A Place to Connect Teachers and Support Children

Archive for May 6, 2011

Tree walk

We had an opportunity to go on a walk with a parent. This was our first walk of the season so the children began to create rules for the expectations of our walk. In their rules and directions, they decided to bring one bag for litter pick up and one for the collection of tree items to investigate.  Upon our return, we had collected a whole container full of nature items which included items such as acorns, bark, branches, twigs, leaves, and pinecones.

In the afternoon, several children began to represent what they had seen on our walk.  One child added paper towel rolls around the pole in our room which we had transformed into a tree.  “I saw the roots by the tree.  Over the grass.  Like this,” he said as he added the rolls to the base of the pole. 

Another child represented another part of our walk.  He cut open a bag that had been holding our oranges from snack.  He then wrapped it around the tree.  “I saw this on a tree.  My friend told me it protects the tree.”

Nature can be added to your treasure chest or as in our room, we have to separate containers.  To learn more about the treasure chest, check out the Coconut Tree post.  We also use the nature items we brought in to sort and classify them, create patterns, use them for a scavenger hunt, count or add them, or as we did after our walk, create mobiles.

We began with sketching our ideas for our mobiles.  The children labeled and created their “plan” of what materials they would need and how they would set it up.  They then started and created mobiles which we currently have hanging in our classroom. 

To make your own mobiles in your classroom:

  • take small steps
  • view the children as capable and confident
  • gather items for the mobile
  • create the plans
  • offer children the opportunity to continue to work on these for several days
  • give the children an opportunity for trial and error
  • support the children

Enjoy the beautiful weather!

-AIH

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Apples, Apples, Everywhere

The next kind of tree we heard the children discussing where apple trees.  The children shared their personal experiences about trees by making small apple trees.  They used tan colored paper to wrap the poles of our loft.  They then added red circles to the paper to represent an apple.  One child created a three dimensional apple using model magic and a pipe cleaner as the stem.

The children investigated three types of apples including red, green, and yellow.  The children had an opportunity to cut the apple if they would like and they were able to taste test them. After the tasting was over, the children created a graph to compare and document observations of the tree kinds of apples.  After the list was done, the children signed their names on the sign to identify which was their favorite apple.  A day later, a child decided to create her own survey on the apple tasting.  She created four different apples, red, green, yellow, and brown.  She remembered that brown was not a color of an apple they tried so she crossed it out.  She then went around to each child in the classroom asking them their favorite kind of apple.  When she was done, she counted up each vote and found out which had more and which had less.  This took so many skills in this one activity!  She met many of our objectives from the Peoria Pre-Primary Curriculum, here are a few:

  • showing beginning control of a writing or art utensil
  • writing words for work and play
  • beginning to show comfort with self as someone growing in skills and abilities
  • shows interest in quantity and number

After the investigation of the apple tree was over, a child decided that we needed to re-create the apple trees to be more accurate. They found a tree book called, How does an Apple Grow?  With the book near her, she created a list of items she needed to gather to create this tree.  With the help of her peers and a teacher, she sounded out each word and created a list.  She then gathered the materials to begin to create this new tree.  The children used tan paper but also colored various shades of brown on the tan paper.  One child shared, “not all trees are the exact color brown!”   They then cut green leaves to add to the apple tree to represent a Spring Tree.  They then created three dimensional apples by painting lids red and stuffing them with fluff or taping them together.

As a teacher, you can help support this survery or collaborative work by:

  • modeling
  • supporting the children
  • taking baby steps
  • thinking out loud with the children

It will take time to begin to make this a classroom norm, but soon it will just be another way to investigate and discovery.  The children will begin to lead these surveys without any teacher guidance! 

Until next time,

-AIH

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