Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Engineering...for girls

I just came across this commercial that a company called Goldie Blox put out to sell engineering kits to little girls.  I love teaching STEM, and certainly hope to see more girls go into those fields in the future. The video reminds me of the FOSS Balance and Motion unit, which is one of my favorite units to teach, but it was sad to me that already in first grade, a few of the girls in my class sat back and let the boys take charge and share their ideas.  Hopefully this will usher in a new generation of girls who are eager to build things, test predictions and experiment.

Maybe I'll get my niece one of their kits for Christmas this year :)

Watch the video here:

Model Magic Fun!

It has been raining in Bahrain! Not just the 30 seconds of rain we get a couple of times a year, but steady, sustained rain.  It has rained more in the last three days than in the last few years combined, so in a country with no sewer or drainage system, there have been a lot of flooded roads and buildings (including the top floor of my house).  A lot of schools were closed today, but ours remained open.  Good thing it did, because I had an amazing day with my kiddos!

 Our wet early childhood garden

We used Model Magic for the first time this year.  The kids loved it so much, they said it felt like playing with marshmallows and they kept thanking me for giving it them.  We've been working on our Health and Nutrition theme, so they picked their favorite fruit or vegetable to mold their Model Magic into and then they used pencil tips and marker lids to make indentations to make it look more like the actual fruit and vegetable looks.

We made them in the morning and then in the afternoon we used watercolor paints to paint them.  I think they came out looking great, and the kids were so excited for me to put them out in the hallway for their parents to look at during conferences tomorrow. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fun technology activity for pre-k

We are just wrapping up our Body and Senses theme this week.  One of the activities that we usually do after learning the names of the parts of the body is to have the students talk about how a time when they hurt a part of their body and then label the parts of the body to create a class boo-boo book. 

I am always looking for ways to meaningfully integrate technology into the curriculum in a way that engages the students, so it occurred to me that rather that just scribe what the students are saying for their boo boo stories, I could record their stories.  I used the app croak it, which is a free iphone app in the itunes store.  It's a simple, easy to use app that records up to 30 seconds of voice recording and stores it online.  I then used the links from croak it to go the website QR Code Generator to create individual QR codes linked to each students voice recording.  I printed the QR codes and attached it to their work so that students and their parents can scan the code and hear the child actually telling the story.  The students were so excited to hear themselves!  It was great too because a couple of students were able to identify the fact that they speak too soft or too fast or are too wordy ( only records up to 30 seconds), so it was great for them to notice that and work on self-correcting.

Here's how the final product came out.  It was great to see parents scanning their child's work at dismissal today and hearing the stories they tell at school!

Scan this QR code to hear a sample story:
If you have any great suggestions for how to use technology in the early childhood classroom, leave a comment!