Since the children have been very interested in building houses during Exploration time…I thought that I would surprise them with one. When the children were at recess I set up a house with a curtain, picnic blanket, blocks and our stuffed animals set up at the table.
When the children came into the room they were very surprised to see this scene. They immediately asked me why I set it up. I told them that I was so busy with my teacher work and I didn’t see what happened. I told them that when I returned back to the classroom, the house was set up. They started asking questions and offering ideas of who was responsible. Was it the animals themselves? Was it one of our neighboring teachers (Ms. Natalie or Mr. K.)? The Ayi or Ms. Laura? Since we are already in the Halloween spirit, they wondered if it was a fairy or a good witch.
The reason for not admitting that I was responsible for setting up this scene was more than just for fun. I set it up as a provocation. I knew that the children would be surprised and interested in the house. I also knew that they would have many questions about how, why and who. Instead of me giving the children the facts, I wanted them to share their thoughts and ideas. Many times throughout the day teachers do not answer many of the children’s questions. We put the questions back onto them and their classmates. We are interested in hearing their theories and reasoning. It doesn’t matter whether the children’s theories are believable or not. What we are looking for is that the children are developing their critical thinking skills. That they are developing the ability to
communicate when formulating and sharing their ideas.
The children took turns reading their travel journals to their classmates. They enjoyed sharing their experiences with their friends. For the children listening, it was a good experience to listen to others’ stories. We practiced asking questions and staying on topic with the reader.
The children are welcome to share their travels and break activities with their class. The kind of things that are appropriate to share are books, pamphlets, snacks and interesting objects.
Sharing our life experiences helps us to connect as a community. It generates interest and conversation amongst the children.Today I shared a few things with the children from travels to Hong Kong and Tokyo.
If you would like to share photos of your family break activities, please put them into your child’s photostream or email them directly to me. If your child would like to share something else please send it in their backpack with a note.
We read a book and watched a video about Mid Autumn Festival. We talked about what were our favorite kinds of mooncakes and thought of some silly versions (pizza…spaghetti). The children were so excited about getting to taste test the moon cakes from Lucy’s mom, that the children chose to draw about them in their Writing Books!
The Dancing Snails have enjoyed building their own house with the big blocks in our classroom. Since they have shown a lot of interest in this area over the last few weeks, I have begun to read books that feature houses in them.
The Story of the 3 Little Pigs is a classic story that is well known to most of the children in our class…and now it is a class favorite. After reading this story, the children began building houses to keep them safe from the Big Bad Wolf.
Over the course of a week, we took the time to choose our class name. We first listed all the animals that we knew, then we began voting on which animal mascot we preferred. We visited the list daily and voted each time to make the list shorter. When we finally got down to 2 animals (frog and Snail), we then drew the animal that we preferred.
When we had the final vote for snails, we then listed the kind of snails that we liked. Each idea that the children suggested, we did research on. As a class, we looked at google images of each idea i.e. Bubble Snails, Fire Snails, Flower Snails..
Working together as a class to choose our name, gave the children ownership. All children were a part of the discussions and decisions. Activities like these set the feeling that we are a community, a team where every one has the opportunity and responsibility to contribute. Little did the children know that the were busy learning new vocabulary, math skills and growing as communicators by sharing their ideas.