Parachutes outdoors are great!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Play Day - using water

 A very small paddling pool, some plastic bottles, a boat and corks was used a lot!  Many  pupils enjoyed filling the plastic bottles and then trying to empty them as quickly as possible.  Some played with the boat and tried to sink it with the corks!

This was very popular and over 150 pupils (one of the P7s counted!) wanted to sit behind the tarp and get water sprayed towards them. In the morning the tarp was tied up so it was like a flat roof and water was poured on top but in the afternoon the P7s tried it this way.

Next time we will set up more opportunities for water play.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Free play - dens

Den building was popular with all all 8 sessions there were usually around 10 children involved in building dens.  Their skills were generally quite poor and most struggled to attach string and ropes to the sheets.  I found the same thing with my P7 class earlier this year when we did den building in the woods.  Tying knots is becoming a long lost skill! Also how best to use existing supports like trees and fences was a problem.

When discussing with their classes once back inside it was clear that very few of our pupils had ever built dens before...

It showed me that these are important skills we need to actually teach our pupils.

 The camo netting and colourful fabric were popular.

This was built by a mixture of P5s and P2s.  They didn't think to fix it to the fence to make it more stable in the strong wind.

Next time...come back to see how other resources were used on Play Day

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Free play with cardboard boxes and cardboard tubes

Play Day was successful and interesting to observe how different pupils played/used the resources so I am going to look at each resource separately.

Both boys and girls enjoyed the cardboard and plastic tubes, but it was predominately boys who used them. Every session (8 sessions during the day) saw around 10 - 15 boys continually playing sword fights, light sabre battles, weight lifting and making pirate ships with boxes and tubes. These were boys of all ages from 5 to 12!

The cardboard boxes were popular with boys mainly.  Lots wanted to sit inside them, especially the younger pupils.  If we had had much bigger boxes, I wonder if the older boys would have done the same.  This boy, in the photo below, spent a good 5 minutes in the box.  He closed all the flaps so you couldn't see him and then made a gap to look through.  He was very entertained by it!

At every session some pupils put all the boxes together to make a car or ship and worked collaboratively to role play, usually pirates!

Above is a pirate ship with bubble wrap sail!

The boxes and tubes (donated by a parent) were very very popular and amazing to see how much fun they got from them.

Two teachers commented that it was good to see the boys (mostly) getting some of their aggression out during sword fighting play and they said if they were allowed to play like this more often then they would be more settled in class.

Only 2 pupils out of around 450 got hurt when using the boxes and tubes and both were very minor injuries.

The only downside was when the drizzle came on, then heavy rain in the afternoon and the boxes got soggy and fell apart!

Friday, 22 June 2012

The value of Free Play

Yesterday was Play Day!  I heard about this event (play on the longest day) via Aberdeen Play Forum.

As most of my P7s were visiting their new secondary school on Wednesday and yesterday, I trained up my remaining P7s as Play Leaders and organised a whole school Play Day for over 500 pupils!

I explained the value of free play to the P7s and they were happy to encourage but not direct the P1 to P6 pupils creativity in free play sessions.

The training session involved looking at all the resources I'd gathered (a request to parents for sheets, netting, cardboard tubes, boxes etc brought in some resources too) and thinking how they might be used but leaving opportunities for open ended and undirected play.

We then went outside and tried out some resources to looks at ways of laying them out in our playground.  They suggested using an area with a softer surface for the cardboard boxes and tubes in case people fell from them if using them as cars, boats and sledges.  

The transparent tarp fitted over the "outdoor classroom" allowed for pupils to sit underneath on the seating provided.

The grassy area was deemed best for den building opportunities as the metal pegs would go into the ground, however they decided to put all the den building stuff in a few different piles on the playground surface to see what the P1 - P6 pupils would do with them....

 Trying out den building possibilities

 The P7s were fascinated by the water flowing down the playground! Some were racing the water!

 The P7s discovered how much fun running with a big sheet in the wind was!

 Setting up the transparent tarp - they decided it must have water sprayed on it and flowing down in on Play Day.

 Working out how to use the canes

 We had a beach shelter to play in - "but how does this work???!"

 tripod discovery!

The smallest paddling pool in the world gave some water play ideas!

By the end of Wed morning we were all enthusiastic and ready for Play Day...

Come back soon to find out how successful Play Day was...

Friday, 1 June 2012

Number facts

More number work in the playground today with chalk, the 100 square painted on the playground and the parachute.  We were investigating multiples, factors, square numbers and prime numbers today.  Most popular was jumping from 1 - 100 on the giant number square but only landing on numbers in a times table, square numbers and prime numbers (some big jumps required!).  After an hour of number work outside, my class settled very well to some indoor maths and language.