# What Math Center’s look like in PreK 2

3 to 4 times a week we have Math Centers, after a whole group math mini-lesson, game or activity on the carpet. Usually 3 or 4 tables will be set up with games or math concept based activities. We rotate the centers depending on interest and what math skills we are focusing on. We often introduce new ones, but keep familiar ones in the loop.

This center time ranges from 20-35 mins depending on the interest or focus level of the children on a particular day. Sometimes Dodo or I do sit at one table and lead a focused activity, but most often these centers are for the children to independently explore. Children should be allowed to practice their working theories on the math concept that they are learning, independently-there can be no wrong learning here! Their exploration and play is their work!

It is very interesting to see how different children will utilize one set of cards in multiple ways. One child arranges the cards by numerical order. One child matches same numbers together and another child matches cards by color. Another uses the bear counters and practices one-to-one correspondence. All ways are correct and productive for their learning and at this point in their development, we do not worry whether or not they are correct with their reasoning. Letting the children explore gives them a hands on approach to problem solving their theories. Encouraging children to explore in their own way gives them ownership in their leaning and builds confidence when approaching new challenges. Children work in mix developmental levels. The peer to peer learning is more effect at this age than teacher to student. Watching their friends demonstrate their math thinking encourages children to try new ways to problem solve. They are being exposed to the big idea that learning looks different and that we can learn from each other.

Current math studies have found that children learn best and become more fluent in conceptual math when they can utilize their own algorithms rather than replicating procedural ways of producing math answers. Spending the early learning years exploring math as open-ended,conceptual based and hands on helps create a solid math foundation for problem solving skills later on.

# Creations

When your child brings home a “Creation” made from various scraps of paper and/or recyclables taped together, take them seriously and look at them as though they were a mini engineer, architect or designer.

They have taken simple household recyclables and used their representation and symbolic thinking to create something great from their imagination. They take their time and consider each step of the process, planning out where to connect each new piece of paper or plastic/cardboard item. While they work they are excited to describe what they are making and have discussions with other children about different details of their and other’s work.

When children bring home their “Creations” ask them to explain what they have made and ask them questions with interest about their machines, cars, robots, houses…..etc. I am sure that you will be surprised by their amazing imaginations and working theories.

# Learning Comes Alive

Learning Comes Alive is a great opportunity for parents to spend time with their children in their learning environment. For young students, parents can get a better sense of their child as a learner when they see them engaged in hands-on activities, rather than observing them in a more formal lesson.

Making creations with different objects is something we do often in The Caterpillar room. Young learners show their complex thinking and problem solving skills when they use the recyclables to create from their imagination.

# The Caterpillars Pick Their Favorite Photos

After a few weeks of practicing taking photos with the Ipads, the Caterpillars have picked their favorite photos.  I spent some time with each student looking over their photos in reflection.  I asked them questions about the general quality (i.e. Is this too blurry? Can you see the person’s face?) After the students picked their one favorite photo, I asked them; what is it a photo of and why did they like it.  As you can see their choice of favorite photo and their reasons why are not just “cute”. They are interesting, playful, artful and capture quick and sometimes magical moments in their day.

All of the ECLC1 teachers have sent our students’ favorite photos to both the High School art teachers and the 9th grader writers. It will be exciting to see how the older students were inspired to create their own pieces from the EC1 photos. We also can’t wait to read the poems by the 9th grade writers!

If you are on twitter, you can follow the hashtag #EC1photo and see how the teachers of the classes involved share the process of our collaboration project with each other, our professional learning community and fellow educators.

Aaron said ” This one monster. I like it monster”

Charlie said “Aaron, this photo because Aaron is smiling and he is my friend.”

Chloe said “Xixi.”

Edison said ” My photo is Xixi. I like it because it’s silly.”

Eita said “I like it because toys.”

Yuki said ” It’s Yuki and Ms Dodo. I like it because Yuki is angry.”

Jiawei said “It’s water pipe. I like it cuz Edison also have.”

Marc said “It’s a photo of Ms. Kang. I like it cuz it’s awesome!”

Miranda said “My Sasha.”

Nava said ” It’s a photo about a little girl. I like it because it’s beautiful.”

Sasha said “It’s a bike. I like it because I can ride it.”

Xixi said ” It’s Miranda shouting. I like it because she is shouting.”

# Photo Taking

Today Mr. Lill brought his 9th grade writing class to visit all the ECLC1 classes. The 9th grade students worked with the children practicing taking photos with the iPads. Today was also the first day that the ECLC1 students used iPads this school year.

Today’s visit marks the beginning of our cross campus community collaboration project. The project’s aim is to promote the use of technology in the early years in an authentic way, that supports learning. As a teacher, I do not believe that they best way to integrate technology in the early years is to spend time on apps or engrossed in “screen time”. I hope that my young students will develop an understanding that technology can be used to document their learning and can be used to make connections within their community (school or world wide) to share and collaborate throughout their learning journey.

The 9th graders gave the children simple instructions on how to take a good photo. They asked the children what they wanted to photograph, told them to hold the iPad still, count to 3 and push the button. The 9th graders proved to be great mentors during this activity. They were kind and patient and understood that they needed to be responsible for supervising their younger buddies. The 9th graders used engaging and encouraging words throughout the photo taking, praising the children for trying their best.

Later in the classroom, the 9th graders had a reflection session with their small buddies. They asked them what they thought of their photos. The older students went beyond just asking the children if they liked their photos but engaged the children in higher thinking questions. “Do you remember why you wanted to take this photo?” “Did you mean to include the person in the background?” “Did you hold the iPad still or is this photo too shaky.”

ECLC teachers were impressed with the level of maturity and responsibility that the 9th grade students showed. I think that the 9th graders were also impressed with how capable the 3 and 4 year olds actually are. It seemed that all the students enjoyed their time together. It also seems that connections within our school community have begun to grow!

We will meet up with our 9th grade buddies later this school year. After the children have some time to practice photo taking, they will choose one favorite photo. We will share that photo with the high school art students, who will create representing artwork. That same shared photo will be given to the 9th grade writing class, who will compose a piece of written work. We will go to visit both classes at the Bayside campus in the new year.

In March the great unveiling of the collaborative community project will be showcased to the whole school community during the week of ECLC’s Learning Comes Alive.

# Music Class

This morning we had a special visit in the elementary music room. The music teacher Mrs. Overlie, spent some time showing us different instruments. She also played and sang songs with us. The best part was getting to try out the instruments on our own. Mrs. Overlie took time from her busy teaching day because she knew that the Caterpillars have been exploring music and that we are making our own instruments.

# Dance Party

At different times of the day the Caterpillar and Guppy classes have their adjoining door open. When the door is open the children from both classes can choose to move in and out of the 2 classrooms. As we will most likely have different activities going on in the 2 rooms, the children will have more choice and have the opportunity to engage with different children and teachers. On this day as the Caterpillars were dressed up and role playing in the House Keeping area they heard music playing in the Guppy classroom and they decided to check it out.  The result of being curious turned into a fun dance party. Hope you enjoy these photos and videos!