Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Inspire Imaginations with Curiosity....part 2

STOP!!  Make sure to read Inspire Imaginations with Curiosity...part 1 BEFORE going any further!

The numbers on the floor are.....(drum rolllllllllll.........)

a great big dot-to-dot!! 

Before the children arrive in the morning (I actually do this the evening before) I tape the numbered dots on the floor....then, I anxiously await their excited curiosity!  And oh, what curiosity this creates (as you've read in Inspire Imaginations with Curiosity...part 1).

On this particular day, once the children's curiosity was peaked, it took a lot of brainstorming and lots of trial and error to figure out what the numbers on the floor were for. We played several different kid-invented games (figuring for sure that is why there were numbers on the floor) before finally concluding it was a dot-to-dot!   

But...how on earth can we connect them?  We can't connect them with a pencil or marker!  This inspired more questions and more trial and error until  someone mentioned yarn.  (a great mystery word (read "The Power of One Word" for more info.) to go along with this activity would be yarn, or dots....)

Ty is taking his turn connecting the dots.  At this point, we have NO idea
what it's going to be.

Number recognition, motor skills, visual planning, proprioception (awareness of self..muscle strength, joint angles etc),
sense of pride, number order and imagination all from numbered dots and yarn! 
There is so much learning in the SIMPLE!!
 After the picture was finished, and it was determined that we had made a star, the fun truly began.  The children loved to follow the lines from one dot to the next...
Balance, coordination, number recognition, number order, sense of pride, visual planning
and FUN!

Then they noticed the triangles, and decided it would be fun to jump from triangle to triangle...
Ownership of discovery, large motor, muscle coordination, visual planning,
proprioception (shhh...don't tell them, they think they are just having fun!)
Then the star became a giant sorting tray.  What better tool to use to sort Christmas erasers then the grabbers!  Now we are not only polishing our math skills, we are adding some vital visual planning, eye-hand coordination and working those grasping muscles!!  (shhh...don't tell anyone all this fun is actually teaching us "important stuff")

You guessed it.... again, LOTS of learning going on here!!!
Now it's your turn to dissect the learning in the following photos.  Being able to see the learning in play (dissecting) is an invaluable tool for early childhood professionals.  We need to be able to identify the learning that happens during play in order to translate it to parents. 

We also need to see the learning in play for our own benefit and the benefit of the children.  All early childhood professionals are aware of  learning guidelines and standards.  There are two ways to meet those guidelines...the right way (child led discoveries through play) and the wrong way (teacher lead, MY plans, MY way philosophy).  I find great success in simply setting up opportunities for learning by plopping  something into the environment and then FOLLOWING the children!!  (see all the posts labeled "plops" by looking under "categories" on the right side of the screen) Observing and documenting the incredible amount of learning that is occuring will help you and "the powers that be" see the value in play.

Now then...we KNOW the next photo is  a dot-to-dot....but WHAT on earth can it be?!!  One of my parents asked if we were learning about Pac Man!!  (can you see how it could be a Pac Man ghost?)

Some people have guessed rings, a queen with a crown.  One of my children thought it looked like a snow globe (brilliant).

In the end...it was...


You can use a giant dot-to-dot to create a spark for some imaginative learning and create even more curiosity, or use it to enhance play already in progress. 
In the case of the T-rex footprint, we were already highly involved in dinosaur play.  Earlier in the week, the children discovered dinosaur eggs (Easter eggs that look like dinosaur heads I picked up years ago on clearance...I filled them with a baby dinosaur).  The discovery of the dinosaur eggs sparked all sorts of fantastic dinosaur play!

Last year I discovered the song "Horrible Credits" on itunes...it is an EXCELLENT choice
for inspiring imaginations and talking about fears.

The children discovered dinosaur eggs (Easter eggs that look like dinosaur heads...I filled them with
a baby dinosaur)

A nest was built for them, and then we patiently waited (delayed gratification) for
days and days (we checked them periodically throughout each
day) until they all finally hatched!

Once the mystery is solved, and it's a well-known fact that when  numbered dots are taped on the floor it's going to be a dot-to-dot, it's time to hand the process over to the children.

Each child cut out a dot, and we wrote numbers on them.

Then, we randomly put the numbers on the floor.  Then each child got a turn to place
a dot on the floor.  We chose to place them in order (you could just
randomly place the numbers as well...have fun with this, there are no rules!!)

Any idea what our dot-to-dot is?

Dragon wings!!

Here's another that we did.....any guesses?

See the way the children are playing on it?  Does that help you figure out what
it is?
that was a LOT of learning disguised as simply inspiring imagination with curiosity!!  Run to the store, buy some clear packaging tape and yarn!  INSPIRE the children in your life with CURIOSITY!!!

Play counts people...it just does!!