Sorting and Counting and Opposites , Oh my !
I love getting to nap time and feeling like ” Today was a good day. We accomplished a lot and we are all happy about it. ” Today is that kind of day. It wasnt rushed or forced it was just a
Peaceful easy feeling…. ( sorry, old song. You young whipper snappers probably dont even know it. I of course have it raging in my head right now! )
We used leaves to practice recognizing our numbers and putting them in order.
We also sorted leaves into groups of small, medium and large. Did you know we all already recognize the letters L and M ( as in medium and large)? This is how I teach. As we come across letters naturally that we have already explored I point them out .
Alex is becoming quite the block builder. We learn so much in the block center ! A brochure from the Cooperative Extension office explains what we learn from block play.
The block area provides many opportunities for children to make their own constructions with materials that are “open-ended.” There are many ways to use blocks, so children can be imaginative and invent whatever they choose. This increases their self-confidence as well as their knowledge of geometry and other math concepts.
They learn about size by comparing those blocks that are smaller, bigger and the same sizes. They can also sort the blocks by shape or size.
They learn about shapes as they touch and feel the dimen- sions of a square, a rectangle, a triangle, a cylinder, a hexa- gon and other shapes.
They learn about how to make something that looks like the “real thing.” For example, a child might construct a block structure and say, “This is where they fly the rocket ships,” as she pretends to create a launching pad. We then know that the child understands that a block building stands for a real launch- ing pad. This is called symbolic thinking, and it is an important skill for language development and reading. Eventually, children learn that words are symbols that stand for real objects.
Block play is a great way for children to learn to solve problems. If a child builds a tower with blocks that don’t fit to- gether, the tower won’t stand. A teacher might suggest using dif- ferent shapes. The child can experiment until he solves the problem.
Children also learn about coop- eration in the block area. Often the block area becomes a play scene. After the launching pad is created, two children may be- come astronauts.
When a creation gets tipped over by another child, we have a great opportunity to teach conflict management. Clean-up is easier when two children work together. With the teacher’s help, children will learn to ne- gotiate and work things out.
Another wonderful thing I have been seeing happen is many of our kids are thinking for themselves and thinking outside the box. Today some of the girls happily announced ” Look Ms Debbie, It is for our party ! ” I asked what party as I walked toward the art center. ” Our Friday dance party !” They were so excited. As I looked into the art center from the ceiling of the area I saw streamers hanging. There were red and pink. As I got closer I noticed they had GLUED the streamers to the top. Oh wow…. teacher moment. Do I scold ? Would you have scolded ? No, I didnt. praised what a great job decorating they did and how wonderful it was they were all planning together for a party but pointed out the glue that was dripping and we talked about glue and how permanent it is. ( Harelly even had glue in her hair. Sorry mom… ) We cleaned up the glue from the hair and the top of the art center and talked about what might have been a better way to hang the streamers. TAPE! So.. they did. Yes, it took time but I was really proud of the girls and the thought processes they were having !
We have been trying to change our outdoor classroom into a more natural play space. This year I let go of my large little tikes fire truck . The kids did like to play on it but it was a fire truck. No matter what. Sometimes a child would get adventurous and call it something else but someone would be near by and ready to remind them that it is indeed a fire truck. We took out the fire truck and added the log. The log can be anything the kids want it to be. The only limit is the imagination.
There was also a lot of free art going on at the art table and on the large piece of paper I taped to the table for leaf printing.
We read a book today called ” The Windy Day.” It was about opposites. Explaining opposites is really difficult. We read the book and then we practiced some opposite words. It is a cool game to play when you have a little time to kill in the car. Just say a word and have your child come up with the opposite.
I love walking by the loft and hearing a child singing . Lyndee found the Christmas CD and is already in the spirit !
We do a lot of music. The girls for some reason have decided on this song to choreograph a dance. The look like real rockstars as the music turns they have their back to the stage. Funny stuff. If you ever wonder how much kids learn from each other and mimic each other listen to this story. ( I meant to tell it yesterday !) While singing this song in cicle time yesterday the little girls were all watching each other for clues of what they were doing next. One little girl was intently watching her friend and copying everything she did. At one point the leader looped her thumbs into the back band of her jeans and danced. You could just see the ” OH NO , WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” Look on her friends face as she realized she had a dress on and couldnt folllow along. As I watched her thinking about the situation a smile came on her face and she shipped the back of her dress up quickly and stuck her thumbs in the band of her panties. FUNNIEST THING EVER. From a teacher perspective I love the way her mind was working to figure out what she could do. BRILLIANT!
And.. it made my day. Reason 2045 why I love my job.