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! 

Linked Provision 

Here are our table top activities for this week… 

These activities are linked to our gap analysis assessment (taken from baseline at the mo) 

These activities are set up in the classroom first thing in the morning- and stay out for the first session.

 Giant polydron: it has been lovely to play alongside the children here in their construction area. Lots of children drew plans of what they were going to build/had built. It was a useful tool to have the clipboards and crayons as an enhancement  

Mark making on mirrors proved to be a real hit this week! 

  
 

Inspired by stimulating learning with Rachel https://www.facebook.com/162317827297284/timeline/story?ut=43&wstart=0&wend=1441090799&hash=-7784684924675874999&pagefilter=3

The children have loved mark making in the glitter using paint brushes or their fingers 

 

 Maths tray- squirting the numbers great for ordering, numeral recognition, counting actions that can’t be moved 
 

 Chalk and pastel shapes- we are going to attach these together vertically to create hanging mobiles (watch this space) this activity was great not only for shape recognition and colour but also for children to practice their skills of resilience. It took a lot of patience and effort to complete the whole shape 

 
M ark making using marker pens attached to cars- and colour mixing in the tough spot at the end 

 
  
Fire engine role play- the children painted the fire engine before half term. They then told me what they wanted in there! Kidlets often come up with better ideas than us!   

We keep our linked provision for two weeks, but change and adapt as needed throughout the fortnight 

Xx 

Funky fingers wk beg 12th Oct 

Ive decided to write a blog post each fortnight with our Funky Fingers activity. I hope this will be useful, but will also be a great reference for me to nip back and remember what we’ve done! 

Here’s our timetable…  

Each day one group completes dough gym… I will post a video on my FB page 

Here’s  this week’s activities… 

Sorting different types of pasta- how many can you sort in a minute?   

 Placing glass beads onto numbers 

 
Rolling dice… Building a tower with tweezers to match the number on the dice  
Water Squirters 

  
(This pic is taken from Pinterest and is not owned by EYFSmatters)

We spend just approx 10mins each day on Funky fingers. The children love it, and we definitely notice and improvement and progress with fine motor control. 

What activities do you use? It would be great to hear what you do in your setting. Please leave a comment below xx 

Linked Provision 

  
I get asked lots about our time table and planning. We have started “Table Top Activities” this year. This is linked provision using gap analysis to really develop those skills that our children struggle with. Careful and considerate assessment is done to really get to grips with what our children need to move them on in their learning. This is done purely through observation based assessment. 
  
  The activities change on a weekly basis, and are put out for the first session each morning. This session lasts from 8.50-9.40am. The activities are then packed away in storage boxes and popped under the table. 

  
On each activity is a card which details the skill we plan to cover using the resources set out. The outcome of the activity is absolutely up to the child, we are teaching the skill not choosing the outcome. There are three adults in our setting, and during table top time, each adult is stationed by a table to model, and help move the learning forward with affective questioning and focused guidance. This is also the time that we hear any readers that we have identified as “Every day readers” (this hasn’t started yet as we feel it is a little too early, and are knee deep in baseline!!) 

  

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 

  

Write away! 

I began writing this on a facebook thread and then decided to devote a blog post to it. 

If you’re anything like me you get to this time of year and begin to panic about your children entering year one and whether they’ll be academically ready for the jump. I see lots of writing being posted around various facebook sites, and think crikey I’m not sure my children would write at that standard consistently without Suppprt. Of course I have a handful of children who are exceeding, I also have a little sprinkling of children who are emerging. Of course I have because children come to me at very different starting points both physically and academically. 

What we do instill in our children is a love and a real WANT to write! This hasn’t happened over night, it has taken hard slog, persistence and a few tears (Yep that’s just from me!!) 

We have massively raised the profile of writing… So how have we done it? 

First of all we got rid of the writing table? WHAT?  I hear you shout! 

I observed who was going into the area, and what they were doing. It tended to be a small group of girls, who write and colour the same things each day. I knew as long as I provided them with the resources they needed they would write anywhere. It was my lower ability boys and middle ability girls that weren’t choosing to write. We did lots of chatting both as adults and talked to the children and came up with lots of ideas to help raise the profile. Here are the things we’ve trialed (some were more successful than others!) 

We filled copious amounts of Pringles tubes with lots of lovely mark making tools 

 
We left out lining paper in each area  

Mark making tools very easily accessible 

  

Each child has a balloon with their name on it hanging on a washing line, every time they do a piece of writing (however long or short) they add a paper chain piece to their balloon. This is a fab way for adults in the setting to see which children are writing/mark making independently and those who need a little more support. 

We also make a BIG deal about celebrating our writing. If children would like to share their work they pop it on my chair and at the end of each session we play “Celebrate” https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3GwjfUFyY6M  (but have changed the lyrics to “Celebrate good writing today!”) my colleagues who walk past think we’re barking but the kids love it, and that’s the main thing! 

If you were to ask any of my children where they could write they’d tell you “ANYWHERE!”

  
During our focus writing time the children are grouped weekly by ability. The groups are very fluid and children are placed according to their next steps in writing. The group decide together WHAT  they want to write, WHO they want to write for WHAT they want to write with (crayons, chalk, felt tips, pens, water and paint brush, wands, kungfu sticks!)  WHAT they want to write on (plain paper, coloured, template, paper cut into a shape, lining paper, A3, Tarmac etc etc) 

 
(We use this sheet to evidence what children have written so we can keep a record of genre. I have taken children’s names out for obvious reasons) The notes section is great when it comes to report writing.  

 

I create an ethos within my classroom where EVERY MARK MATTERS! I want my children to have a love of writing that comes from within, I want them to WANT to write because they love it, not just because a grown up has told them! So far so good! I feel a tingly warm fuzzy feeling when I see my gorgeous gaggle led on their tummies writing on clip boards! Please don’t think I am some miracle worker, believe me it has been work in progress but I am delighted in saying that all of the things we’ve tweaked have had a huge impact on giving out children a love of writing x