It’s been an extremely different year in education for everyone. So much blogging for me has taken a huge back seat. It’s been on the back of my mind but everything else just takes over. The work load and COVID as well as other unexpected dramas of life itself has all been a bit much this year but I am back!
How has your year been? I do feel that the children have been so resilient and have made good progress despite all of the disruption. I know this is definitely not the case for all school and for some it may have been the hardest way to engage parents and children in education.
I am hoping that now the only way is up! It’s nearly the summer holidays and we are all completely exhausted and ready to try and find some ‘norm’ for the summer. I can’t wait to have lots of sleep, catch up with family and friends and hopefully have some memorable days out too. I am also excited to be a bridesmaid this summer (fingers crossed)!
Let’s hope we can have a nice end to the year, for the children if not for anyone else.
I love how creative children are. They see things in a completely different way to us.. I decided to encourage the creativity of my nephew’s love of cars this Christmas. Not only is it reusing resources and stopping them from being dumped in landfill.. it is loved by my nephew and pretty easy to create!
I purchased a wooden reel from a local scrap store. If you haven’t visited one then you really should they are amazing!!
I also purchased some black chalk paint from Amazon. I love this stuff… it can be used to paint most surfaces and drys as a chalkboard. I thought this was the perfect way to paint the reel, that way my nephew can draw and create whatever he wants on it using chalk!
Kindly enough I received some AstroTurf free from a local scrap store. I used this to decorate the top of the reel and added a few dinosaurs purchased from Amazon too! I created a city using some chalk pens from Amazon. These are great and easily wipe off tables and wooden surfaces, as well as this chalk board paint too.
My class loved entering the classroom this week and seeing a selection of Christmas books, a Christmas tree and advent calendars too.
I created an activity of wrapping boxes for Xmas presents and they absolutely loved it! The children dressed up like elves and wrapped the presents carefully. It also linked into the English lessons of using the language of first, next, then and finally!
I found this idea on an Instagram page so I tweaked it to fit our class puppet Gertrude. A simple assessment of finding out who can write their numbers and letters the write way around. It’s been a huge focus this week as some children are still finding it tricky.
Check out the link of this resource and download it for free on my resources page on Sunday!
I was amazed at how many children chose to sit and do this activity!
Dojo points definitely helped.. some children received 10.
The children have also been busy creating repeated patterns and using an iPad to capture it. The use of technology is great in provision. I often use them when the children build models too!
Just a few more weeks of the festive fun, we can do this!
If you are a teacher within the Early Years or KS1, there must have been a time when you have called a child to the table to complete some work with you and they have replied with – can I go and play now?
I was lucky enough to meet the amazing author, Greg Bottrill, who has written the book ‘Can I go and play now?’ Listening to part of his talk was extremely inspiring and linked to all of the reasons and values of why I became a Primary School Teacher.
Greg discussed the importance of inputs and hooks for children’s learning – ‘learning should be like poetry,’ with children’s interests woven into how we teach the curriculum.
I love Greg’s idea’s about the magic door. Greg’s suitcase is the planning, and he walks through the magic door into children’s adventures. He provides the skills children need within that adventure and then he lets them continue with their adventure.
No child wants to go on your adventure! Just like us, as adults we are more interested on going on our own ‘adventure.’
Everyone wants to go on a journey, but their own journey. Children learn so much more from going on their own adventures.
When having a discussion with Greg he pointed out a really interesting fact.
Every Roald Dahl books shows the importance of children. Children are portrayed as the ‘magical characters’ and the adults are less important. It gets you thinking right?
Greg also speaks about the ’emotional connection.’ I talk about this a lot in my blog. Children need that emotional connection with others.
Building that emotional connection with pupils is something I really ensure I do. Having a sense of humour, listening to the child, having empathy and showing care is all so important. As recently shown on my blog, I remember packing away all the things in my classroom and a child gave me this card. She waited patiently until I opened it and my eyes filled with tears as I read it. My mission was complete. I had built an emotional connection that will be remembered forever.
‘Children don’t learn from people they don’t like!’ – Rita Pierson
Children don’t always remember what you have taught them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Greg discusses the constrains of the curriculum demands, school assessment policy, Ofsted…that get in the way (known as the grey area).
He discusses the Yellow area – children’s curiosity, creativity, the skills needed for the unpredictable jobs and future ahead.
Unfortunately this yellow area often gets covered by the grey area.
Greg also talks about the emotional connection known as the black area. Emotional connection in learning and through building positive relationships. Children sense the energy of a teacher and the enthusiasm. Throughout my year of teaching Reception every few minutes a child is proudly showing me a model. I constantly hear:
Miss Pinnock come into my castle or would you like some tea over here? Come to my party , its about to start – I will give you cake!
After talking to Greg I have realised that the children are inviting me into their magical world. Their own adventures linked to their interests and that’s the moment I can use my skills, to get down to their level and provide them with further skills before letting them continue in their magical world.
Children are magical. Children see things completely different to us. They are magic and learning needs to be magic – not like robots. -Greg Bottrill
To enhance the learning in maths this week I have planned a shape hunt that consists of 2D and 3D shapes. Letting children move away from the ‘focus table’ and explore their surroundings by searching for shapes in the environment brought so much creativity, curiosity and interests. Children found shapes in objects I would have never even seen as an adult. As we grow our imaginations get squeezed out of us but a child see’s the world in a completely different way.
This activity meant that all children were engaged and learned the skills needed to name each shape – 2D and 3D. A child picked up his shape hunt sheet at the end and said – “Can I bring it home?” And I never heard the words.. ‘Can I go and play now?’ Why? Because to them they were playing and playing was valued!
Greg is such an inspirational person. He has lots of talks and visits to offer schools.