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Thought I share how we're planning.

 

As a whole school we have introduced learning walls.Although the advisory teacher didn't think it was suitable for nursery, because of the way we plan/relationships with parents we have been the most successful.

 

We do have a theme title for the half term.The adults brain storm ideas to give us some backbone prior to the holiday.This allows us to gather our personal resources and research trips etc.The first day of the half term with the children we discuss what we already know about the topic and we're off...The scribbed sheet goes on the learning wall in the cloakroom which parents contribute additional things to.Every Monday we do a new one from where we are and we are off again in a different direction.Every Friday we review the week and at the end of the half term review the whole topic

 

By 'We' I mean children and staff together at carpet-time

 

Doesn't sound clear but its working.This half term its 'Pets'

 

Day 1-the talk was mostly of cats so we painted cats-vets role play (we'd prepared for this it was sure to come up) lots of photos of cats came in

week 2-dogs so we did Hairy Maclary-kept vets-lots of rhyming work and collage of discriptions of dogs

week 3-some-one said tiger so we had a discussion about what made a good pet-dear zoo-zoo small world-pet shop and parrots!!!

week 4-Fish and crufts!!! so we're having a pet show on Thursday.The children have taken home entry forms.Today we've individually designed what we want our fish tank to look like and Friday we are getting some fish.

next week.... who knows but we will cover the Easter story

 

I hope that gives an idea of how our 'topics' are child led and inform the planning each week.

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Hmm. I have heard of learning walls (from here, I think :o ) but never been sure how they work.

 

So let me get this straight. You have a theme which you 'stock' with ideas and resources. You talk to the children about what they know about the theme, and all this information goes on a sheet of paper which is stuck on the learning wall. This is then added to by parents, carers etc who also contribute resources. On Friday, you use the sheet to review what the children and staff have learned during the week. Then on Monday you do the whole process again - does this new sheet get put up alongside the first sheet? Does it build up into a learning wall which covers all of the learning over the course of the half term's topic?

 

Can you add photographs and children's work to illustrate what has been learned? What happens to it once the topic has finished? I'm guessing that you don't have to pack everything away into a cupboard at the end of the day - I'm wondering how big a display board we'd need to do it in our group...

 

From your experience, how has introducing the learning wall affected children's concentration and learning? Does reviewing the topic each week and at the end of the half term make the learning more permanent? I guess it certainly makes it more visible. How does all this information feed into your assessment systems?

 

As you can tell, I'm really interested in this! I feel an "I've been thinking...." conversation coming on!

 

Maz

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You seem to have got how its working from my rambling post :o

 

Yes-we add each scribble sheet to the wall.It starts blank first day with just the title then gets added to.It's not neat or mounted.It looks more like an over grown kitchen pin board! Definately a work in progress!! Just to make it more child friendly we've used shaped coloured paper for the brainstorming cat-bone-fish.We add anything from the children, pictures from mark making, photo's of dough creatures, photos from home, newspaper clipppings, pages from colouring books.

We chose a wall which gets the most child reaction which just happens to be the cloakroom so its ideal for parents.The work thats created goes on displays around the nursery so we have a 'parade of pretty parrots' on our windows which certainly wasn't planned.

It's only our second wall so all other systems are not fully intergrated but we can see where we are going.Observations have reflected the learning and the children recall has been good.At first carpet we do a daily review "Do you remember on Monday we talked about fish and what they need ?...On tuesday you designed you own fish tanks and James wanted a bridge in his tank because that book we looked at said they like somewhere to hide...

The idea of a learning wall is to assess what the children already know and move forward from that point.At the end see where you are-which isn't always where you thought! In an older class they would do this process at the beginning of each 'science' lesson if the wall was 'Forces' we've just adapted it to suit our purposes for all areas of learning.I'll take some photo's

 

Sometimes in school you have to fit with 'whole school' stuff it just happens this time its worked really well for us.The whole school SEAL display is working well for us too!!!

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ok I've taken a pile of photo's

 

1-Pets learning wall-a work in process hopefully you can see the details of whats on it and which scribed sheet has been added each week.

One idea created some much from home its has its own display to do it justice(books)

2.Cats paintings from first week-the details managed from the group scribing shows.

3-Hairy MaClary-lots of time spent on dogs that look like hay etc.Some much came into 'spot's theres another display of just spot printing.The volume was so great we made a montage and titled it 'Spot on!' (I know its spelt wrong-thats my fault)

4.Pet shop-children made sign and stocked with soft toy pets etc from home.

5.Book area-The book rack was stocked with a selection of books before hand including one row of non-fiction.It's been added to from the school library as we've gone on.A set of Hairy MaClary books a couple of fishes stories this week and theres a game on the bottom shelf that came from a discussion on animal noises and especially scary ones!

6.Pet books-for world book week we gave the children a blank sugar paper book to do something on pets and this is what we got!!!.We invited parents in to share a reading.It shows the range generated and I learnt some facts about giraffes I never knew!

7.Zoo small world thats evolved from what makes a god pet and therefore Dear Zoo.Theres blank paper and sheet proformas for

I wrote to the Zoo and they sent me a...He was too...I sent him back.In the book corner theres a presentation file book with a cover and children are filling with their own work.

 

I hope they demonstrate that a theme can be child led and inform weekly and day to day planning.

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Oh dear its duplicated the photo's and I can't seem to remove them on edit-I knew that can of alcohol was bad idea :(

 

Here's 2 more I though might be of interest

 

Work from last half term when the children were concerned about baby bears broke chair

 

Our SEAL feelings tree with baskets of coloured leaves for when we are feeling happy, sad, angry, unhappy.The staff have been using it too for 'oh dear I'm so sad Bert has pushed Fred on the floor I'm going to but a blue leaf on' -works too! xD no telling off, no cross voices just 30 children looking stocked/sad and shaking their heads :o hard to keep a straight face sometimes and the staff seem to be having a competion who can be the most dramatic!

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You seem to have got how its working from my rambling post :o

You make a powerful advocate of learning walls, biccy!

 

I had my "I've been thinking" conversations with one of our deputies today - she is intrigued so I'm going to make sure she comes and reads this thread (and maybe even make her first post! xD )

 

Your pictures are lovely - am going to seriously think about how we can incorporate something similar...

 

Thanks biccy - I love a new project!

 

Maz

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I'd never heard of learning walls before. The pictures look great. We are in a church hall at the moment and are stuck for display space as we can't put up anything permanent but we are soon moving to a purpose built room in a family centre so we will have more scope for displays and we wont have to pack everything away daily.

I think I will have to mention this one to my supervisor. She'll probably look at me as if I've just landed from Mars (she's been doing it forever and new ideas are always met with suspicion) but I think it would be a really good way of consolidating things we've talked about and encouraging parents and carers to be involved.

Thanks for sharing Biccy

 

Sally

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I think it would be a really good way of consolidating things we've talked about and encouraging parents and carers to be involved.

I think it is a very good way of making parental partnership very visible in the group - and I'm sure Mrs Ofsted will love it!

 

Am just working how out big a display board I'd need to dedicate to the task - like you we have to pack everything away...

 

Maz

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she's been doing it forever and new ideas are always met with suspicion

 

tell her a really old bird who's been doing this job since '79 wrote the thread and even I am enthused by this.

Here I am on world book day where I spent all day looking in all the nursery cupboards with the children trying to find my poor dog Sandy a bone!I thought I'd stick with the pet theme for dressing up day :o

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Here I am on world book day where I spent all day looking in all the nursery cupboards with the children trying to find my poor dog Sandy a bone!I thought I'd stick with the pet theme for dressing up day :o

Love the picture! Did you find a bone in the end?

 

Maz

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I'm afraid the 6 topics are already laid down for us in the whole schools long term plan.This is because of an ofsted comment on topics being repeated by other year groups and over laps in experience.It does however mean we have created a balance over the year of themes that have a bias towards different aspects of learning and helps ensure we can observe and assess to them.

I don't see why a different type of setting could not go down this route with a theme decided by the children.

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Is anyone doing this sort of planning in Year R?

 

I'm afraid I can't really comment on its use in reception.They do have a learning wall and last half term did 'people who help us in school' but I'm not currently involved with their planning and delivery.As with any idea I'm sure each class in school are interpreting the trainning we had in their own unique way.Our staff meeting time this week we are doing a Learning enviroment walk around school to see how we are all doing with learning walls/SEAL so I may have more idea then.They are starting in nursery so we're hoping to impress. xD and hope the upper keystage 2 end of school will have a better regard for what happens in nursery and our starting point when children are admitted. :o "It's ok for them they only play all day" :(

 

How do you respond to the children's interests?

 

All the time we are responding to childrens interests.All the planning is stimulated by the children. We have had out dinosaurs but 'Do dinosaurs make good pets?' 'How would you look after a dinosaur in your house?' 'Why don't we build a cage for a dinosaur?' It was the dinosaur expert who wrote the giraffe book with his mum.On Friday we put out animal dominos that someone had helped themselves to Thursday but instead they got a basket of dice and shakers and spent time rolling.No planning would stop us 'going with the flow'

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"It's ok for them they only play all day" xD

Tsk! Tsk! Its hard not to take offence at this sort of comment, isn't it? Did you put a blue leaf on your tree to mark the occasion? :o

 

Hope it goes well next week and that you leave them speechless with your brilliance!

 

Maz

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Oh dear its duplicated the photo's and I can't seem to remove them on edit-I knew that can of alcohol was bad idea :(

 

Here's 2 more I though might be of interest

 

Work from last half term when the children were concerned about baby bears broke chair

 

Our SEAL feelings tree with baskets of coloured leaves for when we are feeling happy, sad, angry, unhappy.The staff have been using it too for 'oh dear I'm so sad Bert has pushed Fred on the floor I'm going to but a blue leaf on' -works too! xD no telling off, no cross voices just 30 children looking stocked/sad and shaking their heads :o hard to keep a straight face sometimes and the staff seem to be having a competion who can be the most dramatic!

the feelings tree sounds good how did you get it pink and what colour leaves do you use for which emotions.

 

thanks

 

angela

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The tree is from a education supplier but I'm afraid I didn't order it so I don't know which one

 

angry-red

happy-yellow

sad-blue

worried-green

 

I used SEAL photo's from the resource pack to discuss what these feeling were and created feelings smilies cards which we attached to each photo and displayed for a whilel.Lots of visiting and discussing by the children of these photo's.The next week it was followed up with a session showing different photo's and each child having a set of the 4 cards and holding up which feeling they thought went with each photo.The third session the tree and leaves were introduced.

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I went to Brent's early years conference last year - my first and it was brilliant - Vivian Paley as guest speaker. Anyway, one of the workshops I went on within the conference was about working books (look very similar to working walls but was 'done' on the floor , photographed and then kept in a book which was added to) Anyway....The lady who ran the workshop was from a company that supplies some fantastic resources (as well as providing training) and one of their items was a tree like the one you showed...I can't remember the name of the company off the top of my head, but I've got a catalogue at nursery and I will let you know the name tomorrow evening.

They also sell a fantastic set of keys ...... tiny ones for 'fairies' and a huge one for use in Giant stories/role play.

 

Sam

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Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie and not very good at this whole computer thing but had to respond to learning wall thread. My boss is quite "old skool" and insists on having a topic, I,ve really been struggling to find the time to combine childrens interests with topic planning, lots of paperwork that is confusing to parents and staff.I love the concept of the learning wall and will give it go after easter break.

 

thanks for sharing your idea,s

 

Rosey.

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Hi Roseyuk and welcome to the forum. Thanks for making your first post. You will soon be a seasoned pro at it and will find it hard not to have an opinion about almost everything!! Try not to get too addicted!! Hope you enjoy your time here!

 

Shiny

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Update after the whole school learning walk.

 

Receptions is more polished than ours and just relates to their 'topic'.An interesting one was year 2.The teacher started by giving the children just the title (like us) which happened to be 'Florence Nightingale' and asked them to come up with some questions-we ask for facts they already know.Bare in mind they didn't know who she was.The first questions were who is she? what does she look like? where does she live?.As the children researched they added the answers to the questions and created more questions.They brought researched additional information from home.It really appeared to have caught the childrens imagination.The year 3 teacher had had so much from the children he'd taken to photographing the wall on a friday and removing some pieces so there was more room for Monday.He'd display large photo copies of the Friday photo's so the children could refer back to them if they wished.

 

Mid week-we informally told children next half term was 'Growing' just to give us a bit of a lead for our staff planning session.There was one interesting comment which has led us to prepare in a direction we wouldn't have gone down.One child said 'Yorkshire puddings grow'-what a flash of inspiration!!! We've come up with some ideas and snacks to go with the fooding growing idea and figured how to safely put the mircowave in the nursery main body to watch growing!

 

Reviewing of the learning wall on the last day was more productive with one session than another?? We'll keep an eye on that because it wasn't the way around we expected.The younger maturity group who are more play oriented were more stimulated and recalled better.

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Hi

I am new to this forum business but felt had to reply and say thank you for ideas about learning wall - I too am going to try this with my Reception class after Easter and feel really inspired now!

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Hi

I am new to this forum business but felt had to reply and say thank you for ideas about learning wall - I too am going to try this with my Reception class after Easter and feel really inspired now!

Welcome to the forum ems!!

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I think that the tree and the keys etc might be from Mindstretchers. Gorgeous resources but many are quite expensive. They have a web-site.

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