A Place to Connect Teachers and Support Children

Posts tagged ‘Lilian Katz’

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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Bringing the Theatre to life

We did it again and followed the lead of the children which ALWAYS has its benefits. We have decided that the children were done with the zoo project which meant we would no longer continue to study the elephants, culminate, and investigate further as we would traditionally do with a project. This project has some set backs as we could not have many hands on items as it is hard to bring an elephant in a classroom (!!!), Kara and I had both come back from maternity leave and were getting used to our new room, and we had children brand new to project work.

20121207-060745.jpgAs we prepared for the play that we were going to see at the “Big Campus” or St. Ambrose University (for those of you who are new to our blog, we are their lab school), we started to have children ask questions and wonder about the theatre. Since the play, the children have dedicated their time to stages, plays, musicals, and dinner theatres. Every child has participated in the making, creating, and acting out of a production every day whether it be a five-minute or a two-hour investment. We felt like it was hard to pull in elephants with such excitement and joy for this current interest. We felt like we would be stopping this phenomenal play, interactions with children who typically did not interact, and the problem solving as they created scenery and costumes. Yesterday, my classroom staff and our director determined and made our final decision to follow their lead and begin a theatre project. This morning as children were sitting at the table and discussing what play we should create today, I shared that I thought maybe we should switch projects. The children began all talking at the same time saying:

  • “Can we study the theatre?
  • “Let’s learn about a dinner theatre?
  • “Can we find out about costumes?”
  • “Who can help us learn about it?”
  • “Can we go back to the big campus?”

This solidified our thoughts and observations, the theatre project it is! When I said, I agreed that we should do a theatre project, several children shouted, clapped, and jumped! For those of you new 20121207-060817.jpgto project work, it can be started off with a catalytic event or a continued thread of interest. The beginning of this project can be attributed to the catalytic event of the Alice in Wonderland production at the University. We will begin to create a web of what we know, the teachers will make an anticipatory web, and document our questions. As Lilian Katz has said before, “the best projects are those where everyone learns (this includes the teachers and families, too!).” The following weeks will be pure hands-on investigation as we enter the second phase of our project. To learn more about project work, select project work under the word categories.

This morning, we listened to the book, The Three Little Pigs. We created lists of items we needed, how to make each item, characters, and who would be playing each role. We then got to work! We continued to replay the story to help us gather materials and set up the play. After an hour, the production was ready! A child used a karaoke machine to narrator the story and remind characters of their positions.

Stay tuned as we learn more about the theatre!

-AIH

 

 

Knowledge Web

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!

-AIH

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