An Evolving City

Many of you might remember our previous post on how the children began building a city for ninjas.  We as teachers have observed an interest and excitement in the block area of the room, and we felt like this was a topic worth investigating to see if we could stretch the children’s exploration in different topics through the city project.


What is now happening is something AMAZING!  We are seeing new developments everyday in our city!  Ones we could not have planned for ourselves.  We are excited to see what is evolving based on our observations and support of the childrens’ ideas.


We stepped away from the blocks and brought the children into the hallway to create the city.  Alex said we needed wood, and when we asked her to find what she needed she brought back popsicle sticks.  The children used Elmer’s glue to glue the pieces together, the teachers thought they should actually use a glue gun, but we kept our thoughts to ourselves ;0)  We did not want to rob them of their thought process.  After all, what they thought of might actually work, we were curious to see ourselves.  They set their pieces together using the glue and when they realized that the glue would not hold the pieces up in a 3d fashion, they glued them flat on the table.  We left them to dry overnight, and the children put up a sign to make sure no one bothered their project.


When we came back we found our work completely dry.  Some of the pieces stuck together, while some broke apart as we pulled them off of the table.  We held the pieces up with our hands, and when we let go……………they fell back down!!!

The teachers asked, “How are we going to make them stand up?”  “They fall down if we don’t hold them.”

This may not seem like something important to an adult, but as educators for young children, it is important for us to allow them the time to realize the characteristics of the materials they use.  It was important for them to see that the Elmer’s glue would not hod up the sticks like they were holding them.  It was important for them to see that once they dried, they got stuck to the table, and some of them would break and loose their shape.  Allowing them to try and find a way to overcome their problem is sometimes more important than the product.  The process is more important than the product.

So although our children faced a problem……… of the children had an idea ;0)

“I know!”  “We need blocks!”  “J” ran to the room to grab some blocks.  We, the teachers, were curious to see what he had in mind.  But when we saw, we smiled with delight………………..

He used the blocks to hold up the pieces by putting them in front and in the back……..  





In some cases, they placed blocks behind the sticks, to help prop them up…….







The blocks were propping and “sandwiching” all of the city buildings up, so that they would not fall down!











“R” held up his longest piece of the building that survived the glue, and “J” helped him place the blocks around it to hold it up………..







“A” came along and found a ‘U’ shaped block.  He placed it over the street and said, “I found a rainbow for the city”.  We immediately took the opportunity to take him to the art studio to pull materials to proceed with his rainbow.  We asked him what colors were in a rainbow, and he pulled the paint colors he needed.   We traced a piece of paper, taped it to the block, and he began to paint the rainbow.

Again, we as teachers would have thought the rainbow would have been painted horizontally instead of vertically, but the children surprise us in their thought process.  We believe they have the right to their creativity.  We allowed him to create the rainbow as he would like to.

He began to paint carefully, and thoughtfully.  He paid close attention to what colors he was using and where he was putting them.



And at the end, he requested glitter!  Of course, the rainbow would not be complete without glitter…













When he was done, he placed it over the street for the city…………..


 The rest of the children used tape to reinforce some of the buildings.









Some even created a long line across the entire table.  He said, “I need it so people will not break the city.”

We began to talk to the children about what we could do to make sure people do not break the project.   We needed a sign, but what should the sign say?

“STOP” ‘R’ and ‘J’ said!  We found a stop sign in the area next to us, and the children practiced reading and writing the word STOP.









The stop signs were placed on the table and the next day, we were pleased to see our work still there for us to continue working.  Now the children were determined to make garages for the city.  They said they wanted to make it out of paper, so that is just what we provided them……….









They taped and cut, and taped and cut, until they could manage to fit a car in the garage.


Some of us made signs for the garage, and then taped everything where we needed it on the table.



The next day, some new children were curious about the excitement over the city.  They great thing about projects in our school is that we may start a project with one or two children, but over time, as excitement begins to develop more children begin to engage in it.

The new comers said, that the city needed stores.  Their stores needed to be made out of cardboard.  And off they went to create the cardboard stores……..











They used ‘J’s technique to prop up the stores………








We now have a mouse store and a hot dog shopping store.  When we started talking about he hot dog store, ‘D” told us that we needed forks, knives, and spoons in the store to let the people eat.

We followed her lead and gave her some silver ware.  This time to provide her with a challenge, we gave her wire to sculpt the silverware.  She sat for a short time looking at the wire not sure of  how to use it or how to begin.  We talked about the shapes of the silverware, and she began to manipulate the wire.

She looked at her tiny drawings of the fork, spoon and knife, and at the real silverware and the next thing we knew, she made a spoon!





The rest of the day, she spent working on the rest of the pieces, she sat with the teacher to sound out and spell the words.  And now we have a beautiful display for the hot dog store.

Before story time, the group of children shared all the things they created for the city. This sparked more attention to our city and the rest of the children shared what else should be added ! We want to add skyscrapers, an airport and birds flying over! Our city is continuing to evolve and we cant wait to see how the children create the city.

We wonder what they will name it??????????




Learning Goals Achieved:


Perception. The student develops and organizes ideas from the environment. The student is expected to:
(A) glean information from the environment, using the five senses; and
(B) identify colors, textures, forms, and subjects in the environment.
 Creative expression/performance. The student expresses ideas through original artworks, using a variety of media with appropriate skill. The student is expected to:
(A) create artworks, using a variety of colors, forms, and lines;
(B) arrange forms intuitively to create artworks; and
(C) develop manipulative skills when drawing, painting, printmaking, and constructing artworks, using a variety of materials.
Reading/Vocabulary Development. Students understand new vocabulary and use it correctly when reading and writing. Students are expected to:
(A) identify and use words that name actions, directions, positions, sequences, and locations;
Reading/Comprehension of Informational Text/Procedural Texts. Students understand how to glean and use information in procedural texts and documents. Students are expected to:
(B) identify the meaning of specific signs (e.g., traffic signs, warning signs).


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