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There has been a lot of talk about floor books lately on the forum and these are something I'm very interested in starting next year with my new class. I thought it would be nice to have a specific thread to talk about floor books and share experiences and answer questions about these so that all the information is in one place.

 

So to start us off, how do you introduce the idea of floor books to the children? What is the first thing you put in it together? When would you do this? Is it at the start of the topic? I'm in year one and the topics are set by the whole school so we're doing homes this term . I'll be following the children's interests based around this general theme so I was hoping a floor book would be somewhere to collect our ideas, but I'm not quite sure how to get started with it.

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Somehow I missed that whole thread and it's a great one. Had never heard of Floor Books before. Just a thought, but isn't this type of project ideal for the electronic whiteboard? Maybe using Notebook programme. Could incorporate video of children saying what they want or think, photos of the things that interest them and text added by or for them. Would be easy for everyone to have a copy too.

 

Honey

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This is a good book that I'm thinking about buying

 

I got it just this week - it is quite a good read and the idea of floor books is one I like - at the moment I am wrestling with the practicalities of how to introduce the concept in September to a term time only setting where each day's group of children are substantially different and not all children attend for the whole session - have passed the book to my deputy so that she can join me in pondering (my kindness knows no end :o )

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The thought had crossed my mind but on reading the book the advice is to try not to follow all individual threads as the system becomes unwealdy rather look for a sort of majority view thread. There is also a bit of a reggio approach going on with the use of a "provocation" to act as a starting point to see where it leads. On their site they term the provocation thinking tubs and have a range of ready made ones or you can do your own.

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The book looks good, but since I'm having to buy a load of new resources for my new classroom out of my own pocket it really is just one extra expense that I can't really afford right now unfortunately. :o

 

Does anyone have any experiences with introducing floor books to their class that they'd be willing to share?

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I love the idea but wonder just how workable it would be when you have about 90 children coming through the doors over the period of a week. Something else I've found with the preschool age group is a tendency to copy what the person next to them says. For example, when playing a game with 2 children, asking about favourite food, fav clothes, what they'd like to be when grown up, many children just repeated what the child next to them said.

Has anyone found it's the more vocal and dominant children who get their ideas actioned from the floor books or does this approach bring less vocal children out of themselves?

We have too many children to ensure each child is asked individually on a regular basis, some attend 5 hours, some 15+. Maybe have key person floor books? But the planning would still be a major challenge wouldn't it?

 

Sam

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I love the idea of Floor Books, but like many of you couldnt get my head around the logistics of it all. I only have a small class - 15 in total so I do understand that it is easier to do with less of them. We timetabled every Thursday afternoon for -Project Meetings. So at 3pm the children independently gathered their chairs in a circle and sat down. The special helper for the day was in charge of collecting the project book and coloured pencils and we reminded the children of the rules; everyone had to be inlcuded and everyone had to listen to the ideas of others - already clocking up the PSE goals there!!!! Now I should add at this point that out of those 15, 12 were boys so had I left them to think of their ideas independently we would have been studying Indiana Jones for the last year, so every 6 weeks we changed the topic and they chose what they wanted to do - there were a choice of 3 and everyone voted - it was the fairest way for all, in my opinion. Last term it was Africa and African animals, so every week I simply told them the overall theme of the week and then in turn every body gave their input about what they wanted to do, and children who thought they had no interest in the subject, found that they did.

 

This is an example of what happened when it was Giraffe week all of these ideas have come from the children andI just recorded them.

Read Giraffes cant Dance - from this came; create a dance sequence to music

Play instruments - make a tune for the giraffe to dance to

Find out what giraffes eat - from this came making apricot and white chocolate cookies

Print giraffe patterns

Find out about big and small, tall and tiny

Measure the height of a giraffe - measure and order the height of people in your family

Find out who scares giraffes

Find out how fast they can run - can we run as fast?

Put giraffes in the tuff spot with some trees and leaves

Write a letter to a zoo keeper to tell us about giraffes (we did and he came!!)

Find out why they live in Africa

Why do giraffes have humps on their backs?

 

I also added in some bits that needed to be done - I drew a giraffe and they had to write numbers to 20 in the patches and I also needed to develop ICT so we used Purple Mash by 2 simple who had a fantastic African animal template sheet and we recorded all the facts we had found out about in the week on it.

 

The children love 'Project Meeting' time - when we found out that giraffes loved apricots they came up with the cooking idea; they told me what I needed to buy and they decided what should go with the cookies. I have found that everyone has their interest addressed at some point in the week and sometimes random things occur and we go with the flow - in the week we were learning about crocodiles, one boy wanted to find out about spiders so we found out about african spiders and ended up with a visiting trantula! During lion week one child wanted to find out about the production of the Lion King - so we went to the Lyceum to see it, which in turn inspired them to do their own production in the outside area!, elephant week involved lots of mud and water and one child wanted to know what you called groups of animals, everyone was happy!

 

Our internal moderator raved about the project book and has shared it with other colleagues. But I have found that keeping a topic approach and sometimes guiding the children still means they get to follow their interests but also find an interest where perhaps there was none. I remember once going on a course where the person running it said start from what the children know and what they want to know; however how do they know what they want to know if they dont know it!!!! and so this way of planning has been much more interesting and when sometimes when I think only one person is interested in something the others soon are drawn in - again how do you know if you are interested in it if you have never experienced it?

 

sorry if I babbled a bit butI hope I have helped just a little! (However, how you do it with 90 I dont know - I hope someone can be more insightful)

Nicky

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Thanks Nicky for a terrific response. I have been battling with the shall we / shan't we have topics debate since the introduction of the EYFS and have tried both a topic based and a completely free approach. I think that the floor books idea does provide a good meeting point/forum for (documented) adult and child initiated learning with some sort of topic/provocation (call it what you like) as a starting point - as you rightly say what sort of spheres of experience do the makority of three year old have without some sensitive adult support and guidance!

 

It is however the logistics that are the nightmare - I thought it was going to be a bit of a struggle with 45 - the 90 that Sam has puts it into a different dimension completely.

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Nicky, it sounds amazing and I'm guessing you have either reception or yr 1 children rather than preschoolers?

There are aspects of the floor book idea we could use, for example we 'wrote and illustrated' a whole group book which in itself demonstrated children's interests then encouraged other chn when I told small groups or individuals the story so far and they either chose to draw a picture of part of the story or added their own section with or without pics. The icelandic volcano features with a dinosaur 'having a bad feeling' about it, for example. If we start this kind of project again but earlier in the year (i didn't start the book until february), we could pull out threads of it and incorporate them into our planning. Almost everyone was included in the project so that proves it is possible. Hmmm, got me thinking. I love this forum!!!

Sam

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Thanks Nicky. What sort of things do you put in your scrap books may I ask?

 

It looks similar really to a brain storm diagram; so the theme for the week goes in the middle and from that we branch out. Originally I labelled each section to ensure that we were covering every area so I would write SAND and ask what we would put in the sand, but sometimes we were thinking of things for the sake of it and we were also spending time setting up things they did not want to play with. So first of all we brainstorm the key theme - so I say the word and they think of things that come to their head and for those children that do not find it easy to think of ideas of things they wanted to do this made their lives a little easier - once someone shouted out tall, during giraffe week, it was one normally quiet little lad who wanted then to find out how tall a giraffe was and how he was going to measure it.

 

Every child has a turn in speaking and sharing what they would like to do and this is noted in the project book - I also record their name next to it so that I know everyone has spoken. Then when I am planning the outline for the week I will write next to each idea the goals that will be covered and this then ensures everything is covered over the year. At the following week's project meeting I then run through what we had suggested and we ensure that everyone's idea has been covered and they have the opportunity to share what they did, found out etc..... and we tick it off - I will also record where to find the evidence if appropriate. After reading some of the threads to this discussion I think next time I would to include the children more in the recording in the project book and just need to think about how to do this. Hope this helps a little more.

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Sorry I also meant to mention a really cool activity that we learnt on a course which helps me with knowing what the children know and what they don' know about a particular topic idea etc.

 

I write about 15 statements on pieces of paper and we sort them into three sections: Those things that are true, those that are not true and those which may be true. The children vote for where they think it should go. I will only tell the children if they have got the answer right in the 'true' or 'not true' sections. The maybe columns is our starting point for finding out about.

 

so for example during Lion week:

 

Not true lions live in the wild in England

 

May be true baby lions are called cubs, lioness' are in charge of hunting, lions sleep in trees

 

True Lions live in prides, lions eat meat

 

 

 

I really didn't expect the children to know that lions live in prides but one of the children has seen it on CBeebies and could explain his answer. This way of finding out what they know makes sure we arent learning about things they already know - my whole lesson about prides went right out the window!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by nickynooblue
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I've been given a list of topics to cover during the coming year in my new nursery class, but I'd prefer to try and plan from the children's interests where possible. I'm struggling to work out how to do this though! Floor books sound like a great idea, particularly when it comes to incorporating children's interests alongside pre-planned topics.

 

It sounds like floor books might work best with YR/1 children. Does anyone have any experience of using them in nursery?

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I love all the ideas in this thread, particularly the one about writing out the true and not true statements, I'll definitely be doing that, probably on the first day back so I've got the weekend to sort things out.

 

If anyone who uses floor books can think back to the first time they used them, I'd love to know how you introduced them to the children? What do you tell them the book is and what tends to be the first thing you put in it? Do you have a page for what the children know already?

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Hello! Im writing this in not too much detail im afraid! :( but will try to be as thorough as possible xD

 

I work in a nursery setting (full days) and for the past three and a bit months we have been using floor books for our planning. I must say it was VERY difficult finding a way that works for us and we went through many different ways but do feel like we have finally found the way it works for us :(

 

I'm not really sure where to start explaining as we put a lot of work into it, but im more than happy to answer any questions anyone wants to ask if thats any help?

 

Basically....we've found its a brilliant way to get the younger children more involved in the planning process, a great way to use children's interests when planning and still manage to have sneaky little 'topics' or 'projects' stuck in there too :o

 

Nikki x

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I work in a nursery setting (full days) and for the past three and a bit months we have been using floor books for our planning. I must say it was VERY difficult finding a way that works for us and we went through many different ways but do feel like we have finally found the way it works for us xD

 

Basically....we've found its a brilliant way to get the younger children more involved in the planning process, a great way to use children's interests when planning and still manage to have sneaky little 'topics' or 'projects' stuck in there too :o

 

How did you first introduce the floor books to the children? I'll also be in a nursery class this year and I'm interested in the idea of floor books, but I'm not sure whether to introduce them right from the beginning or wait until the children have had a few weeks to settle in...

 

Also, do you find that the children are responsive to your requests for ideas? A few of my children will only have been 3 for a few weeks when they start with me, and I'm not sure how forthcoming they will be.

 

I'm feeling very inspired by the floor book idea! I'd love to find out about it in more detail as I've never come across them before reading this thread. Do you have any photos which you'd be willing to share?

 

Thank you for your help :(

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Ooooooh now i was thinking of photos, so i shall try my hardest to remember to take a few tmorrow and then work out how to get them up on here tmorrow night. The way we introduced them was by having a discussion one monday morning about a big event that had happened the previous week (firemen coming to the nursery) and explaining to the children that this was going to be our new book for us to use to stick all our photos, pictures, information that we have learned to share with our mums and dads. They showed lots of enthusiasm about helping to stick in the photos and the stickers the firemen had given them etc. and from that we talked about the water we got to spray from the hose which led to a whole floor book on water :)

 

We orginally had planned to do a book per 'topic' (until the children decided to move onto a new interest...) and to fill a page daily, however we found that this not only used a lot of paper, but created quite a lot of work for us on a daily basis. So we changed it to a weekly page which we find it so much easier! Being a full time private nursery which accomodates loads of different sessions we found it really difficult to explain to children that perhaps come in on mondays and fridays, that we might have been talking about water on the monday but on friday we are talking about somthing totally different like frogs! So with a weekly page, they can 'see' the work we've been doing and the link between the different topics. Also good for parents to see the link too!!

 

And as for the enthusiasm from children, i forgot to mention that the two groups that 'test-ran' it were the 2-3's and the 3-4's, myself being with the two year olds. It was good to see the difference between the two groups and i must admit, it seemed a lot 'easier' with the 3 years olds as they seemed to get more excited about doing it and seemed more interested in contributing their ideas. However, after about a month, my two years old got the hang of it with lots of encouragment and now most of them enjoying looking at the book with mum at the end of the day, or helping to decorate with things we've found, or telling me whats going on in the pictures and watching me write it in etc so i would definatly say its effective with both groups!

 

Hope some of that rambling helped!!

 

Nikki x

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Thank you so much Nikki for your comments. I've been following this thread with interest. We've just lost to school our very bright and extremely confident older children and I am already feeling the void as in September we have few three year olds and a lot of two year olds who won't have the same experience or language skills for being involved with planning as last year's children. I'm sure once they're settled it'll be fine but at the moment I'm very aware of how little they are!

 

When you first started it with the two year olds did you find that it was mainly your ideas you were recording?

 

Also with having different children on different days you said you had a weekly page. How did this work, did you have the main theme on the front then a Monday page with all Monday children's ideas and pictures?

 

Look forward to you pics

 

Suebear x

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You might want to use the Talk Around Mat method (also included in the same book) using real objects to build up ideas so if you were talking about the sea side you may put an interesting sea shell in the centre of the mat and then the children can add objects or pictures with an adult scribing ideas if needed. So children may collect buckets and spades and add those or boats or small world sea creatures or the Lighthouse keepers lunch book .......or pirates or mermaids ...

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Hi Suebear! I know exactly how you feel! We decided to split our 2-4 unit into a twos room and a threes room a few months ago and my, what a difference you notice!! All my non-stop talkers, tidier uppers and dancers disappeared!! But the change has been well worth it :(

 

The process we are using at the moment is 'roughly' at the start of a new month we look at what weve learned and talk about what we'd like to learn next, look at the things the children have enjoyed doing or stuggled with and take into account any season changes etc and 'create' a 'topic' (loving my use of inverted commas'''''''! ) and sort of encourage the children to think about this. For example, when the firemen came, we noticed most of the children were enthusiastic about the hose and spraying the water, so we decided to focus on water for a the month of june. We sat with a group of children and created a mind map ( but previously we have used the talk around mat method that Marion mentioned, although we call it the thinking spot :o ) asking all about water, what we know, what we would like to learn etc. and used this to work from over the course of the month, or until the children moved on to a new interest. So yes, to answer your question, it takes a certain amount of 'planting ideas' in the childrens head, but we try to keep it to their ideas as much as possible! Just some need a gentle nudge in the right direction! (Hope no-one takes offence to this!)

 

The weekly page (which hopefully the photos will show) is a small bubble in the middle with what we are learning about each week and the various different findings, activities etc scattered around the page. So the way we are doing it now is to make a book with 5 pages, one for a front cover, and 4 for each week of a month. This can be changed if the children move onto somthing different after a week or enjoy learning about it for a few months.

 

Now, these photos xD ....since im new to this, im going to need a bit of help!! Where do i start?? Lol and how do i go about blanking out children's faces as theres quite a lot of photos in the photos?

 

Thanks for the help!

 

Nikki x

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Now, these photos :o ....since im new to this, im going to need a bit of help!! Where do i start?? Lol and how do i go about blanking out children's faces as theres quite a lot of photos in the photos?

 

Thanks for the help!

 

Nikki x

 

If you can open your pictures in 'Paint' you can 'spray paint' or block out children's faces, that's quite simple. Then save your picture with a new name so you don't damage your original. You may find you need to compress your picture to make it easier to upload, and without knowing your system it's hard to advise which method is easiest for you.

 

Then simply go to 'Add reply' at the bottom, rather than 'fast reply' and you'll get a box to upload your file into. Click on 'Browse' find your newly created picture and click on it. Then click 'Upload' and that's it, it should be there when you post your reply

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Ta da!!! Now im not sure if anyone else knows what the heck im talking about, but i found that very disturbing spraying over the childrens faces xD it was as if i was getting rid of the child or somthing!! Ok......ill shut up now and hope that people can see the photos! :o

 

Nikki x

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Edited by silvermakeup
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Thanks for the photos, they're really helpful xD

 

It looks as if each page provides a summary of what the children have done and learnt during the week. Do you complete the pages with the children at the end of the week to document their learning, or do you include the children's initial questions and things that they want to find out before you actually get stuck into a topic?

 

Sorry if this was clear in the pics and I'm just being a bit thick :o

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