A place to share ideas about play in a Prep classroom

Posts tagged ‘Personal Learning’

Mystery Objects – developing oral language

The children were very interested in riddles. They enjoyed making them up and listening to the clues to guess the answer. To enhance this interest and their oral language we began a whole group session called Mystery Objects. Every night 3 children were given a calico  bag and after the child had chosen an object, parents were asked to discuss it with their child and help them to consider answers to possible questions using the guide below.










The first mystery object was a zip lock bag and no one guessed what it was, even with some really useful clues. 

  • It is made of plastic.
  • You can use it for holding things.
  • You can keep them in the kitchen.






I found it interesting that after being unable to guess what the first mystery object was, the children even further engaged in the guessing process and celebrated how clever they were when they did guess and, how clever the child with the mystery object was, when they couldn’t guess it. The children who brought an object that no one could guess really looooooved tricking us! Here is an example of what the children brought in as Mystery Objects –

A torch.



An Egg Whisk










I decided to record these sessions  and whilst listening to the play back, the children were very excitied to hear (or in some cases not hear) themselves speaking. They were able to discuss voice tone and volume and it was amazing how they, in later sessions, were very careful to use a “confident” voice so they could be heard. The recordings also provoked curiosity from those children who rarely participate, ( without direct questioning) in class discussions. They were curious to hear themselves speak and quickly became active participants to hear themselves again. The children also liked to guess who was speaking and overall their listening skills as well as their speaking skills were enhanced.

A wide variety of mystery objects were brought in and the children very quickly became aware of the kind of questions that were more useful for guessing the mystery object. They realised that asking “What colour is it?” was not as helpful as “What can you do with it?” and the children became quite creative about the questions asked. This was a great opportunity to observe who was using higher order thinking to ask and answer questions.

We decided to make a book about our mystery objects using a photo and the clues given to describe it. I kept the recordings as portfolio samples and they provid rich insights into the childrens use of oral language and their thinking.

Learning Statements –

Oral Language


Imagining and Responding

Personal Learning

Reluctant Drawers? Here are 2 Amazing “Must Have Books” by Peter H. Reynolds to help them on their way.

Have you got children who are reluctant drawers? Then these 2 books are for you and the children who hate to draw.

   Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

 Drawing is what Ramon does. It’s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother, Leon, turns Ramon’s carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.”.


The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds 

It’s too bad we couldn’t all have art teachers like the one who is the heroine of this book. When Vashti complains that she can’t draw, her teacher suggests that she “just make a mark.” This sets Vashti off on a creative adventure, making every kind of dot imaginable.

This book teaches kids and grown-ups the importance of exploration and the unique creativity in something so simple as a dot. It proves the point that everyone is creative and unique in their own way. Maybe you can’t draw like Da Vinci, but what can you do? This story is a lesson about finding what interests you and diving into it head first, regardless of the consequences. Perfect for children, this story is even more relevant to many adults.

 Books can take us into many different worlds, challenge our imaginations and teach us lessons in life. These 2 books share an invaluable message about teaching children to have faith in themselves and the importance of feeling valued and would make a great addition to any early childhood classroom.