A couple of weeks ago I was given an interesting challenge. A teacher who has a class of P7 (Grade 6) children with additional support needs asked me to demonstrate the teaching of full stops outdoors.
Firstly we began indoors, sharing our ideas about full stops and their purpose. Some children knew a lot. For example, that every sentence has a full stop at the end of it. Another child was able to tell me that full stops tell us when to take a breath when reading a piece of text.
Then we went outside to look for spots and dots in our environment and to find out why they were there. After all, a full stop is a dot or a spot at the end of a sentence. They are there for a purpose. Here’s what we found:
By chance the janitor had been busy that morning putting up these fluorescent spots on posts around the school. The class teacher thought I had done this for the benefit of the class. We discovered it was to assist children with visual impairments to see these obstacles more easily.
This rather funky pair of eyes were the reflections of light seen through a window.
In fact, lights did look very much like spots when viewed from a distance. Some children noticed the dots of blu-tac sticking objects onto the windows.
Tree knots are tree dots!
And nails in the wooden panels made a straight line of dots.
In fact dots are quite a popular pattern and can even be found on the ground, making the drain cover different to the surrounding surface.
We had a quite a discussion about the rock salt in my hand. Was it snow? How could we tell that it wasn’t? What was it doing on the tarmac? It made the ground look spotty.
The children laughed at the idea of gum being a dot on the ground.
There was some debate too about whether a blue bottle top counted as a spot or dot. We’re still not sure!
After our “spots and dots” walk each child took a bean bag and stood in a line. I began to read a sentence and the children had to take one step forward when I said one word. When they thought I reached the end of a sentence, they had to drop their bean bag. After a couple of attempts, almost everyone learned how to do this. Then each child had a go at making up a sentence and saying it aloud slowly for everyone else to step-along to.
Back inside we thought about “What worked well” and what would be “Even better next time”. I’d be interested to know your ideas for more punctuation work outside.
PS The children took all the photos. They took turns and had to show each other how to use the camera.