Everyday we spend time building either in our classrooms or in the hallway. The children are becoming more familiar with the materials and are coming up with more complicated ways of creating structures.
It seemed that as we continued to work, most of the children gravitated to this particular structure that one of the children was building. They began talking about the shapes of the blocks. We focused on squares, rectangles and triangles. As the children pulled out a block, they would say things like, “I have a triangle!” or “I have two little squares!”
We believe in bringing life to the subjects that the children learn. Math, geometry, spelling, writing, art and any other subject we can incorporate, is incorporated as the children build. Intelligence is dynamic, and the opportunity to learn should be as well.
We tried hard to build a house for the animals. Every one put blocks where we thought they could fit. The children really wanted a window, however, everyone’s idea of a window was different. We allowed the children to work through their differences, and even though some were not happy, and some even cried over the issues, we believe that children learn best from these experiences. The teachers observe and mentor the children in the problem solving and team work. This helps them learn to collaborate and work as a team, or to find another way even if it is on their own.
When some of the children became frustrated with the way the group building was going, we were excited to see them branch off and tackle the building on their own. The determination in making the castle was so strong! ;0)
One child was successful in building a house around the cheetahs and the lion! It was perfect, just like he wanted it. ;0) And he made sure no one helped him make it, lol!
The other children mangaged to clean up the pile and start over with a new house. Again, they used the “squares” and the “rectangles”.
As we took time to engage in conversation with the children about their structuers, we provided them with paper. The teachers would ask them to draw and write to make a picture of what they were creating.
When this child was asked to draw his house, the teacher first described the shape of his house and talked about how the 3 animals were “inside” the house.
He stared at the structure he built, and then carefully placed each animal on top of the paper. He started to draw a line going around the animals! As he drew, his hand accidentally went from the paper to the floor. He went so carefully and put his marker right to the exact point where the last mark was on his paper, and began drawing the circle from that point again.
Here we have his final product! He showed creativity, and innovation in creating what he felt was a better house than what he previously was a part of.