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Posts tagged ‘sketching’

Looking for Details

We meet again! It has been so long since I have posted and since you have visited.  Welcome back!  I will do my part (on writing more) if you do your part on visiting the blog and posting more comments.  Can you help me keep our goal?

We had been in a cooking project which lead us to cooking appliances used in the kitchen mainly the skillet, crock pot, blender and magic bullet.  We have several questions for someone who might be able to share how electricity works in relation to these items.

Today, several children joined to sketch a cord from a crock pot.  One question that has come up several times is whether or not the electricity that powers kitchen appliances is different from those that power our cell phones, lamps, etc.  A child wondered if we sketched, investigated, compared and contrasted the two cords if that would answer our question.  So, we started that journey today.20E074F8-5056-A053-5EAB8CEDC24EE7DE_456762550-15136_062315104631_NA

Above: A child (4.8) sketches the cord.  He counts five lines in the cord and draws five lines on his paper. He then identifies a square and makes it.  He then traces the rest of the cord before completing his work.

A child’s idea

Our Target project has continued and the children have begun to ask each other questions about the different departments in Target.  With this in mind, I added departments to our focus of study for project work for the next few weeks.  I underestimated all of the ways the children would want to take each department and thought that two days in each department would give the children enough time to learn and ask the few questions that they had! Boy was I wrong!  Here is where I learn from the children as they learn from me.  My plan was to use a projector both days and reflect an image of the optical center and have children role play and learn about the optical center.  I am thankful that our school’s philosophy as well as my own is to follow the children’s lead.  If I would have thought I had all the right answers, our investigation of the department would not have been as phenomenal.

On Monday, I mentioned that I would be bringing the projector in to display a picture of the optical department.  A child right away shared that we should actually create a list of items before we do this.  She brought over the Target book I had made (a book with pictures and a story line about a little child who goes through the Target store and what they see) and turned to the Optical Department.  She looked in the detail of the the picture and began to create her list.  She did this by following the words from the below text or from her own inventive spelling.  When she was done with the ideas from the book, she interviewed a child who had recently been to the doctors to get glasses.  He was able to explain to her what he had seen. She and another friend continued to create the list and prepare some items on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I brought the projector in.  I had planned on setting the picture up and encouraging children to recreate or add to the optical office. As I prepared the projector, a child said, “I think we should sketch this optical department? Can we sketch it?”  I thought this was a great idea and I wanted to see where the children would go with it.  The child gathered paper, pencils, markers, and colored pencils and encouraged friends to join him after their work was put away.  The children spent time sketching in group which is where the picture was projected.  Several children brought their papers to the wall where it was being projected.  They sketched right on the wall and would copy words as well.  This continued into today, as a child mentioned that there was a doctor who worked in the optical department and that we need to see the office as well.

As we continue our investigations, we will let you know!!

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?

 

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

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