Hang on a second, just let me blow the cobwebs off my keyboard. It’s been almost 3 months since I last found a little bit of time to write a post on here and I’ve been letting it slip! 7 weeks ago my wife gave birth to our beautiful first baby, Abigail Elizabeth, so I think I’ve got a pretty good excuse!

To get me back into the swing of thing I wanted to share with you some of the activities and websites I love to use when I teach the little darlings (said through gritted teeth) down in Reception.

Poisson Rouge

I’ll kick off with a superb website for early years learners. Poisson Rouge is filled with a VAST variety of games and challenges for your children to get stuck in to. A lot of them teach mouse control in a subconscious way, while other help to improve their thinking and problem solving skills. The graphics are clean and clear, and the music and sounds are really engaging for younger learners. I particularly love the fair ground and underwater areas of the website, as they allow you to pick a focus for lesson and keep all children engaged. Winner!

 

2Publish

Simple version of 2Publish+ that is REALLY easy for the pupils to get involved with. It works really well with touch screen machines, and the pupils tend to pull the screens right up to their noses in my room, trying to draw the perfect flower or house! Love choice of colours and pen widths, and I like to give the pupils a theme or drawing challenge when I get the chance. It also gives the pupils space to do some typing, which at this age is usually their names, but towards the end of the year I get some great descriptions from them. For those that use it, the mirror page is great and the kids get so excited when we use it. I really recommend it, as well as all other 2Simple programs.

Ipad Apps

At the start of the year some of the pupils still look like Deer in the headlights when I come down to meet them. I don’t even think about bringing them out of their little reception safe haven and up to my dark and scary ICT suite. So I bring down the iPads for them to use and explore with. Working in small groups I work through a variety of apps. ABCJoinedUp is fantastic for learning the basics of letter formation, before moving on to writing full words in cursive. Garage Band (with headphones!!) is a great creative hour and the kids LOVE IT!! PaintPad is great for the kids to make a mess without the mess and has a great feature that allows teachers to email the work to themselves, rather than it just sat on the iPad doing nothing. I love using the iPads with pupils at this age, give it a go!

Boobah zone

Fun, Simple and easy. A website choc full of games and activities for pupils to work their way through. Very similar to Poisson Rouge. The styling of the site is good, but a lot more simplistic that Poisson. The sounds are great and really funny at times. This is definitley one for the kids to explore on their own rather than directing them. Great to explore and work out the challenge of the game.

BeeBots

What is there to say? Grab the beebots and some maps and get the kids exploring and playing! I try not to get involved very much, and see the pupils learn from their mistakes and come up with their own solution.

 

Touch Tables

I’m lucky enough to work at a school that spends a lot on it’s IT budget every year. In reception we have touch tables for the pupils to leanr and explore on. These are brilliant tools and it’s great getting a group round them. They help to generate lots of discussion in the kids that really warrants their place in the school. I would really push all schools to take the plunge and go for them.

Digital Cameras/iPods

With the weather (hopefully) changing for the better it’s great to get the kids out on the field or playground using some hand held tech. At this young age you want to keep it simple and digital cameras, or in my case, a set of iPods are great for this. Give your children a challenge or a focus rather than just aimless selfies. Last time i had them out pupils were pretending to be Wild Things, or looking for mini beasts!. You would be amazed at what they come back with!

 

Any other great activities or websites your use in reception! Feel free to add them below! 

 

Ok, so I know it’s a bit late in the day, but I thought I’d share a few of the teaching ideas I have used for Roald Dahl Day. One of my favourite days in the school calendar, where children get to enter some of the most fantastic worlds.

1. Character blogs – allow your pupils blog on your VLE as one of Roald Dahl’s famous characters. Get them to enter the minds of The BFG or Matilda and share their experiences and thoughts. Add some images to their text and share it online, you will be amazed with the feedback you get.

2. Gaming – Use some gaming software like 2DIY to make a Roald Dahl themed game. This year my class have been playing as Danny the Champion of the World trying to catch pheasants! Why not make a game where you get to collect Snozzcumbers or Fobscottle bottles? The possibilities are endless!

3. For older children why not try a quick hot seat using Skype. Get pupils to dress up in an adjacent room and Skype the rest of the class. Get the pupils to interview the character on their motives and emotions.

4. Character Creation – One thing Roald Dahl always got perfect was the creativity in his characters. They were always fantastically odd and never boring. Try to make some new ones with your class. You could you try and add them to one of his stories, maybe make a sequel! Use something like paint.net or 2Publish so that pupils can bring their creations to life.

5. I have saved the trickiest till last, for only the bravest of teachers! For those that don’t know Roald Dahl did all his writing in a little shed at the bottom of his garden. It was the perfect writing space for him, warm and cosy in the winter, peace and quiet, and a pencil and paper on his lap. Get your pupils to think about where they could write, what would be their ideal space? When they have come up with some different ideas get they to try and create it on Google Sketchup. Use the modelling software to make their perfect little hideaway!

 

‘Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it’

-Roald Dahl

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