Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket…

As today is National poetry day, we embraced poetry, grabbed it with two hands and ran with it! 

My year group colleague is the Literacy co-ordinator at our school and found the most fantastic ideas based around twinkle twinkle little star. 

We began by playing our children this beautiful animation by my good friend Jim! http://youtu.be/ata6QbvRQpc

We then talked about all of the words that rhyme within this song. The kidlets were just fab at hearing the rhyming words. We talked about how a poem is just like this with lots of rhyming words. 

During fruit time we read “How to catch a star” by the utterly fabulous Oliver Jeffers. The children adored the book, it truly is magical! 

 
We had lots of children who “just got it” but others who didn’t quite understand the concept of reflection. We talked together about what activities they would like to do. It was agreed they’d love to create the night sky with twinkly stars. 

We set to to create this. We used inks and pipettes and straws to blow the ink across the paper. 

   
    
   
Once the art work is dry, the children would like to add their own stars. 

It was fantastic to see lots of examples of COEL in fact I am pretty confident that I observed every characteristic at some point during this little activity. The children were wowed with their finished masterpiece and each one was as individual and special as them! 

We then decided to try and make some glitter stars in laminated sheets….

When I say it was a complete and utter disaster I am kidding you not- lets just say I now realise that my scrumptious little lot have a secret love affair with glitter (who doesn’t)and I think I owe our cleaner a big box of chocolates! Ooppsssss

You know you’ve had an interesting day when you find glitter in your bra!!!

Ta ta for now, whilst I shimmer off and say Toodledooooooo!!!

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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 

  

Herding Cats Whilst Juggling with Ferrets – Why would anyone want to work in Early Years?

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Alister Bryce Clegg as a guest to my blog. Alistair is my favourite EYFS guru! What he says, just makes sense! I hope you enjoy reading his article here x 

  

Herding Cats Whilst Juggling with Ferrets – Why would anyone want to work in Early Years?

Young children are truly remarkable beings and masters of ‘the unexpected’. There is one thing that you can be certain of when you work in Early Years and that is that you can never be certain of anything!

Like the moments that you have them eating out of the palm of your hand, they gaze at you wide eyed as you deliver pearls of wisdom. Then from amongst the crowd a hand slowly rises and you pause with anticipation, waiting for confirmation that you are indeed the Worlds best teacher and that this child is going to utter a statement of learning and understanding – only to be met with the phrase ‘My Granddad’s dead’. Just three little words that can completely kill a moment! Continue reading

Den Building Day

Save the Children’s Den Day is about children being sponsored to transform their sofa, school desk or even a boring cardboard box into a magical super den. And the money they raise will help to save lives around the world

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Save the Children’s Den Day is a brilliant way for children of all ages and abilities to get creative and learn independently. And the sponsorship they raise will help build a better world for children who don’t have anywhere safe to shelter tonight.

How will you build yours?

* Let your class head off on a Den Day safari without leaving the classroom. Use bed-sheets, bunting and pegs to create an awesome indoor tepee, make some binoculars out of carboard, and maybe some cut-out animals to spy on.

* Why not fix up a den in the great outdoors? Decorate a solid structure like a climbing frame with sticks and leaves – and remember to bring plenty of blankets and rugs to keep warm!

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* Do your kids want their secret midnight feast to be a private party? Then let them pile up the cushions, create a bed-sheet teepee, and make a no-entry sign to go outside their living room den.

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VLUU L310 W  / Samsung L310 W

VLUU L310 W / Samsung L310 W

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* Or why not help them build a brilliant bazaar in their bedroom, filled with flying carpets, magic lamps and other treasures? Raid the dressing up box for some crazy costumes to match.

* Once everyone’s finished creating their shelter, it’s time to get cosy. Plan some activities for your children – set up a crafty activity or let them watch a film they love. If they’re staying in their dens overnight, bedtime stories and midnight feasts are sure to go down a treat.

* Whether you’re planning a camp-out style sleepover or simply a school day with a difference, sign up now http://denday.savethechildren.org.uk/sign-up/ to receive A special Teacher’s kit. It’s full of loads of tips and hints to help you weave some Den Day magic – and loads of extra learning – into your lesson plans.

Have fun… enjoy being creative

(Photographs used in this blog are not owned by eyfsmatters)

Pizza Hut Mud Kitchen

Pizza Hut Mud Kitchen

I saw this fab idea this morning on Twitter, and just knew that the children in my FS2 setting would love this…

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Please forgive me I can’t remember which school it was …

I was out visiting another school and nursery this morning so decided to swing by Pizza Hut and ask if they had any Pizza boxes that we could have for our mud kitchen! They were so very generous and had a huge pile for me to “take away” (excuse the pun!!)

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Message in a bottle

Message in a Bottle

I’m always thinking of exciting and engaging ways to get young children to write that has meaningful purpose with an element of creativity chucked in!

Whilst out and about I happened to come across these lovely little bottles… they started my creative juices going and “EYFS Message in a bottle was created!”

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Maths 3d shape challenge

3d Shapes using coloured marshmallows

Whilst perusing Pinterest and Google images to look for ideas on how to encourage children in their understanding of shape, in a fun and interesting way- using play and collaborative learning, I happened to come across this lovely colourful idea that I know my littlies will adore.

There was something quite special about seeing these little blobs of colour drying out on my drying boards!

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Theses are simply mini marshmallows that bought from the supermarket, and coloured with food colours.

Continue reading