I am feeling very fortunate this week as my next two lesson plans have been edited and advised by Roger Sutcliffe of Thinking Moves and DialogueWorks.
This week's lesson is a fun one for Early Years and you can bend it to any topic you are currently doing in class. We are going to bake a cake! This Thinking Move is 'Ahead'. The ability for children to look ahead and predict what might happen in different alternate realities is a useful skill in all areas of their lives and one they have already been playing with.
As I discussed in my Pre-School Philosophers post, thinking ahead is something which pre-schoolers have already begun to do. Our pre-schoolers have been amateur problem solvers since birth. How do I get my carer’s attention? How do I get that food to my mouth? How do I get across the floor to my toy? How do I move my legs and arms alternately to crawl, walk, run? How do I get that off the shelf? Now, at pre-school level, their problem solving skills are reaching their first all time high. The problems they can solve are not just the physical and immediate anymore. Oh no. Now they have the skills to listen to imaginary scenarios and figure out a world of different possible actions and outcomes.
This lesson plan taps into that skill and makes it one which can be more formally encouraged. Throughout the plan there are several places where different Thinking Moves from the A-Z have been picked out. They are mainly in bold type. Don't be afraid to start to introduce these words to your children... "Today we are going to practice Thinking Ahead". In taking this easy step you are pushing your lesson from one where you are simply chatting about making a cake into one where you are starting to introduce children to the language of metacognition in the simplest and most accessible way.
A big thank you to Roger, who helped me to see that so many Thinking Moves appear in the simplest of activities! For anyone wanting to learn more about Thinking Moves A-Z or for the full A-Z list you can see it on the DialogueWorks website.
Some ways in which this plan could slip into your normal planning based on a theme could be...
Farms, Harvest, Produce, Little Red Hen - Refer to the things you have learnt already about where food comes from
Minibeasts - Make honey cakes
Traditional tales - make porridge instead (Goldilocks) or a savoury bean cake (Jack and the Beanstalk)
Plant life cycles - talk about the wheat that has been grown to make the flour
Animal life cycles - talk about the things you know about eggs or make one of the baked goods from The Hungry Caterpillar
Climates and Countries - make a cake from a different place in the world
Celebrations - make Simnel cake, Christmas cake or spring rolls
Healthy Bodies - Make a sugar free recipe. Maybe a beetroot cake
There are so many ways that you can link this activity to your current theme that you could go ahead and do it now!
So here is the plan. Let's get baking...
Miss Magical Mess is a pre-school teacher and P4C Level 2B facilitator. After a shaky start as a P4C facilitator (P4C with 3 year olds... are you kidding?) Miss Magical Mess created her own approach to P4C and enquiry model and is now a big fan.