As we work on our farm project, children have been wondering what animals are on a farm. They also have been wondering if the animals think the same type of food that smells good to us smells and tastes good to the animals. This discussion arose as we learned and studied silage.
Today, after trying cabbage from our garden a child wondered if our bunny, Rio, would eat it. The children ran over calling any adult or child in their path to join them. Children all joined near the bunny and a child fed the bunny some cabbage. To the children’s surprise, he ate it! The children now wonder, “Do horses and cows like cabbage?”
You guessed it! We made it to Happy Joe’s! The children have been working over the course of the last few months learning about Happy Joe’s, the types of Pizza they make, what they need to make their pizza’s, what they might wear, what materials they might need to do their jobs, and the routine of a Happy Joe’s store. We still had some unanswered questions, so we toured the building. We learned so much while there! Each of the children had the opportunity to make their own pizza’s.
We were able to answer several of our questions but now are beginning to wonder some more things which we will begin to investigate. Stay tuned for more updates from our trip!
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.
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?
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.”
After creating our Knowledge Web, we begin to create our Question Web. This is an opportunity for the children to feel empowered. We are able to listen to their questions and by doing this we are telling them that their feelings are important to us, spend some one on one time as we write the question together, and begin to think of ways we could find our answer. When the child asks a question, we ask if we can add it to the web. The child and the teacher then walk over to the web and document their questions right away. Our web’s are positioned at the height of the child and in group so that we can continue to reference it. We spend time sounding out and identifying the letters in the question. We often times talk about the grammatical structure of our question (the children are motivated during this time and exposure during motivation is so important!). Sometimes during the creation of our Knowledge Web and during our personal stories that the children share, we begin to think of questions as well. Even the youngest children can have questions about the project, but may not be able to pose in a question format. For example, a young child may be very interested in a bird they see in a tree every day when they go outside. One day the child may ask the teacher to look at the bird. This may then produce some dialogue between the child and the teacher. The teacher may say, based on her observations and the dialogue she/he may have shared with the child during this time period, “You were really interested in that bird! Maybe you want to find out if birds live in trees? What birds eat?” If the child is verbal enough to answer yes and no, they will tell you if you are on the right track! If not, continue to observe and restate another question based on these observations. In our classroom and with this project, we added our questions to our Weeping Willow Tree.
We do set time aside for the children to ask the pressing questions that they have days after working on the knowledge web, but the question web will become the children’s working document. They, with practice and modeling, will begin to ask to add questions on during play. This will happen days and weeks after the initial creation. As teachers, we have questions, too! We add our questions on there as well.
How can you start one in your classroom?
- Start with a large piece of paper
- Start small
- Model the behavior
- Use terminology during their play such as, “I wonder how the leaves fall off trees…” or “I see squirrels in trees, but I wonder if they live there.”
- As you write the question, as the child for help!
- Encourage the children to document their own questions
As you begin your own webs, feel free to post questions here! Don’t be shy! I am sure someone out there has the same question or has been through the situation and is willingly to give you insight! We are a team here!
Everyone, everything, everyone has potential. -Claire Warden
Until next time-
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.