Friday, June 1, 2012

Why Not?

I was having a conversation on a discussion board the other day with another early childhood teacher who uses play dough in her dress up area instead of plastic food. Her initial reason for switching was due to the children's diets in her program (lots of food allergies) were not being represented by the plastic food. In the end she found that it was a lot more interactive and provided a lot more creative freedom. 
My initial response was "That would never work here. I'm all alone. I have RUGS!"  
Okay now let me back up a little. 
 I consider myself to be a teacher who encourages messes. 
I consider myself to be a teacher who steps outside of the box.
 I consider myself to be a teacher who tries to ask WHY NOT? 
 I was starting to feel a little, well for lack of better words, lazy and full of excuses. 
Nothing motivates me like a challenge and so the rearranging began.
 I moved rugs, took the plastic food to the basement and made some fresh play dough.

The Kitchen (play dough friendly) side
Meatballs and Cake
The other side :)

 I was so excited to see how this project went the first day. I knew that it wouldn't last forever and decided I will keep the play dough in dress up until the kids started to lose interest or use it poorly. That afternoon a parent handed me a bag at pick up. It was full of temporary shades. I instantly knew these were going to be a divider in the dress up area, to separate the play dough and no play dough zones.  I thought it might help keep them from running back and forth with the play dough. Making a divider between the "kitchen" and the rest of the house.  Once I hung the divider the children were instantly involved in play and decided the kitchen side is a restaurant.

The Restaurant

I'm guessing that this will be a very popular area for awhile and you will be seeing more photos soon.  Bon Appetit!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rainbows and Socks

I love it when I do a project and it completely exceeds my expectations! I didn't realize how much this project was going to focus on spatial relations until I was in the middle of it. It was interesting to see how the different age groups had a different idea of where they were supposed paint. Some painted in between the lines filling all the space or just a single line and some thought they were supposed to paint directly on the lines. As I was explaining to them what they were "supposed" to do, I found myself using a lot of directional words.
  Either way, every single one of them were BEAUTIFUL!

R is for Rainbow

We started off Thursdays activity by reading "A Pair of Socks" by Stuart J. Murphy, which is about a lonely sock who can't find its match. The children were quite surprised when I dumped an entire laundry bag full of real socks that needed to find their matches.  Matching is a very important concept in beginning math and this was a fun way to put it into real life learning.   Several of the younger kids were confused about the meaning of "Match" and "Pair." 
 Lots of great conversation during this activity.

S is for Socks

But they all match! Right?!?!