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The power of pine cones!

The Power of a Pine Cone!

About 3 Sundays ago I suggested an afternoon walk to my husband. He has 30 years experience of being married to a primary school teacher so his question, as he collected his carrier bag, was not ‘where are we going?’ but ‘ok, what are we collecting today?’ ‘Pine cones’ was my reply and off we went to the woods. An hour later we had 2 bags of pine cones of all shapes and sizes.
Why? Because a simple pine cone can be one of the most useful resources in a classroom and it’s free! As I say to my staff, stay with me, I haven’t lost it completely!

I love natural resources.

A basket of pine cones in your role play can become any type of food the children imagine, how much more creative than the bright coloured plastic pieces that are standard? Pine cones can be currency in a shop, children will work out their own denominations and values, 5 small pine cones might be worth 1 large one. Think about the mathematical possibilities!

A basket of pine cones in your creative area. I have seen them turned into animals, wheels, people or just decorated for the satisfaction of adding decoration. Resist the temptation to add googly eyes with the suggestion of hedgehogs as you will end up with 30 formulaic hedgehogs and lose the opportunity for individual creativity.

I think you’re probably getting the idea! Pine cones in small world will become people, trees etc. In construction they will be added to structures and models.

I used my pine cones in a whole school assembly to talk about uniqueness. We marvelled at the uniqueness of each pine cone. How pine cones look the same but each one is different and amazing. This led us to think about the uniqueness of each of us, how we are all different but each of us is amazing. I gave each class a pine cone to take back to their classroom to remind them to value themselves and each other.

Over the last 2 weeks it has been very special to receive gifts of pine cones from the children. A little girl knocked on my office door with a pine cone wrapped up in home made wrapping paper and a label ‘To Mrs N love from A x’. She said ‘I know you like pine cones and you gave us all one to remind us how special we are so I found one for you because you are special too’.

The power of a pine cone, need I say more!
Oh and by the way it’s conkers this week, get your carrier bag Mr N!

Kathrine

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When is a wine rack not a wine rack?

When is a wine rack not a wine rack?

When you give it to a class of children!

No, I haven’t gone completely mad. Yes, I did give a wine rack to my class for their small world area.
It came from my parents house one weekend when they were clearing out and I thought it looked a bit like a castle. That was about a far as my thinking went. I would put it out with the small world resources and see what happened. Considering that we also had a ‘proper’ plastic castle, complete with firing cannons, working drawbridge, knights with swords, I wasn’t expecting much interest.
As usual, my class proved me wrong!
It started with the characters living in/on it as a classic castle with some fantasy stories being told. Then it became a ‘fantasy cave castle’ complete with experimentation with patterns and glass beads. Each child that played brought something new to the story. But my favourite idea came completely child-initiated from a group of boys. I should note, these boys were the ones previously arguing over the plastic castle. They found some wooden lolly sticks and set up a challenge of how many they could weave and balance across the beams. A fantastic opportunity to develop those fine motor skills! We enhanced the challenge by adding in the wooden people. How many people can you balance on the lolly sticks? Clip boards were found, tables drawn up, scores recorded, rules decided…they were hooked! They sat and concentrated on this task for the best part of the morning session. Over an hour of concentration from 5-6 year old boys is a thing of beauty.
Oh and the plastic castle? That was packed away because “there’s too many bits, Miss.”
Well, you can’t argue with that.

Hannah

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