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.
As 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 to 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!