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?”
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!