A Place to Connect Teachers and Support Children

Archive for May, 2013

Culmination

The children have been discussing ways to culminate our theatre project. After much deliberation in large groups, small groups, and one on one with a teacher the children decide to make posters with the list of items each classroom can prepare to create their own play in their classrooms. Children took turns sounding out words, writing the words, and creating pictures for the posters. We plan on continuing this work into tomorrow and then distributing.

Here is our work so far!

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The Power of a Child

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to attend a training called Engaging Young Minds which was taught by the WONDERFUL Lilian Katz and Sylvia Chard. This conference taught me many things that I use on a daily basis in my classroom. One of the ideas that we were taught at the conference was the idea of having a treasure chest. A treasure chest is a container with materials for the children to represent with anytime. At the conference, we were broken into groups and each had a project of our own that we started and finished. We had to fully engage in each of the three phases of the projectOne of the items that I used when I represented for the project I did during the training was aluminum foil. Prior to this conference, the only time I would have used aluminum foil would have been to cover my food up at home! This morning, I set out the treasure chest for the children to represent several bird’s nests that we had been talking about over the course of the last few days. I had recently added aluminum foil as one of the items to the chest.

One of our children worked with the aluminum foil for an hour and a half. After he was done, he encouraged his friends to join him to see his accomplishment. The friends gathered and began to clap for him sharing comments such as, “I knew you could do it! You worked so hard!” “That is amazing!” and “Wow! Can you teach me?”

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Creating music

The beauty of project work is the collaboration we have from the children and the families. The children are so invested in the project that they continue to add, ask questions, and tell families what they have done with the current project.

On Monday, a child brought in a book that had a classic children’s song in it. She shows it off to her friends. She then says, “Look! This is the coolest part!!” She then turns to the back page and shows off the staff filled with musical notes. She encourages a friend to join and the two girls re-create a staff based on the staff from the book. They then take their work over to the xylophone and play the keys.

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Community Building

This time of year is always sad for us as we are saying goodbye to our kindergartners (several of them whom we have had for two to three years or had their families for years!). We have built such strong relationships with those families and children we feel as if we are losing a part of our family. This year is especially sad as our assistant of five years left our program to pursue her degree. Although we wish her well and are thrilled to have the newest addition, Christy, in our classroom, we are all dealing with several transitions and our emotions are high.

As all of us are going through the many transitions that this time of year brings, we are beginning to reinvent our classroom community. We will continue to do this over the course of the next few months as we bring in new faces, families, and friends into our room. Today, as a classroom community builder, we worked together to solve the problem of the Human Knot. In the Human Knot, children are to cross their hands in front of them and hold their peer’s hands and try to get out of the “knot” by not dropping their peers hands.

Several children were able to master this task quickly and decided that the fewer children that play the easier it is to get out. So far, the children have been able to make it out of the “knot” with seven children. We will continue adding on as the children are interested.

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Exposing children to new experiences

This group of children sits together and creates representation of stages from what they have learned so far during our musical/theater project. One of our students did his first representation using three dimensional materials! Often times I am asked how our children are able to do a specific task and I always respond by exposure, exposure, exposure! This little guy was exposed to these materials for some time and then he created a three dimensional model, labeled the materials, and shared his work. All new skills for him!

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Notes, Notes, Notes

The children had been wondering about the musical notes that they have been seeing in several of our books that we have been using for our project work. Meghan, our curriculum student, spent several weeks introducing the beats, musical notes, and various types of music. On this particular day, the children identified the notes on a staff by playing a bean bag game. Meghan set up the game by using painters tape on our carpet, she introduced the staff and the notes on a staff and then began to play the game. The children threw a bean bag on the staff and would then identify the notes. Later Meghan used the staff to teach the children about how to play the notes on an instrument using a xylophone and the marimba outside.

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SAU Students

Our SAU students have been in full swing this last month and have been finishing their hours this last week.  Stay tuned for some posts about the lessons that the girls presented to the children that coincided with our project work and the children’s questions. For those of you tuning into our blog for the first time, we are a lab school for the University and receive students in all grade levels to observe, teach lessons, and learn about Early Childhood.  Each class has a different set of expectations that we help the student follow when they are with us.

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