Monday, October 10, 2005

The Beginning of a New Session

Things are a little bit different in the organisation of the tablet project this year. I have been taken out of class to cover McCrone time within the school and to mentor a probationer. It was deided that I should deliver ICT throughout the school, amongst other curricular areas. I am also team teaching in the Infants. Listed below is my class contact time-

Monday am-P1-3 mental maths, pm-P6/7 Science and ICT
Tuesday am- P3/4 Art & Design and ICT, pm-P1-3 music and ICT
Wednesday am- P2 measure, P1 Developing Writing
Thursday all day - P5/6 maths, grammar, spelling, Art&Design, ICT

As you can see my timetable allows me plenty of scope to explore the use of the tablets at a variety of stages and within a range of curricular areas - an exciting opportunity! I have to say at this stage that there is no way that I am able to plan specific activities to suit the tablets - where’s the time?! - however if an opportunity arises where I can see that the tablets can make a worthwhile contribution to the activity, then I sieze it! As an example of this, I was working with my wee P1 group - 5 children, I know, a luxury! We were talking about a special person and looking at who their special person was. We listed some ideas and had a chat about different special people in their lives. I then told the children that they were all special because they could do so many wonderful things. We explored why each of the P1s were special and I said that they were so special that I was going to take a photograph of them and I was going to put the photograph onto a very special computer that they could use. We looked at the tablets - they had worked with them before in Nursery- and the children remembered how the tablets worked. I installed their photograph onto Windows Journal and scribed for the children why they were so special. The children then decorated their work by drawing coloured borders and pictures of their achivements. They were on task for over an hour, and at the end of it all they had a wonderful piece of writing for the teacher, and one to take home and tell their family about. The class teacher couldn’t believe how focussed the children were for the writing session. By the end of the session the children could also change the colour of the pen on the tablet, which is no mean feat, and there were some wonderful examples of peer support in achieving this!

I am sure at this stage you are wondering what has happened to the original tablet children. Well, most of the original class are still in P5/6. Four of the P6 children have moved on to P6/7, and new P5 members have moved up to P5/6. The class teacher is Arlene McKerrell and I am working with Arlene as her mentor throughout her probationer year. This allows me the ideal opportunity to support Arlene and the new class in working with the tablets and also for me to work with the children one day a week. Arlene and I put together the partners for working with the tablets. We decided to pair up an old P5 with a new P5 to allow peer support to work its magic. We have 21 children this year, so this means we have one group of three in P6. Each pair has a new photo of themselves on the desktop of their tablet. We have also had the chat about ownership and being responsible users. So far the class has responded well to the new arrangements and they are delighted to be using the tablets again to support their classwork.

I am hopeful that nice, kind Mr MacPhee (hope he reads this!) is going to invest in some extra tablets for us to use. That way the original tablets can stay in class all day everyday, and I can have a set to travel with me throughout the school. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

As a final note, I have had several messages sent to me with queries regarding the project. Thank you to all who have shown an interest. Unfortunately there has been a blip which has prevented me from replying to them. Should you wish to contact me directly with any queries, my school email address is-
Have a great October break, and I’ll get back in touch after the holidays!


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