Kinectimals Inspiring Writing

This year was the forth time I have used Kinectimals with a class to inspire their writing. And this year staff in our unit said this was the best writing we have seen all year! So I thought I would share a few ways in which game play has inspired writing in my classroom.

Kinectimals

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This an X Box game and it is also an app game available for iPad. You adopt a tiger or a bear on an island called ‘Lumeria’ and meet a character called Bumble who has been looking after the animals since the explorers left many years ago. It is an adventure game where you lead your animals through different tasks and challenges, find treasures and discover new parts of the island. It’s also a virtual pet style game so it is self paced and children can navigate the island themselves, moving around the place instead of moving forward in game play. Graphically it’s stunning, very beautiful and the story is captivating.

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Teacher Authored Texts in Early Years

We want our early learners to become life long readers so promoting books and reading is what we try to do. To share a love of reading with the many different kinds of learners in our classroom can be challenging so making use of technology is one solution.

For the past few years my early years class have been writing books on our iPads using Book Creator. They’ve contributed to whole class books about their village, written fairy tales in pairs in Woodland Workshop and created their own independent maths journals.¬†With our whole class and shared writing books I usually combine all of their content on iBooks Author on my MacBook. I then publish their project to the iBooks Store. Below is a gallery of the different book creating experiences we have had using iPad, iBooks Author and Book Creator.

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It’s not often that I use iBooks Author to create texts for them to read on their iPads but this is starting to creep in to my practise so today I’d like to share an idea with you.

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An Early Years Shape Book about Bonfire Night

We are getting ready to teach the children how to make Maths Journals again this year, but before we hand children their own iPads, we need to model book creating in maths first. You can read more about Maths Journals here.

Bonfire Night is a British festival remembering The Gunpowder Plot from over 400 years ago. Guy Fawkes attempted to murder King James who would be in The Houses of Parliament on November 5th 1605 (I hope I have that date right?). Guy Fawkes obviously failed as The Houses of Parliament still stand today and every year on November 5th our children visit a bonfire and watch fireworks which depict what could have happened should Guy Fawkes have been successful.

This festival, like many others, lends itself well to cross-curricular learning. However, it also lends itself well to my connected classes project as our friends across Europe and America will not be celebrating Bonfire Night. Therefore it is a great opportunity to use technology to share this festival with them.

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Our second week using iPads in Foundation – Let’s be published authors!

Creating content on our iPads is an important part of our new computing curriculum and it begins in the foundation stage. The app I introduced was My Story and the skill was to import photographs on to pages.

Last week we worked on the basics on the iPads- switching them on/off, handling them safely, making videos and taking photographs. These basics are still being covered as part of our review each time we start working on the iPads.

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Our first week using iPads in Foundation – mastering the basics!

I have had just over a week settling our new Foundation 2 children in to school. As well as the usual rules and routines of a new setting, I have introduced them to iPads and how they can be used at school.

Some children are more confident than others, which challenges the perception that “the kids already know how to use them” and “they will end up teaching you to use them”. Some of the children didn’t know how to turn them on and off, and most children have had to learn new vocabulary involved with using the iPads (sleep/wake button, home button, home screen). This language was introduced as we were using the iPads, as well as correct ways to hold and carry them around school; “two hands, fingers on the back, thumbs on the front”.

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Teaching about Life on Earth in Early Years

Context

This summer at the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in San Diego our theme for the week was ‘Life On Earth’. To kick start the week we had a fantastic keynote from famed biologist E.O. Wilson, author of the new Life on Earth multi-touch textbooks available for free from the iBook Store.

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Bringing Stories to Life with iPad

At TeachMeet Nottingham, Friday 30th March, I spoke about my work with Apps Based Learning on iPad and how Puppet Pals and Morpho Booth has been effective in bringing story language to life in my Reception class.

Earlier in the Spring Term 2012, I wrote about the iPad Workshop which I organised at my school with the support of European Electronique (@euroele) and Neil Emery (@neilemerydotcom). Since then I have been busy planning and resourcing opportunities for my Reception class to make the best use of apps in the classroom.

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