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Dpto. Lenguajes y Ciencias de la Computación.
E.T.S.I. Informática.


Bulevar Louis Pasteur, 35. Campus de Teatinos.
Universidad de Málaga.
29071. Málaga (España).

Mail:

Phone: +34 952 13 28 12

Fax: +34 952 13 13 97

Junta de Andalucía Unión Europea

Activities

The activities in the Project are means to explore the different parts of the childhood education curriculum with the intention of achieving maximum subject coverage, thus leading to global and integral training. Our final objective is disposing of a computational model representing childhood teaching and learning, how children advance toward appropriate cognitive maturity, how they learn, how learning can be improved, etc.

This Project works within a multicultural environment in which children come from different countries and scarcely know the language. This gives rise to a kind of classrooms and teaching which requires additional efforts to foster and reach equal advance in all children (overcoming language and cultural differences), thus not only maturing at personal level but also becoming an active part of the school’s social world. Therefore, integration promotes schoolchildren personal and educational growth.

All efforts are aimed at getting to know child learning and, at the same time, helping them to integrate with their classmates in a classroom where multiculturalism is a reality which can be seen as an advantage if properly handled and channelled. In this sense, we attempt to define tasks which favour communication, collaboration, personal and social development and, in short, better child integration into the school’s social environment.

The methodology followed for Project development is an iterative process of training evaluation in which we work with schoolchildren and teachers in the classroom from the beginning. Setting off from the tasks and needs suggested by teachers, tasks focused on these points are developed, always from a global viewpoint providing children with integral training.

Next, we shall describe the kind of activities developed in the classroom. This list shall be extended as new activities and tasks are progressively defined.

A series of tasks shall be designed for each activity, whether personalized for particular individuals or especially adapted for group work.


Pre-writing Stage

“Pre-writing is the process followed by an effective writer in order to assemble his/her ideas and develop communication strategies before starting to write. The writer then moves from the stage of thinking to that of writing.

This stage is characterized by different activities helping to generate, focus and organize creative thinking. Pre-writing allows defining the objective of writing and the ways to achieve it. This planning stage is especially important, since it helps students to determine their work as writers in the subsequent stages of the writing process” (see Cervantes, E.: http://redescolar.ilce.edu.mx/redescolar/biblioteca/articulos/pdf/texto/parte2.pdf).

In this group we shall include activities such as drawing on paper or slate, drawing particular traces on paper or tablet PC, and other activities which allow children identify ‘left/right’ or ‘up/down’ aspects, highly useful when writing.

These tasks are completed by means of the TRAZO software application and by using different devices: paper and scanner, tablet PC, tactile slate or digital blackboard.


 

Pre-reading activities

Pre-reading activities are aimed at helping children to associate writing symbols to the object or concept they stand for. “Reading can only be said to take place when the reader effectively understands what he/she is reading. The simple and correct collection of signs —with inappropriate pauses and no global understanding— cannot be understood as ‘knowing how to read” (Aurora Usero, 2004).

This Project uses a phonetic method for learning to read and, therefore, many activities are focused on practicing the appropriate pronunciation of each letter, syllable or word, thus being of great importance in a multicultural classroom where students learn to read and Spanish language at the same time. All these activities are completed through the LEO software application.

These activities include:


 

Word clouds

In this activity students have to identify, among all the letters in a cloud, those letters exactly forming the target letter which is being currently practiced. Such target (or referential) letter appears inside a yellow star in the upper part of the screen. The position of the letters inside the cloud is completely arbitrary.


 

nube-letras

 

Writing for reading

The main objective of this activity is helping children to get to know pure phonemes, keeping them unrelated to the alphabet letters, and train them to write these phonemes. Bearing this purpose in mind, we make use of a video showing a person pronouncing the phoneme in question. This video can be watched as many times as desired, until children repeat the sound in question correctly or until the teacher thinks it appropriate.

escribo

Word understanding

The development of this activity was suggested by Aurora Usero (the authoress of the Letrilandia method), since it helps children to develop reading comprehension skills. According to Aurora Usero, “if your objective is achieving comprehensive reading (teaching to read), children will have always to play constantly with analysis and synthesis: decomposing and composing, composing and decomposing. This is the only way they can progress: maturing and advancing toward the goal”. This activity is intended to be a means to achieve this.

The teacher plays an essential role here, since he/she is in charge of leading, guiding and constructing the development of this activity.

The teacher disposes of a series of letters for word formation and begins with the construction of a word, altering its meaning by replacing one only letter. Children, who are not to see this letter change, will have to discover what has happened and identify the letter replaced in each case. The teacher must highlight the importance of each letter and the order of the letters in the word. Visual memory (directly related to auditory memory) is constantly trained, since children are asked to recall replaced letters at all times.

comprension-palabras

 

 

 

Chained words

This activity is intended to simulate the popular game of chained words. Children dispose of a collection of syllables at the right-hand part of the screen to complete the name of some images given. The activity deals with two-syllable words. Children are meant to drag the syllables to the box near the first syllable of the word chosen in each case. It includes a maximum number of seven images.


 

encadenar-palabras

Writing activities

These activities are related to the so-called “differentiated writing”, which consists of tasks in which children copy letters or sentences from a higher sample or pattern by following a grid or guideline. This activity is meant to be completed individually.

This activity is to be completed through the ESCRIBO software application, which allows the teacher preparing, organizing and sequencing the tasks. This application can also suggest activities according to the degree of maturity and skill of each child and also offers different options to define formats with different ways to organize texts and combine them with images.

These tasks are completed through the ESCRIBO software application and by using varied additional devices such as paper and scanner, or tablet PC, as it can be observed in enclosed figures.


 

 

Activities for memory development

This activity consists on showing a set of images and covering them after some seconds. Then an only image is shown for the children to recall its position/location in the previously-shown set of images. It is developed through the MEMORION software application and can be run both individually and in groups.


 

Vocabulary activities

The transversal function of all designed software applications is generally language learning. Therefore, these applications are intended to make the most of any action allowing the development of vocabulary practices. Thus, for instance, in those files in which children are asked to relate two objects by following a particular criterion, every time an object in an image is pointed out, children have to say its name in Spanish (and sometimes also in their mother language), so as to foster vocabulary learning through everyday actions and activities.

Even so, three-year-old children recently entered in school need simple vocabulary activities to be completed at the beginning of each new topic. In this case, the activity consists on saying the name of an object and asking children to point it out with their finger. Thus, we generate dynamic activities related to the topic(s) chosen in each case. This task can be completed both individually and in group.


 

Activities for skill training

This group includes a set of applications which allow dynamic generation of files to practice and train the different skills included in the three-year-old curriculum. A software application was designed for each case. By means of a mask mechanism, new files are generated according to some criteria previously fixed by the teacher and related to the topic(s) studied in each case and other interdisciplinary contents (health, peace and environmental education, multiculturalism, etc.) These tasks are usually completed individually, but sometimes they can also be performed in groups.


 

Inside/outside

This is an activity for three-year-old children, being developed within the first term of the year and aimed at making them understand the ‘inside/outside’ concept. Subsequently, it can also be combined with many other topics and conditions which allow the teacher developing vocabulary training: usual location of different things, distinguishing basic concepts associated to some everyday topics such as school, home, colors, etc.

On the other hand, it is a simple activity which allows the children becoming familiar with computer working environment: tactile screen, headphones, logging into the system, etc.


 

 

The number 1

This is a very simple activity which brings children closer to the working environment. Children are meant to point out all the drawings containing one only element. This simple file is the basis for subsequent development of more complex activities mainly aimed at vocabulary learning.

 

1-, 2- and 3-element series

Completing x-element series demands a higher level of logical reasoning than other tasks such as placing objects into a container or separating them (as in the inside/outside activity). In this case, children have to understand the pattern they are asked to repeat, select the elements according to some criteria associated to such pattern (that is, the pattern changes according to the situation of the series in each case) and place them in the corresponding order.

The simplest case contains one only element, thus being a similar task to the inside/outside activity, but the elements are to be placed in predetermined gaps in this case. These gaps are to be filled from left to right and sequentially: that is, the first free gap shall be the next to be occupied; otherwise, the object goes back to its original position.


 

The following case is a two-element series in which children have to understand the pattern to follow and place the elements alternately.

 

Finally, the case of three-element series demands higher abstraction level. In this case, if children have already completed the previous tasks with several topics and conditions involving different difficulty levels, they easily access the case containing higher numbers of elements, since they have acquired the skill of selecting elements and placing them in a particular order.

 


Time series

Time series allow defining tasks with time-associated events which children should know and be able to sequence.

It begins with simple tasks. Many of these are associated to interdisciplinary topics such as health education (hand washing before meals), road safety (looking at both sides before crossing the road), coexistence (tidy their own material before going out), or some other topics in which weather plays an important role (seasons, food product manufacture, etc.)

This kind of activities begins with two frames. This number is subsequently extended to three, four and even five frames to be sequentially ordered. As in the above mentioned series, the first free gap in the sequence is the one to be filled next.


 

Puzzles

This is a classical task of solving puzzles with images. It is configurable in size and number of pieces. In the singlest mode it has four pieces.

 


 
 

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