Saturday, 10 December 2016

Playing to Learn

My teacher inquiry this year has delved into Play based learning. I was lucky enough to get to observe Carolyn from Russell Street and her NE roll growth class last week. She has also been focusing on play based learning. 

Carolyn made fantastic use of the outdoor space by utilising the deck and courtyard. A small group were talking about and drawing their mums.

Carolyn was asking lots of questions about what mum looks like, what she was wearing and where she was. All the discussion brought a lot of depth to the pictures and students could describe their Mums confidentially and in detail.  

Another group was using Duplo to build and create a variety of things either independently or with a partner. They chatted away together describing what they were making in a role play type situation.

The last group were enjoying zooming around on the courts on their scooters. It was awesome to see them having so much fun engaging with each other and being active. 

Afterwards everyone headed inside for a shared story 'My Mum' and wrote about the pictures that they have drawn. 

Carolyn gave them support to hear the sounds and had a system of marking using visual images. 

She drew the picture from the sound card

Ticked the sounds they knew, circled the fast words, had a pair of eyes for the focus word and an ear for hearing the sounds in a word. 

As students heard the sounds, Carolyn scribed to support them. Those who could only make lines and squiggles instead of forming letters she called 'Magic Writing.' Saying they needed to explain what they had written as it was magic. This took a lot of stigma away from students not being able to form letters correctly. They felt they could just try and it didn't matter if it wasn't 'right.' She had done a big focus on mindset and the learning pit with them as well to support their thinking in this area. 

She had set up the writing to have particular words and simple sentence starters eg Mr 'ing' to focus on weekly. She incorporated this with her Little Einstein's song on the class blog to practices sounds. 
Having these displayed were a visual reminded of how students could start their sentences.

I loved how Carolyn had set up a learning space with so many visual reminders and play based learning activities to let students express themselves in a variety of mediums. Being active was encouraged as was being a risk taker with your learning. I will definitely adapt some of her ideas to support my writing and ESOL programs next year. 

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