Here’s a portfolio of the work and provision I have in place for my boys, loud and quiet, to access mark making and role play.
I had heard of Talking Tables from Foundation Stage Network Meetings in Nottinghamshire and from moderation visits by the LA. Talking Tables is one strategy to encourage children to use story telling language and make up their own sequence of events from an object they find within a box or egg. The adult can also open a story sack and pull out small world toys that creates the setting of a story. Children tell their stories about this place or object, then begin to draw their story on large paper. Afterwards, I encourage my class to write their story using their drawing.
The boys are eager to link their story into their own interests, meaing they are more easily persuaded to write.
Find out more about Talking Tables here
Deconstructed Role Play
A very simple strategy from ABCDoes... for high quality role play, but you do need to talk about it with your class and carefully observe their use of it. My role play area has been ‘cleared’ of plastic toys and themed equipment: kitchen, tills, plastic food…. and replaced with cardboard boxes, tubes, materials and clipboards. Each week the children’s role play ventures to somewhere completely different, they are role playing completely within their own interests. Language use and sustained engagement has improved, particularly in the boys play.
Recently they have created these imaginary worlds and roles:
- Rock Stars
- Firemen and Dens
- Dog Kennels and Vets
I have included a ‘Topic Table’ in my classroom now that has the tools and toys for more traditional role play. This has been more effective as the table is central in the classroom, so children have taken the tools they need to other areas for themed role play. Dress up, small world, photographs, maps, literacy resources are all items that I would place on the themed topic table. . . Sometimes I use this table to support our Talking Tables.
Communication Friendly Spaces
- Two children and an adult can travel to any corner of their imagination in a small, enclosed space.
- This is great for the quiet boys. Quite often we think about the boys being loud and active, but there’s a smaller group of boys who are the quiet ones that go unnoticed. These boys can be the reluctant mark makers as well. Communication Friendly Spaces is a quiet place for them to sit, think, whisper and silently make marks.
When I work in this area, I will always start a discussion with a child where the cushion is a flying carpet and we will discuss places in the world we can fly to. Using the wallet wall attached to the back of the shelving unit, children will put out objects and use these in our role play. Recently, one of my boys has used a flower head as a helmet and a pompom as a sword when he was a knight. Brilliantly abstract, I loved it.…
- QR Codes to linked to websites
Download ‘QuickMark‘ software and plug in your webcam to get going, it’s so simple.
See my blog post on QR Codes and iPad for boys using these resources.
Writing Table rebranded as Mark Making table
- Blank book with children’s names on
- Chalk boards – There are some really cool chalk board furnitures and a blackboard paint recipe at ABCDoes
- Character themed paper and themed writing boxes
- Colouring books