Showing posts with label dinosaurs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dinosaurs. Show all posts
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All In A Day's Play In Pre-K

I am frequently asked by parents "What do y'all do all day?". Yes, we play. It's play, but it is so much more! My friend and blogger buddy, Alec from Child's Play Music, posted a wonderful article just this week called "The Future Of Education Is Play". ( I highly encourage you to pop on over and give it a read--you'll be glad you did!) While a large majority of my posts here are about the planned activities that we do, much of our school day is unstructured free time, where students choose for themselves where and what to play. Today, I want to share a glimpse into some of what goes on in our classroom on any given day during these times.

Our morning started by preparing apples for our crockpot applesauce. (More on that and our visit from Johnny Appleseed coming soon!)

While we were preparing apples, some of the friends were working hard on putting together some large floor puzzles.

Center time was a bustle of activity today. Our "Fruit Stand" in our dramatic play was full of activity (I'm saving those pictures for a post later on our apple unit). In our math center, some of the friends made a "tower with a parking lot" with pegs, peg boards and transportation manipulatives.

Building a "cabin".

There was some farming going on in one area....

And some dollhouse play nearby.

How about this little "tv room with a wide screen tv" ?

Science Center was also quite busy today. 

I noticed all the dinosaurs seemed to be carefully placed. When I asked about them, I was told they were all lining up to go see the new baby whale. Anything is possible in the mind of a preschooler!

Some friends took time to enjoy a good book.

Our classroom neighbors found this gigantic caterpillar on the playground today and shared it with us, so we stopped for a few minutes to observe him. He was several inches long and about as thick as a fat cigar. I've never seen a caterpillar this big!

This block structure was built over the course of the morning. 

It started off fairly simple, and became more and more intricate as time went on. 

 Different parts of the structure had different purposes.

 These small blocks are "ice cream for the people". 

 This is a "cave for the people".

These girls are using sanding blocks to make all the blocks "feel soft". 

A bedroom.

A "secret hiding place".

I watched as the friend playing with these table blocks arranged each block with precision. I asked about the arrangement and what he was making and was told, "I don't know yet. I'm just building it first!"

It struck me funny that seemingly random arrangements were actually items carefully arranged, while the small table blocks were so carefully placed without an end purpose. Some of the most important learning going on today can't quite be captured in photographs. There was sharing, cooperation, leadership, turn taking, compromise, critical thinking, problem solving and a host of other social skills going on throughout their play today. They are learning so much more through this play than I could ever begin to teach through direct instruction. So when I'm asked, "What do y'all do all day? Do you do any 'real' work?". My answer? YES, we work. Our work is play. And play IS important! 

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Dino-Mite Dinosaurs!

A few of my guys are just crazy about dinosaurs. Although I didn't already have a dino week planned, I wanted to give an opportunity for the kids to have a say. They voted the dinosaur unit down in favor of a wild west week in November. There were a few that were just so disappointed that I tried to work it in anyway. We had a Community Service Helper visit for a day and a field trip to the symphony this week, too, but we manged to work in a few "dino-mite" dinosaur activities.

We measured down the length of our hallway to see for ourselves how long a dinosaur was. (Sorry no pics of that.) We fit an entire preschooler inside an Apatasaur footprint. (Paleontologists and scientists have changed the names of a few dinosaurs and are learning more and more about how they really lived.)

We each took a turn to place our footprints inside the dino print to see how many of our feet would fit.

After we'd all had a turn, one of the friends suggested we trace around a shoe to finish the rest of the count.

 Dinosaur block play was pretty interesting. I think we've got the makings of a new dinosaur action movie here!

We made dinosaur footprints a`la Teach Preschool by tracing our shoe and a few triangles from our math center.

We drew dinosaurs freehand or traced unit blocks to make dinosaurs we named after ourselves.

We sorted dinosaur toys.

Our sensory table was a popular spot. I had lots of grand plans like Irresistible Ideas, but in the end, we just used sand, water and props.

We made impressions in playdough and talked about fossils.

Show and Tell this week was especially fun, with all the kids showing off their fancy dinosaur toys!

 One remote control dinosaur was really something!

 My favorite item brought for show and tell was so simple and gave us a lot to talk about.

 Early in the week, we made Pteranodons by making paper airplanes and decorating them to look more "birdlike". 

On Friday at recess, we took them outside and flew them.

Through out the week, we talked a little about volcanoes. I really wanted to have the time this year to make a magnificent volcano with the kids, like Teacher Tom did, but in the end, we barely had time to erupt the small one I already had. 

When all was said and done, we didn't get to do nearly as many of the fun things that I've seen and really wanted to try, but we had a good time and learned quite a bit.

Thanks for stopping by!

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