Tried and Tested: Sand Moulds

Name: Kirstin Chambers

Job title: Teacher

Class Year: Reception and Year One

Number of children in class: 60

Product being reviewed: Sand Moulds – Lowercase Alphabet and Sand Moulds – Uppercase Alphabet

Carving out lowercase letters in the sand using the sand moulds.

How did you use this product within your classroom? (e.g. whole class teaching, group work, individual, child-initiated learning)

The Sand Moulds were used as an outside resource for continuous provision. Firstly, we modelled how the children could use the letters, then we observed them. The children were very excited to use the Sand Moulds and all wanted to use them. They were also used for additional support with lower phonics interventions.

How has the resource supported learning in your classroom?

A teaching partner was on hand to observe and model use/play.  Children decided they wanted to write more after using them.

Is the product innovative? If yes, please explain how.

They are an excellent product as all the children used them and wanted to use them in ways I wouldn’t have thought.  One child made a volcano and wanted to find all of the letters to write ‘lava and volcano’, this child usually doesn’t take part in child-initiated play, but every day he has wanted to play with the letters and sand. Lots of children played in a variety of ways.

Children trying to spell out their names with sand moulds.

Please give some particular examples of where the product has positively affected an individual or the school?

A child who has previously shown no letter recognition, enjoyed using the moulds every day for over a week. They would say ‘that’s the sound in my name and would say the sound’.  Lots of children started to make words and spell out the alphabet too. They enjoyed finding the lowercase letters and matching them with the uppercase.  They were also used by my colleagues who had seen them in use and asked to borrow them in Key Stage 1 and 2 for phonics support and EAL students.

Does the resource support the work of the teacher? If yes, please explain how.

Yes, it helps as another resource for children to use and explore with.

What would you say are the greatest benefits of the product, both to you as the teacher and to your students?

The language and vocabulary that was used during play impressed myself and the teaching partners as the children were more involved and expressive about their play.  ‘I have this sound in my name, what do you have?  We have the same.’  ‘I have a capital E at the start of my name.’  ‘I would like a full stop so I can make a sentence.’  This is just wonderful to hear, especially as most of the class is EAL.

Using both lowercase and uppercase alphabet.

Do you feel this product will meet your requirements to teach the National Curriculum/Early Years Foundation Stage Framework?

Yes.

Does the product offer any support for SEND pupils? If yes, please explain why. 

Yes, it is user friendly and the students have liked the feel of the letters.  It has helped some of them with letter formation in handwriting and in phonics interventions.

How would you rate the long-term appeal of the product, both to you as the teacher, and to your students?

These will be used for many things as it has sparked the children’s ideas for play and their speech.  In the Long term, I will hide the moulds now and then so they don’t become bored.  The handy storage bag is a space saver for storage too.

Do you feel the product is unique or different from other resources in the subject area? Please provide details.

Not particularly.

How cost effective is the product in terms of the educational aims it achieves?

Fantastic!  Very useful for many things!

Children making phrases and sentences using uppercase and lowercase moulds.

Do you have any additional comments/suggestions about the product?

I may have to hide them as lots of other teachers wish to use them!  They are proving a hit with the children, anything that is easy to use with many uses and can be stored and set easily is always a teacher’s best friend. They are very useful for children who struggle to read and write.

Tried & Tested Rating!

The final score (out of 5):

Fun Factor:  5

Educational Benefits:  5

Ease of use: 5