How to Make A Necklace. Procedural Text Investigation Provocation

Procedural Text Investigation Provocation

This term in Grade One we are exploring Procedural Texts. The children will be writing a simple procedural text as their assessment piece. To help them explore the structure of Procedural Texts, we have many of our Investigation Areas set up with procedures for the children to read and follow.

Grade One Assessment. Creating a Procedural Text

Links to the Curriculum

One of the most popular Investigation Areas has been the Art and Craft provocation – How to Make a Necklace. When designing a provocation many curriculum objectives are considered. This provocation reinforces many learning intentions:


  • Read and comprehend a procedural text.
  • Explore the structure of a procedural text.


  • Create, record and continue a repeating pattern.
  • Counting to 30.
  • One-to-one correspondence.
  • Sorting by size, shape and colour.
  • Functional problem solving.


  • Investigate materials and their properties.

Fine Motor

  • Developing the pincer grip.
  • Translation, shift and rotation refinement.
  • Visual Perception and Discrimination skills.
  • Hand – Eye coordination.

Social and Emotional Skills

  • Sharing, turn taking and cooperation
  • Feeling of success which boosts self-esteem.
Beading Provocation. How to Make a Necklace
Provocation - How to Make a Necklace
Beading promotes fine motor skills
Beading promotes fine motor skills.

Setting Up the Procedural Text Investigation Area

This Investigation Area has been designed to be used by up to 4 children. Many more than 4 children request to work here each day, but it was limited to only 4 at any time. Allowing only a smaller number of children to work in this area encourages the children to take turns and negotiate conflicts. This number is also the perfect size for socialising and encouraging the children to help each other. Designing smaller spaces and limiting the number of children in any Investigation Area helps with engagement, oral language and noise levels.


A selection of beads in small dishes

Provide acrylic, glass and wooden beads in a variety of sizes, colours and shapes. Present the beads in small clear dishes if possible as this allows the children to visually discriminate between the beads.

A piece of white fabric or card

Placing the small dishes of beads on a piece of white fabric or card is visually appealing and allows the true colours of the beads to be seen. It also encourages the children to keep the space orderly as the bead dishes have an obvious organisational place.

Acrylic beading string

Our strings were purchased pre-cut but it would have been preferable to have the children measure and cut the string length themselves. The acrylic Scoubi string is ideal for beading projects with young children. It doesn’t fray. The string is strong enough that no threading needle is necessary and yet flexible enough to easily knot. This durable string won’t break and the completed necklace hangs nicely around the child’s neck.

4 pieces of felt

The felt makes a great beading work mat. The beads won’t roll off the table and end up in the cleaner’s vacuum cleaner. The children can easily plan their necklace pattern by laying the beads on the felt without the frustration of having their beads roll away. An alternative to felt would be pieces of grip mat.

How to Make a Necklace Procedure

This could be one large poster text on the wall or small individual texts on the table. If you choose to have the smaller texts, ensure you have at least 2 laminated copies. Laminating the procedure or placing it in a plastic sleeve will ensure it stands up to the wear and tear of continued use.

Printed planning sheets

Children will record their planned pattern on these planning sheets. Place them in a tray or basket off to the side. The children will need to access them easily but they should not intrude on the work space. Having them in a tray or basket keeps them confined and again encourages the children to keep the space orderly.

Tin of colouring pencils or crayons

Children record their necklace pattern by colouring the beads on their planning sheet. Ensure the beads you offer have a matching colour pencil or crayon in the tin.

Teaching procedural texts with this play based provocation
How to Make a Necklace. Investigation Area
Scoubi string is perfect for little hands to bead with
Scoubi string is perfect for little fingers to bead with
Felt makes a great mat for beading projects.
A felt mat will stop your beads from rolling away
Free printable planning sheet and procedural text for teaching children procedural texts
Planning Sheet and Procedural text

Download and print your FREE Procedure and Planning Sheet to have this Investigation Area up and running in your classroom today!

If you would like these free resources, you might like to join My Teaching Cupboard’s Email Group. I don’t send out emails very often though. You will get access to my FREE Resource Library when you sign up. In the FREE Resource LIbrary, you’ll find the Necklace Planning Sheets and the Procedure for How To Make a Necklace along with some other resources I know you’ll find useful.

Free printable planning sheet and procedural text for teaching children procedural texts
STEAM activities for the Early Childhood Classroom

STEAM Activities

Looking for STEAM activities to challenge your children?

I designed 30 STEAM activities presented as stimulus prompt cards. They engage and challenge my children as they explore concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. STEAM activities take STEM activities to the next level. The A (Arts) gives children the opportunity to develop their creative thinking skills alongside their critical thinking skills.

STEAM classroom

Why teach STEAM?

STEAM activities are gaining popularity in today’s classrooms.  They give children opportunities to develop the skills that will be essential in their future. Employers will be sourcing workers with STEAM capabilities. It makes sense to be developing these skills early.

The STEAM curriculum is highly engaging. Children love the challenges of solving problems and approach these activities with enthusiasm.  The activities provide opportunities for hands-on learning and integrate seamlessly into the play based classroom.

Another benefit of incorporating STEAM activities into the classroom is the social aspect. Children are encouraged to collaborate to solve a problem and create a new way of expressing their ideas. Both social skills and oral language skills are always a focus in an early childhood classroom and STEAM challenges are an ideal way to foster them.

The process of working together allows children to learn from each and see solutions they may not have independently thought of. Higher order thinking skills are developed through STEAM activities and include both critical and creative thinking skills.

It’s important to remember the process is the focus of any STEAM activity. The end product is not as important as how it was created. The journey is where the learning happens.

The beauty of STEAM activities is that everyone has something to offer. Everyone can succeed. The activities are innately differentiated. As they do in play, children will work in their zone of proximal development.

What it Looks Like in My Classroom

Whole Class STEAM Challenges

Once a week I timetable in a whole class STEAM challenge. I display the specific prompt straight from the .pdf file onto our interactive panel.

Sometimes the children work individually but more often I have them work with a friend. I like them working collaboratively. Sometimes the children choose their partner and sometimes I choose for them. I usually tell the children who their partner will be as I have noticed if a more able student works with a less able, everyone stays engaged and greater learning takes place.

STEAM prompt for whole class lesson

Later in the year, after the children are familiar with the STEAM activities, I might put 3 children together. However, this changes the whole dynamics and sometimes has one child as a spectator so I prefer groups of 2. Collaboration is important as social skills are fostered during STEAM work.

Link STEAM to the Curriculum

I plan a STEAM challenge with the curriculum learning intentions in mind. I decide if I want a Math, English or Science focus. Here are a few examples of some of our challenges:


  • How many ways can you represent this number using these resources?
  • How many ways can you represent this shape?
  • Use these materials to make a ruler.
  • Use the materials to make a tool to measure length.



  • Use these resources to make this book character.
  • Make the setting from this book with these resources.
  • Design an object that has the /ow/ sound in its name.


I set a time limit on their working time. This helps with engagement and creates a sense of urgency. When the timer goes, we all down tools and I nearly always get complaints! I set the timer for 15 to 20 minutes and give 5 minute and 1 minute warnings.  Before I press start on the timer, I remind children to think about how they will be representing their knowledge. I like to give the partners a chance to discuss and plan first.

What resources should you offer?

The resources I provide are planned and already prepared. If I’m organised, they are compiled into clip-lock bags. At other times, I put trays or baskets containing the resources around the room and the children are given time to collect the supplies themselves. This happens before the timer starts. Always check each group has the correct supplies before that timer starts.

I have compiled a comprehensive list of resources that I use for my STEAM challenges. You can download the full list for FREE in my Resource Library. If you would like a couple of pages from the full list, I have a sample here.

I use resources that are readily available in early childhood classrooms and if not, they can be purchased cheaply.

DOWNLOAD a Free sample of My Teaching Cupboard's FREE STEAM Resources List
List of easily accessible classroom resources I use in my STEAM Challenges.
Full List of STEAM Resources

If you liked the sample list of resources, you might like to join My Teaching Cupboard’s Email Group. I don’t send out emails very often though. You will get access to my FREE Resource Library when you sign up. In the FREE Resource LIbrary, you’ll find the full STEAM resource list along with some other resources I know you’ll find useful.

4 Steps in Planning Resources

1. Building Base: When planning the resources to provide in a STEAM activity, I always have 1 or 2 construction materials. These act as a building base. Paper, card or playdough are common. I have many more options in the free download list though. You can easily alter these base materials by changing their attributes. Think about changing the size, shape, colour or texture of paper offered.

2. Joiners: Next, I’ll choose something the children can use to join the base materials. Glue, tape, string or wire perhaps. Again, these can be altered. Glue could be either a glue stick, PVA in a squeeze bottle or maybe a tub of Clag. Tape might be cello-tape, masking tape or washi tape. These are usually included in their clip-lock bag but sometimes I will just tell the children they are free to use glue if they wish. It is interesting to see which glue they use when given that option.

3. Tools: Then I add something that can alter the base building material. Scissors or paper punches might be an option for paper and card. If you are having a focus on measuring in Math, add a ruler as a tool. Pop sticks and toothpicks make great little tools to alter playdough.

4. Creative Oddball: Finally, I add a creative oddball. This inclusion takes the activity from a STEM to a STEAM challenge. I’ll usually look at the collage trolley for some inspiration. I might include a black and a white feather, or 3 pompoms of different sizes, or maybe even all of these. The children are not always required to use every resource I provide unless of course I make that a rule at the start. They are not allowed to use any other materials or tools other than those I provide though.

Each group gets exactly the same resources.

You might like to repeat the challenge the following week but change the materials supplied. This benefits the children by helping them build on prior knowledge. You will notice them incorporate newly learned ideas a second time around.

Sharing time

It is very important to review and reflect on the STEAM challenge with the children. This reflection helps the children process their learning and thinking. When the timer goes, we stop building immediately. After the initial “Ohhh Nooo!”, we clean up our work space. Then the children are free to walk around and observe other teams results. I often hearing them question each other or offer some constructive feedback to one another.

We will then return to the carpet meeting place and have a class discussion reflecting on the task. Some points we might discuss include:

  • How effective were the materials for this task?
  • What’s another material you would have liked included?
  • What problems did you face? How did you tackle that problem?
  • What was successful for you? Why?
  • Was there too much time allowed or not enough?
  • What would you change next time?
  • Did you see a great idea from another team?
STEAM challenge. Can you build a castle?
STEAM challenge. Can you make a tree?
STEAM challenge. Can you make a pyramid?

Investigation Prompts

I have a play-based classroom. The STEAM activity cards I have designed play a vital role as provocations in my investigation areas.

I use them regularly at the play dough table, in the box construction area, at the wooden blocks, with lego and at the collage table. The prompt card I choose to display always relates to a current curriculum learning intention. I plan and design specific provocations around both the learning intention and the resources I have.

3D Shape Provocation:   When we were learning about 3D shapes, I set up this provocation on a small table. Desert sand (purchased at the pet shop) was placed in a tray. Next to the tray, I offered some small wooden blocks, some glass gems and a few pop sticks and matchsticks. These resources were presented in bowls next to the prompt card on display. I try to add something which is not obviously related to the task (like the glass gems). It’s interesting to see whether the children choose to use that material and what they do with it.

STEAM challenge. Pyramid building prompt.
STEAM Challenge. Farm prompt

Farm Provocation:   When we were learning about living things and their habitats,  I added this STEAM prompt to our blocks construction area. I offered some farm animals, blocks, fabric and stones. Sometimes the children will get a resource from another part of the classroom and I encourage that resourceful thinking. These STEAM challenges are not as strict as the whole class activities.

Another strategy I have found useful is to take the STEAM prompt from a whole class challenge and then place it in an investigation area the following week. This is a wonderful way to have children expand their thinking and build on what they learned in the whole class lesson.

Looking for STEAM activities to challenge your children?

You will love these 30 STEAM cards. I designed them as stimulus prompts for children exploring concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. These inviting prompts will help your children develop their higher order thinking skills by challenging them to think both creatively and critically.

You will receive a .pdf file containing 30 STEAM Prompt cards. They are presented in A4 format but can easily be reduced in size by choosing the tiled option on your printer. You might like to print 2 or 4 to a page. I do recommend printing them at a high quality to achieve the stunning quality.

Play dough Flowers. A sensory number provocation

Play dough Flowers— Number Provocations

I always link the provocations in my play-based investigation areas to our class learning intentions. I designed these play dough flowers for some number provocations I had in mind. They have turned out to be quite a handy resource.

I’ve frequently used them to teach number concepts in a variety of ways. I have been using them in quick transition activities, math warm-ups and also in whole class math games. They have been useful as a resource for my explicit teaching lessons too.  These flowers are ideal for use in quite a few different number provocations. I’ve outlined some number provocations and a few other ideas below.

These number flowers are a great addition to your playdoh table
Number provocation at the play dough table
Play dough provocation with printable flowers

I wanted a hands-on, sensory provocation to teach some number concepts. These flowers were originally designed to be used at the play dough table. The children loved them and before long number provocations started popping up everywhere! It seems I’m grabbing them more often for other areas in my classroom too.

They have come in handy when we study living things (plants) in Science. I always get them out for Spring. Our classroom is full of flowers in Spring.

Here are some of the ways I have used these Number Flowers in my classroom:

As number provocations in our Investigation Areas
  • In sensory tubs with sand, dirt, gravel or rice and a few empty plant pots, some gardening gloves and a couple of gardening trowels.
  • As a stimulus at the play dough table with either plant pots or cups so they can squash the play dough into the cup and plant their flowers.
  • With flower pots in the Dramatic Play space or just in a large vase for rearranging.
  • In a plant pot or vase as a display at the Science Nature table.
  • With counters and a number line at the Math table.
  • With some tins and cups at the Blocks area.
As a game, math warm-up or transition activity—give each child a flower
  • (numerals & words) and ask them to find their matching flower friend.
  • Or find a flower friend one more than you (or one less, before you or after you on the number line).
  • Ask them to put themselves in order (make a number line).
  • Put a large vase (or small bucket) at the front of the room and count forwards, backwards or skip count together. When a child’s flower is said, they put their flower in the bucket.
  • Sit in a circle and give clues to the secret flower eg: I’m the number before 7. The correct flower child stands up.
  • Make 2 sitting lines down each side of the carpet area. Give the children in one line numeral flowers and the other line number word flowers. The lines face each other and the teacher either says a number or a number clue. The children with the correct flower stand up and run across the middle carpet space to swap places. We call this game, Cross the River.

The .pdf file contains 42 number flowers in a variety of colours. They have been made using Queensland Beginner’s Font. Both numerals and words for numbers 0 to 20 are included. They have been designed to be printed on A4 paper or card. There are 6 flowers to each page. If you wanted them to be a smaller size, you could tile the printing to have 12 flowers to a page.

Cardboard Box Town

Our Box Town has been a favourite during Learning Play over the past few weeks. Every child has contributed to the construction even though the project was first initiated by just one child.

We started with some heavy card packing boxes opened out flat. These were joined with grey plastic packaging tape which in turn became the roads of the town. The children used permanent markers to draw a dotted line down the centre of each road.

Then the children started to move in. You were not allowed to play in the town unless you lived there – that means you had to construct a house! Most of the occupants covered small boxes with paper and either drew on or stuck on doors and windows. They found the roof construction quite a challenge but I loved the discussions around 2D and 3D shapes and the measuring that took place in order to get the perfect fitting roof was wonderful.

Once your house was finished, you could purchase a rectangle of green paper (for a very cheap $5.00 in play money) and decide where in the town you would like to live. This is when the beach went in. Quite a few children wanted to live near the beach and land in this prime location sold quickly.

I introduced the cars and we decided that if your house had a garage, you could keep the car of your choice permanently in your garage. We also added a round-a-bout, some car parks, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and road signs.

Next came the hospital and of course after we read a big book about hospitals, we just had to add a helipad to the roof. A few children decided we needed a park and lagoon and set about building one close to the hospital so that the sick people could look out their windows and see something beautiful.

Once the beautiful park and lagoon went in, the real estate at the beach was not so sort after and a few children sold their beach homes to others in the class that had not yet made a house. The properties surrounding the park sold quickly and it was not long before a McDonalds was suggested.

The playground at McDonalds had a slide that crossed the road – oh what fun! I took this opportunity to discuss marketing and soon there were signs advertising McDonalds on every available corner.
The marketing discussion led to other franchise giants and before long we had a Westfield Shopping Centre complete with a rooftop carpark and a lift to the ground floor. It was very interesting for me to see the two children that worked on the Westfield Centre also put up a Block of Units so that visiting children from other classes and siblings could have a place to stay and hence get around my “not allowed to play in the town unless you lived there” rule.

Next came the very popular zoo and a vets. One town resident decided to take the crocodile from the zoo and put it in the lagoon at the park. Needless to say, a Police Station was quickly constructed and it went up right next door to the zoo prankster’s home.


This has been a wonderful learning experience for all of us. There are many more buildings and essential community projects planned but I can see their interest is starting to drop off and each day there are fewer requests to play in the town…. where to next I wonder?

Explicit Direct Instruction Blog Post

Explicit Teaching

FREE Explicit Direct Instruction Lesson Template
Explicit Direct Instruction Lesson Template

After watching a One Channel session on Explicit Teaching, I ordered this book and I am so glad I did. I have just finished reading it and it makes so much sense to me.

This text offers a proven method for better teaching and better learning. It presents a step-by-step approach for implementing the Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) approach in classrooms. It is based on educational theory, brain research, and data analysis.  EDI helps teachers deliver effective lessons that can significantly improve achievement in all grade levels.

The authors discuss characteristics of EDI, such as:

  • checking for understanding
  • lesson objectives
  • activating prior knowledge
  • concept and skills development
  • guided practice.

I like how they provide clearly defined lesson design components. There are detailed sample lessons with easy-to-follow lesson delivery strategies. The text even has scenarios that illustrate what EDI techniques look like in the classroom.

I plan on using the EDI approach in my own classroom so I designed a blank lesson template to help me plan more effectively. It is available in my FREE Resource Library if you would like to download a copy.

Components of Explicit Direct Instruction


The purpose of the objective is to describe what students will be able to do by the end of the lesson. It must match the independent practice and be clearly stated to the children. Objectives state a concept (main idea), a skill (measurable student behaviour) and sometimes a context (condition).

Lesson Importance

Teaching why the lesson content is important is called TIB at our school. TIB stands for This Is Because.

Lesson Introduction

This is where you activate children’s prior knowledge and connect to what students already know about the objective’s concept or skill. Check for understanding before progressing in the lesson. In fact, it is recommended that you check for understanding continuously throughout the entire lesson.

Body of the Lesson

Consists of three main parts taken directly from the lesson objective.

I do

In this part of the lesson the teacher is modelling how to do it. Students are questioned on: What, Where & How. The concept and vocabulary used are taken directly from the lesson objective. The teacher provides examples and non-examples. Again the teacher should check for understanding by ensuring students interact with the new concept. The interaction can be done by having the students restate, apply or justify.  An Academic Rule should be clearly written and it should reveal the attributes specific to the lesson concept.

We do

This is where the teacher implements guided practice. Skills and concepts are practised step by step with the students. Teacher and student work together at the same time. Working problems together to prove the students have mastered the objective.

You do

Aim for 80 to 100% success.

  • Can students execute the skill?
  • Can students describe the concept?
  • Can students tell why it is important to learn this?
Explicit Direct Instruction Lesson Template FREE at My Teaching Cupboard blog.
Explicit Direct Instruction Lessons explained. FREE Template on this blog.
Explicit Direct Instruction with a free lesson template.

Independent Practice

During Independent practice students successfully practise exactly what they were just taught without teacher assistance. The purpose here is repetition. Repetition helps the students remember & store the new information in their long term memory.

Independent Practice time is the perfect opportunity for the teacher to provide in-class intervention to struggling learners.

Points to Remember

  • Check for Understanding continually.
  • Verify that students are learning.
  • Explain: Teaching by telling.
  • Model: Teaching using think alouds.
  • Demonstrate: Teaching using physical objects.
TAPPLE for Explicit Direct Instruction lessons
FREE Explicit Direct Instruction Lesson Template
Explicit Direct Instruction Lesson Template

If you would like a FREE lesson plan template, join My Teaching Cupboard’s Email Group. I don’t send out emails very often though. You will get access to my FREE Resource Library when you sign up. In the FREE Resource LIbrary, you’ll find the planning template I use for the Explicit Direct Instruction lessons I do in my classroom. The FREE Resource Library also has some other resources I know you’ll find useful.