The familiar and much loved experience of block construction makes for a great opportunity to incorporate language and literacy learning into play.
In this experience, children create ‘signs’ for their various constructions and educators support their mark making ability and early written expression.
This experience should be differentiated depending on the individual child/group level.
This learning experience plan relates to:
- emergent literacy
- language and emergent literacy learner (36-60 months)
- learning focus: making meaning and expressing ideas through texts
- teaching practice: play.
- What information has been gathered as evidence to inform this experience?
Links to VEYLDF
Outcome 5: communication
Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media
- Use the creative arts such as drawing, movement, music and story-telling, to express ideas and make meaning.
- Begin to use images and approximations of letters and words to convey meaning.
Victorian curriculum levels F-2: languages
Create simple print or digital texts in the language and English, such as captions and labels, for the immediate learning environment.
- To develop children’s ability to convey meaning through mark making.
- To develop children’s ability to convey meaning through drawing.
Assessment of learning
Learning is demonstrated when children:
- begin to write by using large circle shapes, scribble, letter-like formations and/or individual symbols to convey meaning
- draw pictures to convey meaning, e.g. a hand up to mean ‘stop’.
- wooden blocks, Lego or other construction sets
Individual children or in small group (two-five children).
Differentiation should be based on prior assessment of the child's/children’s communication skills. Examples of differentiation:
- for a child who is not yet engaging in pretend play and enjoys building and crashing block towers, educators could focus on developing the child’s ability to make comments during play by modelling repetitive language (e.g. 1, 2, 3, crash). Drawing/scribbling could then be gradually introduced through the use of a white board or black board.
- for a child who is generating many ideas and writing letters and some words to convey meaning, educators may extend this child’s skills by talking about some of the signs that might be needed in the classroom and working with the child to write these using words and drawings.
- Join the children’s construction based play at an appropriate time and begin to discuss what they have/are making, ensuring there are extended back and forth turns between educator and child/children.
- when appropriate, explain that there are some materials that the children may wish to use to make some signs and posters for their constructions.
- discuss some examples of signs or posters that they might see when out walking or in the centre. Talk about what these signs mean and how we know this. E.g. “When you see a sign with a koala, what does it tell us?”
- ask questions to elicit children’s ideas and provide prompts to promote the learning in focus, e.g. “So this is a school, what is it called? Shall we make a sign? What could it say?”
- talk about what the children are drawing and writing to reinforce the learning for the child and their peers. E.g. “Tara is drawing a zebra on her zoo sign”.
- Support children to make their own signs, posters, road markings, and so on.
- model reading and writing signs during the play for the children to see and provide specific models on request or as appropriate. e.g. “This sign says S..T..O..P, that means the cars have to stop”.
- To consolidate and assess understanding, invite other children to come and see the construction work and encourage the children who have made the constructions to talk about their work. Educators may also choose to cordon off the area to show parents and carers later in the day.
This experience can easily be followed up and extended in the outdoor learning environment using bikes, trikes and scooters in imaginary cities or towns. Educators may introduce mini signs, create large signs with the children or simply provide chalk for children to create signs on the ground. Educators should engage in discussions with the children to elicit their ideas and support their beginning writing skills through drawing, mark making and symbol formation.
Reflective questions for educators may include:
- What learning has occurred? How do you know?
- What have you realised about the child’s interests, knowledge, and capabilities?
- In discussion with colleagues, what would you plan next to consolidate or extend children’s learning?
Additional/alternate resources for this learning experience
- toy transport sets, cars, car mat and/or mini signs
- trikes, bikes, scooters and road signs for use in the outdoor environment.
Related learning experience plans
Links to sections