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Literacy Environment

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Dale Sampson

on 29 January 2013

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Transcript of Literacy Environment

Mat Sessions Early Morning
The morning mat session begins with song time; singing Mary Had a Little Lamb, 3 little ducks, The Jingle Jangle Scarecrow and Old McDonald Had a Farm. This selection of songs sets the scene for the children to start thinking about farms life and animals which is the topic they are exploring (DEEWR,009, Pg 36&37). Songs such as these also provide children with a chance to practice language skills: rhythm, rhyme, repetition and story telling (DEEWR, 2009, Pg 41).

Before Recess
The later mat session before the children go out for recess provides the teacher with an opportunity to reinforce learning objectives through discussion, questions and story time ( ). The teacher has selected Rosie's Walk by Pat Huchins to read before the morning break as it is an enjoyable story that will engage the children at a time when they may be hungry and restless. Mat sessions that include brainstorming with the children are a way to informally assess the progress in children's knowledge, understandings and meanings of the topic of exploration (DEEWR, 2009, Pg 36&37). Book Corner Free Play Planned Activities with Teacher Computer Area Outside Play Area A Literacy Environment http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/preschool/animals/farm/animalfarmcreate.htm Teacher assisted activities allow educators to concentrate on and work with small groups of students. These activities can be for assessment of learning outcomes, reenforcing learning objectives or to scaffold learning of complex topics.

Farm Story
For this activity the students are in small groups of 3 as the teacher may need to scribe for the children. On the table is paper and coloured pencils and the children are asked to write/draw a story about a farm; the teacher suggests that their story could be about their farm visit, a particular animal or a fictitious story they have made up. While the children are writing/drawing the teacher asks questions and makes positive comments about each child's efforts. As the children finish they are asked to tell the group about their story; when necessary the teacher scribes the story told by the children so that the story can be placed in their portfolio.

This activity allows children to practice story telling with the aid of their drawings to retell, explain and communicate their ideas with others. All elements of literacy are practiced in this exercise as the children are using communication skills in their drawing, their oral and body language to express their ideas (DEEWR, 2009, Pg 40&42). Free play areas within a classroom are important as these allow children to explore stories, themes and ideas in their own way and under their own controls (DEEWR, 2009, Pg15). Incorporating the topic or theme into free play by adding props or unexpected items encourages children to explore as there are no instructions or expectations on how to use them.
Play is a social situation in which children learn to; problem solve, regulate their behaviour and use communication skills to work with others and negotiate the play scene and the rules of play (DEEWR, 2009, Pg's 15, 21&26). Children today are in a technology rich world; they respond to and are engaged when learning with computers, tablets and smart boards (DEEWR, 2009, Pg 44). Although children are surrounded by technology not all children have access to computers and the internet; schools play an important role in providing and educating children in the use of technology and software. Educators who incorporate elements of technology within the classroom are helping children to become computer literate; developing foundational computer, research and fine motor skills that are necessary in many areas of modern life and employment.

Early education can use technology such as: smart boards as a group activity, individual activities on computers or tablets as well as a reward for good behaviour. There are many web sites which cater for educational games which teachers can use as resources for example the Teacher's Learning Federation ( ) which caters of many subjects, topics, year levels and learning outcomes.

Within this literacy environment the computer corner has been set so children can make their own farm by placing animals onto a farm yard backdrop; it is an interactive game with narrated instructions and animals sounds and movements. This activity is allowing the children to express their own ideas of what a farm should look like and contributing to their own internal story of what a farm is (DEEWR, 2009, Pg 44). The final picture can be printed and placed in their portfolio.

This is not a compulsory activity but children will only get one turn unless all their other activities have been completed and all other class members have had a turn; this allows the teacher to maintain a balance between children's interest and engagement with technology activities and other activities such as free play, the book corner or work with the teacher. The outside environment is an important part of school life many children enjoy playing outside and for many children it can be their most pleasurable part of the school day. Educators can use the outside environment to allow for enjoyment and engagement of students within play experiences, experiments or practicing motor movements (DEEWR, 2009, Pg's 15&16). A farm based topic has strong links to the outside environment and these are important when exploring aspects of farm life and work. There are many activities that could be done within the farm outside providing adequate space and resources; for example planting a vegetable garden, an egg hunt or a worm farm.

Egg Hunt
This activity is part of the morning activities; the children will be assisted by teachers assistant who will hide the eggs and supervise the children outside. Groups of 4 children will be sent outside to hunt for hidden eggs in and around the play equipment and sand pits. The children will only have one basket between them and therefore will have to communicate and work together in order to find all the eggs. Therefore it has elements of the farm topic but the communication and interaction with others is also a key part to the learning within this exercise (DEEWR, 2009, Pg 21, 22&29).

Worm Farm
This is a whole class activity will follow up on the concept of a farming process from start to finish. This activity will be held later in the week to allow for class discussions, brainstorming and the set up of the worm farm. There will be follow up activities, worksheets and books for the children to process and gain understanding of the processes involved in a worm farm and what happens to the mornings fruit scraps. Educators will also document the process of building the worm farm and the process of what happens in the worm farm from the adding of fruit scraps to the use of the fertilizer so that children have the processes and learning objectives can be reenforced through reading and viewing of the scrapbook. Lego Farm Play Working with others Choice of items Free Play Farm Scene Play Dough Play Mat sessions allow the whole class to talk, listen, discuss, question and sing or story tell together. Using the routine of starting and ending learning sessions with mat time provide children with a stable, predictable and safe social situation in which children can practice communication skills such as taking turns listening and speaking, listening and respecting others and sharing ideas and asking questions (Rand, 2012). A literacy environment allows children to practice communication and language skills: speech, reading, writing in individual and social contexts. A classroom environment that provides opportunities for planned and spontaneous literary experiences in which children can practice, develop foundational communication skills both in group and individual experiences.

The activities outlined in this plan are the morning activities of a kindergarten class of 20 4-5 year old's. The class has recently been on an excursion to the local high school farm. At the farm they saw and feed many animals including sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, cows, guinea pigs and rabbits. They also experienced a cow being milked and a sheep being sheared and after these events the children were able to taste the milk and touch the wool.

To further the children's knowledge and understandings created in the farm visit educators have devised activities in which children will further explore the farm theme.The activities are designed to further the students understandings and knowledge of farm life and their own personal story of what a farm is. Teacher assisted activities have been devised to assist in reaching learning objectives:
Expressing and developing ideas: ACELA1435, ACELA1434, ACELA1758 (ACARA, 2012)
Creating literature: ACELT1580 (ACARA, 2012)
Interacting with others: ACELY1646, ACELY1784, ACELY1647 (ACARA, 2012)
Children are free to explore other stations and activities such as free play, book corner or the computer area and understand rules regarding limits on the number of children at a station, however they sometimes need reminding. Educators have set up a literary environment that promotes exploration allowing children choice in many learning activities to provide for individual abilities and interests (DEEWR, 2009, Pg 15). Making Footprints Farm Animals
on a Meteor Making Grass Animals in a Forest Book Corner Theme related book selection Providing a book corner as a permanent fixture in the classroom promotes reading opportunities throughout the day. Reading opportunities include individual reading, with a parent or teacher and reading reading with peers. It also offers children a quiet calm place to be in an often noisy busy environment of a classroom.

Providing a range of books within the selection covering different difficulty levels through amounts and difficulty of text, vocabulary and conceptual ideas allows children choice. A varied selection also offers opportunity to experience different types of literature such as fiction, non-fiction, rhyming, classical and contemporary themed stories. Mat Time Books allow children to view other perspectives and to have experiences that they otherwise might not be able to have. These experiences could ones of fantasy, different environments, countries, looking closer at machinery or mini beasts; all enrich children's views of the world they live in.

By adding books related to a broad theme or topic educators can encourage children to explore different areas of a topic; for example Mrs Wiggins' Wartymelons shows that farming is not just about taking care of animals but also planting and growing crops.

Themed books should not be all that is on offer as a book selection needs to cater for all differing difficulty levels and provide an adequate selection of books that allows for different interests to give all children the motivation and inclination to read. Please Follow this link, by double clicking, to view and try the game: Egg Hunt Worm Farm "The farmer was so strong his house died and all the barn animals had a go inside because it was winter and it was so cold."

Liam Duffy age 5 Materials Station A permanent material station is present in the classroom; it provides the children with easy access to materials they may require during the day. Materials may be placed within other area's of the classroom for different activities but there are still many items such as; pencils, crayons, paper, scissors and glue for children if needed.

The station has been placed near learning areas and activities that may prompt or encourage the use of writing materials the book corner such as; teacher assissted activities, free play and the reading corner. Children are encouraged to be spontaneously use these items and within reason children are permitted to take these to other learning areas within the classsroom. Home Corner The home corner is a permanent feature within the classroom as it promotes social interactions and learning through dramatic and imaginative play. There are props such as dress ups, kitchen utensils and appliances, which children can use to initate or enhance their play. Occassionally the teacher adds unexpected props within the learning area to allow children to incorporate different learning aspects within their play; for example placing pencils and paper can encourage children to experiement with writing within the context of their play.

Child development theories regard play to be a developmental tool in which children can practice and develop skills, such as communication and social skills, they will need to become a productive member of society ( ). Through play children are learning to communicate with others to negoitate roles, rules and relationships allowing them to work together to produce their play. Farm Lego
Lego with a farm theme has been placed on a table for students to play with as they chose. The set up includes people, animal figures as well as a barn, mud and tractor; these are items that the children have experienced on their trip so they are familiar to them. Variety of figures and ways to play provides children with choice and control over the farm scene and how it will develop and be explored. Play Dough Play with Plastic Animals
The play dough table is a stable activity within the classroom and occasionally props can be added to entice the children to use them in different ways. This time a small tub of plastic farm animals and small tractors have been placed on the table in addition to the bucket of play dough cutters and rollers. Placing them in a separate tub allows children choice over whether to incorporate them in play dough play or not. Children are given no instructions on how to use the added items providing them with open ended play to use their own ideas and imagination (DEEWR, 2009, Pg 15).
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