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Working Walls for Working Minds

Published on 29/06/17

Children’s minds can be busy, intricate places where information is processed continuously throughout the day.

With so much learning taking place, both at school and home, fleeting thoughts or ideas can be easily forgotten or discarded. A disaster for brilliant ideas! ‘Working Walls’ are a learning technique used within SPF Pre-prep. Updated regularly with relevant topical or unit related information they provide a helpful visual aid to revise, inspire and challenge pupils.

When first approaching a unit many initial observations can be made at once. Working Walls provide opportunities for continual consolidation and revision of this new information. For example, in a Literacy unit focusing on instructional writing the class may work together to create a Popplet mind map of the key features of instructional texts. These are features that pupils will then aim to reproduce in their own writing over the course of the unit. By printing an image of this Popplet and placing it on the Literacy working wall it provides pupils with a visual aid to refresh their memories of these key techniques. Thus allowing them to most effectively reproduce a particular style.

 

As children begin to form their own work based on a theme or unit they need to remember the new information and skills they have so far learnt. At the same time they aim to generate new creative ideas within their work. For example, in the Literacy instructional texts unit, pupils aim to incorporate all the features of the text type whilst thinking of interesting or humorous language choices. Working Walls can provide scaffolded support by introducing key ideas, such as useful phrases and varied sentence starters for children to ‘borrow’ as they require. Last term 2C even created their own ‘Adventurous Verbs Lucky Dip’ which added some excitement to their word choices!

As a Topic or unit draws to a close Working Walls provide an excellent opportunity to extend pupils’ thinking. The use of key questions and challenge problems can encourage children to reflect on their learning from a unit whilst putting key skills into practise. For example, at the end of the instructional texts unit, pupils may be given the challenge question to create a set of instructions to teach their Kindergarten buddy how to use a favourite iPad app. This encourages children to independently apply their learning from a unit, as well as contextualising that learning by giving it a real life focus.

Working Walls generate opportunities to support, inspire and extend children’s learning throughout all stages of a Topic or unit. They give children the tools to take ownership of their learning by choosing when and how they use the information provided. They also reinforce the invaluable skill of using notes, jottings and rough ideas to improve work over time; challenging the misconception of always having to produce something completely perfect independently and instantaneously.