Encouraging Learning in a Creative Way

So if you’ve been reading my posts for the last few weeks you’d know that I’ve been wanting to ramp up the learning after a quiet December and January.  Over the weekend my order of Galore Park books arrived…

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And I set about putting a few ideas together for future projects.  I know that if I sat M down with any of these books and asked her to work from them it would likely end in either boredom or tears.  So I have to be sneaky and get her to learn from the books in a much more creative way.

This morning I was doing my usual tidying and asked the girls to play until I was ready to start work with them.  I was just coming to the end of it and I noticed the girls had sat at the table of their own accord because D wanted to write a letter to an imaginary person in D-Land.  D Land and M Land are on-going imaginary games here, with each of them making the other pass certain tests to be allowed to visit their ‘land’.  The lands are also places where they make up their own laws and men aren’t allowed in because they stink, apparently.  So here is D’s letter, all the words were spelt out by D herself with little help from me!

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While this was going on M was busily doing handwriting practise which is one of her favourite things to do.  I tempted her away from it to write up some numbers in words (which is one of the first exercises in her maths book) by saying she could practise her handwriting while doing so.  D also did a few addition sums using a number line.

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We then had a snack and sat down to watch the Winter Olympics.  I’ve been recording it so that we can fast-forward through the not-so-interesting bits.  Today we watched men’s slopestyle and the girls were fairly interested so it was a nice break while I had a coffee!  After it was finished D wanted to play Snow White and the Wicked Witch with her toy bunnies so I had to play the part of the witch who tried (and failed) to poison Snow White over and over and over and over again.  This performance cheered M up no end who had got a bit upset over not knowing what to do with herself – claiming boredom but unwilling to do anything about it.  She soon settled down to playing with her puzzle cubes and D found a puzzle to play with too.

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I suggested to M that she might like to learn about the Stone Age: her response was that no she didn’t and she already knew about it anyway.  It turned out both girls had taken in quite a lot of information from watching Let’s Play on CBeebies!  I persisted over lunch and we talked about how much they knew and I added on a few bits of information about fire being discovered and they found food etc.  They seemed moderately interested but still didn’t want to ‘learn’ it.  I’m not sure what they thought ‘learning’ it would entail as they’d already learnt a lot over lunch!  I read a few passages about the Stone Age from the Galore Park history book.  M was initially resistant but I read each sentence out and explained each one as we went.  M seemed to be quite amazed with how much she knew already and relaxed a bit.  Taking in new information usually sends her into a bit of a panic.

She was interested in how a spear was made so we looked up a film on YouTube which explained it really well.  Then I suggested we make one ourselves and use J as a woolly mammoth when he got home.  The girls were so excited at the prospect of attacking J with spears!  Luckily, the woolly mammoth returned home early from work and didn’t mind being stabbed with spears too much.

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D then wanted to build a home for her toy bunny and I had the idea of making some papier mache caves using some left over party balloons!  So after dinner the girls set about gluing newspaper onto the balloons and managed to create a river of paste.  It is probably the messiest craft we have ever done and both girls got straight in the bath afterwards.  I just hope the caves work!

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This evening, M grudgingly admitted that learning about the Stone Age was quite fun.  Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey.

Little things:

Me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”.  D: “Mrs  Woman”.

D: “Shall I tell you about my bad dream?”  Me: “Yes please”.  D: ” Chapter One.  Saying goodbye to M forever….”

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