There are many articles, blogs posts and theories that identify that boys just don’t like writing and as mentioned in previous posts of mine, something I take an interest in. I enjoy constantly thinking of new ways or magpie ideas from other professionals to help my boys write. My latest idea is cheap, easy to set up and mobile…’I Wonder’ bags.
This was something I introduced to the children to help their small imaginative play originally, helping children put story lines into their play rather than just ‘rarrrrring’ with dinosaurs. I presented the children with a gift bag and simply questioned them ‘I wonder what is in my bag’?. The children spoke to their talk partners about it and we shared answers amongst the group. I then revealed an object from the bag, again, posing the question ‘I wonder why there was a tiger in my bag?’. Children would have time to speak to their partners and again, we would share the answers. I would then reveal a second item ‘I wonder why there is an egg in the bag with the tiger?’, again the children would have the opportunity to speak and share their ideas with their talk partner and then the class. Within the bag would be 4-5 items, all different and this pattern and questioning took place throughout, until eventually the class and I had created a short story.
The bag I started with the children had a tiger, giraffe, ladybird an egg and an apple. We had many stories come alive, including the egg being looked after by the ladybird and giraffe from the tiger and they used the apple to distract him, to the tiger looking after it because the ladybird wanted to steal it. The stories were amazing, and the beauty of it is that there is no right or wrong answer so everyone wants to get involved.
‘I wonder’ bags develop the imagination of the children, especially the boys. I then wanted to take it a step further and use it to aid their writing as well, so they became features around our class. The bags are filled in daily with different toys, objects, heroes etc, and naturally the boys love them. They write their story first or write down key words from their story before they act it out. Clipboards and or mini whiteboards are left inside the gift bag too, therefore giving the children the option to move around with their bag/story.
It was a real bonus seeing the children, especially the boys access this resource because they do not see it is a writing task. It is incredibly popular as you can imagine if the bag is a Spider-Man bag with a superhero inside or a Pirate bag with dinosaurs inside. It is structuring their play, assisting their speaking skills and aiding their writing, it just ticks every box.
The bags are cheap, toys are already in my setting, it was collecting the toys and encouraging them to make their own story. A great resource for independent writing and one I would recommend to any setting.