Superhero Ideas for the Early Years

I started off this topic with a letter addressed to Reception. It was from the Joker to say that he had kidnapped all of the small world superhero characters.  The children were outraged and I feigned serious distress!  We hadn’t set anything on the tables that morning because we wanted to see what the children would come up with.   A few of them suggested building a trap to catch the Joker.

I jumped on this idea suggesting that the children work together to plan and design a trap and that we could then go outside and build them. To say that there was a writing buzz is an understatement.  Almost every single child wanted to design a trap. Some worked alone and others worked together, drawing and writing on big sheets of sugar paper.

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The children used a variety of materials outdoors to build their traps…

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Some of the girls chose to remain indoors and made a trap using the small wooden blocks. They explained that the red pom poms were bombs – terrifying!imageThe following day the Joker delivered another note, taunting the class, explaining that their traps hadn’t worked and that he was still at large.  He told them to look out for signs saying ‘superhero challenge’ around the setting.  If the children were able to complete the challenges he would begin to return a few of the superheroes each day.  

These challenges lasted over a period of about 2 weeks and appeared indoors and out, some times popping up on the interactive whiteboard during phonics and others in their home learning folders.  Below are some pictures of the various challenges. 

Shoot the Baddies

Outside the kids found one of the signs on the side of the shed along with some pictures of various baddies with tricky words superimposed on top.  Their task here was to shout out the tricky word and then shoot the baddie with a gun from Poundland.

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Free the Superheroes

At the funky fingers table their task was to free the superheroes who had been tied up (threaded).

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Unlocking Padlocks

Each padlock had a number to 20 written on it.  The keys all had tags attached with instructions ‘1 less than ….’ The children had to find the padlock that was one less than the number on the key.  The children absolutely loved this activity and were queuing up to have a turn!

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Doubling Salad

Another challenge was for the children to make a superhero salad.  They had to pick their favourite ingredient, choose between 1-5 pieces and then double the portion.

I used polystyrene plates from Poundland and thought they were a great visual aid for teaching the concept of doubling.

They put one set of ingredients in one side of the plate and then the equivalent amount in the other side, hence calculating the double. They then counted how many pieces altogether into the central compartment.

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For the more able children I had them record their answers on a recipe sheet.

EYFS superhero ideas

Potion Making

Later in the week we also set out potion making ingredients in the mud kitchen, along with some writing frames.  We used strong scented items such as ginger, lemon and herbs under the premise that the strong smell would help to keep the Joker at bay.  They absolutely loved it as you can see from the photos below…

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Superhero Role Play

We also developed a superhero den indoors.  We kept it relatively simple with a dark tent, lots of superhero books, torches, writing frames and some craft supplies for costume making. 

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The topic of superheroes always captivates the children.  We got some fabulous writing and independent learning over the few weeks we ran it.  Even now they blame anything that gets broken, or goes missing, on the Joker 🙂

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Engaging & Colourful Addition Activities

After reading a blog post about objective led planning on the foundation stage forum, by Early Years guru Alistair Bryce Clegg,  I decided to change my planning this year.   We’ve been doing objective led planning since late September and I’m loving it!

The premise of objective led planning is that you take the learning to the children rather than calling the children to set activities. You really have to be able to think on your feet but the result is that the children are so much more interested and engaged. It also gives you and your support staff a clear focus for the week. Once we’ve worked with every child we revisit the children who struggled or were on the verge of grasping something. It’s a highly efficient way of working and I feel confident that I know exactly where the children are and can clearly see their progress from week to week.

This week my objective focus has been on addition. Seeing the crowd of children that had gathered around the funky fingers bead skewering activity, I knew I’d be onto a winner if I could somehow link it to addition.  I asked the children to roll 2 dice and then add the total.  Once they had done that they could then skewer on that many beads. They kept going until they got right to the top of their skewer, offering lots of opportunities for teaching different addition strategies whilst giving me the opportunity to video and assess their newly learned skills.  Introducing a focus at this activity didn’t detract from the children’s enjoyment, but actually heightened their enjoyment and engagement.

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Sorry for the minging photo of my objective led planning sheet, but  I thought you would rather see it than not!

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This week we’ve had a focus on colour because some of our EAL children don’t yet know colour names.  One of the activities was getting creative with food colouring, pipettes and kitchen roll.  There was also a Jolly phonics link here because the day before we had taught the phoneme ‘i’ and the story is about a mouse called Inky who spilled ink all over a desk.  The children loved experimenting with colour and pattern so we set it up again the following day,  this time with the addition of dice.  As before the children had to add the total of 2 dice and then put that many drops of colour onto their piece of kitchen roll. They were queuing up for this activity and we’re thrilled with their finished designs…

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If the children automatically recognised or subitized dice patterns I introduced the concept of counting on to find the total.  One of the children was also keen to show me how she could count the dots on the dice in 2s and 3s!

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Their designs are so gorgeous that I think I might use them as a tie dye effect backing for a display. I just hope it doesn’t look too psychedelic!

imageWhilst on the topic of colour I thought I’d also share a non-numeracy based activity this week.  I bought some sugar shakers and added powder paint.  My TA sat with groups of children and showed them how to use the shakers and pipettes of water to mix and make various shades of paint.  The children absolutely loved it! We intend to set up a paint mixing station in the class from next week, now that they children know how to manage it.

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imageThat’s all for now folks. Thank God it’s Friday tomorrow eh?! 

 

 

 

 

A Typical Phonics Lesson

An early years advisor I was talking to recently said that she had a group of NQTs who weren’t confident about teaching phonics, so I thought that I’d share a typical phonics session with you this morning, to hopefully inspire you NQTs out there!

I started teaching phase 2 sounds this week. I follow the letters and sounds guidance in conjunction with Jolly phonics visuals, actions and songs.

I use a turtle hand puppet to introduce our phoneme each day. The turtle feels a bit shy at the start and hides inside her shell. The children chant..

‘Tina turtle, Tina turtle, what’s our sound?
Come out, come out, so that it can be found..’

The turtle then pops her head out with a phoneme card and jolly phonics sound button in her mouth. One of the children then presses the sound button so we can all hear it.

When I taught P this week I changed things around a bit. I put a happy birthday badge on Tina and left the children a note explaining that it was Tina’s birthday and that they had to open up her presents to look for clues about that day’s phoneme.

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Lo and behold, all of the presents started with a p – penguin, polar bear, pizza etc etc.

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From under a piece of pink fabric I then revealed a peppa pig cake and some pink birthday candles (linked to the jolly phonics action).

Phonics on www.rockmyclassroom.com

I then modelled how to write the letter and got the children standing up to do large scale air writing and then to write on each other’s backs. For the more able children I encouraged them to write the words pin, peg etc on their friends back.

The children then sat down and I ‘noticed’ another present wrapped in shiny pink paper. Attached to it was an envelope. I got one of the more able children to come up to read what the letter inside said. It said ‘turn on the board and read the words to guess what this present is.’

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On the board were the words ‘postman tap’. The more able child read the word postman and then the class had a go at sounding out the word tap.

Realising it was the wrong word, I asked the children to turn to their talk partners and have a go at segmenting the word pat.  I then chose a child to come up to the board and rearrange the letters to spell the the word pat.  Finally I opened the last present which turned out to be a Postman Pat DVD!

We then lit the pink candles on the cake and sang the Jolly phonics song..

‘Puff out the candles on the pink pig cake,
P, p, p…p, p, p,
Puff out the candles on the pink pig cake,
Puff, puff, puff!’

The special helpers then blew out the candles. After that I reviewed the letter sound once more. The lesson took about 15-20mins in all.

The children then had a wee slice of the cake and went completely bonkers because of the sugar rush!

That afternoon we set out pink paints and encouraged the children to practice writing their new sound. The more able children had a go at writing simple CVC words beginning with p.

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At the end of the day I put on the postman pat DVD and let them watch one episode.

Last year we made pizzas in the afternoon, but we didn’t have time this year, but this is something else you might like to do.

I believe that with each sound, you should try to give the children an experience to help them remember it. It can be as simple as you like e.g. My TA and I played a game of tennis across all of the children’s heads when I taught the sound T. With the amount of giggling that went on I definitely think that sound will stick in their heads.

Towards the end of the week I put an initial sounds sorting activity out on the funky fingers table….

Funky phonics fingers

I hope this gives you some ideas for your phonics sessions. Best of luck!

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🎃 Happy Halloween 🎃

Yay, it’s almost half term and we’ve survived the first few weeks of settling in and the general madness of being back at school!

This year I did a Halloween theme for the first time ever. In the past I’ve always been afraid of upsetting certain parents, but seeing how into witches and potion making some of my Muslim girls were last year, I decided to go for it!

We focused on the Julia Donaldson book, room on the broom, which is full of rhythm, rhyme and repitition and is perfect for phase 1 phonics.

I am a firm believer in not introducing phase 2 letter sounds too early in reception. I feel that it is imperative that children are exposed to plenty of phase 1 rhythm, rhyme, alliteration and blending and segmenting games, in order to build up a solid base and an ear for sounds.  In our objective led planning this week our literacy focus has been blending and segmenting sounds in words. We set up a silly soup activity outside with lentils, beans and CVC word objects….

imageLater in the week we transformed our outdoor playhouse into a witches hut….

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In it we had our silly soup cauldron and some CVC word objects. In the other corner we set out the props from the room and the broom story as well as having the book and picture prompts on the wall. We also filled our little ikea storage wall hanger full of pens and writing frames..

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Our numeracy objective this week was for the children to count out a set amount from a larger group. I modelled this activity at the carpet and then set it up in our water tray which was filled with gelibaff and cauldrons. The children had to pick a number card and place that many items into their cauldron. They LOVED the gelibaff and asked if they could have it out everyday!

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On on our funky fingers table I vagazzled some skull shot glasses that I bought in good old poundland and the children had to fill them up accordingly with spiders of varying sizes. Again differentiated tools were provided.

Halloween activities on rockmyclassroom.com

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The following week I set this funky fingers activity up in a tuff spot outside with green gelibaff. The children were thrilled!

imageGelibaff funky fingers

That’s all for now folks. I hope you all have a wonderful and restful half term. ❤️

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🍂 Autumnal funky fingers 🍂

Thank you so much for all the love and support I received for my first ever blog post. You’ve given me the encouragement I need to keep going.  Below are this weeks autumn themed funky fingers challenges…

I magpied this idea from Pinterest and thought it was perfect for my funky fingers table..

Leaf hole punching & threading on rockmyclassroom.com

Leaf hole punching & threading on rockmyclassroom.com

Again, I put out a variety of hole punching tools. I got my star hole punches from my fav early years resources high street shop, tiger!

Conker sorting with tea strainers

Conker sorting with tea strainers

I picked up up the tea strainers in tiger at the weekend for only £1 each. They are quite challenging to open and close and are a perfect finger strengthening tool. 👍 I added the measuring cylinders as an extra provocation – how many conkers does it take to fill each one?

This was such a popular activity, particularly amongst the boys. You can see that some children needed to use 2 hands to open the strainer, particularly those children who have a weak pencil grip.

Outdoors we tried to make the best of the bad weather by adding powder paint to the huge puddles! The children squealed with delight, jumping up and down and using the rollers and paint brushes to mix the paint.

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The children loved walking around in their wellies creating footprints….

That’s all for now, but did you know that you can also follow me on….

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Thanks for reading ✨

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First week of funky fingers 👍

Hello everyone and welcome to my new blog, Rock My Classroom!  I know it looks a bit bare, but I’m not the most technically apt, so please bear with me while I find my way!

I decided to set up a blog because I am constantly inspired by images I see shared online by other early years bloggers and thought I might give it a whirl myself.

One thing I was keen to set up in my Reception class this year was a funky fingers table, so to start off I’m going to share this element of my provision with you all.  Future topics will include using an online assessment app and developing my outdoor area.  Ok here goes…

image Day 1 & 2 some marble sorting on an upturned ikea bath mat

image Days 3, 4 & 5 – Pom Pom sorting with differentiated tools – tweezers, tongs and starter chopsticks. I daren’t remove this after 2 days. The children loved it and turned it into an ice cream parlour!

image Gloop and powder paint exploration. Of course they were more into the colour mixing and investigating the texture than writing their names in it!

image Powder paint and shaving foam. I needed to add a drop of water to this because it was quite dry to begin with. It made the most wonderful mousse like texture. Even with aprons the kids were filthy 😄

That’s all for now folks. Until next time ✨