Big news in the prep room is we have Living Eggs. Yesterday an incubator was delivered with 10 eggs and the preps have been loving observing the changes in the eggs as they begin to ‘pip’ and then hatch into chicks. This experience is fantastic for helping the children understand about Life cycles and it is also providing a fantastic stimulus for oral language development and writing.
During our writing time today, the focus was on developing topic specific vocabulalry to help support writing about the chicks experience. The aim was to produce a ‘word shower’ created by the children with input from the stimulus, teachers and the technology on hand in the classroom. The children worked in small groups of 4 to think of words and then to generate new words.
The results of our learning today were amazing.
We used 2 key pieces of technology.
The first was our ‘talking tin lids’ which allowed children to record their ideas and words that they are not yet able to write and to remember these when they had to share them back to the class.
The second was our I-pads. The 7 ipads in our classroom are used daily by our children to support their learning. They are not kept in a cupboard or used as a reward for finishing work early but are always available for students to use when they need to during their learning. Most frequently this is for taking photos, finding pictures on the internet, reseaching a topic ,making posters and presenting their learning. Today we used ‘google’ to help generate new vocabulary linked to our topic.
Before using the i-pads we asked the children to record words they already knew about our hatching egg stimulus.Some children noticed a poster in the room and together the class came up with 8 words. Egg, Hatching, brooder, chick, chicken, hen, pipping, incubator. We thought this was pretty good.
We then gave each group of children one of these words and modelled how to type this word into ‘google images’ and generate new words from the pictures that appear. They then had to record new words that came to mind from looking at the pictures. For example, the group with the word ‘Egg’ found pictures of ‘shell’, ‘yolk’ and ‘white’, therefore expanding the topic words. After 10 minutes or so all the groups shared their new words and now our word shower had over 40 words!!
Interestingly, the google images search for ‘Hatching’ showed many cars (hatchbacks) and doors which led to the discussion about some words having more than one meaning, introducing Preps to Homonyms!
The children then used this topic specific vocabulary to work with a partner using an Interactive approach to their writing. We think that what they produced for children who have been at school now for just over 50 days was pretty amazing.
I think we will definately be using this approach again to help develop vocabulary and language.