Each project has three phases in it. In the first phase, we begin to gather information with both the children and with your teaching team. The first phases is typically about one to two weeks.
As I shared in the last post, the teachers gather information by creating the anticipatory web. We begin, with the children, by creating a web of what the children know. For children who have been a part of the project experience before, they have lots to share and typically do not need any prompts. The younger children often begin to tell you personal stories where you are able to identify what they know from those stories. For example, a child might say, “I have a tree in my back yard that has apples on it.” As the teacher, you might say, “So what you are saying is that you know apples grow on trees?” After being at the Engaging Young Minds Training with Lilian Katz and Sylvia Chard last July, we also encourage the children to sketch and share stories about their personal experiences. We gain so much knowledge from the children at this time! We can even save the first time personal sketches and compare with the sketches at the end of the project. Lilian and Sylvia taught us the importance of these stories as we followed this same procedures in our adult project.
Check out our knowledge web with the children!
Please let us know how your knowledge webs! What are you strengths? What do you feel your weakness are when creating the web? Do you have any frustrations? Please share, your concerns, thoughts, or ideas can help someone else!
“The greatest motivational act one person can do for another is to listen.”-Roy Moody
Keep Growing and Inspiring!
The most important thing to remember when doing project work is that the best project is the ones the teachers learn from as well. My assistant and I are always really excited to find out what we will learn next! We have learned so much from our past projects and we know we will learn the same amount if not more from our Tree Project. We then have our own questions to add to the children’s web and when the children ask us a question, we can honestly answer. I don’t know, let us write that question down!
Tree Anticipatory Web
When the new project is determined, we spend time creating an anticipatory web. This web is what we anticipate the children to want to learn or have already told you they want to learn from the project. My assistant and I spend five to ten minutes brainstorming. We put each word we think of relating to trees on a post-it note. An example for this web was apple tree, leaves, stump, etc. Once we have stopped brainstorming ideas, we begin to put them in categories. After we place them in categories, we create a large web on paper. We then use each of the terms and add them under a heading for the category. We then add our curriculum domains and our curriculum objectives. We also add Spanish, Greek (my home language), and Sign Language to our web. We will then incorporate these terms in those languages in our classroom. We typically start off small by only having five words in all three languages. As interest persist, we will add more.
This web is a working document. You will add to it or maybe even change directions. For instance, you could have started a web on boats. The web might also have a category on fish. You might find out several weeks after webbing that the interest is actually fish. You would then re-web using fish as the middle.