Accelerating Learning by integrating the curriculum through Play

What are our inquiries about?

Joy- getting kids to be independent learners through an integrated programme.

Nicole- positive social interactions through play.

Carolyn - Learning through key competencies. Getting children aware of themselves as a learner by establishing a key competency vocabulary.

Kelly- Oral Language and interactions that affect kids socially and emotionally

Bridget- Building relationships with target kids through play. Compliance. Prospects for changing to an art focus through play.

Ebony- readiness for learning. Harnessing interests

What are our thoughts about the reading?

Hard to see a relationship between reading and RSS

Don’t do it double. Having an extra person

Pre-loading the kids that need it

Oral language- vocabulary


Giving the tool for reference for the next learning

Knowing your learners

Can this model be transferred

The big idea: taking a bit of time to prepare children for tomorrow i.e. gravity

There are going to be kids that deserve a heads up!

Students could master the new standard if they just knew _________________.

Other thoughts:

The play stage falls off. Where is the transition point? At the year 3 level what do we do?

What about the kids that are behind in National Standards...the older children.

How do we interact with each other? De Bonos hats

ABLE2- Ambition, bravery, learning, excellence. It guides the class.

Evening for educating parents about play.

What does readiness for learning imply? Should it be more about personalising learning


The Role of the Teacher in PBL

Lesson- Science, play communication

6 or 7 Spaces for learning!

Play as a vehicle for

Environment that the target group is engaged in


How do we get it to be authentic play

What do we want the kids to get out of the learning

Key competencies were develop children as inquiry learners

Does play based learning teach younger children that play is purposeful and part of the day not ‘free time’ so as older children they see the chance to ‘play’ with something as a chance to develop ideas about it in their own time in their own way?

Social Studies? When was the last time we focussed on this. There is a huge link with social

From the “Role of the teacher” slide



Set up a provocation that is effective

How do you operate within that and bring in coaching

What is it in science that we want them to learn?

Participating and contributing Key Competency? / Oral language

Everything that is setup is designed to drive some specific learning

Vehicle: Science- Water/ floating and sinking

Thinking and Relating to others

Teaching practice- coaching language (promoting the thinking) Accelerating their ability to think

What Toddler’s learn from Play

Talking with Young Children

Incredible Years Social/Emotional coaching chapter - You will need to click on the PDF to open it once you get there.

Activities - Set up in rm 11/12 for 9.30 Thursday

20 kids



Materials to collect

What might need to be coached?

  • Relating to others
  • Thinking
  • Participating and contributing?



Water crystals


Water crystals (Joy)

Cups for scooping

When you help him - you are being helpful to his learning

You noticed that happened - you are observing like a scientist

You are being a nice friend when you let them play with/ use the toys/materials

Remember when we .......last week you noticed that / found out.....

When you work / talk together you figure out lots of information

When you tell me your ideas it helps me think and it helps you understand what you are doing

You made the paper clip float, you solved a problem...


Soak up


















Floating tank/ pouring

Big container

Stuff to float/put in it

Balls, cups, plastic stuff, animals, leaves, feathers, bottles, straws


Rocks in a bucket

Some of them are pumice and diff sizes (gravel etc)

Alexander’s Outing - Pamela Allen

Stuck - School reader


Different size straws/tubes

Tinfoil boats ( or boats to make)

Tinfoil, thick cardboard,


Diff size bottles, and lids?




Mixing things into water?



Raro powder


Dirt  - water in the digging garden

Watering cans





Ice sculptures



Bowls with flowers

Paddling pools


Drops on a coin


Eye Droppers

Coaching Comments:

Example-building a house

Example- building a seesaw

Example- Science Activities

Identify the what

You used a triangle for the roof?

You put blocks on both sides.

You held that still for him while he poured that.

Make connection with the learning

You are learning your shapes

You are learning to balance

That’s helping others

What would happen if...?

See if they can try can alternative approach

I wonder what might happen if you...

How could we find out?


Kelly & Eb: Two “teachers”

Bridget: playing & listening to children’s conversations (“I’m just playing”, “I’m just having a go!”)

Three observing

Nicole: Tally marking comments from Kelly

Joy: Tally marking comments from Eb

Carolyn: One recording Interactions and conversations between other children with a focus on Thinking & Relating to Others. Use SeeSaw to record conversations using a label. Could tally mark the conversations that attribute to the KC’s

Develop a Learning Story (Rm2 - use ABLE reflection tool?)

Teacher’s Role Tally



Descriptive commenting


I statement

Other (Verbatim)


Kids from Busy Bees




Daniel M








Daniel P









Reflection from lesson one




- the chn were very engaged in the materials

Building vocabulary

Chn made connections between what they already knew and what they were playing with

Shared ideas with each other

Relationships - sharing, watching each other and commenting, building on someone else’s ideas

Key competencies were very clear to see

Prior knowledge eg. Aiden and the spices at the potion table

Lots for them to choose from

Hard for teachers to be ready with coaching for every activity that leads to some science learning

First time with the activities children were excited and wanted to hurry through lots of the activities

Play is the way-” less is more”, declutter the play space.

Have several versions of the same activity eg. Buckets of water and things to float;  so the choices are about who you play with, where you play and how long you stay in one place.

Or try everything is as usual and one thing is added and that is where the teacher will be coaching

How to extend the interest and questions into further lessons and experiences that build understanding of concept

Reflections from Observations

Questions. Lots of different kinds

Compound comments i.e. question and praise, or question and comment, or question and

Not a lot of praise.

Lots of giving information

Lots of questions in a row.

Attentive  listening! What ratio is teacher talk to child talk?

Look for the moment when it would be good to jump in.

Respond with hmmm and aha. Be part of it but not offering info all the time

Listen and watch.

Questioning that leads to discovery.

Making connections and develop descriptive comments that we are good at into coaching comments which is about making a connection to the learning/curriculum.

Coaching comments could be used in their reports as it is all about their learning

Do key comps become the focus of the coaching so that learning can happen? The socialisation of the kids so they are ready for learning

Kids need 50million words to be ready for higher order learning

Teachers helped make connections between learners when one had info the others needed

Our main focus is primarily about socialising children to be prepared for the formal operational stage.

Give them a vocabulary for socialisation, and how and what they are learning

Making the connections explicit. “You are learning too…” “You made a connection…”


Play is the way- Dinger and Johnson

I’m Ready- Janice Greenberg & Elaine Weitzman

Learning through talk

How to talk so kids would listen and listen so kids will talk

I am 5 and I go to school.

Notes from Nicole’s /Kelly

Descriptive comment/praise/ question

Coaching Comment

Higher order coaching comments

You are listening to your team

… You are showing that you care about other people’s ideas too.

You are relating to others

Good observation

...You are looking closely at things you notice.

You are learning to think.

Ask your team Daniel

….You are asking your team a question, you are trying to find out more information

You are learning to think

You asked a question and you waited to hear the answer

.. you are thinking about what you need to know (metacognition- thinking about your thinking) are managing yourself

You had some knowledge and you have shared with your buddy

you ate relating to other people and helping them with their learning

Action Photos - The Lesson

Observations and Notes from Cycle 1 Teaching Session 1

Developing Coaching ideas / analysing the comments - below are some examples of the questioning, praise, descriptive commenting and coaching. The columns are separate from each other but there are some highlighted comments that were developed from a descriptive comment to a coaching comment.

New Lesson

Main teaching focus: Coaching comments around the Key Competencies.

What do we expect: rich language

Who: ABLE2/Te Ngahere- Joy’s class and their buddy class. 10 each (tuakana-teina)

Starter: ABLE acronym for learning. ABLE reflection as a guide

Purpose - to practise group work and discussing ready for science fair

What: Look for opportune times to jump in with coaching comments.


Show - Video - ants etc  to get started

And this video??? - video series  with animated animals around listening/empathising in various social situations - this one is “Listening to get along”

When you think about your science fair group what does that video suggest to you?


End: “How can these ideas help us with working together on our science fair projects?”

Intro to activities - This morning we are going to explore a whole lot of water activities. There is lots of sciencey things to experiment with so work with your buddy to see what you can find out and explain to each other.

Possible Coaching Comments:

Using descriptive comments but explicitly making a connection to the curriculum or their learning

You are helping her be part of the group and have her say. You are learning to relate to others

You are learning to be a learner because you asked a question

That is a great question you asked - and you waited to hear the answer so you would learn something.

Q: How can you help her to find out? What could you do?...

“What do you see” AND WAIT!

Start: “What connections can we make about this group activity time to what we know about our ABLE motto?”  - make a list for each


Eb: Tally Mark Joys comments

Bridget: Tally Mark Nicole comments

Nicole: Coaching

Joy: Teaching/coaching

Carolyn: One recording Interactions and conversations between other children with a focus on Key Competencies. Use SeeSaw to record conversations using a label. Could tally mark the conversations that attribute to the KC’s

Things to do for next week:

Nicole to type up the comments from today…

Set up activities

Eb to do boiled eggs

Set-up screen for viewing

Set up before 9 ready for lesson to start at 9am in room 1 and potentially outside in the courtyard out the back of the library.

Other thoughts from the day:

Anecdotal notes on paper

Clipboards around the room



Structured vs unstructured play. Interesting that these children (particularly the older children) are waiting for permission or adult engagement to participate and explore.

Age and Stage vs type of instruction. Showing initiative and agency?

Juniors cross pollinate the activities without any thinking of others or the activity.

Mixed age/ability groups. Lots of scaffolding for everyone.

Giving kids time to start exploring. Because of the hesitation at first it was hard to get into descriptive and coaching comments.

Descriptive comments to Coaching Comment: Stating the obvious and then making a connection.

If you must praise add a because….”That’s amazing because I can see you tried your hardest”

Balanced comments- questioning to coaching.

What might be a another strategy to lead the children into the activity to get to descriptive comments? Perhaps wait time. Interacting and playing yourself.

Loose parts might have made a difference.

Significant thoughts, wonderings from our JK cycle

Nicole: Time to observe. Giving ourselves permission to sit back and think and see what is going on to make better informed coaching comments especially while this is still a bit unnatural as it is new. Conflict with National Standards and OTJs for older children (Y2).

Carolyn: Easier to focus with a pen and paper and not a device. Easier to jot things down.

Joy: Extends from the science. Getting kids to do the exploring and showing initiative throughout their science fair projects. See the power in the play-based instruction as they transition into later years of schooling.

Bridget: Interested in how set up stations that are not set up with set purposes. Loose parts play is

Eb: What makes a coaching comment...stating the obvious and making connections. Feeling more conscious of these and therefore more achievable.

Key Competencies

Here is the photo of my paper notes - more detailed typed notes on the way:

Children were working so well together - older children were guiding children at some points, taking the lead at other times, encouraging participation from the younger children, - not just doing it all while they stood and watched..

Cross group age was amazing - gentle scaffolding from their peers

(This is what Ken Robinson talks about with the herding children into groups of the same age vs letting younger children learn from older and also what Hattie’s research showed; that learning from a peer is actually more powerful than learning from an adult)

Children were hesitant to start - waiting for teacher-leading/permission/not taking equipment from one station to another - even though it would have been fine.

The thinking out loud was evident in the initial burst of questions from the children with the ice.

A was really showing a strength in inclusive language and seeking input from the other children

L and E were co-operating SILENTLY - taking turns to pour and add items to a potion without even talking or protesting at the actions of the other - this was magic to watch. They clearly were trusting one another and no-one was in control/being the boss.

When do we celebrate?  How do we celebrate? Does that happen in the debrief?

Making connections was evident - comparisons to lava/making pizza being made at the potions table, thinking about cold/snow/ice experiences over with the ice etc.

Negotiating who would work with who happened a few times.

A group of children were working at a table completely ignoring a crying child. ( PS. It turns out they have a history with this child’s pattern of crying as a first response, which explained a lot.)  When I drew their attention to this, one child asked what was wrong, which started a little game of “dump truck”, and the child who had initially shown concern, bowed out and went back to her own inquiry.

Problem-solving - “I’m shaking it, because there’s no more spoons”