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Here's our last one on cats. Children became interested in them after one wandered in through the open door!

Parents contributed photos and information and encouraged children to find out about them at home and bring snippets of information in. The type in 'cloud' shaped coloured card is the information that children found out. The most memorable thing they were horrified about was that lionesses do all the work whilst the lazy lion just sleeps - and he gets to eat first and she gets leftovers!!!

 

We're looking at sharks this week!

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I am off to a conference with Margaret Carr at Pen Green in June on Making Learning Visible really looking forward to hearing her speak and seeing examples of the type of thing she is working on !

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Oh my, can anybody go?

 

If so, do you have any details?

 

About a year ago, I used learning walls in my assignment and posed the question on here whether anybody knew who to reference learning walls to. It believe it was generally felt to be Margaret Carr, and I did reference to her. Was I right doing so?

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Would be interesting to hear if she's read this thread and what she thinks :o

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that is where is doesnt work becuase the themes are not child led entirely as they are not following childs interests

 

i love the idea of a giant peice of paper that everyone can see who has contributed an idea

 

our parents and children do but we dont have room for a big sheet but great if you do

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I like learning walls. They are great fun to do from an adults point of view anyway! They provide instant feedback for parents and evidence for Ofsted. It can be difficult to enthuse a whole group of children into a theme or topic and this is a great way to do it. All the better if it can come from a spark of interest from the children. Last year we were lucky enough to have had that kind of time with pirates and dinosaurs and this term it has been mini beasts from the children's love of our bug rummaging area. What I like about this is they have not been subjects one might associate with adult chosen themes eg People who help us, - they have been subjects the children have enthused us about and made us go looking for resources and activity ideas and I find that really stimulating.

 

We do try not to allow the whole group topic thing to dominate children's individual interest led learning pathways, but it is great to have something that the whole community can get together on and broaden children's interests - afterall how are they to know what they are interested in until they have been exposed to different topics, their interests and ideas don't come from thin air, they are always influenced by someone, something or a visit somewhere they don't live in a sterile world.

 

As I say, we are happy to accommodate children's own interests in a individual manner from week to week or day to day sometimes and I would not wish to dominate with adult chosen themes and topics all of the time. In a 12/13 week term there is usually something we can use to enthuse the whole group about from a child's ideas.

 

I have written and re-written this thread of thinking twice now.. I still don't know if it reads like gobbledigook, but we do our best to give the children what they want and trust that in this we can provide what they need to enrich their learning experiences.

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Makes sense to me - but then I have an A-level in Gobble-dy-gook! :o

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In Reggio the documentation is about the power of the group as a learning environment and documentation as a way for all--students, teachers, parents, administrators, and the community--to see how and what children are learning. I think there should be something for everyone so I am interested to hear what Margaret has to say!

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that is where is doesnt work becuase the themes are not child led entirely as they are not following childs interests

 

Our children come with very little in the way of stimulating experiences and are passive learners. Ofsted said our children come in 'well below the national average without a wealth of life experiences' Without the prompts that a VERY lose topic phrase would bring we would only get very limited child led ideas. We use questions as our theme titles to help the ideas come from the children. Learning walls helps us stretch the children's thinking skills, language skills which are very poor and help them prompt their own learning.I recently visited a unit where the intake ability is the opposite to us and the difference was striking. They were able to follow a much more stimulating child led approach. We want our children to aim higher in life and to help them achieve this we try to enriching their lives with ideas and experiences they do not get and sometimes that means showing them the way.

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Our learning walls are strictly 'interest only' if children aren't interested, fine, they go and do their own thing. Only those who are interested contribute to the wall, bring things from home etc. we've usually got at least a couple on the go - in fact in this coming week we'll have 3, fish, sharks and magnetism. Children's interests dictate the walls and the learning that goes on

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I have put a variety of adult led and child initiated pieces on the wall, including photos.

 

Children seem quite motivated by the topic (space) and are eager for their work to be displayed. They even ask if things can go on "the working wall" This in turn motivates others because they see the praise children are getting when their work is put on the wall and the pride they have when showing their parents.

 

It gives more opportunity to display childrens child initiated work than at other times... most other displays are planned for! And are mostly adult led!

 

Alison

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Our children come with very little in the way of stimulating experiences and are passive learners. Ofsted said our children come in 'well below the national average without a wealth of life experiences' Without the prompts that a VERY lose topic phrase would bring we would only get very limited child led ideas. We use questions as our theme titles to help the ideas come from the children. Learning walls helps us stretch the children's thinking skills, language skills which are very poor and help them prompt their own learning.I recently visited a unit where the intake ability is the opposite to us and the difference was striking. They were able to follow a much more stimulating child led approach. We want our children to aim higher in life and to help them achieve this we try to enriching their lives with ideas and experiences they do not get and sometimes that means showing them the way.

 

Well said Biccy! You have inspired me. Would be really interested to hear more about the kind of themes that you have used and the sorts of questions that you have asked as would love to do something similar in my setting.

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These are the themes we have used this year. There are 6 more for next year. There is a main title and then a suggestion of areas to cover to help cover over the year the areas of learning but sometimes when the question or phrase is introduced it goes somewhere different. My best explanation of that happen last year. The Question was 'How does your garden grow?'.During the introduction one child stated 'Yorkshire Puddings grow' and it really grabbed the children.We went down a food growing and changing route for a week or two making yorkshire puddings, bread, cakes in a microwave. PLEASE don't get the idea these titles are the straightjackets we are stuck in. This is the startline but the journey is not mapped.Some work better than others and its often a surprise which do and which don't. Each title can have 6 mind maps on the wall as corners are turned. The idea is its a work in progress that builds up over a half term although we do retire items if it gets to crowded.

 

Through the keyhole ... (homes and families)

Tell me a story.... (favourite stories including christmas divali eid)

How can I help you? (people who help us in school and community)

How does my body work? (ourselves, senses, exersise, diet health)

Down by the pond....(life cycles)

Down at the farm...(trip)

Where shall we go? (journeys, holidays, transitions)

 

The questions are difficult as its as and when they occur during the introduction. I suppose it comes down to using the wh words-what, why, where, who, what if, when-to assess where the children are and where their interest could take them.

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I'm going to resurrect this topic because I'm feeling very inspired after reading it and I'd love to know more!

 

I'm an NQT and I'm due to start my first post as a nursery teacher next month. I'd love to plan entirely from the children's interests, but I've already been given a list of topics to cover during the coming year. My aim is to strike a balance between using topics and planning from the children's interests, and learning walls seem like the perfect way to do this.

 

biccy, I assume you're based in a nursery attached to a school... If so, do you have separate morning and afternoon sessions? I'm not sure how a learning wall would work if it had to incorporate the learning of two different classes... What if the children come up with different ideas?

 

How do you start a learning wall? Do you literally tell the children what the topic title is and then ask them what they'd like to find out? Do you find that 3- and 4-year-olds (and particularly the very youngest children) are receptive to this?

 

One more question... :o What sorts of things should I include in my medium-term planning? Surely I can't list any planned activities or state which objectives I intend to cover until I've got the ideas from the children...

 

Sorry for all the questions, but I'm so enthusiastic about the concept of learning walls after reading about them and seeing the photos! Any help or advice anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated. I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed at the moment!

 

Thank you xD

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Hi Browneyedgirl

 

Don't whether you've already seen it but nickynooblue's post about floor books in

 

Foundation Stage Forum > Reception and Key Stage 1 discussions > Reception: Observation, Assessment and Planning (sorry, don't know how to link)

 

may be of interest to you. She gives a really good account of how she manages to work from the children's interests based loosely around a theme

 

Hope it helps

 

I'll bump the thread up for you so it should appear on the home page (fingers crossed!)

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I am REALLY interested in this topic... but I am only in page 4 and it is time to sleep.... LOL. I better keep track of the post and continue tomorrow. Thanks a million for sharing your great ideas!

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I'll bump the thread up for you so it should appear on the home page (fingers crossed!)

 

Thanks for your suggestion :o The floor books sound great too, but I'm not sure how suitable they'd be for nursery children... I'll contribute to that thread and see if people can advise me. I'm open to all ideas!

 

I'm still very interested in hearing more about the learning walls too, so if anyone can provide some more details about how to use these with nursery children I'd really appreciate it xD

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Loving the thread about Learning Walls and Floor Books - seems like the same sort of concept to me.

 

I'm certainly going to use one or the other in my nursery, I believe that once children are introduced to a concept, over a period of time they will get used to how it works and embrace it. I will not expect it to work straight away, sometimes children are not used to having input in their own learning or having their ideas valued and acted upon, so I figure whatever concept we use will evolve and improve over time. Who know where it will go and take us, but the journey will be fun, and the adults and the children will learn together. :o

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We love Learning Walls and have been doing them for some time now. I'm planning on starting the year with a 'Finding out about me' type of tghing which will hopefully flag up some interests, and if not, we can go with a casual comment from some role play or something like we have in the past. We had two Learning walls going at the same time last summer which we managed to merge at the end of the year; we hadn't forseen that they would, it just happened

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We love Learning Walls and have been doing them for some time now. I'm planning on starting the year with a 'Finding out about me' type of tghing which will hopefully flag up some interests, and if not, we can go with a casual comment from some role play or something like we have in the past. We had two Learning walls going at the same time last summer which we managed to merge at the end of the year; we hadn't forseen that they would, it just happened

 

I'm just introducing our learning wall, so would love to see yours or hear any advice you have?

Also was thinking of a catchy title for the board......

Our learning journey? Follow the learning road? or should i stick to our learning wall?

What do you think?x

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Hi we have a learning wall, and individual learning journals, seems to work really well at our setting, albeit a work in progress. :o

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Ours just says "We are finding out about ....." at the top

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Hi,

 

I've been reading and getting some fab ideas about learning walls and would love to use them in my nursery. The photos on here are great and hopefully i can come up with a a great board like these!

 

I work with toddlers (20-30mths) and wondered if anybody has tried this with this age group? Also, if so how did the toic start - is it adult-initated ideas that lead on to child-led?? Other then a parents comments/ideas esection, How else could I incorporate parents involvement?

 

If anyone has any advice it would be much appreciated.

 

:oxD

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our parents brought in photographs and researched on the internet for us

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Just bumping this topic up (again!) so I can pick your brains xD

 

I'm planning on introducing learning walls to my nursery class when we go back to school next week, and I'd like a bit more clarification on how to implement them.

 

The topic title for next half-term (already pre-determined by the school) is 'Pets'. One of the F2 teachers has asked us to have a vets' surgery as our role play. My current thinking is that I'll only plan activities for the first couple of days and use the children's ideas to plan the rest. I'll introduce them to the topic title on Monday morning and use a video of a vets' surgery to prompt them for suggestions about the things we'll need in our role play area. Then we can make things for our role play area together, or the children can bring things in from home... I'd rather the children have some ownership of the role play area rather than having it set up for them as soon as they come in.

 

I've got an AM and a PM session, so I've been confused about how to incorporate the ideas of both cohorts into one wall (I only really have space for one wall). All I can think is that I'll just have separate scribble sheets and pin them up on the wall together, identifying which is AM and which is PM. My only other concern about this is that the interests of the two groups could mean extra planning if they go off in different directions (which is likely!), but I suppose this is just part of the job! :o I'd rather make extra work for myself if it means that the children's interests and needs are being addressed.

 

How exactly would you recommend introducing the topic? I'm planning on giving the children the title (and maybe a sub-title for the first week to help focus their thinking, like 'dogs'?) and asking what they already know. Should I also ask what they'd like to know next, or just use their current interests and knowledge to determine this myself?

 

How do you involve parents? Lots of people on this topic have been extolling the virtues of learning walls for encouraging and displaying parental contributions, which sounds great! However, I'm unsure about how to show parental involvement on the wall, other than through things such as photos of children's pets...

 

Hope my rambling makes at least some sense! Thank you in advance :(

Edited by Browneyedgirl

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You could start with a 'fib'. Ask the children what they did on their holidays and then tell them what you did on yours - which of course involved at least one trip to a vet! Do they know what that is? Have they ever been to one? etc

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A fib cait surely not :oxD Yes you cetainly sometimes have to sow the seed as it were and see where the children take it. :(

Thats what i love about spontaneous play and activities.

Edited by bridger

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browneyedgirl-i'm sorry I've not replied but i need to find time to answer in detail. We used one wall with scribed sheets from each session. Slight differences in session interests but didn't cause a massive problem.Same principles applied to both sessions eg Role play being vets but as staff we knew that am children were interested in being the vet and medical side and afternoons in being the animal patient and adjusted our involvement accordingly. We did have a rough idea of a weekly overview. We used to forwarn the children before a holiday

'After the holiday we will be thinking about the animals you might have in your home'

Requests to parents usually had a leader on weekly newsletter

'Next week we will be talking about pets the children have at home. If you have a photo of a pet you child could share we'd love to see it and add it to our learning wall'

Each term we tried to have a home involvement activity. When we did pets it was a pet show. The children took home an entry form with a few questions and a space for a picture. We had a 'show' and each child brought a soft toy pet and everyone got a certificate.

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