Welcome to Floorbooks Friday, a blogging session in which we at Mindstretchers will try to answer some of the common questions surrounding Floorbooks as well ideas and tips for their use. Floorbooks are part of the Talking and Thinking Floorbook Approach™ as developed by Claire Warden (1994) in her book Talking and Thinking Floorbooks (3rd ed, 2015).
A common problem for educators is trying to re-engage with children who have lost interest: either in a specific topic or in general. Floorbooks are often cited as a useful tool to re-engage children, but how? Below we will be discussing 5 of the top reasons why Floorbooks can be used as a re-engaging tool.
Learning is based on child interests
Lesson plans can be created from themes which children show an interest in. By following up on Possible Lines of Development (PLODs) and really listening to what children are saying a practitioner can ensure that learning is of real interest to them. They are more likely to be engaged when the learning exercise focuses on answering a question that they have asked, or exploring a topic that they love. Not only will this engage them but it can greatly boost their confidence with oral and writing skills as well as their creativity.
They cater to all learning styles
As discussed in our online course Floorbooks & The Brain, people have preferred learning styles. The Floorbooks Approach will allow a practitioner to actively engage with different learning styles to involve all children. This is especially true when additional resources such as the Talking Tub or the Talkaround Mat are included. The voice of the child is evidenced in the Floorbook through writing or recordings alongside photos and drawings which show active engagement. If the evidence shows that a particular child hasn’t been engaging much then the practitioner can adjust their teaching to re-engage with the child.
There are multiple ongoing themes
It may be that one child in the group is not interested in the specific theme which a Floorbook is about. A key aspect of the Floorbooks approach is that multiple Floorbooks about different themes can be on the go at once. Different lines of enquiry can also be flowing at the same time: in a Floorbook about birds one group may be interested in eggs and lifecycles whereas another may investigate nests, habitats and structures. By encouraging different lines of enquiry a practitioner can support the interests of different children.
Learners are empowered
Due to the child-led nature of Floorbooks children will very quickly become proactive learners. Children can be seen as young authors and illustrators: a Floorbook simply gives them a canvas to express their ideas and imaginations. One aspect of a Floorbook is that children will have a sense of ownership over it. They will be able to take pride in their learning because of the floorbook which they have helped to create. Letting children take direct control of their learning through following up on PLODs and asking open ended questions will not only improve confidence but will inspire children.
They are informal and fun
Play is such a key part of every child’s education and is an issue which is often discussed. It is easy to forget that the easiest way to engage with children is to make learning fun and easily accessible. A problem for many children is that they struggle under formalised, heavily structured learning. An informal approach can make learning seem less like a lesson and more like a fun activity.
The most important aspect is an enthusiastic and committed practitioner working with the Talking and Thinking Floorbooks Approach™. By really understanding and believing the ethos behind the approach the practitioner will find themselves able to engage with children at any level.
Do you use Floorbooks? Join our Floorbooks Facebook Page!
You can learn more about Floorbooks and on Claire Warden’s online Floorbooks courses. If you are interested in the differing learning styles briefly touched upon in this blog then check out our “Nature and the Brain” CPD training course.
For in-depth Floorbook training visit our range of CPD training courses. We have a list of open courses which anyone can book onto as well as descriptions of the in-house training which we can carry out in your setting.
Blog written by Steven Watson.
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