A Place to Connect Teachers and Support Children

Posts tagged ‘representation’

Exposing children to new experiences

This group of children sits together and creates representation of stages from what they have learned so far during our musical/theater project. One of our students did his first representation using three dimensional materials! Often times I am asked how our children are able to do a specific task and I always respond by exposure, exposure, exposure! This little guy was exposed to these materials for some time and then he created a three dimensional model, labeled the materials, and shared his work. All new skills for him!

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Tickets

The children came in the classroom in the morning ready to continue our work from the day before. They began by asking to look at a website we had looked at before which explained jobs at the theatre. The girls decided to take on the job of the ticket master. They used small square papers to use as tickets. Addison cut a box to use to hold the tickets. Lydia cut the paper in small pieces and began copying words from tickets we had in the room.

As more friends come to school, the preparation for the production becomes larger. They find a book called The Little Engine That Could and decide that they could recreate this into a production. Graham brings paper over and with help writes the name of the play. They then look through the story adding a list of characters on a piece of paper. Once the list is done, Addison finds a job for each friend. She calls out, “Who is going to be the girl? Nutcracker?” She then helps them find a costume to wear or make for each of the characters. The children continue to revisit the book to make sure each of their costumes is accurate.

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Tree walk

We had an opportunity to go on a walk with a parent. This was our first walk of the season so the children began to create rules for the expectations of our walk. In their rules and directions, they decided to bring one bag for litter pick up and one for the collection of tree items to investigate.  Upon our return, we had collected a whole container full of nature items which included items such as acorns, bark, branches, twigs, leaves, and pinecones.

In the afternoon, several children began to represent what they had seen on our walk.  One child added paper towel rolls around the pole in our room which we had transformed into a tree.  “I saw the roots by the tree.  Over the grass.  Like this,” he said as he added the rolls to the base of the pole. 

Another child represented another part of our walk.  He cut open a bag that had been holding our oranges from snack.  He then wrapped it around the tree.  “I saw this on a tree.  My friend told me it protects the tree.”

Nature can be added to your treasure chest or as in our room, we have to separate containers.  To learn more about the treasure chest, check out the Coconut Tree post.  We also use the nature items we brought in to sort and classify them, create patterns, use them for a scavenger hunt, count or add them, or as we did after our walk, create mobiles.

We began with sketching our ideas for our mobiles.  The children labeled and created their “plan” of what materials they would need and how they would set it up.  They then started and created mobiles which we currently have hanging in our classroom. 

To make your own mobiles in your classroom:

  • take small steps
  • view the children as capable and confident
  • gather items for the mobile
  • create the plans
  • offer children the opportunity to continue to work on these for several days
  • give the children an opportunity for trial and error
  • support the children

Enjoy the beautiful weather!

-AIH

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!

-AIH

Coconut Tree

After about two weeks of investigations, sketching, and learning about the coconut tree.  The children wanted to represent their knowledge by creating two coconut palm trees in our classroom.  One child created the plan of how to make the coconut trees and what materials needed to be gathered to begin the representing.  Kara documented all of her ideas and then the child and I went into the storage room to gather the materials.

Once in the classroom, the children began the representing!  They started by building up blocks around the poles so that the children could reach the top of the poles.  The then used tan colored paper to cover both poles.  The children used fine motor skills and based on their abilities cut the tape with scissors, tore it, and/or helped a peer in this process.  During this process, several children worked on other tasks.  Some children worked on rolling model magic into small balls.  Another group, spent time rolling or painting the model magic brown.  A child (3.3 years old) spent time in the back of the room working with the green paper and had a book near him for reference.  Kara observed him for several minutes and then asked him what he was doing.  He shared he was making slits in the green paper to make the green paper look like the palm leaves in the book. 

A child who had been to Florida before remembered that coconuts and the bark of a coconut tree had a different texture to it.  The children decided to add a thick twine to our poles and some of our coconuts. 

You can encourage children to represent by offering them a treasure chest.  A treasure chest is a box of items that we use for representing.  We started by having the children add items they thought were important to creating various items.  We continue to add as our box becomes empty.  We have a list below but the opportunities are endless!  Please let us know what is in your treasure chest if you have started one!

Some items in our treasure chest include:

  • twine
  • string
  • bark
  • twigs
  • easter grass
  • burlap
  • wax paper
  • foil
  • wire

We continue investigating….

-AIH

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