Monday, February 20, 2012

skyscrapers, in another "language"-

The children are constantly constructing skyscrapers in the block area, with blocks, Legos, and anything at all that is stackable. 

They frequently talk about the Willis Tower and tend to refer to a coffee table book depicting many of the skyscrapers along the Chicago skyline while they play.
Recently I discovered that these white, cube-shaped boxes were being recycled by our cooking staff. Of course I snatched them up to use as loose parts and asked if we would be getting more. In fact, we would, every Monday be getting 10 new boxes so every Monday afternoon I stalked Mr. Paul, our cook, to make sure they didn't get thrown out. Currently we have a set of 45...
So the children have been enjoying stacking (and demolishing) their "skyscrapers" formulating and reformulating their structures every day. 
Pretty soon I am going to have to figure out a new location for these boxes as they will be taking over our classroom soon! 

"You have to be very careful, the glue gun is hot. Seriously, I'm not kidding!"

I didn't even know that there was such a thing as low temperature glue guns until I learned about them from E11 Playschool- a fellow Reggio-Inspired nursery school in Colorado. I ordered three from Hobby Lobby (they have them for $2.99, and they offer a 40% off coupon!). The glue guns do get hot, so there is still a need to be cautious, but no where near as hot as regular glue guns. 

To begin, we brought out our trusty journals and drew a picture of what we wanted to create. Then they searched through our "Beautiful Stuff" collection of loose parts to translate their ideas in another "language". Some children enjoyed just gluing random objects together. Most of the children chose to make robots.

Random gluing:

Making robots:

Here is a flower one child made, which she proudly showed off to her daddy:

Ms. Erin: Do you want to share any thoughts about your flower?
A: Thank you.
Ms.Erin: You are welcome.

Monday, February 6, 2012

loose parts~ metal & magnets

Today I thought I would introduce the children to magnets. At first, as will all new materials, the children played the magnets themselves sticking them to the metal cans and stacking them. When they were content with their initial explorations, they branched out and began adding metal items from our recyclable collection to the magnets creating layered effects.

 As they worked with the materials, they named their creations 'robot' or 'spaceship' and began telling stories while they worked. 
Some children figured out how to get objects to stand up...
and another used horizontal space.

The end!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

designing with loose parts

A few days ago the children were building roads on which to drive their cars. At the end of the road they built skyscrapers. When their interest seemed to decline I offered some florist gems and rocks to decorate their skyscrapers. We began by placing gems on the buildings, but then decided to add to the ground around the buildings.

 Finally we ended up making green grass, white sidewalks and a blue river. This activity I heavily scaffolded by using the white rocks to create an outline for the river. I hope to continue to scaffold these types of activities until the children are able to create them on their own.

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