Floorbooks are a staple tool used in much of our work at Mindstretchers. A simple product, but highly effective.
Floorbooks are a genuine record of the child’s thinking.
Children's ideas and thoughts are recorded without re-framing or interpretation so that they are a genuine record of their thinking.
"When children give a response to a question or contribute an idea that is far removed from the rest of the group thinking, the idea should be recorded as evidence of contribution, but not engagement." Claire Warden
Floorbooks stimulate the child’s interest.
Record open ended questions that are created in response to an interest from the children. The questions are posed as part of a conversation and are designed to stimulate thought rather than test knowledge.
"The flow of reflective talk is critical to the process, to create a partnership of exploration and discovery. Question and answer sessions create a completely different atmosphere. Questions are almost philosophical, such as I wonder what would happen if..?" Claire Warden
Floorbooks adapt to different learning styles.
The adult can scribe for the children to release some from the pressure of secretarial skills during a small group experience; individuals can record their idea in a pictorial form, or writing on a thinking bubble.
Floorbooks collate child-centre ideas.
They should be used to analyse the starting points for learning that children are suggesting, rather than adults thinking up random "activities" for children to "do". Responsive planning should be at the root of learning.
"If we are going to consult children then we should be prepared to change our thinking and actions as a result of it." Claire Warden
Floorbooks are always available
Joint ownership should give children the right to revisit their thinking whenever they wish.
"There has to be feedback loop to the children so that they know that the process of consultation is actually changing something. In practice this approach has lead to a child centred curriculum, that is based on evidence collated in a child centred way. A feature that many centres felt is being edged out by paperwork demands." Claire Warden
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