These printable student helper desk mats offer the perfect level of support for young early readers beginning to write independently the Early Years.
A few years ago I worked in a Junior Primary classroom that had all sort of bits and pieces littering the desks students were using.
And I do mean littering.
There was an alphabet strip with the letters from A-Z plus a Jolly Phonics card showing all the letters, pictures and sounds.
They had a mini hundred chart for maths.
There was a skinny number line with all the numbers from 1-20 as well.
Then there was another tag with their name on it.
And they had a clip ring of sight words they could flick through plus their pencil case and a shared pot with glue, scissors and sharpeners in as well on every table.
Add some books, waterbottle and the occassional treasure found at lunch time and most children were finding it hard to contain all of this stuff to their tabletops.
It was a constant struggle.
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All of those carefully created resources seemed to be doing the opposite of what they were meant too.
As a teacher I knew all of these tools could be useful but individually they had the opposite effect for most of the pre-writers in class.
They were cluttering up the classroom and students were wasting time sifting through all their help or not remembering to use them at all.
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There are things that needed to stay on the tables like water bottles but we moved off the pots of glue and scissors. We need them sometimes but not every lesson.
My solution for the rest of the mess?
I created one easy to read A4 desk mat which brought together all of those individual resources into one master student desk helper!
Perfect for any Early Years setting, they have proved invaluable support for the children's first independent writing attempts.
Originally I created one with Jolly Phonics sounds but now I've created a desk mat for classrooms who don't use Jolly Phonics for their literacy instruction.
This desk mat is formatted similarly to our original Jolly Phonics printable but in place of the Jolly Phonic images, I have used photo images to support the initial letter sound or digraph featured in print.
Teaching in Australia, I received many messages wishing our desk mats came in state fonts so I have also created desk mats in SA Beginner, NSW/ACT Manuscript, Qld Beginner and Vic Modern Cursive fonts as well.
Alternatively you might find our Soundwaves verion more suitable for your classroom. Or check out our other desk mats in our shop.