Early Childhood faculty attended a presentation during the first week of school on how to use classroom websites to communicate with parents while involving students in the process.
The book Tech Tonic was referenced to emphasize when and how it is appropriate for young children to use technology, taking into consideration that it should support, not compete, with building relationships and a knowledge of nature. We also reviewed the Ten Principles For A New Literacy of Technology.
PK5 students have been learning about how they're similar and different from each other. We used the projector to view photos of children around the world and notice their characteristics. When we asked our students what they noticed, they said:
Students concluded we all have different hair, eyes, face, skin color, and clothes, but even though we look different on the outside, we are similar on inside; we all have a heart, a brain, lungs, a stomach, and bones.
Finally, we used Google Maps to find Guadalajara and then we zoomed out to find the countries the children in the photos where from. This app gave children the opportunity to travel to Japan, Africa, Alaska, South America, among other places. Once we found each country, we used street view so students could imagine standing on the streets of each place and have a quick look at the buildings and cities there.
Throughout the school year, our class enjoyed starring in videos about the children in K10. Recently, our students decided they were no longer satisfied with being the actors. They announced they wanted to be the ones to create the videos that are produced in K10.
We discussed how to record a video using the iPad, what requirements were needed for the video to be of a good quality, and how to work as a team to create the best videos.
In small groups we went even more in depth, discussing how the director helps the “star”. The students decided to work out a “thumbs up” signal for when the recording began so the students being recorded would know when to begin speaking. Finally, we learned how to edit the footage!
These are some of the children's comments:
In Nursery 3 we noticed it is not easy to explain to nursery students what Earth is. For children to understand this concept we gave them a visual image of Earth. With the help of Google Earth we could provide students with the opportunity to see Earth “from space” and zoom in on our school.
After checking out ASFG, we went back out into space and let the children choose where to go. Many of them wanted to see their homes, others Disney World, others the beach. We took several quick “trips” to these different places. Students saw the Earth from a different perspective and noticed how daytime was on one side of the planet while night time was on another. Google Earth provided the children with the chance to see how all the different places they know exist in one single place; Planet Earth. This was the perfect introduction to begin our “Earth Week Unit”
For a storytelling project in PK-K8, students were divided into two groups. Each group created their own story with everybody’s participation. Once the stories were finished and edited, each child made a drawing of their own part. These drawings were digitized and uploaded into iMovie. The children used a snowball microphone to input their voices for the video. They each had several try-outs and were able to choose their favorite piece of audio. We added titles and background music. The children enjoyed watching their story video several times.
How can the classroom teacher use technology to more deeply explore children’s thinking? Encourage their reflection? Support the practice of thinking about their thinking (metacognition)? And how can technology be used so it is authentic and unique? These are questions we wrestle with as we use technology with young children.
Currently PK-K 11 students are exploring the concept of cities. Children worked in groups to create a negotiated representation of a city or a facet of a city.
Using a photograph of their finished construction, children reflected on what they had created together, while the teacher recorded their stories. They were encouraged to think about their thinking in the retelling of the experience.
We then generated a list of commonalities based on these group constructions and began the phase of combining the elements into a paper city.
Children referred to their photographed construction when drawing. They also used the iPad to support the translation from mental model to a concrete representation recognizable by all.
Once all city landmarks were represented we took the drawings to the copy center. With the help of the copier we could reproduce our elements as well as size them according to the scale that was necessary.
These were some questions we asked our students...
●Should a butterfly be half the size of a building?
●Are bicycles as large as cars?
●How can we make our cruise ship be scaled to fit the designated city space in the classroom?
Our handy photocopier allowed us to tackle spatial relations and manipulate our drawings so that there was proportion and scale.
PK-9 students have been learning about patterns. We went out in small groups around campus to look for patterns in our environment and children photographed these patterns with the iPad. After selecting which photographs they wanted to share with their classmates and parents on the Pk-9 website, we uploaded the pictures into a slideshow. The students’ homework was to have parents check the website to see the slideshow and to look for patterns in their home or garden and have parents email these photographs to the teacher.
After about a week, we looked at the photographs the children took with their parents and shared the photographs with the rest of the class on the overhead projector. Children explained to their friends the patterns they found, saying:
In K7 students have been using technology to enhance their learning about trees. Students watched various children’s videos about the parts of trees, about animals that live in trees, and about different types of forests. Students were able to use the Smart Board to draw the parts of a tree and drag words to label these parts. Students used the classroom iPad to take pictures of leaves and of a tree dwelling. They used these photographs when writing descriptive words about trees and creating a classroom tree display.
N1 students explored and used WhatsApp to send and receive messages from their teacher, who has been absent due to a surgery. They have been in communication with her, sending good wishes and telling her all about their winter vacation.
Children have learned a new way of communication and have used technology to be close to their teacher.
PK5 students have been learning about winter, the animals that live in the Arctic and the Antarctica, and the type of clothes we can use for cold weather. For this project children engaged in many different activities, made winter crafts and checked out books from the library to learn more about Arctic and Antarctic animals, icebergs and snow.
We set up an environment with music and animal sounds, winter/snowy photos on the SMART Board and some paper puppets for students to explore this topic further.
To finalize this project, children used the Google Cardboard viewers to experience virtual reality and get immersed in a journey full of fun environments and experiences in the Arctic!
Some of their comments were:
In a vertical meeting with pre-first teachers, we agreed it would be a good idea to teach a common song for letter names and sounds. We also agreed that it would be helpful for children to represent each letter and a word that started with that letter, using their bodies.
We recorded children’s movements and voices and are now ready to share our video with all children in EC and pre-first.
Some comments from children were:
Coming up with ideas for the movements was easy for all children, recording the video was challenging for some of them and trying to match our voices to the video was challenging for everyone, including us. We all enjoyed, got frustrated, got over our frustration, learned, had fun and are very proud to be able to show the video to our loved ones.
Children, parents, and PK-K 11 teachers helped create our classroom eBook, “Watch Me Grow”, by using the app Book Creator and a voice recorder. Parents were given directions on how to download the classroom eBook on their own devices through our classroom website.
In this video Marcelo and Mateo look at the book and guess whose baby photo they see, listening to the voice recording and then verifying their guess by swiping the page to see if that friend indeed appeared. Mateo and Marcelo independently began repeating the English sentences they heard. They also found similarities between classmates as they listened carefully to their friends speak in English all the while having fun!
This experience allowed children to use technology in a transformative way, as they used the eBook to self-direct meaningful learning.
Monarch butterflies in Nursery 3
It was a busy day at school, and we did not want to take our eyes off the Monarch butterfly chrysalis in the science area, since we suspected the butterfly was going to emerge soon. We had to continue with our daily activities, but “what could we do to not miss out on the birth?”
We let our iPad record the process as a “time lapse” as we continued with our activities. After an hour the butterfly was born. We did not notice until later but luckily, we had everything recorded on video! We reviewed our iPad to see the butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.
Then we played it on the TV and children asked to see it over and over again. It was amazing! Children were able to capture these incredible changes in their environment thanks to the technology available to us.
In PK4 children have been learning that shapes can be used to draw different things and that things are also made out of different shapes. So they went walking on a “Shape Hunt” around the section and using the Doodle Buddy App in the iPad, children took photos of different things they found that were shaped like a circle or were round.
Back in the classroom, they took turns to choose a photo from the gallery, add it to the app, and then look for the circles in the picture and trace over them using the different tools the App offered. Most children were able to notice other shapes in the pictures they took. This was done with other shapes as well.
In K7 students have been learning about how they can use technology to enhance their learning. Students had the opportunity to be recorded speaking about their favorite thing to do at school. They then watched the videos and were able to change what they said or how they said it. These short videos were made into a classroom video that all students viewed and discussed.
Also, students were recorded singing an alphabet song. The song was then posted to the classroom website. Parents were invited to sit down with their children and learn the song together at home.
After attending a RedSOLARE’s conference called Viajando con los niños a través de mundos digitales, early childhood teachers presented a workshop for our section’s faculty meant to provoke curiosity and interest in the use of technology with young children.
Teachers were brought to a magical, awe inspiring environment created with different materials (flashlights, mirrors, pieces of fabric, plastic shapes, toys) and technological resources (smart board, webcam, an LCD projector, an overhead projector, desktop, and laptop) and asked to interact and explore the possibilities these materials offer young children. For the first few minutes we asked teachers to do this in silence so that the materials could speak for themselves.
By playing and manipulating light, shadow, shapes, perspective, and movement, teachers created stories, moods, and surroundings and learned how to introduce and better use different technological resources in their classrooms.
Nursery students have been exploring with the section’s copy machine, making copies of drawings and objects like shoes and pencils, …even their own hands! The children were shown how the machine is turned on and off, how to re-fill the paper container, and how to make copies.
They developed theories about how the copier works, what it can do, and what a copy is:
After this introduction, we made copies of the children’s fingers showing numbers 1-10, thus linking math and technology.
Nursery 3 has been using technology as an assessment tool. The SMART board was recently used to make a final nursery evaluation of letter skills.
The next step will be to print the images of what they did in the SMART board and classify their names in groups based on the quantity of letters or initial sound. These can be grouped in the form of a chart or graph for children to analyze and manipulate.The SMART board was also used to support students practicing their name. They counted the number of letters in their names and wrote the number.
In PK4 we have been encouraging our students to become authors and illustrators. We asked them to write their own book with their parents. They brought their books to school and shared them with the rest of the class and then began interviewing one another and recording each other reading their books with the classroom iPad. They had so much fun!
This month, PK5 has been working with the phrase “What do you see?”. We have been focusing on the idea of what makes up the world around us. The things and people that we see are a part of our learning environment. Several “expert photographers” have learned how to use a camera independently and they are teaching their peers how to turn on the camera, zoom in and out and review the photos that they have taken.
Children in K6 chose a song to learn for Mother’s Day. We watched the original video of the song and children got excited about making their own video. We then talked about the things we needed to know to make the video and the first thing they came up with was that they needed to learn the lyrics for the song, so we looked for them in Google and printed them.
Most of the children were very excited to know they could get the lyrics for most songs and then download them in print. We talked about the importance of using Google and YouTube only with adult supervision.
The next thing they wanted to know was the steps to dance along with the song. We watched some dancing lessons on YouTube and some children made a video to share some ideas with their friends of the steps they could use for the Mother’s Day presentation.
Students in K7 used technology to assist them in a unit on homes. Families sent a photo of the child’s own home that students used to draw a realistic picture. We also used the photos to describe parts of a house and practice speaking in complete sentences in English.
Then, we used the computer to map where the children lived in relation to ASFG and in relation to the rest of the world, and finally, the students used the SMART board to draw realistic houses.
We have been studying airplanes for several weeks and wanted to use this theme for our Father’s Day gift. We decided to have the children make a special drawing of themselves and their father, flying in a plane/helicopter.
The students were presented with a wide assortment of previously downloaded landscape photos. Each student selected his/her favorite and pasted the drawing on it. Our students then dictated a story based on this work to their teacher. They gave each story a title and chose their favorite part of story event to write a sentence.
We brought in a special microphone and after practicing their sentence, the children recorded their voice into the computer. We created a video in iMovie using the children’s artwork, written work, and voice recordings together with special sound effects:
This is an example of one of the stories:
Looking at the World - by Elena
“Once upon a time, my dad and me were in a helicopter looking at the whole world. We saw our tower where my dad lived with me. I went to his office, to where he works. I did a little of his job. He had a meeting. I ate a little bit of his chocolate. Then I was hungry again, and ate another one of his chocolates. Then I ate dinner at my house.”
K10 finished their eBook "The Pigeon Goes to School" and can independently access it on the classroom’s iPad in iBook.
En la clase de español, nos hemos enfocado en analizar las diversas formas que un libro es presentado de manera electrónica. Para lograr este objetivo, se les explicó a los alumnos el título de un eBook y qué componentes o aplicaciones vienen inmersas en el mismo para que ellos puedan manipularlo y aprovechar todas las ventajas que ofrece.
Uno de los eBooks en español estudiados tiene por título “Tab, el murciélago blanco”. Los alumnos de kínder tuvieron la oportunidad de escuchar la historia por parte de la maestra , analizar las diferencias con la lectura e imágenes interactivas, y también disfrutar de los juegos incluidos diseñados para un mejor raciocinio.
Varios de los alumnos decidieron llevar más allá su aprendizaje y realizar diversas actividades que involucran al personaje principal “Tab”.
“The most powerful and effective way for children to begin learning the complex
process of learning about letters is by writing their own names”
- CAROL LYONS
Since the beginning of the school year, N1 students have been practicing how to trace their initial letter, learn it’s sound, and to copy their complete name from a name card. Now we are encouraging children to sound out their name and write it by memory.
We video recorded each child doing this and showed the videos to the class. This has motivated children to give this task their best effort. They have enjoyed watching themselves and each other while learning new letter sounds in their friends names.
Students in Prekinder 9 filmed videos with the assistance of their teachers to send messages to classmates, parents and friends. We used the digital camera to record students sending messages. Students reviewed their recordings to see if they could improve it or if they were satisfied with the recording.
We showed the students how the videos were transferred from the digital camera to the computer. When asked how they thought the video on the camera got onto the computer, Simon explained, “The movie goes through the white cable and then we can see it on the computer.”
We then used these recordings to make short clips to share with friends and family. Students were able to see how their messages were shared with parents and friends on computers and cell phones. The children loved this activity!
We are studying sunflowers in K10. First, we watched a video of a sunflower growing in a time lapse. After that, students took a photo of a seed using the iPad and then used the app Doodle Buddy to draw the roots and the flower growing from the seed. When they finished they saved the photo to the iPad’s gallery.
Students enjoyed imagining how the seeds we planted will grow. It also helped them understand the life cycle of a plant using a different media.
Once our sunflowers grow bigger, we will compare the photos of the children’s drawings to the actual plants and check if their predictions of how the flower would look like were right.
En la clase de español, a los alumnos de kínder les gusta utilizar los diversos recursos tecnológicos para comunicarse con sus compañeros de generación que están en otros salones. Algunos de ellos se conocen por haber compartido anteriores grados escolares o debido a su convivencia durante el tiempo de recreo.
Para fomentar aún más esta dinámica y enlazarla a los diversos objetivos de aprendizaje correspondientes al grado kínder, hemos invitado a los alumnos a utilizar el celular para enviar mensajes de voz relacionados a libros leídos por la maestra o para ayudar a comprender un tema en particular. La maestra graba los audios y los comparte con los alumnos de tal forma que surja una conversación entre ellos.
Los alumnos de kínder también han participado activamente en la creación de sus propios libros o historias. Debido a la experiencia que han adquirido han realizado por iniciativa de la maestra un video en el que comparten sugerencias o tips sobre cómo crear tu propio libro.
In N2, we have been exploring the possibilities an overhead projector can offer. We began by using our bodies to play and understand how the device works. Later on, some students added objects from the classroom to the play, discovering that the shadows created differ according to the objects’ properties.
Some of the ideas that popped up were:
Another day, after playing with objects collected outdoors (rocks, shells, sticks, and leaves) a student said “these make shadows because they’re not transparent”. Noticing the connection he was making, we decided to put these objects together with the projector and explore.
While playing with them and seeing their shadows on the wall, students felt inspired and began creating a story using the shadows reflected as a background.
Finally, they used the projector and their drawings on these acetates to tell a story to their friends. The final product, was a beautiful story told by 3-year-old students interacting with technology.
Pre Kinder 5 students have been introduced to a listening center in the classroom. This provides the students with the opportunity to hear their favorite books by their favorite authors, read aloud again and again. We have set up 3 headsets next to the students’ computer so the children can enjoy listening with their friends.
We have seen their focus and concentration increase, because as of now, our listening center provides only audio. We have chosen not to use videos of books because we want the children to focus on the words, to improve their listening skills and build vocabulary.
Most of our books have interesting music, and sound effects, and the narrators use silly voices and dramatic ways in which to tell the stories. Our students have enjoyed taking turns at the listening center.
Children in K6 have being learning a song for parent’s day. While searching for the song in YouTube, they discovered a video where girls were dancing to the song. My students decided to copy some of the steps and invent some of their own moves. One student suggested we make a video to show these new dance steps to their classmates in order to help them learn the dance for our upcoming performance.
As classrooms have experienced erratic attendance due to the seasonal flu, PK-K 11 students are using technology to bridge distances to share important moments, such as one friend’s birthday celebration. Children learned how to count down from 3 to 0 before speaking. Each group of children picked the background they wanted to use and they figured out how to space themselves out so that the camera can capture all participants in the video. The only hurdle we have yet to overcome is how we can share birthday cake!
Nursery students celebrated World Read Aloud Day by sharing stories among nursery classrooms with our webcams. Miss Cynthia from N1 read a story to N3 using their classroom computer and we enjoyed looking at her on the TV. Later on, we read a story to N2 students, and they then read a story to us. For this activity we used our computer webcams to communicate through Google Hangouts.
To prepare for this experience, N3 arranged for the webcam to face the carpet so children could watch themselves on the TV screen while they were being recorded. They danced, made faces, and played while trying to figure out how this could happen. Some students thought about a camera connected to the TV and computer, but they still have not found the camera nor gotten the answers to this “magical” technology, as they called it. We plan on doing more of these fun activities so children can keep playing and discovering how tech devices work.
In Pre Kinder 4 we have been working on a Day and Night unit and studying shadows. We took out the old overhead projector and allowed children to explore and play with different materials, while moving the objects around and even starting to trace the shadows with a dry erase marker on the whiteboard. We also watched a video on YouTube to understand a little bit more about how shadows are made and planned an outdoor activity where children searched for shadows around our playground and took photos of the shadows they found with the classroom iPad and camera.
Along with our Day and Night unit we have been talking about the moon and its phases. We brought a telescope to the classroom as a provocation and children really enjoyed exploring it and looking for the moon during the day. After observing the moon over the month of February and watching how it changes, we posted a picture on the screen for students to copy on black cardboard and white crayons
Students in K7 have enjoyed learning about animals that make their homes in the Arctic and Antarctic. We watched videos and studied photos on the iPad and computer. By seeing the animals in photos and videos online children were able to understand why many animals in the Artic and Antarctic are white.
They looked at maps online to help them understand where the Arctic and Antarctic are in relation to Mexico. They also found photos of animals to print out. This helped with a final art project where they drew animals in a realistic way.
In PK-K8 we’ve been studying several poems, rhymes, and songs for our Balanced Literacy program during the school year. The children have been exposed to them in writing, in storybooks and online. Many students are now confident enough to search for them in the different websites available, such as Starfall.
For our 100 days of school, students used the “Aging app” in our iPad to discover what they would look like at 100 years of age. At the beginning, the teachers were taking photos of their students and showing them how to make the “transformation”. Later on, students started to take “selfies” and configured the “aging” process on their own
Nursery 1 students created a virtual forest in the classroom for their plastic animals. By placing a photo of a forest on the overhead projector and choosing an audio recording of rain, they used their bodies and plastic animals to create light and shadow and move inside the environment.
"NOTHING WITHOUT JOY" -Loris Malaguzzi
One of our US students in PK9 brought a Super Bowl cake to the classroom to share with his classmates. We took this opportunity to learn a little about American football. We looked at different historical football photographs from the National Geographic webpage and found some recent uploads of the summary of this year’s Super Bowl game on YouTube. The students watched the videos and discussed their experience watching the game. Here is a link to one of the conversations.
For the last two months, K10 has been studying and researching Mo Willems to learn a little about his life and work. We learned that Willems has a daughter named Trixie and that’s why he gave the same name to one of the main characters in his Knuffle Bunny books. This helped children understand that an author can be inspired by personal experiences and use this to create new stories.
Children also noticed that Willems uses real photographs for the settings of his books and then he draws the characters as illustrations. We compared this type of illustration to other Willems’ books and reflected on how, as the illustrator of a book, you can decide the style and technique you want to use.
Children loved the idea of using real photos, so we decided to create a story together using Willems’ style. The class decided they wanted the story to be about the Pigeon becoming a student in K10. We titled the book “The Pigeon Goes to School.” Each child mentioned a part of the routine they would like Pigeon to do, and we took a photograph of that child doing the chosen activity. Then we printed the photo in black and white, asked each student to draw a picture of Pigeon, and had the child cut and paste the drawing on the photo to make it look like a Knuffle Bunny book.
Children just finished this part of the process. The next step will be to audio record their voices and turn the book into an ebook using the app Book Creator.
En la clase de español los alumnos de kínder han estado disfrutando de los videos creados por sus compañeros en los que leen sus propias historias y han utilizado la cámara para tomar fotografías de las historias con el objetivo de compartirlas con sus amigos o familiares.