Helicopter stories and T4W- helping EAL and SEND children have a voice

Last week I actually cried while a children told their ‘public’ story. We have been experimenting with the ‘Talk for writing’ process alongside the helicopter – story telling approach.

A child who has significant speech and language barriers to learning ,stood up and offered to tell us his story. His last story was 4 lines long and very simple ( but still powerful) . But during this session I couldn’t keep up with the story he had so much to say. He retold the Jack and the Beanstalk traditional tale with enthusiasm;he used powerful verbs, conjunctions and precise nouns. Continue reading “Helicopter stories and T4W- helping EAL and SEND children have a voice”

Helicopter Stories – Help can’t stop the boys writing!

Since introducing story -scribing and story acting an unexpected effect has been the attraction of the boys to writing. I believe this lies in the principle that they choose what and who the the story is about. As much as I wish I didn’t have to listen to how Pokemon battle Team Rocket I can’t deny the enthusiasm with which the boys tackle the stories.

It is the boys who are queuing up to tell me their tales and listen to others. In amongst the battles and werewolves there are hidden gems. ( Not that I should be valuing one story over another but I can’t help myself sometimes!)

The tree with the door …

Letting the children direct the stories as well as write them leads to unusual and exciting possibilities sometimes. Recently a boy was telling me his story set in a wood where the tree was very important to the story. It had a hidden doorway to another world. There was an old man, a hero fighting character and a baby. When I asked the boy which character he wanted to be, I was surprised, he answered the tree! During the acting out stage he demonstrated to the class beautifully the door in the tree opening and the baby coming out . ( I told you you’ll never be bored reading these stories!)

To writing…

So due to SATs practice in the rest of the school we didn’t get our usual slot in the library so I had to change how we took the stories. I suggested if they wanted to they could write down their stories as well as tell me. To be honest it was a throw away comment as I imagined that the girls that love writing would do regardless and that no-one else would probably do it.

But 3 boys came to see me with their stories , they had even underlined the characters and ringed the ones they wanted to be. I was over joyed and they got to act their stories first.

Didn’t stop there!

A week later I was still getting stories written at home or during playful learning time. The boys were choosing to write. Anyone who works with 5-6 yr old boys knows this is the holy grail. Long may it last . After Easter we are introducing talk for writing into English and I think this will compliment the Helicopter stories curriculum. I’ll keep you posted!

Helicopter stories – amazing day today

Today was one of those days you hope for as a teacher when you see children really taking huge steps in their personal progress.

On Wednesday mornings the two Year 1 classes share a slot in the library this means over the morning it is possible to have half the class left. ( 15 pupils currently) We take a public story and act it out as a class then half the children leave for library. I then take private stories as the children access continuous provision. I always have a queue of keen beans desperate to tell me a story. We’ve only been running this for 3 weeks and already all but 3 children have told me a story. Today when we went back to the stage to do the story acting we had some powerful stories. Just as we were ending I asked if there were anymore public stories . We had finished the 6 I’d taken this morning. When a boy in my class who is on the SEND register for speak and language put his hand up. Continue reading “Helicopter stories – amazing day today”

Hints And Tips With Tapestry

Using the online learning journal Tapestry has allowed us to focus our time on teaching. Instead of endless cutting photos and sticking these in books, we can quickly record the learning that is happening in the classroom. It is especailly helpful for capturing some of the harder to evidence objectives in the curriculum.

Top tips

  • I find it useful to take observations using the tablets and edit later on the PC. this gives you greater flexibility.
  • If taking group photos it is possible to split observations so you differentiate¬†which level you feel the children are at.
  • I have found it has been useful in upskilling the TA’s knowledge of the curriculum, as when they post an observation I ask them to chose an area they feel it covers. I then always check these but just scrolling through and deciding increases your knowledge of the Year 1 objectives.