Tuesday 18 September 2012

A Big Book Literacy Lesson Plan.

Literacy Lesson Plan Example 

"Look at Me"


Literacy Skills  in this Lesson


Concepts About Print

Picture interpretation
One to one matching
Vocabulary exploration
Left to right tracking 

Sight Words

look   at   I  am   me  a


Phonemic Awareness

Identify environmental sounds
Differentiate between sounds
Recognise beginning,  middle and end sounds of a word  
Recognise the sound "t" and the letter name for this sound
Identify rhyming sounds for "ook"


Comprehension Skills

Reading is much more than mastering the mechanical skills of print, sight words and phonics. When we enter the world of literature, we enter the world we create in our minds. To have meaning and to want to repeat the experience, reading needs to be personalised.
For older children comprehension is often their weakest skill, the missing link that will give their reading meaning, value and purpose. To grow comprehension skills we need to grow imagination. This resource and lesson plan seeks to nurture imagination. 


Lesson in Action: Introduction 

Place the Big Book "Look at Me" in the Teaching Stand.
Read slowly allowing for interruptions and comments; a free flow of thoughts and ideas.
Choose a favourite character and probe for understanding. Where do they live? What do they eat? Where do they sleep at night? What sounds do they make? What is the colours of their coat or costume?
Invite the children to move like each character, and develop a story for each character. You may only get to do this with one or two characters. It will depend on how deep you probe with your questioning and the energy levels of the children. Always question yourself as the teacher: Is everyone still engaged or do we need to move on?


Follow-up Action

Have painting material ready; big brushes,  clean paint and large paper so the children can paint their favourite character. As each child moves off to paint ask them to show you how their character moves, what their character might be doing and what we might see in their painting, so the imagination is activated as they begin to paint.
Or  use this process with collage paper ready in a range of colours and textures. Also have available large clean pieces of sturdy paper to create the collage on, with easy to manage scissors and paste.


As children complete their work, set the artwork aside.
Gather together and turn to the Tiger page in the "Look at Me" Big Book.
Ask the children to guess the sound that this animal begins with.
Does anyone in the group or class name begin with this sound?
Are there any objects you can see that begin with this sound?
Play "Eye Spy with my little eye something that begins with the sound "t".
 Make a large card for display with the word "look", encourage children to tell you words that rhyme with this word. Clap, jump, hop and dance with the these words.


Re-read the Big Book "Look at Me"
If there is time allow children who wish to show and talk about their artwork.
Name, frame and display everyone's artwork.



Repetition allows the child to feel in control of their learning, as the activities associated with the reading of the Big Book become more and more familar to them.
The next day return to the Big Book "Look at Me".
Ask a child to act as "teacher" and guide the group or class through the reading of the book.
Focus on one to one matching, voice pointing and left to right tracking across the page.
Ask the children to find words they know.
Have the sight words: look, at, I am, me, a, on cards so the children can match them to the words on the page.
Also have the letter "t" on a card and ask the children to indentify the sound this letter makes.
Look at, discuss and enjoy their displayed artwork.
Retell the stories of each character or animal and repeat the movement activty. Add new stories.
Make large pieces of material available for the children to dress-up and dramatise their story in small groups or individually.
Video these stories and view them as an introduction the next time you read the book.


Place the Big Book "Look at Me" in the Teachers Stand and place it on the mat or a table for the children to read in their spare time.
Create a display for the sound "t"  and encourage children to add to the display with found objects and pictures that begin with this sound.
Read the Big Book many times together and support individual children to show their growing literacy skills by reading it aloud to the group.
For those who have good grasp of the sound "t", look and listen for "t" at the end and in the middle of words. build a list of these words and/or images. Move to another character beginning sound once "t" is a easily recognised sound and letter.
Display sentences from the book as caption cards and make word cards available for children to match the words and make the sentence.
Make a mural of the characters in the story and place them on the mural left to right as the appear in the book.
Write stories for each character together as a group or class story, describing the character's world where they live, what the do and imaginary happenings. 

Go to www.pixelhouseonline.com and read this book as an interactive ebook for a whole new experience with this book.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Performances to Develop Curiosity and Logical Thought

Pixelhouse would like you to know about:
Two Big Kids

Two Big Kids introduces young children to the world of science, performing arts or simply enthralls them in an entertaining and rewarding adventure.

 We know that the road ahead of our kids isn’t an easy one. We know that their hopefulness, their kindness and spirit will have to stand up against the confused selfishness of previous generations. We know that in the fleeting moments of their childhood it is our job to give them the armour and the tools to fight these battles, and to come out the other side the heroes we know they can be.

These tools, creativity and rationality, are developed only in an environment of empathy, where children have the bravery to think independently. Independence of thought – the power to lead their own learning – flourishes only when children know that their silly games and ideas aren’t so silly after all. We step in and provide the prompts, guiding their play away from cartoon characters constructed by corporations, towards moral tales, towards rationality and creativity. This allows us to develop every child’s ability to contribute new ideas, as well as every child’s ability to learn from the contributions of others.

Fortunately, developing this independent thought is strictly a matter of fun. Two Big Kids gives children a once in a lifetime opportunity to interact with world-class performers, allowing them to explore their own creativity and save the day. Available in both Auckland and Wellington for early childhood centres and kids’ parties, Two Big Kids not only teaches the value of play, but with the help of another big kid who recently represented New Zealand in a world physics tournament in Vienna, they also now offer performances specifically focused on introducing children to the world of science. These performances introduce rationality in an engaging way that leaves children with a curiosity and a logical thought process that will be with them for the rest of their life.

The Two Big Kids, Robbie Nicol and Maxwell Apse:
Currently studying Mathematics and Political Philosophy at the University of Auckland, Robbie recently returned from performances on the Globe Stage in London, while Maxwell, currently studying Film, Theatre and Philosophy at Victoria University, recently finished a season with Young & Hungry, a platform that showcases up and coming New Zealand talent.

Hugely passionate about theatre and the crucial nature of play in education, both Robbie and Max look to use their stage presence to develop the empathy and cooperation needed to promote playfulness within a group of children. An admirer of philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell, Robbie could not agree more that it is our job to discourage possessive impulses and encourage creative ones within our children. Robbie and Max live by the maxim that growing into a happy and confident adult, capable of making lives worthwhile both personally and for society at large, requires the kind of independent thought only possible through play.

The Mad Scientist, Evan Simmers:
Currently studying Engineering, Ancient History and Philosophy under a BA/BE conjoint at the University of Auckland, Evan Simmers is the big kid who recently represented New Zealand in a world physics tournament in Vienna. Evan recently realised that his proficiency at physics merely grew from the teachable qualities of an insatiable curiosity and an ability to think critically. Children are perfectly capable of leading their own learning, it is simply our job to provoke interest and ensure that we have created an environment in which they are able to continue asking questions, to invent their own answers and to then seek out more information if their proposed solutions don’t seem to do the trick.

Go to www.facebook.com/2bigkids
to find out what people are saying about the Two Big Kids performances and workshops.

 Contact Two big Kids at
                          027 7862 490 

Tuesday 21 August 2012

The Perfect IT Set Up: Getting the Hardware Right

Carterton Kindergarten needs to be celebrated.
In this ever evolving world of IT they have got it right.
They have the IT hardware set up so children can learn in meaningful ways.

           Why and how have they done so well?

They have a clear understanding of learning and they seek to understand the child's perspective. What adds to the child's learning and what deepens their experiences of their world. With the focus on the child, the answers are easier.
They think things through. They don't just buy because it is the latest fad. Fads fade. They discuss and imagine and then they believe in their decisions and do it for their children. With this commitment they make it work as best the can. They follow through.
Plus they have spoken firmly but politely and demanded that the providers follow through.... sometimes this has taken a lot of perserverence and resillence from an industry notorious for selling and running.

Here's their successful set up.
1. Two laptops (there is another one alongside), no mouse here.
The children reflect and parents find out about important and everyday events in their centre. The teachers are growing a library of  DVDs with edited films; photos, pictures, text and video. These are availabe to the children everyday. They provide resources for conversations and oral language development. They provoke deeper thinking for new ideas and new experiences. The "this time maybe we could...." thinking.

2. The IWB (Interactive Whiteboard)
Carterton Kindergarten was one of the first centres in their area to install an IWB. Initally their projector did not give a bright enough image so they have upgraded and also gone for the shorter throw projector.This makes the shadow less of a problem as well.
They installed their board low to the ground but they still provide a stage/large step in front of the IWB so children can access more of the board. The board is near their communal mat space so can be used to share and introduce other software and of course their material from their growing library of DVD.
Most centres I visit do not use their IWB to their full potential. I think using them well takes more training than most teachers have time for...they have a day job....  but they do provide a community focus, a learning and sharing together reality and feel. Carterton children use www.buildyourwildself.com , www.poisonrouge.com , www.pixelhouseonline.com Pixelhouse Nusery Rhyme ebooks with eActivities

3. Companion Devices/Other Stuff
a Camera
They have ten cameras. This is number five camera. Children use the cameras to photogragh their world, their findings and their activities. The resolution in the camera is set low so that uploaded photos don't stall the computers.

b. Digital Photo Frame
A viewer is used to display these photos and teachers photos are displayed here  too. The loop of photos is continuous.This is a very popular place for parents and friends.

c. Book Making
Children print artwork made on the IWB. They can laminate their work, and then with or without lamination they can bind their pages to make a book using a ring binder.

d. Sound

The sound system allows for good quality sound. Sound doesn't have to be loud...but it does have to be clear and a good sound sytem provides this quality.  Children can perform and record their stories, their songs, their mihi, their plays all important for their confidence  and oral language growth. The IWB has its own speaker system too, for great sound production and quality.

e. The Viewer
Something that I don't have a photograph of, but something Caterton teachers find useful, is the Mimio Viewer. The Viewer allows smaller objects or pictures to be projected as a  large image for all to see. Carterton teachers use this when children are off to school, in their send off session, they are sharing their Portfolio Learning Stories, their favouite story. Children don't have to wait with forty others in a circle for their turn to view, they can enjoy it together and move on.

Congratulations Carterton your IT set up is fantastic. It's integrated and allows children to take part  at their pace. In this the digital age Carterton is leading the way.
Written by Noeline Anderson,
 Director of Pixelhouse.
I am independent.
I am not affliated to any hardware company.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

The Incy Wincy Challenge : Mat Time at Miramar Kindergarten

Hi Everyone,
Great to see you here today.
I'm Noeline from Pixelhouse.

Here are my Pocket Full of Rhymes ebooks
 with e-activities that we made for you.

Incy Wincy Spider is all curled up.

He stretches out one long leg.

He stretetches. He climbs.
He gets right to the top.

Then down comes the rain.
Pitter. Patter.
Pitter Patter.

Out comes the big warm sun.

Incy wincy spider climbed up the water spout
....the ebook.

Here's his ...what's this... yes... Incy's web...
the e-activities.

So here's a water spout, a drain pipe.
Guess who's inside?

Yeah... the drainpipe goes against
 the side of the house.
Why is it there?

Yeah... Incy is sliding down.

Here he is.

But how does he get up again?

The Incy Wincy Challenge
How would you solve the problem?
How would you get Incy Wincy
 up the spout again?


Monday 28 May 2012

Imagination, our greatest learning tool

On Saturday I presented at the Autumn Arts Research Seminar at Victoria University....wow... quite a few...over a hundred... turned up to my workshop. Great to see so much enthusiasm for imagination.
Imagination is our greatest learning tool.

Imagination is our greatest learning tool.
Imagination in IT is suffocating. It is suffocating because the software developer is in control. This is not a place to explore. This is not a place to make mistakes. If a child heads off down their own discovery path a road block appears, a warning about this course of action. Do as the software demands or delete.
If you do the right thing, the thing that the software demands of you, there are all sorts of bells and whistles to tell you you have been good, that you are the most fantastic, amazing individual. You did what you were told. Now you get to move on. Too bad if you liked that activity and would like to try it again.... NOOO!  Move on. No repetition is allowed.
Good luck at finding an adult to join you in these mind numbing tasks. Content is deemed to be "good" if it requires no teacher input. If you the child can do it all day, everyday without assistance. What happened to support for learning, extension and motivation. What  happened to integration....and what happened to imagination.

My presentation didn't complain on and on about these things in a downward spiral, it offered some solutions. Like the opportunities for integration for hands-on learning that our  resources  promote. The openness of these resources that let children think, create and imagine.

Learning is fluid, dynamic and limitless. It is an art. Let's open up the digital space to imagination and  spark the greatest possible learning.

Saturday 28 April 2012

Miramar North Art Kindergarten Exhibition

This week at Thistle Hall, Cuba Street, Wellington, magic happened. The children of Miramar North Kindergarten exhibited their art. A few pieces from this exhibition are captured here.

The magic is the art. The art which touched all who viewed and came closer to children's understanding of their world. How much children see, and how much they can communicate to us through art.
This drawing of "A duck looking behind to make sure no one is following"  by Ben Trugly is just a small glimpse of the never ending joy of children's art. How skillfully Ben captures the duck; the movement and the tension. He is teaching us all to give the art materials to the children and watch and listen. Children through their art will tell us so much and with such skill.
In this piece Ben gains greater understanding about an every day object "A Milk Jug" . The lines on the side are the exploration of the measurement.
A snowflake in jail...what great creativity. Here we can see how art can be a great starting point for storytelling. Through art children can explore and extend their thinking to build their unique story.

People are endlessly fascinating. Children draw and paint people with color and vigour. Children draw and paint people to understand them and to tell their stories.
What wonderful playful imaginings. Everyday this painting could tell a new story. The possiblity for vocabulary development is endless.

These capterpillars were captured on the page because the inspirational teachers at Miramar North Kindergarten placed drawing paper on clipboards near all the caterpillars. These children took up the challenge. We can see how carefully they observed their subject.

The exhibition was aptly named Learning Through Art. Each piece in this exhibition lives up to this title. Miramar North Kindergarten is to be congratulated on providing such an expression of learning.

Friday 27 April 2012

What's so important about drama?

All children intuitively dramatize their world. Why?
It’s their way of working out how the world works, people, animals, objects, relalationships….everything. When a child sees a duck at the park, they are the duck, they waddle, they quack, they are finding out what it is to be a duck. Nonverbal infant have needs meet by using their acting skills…we all know what the elevated, outstretched arms signals.

Drama is an inbuilt learning tool. An effective teacher will use these tools to support learning. One of the easiest ways to begin is with rhymes. Every culture has their rhymes; mostly a child first hears them as they are rocked to sleep. Many of these rhymes use the comforting rhythm of a heartbeat. Then they become more playful, with the content of the rhymes acted out as finger plays and peek-a-boo games. Acting has begun.

Once the child knows some of the phrases to the rhyme their acting takes over. To extend this the teacher can provide a few props; a stool for Little Miss Muffet, a bucket for Jack and Jill, a wall for Humpty Dumpty. The children will know what to do. They’ll say the rhyme over and over, and act it out. again and again. They’ll change the characters and the ending, they are adapting the content to their world view.

As their acting skills grow, they will seek more challenging roles. Now the teacher needs to extend the opportunities to act. Traditional Tales offer a great progression from Nursery Rhymes. The teacher should now tell the whole story, with as much enthusiasm as they can muster, and repeat this over and over. Children enjoy and need this repetition. They want to predict, as they listen what will know what happens next, and it’s exciting and empowering them to get it right.

Again providing the props will stimulate the action. A plank of wood for The Three Billy Goats Gruff, three chairs for The Three Bears and a pile of blocks for The Three Little Pigs to build their house. Now retell just part of the story, the favourite part and the children will do the rest. Keep the props simple, this allows for greater imagination.

Once activities become a natural part of the everyday programme, the teacher can use drama for learning about other thing:
For Science: How spiders move, how ice melts or how flowers open
For Social Studies: Understanding peoples' roles in the community, a farmer, a firefighter, a dentist
For Mathematics: Role play shopping and trading, problem solve… which one is baby bears bowl and why.
For health: How does happy, angry, frightened or excited look and feel

Through all this the child is gaining a fuller and deeper understanding of their world. That’s why drama is not just important, but vital.

Noeline Anderson, Director of Pixelhouse

Sunday 18 March 2012

Emotional Connections: Deepening Learning

A Literacy Learning Story, by Jess
Caeden recently we have been looking at the nursery rhyme posters, ebooks and little books. Caeden you have really enjoyed this and I've seen you getting into the music too. You really enjoy the  "Hey Diddle Diddle" ebook as the characters giggle at the end which makes you roar with laughter and stamp your feet. "Again" you would ask just so you could hear the giggle again. 
You noticed Humpty Dumpty and how "He break!" This caused you much distress. You were very concerned for Humpty Dumpty and the fact that he had broken. One day you even woke up from your sleep pointing to the Humpty dumpty poster and saying "He break" Over time we have talked you through that it is okay that Humpty is just an egg and its okay to break an egg. Caeden you are so caring, even for Humpty Dumpty.
Caeden we have noticed that you have connected to the nursery rhymes through your emotions. You really feel for the characters and what they might be going through, especially Humpty Dumpty. You have been able to identify other emotions and express them to your teachers. By using the nursery rhymes you have been able to communicate and connect to these emotions and through a range of media; books, posters, ebooks, music, dance, and  art, express these feelings. We have had such fun.

What is happening here?
The teachers recognise the significance of the importance emotional connection in learning to communicate and to become literate. The giggles of the children in "Hey Diddle Diddle", the sadness of Humpty Dumpty's demise, have an impact. This impact deepens the curiosity, the desire to relive the experience and to find out more about these powerful emotions.
The teachers here recognise this unfolding exploration. They recognise that the exploration is enabling the child to experience the fullness of communication and come to a place of deeper connection with literacy now and to search for it in text in the future.
Noeline Anderson
Director of Pixelhouse

Sunday 12 February 2012

Generative Literacy: The Basket

Helen from Miramar Kidz Corner, Wellington, shared this story.
Sam began collecting things. Collecting treasures in his basket that had meaning to him.

The nursery rhymes were of great interest to Sam, so treasures related to the nursery rhymes became part of the basket collection; favourite books, Incy Wincy handmade creatures... anything that reminded him of his favourite books.

The basket belongs to Sam. It must go in a safe place when he goes to sleep and when he leaves for the day.

What is happening here?

The basket is the physical representation of the ownership Sam has for his learning. Sam is building learning links or memory links, associations that will help him remember abstract things like images and text. Text which, at present, are squiggles on the page. He is using other sensory experiences and tactile objects that will prompt his memory. All this happens naturally and happily. All the teacher needs to do is help with the housekeeping and extend the experiences. He will have lots of ideas. He just needs help to grow his collection from these experiences and help to keep his memories and basket safe.

A literacy experience can be finite or infinite. It can happen once as a nursery rhyme is chanted from a poster. Or the experience can be infinite and happen over and over as the same nursery rhyme is read from a poster, book or ebook. But more than this, it can be acted out, props can be added, like the Hickory Dickory clock, allowing further dramatisation. It can be sung and the Hickory Dickory mice can be made and everyone can dance to the rhythm  of the rhyme. Imagination, now too, is aiding memory.

With each action the literacy experience  deepens. The chance of remembering the rhyme and the patterns of the language is greater. The literacy experience has become generative. A foundation has been laid down for future learning and the evolving literacy.

Noeline Anderson,
Director of Pixelhouse
027 472 9193

Saturday 11 February 2012

Embedding Literacy: Creating Our Clock

This Learning Story was written by Helen, a teacher at Miramar Kidz Corner, Wellington.

Our interest in nursery rhymes at the centre is getting more and more exciting. Today we made a huge clock so that we could act out Hickory, Dickory Dock. This is one of the favourites at the moment.

Here we are painting busily painting.
It was a big job, but what fun we had.

While the children were all sleeping the teachers taped the boxes together and added a clock face to the front. Jasmine got busy making mice to run up and down the clock. We were so excited and had to wait
for everybody to wake up and come and play.

Oscar and Sam were the first to wake up.They looked and pointed at the clock. They were quiet for a while until Sam finally said, “ Hickey, Dickey Dock."

Then they tried out the new mice and ran them up and down the clock.

Oscar carried on playing with the clock for a long time. “Tick, tock, tick, tock.” Oscar chanted to himself as he played. Sam sang "Hickory Dickory Dock" as he ran his mouse up and down the clock. Then he ran to get his book so he could read his story too.

 The mice and the clock look amazing. We hung the mice from the top of the clock for safe keeping. Everyone had a great time and we will leave the clock out so we can keep playing.

Pixelhouse came across this story on a follow-up visit to the centre. We were wanting to know how our Nursery Rhyme resource was going. We are so excited by these outcomes for Sam and the possibilities for others to develop literacy skills, using this resource.