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Learning Walls


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I know this might sound a stupid question but what exactly is a 'learning wall'?

I keep seeing them mentioned but can't quite work out what they are. If I've got the right idea they sound like a good tool but a clear description would help me gather my ideas.

Ta xx

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There have been lots of threads about them on here - have you tried a search for them?

 

We do them. We start the week with chatting about what we already know about whatever they have chosen, say 'cats' and I scribe a list as we go along and that goes on the wall. Children then might paint pictures of cats, look in books etc and as they go they find out more, pictures go up, maybe a footprint or a photo from home. We get parents to contribute what they know and as we gain more facts, they go on the wall too. We might discuss things we're not sure about and then find out by looking at books or the internet, and that info gets added too. Then we might go off at a tangent and look at big cats and find out about lions and tigers and stuff and that info goes up too. When we've exhausted it all we look back at where we started and what we've learned, take a photo of the wall and then pull it all down and start again with something else. The whole process can take anything from a week to a month - our latest has been going a month and the 'wall' has taken over three walls so far! it's great fun and I have learned a lot too about cats, and sharks, lions, tigers, servals, jellyfish - you name it!!!

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ours was a similar thing to cait, an idea to begin with developed by the children and added to over time, be it a week, month depending on how long it went, we added photos of the children doing things, and planning which came form it to show learning, parents added comments often just that the children were enjoying it, or that they were continuing the ideas outside and bringing in items or the children around the theme or ideas .

 

we were a pack away pre-school so had a moving noticeboard with it on which went out where the parents waited so they could see it.

 

we often had wall 2 inside with more of the the craft and children's own work on it as well so all could add to it.

 

Parents loved the idea and enjoyed reading it, they also knew exactly what the children were doing.

 

we did sometimes end up with no real topic running but daily adds, and others we had 2 topics running, really depended on the children.

 

Inge

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This all sounds really exciting but how do you plan for it? my head still likes the idea of a topic 'coat hanger' to give some structure. It is going to be 'people who help us' next term so would I start off the learning wall at the beginning of term? If I've got 16 children in my group whose ideas do i go with? is it just one or two or the majority? if there is a parallel YR class do they go and do their own thing or would we work together? Is the work secretly steered by the adults in a way they would like it to go or is it truly child led? What does Ofsted think of it? Sorry it sounds like I'm trying to catch you out - I'm just really intrigued.

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well our shark one came from a child telling us they''d seen a shark on TV and that all sharks have sharp teeth and can bite your leg off. So at circle time I asked the other children what they thought and asked if we should try and find out a bit more .....

 

Sometimes it can be a simple statement - sometimes an event. The cat one started when a cat wandered in to preschool.

 

They have all been like this. The one we're doing at the moment is 'Bear Hunt' as the children enjoy acting it out when we read it through. The last time, one of the children was quite thoughtful about the actions so we decided to look at a element a week (I started doing a blog about it)

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I really like the sound of this but I feel that our learning wall would be lead by one or two children all the time. We have some very dominant children who do contribute to the planning as it is. We also have a very high percentage of EAL children most of whom do speak English but not in a group situation. Would that work do you think, if one of the quiet EAL children made a could comment about something worth following up but couldnt share it with the group and the adult did it? It sounds like a great way to cpature the chidlrens learning and also have some great evidence to show for it.

 

We are having 3 hours trainig on planning and obs etc this morning, i hope it helps. I am going to have to be Mrs Motivator to keep the staff awake and engaged!! :o

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I think your EAL child could come up with a comment you could use in exactly the same way as any other child - all it needs is for you to remark on it in circle time 'Sahid said this morning that all flowers have 4 petals, and that started me wondering - what do you think Matthew, how many petals have you seen on a flower?'

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We started our Sports hero wall today and one of our quietest EAL children became very animated about a famous cricketer (Indian we believe but not sure) so my homework tonight is to research which cricketer it could have been.

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