Room 8 jumped into the week by beginning with various small learning circles on Monday. Each table was set up with a different activity that highlighted a variety of skills. For instance, one of the centers was set up with a Before and After puzzle. The purpose of this puzzle was to put together a set of three pieces that told a story, a before, middle and after. Another center included tiny pattern tiles set out with graph paper, rulers, and crayons. This was an open center to see where the children would go with this activity. Would they stack the cubes and measure, would they place the cubes on paper and color the graph paper squares in, or would they make a pattern? We love setting up this type of open-ended center. It allows the children to be in control and exert their independence. They are able to make their own choices with how they want to manipulate the items and express their creativity. It also supports the children in strengthening their cognitive, language and social skills. Jacob decided to stack the tiny tiles and then place them on the graphing paper to see different heights. Nixon and Isabella made small figures with parts that formed a bend and other parts that were straight. It was interesting to hear the thought process behind the figurines that the children created. We will continue to incorporate more open-ended activities into our weekly routine to enable the children to further develop their likes and dislikes.
Over the course of the past few months, we noticed that the children have shown a great interest in building with Legos. Both small and large, Legos are the number one requested activity in our class. We saw an incredible opportunity to inspire further learning through this popular toy. This is a great example of how emergent curriculum is taking place in our class. Their love for Legos inspired us to incorporate this popular material in an academic setting. We chose this specific activity with Legos to reinforce a variety of important developmental skills. In addition to aiding in the growth of these cognitive, social and emotional abilities, taking into account the interests of the children will foster a love of learning. Concepts that might seem extremely challenging to children become more approachable and exciting when curriculum takes into account their interests. Even though we might be working on letter and sound recognition, fine motor skills and problem solving, the children don’t realize they are practicing these skills when working with Legos.
Now that you know the why of why we chose to work with Legos, we will explain a little about the multi-step project. The first step of this project began with sorting. As you might know, we have a ginormous box of little Legos in Room 8 comprised of a variety of different shapes and sizes. Before we explained the project to the children, we started by giving them a basic direction to sort out the pieces into different piles. Once we began to pick through the pieces, we decided what types of pieces would be best to form letters. Some of these pieces included flat, long and skinny lines, short and skinny lines, one-piece Legos, one-piece circle Legos, and the pieces that are flat and little wider. Ask your child how many different piles we had! It was hard to sort them out into different categories being that there were so many different types of Lego pieces, but through patience and teamwork, the children did a great job. They found hundreds of pieces to kick-off the start of our project. This concluded the first step of the project.
While we did the first portion of the project in a large group, the second step we would do in small groups of 2 or 3 children. First, we had each child write their name in uppercase letters on a white board. Then, while facing all of the piles of Lego pieces, we asked the children to choose the correct pieces of little Legos that would correspond with each letter of their name. Should they use a long line, short line, little curve or big curve? For letters like I, H and T, it was easy to figure out which Lego pieces to use, but what about the letters that have curves and circles like O and P? This posed as a challenge to the children, which they could quickly overcome being that they were so versed in building with Legos. Wyatt quickly noticed that he would not be able to use a diagonal line for the A. Through problem solving and manipulating the Lego pieces around, he was able to create an A by using two straight lines and a straight line at the top and small line in the middle. Alexandra ran into many challenges along the way in her name since many of the letters include diagonals and curves. She tapped into her creativity and solved the issue of the X by using small 1-piece round Legos that she placed individually on the board in the shape of two diagonal lines. This project emphasized so many important developmental skills such as basic math skills, like sorting and shape recognition, problem solving, fine motor abilities, letter recognition, creativity, social interaction and teamwork. The children had to figure out the proper shapes and how many of each to make up one letter.
We are still working on this multi-step project and once they are complete, you will be able to see their creations hanging on our wall. We will also introduce the next holiday that is quickly approaching next week! We wish you all a Shabbat Shalom and wonderful weekend!
Mari and Aaliyah
Important Reminder for THIS MONDAY 12/9:
This Monday night, at 7 PM, The Boulder Journey School will be presenting in the Main Temple Building. Alison Maher and Andrea Sisbarro are presenting "The Path to Kindergarten Readiness and Lifelong Learning," a discussion on the topic of Emergent Curriculum. They are here to help educate all of us and help us gain a better understanding of our incredible philosophy.
- 12/7- EC PJ Havadalah – 4p.m.
- 12/11- Open House
- 12/19- Room 8 Hanukkah Party!
- 12/20- Early Dismissal for Winter Break – 12pm
- 12/23-1/3- Winter Break
- 1/6- Classes resume and Enrichment begins