The Pixie in a Reception Classroom
Judith Adelsberg, St Crispin's Infant School, Westgate
Judith used a Pixie to support the introduction of early number concepts to children in her Reception class. She outlines the activities and takes account of children's learning in suggesting the next steps. She also addresses some of the practical issues, such as making a suitable number track. Resources made by Judith may be downloaded.
From the moment the Pixie arrived, my four year-old children were captivated. They were immediately curious to explore the functions of each button and soon extended their vocabulary to include 'clear the memory', 'forwards', 'backwards', 'turn', 'wait' and 'go'.
My first impressions were that, although very simple to operate, the Pixie looked very fragile. Amazingly no-one, to date, has attempted to push the Pixie against the motor, perhaps because the first thing we all did was to look underneath it to see how it worked. (Nonetheless we still always use it under adult supervision!)
We soon graduated from pushing a few buttons at random, to guessing where it would finish. Children then tried to estimate which buttons they needed to press in order to reach a specific point. At this stage, we were using a big square table covered in an oilcloth, as it does not work as well on a carpeted surface. The children quickly became quite proficient in programming the machine, and I noticed how supportive they were to one another. An activity started with two children soon gathered an audience of four, five or more, at a time when the whole classroom was new and exciting - even the computers were insufficient to lure the 'non-participants' away!!