Let's begin with the sea creature exploration. It began one afternoon during "quiet time" when children typically find something to do independently in the classroom. (The children understand it as quiet time because it happens while our JK friends are napping.) One child decided to start building with magna tiles and then discovered a basket of sea creatures on a shelf. This led to the creation of a "sea floor" constructed from magna tiles and placement of sea creatures through the sea floor. This scene caught the attention of another child, and then another. Eventually, one-by-one, each child left their independent activity to join the imaginative sea play. The gathering and play was unprompted by me as the teacher, rather was an organic development of student choice and curiosity. This kind of play happened for three consecutive days after lunch and included all children. It was quite an interesting development to observe and shows the human desire for interest and participation in collaborative play. It also highlights the natural capacity children have to participate in a community.
For a second example of our community development, I'll follow up on a recent student idea to build a table for our classroom play space. As you'll see in the pictures above, our class play space was intentionally empty at the beginning of the school year. As play evolved and needs were identified, we decided as a class to add some components for more engaging and interactive play. You'll see what appears to be a stove, wagon and table. The table was a building project we took on as a group and extended over the course of two weeks. The process of planning, selecting appropriate materials, and constructing took time and effort. In the video below, you'll see a little bit of the process and the culminating presentation at a Friday all-school meeting. Sharing something from the SK class is one aspect of the all-school meeting. For this meeting, our class elected to share the table. As you'll see in the video, the students are proud of their work and confident to share what they've done with other children. Of special interest to share with others was the different feel between vinyl and duct tape. Two types of tape we used for the table's surface.
The table is just the first of what might be many more building projects in the classroom and possibly beyond. I will continue to respond to the interests and learning desires of the children. Check back to see what happens next!
This site was created by Colin Reynolds as the SK Lead Teacher for the 2014-2015 school year. Stephanie Holdridge was the apprentice teacher for the academic year.. You can contact me via e-mail or follow me on Twitter.