Children in our room have been learning about diversity through music, games and various activities. With such a high interest in music, we decided to learn more about musical instruments. We began by watching a short clip of instruments that are played in various countries. We stopped the video clip at each instrument and discussed attributes of the instruments. We then gathered items from our treasure chest (a box containing items to create two and three dimensional representations), clay, paper and writing utensils and brought that over to the table. Children choose a medium and then used that medium to represent. We currently have recreated three instruments and plan on continuing this through out the rest of the week. Later, a child asked if we could listen to music that used each of the three instruments.
Posts tagged ‘treasure chest’
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?”
The children have been very interested in Llama Llama books and have been working the last two weeks on creating scenery for the play. They have asked to read the books at group, on an individual basis, in small group, and they have also been reading the books or looking at it by themselves. This helped as we decided to create a list of all of the materials that we need to recreate this show. On this day, we spent time creating a variety of items for the show. We began by creating a car (this is how Llama gets to school). Several boys took charge using items in the classroom from our treasure chest (a chest of materials for representation activities) to recreate the car. Other children began to recreate items for the school including a sign with the word school, napkins (for snack), and shelves for the toys to stack on at the school. Stay tuned for more of our work!
The Leapfrogs had the opportunity to look at tickets and booklets from a ballet that one of our children attended over the weekend. The ballet was at a theatre called the Adler. This started some interest in the play we had already seen and generated lots of questions.
We used materials from our treasure chest. A treasure chest is what we call the container that has items that we can create collages and representations of any kind. The children used play dough to create the stage, straws as seats, towers, and lighting. Some straws held curtains while others were cut small to make the foldable seats.
Stay tuned as we continue to create, represent, and learn more about the theatre!
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!
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 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.
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!
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:
- easter grass
- wax paper
We continue investigating….