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Chatter Box's


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Hi I recently attended a celebration event in Matlock for a "Building Foundations Together" project which I had been a member of.

During the day we share with other proffessionals our project aims, journey and outcomes; to help demonstrate this we display resources / activities used, photographic evidence, videos etc.

One school and Early Years setting had devised some chatter boxes:

(A chatterbox is a box which contains surprise items. They are put together to encourage children to talk and therefore develop their speech, language and communication skills. Children often want to talk about things that they have already had experiences about and know about therefore it is important to link the contents to children’s interests and previous experiences. This enables children to make connections in their thinking and language skills by focusing on things that they already understand.)

Has anyone else had a go at making chatter boxes, if so i'm looking for ideas PLEASE, I was hoping the school I've mentioned would email me with the lists they had already devised; but I think with the busy end of term time she has forgotten to get back to me!!!

They used the boxes on a loan basis to go home too, which was a great idea and she had a waiting list for favourite boxes!!!!!!!

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Hi NRN i'm sure this has been discussed on here before so it may be worth a search. Which age group are you targeting?

 

Michael Jones is a big advocate of Chatterboxes and suggests using themes based on children's favourite characters such as In the night Garden Ben 10 etc depending on their age (sorry, i'm a little out of touch with the current 'in' things but you get my drift) A letter to parents always gets a good supply of donations; or McD toys depending on the current thing - or things linked to a current favourite story

 

I know of settings where staff do a box about themselves, with a little notebook in or the items labelled with the information and have found them useful for new children and helping create and support the key person bond -

 

What about having an empty box for the children to borrow at the weekend and fill, ready to return eager to discuss or give lots of boxes out to lots of parents/staff with a simple statement inviting them to fill them - often others come up with the most wonderful ideas

 

Might also be useful to look at the next steps targets for the new term and have boxes set up to support i.e if it's descriptive language have textured things, old perfume bottles for describing smells then they can go off and make their own potions, shoes are always a great talking points - really odd ones which you can ask open ended questions to get their imaginations firing 'I wonder who these could belong to...?'

 

Look forward to seeing some more ideas- love cardboard boxes me!

Edited by gingerbreadman
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I made one in the past using an assortment biscuit tin - you keep the small divider compartments inside and fill each compartment with different objects. The one I made was an assortment of random items found around the house e.g. a peg, a candle, a paper-clip, a feather, some wool, some cotton wool, a plaster, different pieces of material (textures), shoe laces etc. etc. Wantever you want to put in it really. The children were prompted to talk about how the items are used, where they come from etc.

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Thanks for that site Blondie - mind you I've just visited the leicestershire county council website - initially had good info re chatterboxes, and I've saved chatterbox prompts 1, but when you go to 'chaterbox examples' sadly it goes to a blank page that just says updated 21st August.

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NRN - thanks for sharing information about chatterboxes - I love the concept, so simple! - I'm now also searching for more information and examples - It seems to me to be a little on the lines of collections of related items often used in 'storybags'. From child's interest putting collection of provocations together. If I find any examples I'll attempt to post link.

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NRN - hopefully the following link gets you to a piece on chatterboxes which gives a few suggestions/examples of chatterboxes.

I also found an example given in an ECAT publication which showed a picture of a 'pirate' chatterbox, I couldn't copy picture - but included: treasure map, plastic role play hook, shells, jewelry, bag of gems, small world pirate figure, plastic sword, parrot, eye patch, gem encrusted picture frame. The London borough of Haringay also advocate Chatterboxes and 'Possibility Pockets' .

 

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=chatterbox%20language%20development%20examples&source=web&cd=15&ved=0CFwQFjAEOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.talkformeaning.co.uk%2Ffiles%2F130.pdf&ei=3i8zUPG0IMnJ0QWH74DYBQ&usg=AFQjCNENHCJjX0VrICwijkEfIs-CvR5X2Q

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Found another and have just 'cut n pasted' from a parent workshop from Leicestershire County Council:-

 

"A chatter-box can be made from any reasonably tough box - shoeboxes are ideal - and the inside of the box is 'landscaped' and equipped appropriately. For example, a Three Billy Goats Gruff box might contain three goats of varying sizes, a troll figure and a bridge. On one wall of the box might be some textured green material stuck on either side of a stream made of shiny paper. The children can re-enact the story in different ways and create different endings and plot twists.

A chatter-box need not be explicitly bookrelated. It may contain a range of figures on a theme - for example, a collection of

small astronauts, a rocket and a bumpy lunar landscape with a black sky, stars or planets; or perhaps some sand, shells, a small bucket and a plastic crab, two fish, a boat and a small sailor figure".

 

Source: Leicestershire County Council:- November – Parent Workshop Ideas for Hello Leicestershire Sharing Stories through Chatter-boxes and Story Sacks

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Our chatter boxes are very simple but work really well for us. We ask parents to get a shoebox, decorate it on the outside with their child. Some cover them in wrapping paper or stickers etc. then the child chooses something's to put inside it ....anything that they want to show and talk about. They bring chatterbox in to nursery when they start and keep it there. They go to them a lot and we find that the PSE benefits are just as good as the talking benefits. Parents or children can take them home whenever they want to change the things inside. When they are established I give parents a list of other types of things they can put in to ring the changes. I have made my own chatterbox to share as well. Have also made chatter boxes with a theme like a bathroom box, or a bedtime box tec to use with little groups who need support with talking. We love them. But storage is the problem. We keep ours undervtheirvpegbin the cloakroom on the floor. Some settings who can't store say that they have to take them home each day. But we put up with the storage because then you have the boxes available whenever they are needed....if a child is a bit anxious say, you can tell them...go and get your chatterbox....and by the time they have finished telling you all about themselves, they feel better. Post back if you need more info.

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Guest sn0wdr0p

We have a box which we bought from The Range then decorated it. Each week we have a sound/letter of the week and change the content each day. At circle time we start a discussion about the content with "In my soundbox today I have something beginning with the sound ..........." and have in for example a sock, snake, shoe when doing s etc. It's passed round the circle and the children try to guess what's inside. We find it's a great conversation tool.

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