Google+ bakers and astronauts: Where has "Changes" taken us?

27 May 2009

Where has "Changes" taken us?

We are a few weeks into our final "unit of inquiry" for the year...Changes. I planned some activities that revolve around change to spark the childrens interests and start some conversations about it. We :

*Made ice cubes
*Used the juicer to make fresh carrot apple juice, then made popsicles out of it
*Made a simple yeast bread

We also read plenty of books about change, including :

*Leo the Late Bloomer
*A Color of His Own
*Little Blue and Little Yellow

(Leo Lionni really seems to have a thing for change as a theme.)

Sometimes I am sitting in the classroom with my giant to-do list and I start doing something else random. That happened at the start of last week : I was working on some paperwork and I got up and took every last thing out of dramatic play. Scarves, blocks, buttons, mirrors, xylophone -- all gone. I decided that the children can experience "change" by choosing what to change the dramatic play area into, and see the process from start to finish. I put up a clothesline on the wall with large paper clipped to it, and proposed that the children use that to plan what we could change the area into.

Many people have a housekeeping area in their preschool classroom, but I prefer to leave it more open ended. In the fall, it (along with the rest of the classroom) was transformed into a forest as part of our forest project. The ideas that the children proposed at meeting were quite interesting:

*big big thunder
*make a thunderstorm in there

There had been a thunderstorm the night before, and many of the children came to school with stories of flashes of light and crawling into their parents beds and seeing people get struck by lightning on TV. We talked about the storm for ten minutes straight after making our initial list of ideas for changing dramatic play. At the end of the day, we voted, and the choice to change dramatic play into a thunderstorm was almost unanimous. (There were two votes for raindrops.)

So the children have been hard at work drawing, cutting, and painting.

We are on the hunt for umbrellas, and are brainstorming about how to make puddles. The children prefer to have real water in there, so they may have to figure out the logistics of that. There was an idea to have thunderstorm sounds, and we have some very interesting recordings...
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