I’ve had some excellent conversations recently with a colleague about how we achieve the holy grail of free writing from work with Cuisenaire Rods recently. We have looked at the work done by Gattegno and Goutard and Caroline Ainsworth and are trying to figure out how we make that work for our setting.

My colleague this week introduced notebooks for her class for their discoveries with rods. The invitation is for them to keep a note of their discoveries with the rods. Not missing a trick, I decided to do the same with my class.

We first spoke about discoveries from scientists and what they do with them. We talked about our discoveries with the rods and how we should remember them. Once motivated to keep a record of their discoveries, we got to trying to note them down in new special books for discoveries.

Children were encouraged to use whatever worked for them: pictures, words or symbols. We worked on writing without access to the concrete materials; this was a suggestion from Goutard. To work on the internalised and remembered structures and not to merely describe the concrete in front of them.

Here are 3 examples: