The story of the sleepwalking snake who learned how to tie knots!

corn-snake-545726_640An improvised snake-based knot -tying story! (and song!)P1110498 Such fun today! a very long elasticated orange ‘rope’ and some hugely creative and animated children attempting to tie knots and play with it in every way imaginable! Their knot tying efforts galvanised me into finally experimenting with creating a story to help children learn the basic  principle  of kP1110593not tying… and away we went…
Once upon a time there was a very very long and spotty orange snake who had a problem. ( quick desperate thinking to think why a snake might want to tie a knot in herself…. how does the brain work, i wonder?). The problem was that she was a sleepwalker and every night, when she was meant to be safely tucked into bed, she would slither out and find herself, eyes closed, slithering down to the park, or the playground or the river.. and in the morning, she would wake up and have to find her way home, which was hard. So she needed to find a solution. I asked the children for their ideas for a solution. She made strong gates and locked them? ( great idea, I agree, and draw them on the board of our story, BUT she found that she could find the key even when she was asleep!) Or, maybe she could tie a note around her neck, saying ‘If you find me slithering asleep please take me home to this address’. And that was a good idea but she wanted to stay in her own bed, in her own house… so she came up with an idea. (more…)

The complexities of Christmas, Halloween and growing up.

This is the conversation  between two boys, one four and one four and a half. I sat outside their arena of play and wrote like crazy because they barely paused for a second. It felt like being at the theatre as the script and the plot unravelled as fast as i could write! Once again, it makes  me appreciate the beauty and complexities of creating and adjusting one’s working theories, not to mention their incredible mental agility and flexibility when it came to accepting ‘offers’ and rolling with them. Here is the whole exchange as well as I could manage it. .There are not many photos as I really did not want to intrude on their play. Their props were absolutely minimal.. just the two jars and some wooden blocks and a plastic dinosaur and elephant. The next day, when I glued the words into their portfolios, the opportunity arose to read it to them. They clearly were surprised but delighted and nodded in agreement at specific points as they listened with great interest. E suggested a replay of the game and I proposed that maybe they could swap roles this time. This they then proceeded to do. I played the role of mother, taking notes under the guise of also writing a shopping list! This time is was G who could (just!) reach the high shelf, and E who asked if he could eat the apple. G gave immediate permission and I howled in protest, ‘Noooooo!’ which delighted them both and E proceeded to ‘gobble’ it down and then asked me to write ‘one million apples’ on my shopping list!