Monday, October 31, 2011

Weaving a Spider Web

We wanted to capitalize on the children's interest in weaving and were inspired by a recent post by Teacher Tom (a blog we follow), so we asked the children how they thought they might be able to weave a spider web. We turned a small table upside down, gave the children balls of black yarn, and sat back and watched.

The children immediately began to work together, passing the yarn back and forth and weaving the web in, out, and around. Once in a while a child would move out of the way so he or she didn't get caught in the web.

What an interesting creation and great way to solve the problem of how to create the web.

Once the web was finished, we provided the children with plastic spiders and the web became a dramatic playscape!

Tomorrow we will add sticks, rocks, and greenery to the playscape to encourage even richer interactions between the spiders and children!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Painting on a Clear Canvas

The clear lid to our water table is such an interesting and versatile piece of equipment in our classroom.  We decided to use it as a clear canvas for painting! 

We put the lid in between two table halves to hold it up, and used various colours of paint and cotton swabs as brushes.

The children were intrigued with the idea of painting on the lid and were immediately drawn to the activity.

Instead of washing the lid right away we have decided to prop it up against one of our walls and enjoy it for a while!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Building Literacy and Planning into our Construction Area

Although the building center is one of the most popular areas in the classroom, with so many children this year we have found that the children have found it difficult to organize their ideas and build a cooperative, recognizable project together.  On Friday we read a story about a construction worker who uses plans to help his team construct a building. We engaged the children in a discussion after the story about what building plans would look like and be used for, and then added a 'building plans' book to our construction center. We encouraged the children to create plans before building anything, hoping this would provide a purpose to their play and add some literacy to the construction center.

The children were eager to use the book and decided to build motorcycles. They collaboratively planned together before building.

After the children were done planning, we discussed with them each part of their drawing, helping to engage them in rich discussions using specific vocabulary. The motorcycles each needed steering wheels, engines, mirrors, kickstands, pedals, throttles, rims, and windshields.

The children then got to work building their motorcycles. They referred often to their plans, helping to keep them focused and working on a purposeful creation together.

Notice the children looking over their plans and discussing them as they are in the middle of building the motorcycles!

The children even created working parts to their motorcycle! Check out these handlebars with moving gas and break parts!

Light Table Playscape

We have been eager to continue to capitalize on the children's fascination with the new light table. On Friday we set up a mini farm playscape for the children to explore. We hoped that by using farm props, the children would recall various stories we have read so far this year, and use this background knowledge to support their cooperative play ideas. We especially wanted our children to practice their oral language skills, and engage in conversations with one another.

One child added a mud patch for the pigs to use. He looked around the room and decided that brown construction paper would work best.

The horse family decided to walk along the pond so they could get a drink together! Notice how the blue  stones have been placed together to represent water on the light table!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Marker Experiment

What happens when you put markers in cups of water? We asked our children what they thought and then experimented with markers and water on our light table.

The children were fascinated by what they observed - the water turned the colour of the marker almost immediately!

Wanting to extend this activity and encourage children to engage in a writing experience, we put out white paper and white crayons and encouraged the children to write 'secret messages' to one another. Children wrote on their papers with the crayon...

And used the coloured water to decode the secret message!

What fun!
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