Monday, 31 March 2014

Worms and Beans!

Our two missions for the day; set up a Wormery and plant some beans in jars!
I've also had a new starter recently so this is introducing 'Little E' to my setting!

We started off with a story all about worms. We learnt they have head and tails ends, and we also learnt, contrary to popular belief, that if you chop a worm in half it dies.
'Little E' was taking some time to make friends with Kane!!

Pip dug up some mud from the garden and then the children all took turns scooping in a layer of mud, then some coloured sand, them more mud, a layer of sand etc until it was filled almost to the top!
'Little E' getting into the mud too!!!
 The sand we think is so it will fall into the worm holes and we can see clearly where they have been! The first level didn't work so well, we worked out maybe we needed to break up the clumps of mud a bit more!
The red level looks much better!

Next we need some food for our worms! We checked back in the story what worms like to eat. Then went off on a hunt for old leaves and bits that thought they would like!
 Crunch it up a a bit and lay the food out on top!
Just one thing missing now; The Worms!!
Back into the flower bed, Pip did some more digging, we discovered the deeper down we dig, the bigger worms we find!
We had some practice at using magnifying glasses too. The children automatically put the glass to their face so we showed them if they keep their faces back but move the magnifying glass closer to the object...
It works much better!!

 In they went and the wormery was put on a window ledge, with a sleeve to keep it warm but dark and the worms will be happy! We will check back in on them occasionally to see the tunnels they have left behind!

The second story of the day was Jasper's Beanstalk! I took over to read this one. We read the story and then spoke about what we had learnt, the children used some knowledge they already had to tell us what was good for plants and what was bad for plants!
Because we want to see the roots and shoots of the bean when they begin to grow we are doing the good old growing beans in a jar!! We got some kitchen roll, round the inside of the jar, and then placed the bean between the paper and the side of the jar
 Then put some water in for the kitchen paper to soak up!
 We then got a clipboard and a sticky label to mark our own jars so we knew which was which!

 Then just like in the story the girls knew we had to be patient for our beans to grow so they decided to lay down and watch them for a while!
These jars will be placed in window somewhere (we are running out of window ledge space with all this planting!!) and wait to see what happens!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

All about E

'E' and her big brother have been with me since January, and they are such a pleasure to have! Over our short time together I have already started noting some patterns in her play, and thinking about potential schemas.

The first observations I had made (unfortunately I didn't get any pictures) were making me think more about collecting. For well over a month 'E' didn't engage in any mark making activities, she would spend the time picking out the pens from the pot, just gathering them in her hands.

I then noticed she was regularly drawn towards a purse of play money. The money would be emptied out, she would put it in her pockets, then move it to my pockets, move it to a pan or other bowls, back to pockets.....  These movements would go on and on, occasionally interrupted by her big brother wanting to play with some too, so we would share it out and carry on. 'E' then started finding bags around the setting, filling them again with the play money, cups, saucers and plates from the play kitchen, she would hook the bags over the dolls pushchair and again move it around the house. All this moving around was making me think much stronger along a transporting or even trajectory schema.

This week; we had a bit of warmer weather and spent lots of time outside;
We spent time rolling balls down a guttering pipe and watching them plop into water at the bottom. The other children played with this for a short while but it held 'E's attention for much longer
As the other children moved onto other activities in the garden 'E' was still captured by rolling balls down pipes. This one she seemed to enjoy much more, she would post a ball and then crouch down and watch the ball roll all the way to the bottom, she would then come round and see it having come out at the far end.
As we carried on with other planned activities you can see 'E' in the background, her attention has been caught this time by moving water around, going back and forth with cups of water pouring them into a bigger bowl.

Later on that afternoon, we had more time in the garden, baby 'M' had woken up by this point and she joined us for some fresh air!
What I observed next, I found really fascinating
 'E' had a watering can in hand, she scooped water up from the big bucket...
 ...walked over to the mud kitchen area, poured her water into the bowl...
 ...She then left the watering can at the mud kitchen, picked up the bowl and headed towards the patio area...
...and tipped the water out.
She then went back, put the bowl down, picked up the watering can, went back to scoop more water from the big green bucket, then back to the bowl. Poured it in, picked up the bowl, went over to the patio area, and poured it out.
Back and forth she went for 10-15 minutes, sometimes then stamping on the floor where the water had been poured over the patio. Buck back and forth over and over. She was utterly absorbed in her activity of moving the water around, pouring it between containers.

Thinking back over activities from the past we can see these schema's emerging;

6th March - Building short towers with blocks, then quickly knocking them down and watching the blocks scatter

13th March - Throwing leaves around at the park (well this one was more for fun!)

17th March - Scooping and pouring sand at playbus

February - Playing in Rice Sensory Trays 'E' would gather various containers from the sensory tray, filling them with rice, pouring the rice between containers, emptying them out and then starting again.

Next Steps
- Incorporate sensory trays into planning over the coming months, perhaps some with balls and tubes so 'E' can enjoy her interest indoors as well as outside.
- Ensure there are a few bags, of a variety of sizes, around the setting for 'E' to use in her gathering and transporting
- Introduce new language related to her interest. Words such as "transport" "movement"

A Quiet Morning After Toddlers

...that was the plan anyway! I just had 'E' today and after visiting our local toddler group Pip invited us over for a cuppa and all the girls could have a little play before lunch. But it turned into much more!!

The girls asked for the magnet set out
 I wasn't sure where 'Es' knowledge about magnets would be, she is 22 months old, so this was a great opportunity to observe her.
 For the most part she watched what 'R' and 'L' were doing with their bits and she copied, testing what would happen. She spent some time exploring the plastic bottle with metal balls in, bringing bits over to me and I showed her if we run a magnet up the side of the bottle some of the balls followed up the side!
 'R' liked these wands and was trying to see how much she could get stuck to it at once!
 'Ls' favourite colour is pink so she was collecting all the pink bits as thats all she wanted to play with
Now 'E' had the hang of it, choosing a wand and waving it over the top or touching the discs and the all picked up. Getting the off was a bit trickier, she tried wiping the off with her hand but they just moved around. She tried waving it to try and flick them off but this didn't really work either!

'E' spent quite some time with the magnets, much longer than the other girls. Until something else caught her eye. While pip and I had been watching this play we had been speaking about how much her Bearded Dragon 'Toothless' was a bit stinky and needed a cleaning out!
'E' has of course met Toothless before and she finds him fascinating! So we got him out and held him for a bit before setting him on the floor for a wonder while we cleaned him out!
We took out the logs and bowls to clean and put back later
 The Pip showed us her special sieve/scoop that she runs though the sand to pick up and bit of poo, or food that Toothless has missed. And that all goes in the bin!
We found a couple of worms that Toothless had missed so that was put back in for him to grab later!
'E' wanted to be involved with everything including holding the worm and having a really good look at what it was!
Pip showed the girls the thermometer and we spoke about how Bearded Dragons come from hot countries so to keep Toothless happy he needs to be kept much warmer than we would like to be. So he has a special bulb to keep him warm and Pip has to keep an eye on the thermometer to make sure it's just right and not getting too hot!!!
Once the logs had been put back and the water bowl cleaned out and refilled it was time to get Toothless some fresh food!! Out came the pot of worms. 'E' wasted no time getting her hands in there to fish out some yummy treats
 Not squeamish at all this one, I love it!!!
There is Toothless having a wonder, just coming to check up on how we're getting along!!
Then we needed to get a couple of Toothless's other favorite food; Cockroaches!! Pip has managed to get herself a colony of them now, they live in a tank in her airing cupboard. She feeds them and keeps them going and they have started breading! But today the tank looks like it's getting a bit too dirty so they need a clean out too!
 By this point when the Cockroaches arrived 'R' and 'L' have moved right back on to the sofa but 'E' is still right next to Pip wanting a good look at everything! Here we found a bunch of babies clinging to this bit of cardboard
 This one we think was giving birth!

Another baby? I have to be honest Cockroach lifecycles is not something I know that much about....but I can see me planning a big Mini Beasts project soon!!
After cleaning them out they needed some food too! So we headed to the kitchen to practice some chopping skills. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of this but we chopped up some apples and carrots and then went to pop them in the tank with the Cockroaches and they went back to their spot in the airing cupboard!

After lunch we headed home and checked in with our silly cress heads we planted last week, they are coming along great!!

Characteristics of Effective Learning
'E' was so engaged with these activities today! It was fantastic to see her really push to be involved. She wanted to have a go with everything, hold all the animals, see what were doing and why. During the magnets she observed the other children and took some cues from them, trying what they were doing, before then exploring a bit more herself and using her own ideas.
She is at an age where she is understanding a lot more than she can communicate so we talked through everything in simple terms so she could follow. Lovely morning had by all.