SwitchZoo with Grade 1

February 22nd, 2011 Categories: Integration, Websites

This has been a draft for a few months now and just getting around to publishing it today! Sigh!

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It’s easy does it with Grade 1 this year.
In our school, Kindergarten Year has no time allotted to technology use and apart from the usage of iPod Touches the exposure to “traditional” technologies are limited. A vast majority of our Grade 1s are only just beginning to learn the basic operational skills of our computers.
So our first technology integrated activity (ever for Grade 1!) had to be pretty basic and not put an obstacle of usability in the way of our young learners. They were just finishing off a unit on Wild Animals so an old friend of mine, a website I used for the first time probably 2 years ago, popped into my head.

Behold SwitchZoo!!

It’s free and a lot of fun! They do have a new pay option which enables you to print out bigger animals from a wider range. Not too enticing but may work for other schools. We did just fine with the free version!

The activity I wanted to try with Grade 1 was the Make New Animals one and to use it as a writing prompt. We were going to use a double or single block of English class to create an animal, name it  and print it out. Then later on in the class or in a later class they would write up some information and interesting facts for their animal. We chose to do that as in this moment in time for the students to type up this it would add an obstacle of usability and remember we were taking it easy with them for this first technology integrated activity.

Once again, the students were on the website ultra quick thanks to my creation http://primarylinks.isf.edu.hk. It really is a time saver and a massive help to the students in terms of accessibility and usability. And then it was creating time! It went really well and the students had a blast (as did the teachers). A lot of students were stumped as to what to call their crazy creation but once they were prompted to maybe try joining up the animals they used they got the hang of it. I think my out of left field favourite name was Mr. Ron. I don’t know why!

Switchzoo Examples with Grade 1

Switchzoo Examples with Grade 1
All in all a successful first few steps with technology in the Grade 1 English classes and I was delighted that all teachers hopped on board with no complaints or reservations. And I ended up with 160 new students in the school saying “Hello” to me every day, which is also very nice!
Also a very simple example of how a bit of technology infusion can prompt so much creative writing in younger children.

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