Monthly Archives: August 2009

Introducing the Venn Diagram to Preps (5 Year Olds)- Toys: Push, Pull or Both

Today my intern ( 4th Year Teaching Student) taught a lesson from the Primary Connections- ‘On the Move’ book. This lesson looked at toys and how they move. She had a collection of different toys that the students played with to see how they moved. Could they be pushed or pulled or both? 

After ‘hands on’ play with the toys the students discussed how each moved. They then put the toys into groups according to how they moved. ‘Hula’ hoops became the outline for a large Venn Diagram which was explained to the children. A Venn Diagram is a fantastic tool because it is very visual and clearly displays differences and commonalities.


I’m still working on my Language Experience posts which will be up shortly. Cheers Nina

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The ‘why?’-‘what?’-‘how?’ of Language Experience (& Play Based Learning): The Prep Classroom-5&6 Year Olds

I’ve been asked to co-facilitate a day of the Literacy Leader’s Course for my region.  Specifically, I’m speaking about the Language Experience Approach, my understanding of this approach and what it sounds like, looks like and ‘is like’ in ‘real’ practice- my classroom. I’ll be sharing my planning for this session here.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to share my passion and maybe even motivate others to start or continue their journey. Why has putting this session together been so challenging? Basically the ‘what’ is easy and as teachers we are constantly being given the ‘what?’ The ‘why?’ isn’t hard either because the ‘why?’ is based on research into best practice.

Like everything it’s the ‘how’ that is difficult to explain. I’ve had to basically describe and define my teaching practice as I am what is known as ‘unconsciously skilled’.  Language Experience is not clearly defined as classroom practice anywhere. There is a lot of research and ‘bits’ of practice, but not a ‘how to’ model or manual in terms of a ‘whole’ literacy approach. My job is to provide this.

I have decided to define Language Experience as an ‘Interwoven’ approach to teaching literacy. I’ll be posting my ‘why?’ what? and ‘how?’ soon. Thanks for visiting and if you have something to share with me – email.


Cheers Nina

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Design & Technology in a Prep Program- Inquiry learning: Toy Story

Prep Students are only limited by the limits put on them by others. Young children can do amazing things as long as they clearly understand what they have to do!

Our current Inquiry is Toy Story.

The Central Idea is:

Toys have changed over time due to technology.

The lines of inquiry that will define the scope of the inquiry into the central idea is:

Technology has changed toys over time.

Toys are made from a variety of material and in different ways.

Socio-economic access to toys.

Last year we did this inquiry and were amazed by how the children responded.

 To date:

Today the children had an introduction into the socio-economic aspect of toys. We arranged for a member of the Salvation Army to come and speak to our Preps about why some children don’t have toys. The children listened attentively and caringly to the Salvation Army Captain. From this it was decided that the Preps would have a Toy Drive and ask the rest of the school to help. Last week these same children participated in the Feed Melbourne Campaign and learnt about why some children come to school without breakfast. These are very young children who are already developing a sense of how they can make a difference in the lives of others.

Soon we will be starting to design and make our own toys. To support this we have been teaching the Primary Science ‘On the Move’ unit. Last year this was an immensely successful and enjoyable learning task. I have included photos of a child’s design brief and toy completed last year. The children actually followed their design to make their toy. We made the experience as authentic as possible.

To celebrate their success and to give our students the opportunity to share their understanding with others, the Preps will hold their own Toy Expo. Parents and students are invited to question and admire the designs and toys. A request for a gold coin donation is given, with the money raised given to the Salvation Army along with the collected toys.






Cheers Nina


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New posts soon: Big Books-The power of shared reading and introducing Guided Reading to 5 year olds

I’ve been asked to share my ideas on introducing Guided Reading to Prep children. Hmmm! A bit to think about before I write!

Cheers Nina


Having your student’s writing script in a dotted tracing font is fantastic. I use this all the time.

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