Progression in Writing 

My lovely year group partner shared this from Heidi  Song with me yesterday. 

 
We have lots of parents mid year getting anxious about the quality of their children’s writing. 

However much we try to reassure them about the process, and that how all of the lovely things we do in our setting have a huge impact on writing, I’m not convinced that they truly believe their children will get there. 

I try to always back this up by explaining about my youngest, who in reception wouldn’t even pick up a pencil by choice! I probably couldn’t even tell you whether he was left or right handed before he was 6!?!!!?!! 

However because of the rich experiences he received in his EYFS he is now a proficient writer who loves nothing more than sitting down with a pad and pencil and allowing his imagination to flow freely on the page! 

Arty Party!!!! 

  I’ve decided to write this this week for two reasons… The first one being I  need to get better at my questioning when chatting to kidlets about their artwork, and secondly I know our new intake this week will be creating lots of lovely pictures,so hopefully this post will be helpful in reminding us about the comments to make! 

  
I kind of cringe when I realise that in the past I’ve said to a child “oh wow that’s a lovely dinosaur/dragon ” and they reply with “It’s not a dragon, its mummy!” I’m sure we’ve all done it at some point!! 

Instead of guessing what they have drawn or painted it’s much better to use open questioning where they can explain what they have done and why! 

  • ASK them to tell you all about their drawings and artwork 
  • COMMENT on the lines or colors, etc. that they are using (Wow, I see that you are making lots of orange stripes. I like how the Orange paint is mixing with the yellow paint there.) Can you tell me any other colours that mix together to make a different colour? 
  • ACKNOWLEDGE how hard (carefully, enthusiastically, long) they worked on their artwork

It’s so important to show how amazing you think their work is by either sending home to mummy/daddy or displaying on the wall in your classroom for all to see!

I love looking backing back at my own children’s paintings from when they were dinky, and just seeing how much development they have made! 

  
Have fun 

Xx 

Kindness Jar 

So it’s the Hollibobs and its raining!! Booooo 

Don’t know about your Kidkets, but ours always take a few days to settle, to get used to being with each other all the time, and to remember we actually have 6 weeks to do ALL the stuff they want to do! 

I was rudely awoken this morning by the littlest kidlet who shoved a bottle of PVA glue and news paper under my nose and shouted “Let’s do paper mâché mummy!!” 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of chaos and mess, PVA glue is probably up there in my top 10 favourite things, just not at 7am on the second day of the holidays! 

So… I had a little thought about how I could help the kidlets to speed up the settling into holiday routine! 

We came up with the kindness and helpful pot! 

  
The kids decided on the things they needed to do in order to earn a piece of lego to pop into the pot. 

   
 They then made a poster each…  

 
 

   
 

 

We chatted about the reward, the oldest little duckling suggested that today each piece of lego could be a minute of TV later! (Sounds perfect to me!) It’s amazing how such a simple idea can make such a huge impact!! 

I wonder what tomorrow’s reward will be? Let’s hope some glorious sunshine 

  

I’m the king of the castle! 

 Today was a grand day… 

We have recently had new clever touch screens fitted. Guess who “bagsied” the box? Yep you’ve guessed it… Me! 

I left it in our deconstructed role play this morning and for the first session just observed the role play using this box. 

During our 2nd session I decided to join my little cherubs in the role play, and model some creative thinking and imaginative play. The children told me they wanted to make a castle…. 

One little girl decided to draw a picture of what a castle looks like. This was to form the basis of our plan.

There was lots of chat about 

  • moats
  • Drawbridges 
  • Kings 
  • Queens
  • Doors 
  • Windows with bars
  • Look outs 
  • Enemies
  • Baddies
  • Guns
  • Cannons 

  
The children found the cardboard too tricky to cut so told me to “find something dangerous” to cut the card! I decided to use a saw from the DT cupboard. In an ideal world I would have preferred them to use the saw, but as I hadn’t risk assessed this with them prior to this I thought it best to take the lead! (Note to self do this for Sept!) 

They directed me, and were very explicit on how it should be done (I have to admit that at times I did find this tricky- I had to remind myself a couple of times that this was in fact their castle and not mine!) 

  
Unfortunately lunch time called and we had to abort play for a while. What this did enable me to do was root out from the depths of my cupboard our “castle role play box” this delightful box is a treasure trove full of anything a king/queen would need when residing in a magnificent abode! 

My gorgeous TA’s also added lining paper to the outside of the castle so to encourage fresh mark making opportunities. 

I adored standing back and watching play develop as their confidence and ideas grew. I feel happy that I have taughtots of new facts today about castles that my little brood didn’t know about when they arrived at school this morning. 

  
Did they know they were learning? Did they heck! Did they have fun, and drive the learning forward themselves? ABSOLUTELY!!! 

   

Deconstructed role play 

Many of you will know I have written about this before…

I have a real passion and innate desire to allow children to be free in their own creativity. 

In our setting gone are the days where we create a Gruffalo cave (I’m not being funny… How many gruffalo caves have you been in? Me neither and even if I had I’m not sure what play I’d do in there?) I hold my hands up and say that I used to be that teacher that would print off a load of key words, spend hours laminating them and stick them up in “MY” role play area, and expect the Kidkets to sit with a clip board and write them down, or read them and use them in their conversation! Of course they didn’t use them… All that was happening was a big old waste of a few hours spent at the laminator! 

What I do do is spend my weekends trawling round various supermarkets and shops asking for boxes so that I can provide my children with a great range of different types, sized, shaped boxes that can be whatever the heck they like! 

Today was one of those days my heart felt happy, and a few goose bumps appeared on my arms! (Ok it doesn’t happen every day- but you know that feeling when it does!)

I looked over to our role play and this is what greeted me…  

  
I literally whooped and cheered! I think  I perhaps made a few children jump with fright in the process! (Oops- surely they are used to this crazy lady by now!!)  

I was totally blown away by the creativity, craftsmanship and collabation that had gone into this design. Not only had they cut the paper into a flag shape, drawn the skull and cross bones, attached it to the mast (big tube) tied the mast onto the box with string! But they also presented their plan!  

   

“We decided what we wanted it to be first” they said “So we drew it!”

And there we have it… Creativity in its simplest form!!

Super Heroes! 

How many of your children love Superheroes? Yep mine too… Surprisingly it’s not just the boys either- my girls are just as excited about Superheroes as the boys. 

I am a keen believer in allowing children to take the lead in their learning. I know that so many of our children love this topic and are excited about it that I need to embrace theirove too! 

I began by researching lots of different bits and bobs. Here are the different things I have found useful- they are not all my ideas I will give acknowledgements where I can but some pics I have picked up along the way and I’m not sure where they are from! 

A fantastic document I have read recently is this http://www.islington.gov.uk/publicrecords/library/education-and-skills/information/leaflets/2011-2012/%282012-03-03%29-engaging-boys-leaflet.pdf What do you think? 

   
Block play is just fantastic isn’t it, I think these are awesome designs and love the fact the children have drawn and labelled their designs. It could be good to stick pics of super heros onto the blocks to encourage this more.

  This is a great idea from @jessicawebb92 with using blocks and ping pong balls! Great for control
One of my lovely twitter friends has some great Superhero ideas on her page…  

     

Here is the link to her webpage- do pop over to say hello! 

http://rockmyclassroom.com/2015/02/24/superhero-ideas-for-the-early-years/
   
 

Kids of all ages love puppets don’t they… I found these peg superheroes and thought they would be great not only for CL but to begin a little “talk for write” I can really see my lovely lot using the peg characters and then using some speech bubbles. 

   
 

Just for fun… Here is another fab idea I found whilst googling…! These would make  great end of term photos but also great talking and writing prompts

  • Who are you saving? 
  • What super powers do you have? 
  • What would happen if you flew into the building? 
  • What will you say to the person you are helping? 

 
How about having a Superhero dress up day? Children to make and write invitations! 

  Measuring superheroes using non standard measures. 

 Make a cape for a teddy… What makes the best material for a cape and why? 

   

 These areas are not mine… But I think they are amazing! 

Great books for you book lists… 

   

  

  

  

  

 For those of you that like the look of supertato… I found these fab potato people that look great fun and again could encourage some great writing!  

   Great idea to freeze superheroes In ice

http://rubsomedirtblog.com/2013/07/super-frozen-fun/
 
Making cuffs using kitchen rolls 

  

  Love this idea… Can you climb over and under the laser beams to save Teddy from the baddies? 

   
       And of course a super hero needs a super hero Cape! We have a fab supply of all different types of Super heros! If you would like to place an order  please email me at eyfsmatters@aol.co.uk

Capes are just £4.99 each 

  
Have fun! 

How to help children distinguish a capital letter from a lower case

Lots of children get confused between capital letters and lower case letters. It’s so tricky isn’t it- I guess it’s like me trying to learn Greek/Chinese! I just wouldn’t have a clue. 

We try to teach each sound individually and show the children the capital at the same time, but try not to over load them with info at the same time. 

I have been having a trawl around and have found a few ideas that I think would work brilliantly. As you know, I am an advocate for outdoor learning and anything that is fun, exciting and can offer children challenge. 

A fan page I follow on facebook https://www.facebook.com/rockmyclassroom. Has some great ideas that could be adapted and used for lower case and capital letter work. 

  
Laminate lower case letters and have them on cards, children have to squirt the corresponding Upper case letter with their water gun! 

 
Another fab idea from Rock my classroom- you could have 2 buckets one lower case, one upper case, and write letters onto plastic balls. Your child can have a go at whizzing them down the Shute into the correct bucket! 

  Use pebbles to paint on upper and lower case letters and play matching games. Hide them in mud outside and dig them up! 

Love this idea… Attach lock to lower case letter and matching upper case letter to key! 

  
Good old shaving foam

  
Here’s a couple of links I found …
http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/earlyyears/snowmanalphabet.htm 
http://www.roythezebra.com/reading-games-lesson-plans/lesson-plan-capital-letter-beginner.html 

Lastly how about alphabet spaghetti or pasta letters? 

   
 Happy alphabet hunting