I recently rediscovered an iPad project that I completed with my daughter to support her development of number recognition and formation. Jessica is 4 and has just completed Foundation Stage 1. She was off sick when her class learned about the number 8 and her teacher asked me to do some stuff at home with her on it. As well as practicing forming the number with a pencil and paper, I promised her we would do something special for her teacher using her iPad.
I've written before about my belief in the power of the iPad as a tool for early learning (see Rise of teh iToddlers) and since Jess has had her own iPad since she was 1, she is pretty slick with it.
I decided tp set her up with a range of early years focused apps, some that she had used before and some that she hadn't. They emcompassed art, counting and digital storytelling so as to give her different exposure to the number and reinforce the learning in a multi-focus manner. We would then collate the vaious elements in Shadow Puppet Edu as she could record narration to explain her work and how she did it.
Here's the finished video!
Let's take a look at the different apps we employed, in the order that they are seen in the video. Click on the app icons for the iTunes links.
I've discussed this amazing app here on the site before and still beleive it's the best overall art package for young learners as there's just so much that you can do with it. I let Jess choose her own tools and colours - hence the rainbow paint brush. I think kids tend towards these unusual choices when using digital art tools as they can't get them in real life - which leads us to...
Draw with Stars
There are quite a few of these types of funky art apps available on the App Store but this is one both my kids have returned to a lot. It's vibrant and engaging with a simple interface, making it perfect for any letter or number formation practice! You cam actually impoirt your own images to draw on top of too so you could support students by drawing a simple outline of the number/letter and having them trace it with the stars.
Jessica had become a bit of a camera freak around the time that we completed the project (if she got hold of your phone, you could expect it back with around 100 selfies added!) She remembered that a bunch of my basketball vests have an 8 on them and so we set a few shirts out on the bed and she took the photo herself. I made her take three or four pictures and then review them and choose the best one.
Draw and Tell
Duck Duck Moose always deliver the goods and Draw and Tell may actually be their best app yet (sorry ChatterPix!) It's almost the Explain everything of Early Years as you can draw, add iimages and stickers and then record a narration to tell a story or expalin a concept. Personally I have big plans to implement this more widely next year across the Foundation Stage classes.
The excellent virtual Play Doh app allows for practically unlimited creative play and is a real winner with younger kids. Jess played around with different ways to represent 8 and then chose her favourite to bring forwards into the final project.
This was my pick for the best maths app last year in our 2014 App Awards. A truly unique app that reacts to the number of digits touching the screen, Jessica used it to practise counting to and from 8 and even recorded her own voice to personalise the numbers. As we couldn't export a piece of work from the app, a screengrab was used for the final project
I had great success with this app in FS2 this year when they were learning about the garden. A fun and creative game of pollination, Gro Flowers allowed Jessica to design her own flowers and then grow them by manipulating the bee from flower to flower.
Sock Puppets is a brilliant digital storytelling app that allows kids to bring a zany set of sock puppets to life. Since we had the Sesame St style theme of "The Number 8" it seemed appropriate to include some puppets! Jessica's narration in this clip is my favourite part of the whole project. :)
I think what is really important about the way I helped Jessica put this together is that she was given a iwde range of learning opportunities - artistically designing the number, saying it out loud, adding objects to its total, identifying it in the world around her. The iPad offers such a diverse spectrum of approaches to learning - don;t just stick kids in front of a game and hope it does the trick!
By the way, I just realised that we used 8 apps for this project - coincidence or mathematical synchronicity?
When I told Jess that I was sharing her video on the site, she wanted to do more 8's (to impress you all no doubt!) As such I let her try a couple of other apps to design the logo for the piece. The one used for the logo seen above is called Splatter.