A Place to Connect Teachers and Support Children

Archive for March, 2012

The Weather Project

Another project is under our belt and we have our evidence to show from it in Powerpoint format. After each project I like to reflect on various things.  I thought I’d share those with you as well. Often times when someone comes to visit in the classroom, I’ve heard, “you make it look so easy!” I also added steps below to how we make it work in our classroom or your house! Click the link to see our work: The Weather Project

How to do project work at school/home:

  • start small
  • always use an experience the children can have that is hands-on, meaningful, real, and relevant  (the easter bunny is not real)
  • be organized
  • reflect
  • ask questions
  • don’t be afraid
  • If at first you don’t succeed try, try again!

What went well:

  • the children lead most of the project and asked for me to put specific things on the lesson plan
  • the children learned the types of clouds and shared this information with their families
  • the project gave us many opportunities to sketch  and use our imagination

What didn’t go well:

  • wish we had more time to finish the project
  • would like to have gone in-depth in more topics
  • did not have enough hands on experiences with snow

James Zhara

Our expert joined our classroom on Friday.  James Zhara, a local tv meteorologist for channel eight news, joined our classroom.  I would say he was one of our best experts we have ever had.  His high energy personality made it hard not to follow every word.  He was willing to spend time sharing his journey to becoming a meteorologist and discuss what and how things work at the station.  We also had the opportunity to ask him our questions.  Our questions were in two different formats.  We had questions from our questions web as well as pictures the children had created the week prior to his visit with more questions.  When he was done, he brought us a picture with his signature on it, he took a class picture with us, and even let us hug him per request of the children.



Creating our questions for our expert

We are now to the point with our Project Work that we are ready for our expert to come in.  We were able to get a local TV personality to come to visit our classroom on Friday.  James Zhara, a meteorologist on our local channel eight, will join our classroom.  The children are counting down the days on the calendar and at home!

As we prepared for his visit, we revisited our questions that we had started to create at the beginning of the project. We then added to those if we needed too.  The children have also created pictures on paper so they can share with him as well when he joins us.  We plan on taping and photographing his visit so we will post as soon as we can. We plan to add to this list until James’ arrival.

Some of our questions include:

  • Have you seen a real tornado?
  • Have you seen a blizzard?
  • Are their clouds at night?
  • Do cumulus clouds bring rain?
  • What is a radar?
  • How many radars do you have?
  • How do you know all that you know?
  • How many meteorologists are there?
  • How are puddles made?
  • How are lightning bolts made?


Using a book to create

At our center, each of our staff members has a goal or two which they study over the course of a year.  We also have a program goal that all of our staff studies and  a team goal that is studied by the lead teacher and the assistant teacher.  Kara (my assistant) and I have been studying ramps over the course of the last year.  We read the book, Ramps and Pathways: A Constructivist Approach to Physics with Young Children  (click the link for more information or to order!). We have decided that after reading the text that we would use the ten principles of teaching indicated in the book. Over the next ten months, we plan to use each of the ten principles and prepare lesson plans to support these principles.  We plan to follow the children’s lead but our lesson plan will offer us ideas to help support the children and ways to bring all children in to the block area to learn more about ramps and physics.

The children began to experiment with the items.  Kara and I decided that maybe the text would help facilitate some ideas.  So, we brought the book in and offered it to the children. This book sky-rocketed an extreme excitement for building structures in the block center.  This past week was our first week of investigations where we let the children explore the given materials. The children will be given the opportunity to explore the items over the course of this month.

Pictures include the children creating a structure (found in the book) to hold their ramp work.  The children spent an hour and a half creating the structure, sketching their work before clean-up so that we could recreate in the afternoon, and discussing what would make the tower work better next time.

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