Thursday, 16 February 2012

Oooh - shiny fing!

As the goblins in Mr Gum would say. Not strictly books (well not books at all), but we had an exciting delivery this morning. A set of 96 Lyra Ferby colouring pencils. We all sat and just looked at them for a while, all beautifully sharpened and arranged in a perfect spectrum in their wooden case. And then the kids got to work producing a woodland scene (A) and a three-eyed, eight-hearted monster called Uh-Uh (C). The pencils are beautiful. Really sturdy, but with excellent pigment, and good coverage. I really ummed and ahhed about buying these pencils, as they have quite a hefty price tag, and spending the best part of 30 quid seemed very excessive. However, I honestly think cheap art supplies are a false economy. Most of the pencils we have break easily, are faint and therefore very unsatisfying to use, so there is really no point having them at all. The same can be said of colouring pens, and we are waiting for our delivery of upgraded versions of these. We bought them from Baker Ross, and they arrived very quickly.

Another non-book item which we used today, from another rather fabulous company is the TTS Flip-It. TTS sell some lovely teaching resources. We have the sparkly glitter numbers, which are wonderfully tactile and fun to hang on the washing line to create sums and do some outdoor maths. Recently I invested in a Flip-It for both kids, and a selection of the Flip-It cards. The idea is that you place a card in the Flip-It, read the card, answer the question, and then flip the card to see if you were correct. It's a nice hands-on learning experience. Not great for teaching new things, I would say, but excellent for cementing knowledge that kids have already acquired. A uses them for helping with her note recognition and times tables, for example, and they are definitely a useful revision tool, because they offer a slightly more interactive experience than simply reciting tables or looking at them on a page. They are made of cardboard, so are not the most solid items known to man. If your kids are on the destructive side, might be best to steer clear. And make sure they are put away after use, because if they were trodden on, I fear they may not live to flip another card.

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