A pot of playground chalks can cost as little as a pound. When I put in my yearly class ‘consumables’ order to an educational supplier I always made sure to order plenty as they are so versatile and I always knew that we would use them all.
Perhaps their value is more easily appreciated in an Early Years classroom where children need lots of practice writing their name, letters or numbers as much as possible; chalks provide an obvious change of scene and scale.
Chalks have so many more uses though. Many of the things that are usually done in children’s books or on work sheets can just as easily be done using play-ground chalks. Here are some ideas ….
- Draw around a person and then try and add their internal organs. Where are you going to put their heart? their lungs? their brain?
- Could you draw around someone else and show the journey that their food takes through their body?
- Use chalks to draw Venn diagrams into which to sort children, or leaves, or plants gathered from the school grounds.
- Make a branching data base on the school play ground using either children, material collected from around the school or grounds of some pre-laminated pictures
- Challenge children to draw a life size elephant, giraffe or whale on the school grounds; then use secondary research and a tape measure to find out how accurate they have been.
- Make a labelled picture of a plant or flower showing all of the separate parts
- Make a labelled picture of an animal or person
An added bonus of using chalks is that at the end of the day children can be encouraged to take their carers to see their piece of work and tell them about it (a chance to revisit and talk about learning helps to reinforce it). The first time I did this (many years ago) my head teacher nearly had a seizure until I promised her that everything would dissappear without trace as soon as it rained! Likewise, the chalk on clothing soon brushes away.
It can be very difficult to write with chalks so writing is never very neat, however chalks do write more smoothly on a wet surface so it is worth wetting the surface before writing on it. There are loads more things to do; perhaps we can talk about these in a future post. In the meantime I would love to hear your own experiences of using chalk.