I really need some help!! Play based curriculum

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by MuckeyBusiness, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. MuckeyBusiness

    MuckeyBusiness Companion

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    Nov 14, 2012

    I started a new job in september and it is a play based curriculum center. We follow naeyc and we are a licensed center. Art is normally here are the materials and the paper now do what you want with it... we never have anything pre cut out. The kids learn best through play and i completley agree with that but i guess i've never applied it as much as i need to here. At previous centers i have always done the center thing with math and matching things and all that at one table and art at another table which was a lot of pre cut stuff but they can put it where they want and literacy with letters and numbers and they had to match the letters and numbers and actually practice writing and what not and for some reason i feel like i can't do any of that here. I don't know if it's just cause i'm so overwhelmed so nervous to try those things i've done at previous centers or what. If i am making sense at all someone please respond but i feel like i'm the dumbest teacher in the world and have no clue what to do in this setting to get the kids how to learn to write and learn their letters and numbers and all that good stuff. Please help i am so overwhelmed and I hope this makes sense!!!
     
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  3. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 15, 2012

    Muckey, your post sounds like you are nervous.

    I think we have discussed Creative Curriculum before. It sounds like this center is following creative to the letter. My best suggestion to you is to read a few posts regarding creative curriculum, and study the examples of activities.

    I guess the best advice I can give you is to make sure all materials are generic and open ended. When I start the year, I put out plain paper and pencils. Each day I vary the materials until the children have experienced all media. Then, I combine materials that I put out. After they have learned how to glue, I would put out glue and collage materials. Keep it simple.

    What do you need help with? I have a head full of ideas, and I will be glad to share.
     
  4. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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  5. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 15, 2012

    :hugs: Muckey, you will be ok. Listen to what the kids are saying. The good thing about play based is that you are relieved of some of the work, because the children do the planning for you. If you are having trouble planning.....try post planning (where you put out general lesson plans "today in the art center we will have paper and pencils and tomorrow we will have paper and markers" and then you keep track of who likes the center and what they are talking about and what they need to complete the work). Wow! That was such an exciting sentence I totally gave up on punctuation....sorry.

    Those websites specialpreskoo gave you are great. you can do this! And if you need topics filled out or how to actually log or make lesson plans....Blue and I love to help! We just need to know what you need help with......
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 16, 2012

    Wa is right. We love to help. Between us we have done it or heard of it.
     
  7. MuckeyBusiness

    MuckeyBusiness Companion

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    Nov 19, 2012

    that makes me feel good to hear :) So do you guys think most of what i've learned in previous centers i just need to forget? change my mindset?
     
  8. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 19, 2012

    No, don't forget the stuff, just make it creative. I was the supervisor for college ECE students for a year. My job was to make sure they did their classroom projects correctly. One student came in with drawing paper and colored pencils. Not very creative for an ECE student. I helped her problem solve and she came up with a variety of paper and several kinds of writing instruments. It is still not great project. But, it is acceptable as a creative project.

    Sometimes making an activity creative is simply adding more choices. Remember, children learn best by discovering the answers for themselves. Think about your chem and bio classes, and all those experiments. You learned by doing. So do the children.

    Give us some themes, etc, and we will try to help them become creative.
     
  9. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 19, 2012

    After you get the hang of it, you will find it's much easier. We are basically a play-based center, but are given a lot of freedom to deviate from it if we wish.
    When I did a play-based classroom, I "added" real-life things to the kitchen area and let them use their imaginations, things like rocks, boots, "real" pots and pans, magazines, boxes, wrapping paper/tape, etc.
    I did the same for the block/truck areas and really still do it all that way. Let them play and figure things out. It's fun!
    As for art/projects, I put things on the table and they could choose to do them...or not.
    I will say that it was so much easier than sitting down a group of 10 children and telling them what to make!
    I also found that the years I did it this way, they did not learn their letters and numbers as quickly or as well. That's why I went back to group teaching them at the table so that they are formally exposed to the things they need to enter Kindergarten.
    Good luck!
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 19, 2012

    I agree Grammy, the years I spent doing play based, or similarily emergent curriculum were wonderfully less stressful. I also saw that if we were solely a program that learned through play we would have possibly been outputting less quickly. I did end up adding back in the formality of a circle time, and the ZooPhonics song....but for the bulk of our 10 hour day together we were emergent.
     
  11. MuckeyBusiness

    MuckeyBusiness Companion

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    Nov 28, 2012

    When you have done a play based classroom what would your large group/circle time look like? I'm also starting to learn I need to save my busy classroom work that I need to get done and actually sit and interact with the kids. That's a lot harder then I thought it'd be
     
  12. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 28, 2012

    We were encouraged to interact with the kids and have informal circle times, meaning that you find out what they are interested in and talk/read with them about that subject. Sometimes I would "announce" that I would be reading a story on the circle rug and anyone who wished could join us. I found that didn't really work sometimes and would still have a short "formal" circle time just to talk and read a story. There are many ways to teach Math/Reading, etc. without having a circle time with the whole group. It does involve rotating the room and talking with the kids a lot. I tend to shy away from this approach because I agree with some of the traditional ways of teaching and like to use some of the Montessori's approach, which in our area involves teaching the kids to be very independent and play alone without a teacher hovering over them.
     
  13. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 28, 2012

    YES, please talk, talk, talk, talk to the kids. Second....listen! This is where you will spend that time you used to spend in "prep". The kids can't tell you what they need to tell you about topics they find interesting if you are clear across the room staring at a data entry screen on a computer. Not that this isn't important....just....it isn't to them.

    For group time I did keep a formal circle....for 20 min out of a 10 hour day. For all of the other "much more important times" that I needed all of them I just sounded very excited and told them I needed them. It worked well, if I had a direction or if I needed to show them a bug....but you learn not to waste these times. The way you get them to listen is to not need to have them uninterrupted very much. Less is more?

    What did you try?

    How did it work?
     
  14. Blue

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    Nov 29, 2012

    Even a play based curriculum needs structure. Without the structure, chaos can develop. Block of time need to be created which encourage different types of behavior. Circle time can set the tone of the day. The teacher's personal style defines the type of blocks that happen.

    My choice of teaching was to have science in an interest center. Other teachers might present science during circle time. My best advice is to develop your own style, create a framework of the day, and fill in the day to suit your style.
     
  15. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 29, 2012

    I always began with a morning meeting with all the kids. We talked about what we might be doing that day and what was new in the room. I still apply this approach as needed, but they are so used to going into the areas and counting how many can be in each area. They know how to rotate. It works well.
     
  16. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Nov 29, 2012

    Mucky - I LOVE your post!

    You stated exactly what I was feeling about a month ago. I too moved to a new school with play-based learning and had to adjust my thinking. Now I see that it is a wonderful way for children to learn! For me it is much more difficult than teacher created centers, because it takes more patience and creativity - as a teacher I have to think like a child and anticipate what might spark their imaginations and creativity.

    It is so comforting to know I am not the only teacher who has felt the things you stated! Hang in there, study Creative Curriculum, practice one small thing with the kids each day. I have had to learn by changing one small thing within myself each day or each week. I think I am learning as much as the children.

    It is helpful to reflect on the day and make a couple of notes of what worked and what didn't, what the kids really were interested in, and maybe a sentence or two of observations on a couple of kids. Over time these notes will show you a trend in the classroom.

    I had a few days in September and October when I cried on the way home, thinking "I can't do this job! What is wrong with me?" I am an experienced teacher, but accepted this new job as a new challenge, and it IS a challenge. But I am growing and learning, and you will too. Just take a deep breath and do what works.
     
  17. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Nov 29, 2012

    Sorry to go on and on!! I am just excited to find this topic.

    As far as your experience and knowledge of centers and esp. literacy, NO, do not forget what you have done. I have begun incorporating one literacy center, which I or my co-worker supervise and guide (esp. ABCs, writing names, learning sounds as appropriate), while the rest of the kids are doing their play-based learning. I call them to the center during our morning hour. This is working out pretty well. It also provides instant documentation of one aspect of their learning.
     
  18. MuckeyBusiness

    MuckeyBusiness Companion

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    Nov 29, 2012

    what are some example of the centers that you do (literacy, math, etc?)
     
  19. MuckeyBusiness

    MuckeyBusiness Companion

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    Nov 29, 2012

    bonneb we should so talk on google or something!
     
  20. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 29, 2012

    literacy.....I did a lot of journaling (without assignments) and I did a lot of reasons to write in the housekeeping center. There are some great ideas on my pintrest....orders for resturaunts and what not.
     
  21. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 29, 2012

    The trick is to know your learning objectives first. Literacy is more than naming letters. There are reasons to write, audiences to write for and how that changes the manner one writes in, differences between signs, charts and books and then on to fiction and non fictions. We got the most power out of the children trying to free spell to label items in their journals.

    For math we had bins of lots of dinosaurs or animals or whatever. They rotated so I didn't have 100000 animals on the floor at once. Then when they started to free sort or free line up I would make sure the comment ALOT! Then provide little bowls or something to encourage pocketing them in groups. Then we invented math games. Our favorite turned out to be roll and count....which involved doing just that....but the kids invented it.

    have you looked up your state standards? Or the Creative Curr learning objectives? Teach to those and wrap the theme around it.
     

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