Quote of the Week

“Laurence Houseman once said, ‘A saint is one who makes goodness attractive.’ Surely, a great teacher does the same thing for education.”

John Trimble

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Quote of the Week

“Education is all a matter of building bridges.”

Ralph Ellison

Quote of the Week

“I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.”

Carl Sagan

Give a child a typewriter and they will create worlds

I had a wonderful conversation with my grandparents a few months ago, about the types of things I liked to play with as a child. We chatted about paint, paper, notebooks and huge canvases (plentiful in a house full of artists and teachers) before moving on to things children find in the garden and the beliefs children have (fairies, mythical creatures, etc…); as a professional the conversation gave me the opportunity to consider whether the resources within my setting instigated the sort of quality play I wanted children to experience. One of the items I remember very vividly from my childhood was an old typewriter. My grandfather had an electronic typewriter for his work and I remember watching it in absolute wonder (being a bookworm I adored the idea of creating a book as much as I enjoyed reading them). In response to my interest (and to save the electronic typewriter from the over-zealous toddler, I suspect) my grandmother found a typewriter complete with black and red ribbon and reams upon reams of computer paper for me. Upon recollection, my mother states that the typewriter hardly went a day without being used for creating stories, invitations, bills, menus, newspapers, lists, messages (at one stage my sister and I became preoccupied with telegraphs) and other written communications.

In the setting…
A few weeks ago, my grandmother informed me that she had bought an old typewriter (with black and red ribbons, no less!) for me, at auction for the princely sum of £3. Since installing the typewriter (after a grand unboxing) at a table with a variety of different types of paper and stationery items, I’ve been able to observe literary behaviours unseen in some children using the computer or normal mark making table/tools within the setting. Children who thus far had no interest in writing have spent upwards of ten minutes carefully tapping away (bearing in mind that they are 2-5 year olds!) and children who previously wrote their names and various letters upon hand-written notes have been writing stories and messages. With the help of a practitioner, children have been requesting assistance in typing such words as “crocodile” and “monster” alongside favourite nouns such as “mummy” and “daddy”. Practitioners and parents/carers alike have had a go at typing, providing excellent role models and illustrating the enjoyment that can be had from expressing yourself upon paper (even if it is just to say “cheese sausages milk” – child’s snack time wishlist!)
The typewriter has also reinforced mark-making with pens, pencils and chalks as children patiently wait for “the ding” to tell them it’s someone else’s turn (a fantastic built-in turn-taking mechanism!) and name recognition has improved dramatically as children search for their name on a “turn-taking” list and urge practitioners to cross names out as children take their turn.
Although it has only been a few weeks, interest hasn’t waned and the children’s enthusiasm for reading (and creating things to read) has spread across all the areas of provision. As a setting that focuses mainly upon child-initiated learning, this addition of a springboard item has set off an explosion of fantastic ideas that I cannot wait to follow up (and possibly blog about)!

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Quote of the Week

“The direction in which education starts a man, will determine his future in life.”

Plato

BOOK COMPETITION: Celebrating World Book Night 2013

To celebrate World Book Night UK 2013 (@worldbooknight) on the 23rd of April, I am running a competition for my Twitter and WordPress followers (based in the UK) to win some books!

The rules are quite simple: to enter you must currently reside in the UK (eligible for Royal Mail delivery), be a follower of newtonoakley on either Twitter or WordPress and you must tweet a favourite literary quote or a reason to be passionate about reading tagged @newtonoakley #book. For example:

@newtonoakley #book ‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’

OR

@newtonoakley #book Escapism, I can always visit Narnia when my own wardrobe is boring.

(Of course, your reason will probably be less silly…)

Five (5) winners will be picked (see notes below) and their Twitter handles posted. Winners should then send a direct message to @newtonoakley via Twitter; with their full name and email address.

MULTIPLE ENTRIES PER PERSON WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR THIS COMPETITION REGARDLESS OF THE METHOD OF ENTRY, HOWEVER ONLY ONE PRIZE CAN BE WON PER ENTRANT. WINNING ENTRIES WILL BE CHOSEN FOR THE INTEREST IN A BOOK GENERATED BY THEIR TWEET (I.E. @newtonoakley READS BOOK AS A RESULT) OR BY THE POIGNANCY OF TWEET.

NOTES: Kate Oakley and affiliates are not responsible for: any incorrect or inaccurate entry information; human errors; technical malfunctions; failures, omissions, interruptions, deletions or defects of any telephone network, computer online systems, computer equipment, servers, providers, or software, including without limitation any injury or damage to participant’s or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participation in the competition; inability to access the Entry Sites (Twitter/Wordpress); By entering the competition, entrants confirm that they have read and accepted these rules.
WINNER SELECTION: Five (5) winners will be selected from among all eligible entries on or about 27/04/2013 by @newtonoakley. If a prize notification or prize is returned as undeliverable for any reason, the prize will be awarded to an alternate winner in a subsequent selection. Prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash. No substitution for the prize by the winner will be allowed.
PRIZES: Five (5 to be awarded) books – one per winning entrant – in either digital (Kindle/iBooks) or paper format.