“Numbers”: Lesson Plan Analysis Research Paper
Resources Used in the Lesson Plan
The lesson plan incorporates a variety of resources aimed at enhancing children’s understanding of the topic “Numbers.” The materials used include inside and outside play options, as well as additional audio and visual options. Such resources as play-dough, YouTube songs, number puzzles, cardboard, toy cars, and outside playground, are suggested.
The Rationale for Selecting Resources
The reason for choosing the resources is related to the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). The EYLF is a project focused on the early childhood pedagogy and learning of Australian children (“Belonging, being & becoming,” n.d.). We included three EYLF outcomes in the lesson plan:
- Outcome 3: young learners have a strong well-being sense;
- Outcome 4: children’s learning process incorporates involvement and confidence;
- Outcome 5: early learners’ interaction is highly effective (“Belonging, being & becoming,” n.d.).
Such resources as play-dough, number puzzles, dot-to-dot worksheets, and the hide-and-seek game help to achieve Outcome 3, which is associated with children’s well-being. Particularly, these activities increase pupils’ abilities to work in collaboration and allow training both gross and fine motor movements (“Belonging, being & becoming,” n.d.). One of the greatest benefits of these resources is the prevention of serious health problems, including obesity (Altunsöz, 2015). Apart from physical well-being, the selected materials promote emotional and social ties of the children (Gehris, Gooze, & Whitaker, 2014). As a result, young learners will understand the importance of interaction by engaging in the suggested activities. What is more, students will realise the role of physical exercises in gaining positive health outcomes due to performing the tasks set by the teacher.
Since children are involved learners, we have included activities developing curiosity and creativity, and imagination. Making numbers and birthday cakes of play-dough and solving number puzzles are activities promoting reflexivity and training cooperation. By encouraging pupils to build their own city, complete the dot-to-dot worksheet, and play the parking and fishing games, teachers promote pupils’ hypothesising and problem-solving skills (“Belonging, being & becoming,” n.d.). The development of Outcome 4 also presupposes teaching music, which is a highly successful way of training interaction with peers (Kenney, 2009). Thus, our lesson plan incorporates YouTube songs and hide-and-seek games that are also helpful in reaching the goal of positive collaboration. Finally, the EYLF makes a focus on transferring the knowledge children have gained from one context to another (“Belonging, being & becoming,” n.d.). The lesson plan contains some stages that are supposed to enhance this skill. For instance, the hide-and-seek game and the birthday cake activity allow learners to adapt to new environments with pre-existing knowledge.
Finally, the resources we have chosen for the lesson plan are also concentrated on promoting children’s communication skills. In this respect, YouTube songs are rather useful to enhance both music and physical development (Freshwater, Sherwood, & Mbugua, 2008). With the help of media, it is easier for young learners to express their ideas and represent their skills (“Belonging, being & becoming,” n.d.). To reach Outcome 5, we have employed such resources as number songs, number puzzles, play-dough birthday cakes, and dot-to-dot worksheets.
The Inclusive Learning Environment (ILE) in the Lesson Plan
The significance of the ILE in early childhood education cannot be overestimated. It is crucial for the teacher to make sure that every student’s needs, experiences, and abilities are taken into consideration when planning activities and selecting materials for them. Arranging an ILE promotes the construction of positive interrelations between learners (Davenport & Johnston, 2015). Hence, our lesson plan involves the use of various resources supporting children’s learning. Specifically, we plan to use two different types of boards to make the task of drawing numbers interesting both for students with the beginning level and for those who know numbers already.
A Teaching Approach: Imaginary Play (IP)
The Essence of IP
IP is one of the core approaches to teaching young children since it allows educators to promote their students’ development in numerous ways. Apart from involving fun activities, IP also presents emotional and intellectual advantages to young learners engaged in it (Soundy, 2012). IP may be initiated by a teacher or by students, and it includes a variety of imaginary activities and types of games. For instance, children may engage in roleplaying, transform objects by giving them new functions, or imitate some actions pertaining to animals. Sometimes, the scenario prepared by the educator may be altered by children in the process of play (Soundy, 2012). However, such changes are not always a bad idea and should not always be redirected to the initial plan. IP is about giving learners the freedom to create their own world and represent their understanding of that world through play and by interacting with their peers.
The Role of IP in Helping Children to Learn
IP has a high potential to promote children’s learning due to the possibility of incorporating its elements in the learning environment. Sometimes, it is much easier for a student to understand a difficult subject not by means of listening to theory but by receiving an opportunity to realise processes through play (Dudek, 2012). Pupils may study mathematics, history, languages, science, and many other subjects with the use of IP. As Dudek (2012) points out, many primary school teachers prefer to employ the same methods from year to year, presenting material with the help of PowerPoint presentations or other approaches that are not clear to children. Thus, it is crucial to understand the benefits of IP in the classroom and apply them to the full extent.
The primary value of IP is that it enables pupils to perceive new concepts not from the outsider’s position but from the insider’s one. By being a part of the process, children learn in an easier and more engaging way, which helps them to understand new material faster and remember it better. Furthermore, IP may be combined with art, which leads to improving learning experience through social interaction and experimentation (Dudek, 2012). Hence, rather than presenting new concepts at low levels of critical thinking, teachers can employ IP to make their classes engaging and thought-provoking. Direct interaction with peers and supervision of the teacher, which are involved in the process of IP, offer more benefits to young learners than the presentation of new concepts through lecturing does.
The Use of IP in the Lesson Plan
Since IP is a highly productive method of learning, we used it in the lesson plan to promote students’ ability to study numbers. Children are given play-dough and requested to make birthday cakes. After that, they are suggested to choose whom the cakes belong to and think about how old this person is. Thus, learners have to put a certain number of birthday candles on the cake. This is the demonstration of how IP enables students to apply skills in authentic situations (Dudek, 2012). After completing the task, each student can explain their choice of a numeral to the teacher.
Altunsöz, I H. (2015). Early childhood education majors’ self-efficacy for teaching fundamental motor skills. Perceptual & Motor Skills: Motor Skills & Ergonomics, 121(2), 482-489.
Belonging, being & becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. (n.d.). Web.
Davenport, L. A., & Johnston, S. S. (2015). Using most-to-least prompting and contingent consequences to teach numeracy in inclusive early childhood classrooms. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 34(4), 250-261.
Dudek, A. (2012). Imaginary play in the art room: How does both art making and imaginary play effect a student’s ability to learn and recall content in the classroom? Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest.
Freshwater, A., Sherwood, E., & Mbugua, E. (2008). Music and physical play: What can we learn from early childhood teachers in Kenya? Childhood Education, 85(1), 2-5.
Gehris, J. S., Gooze, R. A., & Whitaker, R. C. (2014). Teachers’ perceptions about children’s movement and learning in early childhood education programmes. Child: Care, Health and Development, 41(1), 122-131.
Kenney, S. (2009). Brain-compatible music teaching. General Music Today, 23(1), 24-26.
Soundy, C. S. (2012). Imaginary play in Montessori classrooms: Considerations for a position statement. Montessori Life: A Publication of the American Montessori Society, 24(4), 28-35.
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