Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A jungle gym for Hermie

We have three classroom hermit crabs. The children love them.

One day while we were fiddling around with a good place to put them for observation, a crab climbed over a piece of plastic packaging and slid down the side. Two of the children thought this was great fun for Hermie (they call all the crabs Hermie) so they decided to make him a jungle gym. We thought about what kinds of equipment the jungle gym should have. we created plans, and then we trekked into the Recycle Room (they beg to go there whenever they can) and they picked out some materials. 

A lot of critical thinking and trial and error (and many trips to the recycle room) went into creating the equipment and I'm skimming over these details for the sake of time management. I understand this is the 'meat' of Reggio, but I only have so many hours (minutes is more like it) in my busy day to blog. The children originally started out with a one compartment jungle gym, but that turned into two compartments as they added more equipment. I helped with cutting the hole that served as a doorway in between the boxes in the location they designated as it required a box cutter. Here is what they chose to build:

A see-saw:

A slide with ladder:

A climbing wall:

Tunnels, a green zip-line, a (white) swing, and a blue and yellow 'landing pad':

This is a fraction of the project. Some children participated by drawing pictures and taping them to the outside of the box as well. They worked on this over a few weeks and we let the crabs loose inside. They were a little disappointed that the crabs didn't actually play much but I reminded them that crabs are more active at night. 

The end!

paint roller art

This was a fun activity. We 'rollered' a mixture of glue and paint onto foam board and sprinkled on left over pasta we dyed a few months ago.

Here is the final product:

The children LOVE paint rollers. Previously we used the rollers on some indoor/outdoor carpeting that my dad gave me.The carpet worked beautifully as it soaked up layers and layers of paint and allowed for all the children to have a turn on one carpet. 

It's so moody, I love it!

The end!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Juicing Oranges

We juiced oranges! It was a great way to work on fine motor and develop a sense of healthy eating habits. First we rolled the oranges around on the table to loosen up the juice.
Then the children put the pre-cut wedges into the bird shaped lemon squeezer and squeezed. We also measured how much juice we squeeze (about ¼ cup per orange).

Nearby I also set up a little tray with stamper and pad, a. 'o' puncher and a word card with orange written on it to tie into literacy as well (the letter O is on the other side of the M stamp, lol).

The children had this to say:
-This one's hard to squeeze
-Those are peanuts
No they are seeds
I'm pretending they are peanuts then
-Orange juice is good for you!
-I'm squeezing all the juice out.
-This one had a lot of juice
 The end!

Friday, January 14, 2011

the ball run part II

In a previous post I talked about the children's first real experience with creating a ball run. I had been studying the book, Ramps & Pathways: a constructivist approach to physics with young children and accidentally left the book in the block area with the ramps. One of our children got a hold of it and began leafing through the pages until he came upon a photo of a child who set up what he called a, "domino" ramp (p. 55). Using the photo as reference, the children seemed on fire as they created their own domino ramp.

The children encountered a problem, however. They had difficulty knocking down the first block. Instead of experimenting with ramp height as the children in the photo did, my children experimented with different kinds of balls.

In this photo the yellow Nerf ball just bounced off the block:

The cork ball didn't work either:


Eventually they discovered a heavy metal ball (the jingly kind you roll around in your hand to relax) that did the job.

Alas, I did not record their words as they were moving fast and I was tyring to catch up with my camera. Oh, the trouble with documentation!

The end!

bottle cap mosaic

I swear I saw someone else post about a project similar to this recently, but a Google search proved fruitless. I want to say it was Teacher Tom? Anyway, we've been collecting bottle caps all year. My parents send me home with baggies. They come in plastic containers from parents. Sometimes I'll find one or two in my work mail box.

To begin, the children rolled a mixture of glue and paint onto a large piece of cardboard. Boy, do they love paint rollers. I think this was actually their favorite part.

Then we gathered all of our bottle caps and set them on:

We noticed a problem right away. The glue and paint caused the cardboard to bow so we had to find heavy things to put on top.

Here is a look at the not-so-final- product:

I say not so final because as soon as I lifted the cardboard the bottle caps began to pop off. No worries. I think we will do this again using a piece of plywood and possibly some wood glue as well.

The end!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Montessori-style: tongs and 'onions'

As with the previous blog post about tweezing marshmallows, this is another Montessori-style activity. The variations are virtually endless.

For this activity I set up the tray with a pair of tongs, a bowl of small, white ornaments and an empty Ferrero Rocher box (of course *I* didn’t eat all those by myself AHEM). The children said the ornaments reminded them of onions, and I agree, the looks like little pearl onions.

Another successful, engaging activity to keep my threes busy!

The end!

Montessori style: tweezing marshmallows

I love Montessori-style activities, especially for my three’s. I am particularly attracted to those that fall under practical-life exercises. Children learn how to focus, concentrate, and fine-tune fine motor skill by engaging in every day kinds of tasks. This specific lesson has the bonus of strengthening the concept of one-to-one correspondence as well. It seems that there isn’t a single child in the class that doesn’t participate in these kinds of activities at some point in the day regardless of age.

To begin, I set out a small storage tray from which I removed the lid, a cup of marshmallows, and some tweezers.
The children naturally figure out to tweeze the marshmallows into the separate compartments. The squishy factor of the marshmallows even made it a little easier for the younger children to grasp, which was a bonus. Yay!

The end!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

grinding coffee beans

I had some old coffee beans in my cabinet so I thought we would finish them off by grinding them with our mortar and pestle. Oh, the aroma was delicious! It brought me back to my college days when I was a barista at U of I! :)

The beans proved fairly easy to grind:

The children wanted to 'make coffee' but alas, it was caffinated.
The end!

lentils in the sensory table

 I think lentils are my new favorite. They feel good in my hands. They pour so nicely. I think the children agree.
In this photo the children found the funnel with a wide enough opening to allow the lentils to pass through. They discovered using a funnel makes pouring lentils into the empty bottle makes filling it go much faster.

Lentils are also fun to haul:

Sometimes they get away from us, but working together to use the broom to clean them up is fun, too:

the ball run

I found this post in my dashboard marked under 'drafts' dated December 3rd. Whoops!
I’ve had these pieces of cove molding and halved cardboard tubes since the end of the last school year. No one seemed interested in them until now, and the children are on fire creating ball and marble runs.
So far they have learned how to connect two ramps together so the marble continues to roll. They also know which ramps work best for which balls. I insist that they have some sort of ‘ball trap’ so all the round objects don’t scatter across the room. The ball traps have gotten pretty elaborate!

Ball trap which has been 'blocked':

The end!

ETA: The children have done such wonderful things with ramps since their first experience and I can't wait to blog about it!

tea time!

The morning class had been showing an interest in making tea in the sand box. I thought it would be nice for them to really experience the process of making real tea. So Ms. Ri brought in her teapot and Sue lent us teacups and saucers, and we set the table with a lacy cloth. We put the kettle on and waited for the whistle to tell us the water was boiling. We added our tea bags and Ms. Erin poured the hot water.
We had to wait patiently for the tea to steep and cool down enough for us to drink. It was hard to wait so long! Eventually we used spoons to stir and blow on our tea. The spoons made satisfying clinking noises, so that was a bonus even if it probably wasn’t good manners. Then we learned how to sip tea while we had snack.
Some of the children’s thoughts:
Mine tastes a little bit ucky.
I like that it’s good.
Mine tastes sweet.
My favorite part is stirring it.
Mine’s purple.
We smelled the tea bags, it’s delicious.
You have a pink cup. I have a white cup. I have a green and white cup with flowers on it.

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