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Wednesday, June 13, 2012


By Brian Puerling

Chapter Two
 “Using Photographs and Images to Inspire”

Oh, my goodness!  I haven’t written a book report since high school!  Let’s see if I can remember how to do this!

First, I feel like a kid who just learned to ride her bicycle!  This is a challenge for me, but I want to pat myself on the back for learning something new.  My techie mentor (Vanessa Levin) is an inspiring teacher who is helping me scaffold to a new level.  If you are a dinosaur or a techie, TEACHING IN THE DIGIAL AGE is a great summer adventure.  I’ve even learned how to use the QR scans in the book, which make it come alive.   Here’s your ticket to this amazing journey:

Several years ago I purchased a Kitchen Aide stainless steel mixer with all the bells and whistles.  I put it under the sink and it has sat there for 6 years.  I NEVER used it because it was easier to get out my old hand held mixer.   (I finally gave the Kitchen Aide to a friend last week.)  Why am I telling you this?  Well an iPad or interactive white board or any new tool doesn’t do you any good unless you KNOW how to USE it and you USE it to accomplish something.  Author Brian Puerling wants to help you make the most of the technology tools you have to connect with children…open the door to a new world…reinforce learning…capture children’s interest…and take them into the future.

When I saw the chapter “Using Photographs and Images to Inspire” I thought it would be about using children’s photographs to make books, name cards- etc.  Wrong!  It was about the power and opportunities that are instantaneously available through technology.  (A long time ago we had to go to a place called the library and spend hours looking for photographs.)   Puerling gives examples of how photographs can be used to facilitate conversation, encourage desired behaviors, develop schema, create interest in the world and other communities, and enrich all areas of learning.

My favorite vignette  from the book was a video with four-year-old Eddie.  Eddie’s parents have done an outstanding job TEACHING Eddie how to use the iPad as they capture his interest in learning.  I’m afraid too often parents use technology as a baby sitter rather than a one-on-one learning opportunity.

Now, here’s the grandmother teacher in me coming out.  As wonderful and powerful as technology can be, don’t forget to turn it off and sing a song and do a finger play.  Ask children to close their eyes and make pictures in their brains as you read a story.  Imagination is the greatest tool of all!

And, here are a few hands on activities that popped in my head as I read the chapter!

Have children hold up their index finger.  Explain that is the finger they use on the iPad to swipe.  It’s called “Swiper.”  Put your index finger behind your back and begin singing the song below to the tune of “Where Is Thumbkin?”

Where is Swiper?  
Where is Swiper?  (Children repeat each line.)
Here I am.             (Bring index finger in front of you and wiggle.)
Here I am.
Ready to swipe.      (Move finger as if swiping.)
Ready to swipe.
Yes, I can!             (Shake finger as if saying, “yes.”)
Yes, I can!
SWOOOSH!  (Make a sound as you move your finger in the air.)

*Let children draw a face on a dot sticker and attach it to their fingernail.

iPads for All
Each child in your classroom can have her own iPad with this project.  Place your iPad on the copy machine and make a color copy.  Glue the photo to the inside of a pocket folder.  Children can practice identifying letters, typing their names, spelling words, etc.

Singing Books
Use children’s photographs to increase print connections and create interest in letters and sounds.

Welcome to Our Room
(Tune:  “Good Night, Ladies”)
Hello, Jason!
Hello, Jason!
Hello, Jason!
We’re glad you’re in our room.

The Alphabet in My Mouth
(Tune:  “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”)
I’ve got A /a/ /a/ in my mouth.
I’ve got A /a/ /a/ in my mouth.
I’ve got A /a/ /a/ in my mouth,
And I can read.

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the other is gold.
Brian Puerling’s technology teaches something new,
But Dr. Jean has an old song for you, too!

Matt from Look at My Happy Rainbow ( will be the tour guide next week as we visit Chapter 3 “Rethinking Projectors.”

We hope you’ll share your ideas and comments by linking up!