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Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Tale of Two Conversations

The conversations that are shared among the children in their play and work at school
 often exhibit their growth in social and experienced driven school learning the most.
Below are two examples of how the children are constantly thinking out loud and  learning to communicate these thoughts to their friends and teachers.  What I love about these two examples is the sharing that takes place in both scenarios and the respect the children show each other.

November 18th, 2014
Children in the Art Studio: C.J, K.K, J.S, F.F, R.H, G.R, and Z.Y
Scenario:  The children had a tray placed in front of them with 2 glass jars or white powdered tempera, three cups of powdered tempera; red, blue, and yellow and a cup of water and a pipette.  We talked about the many different colors there are in the world, and how even a color like pink can have several different shades and names.  We also talked about how we usually use paint that is already mixed and ready for us to paint with, but on this day, they would be making their own paint and colors.  With a little hesitation at first, they began to mix their colors and add water to their mixtures.  As they worked their confidence and excitement began to grow.

K.K: Oh it’s turning pink! (referring to mixing his red with the white in the larger jars.).
F.F: look, I am going to name mine vampire white!
R.H: Mine is rose

K.K: Can I add more pink?
Danielle: Sure
J.S: Mine is “Doctor Yellow!”
Danielle: Why “Doctor Yellow?”
J.S: Because I like it and it is stirring mango rolls!”
Danielle:  Wow, those are neat names.

K.K: Can I add more blue?
Danielle: Sure, these are your colors you are creating, you can add whatever colors you would like to them.
C.J: R.H, Look I got Pink!  Pinkie!

Danielle: Z.Y, what are you making
Z.Y: I am trying to make the paint come off with this.

(Using his pipette he is trying to siphon water and paint up from his tray and put it back in his cups)

G.R: I made blue and pink!
C.J: You made blue?!  Hey, I have the same pink (showing G.R her pink paint)

 K.K: I’m making yellow paint.
C.J: Um, he’s putting yellow into the orange.
Danielle: He is experimenting that is a great thing, you are as well.
C.J: I have done this before haven’t I!?
Danielle: Yes, we did this a couple times last year.
G.R: I haven’t done this before, now I have!
C.J:  I think I am ready to paint on the keyboard.
Danielle: Do you mean the easel.
C.J: Giggling, yeah I meant easel, why did I say keyboard, that’s so silly!
K.K: Can I put pink in here and blue in here?
Danielle: absolutely!
C.J: (Going back to mixing and not yet going to the easel) Now I have a kinda greenish.

F.F: Look this paint looks good
(showing the consistency of the paint and moving
over to start painting at the easel and C.J follows )

C.J: Can I use a tooth brush to paint? (choosing from our paint brushes and other assorted painting tools)

Danielle: Sure, give it a try.

C.J: I don’t like the tooth brush, 
I want a paint brush (helping herself 
to a paintbrush)

J.S: I made brown!  I put this color and this color and kept mixing and mixing and mixing and mixing and it made brown!  Wow, now I made green!  Now my brown turned into green (giggling).

R.H: I made dark pink!

C.J: What’s so funny.

J.S: I turned my green into yellow!

R.H: Can I go paint on the easel.

Danielle: Sure, the paint brushes are on the shelf.

  Z.Y: Miss Danielle, I think I am going to make the yellow.

Danielle: and what are you going to make with the yellow?

Z.Y: I’m going to make a potion there by mixing the yellow.

 C.J: G.R, can I share yours
G.R: Yes.  (The girl’s begin to share the paints they have mixed.
C.J: G.R, is going to let me share hers!
F.F: G.R, can I share with you also?
G.R: Ah-huh.
F.F: You can have some of mine too. 
G.R: Thanks.

Here are the children sharing their paints with each other.  The rest of their time in art was spent sharing paints and trying out each other's colors on their paper.  I love how in the end they all began to share and communicate their thoughts about their paints. 

Here is another conversation with sharing and team work:

Scenario:  After Morning Meeting several of the children that chose building with blocks began a new creation, today it was a town and a castle.  These children have worked before and continue to build a bond as they make their block creations at school.
In watching the children I was very impressed with their consideration of each other and their communication skills as they built with each other.  I started note taking after I notice N.G.F. accidentally pump into L.S. and knock over what he was building in the moment.

N.G.F.: I’m sorry do you forgive me?
L.S.: Yes, of course.

(G.G. notices me with the clipboard and already being use to me writing down what they are doing and their conversations, he lets me know before I even ask…

G.G: We are building it.  This is the old part (pointing to the first couple of block buildings) and we are building the rest.

L.S: I am in the castle building this part.
N.G.F: Can I be in there too?
L.S.: Sure.

G.G.: L.S. can I come in?
L.S: Sure
The children begin to hand L.S. the blocks.
N.G.F: Here you go.

N.F  starts to look at the building and with swooping gestures explains:

N.F.: Well, the castle is not as stable as I want it to be, so we are still building it to make it strong.
G.G: We took a castle down a while ago, it was weak, we build this one now.
N.F: The castle is not done yet, it is going to be soon.
L.S., accidentally  steps back and knocks down a structure.
G.G: L.S  you can’t crash down anything.
N.F: L.S, I can fix that

G.G: It’s Ok, L.S. you gonna get more blocks.

L.S: Yeah, I loading them on the truck

G.G: Can I help?  L.S, can we pretend this is a station?

L.S: Sure, a station and I have a station truck.

Tricia: Wow, this is pretty amazing.

G.G: We know, we’re building, we are working men.  
Look this is the porta potty for working  men’s to pee in.  
We have a lot to do, we have to build a super market,
 build a house

L.S: There is more stuff.

G.G: Yah, more stuff to do.  The town is going to be OK, just more stuff to do. (looking at L.S) But you can help, we can do it!
L.S.: Yeah, this is going to be awesome

The Boys continue to work, but their conversation dissolves into a song until they proclaim the building "done!" 

My last couple posts have been about these little conversations, but I feel they demonstrate how the children have grown and communicate in their play.  This is what preschool is all about, learning about life and social interactions through their play. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Building a Tooth Fairy House

I have expressed my thought many times about the power of block play, and how it encourages Creative Thinking by the planning that it involves.  As the children build together, they work on their communication skills, problem solving skills, early math concepts, and symbolic thinking skills as well.  It is also great fun!  
I have  a group of children that gravitate to the block area most days, and each day their buildings, stories, and connections with one another grow.   Below is an example of the children working and thinking together in their block play.

Building a Tooth Fairy House
The Scenario:  G.G. and L.S. chose to do block play during morning meeting, several big blocks had been set up as a foundation and they were beginning to add small blocks.  C.J.  had dressed up in princess clothes and G.G looking at her expresses that he thinks she looks nice.  C.J.  informs him that she is the tooth fairy, from this starting point the children begin a long dialog as they build.

G.G: “This is going to be a tooth fairy house.  It’s Halloween, we've got to build this fast!”
L.S:  “Here is a big one (block), look I’m so strong.”
~G.G. lifts a big block, and L.S. says with encouragement, “That’s it G.G.”
G.G: With a nod of the head, “That’s it!”  L.S. picks up another big block and G.G.  exclaims, “L.S, look out for me!”  L.S., carefully puts his block down.

C.F:  “I have an idea; let’s fill the castle with seashells!”  “Shells come from the ocean.” 
C.F. goes up to the nature table and starts getting shells, but gets distracted by a feather on the table.  “It’s either a bird feather or a turkey feather.  I think it’s a bird feather.” 
N.G.F joins her and proclaims, “It’s an owl feather.” 
~The girls put the feather down and dessert the idea of seashells, but join the boys in building their block “tooth fairy” house.~
G.G. to N.G.F  “look it is going to be a pretty house.”
C.F: “Look it (holding up a block) where can this go?”
L.S: “I don’t know.”
C.F:  “Can it go here?”
L.S: “Yeah, that’s a good job!”

C.F. discovers a unique shaped block  and exclaims: “These look like underwear!”
~Lots of laughing~
G.G. “Working Mans are working hard in underwear all day!”
~more laughter~

C.F: “ Look an ‘L’ block.”
L.S: “No, no, I have to put that one over here.”
G.G: “Watch out guys, don’t knock down this beautiful house for these princesses.  This is going to be a good day cause we are working for a house for the princesses.”
L.S. to G.G. “I’m tired, huh?”
G.G: “Yeah, tired.  Don’t go no higher.”
N.G.F. and C.F. begin to hand the boys blocks.  

N.G.F: “Here you go.” 
L.S. “Thank you , no more blocks till I get these out of my hand.”
~N.G.F. continues to hand blocks.
 L.S: “I only have two hands, no thank you.” L.S. puts blocks down and says, “OK more blocks!”
N.G.F: “These look like circles, it’s a wheel!”
C.F.: “They’re circles, they are Mickey Mouse ears!” N.G.F Holds them up to her head.

G.G: “Where’s the tooth fairy.”  He goes over the fairies and shouts, “The house is done!”
L.S. runs over as well.  “Come look at the tower we made, it’s so big!”
Tricia: “OK let’s go look!”
L.S.: “Just don’t knock it over.”
Tricia: “OK I won’t.”  Looking at the tower Tricia asks L.S. “Can you tell me about it?”
L.S: “Sorry can’t talk, too busy!”

G.G. to N.G.F. and C.F. : “We need those cones can you get them.”
C.F. “I can’t they are stuck!”
N.G.F: “Let me help you.”
G.G. “I can help too.  Man they are stuck.  Ah, we got it!”
C.F. and N.G.F jumping up and down both exclaim:  “Yay we got it.”

The cones are placed on top of the house and proclaimed done. 

 A little later the tooth fairy comes and checks it out.  She nods in approval.