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Posts tagged ‘expert’

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?


Our “Expert” visit

In early July, we had a visit from our expert, Polly Guy.  Polly’s daughter, Ava, graduated our program in May.  Polly’s pregnancy was what began our interest in babies and so the children were thrilled to have a visit from our old friend Ava as well as her new addition to her family. Lily was about six weeks old at the time of her visit.  The children were excited to see Lily and began by only watching her as she moved. The children watched as Lily moved, cooed, and cried!  They then started to ask questions.

The Leapfrogs had several questions that they wanted answered.  We also observed and even had a chance to touch her.  Some children held her hand, others touched her skin, and others felt her little toes.  The children were excited when even Kara and Mahi got to hold Lily.  The children started to squeeze in to get a closer look at Lily in our hands.  Some questions were:

•How do you dress babies?
•How do babies eat?
•Why do babies cry?
•Can boys have babies?
•Why do babies wear diapers?
•Can Lily crawl? Walk?
•Do you have a diaper bag and what’s in it?
•Why do you have to burp babies?
•Do babies eat a lot?
•Do babies spit up?
After asking all of our questions, we prepared to go outside.  We meet the Guy family outside to watch what Lily’s car seat looked like and how everything worked.  Polly graciously moved her car so that we could see the infant seat, the mirror she used to watch Lily, and the base.  She then pulled out the stroller and taught us how it folded and unfolded.  She then taught us by showing us how to attach the car seat to the stroller.After Polly’s visit, the children discussed everything at lunch.  Addi (3.4) tells Mahi, “My baby Anni has a stroller.  On her stroller is a canopy!  Just like our baby seat! The bouncer too!” Keegan (4.2) shares, “all infant seats need a base.  The man in the video said you can turn the baby seat at one year old.  We should write that down somewhere.”

Brad’s Visit

During each project, we ask an expert to come in or we go visit them in their work place.  We pick these experts very carefully and we talk to them about project work so they are prepared for what we will be doing, asking, and participating in when we are with them. We begin the process of finding an expert by asking our families first!   Often times the best expert or connection is made through our families!!  As we start a project, we start to think of possibilities or avenues we can go down to find an expert or a place to visit.  This is unlike the “traditional” field trip that is seen in the upper elementary schools.  We prepare the expert by offering them the questions we have created, tell them about what our children have already learned and their age group, offer them an overview of project work, and what a typical expert visit looks like.  This would include explaining that we want the children to ask questions, create sketches of their materials, and use child friendly language.  We ask the expert to join us in the traditional clothing of the specific job if possible.

Brad Visits the Leapfrogs

Brad was a parent of one of our children.  He had gone to school to study horticulture and was excited and willingly to share his knowledge!  He began by introducing himself and telling children about his passion.  He then began to answer questions of the children.  We helped get the children started by going over our web of questions that we had prepared previously. The children then began to be more comfortable and started to ask more questions!  We asked each question off the web and the answer was documented directly off the web.  Brad was apprehensive to bring in his tools as they were dangerous for our age group.  He decided to sketch a picture of each of the tools he used based on the children’s questions.  Typically, we would ask the “expert” to bring in any clothing and items that he would use to perform his job.  We would then take the opportunity to sketch the items that the expert brought in. 

With two teachers in the room, Kara and I split up tasks during this time.  We are supporting children by using tracking statements to support their learning , encouraging children by talking about what they see, helping children label or document their thoughts, and taking TONS of pictures.  Often times, we like to video a speaker so we can return to the information later.  When Kara and I are photographing, we are making sure to photograph picture of the children engaged in their work, taking pictures of the actual objects being shown (vest, sheers, saw), and the speaker.  We are then able to go back to these pictures to create more sketching, label the items in the pictures, and to form representations of the objects that we had seen with materials in our treasure chest.

In Brad’s visit, he began with introducing himself.  He then answered all of our questions from our question web.  As the children took in his information and thought of more questions, he spent some time sharing what he had brought.  He also showed us several pictures of trees including Evergreen Trees, Oak Trees, and Maple Trees.   He also showed us the biggest trees in the United States, different types of pine cones, and drew us pictures of the tools he used.

Later that day, we spent time going over each question that we had on our web and answering based on our interview of our expert.  Several children spent time making representations from his visit including sketches, labeled drawings, and three-dimensional representations made in clay, with recycled materials, and in model magic.

Grace sketches how a tree grows.

In a classroom setting or a home-school setting, taking time to visit the expert or the facility in which you are studying is important!  It offers children the opportunity and empowers the children to ask questions and learn!  They are able to take a front seat to their learning which as an adult, I learn so much more when I am in the driver’s seat and not stuck along for the ride! 

Enjoy the ride!


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