There is a lot going on in the early stages of a child’s formal learning. Those amazing years when learning and fun are inseparable. Kids turn up to class happy and raring to go, open to all we can give them.
As every early-years educator knows, the amazing, overwhelming potential that little learners bring to the classroom, can quickly become simply “overwhelming” if the little minds are not fed a constant diet of captivating creative activities.
Not surprisingly, many Kindergarten and First-grade teachers are embracing digital technologies like Popplet and making them a part of their daily classroom activities, nurturing and educating early-learners. We could explain, but it’s far better that you take a look at their amazing work.
Extending Our Learning With Popplet
Teacher-Librarian K. Gyori uses books creatively with her students. In this activity, using the illustrated book, Always Remember, from celebrated children’s author, Cece Meng, students use Popplet to build on what they learned from their reading. From a considered tale about life, growth, and loss students create visuals about sea turtles to capture and demonstrate their knowledge.
Comparing and Contrasting
The ability to compare and contrast often begins in the Kindergarten class. With Popplet, learners with little fingers can easily produce rich visuals to demonstrate their knowledge. Check out this tasty contribution from the Kindergarten class of Claire Brown:
Sorting and Classification with Popplet: Identifying and Learning the Values of Coins
Money isn’t everything, but it is definitely useful: for buying things we need or want but also in this interesting activity from First-grade teacher, Shirley. An excellent introduction to sorting and classification as well as an important life-lesson. Here are the students displaying their work – rich in mental wealth, every last one!
The Lifecycle of a Butterfly and Drawing with Popplet
A Popplet favorite. Students can snap images and immediately upload them (and text) to their popplet boards, or they can use their fingers to draw the different stages of the butterfly’s lifecycle. Early-years students much prefer the drawing option as demonstrated by these excellent creations from Northampton Library:
Literacy Core Skills: Word Families
Creating connections between words which have something in common builds vocabulary, strengthening core literacy skills. It increases general knowledge and just happens to be the perfect work for Popplet. Wonderfully evidenced in this Word Family activity from Kirsten Wideen with word Popplets courtesy of her class:
Literacy Core Skills: Opposite Pairs
The early development of literacy skills often begins in Kindergarten and educators often share their learner’s work on Twitter and Facebook. This is still one of our favorites: the beautifully simple Opposite Pairs, from the Kindergarten classroom of Kara Bunch.
Appsmashing: Combining Popplet with Other Technologies
Few digital apps or platforms stand alone in the Education Technology classroom but some do stand out when it comes to compatibility with other technologies. A lot of popplets end up in Seesaw, contain images and videos sourced and uploaded from other apps, or are annotated and edited by one of the wealth of apps out there. Even the simple act of printing off a popplet – a task now taken for granted – is an example of how combining technologies is fastly becoming an accumulative, essential life skill. Here’s an example of an app-smash activity from Ms. Legget’s Learners. How many distinct technologies are being used in this simple activity? We count at least six, including Twitter!
Math Core Skills: Identifying Numbers using Popplet
Understanding numbers is the most essential, most basic part of mathematical knowledge. Kids learn early, usually with some parental persuasion counting stairs, blocks, toys… Not all is perfect at first, errors are often evident but that’s ok. This infant rote learning is a valuable precursor for the day they will soon deepen their understanding of numbers as a representation of quantity – instead of asking for more, they will be able to ask for two, three, or four of something!
Individual numbers can be represented using visual aids or apps like Number Pieces specifically designed for this activity. Then like educator Lisa Young Pedavilla’s students, images of quantity can be matched with their corresponding number on a popplet board.
Math Core Skills: Learning About Place Value with Popplet
The whole number thing starts to get big really quickly. Even very young learners need to be able to process and manage what can inevitably become an infinite amount of information. Fortunately, it seems we humans were preprogrammed for the task, or at least we take to the concept of place value very quickly. Like the previous math activity, quantity is represented by visual aids, then students match images with number on a popplet board. First-grade teacher, Amelia Workman was very happy with her students’ efforts.
Social Skills: Getting to Know Ourselves and Others
In infant classrooms, it’s common practice to ask children to bring in photos of their closest family members so kids can start to identify with each other, understand and accept differences, and to foster a sense of belonging and caring. One way, or at least another way to do this is with slightly older learners is to have them create popplets about themselves and share with their classmates. That’s what the KS1 Technology Club at North Ormesby Academy did.
Science in the First-Grade: Learning about Measurement with Popplet
Science is all about measuring things. We may tend to think of Chemistry, Physics, Biology…but without the capacity to accurately measure change, then we’d still be in the dark ages. The first-graders at Chesterbrook Academy Elementary School used Popplet to study measurement recently.
Getting to Know about Food with Popplet
Our relationship with food may just well be the most important relationship we will ever have. How and what we choose to eat will define our life-long wellness and maybe even our lifespan. With all the different types of foodstuffs, diets, and fads that now exist, gaining a sound knowledge of food and how to eat well is vital. Lorna Levack, a Specialist ICT teacher, had her students create these food mind maps about to teach them about food groups.
If you are already using Popplet in your First-grade or Kindergarten classrooms, then we hope these ideas from your fellow educators are something you can use. They are all:
- Essential in that they focus on core skills
- Simple. Child’s play – chances are your students will grasp Popplet quickly and may even teach you a thing or two
- Adaptive in that they can be used for different age groups and levels of ability. The focus of the activity can also change.
Sign up for a free Popplet account here, and you will receive 10 free Popplet boards to get you started. If you need more, there are several subscription plans available, favorably priced for the education sector. We have an education discount offering 50% off the purchase of our Popplet iPad app, and many teachers around the world are already accessing this offer to install Popplet on all of their classroom iPads.