Better to try than not…

Better to try and fail than never to have tried at all!

There is research that has proven that every time you make a mistake your brain fires up new neurones and pathways. This means that for every mistake you make your brain actually gets bigger…

I always tell my children this and say I’d rather they make mistakes than get something right first time – this will mean that their brain will make new connections and a new tricky concept will be better embedded when they finally get it.

The other side of this of course is that it doesn’t matter if you try and at first fail because when you succeed you will have accomplished something. Not everything will come easily and some things take a lot of hard work and effort. What does this teach our children – skills of perseverance and also the confidence to try and so what if you fail first time round… have another go – you’ll get there in the end!

Here’s food for thought…

What’s the word?

Here’s a game to try out that links with the linguistic stand of the framework:

What’s the word?
Played in groups of 3- 6. Provide each group with a Newsome of words cards. These could feature objects such as a map or an aeroplane. A player must describe what is on the card without saying the actual word and without gestures actions.

Variations of the game could include subject specific or technical vocabulary you would like the children to learn.

To be successful children must reach for alternative vocabulary in order to describe the word on the card.

Telling stories…

What makes a good story teller?

I saw a fabulous story teller today who taught the children a lot about the Great Fire of London. He used a hat to ‘get into role’ and retold the events. The children were spellbound. He’d obviously done this a few times before!
What made his storytelling so good? Sometimes the best stories told are those we make up on the spot. You may think ‘I can’t do that’ but you can. Your child will love you telling them stories whether they are read or made up. Reading aloud gives your child so much as you are modelling different uses of voice and the speed with which you read to build tension. All of these things will help your child with their own reading and writing. 
If you want to try telling stories for yourself begin with a really well known story such as a traditional tale – Goldilocks and the three bears USA great one to start with. Tell it in your own way and then begin to add in your own details and variations. You could vary the setting, characters or the tale itself. My boys love hearing these stories told slightly differently each time. 
Next step is involve your children in the retelling. Perhaps you start the story and you can take turns to retell each section of the story. It’s great fun and really builds and develops a good bond between you and your child!

Which emotion?

Here’s a game that supports the physical strand of the oracy framework:

Which emotion?
Give pupils a statement such as ‘it’s going to snow today’ and a number of different emotions such as excited, disappointed, nervous, ecstatic, confused, worried and angry. In groups the children must say the statement as if they were feeling one of the emotions you have given them.

In order to do this they will have to manipulate their voice adapting their tone and use gestures or facial expressions to help.

Playing word games…

It’s marvellous Monday folks!

Play word games with your child at home or in the car to build and develop their vocabulary. Children need to hear and use a newly learnt word in context 8 times for it to become a part of the long term memory and be ingrained enough to use it. What do we do with our children to facilitate this?

A game to try…
The neighbours cat is a … cat. Fill in the blank with an adjective. Take turns to repeat in order the adjectives you have said and then add one yourself. Continue until you can’t remember the list. 
Person A – The neighbour’s cat is a scary cat. 
Person B – The neighbours cat is a scary, frightful cat. 
Person A – The neighbours cat is a scary, frightful, playful cat. 
And so on…

You can play this sort of memory game with any sentence – remember the game ‘I went to the shop and I bought…’

Introducing new vocabulary that your child will want to use in games is a fun way to develop their skills.

Learning to and through talk

Oracy takes place best when we combine learning to talk with learning through talk. (Stott, Gaunt)

In order for this to happen we need to teach children the vocabulary for the subject, and how to have a discussion about it e.g. through giving sentence stems, teaching the roles for talk, taking turns etc.

How do you currently provide opportunities for your children to learn through and to talk?

Speaking is a skill that needs to be taught

While no one would ever question the need to teach a child to read, all too often it is assumed that speaking is a skill that doesn’t require teaching – instead, children should just ‘pick it up’. But not all children will. (Stott, Gaunt).

Neil Mercer explains that school is the second chance for those who do not gain language development at home.

If we don’t teach them, who will?