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! 

 

twinkl phonics

This week I wanted to share with you a wonderful new app from the guys over at Twinkl. A must have for foundation stage teachers…


What is it? 

iPad Screenshot 1

Twinkl Phonics Suite is a one-stop-shop for all your British phonics needs. The phonics suite breaks down the learning into 5 phases, each with their own wide range of activities to engage younger learners. Made up of a wide variety of activities the app walks children through the world of letters and sounds. It makes learning fun and easy, and often pupils don’t really know it’s work.  It provides teachers with assessment tools built into the app to track the progress of letters and sounds for each child. These are really clear, and show the teacher w

here the strengths and weaknesses are for each child. Brilliant!

What’s great about it? 

iPad Screenshot 3

LOADS! The number of activities available means you can get hundreds of lessons from one app. The visuals and narration of the app are fantastic and clear throughout, and make the sessions visually stimulating. All of the activities run really smoothly, and have their own built in settings. This means each activity can be personalised to the child, or made harder as they progress. In phase 1 of the app pupils can expect to see challenges like matching sounds and letter recognition. as the pupil prgresses through the app to phase 5 the tasks become a little trickier with games that encourage cognitive reasoning sentence building. I really love the DfES guidance along with some video examples of sessions that could incorporate the app.

Why get it? 

iPad Screenshot 4I would recommend this as a MUST have for all NQT’s or new staff to the foundation stage. The assessment and recording tools mean that a teacher can work, track and progress pupils learning along side your letters and sounds lessons. At the moment these assessment tools only go up to phase 2, but tools for phase 3-5 are in the making. To further help with your tracking and progress you can easily email screenshots of children’s work from the ipad, all it needs is a teachers password, and the app will email work straight to your account. Great for printing in pupil profiles.

I would also see this as being a great app for EAL children of all ages. The quality of the activities mean they would be stimulating to all ages. Tasks like the ‘full circle’ in phase 4 are quite trick concepts to learn, and would be a great activity for older children. New to English children can all access the app in the same way, as well as tracking

Overall

I really rate this app highly and would recommend it to any primary school teachers. The depth of the app means you could spend hours playing and exploring, and still find something new to use with your pupils. Go and get it! 

Skip to toolbar