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.
I created this lesson for a Year 2 class and it worked really well!
Children saw a huge mess and lots of crime Scene tape. A suitcase was left at the scene with lots of items inside.
Who could it be?
What has happened?
Why have they entered school?
The children were full of curiosity and were eager to write a wanted posted using expanded noun phrases to build up a better description than the one I showed them.
After describing items set out on each table the children were eager to draw their description.
They made predictions linked to the story through what they saw eg, I think it’s the smartest giant in town because of his smart clothes. I think it’s Jack and the Beanstalk because of these strange beans.
To encourage editing and checking their work I asked children to swap their writing with a partner and read their peers work.
It was great to see children giving feedback to their peers and changing mistakes when needed in an encouraging environment.
I left blank flash cards on the table for children to write different expanded noun phrases on to share with their peers.
English lessons can be full of excitement and curiosity, from a simple learning objective of using expanded noun phrases, the pupils were extremely excited and all succeeded!
It’s always great to look back at the year with the pupils and really appreciate and celebrate their achievements! Although some pupils feel that they have struggled every pupil has achieved so much along the way and this needs to be acknowledged!
I gave out some cute bubbles to all the pupils in my class for ‘blowing me away’, with their hard work this year!
I also used twinkl resources to award all children with something they have done well this year. From always bringing a bright smile to school, to being a super scientist there was a certificate that fit every child!
What great way to start the half term with a trip to the SEASIDE! This really helped to kick start our seaside theme, the children were amazed and loved seeing the clear blue sea, the soft sand and the seagulls of course!
It may seem surprising but to many children in my class this was there first ever experience of the seaside. This is what certainly made the exhaustion of the trip worthwhile!
After an amazing trip the learning of Geography and some aspects of History have been transferred within the classroom. The use of twinkl resources have really helped to support the vocabulary links of the seaside. I created an ice cream shop in the classroom to introduce coins and money. I also used real ice cream cones and twinkl’s key words to reinforce reading and language.
Twinkls resources for this was amazing! The pictures and text for the seaside range is both appropriate and accessible for all learners. But certainly as a teacher balancing the children’s development in year 1 and supporting the National Curriculum, the WORK LOAD of the resources are certainly worthwhile!
The children also found a crab at the seaside. They were full of fascination and questions too. As a follow up activity I have found a great crab paper plate craft on twinkl too!
I like the way it comes with instructions which reinforces children’s independence to read for purpose in order to make it.
I recently planned a lesson of the three little pigs – with a twist! I started off by using a story map to recap the events of the three little pigs…
Here is my lovely art work of course 🙈😂. I think showed the children a letter which we read together. It was from the big bad wolf! Explaining that he was going to come back and he was now bigger and stronger!
The children had to make their own houses using a range of materials including lolly pop sticks, tissue paper, foil and plastic.
The children then tested their houses using a big bad blow dryer! (This was inspired by Pinterest).
Through this activity children learnt the names of different materials and started to understand the properties of them. They also worked together with their partner to problem solve, linking to design and technology objectives too!
The engagement of the children was amazing and a planned follow up activity linked to writing for purpose as the children wrote a letter back to the the little pigs explaining what they should do!
I always start the day off with a morning activity with my class. For this half term most of the morning activities consisted of a focus on reading to help embed any sounds children struggle with. I have used twinkl’s phonics activity to help with this.
When you download this from twinkl you will find a folder full of all the phase 1-5 sounds with real and nonsense words in!
My class absolutely love colouring in the read words and nonsense words. It has been a fun way to start the day and I can definitely tell it has had a positive impact on my classes ability to grasp certain sounds they struggle with.
The split sounds such as:
This was my main focus as children always find them harder and it has really helped! After a crazy week of phonics screening, I am sure that the twinkl resources for phonics has helped make a positive impact on children’s consolidation of sounds.
Twinkl is also great at other morning activities to hit those strange KS1 objectives. For instance, my class have easily reached the objective of spelling days of the week through the simple, already prepared resource meaning all I had to do was press print!
Activities like these are also great to send as homework or use for extra interventions too.
Twinkl has a huge range of resources online that can are of easy access and are affordable too! Take a peak….