Thursday, March 10, 2011

the billy goat's gruff, part I

The Billy Goat's Gruff was one of my favorite stories as a child. My mom says I had it memorized. I've sung the song to the children and read them the story. It seems its a favorite of theirs as well, as I get plenty of requests to read it over and over.

As a provocation one day I set up three blocks in the meeting area and invited the children to pretend it was the bridge from the story. The morning children immediately began to organize themselves by trolls and goats.

The following day I invited the morning children to create their own bridges:

K was very interested in the bridge.
"This is the bridge. This is a big jumble of rocks. The troll lives under the rocks. Under the bridge is rocky."

Ms. Erin: Is there a way we can put the rocks under the bridge?
K: "Yes, like this"

Ms. Erin: "N & V chose to be trolls. Can they fit under there?"
K: "No."
Ms. Erin: "Is there a way we can make the bridge so that they can fit under there?"
K came up with this, using his own body to demonstrate:

Ms. Erin: "Yes, you certainly fit under there. But is is sturdy enough for the goats to climb on?"

K decided it was not sturdy enough. We tried other variations, but could not come up with anything sturdy enough to climb on. I suggested we go for a walk to look for something similar to what Khad built: something strong, with a flat top that a troll could live under.

We didn't go very far when E found a bench in the hallway that was just right. The children tested it out to see if a troll could live under it:

We brought the bridge back to the classroom. When we placed it on the carpet it was evident we needed steps. The children worked to make some steps with my guidance about safety. The first version didn't make the cut:
This was better but it was still slippery:

E said we could tape it and I agreed. After the bridge was set up with steps and the troll plunged to the ground a few times, E decided we needed some water. We looked around for something blue:

The soap was certainly blue, but Ms. Erin nixed the idea of spreading it around the carpet. The children decided smocks would work:

The children couldn't agree on where the water should go so we looked aerial images of bridges on the computer:

E said it looked like an X (which was a good thing because I was tongue-tied to try to explain perpendicular).

Now that everything was set up, Ms. Ri read the story to the children while they acted it out. The children gathered to wait their turn to cross the bridge:

The troll popped out on cue:

After the children played on their own for a while. We left the bridge set up for the afternoon class. They divided themselves into goats and trolls, but mostly they wanted to cross the bridge. M was interested in retelling his version of the Billy Goats Gruff:

"All the billy goats want to go to a green valley. They have to cross a bridge. There's a mean ugly troll under the bridge. He says he'll eat you up to the first, second, and third billy goat. Then the big billy goat comes. He tossed the troll in the river. Then they got to the green grass valley. The end!"

This was day two and it was amazing. I look forward to seeing how they refine their play!

The end!

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