Monday, December 24, 2012

I Can Do It, No You Can't--Little Ones Can Do It

I have heard by many visitors to my school and just people in general that little ones (let's just say K-3rd, but could even be younger, since I have a little one at home even younger than kindergarten) can not do that. They refer to using iPads, different apps and just general use.

I do not believe that the students are unable to do it. I take the approach that they can. My students are also using apps that the big kids (4-8th graders) are using. It is how it is introduced that is the key to success.

Here are some keys to success with little ones:
1. Show them and not just tell them. They are visual learners too. I usually show them how to do a program on apple tv, we walk through it together and then they can pretty much do it independently the next time.

2. Less writing, more pictures. Remember that not all children are able to read and are strong enough readers to gain information from the text. Pictures and print go a long WAY!!! So if you have rules about the iPad or computer, they should be in print for the big kids and print and pictures for the little kids. (Yes, it is more work, but they will "read" and understand it.)

3. Step by step is the key.  Think how you would describe how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Write it down and then try to make the sandwich based on only what you have written.  Did you say that you need a knife, to open the jar, etc. Probably not. We already know how to make a sandwich and so we don't think step by step but make assumptions that you use a knife when you say spread the peanut butter on the bread. We naturally make assumptions (not on purpose) and some of the little details are left off and then kids don't or can't get it.

4.  Don't assume that because they get it the first day that they will remember it tomorrow or the next day or the day after that or the week after that. Routines are key(!!!) for little ones. Give the same direction each time the same way (but you can explain it differently to them). They begin to memorize the repetitiveness of the direction and internalize it. Sometimes, you can even see or hear them saying those same words. This is why repetition is so IMPORTANT! They actually become independent because they are going over the same directions in their head that they heard the teacher say over and over again.

I hope this helps. I know my students have tried, tackled, and become successful at many challenging things because of these steps.