Friday, June 25, 2010

The Long and Short of It

As teachers we are often intrigued by the sustained interest of the children around an experience. How long should we continue to support the topic? When is it time to move on? The answer is as long as the children continue to build knowledge, to ask questions and pose their own theories, as long as we can assist and guide them to construct and reconstruct knowledge.
Sometimes experiences become dormant as the children become captivated by new adventures. And then, much to our surprise, just as an old friend stopping by for an unexpected visit, the children's attention is drawn again to a previous experience. However, we often find the children have new ways of thinking about that old friend!
Such was the case with this group of preschoolers whose classroom often directed their attention to the bridge.Daniel Y began by making two vertical rows with the long cylinders; his two support beams for his bridge. Daniel W and Giacomo then placed small twigs horizontally bridging the two side beams creating a walkway for people.
When they were done Daniel W began counting the twigs from 1 to 30 in stable order. Caitlyn sat close by and listened to him count. She was not convinced that the twigs numbered only 30 in total, "No I think there are more," she said as she began her own count.
She counted from 1 to 99 in stable order and then she turned to the teacher for assistance to finish the count from 100 to 115.
Michael on the other hand was more interested in measuring the bridge. He chose stones as his non standard unit. One side numbered 26 stones in length and the other numbered 22.
The teacher asked, "Why are there 26 stones on one side and 22 on the other?
Michael replied, "You don't know? I will tell you because one side is longer than the other!"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What does the Child See?

There is much to consider even in the smallest of experiences we provide to provoke the interest of the children. Watch through the eyes of the child as the images on the outside of the tube begin to expand and bend. Does he consider that they are distorted by the properties of the tube itself?

A Night to Remember

Even at a the young ages of 4 and 5 children have an affinity for music and performing. As adults we are fascinated by their skill levels and the freedom they find in expressing themselves without inhibitions. On June 21, 2010 the SK children in Yeni's class took to the stage to perform Jack and the Beanstalk as well as a repertoire of songs they learned from their music teacher, Jackie.
The children were joined by their families in sharing a wonderful meal of penne and meatballs.
Truly a night to remember!

A Timeless Tradition: Lemonade Stands

We all have fond memories of lemonade stands, whether we set up our own or simply stopped by a neighbouring child’s for a quick summer thirst quencher.
These popular drink booths have come to be associated with childhood and early entrepreneurship since kids often set them up during the summer as a way to earn money. Although they weren't first established by kids, they are, to this day a common activity for youngsters all over North America.
The New York Times dates Lemonade stands back to 1879 where a shopkeeper opened a stand outside his store and sold lemonade to passersby. The stand became so popular that small crowd gathered there each day of the hot summer months. In 1880, a New York Times article mentioned "scores" of lemonade stands cropping up all over the city during the hot summers where patrons could buy a glass of freshly-made lemonade for 5 cents, as opposed to the 15 cents charged in a bar. The Times also reported children setting up stands in 1880 as an easy means of making money. The Globe and Mail first mentioned lemonade stands as a summer activity for children in 1898.

When the large Lego blocks were introduced to the classroom they caused quite a stir amongst the children and they quickly set out to build some interesting structures. The first of their enclosure became an ice cream store.
When it was finished Miranda walked inside and asked the children,” Do you want an ice cream?”
Ethan came to the window, considered his options and asked for, “lemonade please!”
(The teachers surmised that Ethan may have had some previous experience with a lemonade stand since this was not a common topic amongst the children.)
The teachers considered Ethan’s request and the next day they encouraged him, with the assistance of his classmates, to make his own lemonade stand. Of course before the lemonade stand opened for business, Ethan was put to work squeezing lemons. When the lemonade was ready, Ethan set the price for his wares to 5 cents a cup. The children lined up waiting for Ethan’s tasty lemonade. They each had the opportunity to count out five pennies to pay for their lemonade (learning about bartering systems). When the lemonade was finished, Ethan looked at his pennies and decided he would take them home to add to his piggy bank.