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Can I go and play now?!

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.

Take a look at his blog for more details:

Can I go and play now

As always let me know what you think!

#MissPinnock

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Every kid needs a champion

This week I went on some maths lead training and mindset was linked into the topic.

They played the video by Rita on TedTalks and although I have watched it a few times before I would watch it again and again.

It saddens me to see teachers who teach but don’t show love for the pupils.

having respect and listening to children is so important.

I remember being at school , I must have been in year 3 or something and I had the most miserable teacher. She was old, mumbled a load of stuff under her breath and never smiled. I always wondered why she was a teacher. I even thought

Do you even like children?

But of course I never asked her this!

I remember a visitor at a training session shared a quote with us

Children won’t always remember what you have taught them but they will never forget how you made them feel.

This is so true! I respect every single one of my pupils. I will smile and say good morning to every single one even on the days I am exhausted and can’t wait for the holidays. I will apologise if I make a mistake and model good behaviour.

Rita clearly explains the reasons why teachers play such an important part of a child’s life. You can make a huge difference and I always finish watching it with a tear in my eyes.

https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion/up-next

Rita is a great inspiration for all and has made a huge impact on so many educators. I inspire to be like her one day. Rest in peace💕

Let me know your thoughts.

#MissPinnock

Children are so creative! How I introduced a deconstructed role play area…

Have you ever started a role play area.. spent ages making it look all pretty, filled it with resources and predicted how children will love and use it?? But then when the children come along they just trash it, use the resources in different ways or they may not even take any notice of it at all!

Let’s enhance creativity

Looking back at my talk with Gregg Bottrill last year, he stated how children are creative. They have their own adventures in life.. just like us, they want to go on their own adventure – not ours!

It’s hard to let go of having all of the control of the provision if you are so used to creating pretty role play areas, but actually the moment you do, you will create an amazing opportunity!

My class have engaged in role play through the use of cardboard boxes, pillow case role play outfits and fabric pens.

Watching the children create their own adventures has been amazing! They’ve worked together to create a police station, a train and a television. They’ve gone on their own amazing adventures and used skills linked to DT, Art, English and Maths.

Next half term I am enhancing this area with more open ended play resources. I will take lots of pictures of how it works as it progresses! It’s definitely worth a try. Ditch the plastic and the pretty work you’ve put in yourself, and create an open ended play experience.

After all creativity is a key skill in today’s society and an essential skill for most jobs too!

#MissPinnock

Beware of the dinosaurs!

This week the children have had so much fun finding big foot prints and a mess in our classroom.

The children looked for clues and decided that a T-Rex had made all the mess!

We have been busy creating a dinosaur fact book using clues and episodes of Andy’s adventure… take a look!

We also linked science into an investigation this week too.

The children found a letter and some dinosaur eggs.

They had to use their knowledge of materials to create something to protect the dinosaur eggs.

After predicting which material would work best. The children enjoyed testing the materials…

Will the egg crack and break? If so what does that tell us?

We had some great discussions around the types of materials!

A fun investigation for year 1.

#MissPinnock

A new year.. new goals.. new experiences… new opportunities!

I wish everyone a healthy and happy new year!

Looking back to last year, I achieved some amazing goals. I completed my Masters in Education, I worked hard to achieve the accomplishment of teaching in a different school, I became Maths lead in the new school, and started to revive my classroom ideas to provide the best opportunities I can for the children I teach. I participated in an event and stood in a lecture hall to inspire upcoming teachers (twice!), I met the amazing author, Greg Bottrill, who inspired me to continue to pursue my teaching dreams. My partner and I worked hard to reach saving goals, I went on holiday with a great friend of mine and we had the best time exploring Barcelona, I have enjoyed watching my nephew and twin nieces grow and develop. Towards the end of the year I took the plunge to update my blog to offer teaching resources and a shop (coming soon).

 

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I have a lot more goals to build on this year, and I am determined to work hard to achieve them. I have some blogging opportunities lined up which I will be excited to announce at the end of this month. I also aim to develop myself further with personal and professional goals in mind.

Over Christmas I have had time to reflect, recharge and I am ready to work hard to achieve more this year! I find making a list and writing goals down helps to achieve them. Plus ticking them off when you have reached it feels amazing!

So today I pulled down the Christmas decor… tidied my study room and lit new scented candles, ready for the new goals of 2020.

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Do you have goals that you are aiming towards this year?

 

#MissPinnock

Christmas crafts for 2 year olds

After spending Christmas Eve with my twin nieces they went home with lots to tell their mummy and daddy and lots of smiles and laughter too!

I created some open ended play experiences along with some traditional Xmas activities too!

I filled a tuff tray (one of their early Xmas presents) with play dough, baubles and crafts for them to crest their own art.

They absolutely loved it and were constantly going back to add to their creativity.

We also played a pass the parcel that was filled with peppy pig books. They loved unwrapping and finding lots of new books!

Using a simple ginger bread dough kit, they also enjoyed rolling and making their own gingerbread men. This went in the oven and smelt delicious when baked!

They also loved decorating and of course eating them too!

Another messy tuff tray activity! Using a simple salt dough recipe I created a range of shapes and pierced a hole in each one….

After putting it in the oven and leaving it to cool, they painted the salt dough, and made their very own Christmas baubles!

Of course we danced and listened to Christmas music too!

Lots of Xmas sensory fun for busy little people!

#MissPinnock aka Auntie ‘Fini’

My Jamaican Christmas Cake!

So this isn’t an educational post but it was too delicious not to share!!!

I love baking when I feel like I have the time, so making this Christmas cake was great. It also tasted amazing! I have decided to make another one for New Years too!

I soaked sultanas in a bottle (yup a full bottle!) of sherry. After a week or so I added some Jamaican rum not too much! I left this soaking for 2 weeks in total, the rest of it is still there in the fridge ready to be baked!

Ingredients:

  • 250g (9oz) butter
  • 250g (9oz) dark muscovado sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g (9oz) self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g (4oz) glace cherries

1. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 3 (160c). Place the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix until smooth.

2. Gradually add in the eggs and a little bit of flour if it starts to curdle.

3. Stir in the flour and spices. I added cinnamon, nutmeg and glacé cherries too!

4. Spoon out the mixture into a large cake tin

5. Place in the oven and bake for up to 60 mins. Smell the delicious flavours as it bakes!

6. Leave to cool down and taste the delicious cake! You may decorate it but I didn’t think it was needed!🤣 I added custard to mine for a great Christmas Day dessert.

Enjoy!

Do you bake for Christmas Day?

#MissPinnock

DIY Christmas Gifts….

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!!

 

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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!

 

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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.

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The most open ended presents are the best right?!

I hope you had a great Christmas…

As always let me know your thoughts!

#MissPinnock

 

 

7 Fun and Educational Ways to Pass the Time Indoors with the Kids this Winter

I am excited to post this written by a guest blogger:
Carrie Spencer created The Spencer’s Adventures to share her family’s homesteading adventures where she shares tips on living self-sufficiently, fruit and vegetable gardening, parenting, conservation, and more. She and her wife have 3 kids, 2 dogs, 4 cats, 3 goats, 32 chickens, and a whole bunch of bees. Their goal to live as self-sufficiently and environmentally-consciously as possible.
blog2019
Image via Pixabay

 

When the weather outside is frightful, the kids can get rambunctious and bored. On those inclement weather days, you might need a few tips to help keep your children engaged, entertained, and occupied. In this article, we discuss seven kid-friendly activities best enjoyed indoors, to offer fun and educational relief this winter.

 

Cooking and Baking Lessons

Bust out the old cookbooks or find an easy-to-make dessert online for baking lessons in the kitchen. Don the aprons and enjoy some quality bonding time over a mixing bowl. The kids will learn about ingredients and following directions. As a reward, they’ll get to enjoy their creations.

 

Virtual Travel Learning

Make use of screen time by creating a digital adventure. Consider choosing a new country and encourage your little ones to learn about its geography on a map, native wildlife, and culture. Create ongoing activities by having your children draw their favorite animals from other parts of the world, or play dress-up to reflect the cultural garb to celebrate worldly traditions.

 

Herb Gardening

Sometimes, kids need a little dirt in their hands. Consider creating a small herb garden and let them cultivate their minds, too. They can learn responsibility while watering and maintaining the health of the garden. After your herbs have fully grown, you can use them to create delicious dishes for the whole family.

 

Family Time Capsule

You may not be able to go outside to bury a family time capsule right now, but you can certainly take advantage of the indoor time to create one. This is a great way for the kids to reflect when they’re older and return to the time capsule. Have them create lists of their likes and dislikes, decide what toys or trinkets to include, and look for newspaper clippings. Pick out family photos together and add them to the capsule.

 

Reading

Encourage your children to read, whether it be a book, magazine, or on a device. Reading is one of the best resources for developmental learning and can also be one of the toughest to convince your kids to do. Let them have their screen time if it helps; you can download apps and e-books for your kids to use. Be mindful to always keep your devices protected, as well. The little ones may cozy up to your smartphone with snacks and hot chocolate, neither of which you’ll want to end up all over the device. Consider a LifeProof case to protect your phone from water, slobber, drops, and crumby fingers—all while giving your kids complete access to the phone’s functions. You’ll rest assured knowing they’ll be enthralled in a reading activity and have the ability to scroll and navigate properly without damaging the device.

 

Old-Fashioned Board Games and Puzzles

Your children may spend much of their time with video games and online funny cat videos. So, the old-fashioned board games might be a source of new-to-them entertainment. Introduce siblings to Battleship or play a friendly game of Sorry as a family. Even the only child families can enjoy new versions of solitaire card games. Learning a new game or engaging thoughtful patience over a puzzle can be wonderful in skill development.

 

Kid-Friendly Workouts

If your little’s are bouncing off the walls and brimming with energy with nowhere to put it, consider some family aerobic exercise. Have everyone sport their best workout gear and get moving! You can walk them through a video or two of dance routines or have them use hula hoops. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them the importance of proper stretching. Whichever workout you choose, the kids are bound to burn off energy and have fun at the same time.

 

If playing in the great outdoors isn’t an ideal option, there’s plenty of educational and fun activities the kids can enjoy inside. In case they come out to tell you they’re bored, have a roster of learning and entertainment ideas ready for them. You’ll not only help them pass the time, but you’ll also be fostering an environment of learning at home.

 

Spellings!

Spellings always seem a bit of a boring session when teaching but there are ways of making it more fun!

Tricky words

I often use these tricky words songs on YouTube. They are a great fun way of children learning how to spell lots of tricky words.

Beware they will get stuck in your head for days!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TvMyssfAUx0&feature=youtu.be

Spelling Shed

If your school can invest in this then they really should! Spelling shed is great for practising spellings through fun games that are played online. All children are given a unique username and password so they can access it from home too!

You can assign spellings for your class and they will learn them through the games on spelling shed. I often have a group of children practising spellings whilst me and my TA teach a group of children.

How do you teach spelling?

#MissPinnock

Simple activities are sometimes the best!

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!

#MissPinnock

Anything is possible!

When I first started this blog I was just starting my Masters in Education. What a journey it has been! Stressful days, laughs in lectures and I sometimes sat and questioned myself! The work load of teaching as a full time teacher is demanding in itself, but adding a masters degree in the mix is hard to describe!

I’ve definitely had to make sacrifices. Spend weekends in the library at times. Sometimes I’ve felt drained as if I’ve hit the wall… but it had been an amazing and rewarding journey!

I did it!!! 3 years of strict(ish) time management and typing until I’m blue in the face. 🤣

My key message is aim high!

Anything is possible when you put your mind to it. I have learned so much through this degree and it has helped me gain many opportunities.

If you have a goal or even a dream job that you keep holding off. Just do it. Life’s too short to say hmm I should of…

Just go for it as you never know where it might take you!

Ooh how can I miss this video clip out!🤣

#MissPinnock