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Posts Tagged ‘space’

 

A simple walk in our neighbourhood was all my students really needed to demonstrate their sense of wonder and play. It was also what I needed to in order to determine what was meaningful in their world. How can I make connections to their world, if I don’t really discover it with them? All I had to do was listen. I just listened to find out what was important to them and observe how they interacted in different places within their community. I was surprised to see them run for the swings in the park.

Inspired by Laurel Croza’s book, “I Know Here,” the students shared the school iPads to take photos of the structures and streets that were meaningful to them.

student: “Can we go to the park so I can take a photo of the slides?”

student: “I took a picture of the beautiful flowers.”

student: “I want to get a photo of the train as it passes here.”

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They were enthusiastic and engaged. The children were eager to capture the essence of their own place, their neighbourhood. They were also sharing stories. I listened to the students as they debated the best way to the park or described where their friends lived – they were sharing stories.

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Collaboration is one of the Reggio principles that has required some support in the classroom. However, when we returned to our classroom, the students were enthusiastic to work together in small groups making webs of their community photos using the Popplet App. They negotiated how many photos to use and whether to add text. Some groups even added photos of themselves.

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Even though I knew the importance of shared experiences, connecting to the outdoors, and slowing down the pace to make time for “walks” – I forgot the benefits until we went on our first community walk last week. Needless to say, we are going on another tomorrow. And another next week…

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I am in a new school and in a classroom that was not designed for early years. These are the challenges that many educators face, especially as full-day Kindergarten is being rolled out quickly across the Ontario with acquisitions of regular classrooms and stock furniture orders! Here is my new space:

 

The coat hooks along the back wall were removed and the children have space in the hallway outside the classroom for their outdoor wear. This has at least allowed for the back wall to be used for learning centre spaces. I wasn’t able to get the dividers and shelving that I was hoping for, but my new space is still in transition and it continues to evolve. One of the first centres that I worked on was a Reading Centre. I had a carpet from home, but no small furniture. The students looked lost sitting on the carpet leaning up against the wall. So within the first week of school I was sourcing used chairs that I could buy to make a more comfortable meeting place. By chance, a friend of mine was cleaning out her shed and offered some weathered wooden furniture that her child had outgrown. It would need painting she said. I jumped at the offer, painted the furniture in a neutral taupe and hauled it to my classroom. That same weekend I bought a green leaf canopy from IKEA to frame the space.

The children were elated to see the new reading area made just for them. There is never a day that the area is not occupied with independent readers or children sharing a story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I have since then acquired an open front facing book case to replace the metal book rack that was provided with the room set-up stock order.)

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johnaleslietdsb

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