Tag Archives: UTW


Many teachers in the EYFS and teachers across the school, will probably agree in one challenge…getting boys to write. Whether the boys are 4 or 14 years old, they just find it hard to engage and do not want to do it. I find great enjoyment in finding new ways in the Early Years to get the boys to write. I have previously written about successful methods to get my children (mainly boys) writing, and then recently have found another success. 🙂

Luckily for me it linked directly with another passion of mine, iPads. I have used an app to engage children in different environments and settings and what was originally intended to discuss different people’s lifestyles and homes sparked an idea that would also get my children writing.



The app is called Sphere, and is very similar to google maps, in that it gives the children a variety of places across the world and allows them to do a 360 tour of the environment from one spot. The app contains places and are categorised such as landmarks, places to live, air, land and sea etc. Once the children select an category they choose an image they wish to explore, once selected that destination opens. As the children hold the iPad or device in their hand as they move it the screen and view moves too, as it would in real life. Children can look up and down, move around from left to right and see what they would if they were standing in their chosen destination in person. The camera moves as if it were the human eye, as you can imagine, there were a lot a ‘wows’ and ‘oooohs’ when this was shown on Apple TV, from children as well as support staff 😉


How did it get them writing? 

Once the children were familiar with the app and how to use it and discovered that you could also move the camera or ‘magic eye’ with your finger on the screen too they were using the app and speaking to their friends about what they could see and how ‘wow’ it was, this is when I dropped in the magic word ‘mommy’.

“I bet your mom would like to know about that!”

“Wow, your mom would like to know about that big blue sea”

“Do you think your mommy has seen that?”

And from that stemmed the next part…”You should tell your mom…oh, but what if you forget?”…the child(ren) would then reply “We can write it down and draw her a picture”.

The smug face then appears from the staff.


Children were then willingly choosing a ‘special place’ to write about it (what it looks like, where it is, who lives there) drawing a picture underneath and then going home to show their mommy about it. A perfect opportunity for the child to write, practise their tricky words, letter formations, sentences etc.

An overall great find that my children loved.

Welly Walks

A major focus has been placed on speaking and listening in the Early years and there was already a focus in my school anyway due to the area that the children come from. On entry into Nursery some children cannot even say or respond with one word answers, so sequencing a string of 2 or 3 words can become a problem.

We are lucky however that we have a great forest on a school ground with lots of potential and opportunity (Reception class are having forest school sessions outside next half term). However, this year we have been doing welly walks. These involve exactly what they sound like, every couple of week Reception children wack on their wellies and come rain or shine we do a welly walk and talk about the natural objects and surroundings.

Our welly walks can involve number hunts, shape hunts, list making of what we can see, leaf printing or just simple observations and discoveries of our natural surroundings in the forest. The children love these sessions and my TA and I get so much from it too.

The enjoyment and learning that takes place is phenomenal from such a simple and obvious idea. The vocabulary the children have and use and the awareness of the natural environment is very impressive. The walks have created discussions on our environment in comparison to other environments, different talks about the seasons and state of the objects in the forest and who/what else uses the forest.