WOW- what an amazing conference! I am at the ILASCD PreK/K Conference and have so far met people from 6 different states. The news is definitely spreading that this is an absolutely fabulous conference and teachers fly in to attend it!!Thank you so much to all of the participants in my morning session on Loose Parts who provided me with such positive, specific feedback. A huge shout out to an awesome teacher on our PreK team who presented with me.As I promised in my last post, we will dig deeper into multiple ways to use loose parts.First idea: Build the Identity of Students using Loose Parts
Children create an image of themselves using loose parts. This process should take at least a week or two. It is an in-depth process of looking at themselves in a mirror and looking at each other. They are making many decisions about what is unique and special about themselves and how they can use the loose parts to reflect that uniqueness. Students can draw multiple images of their faces prior to choosing the loose parts and can set them aside prior to gluing to the pieces to reflect if those pieces truly reflect what they want to portray. The identity faces are hung in one location with a conversation about how the unique qualities of each student add to our classroom community and we are displayed together since we are a classroom family. A photo of the student and their name should be proudly displayed next to their portrait.
In early grades when children are learning through play and hands-on activities, we need a method of displaying the learning that is taking place in regards to standards and objectives. Visually documenting children’s learning is a tool we use to analyze the intent of children’s work, reflect on the learning and progress to inform instruction and to engage students’ in conversations and self-reflection. If the hands-on work in which children engage becomes visible, it becomes a starting point for conversations with children, families, colleagues, and administrators.
One way to draw attention to the learning in which we want to reflect upon is through the use of The Color Splash app. This app allows the focus to be on what the child is learning and accomplishing by coloring the parts of the photo in which you want to focus. A caption can be added to include the words of the child as he/she discusses the process of what is being learned or explored.
This provides an insightful glance into the learning that is taking place during hands-on learning activities.
Pictures hung at the students’ eye-level spark conversations, reflections on their learning and encourage others to recreate and expand on the process.
Pondering about where to start with intentionally designing your environment for the start of the new school year can at times seem overwhelming.
One key aspect to think about that is critical all year but especially at the beginning of the year is making the space belong to the students – not to the teacher! The classroom space should reflect the learners.
At the beginning of year, building the space for the learners would include designing for the importance of building a community of learners- of creating the environment to assist with being a school family.
Add pictures of each child’s family to a family bulletin board or have them in frames in the dramatic play area.
Create identity panel, with photo on one side and self -portrait on the other side.
Create a chandelier or a piece of art work together as a class that is displayed in the room.
Allows pairs or small groups of students to work together on art projects to build friendships and have a piece in the classroom that they can continue to discuss and show to others.
collaborative art journeyinotearlychildhood.com
What are some ways that you build the classroom to reflect the students and build your classroom community?