Friday, November 22, 2013

What We Are Interested In Now....the St. Louis Arch

Whoo-hoo! We have our first big project going on! I'd been waiting to find something the children were very interested in on their own.  I tend to do a lot of thematic teaching but prefer it when the children begin to show interest in something that we can begin to investigate together! 

Sooo....this one started with a map.  Several were very interested in drawing their own pictures of Texas and Alaska.  At some point someone found St. Louis and said they just saw the Arch that weekend. 

We live in a small town about 45 minutes away from St. Louis so the Arch is reasonably close enough for many of my kids to have seen before.  Once the discussions of the Arch began we started investigating books about the monument. 

When I began some discussions with the kids about their drawings/writing about the Arch I discovered that many did not know it was in St. Louis. A few told me Chicago and even more thought it was in our hometown!  So we created an Arch word list to help us with our writing and began reading about what other things there are to see in St. Louis. 

My kids really love this picture of the last piece of the Arch being placed. They have studied it over and over again as they try to create their own block structures of the Arch.

One of my students was very excited to share a picture of her Great Grandpa who had helped to build the Arch!!  She was quite famous herself on the day she brought this in!  =)

Some of our Arch sculptures

A mural a small group created

A plan for an Arch block structure

The finished project!
The interest in the Arch has been going strong for about two weeks now. I plan on bringing in some models of the Eiffel tower to see where they go with that.  I'm hoping Mr. M would consider sending me on  a field trip to Paris so I can bring home some actual photos of it for the kids to observe.  One can only dream.......

Friday, November 15, 2013

Self Help Yellow Pages

Ah.....late fall and upcoming winter. Outdoor play time during this time of the year can be very challenging for any early childhood teacher! The coats, zippers, buttons and the shoes that still aren't tied.  Ugh!

However, my teacher buddy down the hall has a very cute solution for this. I've blogged in the past about this but I thought it might be helpful to re-visit this little gem. 

Once the weather changes (and the constant demand for Mrs. B's help at the beginning of recess)  she pulls out an old copy of an actual Yellow Pages and discusses how they are used as a reference to find an expert to help you with something. 
Mrs. B uses the example if her tooth hurts she would go to the dentist page and look up a number of a dentist to call. My class recently turned our dramatic play area into a pizza parlor so we spent some time looking at the adds for pizza.  You know...just in case we needed to call an expert on how to make a good pizza. =)  My kiddos are always thinking! 
So once the concept of the Yellow Pages is introduced ( you could also show similar examples from online resources)  she creates a page for whatever self help skill the children are needing help with. 

There is a picture and a title for each page and once a child is an "expert" at a skill they can sign their name on that page.  If someone in the room is having issues with a skill (zipping up their jacket for example) they are to go to the yellow pages and look up an expert to help them with it! 
What a teacher sanity saver!  =)
Mrs. B's yellow pages is not limited to recess self help needs.  She also has pages for kids who are experts on the computer, the listening center cd player and other various classroom needs.  This allows her to continue working with students during centers and not have to fix a CD or computer issue. 
I'm always on the lookout for ways to make our day go smoother in our classroom! Please share if you have any other ideas you feel would be a great addition to our yellow pages! =)
                                                                                                                           Mrs. M

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