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Archive for the ‘blocks’ Category

How to turn a corner?

My assistant and I have been working on a goal this year based off the ideas and concepts in the books Ramps and Pathways, which is a NAEYC publication.  Through reading the book, we felt so excited to begin the process of trying out these ideas.  We decided that each month we would plan a few lessons with open ended materials and questions to support the ten principles which are written in the book.

This is our third month and we have already learned so much.  We have decided to continue the goal through the next year as we feel we can learn so much more from the children.  We learned that we need to put more power in the children’s hands.  For instance, we planned out a lesson with intentions of what the children would use to make these ramps and tunnels.  The children had other ideas, which we followed, and were able to make tunnels and creations far beyond our thought process.

Through using Bloom’s Taxonomy and the questions that support the levels, we have heard how the children are thinking about their work, what the next step is, and what they would like to try.  The children are beginning to ask their peers these same questions such as, “Why did you need that block to make that work?”  and “How could you add something else to make it turn?”

The children have been using the NAEYC book as a reference and decided after their investigations all week that we needed to create our own book.  Currently, we have five pictures of the children’s work and several sketches.  This morning, the children opened the ramp book and began to re-create their work.  They then started to add on to their work and try to determine how to turn a corner.  We will add more photos after today’s work.

Check out our work: How to turn a corner

Has anyone worked with ramps in their classroom? At home?  What are you using to create ramps?

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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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