Prac and Game-based learning for Prep and Pre-Prep

While on Prac I found some amazing educational games that are available as software or online.  These are: Millie’s Math House, Sammy’s Science House, Trudy’s Time and Place House. PM Readers are also useful.  Children engaged with these games and increased their Maths, English and Science skills.  They also increased their skills in handling the computer mouse and listening to directions and instructions. There is such a range off amazing educational games for children and many of these are free online.  I was pleased to hear that educators are starting to value games for education and that, according to the Horizon Report, these will be more and more integrated into the mainstream classrooms.

Rikki has included some helpful links:


ICT Solutions

I came across a great product a few days ago when looking though a catalogue while on Prac.  If I had prior knowledge of this product it would have made a great addition for extending learning for pre-prep or prep children when there is limited ICT in the classroom or learning centre.

Vtech Innotab 3S provides age-appropriate and fun ways for children to operate a tablet. Features include: 5″ touch screen, learning games and apps, kid-safe web browsing with preselected websites approved by parents, a 2.0 mega pixel twist camera, video player, photo viewer, art studio, e-book reader, calculator, clock and so on. It can also send and receive texts and stickers to and from IPhone and Android smart phones.

If you are interested, check it out at:

PLN Personal Learning Network

On one particular day, the Science lesson involved an outside activity using IPads to take a series of photographs of the sky in different locations. After the initial instructions and discussion, the children walked to various nearby locations (within the school) and were very excitable and talkative. I was concerned about the noise level as it would disrupt other classes. It was difficult to control the noise level when children were not in the same location. I was expecting another teacher to come out of their classroom and complain but thankfully that did not happen. When the whole class went back inside we had a very productive discussion about what we had discovered but the children took quite a while to settle down and listen. Shortly after, the bell rang and the children went outside for morning tea. I thought that the lesson had been a disaster and was trying not to cry. The mentor teacher said she thought it was great and the children were engaged in learning the entire time. I was shocked as I had convinced myself it did not go well because of the amount of talking and noise.

To me, this highlighted the importance of sharing experiences and ideas with other teachers and other pre-service educators. Besides receiving valuable feedback and suggestions, it helped me keep things in perspective when the day did not go according plan. It was helpful to hear how others managed similar experiences with the same challenges.

This blog (below) was helpful in pointing out the benefits of using a PLN.

Reflections on Prac. Weeks 1 and 2

I’m sure there are many other exhausted students out there.  While on Prac. I started to feel like I was a dartboard with darts coming from all directions without warning.  It is a giant challenge to use effective behaviour management strategies, use new technology and stay on target with the lesson.

In week 1 I still did not know all the names of the 28 students in the class.  It would have been beneficial to have read the behaviour policy of the school prior to starting and have memorized names. To have already been familiar with classroom technology would have been a great advantage. (It is difficult to teach what you are unsure about yourself).

While some people are super organised and can multi-task, this does not come naturally to me and would require much training.  While teaching a lesson, there can be pairs of children talking, getting up to sharpen pencils, people knocking with messages at the door, the classroom telephone ringing to ask for medical students to come up to the office, students with questions, the classroom teacher evaluating performance….. and all the while I am supposed to be aware of what every student is up to.  Hmmm…………………..Mind-blowing stuff!

On the positive side, getting to the students individually and in small groups has been mutually rewarding and I can appreciate their unique personalities and learning needs much more.

Prac. Week 2 Reflections

Exhaustion, Exhaustion…week 2 of Prac. is over.  I would like to share some resources that have made a positive impact on Year 1 students.  There are two in particular.  The first one is an Australian site ( You can ask for a free trial for one week (link below).  The activities can be shared on the Interactive Whiteboard for whole class participation.  It covers learning concepts for early years in Literacy, Numeracy, Science, SOSE and there may be a few more.  The videos emphasise the main concepts in each subject.  I found Maths (What can be measured?), Length, Volume, Mass, Temperature particularly helpful and engaging for students.

The other site (which seemed to me to have some annoying voices) was a big hit with the children.  They thought the characters and voices were amusing and could remember the concepts in the video.  The site is  I used ‘Why Rain Happens?’ as we were learning about ‘Clouds’. I heard that the videos are made by discussions with children about what is interesting to them and what sort of questions they may have about different topics.  The Indian accents seemed to add to children’s enjoyment.

Reflecting on the first day…

I sure your daughter was extremely happy to see you at the end of the day!

Mrs J P Finan

Today I started my three week prac for EDC3100 and somehow I’m already exhausted even though I didn’t actually ‘teach’ today. It was an odd day to start as it was not only the first day back after holidays, but the class had sport, art and library – all lessons undertaken outside the usual classroom and with specialist teachers. Tomorrow too will be a bit of a crazy day as the preppies go to swimming classes in the morning for the first time. I have been asked if I’d like to get in the pool with the students and suggested I may be more comfortable spotting from dry land, but also said I’d bring my swimmers in case they needed more adults in the pool for supervision.

I don’t want to be too quick to judge but thus far ICT was used only once in the classroom, and unfortunately the…

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On Prac. ICT in the Yr 1 Classroom

Like Mrs Finan mentioned in her Post, I also did not see much use of ICT in the classroom on the first day and have been looking for alternative ideas for ICT integration. As my Mentor Teacher is approachable and helpful, I’m sure we will be able to discuss further options for upcoming lessons.  I have observed that most of the Year 1 students use their IPads in a responsible way but there are a group of students who misuse this time and disciplinary action is necessary.  I also agree that the Interactive Whiteboard is a wonderful tool.  Once set up correctly, the possibilities for student learning are endless! Apart from a few technical issues, I have been able to use this successfully in lessons so far. It is a challenge to suddenly have to use previously unknown technology competently, but I guess it is just a matter of getting to know it and using it on a regular basis.

Reflection on First Week of Prac.

After many sleepless nights Prac. began…after some initial observations on the first couple of days the teaching began.  Thanks to Donna for sharing that she was super nervous as well.  Sometimes it feels like I am the only one! I still am anxious but seeing the children engage in lessons and verbalise that they enjoyed the activities helps my confidence in some ways. The first lesson I took was a Science lesson.  The topic of clouds.  Due to the vast amount of sharing online I was able to access the type of material I needed to include for this particular class context.

My Mentor Teacher is fantastic with multiple, creative ways to manage classroom behaviour. She is both caring and firm.  The children recognize her methods and cooperate.  She uses an assistive technology device which serves as a microphone to get the children’s attention. She gives this device to me when I am teaching and I use this a lot.  It’s a great device if you have a quiet voice or are reluctant to speak loudly/shout which can be very emotionally draining and counterproductive.

Next week I will be teaching Maths (Measurement and Volume) and Science (The Seasons). Must get on with my lesson planning…

Thanks Donna for your posts:



This article on Diigo has inspired me to share what I have seen in the classroom on Prac.

While on Prac I have seen the classroom teacher using an interesting voice amplifying device to save her voice and help her own hearing problem and assist the children in the class with hearing impairments. It is very light and easy to use and as you always have it with you it gives you easy access when children are extra loud (in addition to the other tactics like holding your arm up in the air and being silent until the teacher can speak or the clapping routine that children join in with when their behaviour and noise is getting out of hand.

I have used it on several occasions now as the class consists of 28 young children who are very loud when talking together all at the same time. It is very helpful, gets the children’s attention and definitely saves your voice. This one, however does not work in the outside environment. This article points to the company that makes these devices – The Phonic Ear.


Topic about saving your voice contributed by:

Referring to w0067456 addition of the following article about Teacher’s looking after their voices in the classroom.

Saving the Most Valuable Teaching Tool — Teachers’ Voices | Michael J. Pitma…


What will it be like on Prac? What does the Year 1 Classroom look like?

If you would like to see a great documentary about a First Year Teacher teaching Grade 1 – this is really worth the time (1 hour approx.) It is an honest account of Jennifer’s teaching journey over 1 year – she shares her joys, ideas and doubts.  It also includes feedback from other teachers and mentors.  She does a great job considering she is exhausted most of the time. There are also interviews with her husband and he talks about the changes in their lifestyle, adjustments and practical realities. I won’t spoil the ending – if you are interested check it out.  It helped me a great deal to think realistically about my future direction and confirmed many of the decisions I have made.