More of those magic grid things

17th October 2014

As I said last time, the process of construction of substitution tables makes you more aware of language and how it is being used. I have still not kept a bank of readymade ones because the creation is part of my planning for the group. I thought I could demonstrate by discussing a few I have created in the last fortnight

I am very fond of the Kingscourt book Bears, which is in their storyteller series.
I use it with children who are securely at S1 on the Extended Scale, and building up S2 skills. (If this is unfamiliar to you, do not worry, I have added a link in the links folders above to explanations in the public domain, and many authorities have produced their own guidance. Redbridge, Wigan and Reading are good examples I know of and they are still available on line.)

A substitution table can easily be created, but first you need to make some choices; will the bears be plural or singular, the polar bear likes or polar bears like?  The book is in the plural and the generalisation will be useful in cross- curricular texts so I decided on plural.

What would be the sentence structure? To build on where the pupils are, and useful sentence structures for the classroom I decided on :
article (the), subject (…..bear), verb (likes), gerund (….ing).
Although the word bear appears by each name it is repeated five times, and not left in the sentence block; this is because it belongs with the species as part of the subject, and not with the likes as part of the verb.

Next how many words do we want the pupils to select from? The book contains brown, black, polar, grizzly and spectacled, and swimming, fishing, eating, playing, climbing, rolling and sleeping. I decided to leave out the Spectacled bear but to keep the others. Grizzly would have been a candidate to omit, but the Grizzly bear is on so many pages it would be strange, and the word is not so hard to spot. I left out climbing as it is not so evident from the pictures. It is a hard word, and it is the only thing the Spectacled bear does, I left out eating, again because the pictures are harder to see and all bears eat.

So the table looked like this:

Interestingly, when we came to do the task, Binh was keen to point out that I had missed one and wrote a climbing sentence in his book. I think this is because he loves the Monkey and Panda book and spots all the monkey pictures, which he offers to imitate, so climbing is a word he gets. This also told me that Binh is ready to write more independently without scaffolds.

I have put the Bears substitution table in the pdf filing cabinet, but please don’t use it without the picture rich book to support the task.