, “Now where have you been little Timmy, I’ve been waiting for you to get here all day.”

Hello blog world!


Posted by Molly Huish | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on September 19, 2013

Today we had our first Multisensory Media for Teaching and Learning session and the first half was based on ICT.

We had one task to complete in our session – a storybird e-safety guide.

Story bird is a fantastic website that allows anyone to create an e-book using all sorts of amazing artwork provided by artists on the site.


Here is my e-safety guide offering: