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! 

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Number Patters

Now that our baseline is nearly complete, we have started some focus teaching sessions. This week we are learning the numbers 4,5,6

Each and every time we introduce a new number we show our children the numeral, we introduce the Numicon piece  

 
We sky write the number whilst using the patter…

  
0- round the face of a super hero… Is the number zero! 

  
1- a straight line down and then we’re done. That’s the way to write a 1! 

  
2- around and back on the railroad track, 2,2,2! 

  
3- around the tree around the tree,is the number 3!

  
4- down across and down some more, is the number 4! 

  
5, Hat  neck, big fat tummy

  
6- a stick and a hoop do the tricks, is the number 6

  
7- across and down from heaven, is the number 7

  
8- draw a S and do not wait, that’s the way we write and 8

  
9- a hoop and a line, is the way we right the number 9! 

We then count objects to match the number, focussing on good 1:1 correspondence. The children then go and find that amount of objects. 

Once this short snappy focus teaching session is complete, I will leave a basket of goodies out near my chair for children to investigate and develop further. I often find lots of them being “teacher” 

How do you teach number? 

It would be great to hear your ideas… Please leave a comment below x 

  

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 

  

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!!

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 

Inspiring Writing! 

I am constantly trying to find ways to inspire my children to write, and in order for them to write they need to be able to talk first! 

I was surfing over the weekend and found some pictures that I think would really make my kidlets chuckle and may just get them talking and in turn  

 writing captions and sentences about what the objects are thinking/feeling/saying etc

What do you think? 

Please feel free to use them and let me know how you get on? 

   
                             

  

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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