Learning through Play vs. Direct Instruction

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Blue, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,591
    Likes Received:
    3

    Apr 20, 2011

    We need some new chat topics. So here is one that should generate some discussion.

    It seems that PS teaches concepts by allowing the children to play and discover. It seems that K and up use more direct instruction. Those of you trying to use both, how is it working?

    Do your supervisors advocate one style over the other?

    Did you training influence one more than the other?
     
  2.  
  3. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 20, 2011

    Good topic.

    I think - no, I know - I did more direct instruction in the past. I am teacher - see me teach. I think I have matured and changed my outlook. I want kids to learn to think and problem-solve and imagine and hypothesize and create. I want to expose them to a wide variety of experiences and observe and support their learning.

    On the other hand, I have seen schools that are play-based who, in my opinion, almost use that as an excuse to be "lazy" and just do "free play" all the time without much thought as to what and why they are doing it. Even in a play-based environment, I feel it is essential that the teachs are reflective about the experiences they provide the children and how they support the learning so that children are getting the basics they need and a whole lot more. Some Reggio schools call it a "negotiated" curriculum - a mix of children's interests with what the teachers feel they need to learn. I love it for many reasons including the children are engaged so they are enthusiastic and there are less behavior problems.

    I have two jobs, so two supervisors. The first one really doesn't care or meddle, so I am attempting do a negotiated curriculum but wish I had a team of people working with me to help support my ideas and share theirs. The other job is totally play-based and I think it could be fabulous but it isn't right now - the director has been there 28 years and is stuck in a rut and is too much into control and not enough into being innovative or creative. Some of the teachers and I have this wonderful dream of taking over and creating something amazing! We look forward to days the director isn't there so we can break out of the mold and be a little creative.

    The school I went to years ago was more direct instruction. Newer classes stressed play and emergent curriculum. I actually thinks it takes more education, thought and effort to do a good job in a play-based, emergent environment. You can't rely on canned curriculum or what you did last year. I think few brand new teachers with limited units or experience could do it successfully.

    I want to visit WaProvider because I have a feeling she does it well.

    Hope I answered your questions.
     
  4. gavyas

    gavyas New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 21, 2011

    Hi, i am new to this forum, according to me kids should be exposed to an extent, let them do what they can and see there would be some result in it. I have a suggestion, if you want to go for more child development activities then you can visit site named childfont.
     
  5. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 21, 2011

    You can visit me....we just had chuckar chicks donated yesterday. I can't let the children hatch the eggs anymore (I did----child lead right--once) because they always want to adopt the chickens. We have two hens in the toy yard due to this lesson 3 yrs ago. I love to let the children decide the theme, work out the details, problem solve and, as Miss Frizzle says "make mistakes and get messy".

    In the end though I do have a few grown up rules and when they bump into them I just announce that I have a rule, and what happened in a different generation or what licensing says about this avenue. The children respect the fact that they guide so much and really process what I am saying and then move around the road block. So even though they know that they would LOVE to hatch eggs, we can have little chicks but that the end of the line. These chicks are desert chicks so they will stay with us until they are grown (or too big for the chicken coop with the chickens) and then we will release them into the desert. They nominated a writer (as is our custom) wrote the rule and put it up on the rule board (regular people call it a b board!) and ten we were down to learning. The first thing they wanted to know was how long will they be here. I knew they were born yesterday, but not when they would be big.....but "look how tiny they are guys.....will it be soon?" We decided not soon!

    Yes, scmom you can come and play. Blue asks too.....but she never makes it.

    I love, love, love to be emergent and in my area there aren't a lot of other emergent programs for me to hang out with. Well, there are none. No Reggio. I feel very alone. Was that one of your questions Blue?
     
  6. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    11

    Apr 21, 2011

    I am trying to be more play-based. I am in an elementary building and I feel a lot of pressure to be "teaching" in the traditional sense and feel looked down upon when the students are "just playing." But that is OK with me. My goal is to be DAP, and I will continue looking more and more toward meeting that goal.

    My question is...how exactly do you go about this emergent curriculum thing? Do you ask the kids what they want the theme to be, ask questions and go from there? What kinds of things do they come up with? Do you vote? I am just trying to see how this works. (And yes, WA Provider, I would love to visit you too - but you are many, many miles from me!)

    And - how exactly are you setting up your play for learning? When I do the grocery store center, I have play money, pads for writing shopping lists, etc. - but should I be doing more?

    I am so just eager to soak up all the knowledge on this board! I am the only PreK teacher at my school and I am willing to buck the trend of academic preschool as long as I can really back up what I am doing!
     
  7. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 21, 2011

    I will try to come back later, and Blue will surely stop by. The short answer is that I listen for what they are interested in, or bait them with a field trip or book or idea or new item in the classroom to wonder about. Then we "play about it" for a little while until I can see they are thinking. Staff and I call it "traction" like when tires meet the road. Then we do a "what do we know and what do we want to know chart". A bit of circle time goes into logging the ideas and then......yes, often we have to vote.

    Sounds scary, but it isn't. I will be back.....

    and thanks!
     
  8. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,912
    Likes Received:
    14

    Apr 21, 2011

    I try to learn through play even with my 2nd graders!

    This week, we are working on geometry and fractions... the first day I set out pattern blocks, let them explore and discuss... Look, it takes two of these red blocks to make one of the yellow ones! I wonder how many triangles it would take?

    Wonderful, playful set up for the lesson.

    Then, when we started solid geometric figures, they went exploring through the school to find real-life examples. They loved it!

    I also try and follow their lead when possible. Last week, I turned on the eagle cam website just for fun. They loved it so much, that we have been trying to pull into that a little bit each day. They are learning so much, and even going home and trying to research more about eagles!

    It is harder with primary than it was with preschool, but I try as much as possible to include play and follow their interests
     
  9. Pre-K Teacher 1

    Pre-K Teacher 1 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 21, 2011

    We are focusing on reflective practice and intentional teaching.
     
  10. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 21, 2011

    And how do you do that exactly? What are the techniques and strategies you use to be intentional and reflective?
     
  11. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 21, 2011

    Sounds like constructivism! That was the focus of my undergrad program. So yes, I do consider myself a constructivist and I work towards student ownership of learning. I always feel there is more I could be doing to be more constructivist- but yes, I do try to have constructivist elements in our learning. Great thread- I look forward to reading more!
     
  12. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 21, 2011

    Danny's Nanny......is it "harder" with elm school children or is the wealth of other assignments that you are responsible for covering the part that is harder. I mean no disrespect. Do you mean the children are less likely to "learn" in a "play" setting or they are less likely to learn in the manner that is testable in the play setting?

    I could totally see it either way, I was just wondering.
     
  13. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 21, 2011

    SwOcean

    I do like the constructivist way of running a room as well. I think there are many areas of over lap here. I started there, the biggest change I noticed as I moved was that the emergent room didn't really have me in the drivers seat for the planning, while the constructivist room could have themes laid out prior and with little input from the children. Once we were learning, it sort of ran the same, at least for me.
     
  14. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 21, 2011

    I agree with WaProvider - the learning is similar just the type of planning and level of observation and reflection are different. I do a lot of the same things I did when I was thematic - on the other hand, there are a lot of things I don't do and new things I have discovered so it is a learning journey for me, as well.

    The basic difference is I don't know in September what I am going to do in October or May - or maybe even tomorrow or next week. I am newer to this than WaProvider but I approach it in a number of ways. I spend a lot of time just talking to kids and listening to them as they play with each other so I get a good idea of what they are interested in that way. I also do needs assessments at the beginning of the year asking parents what their kids are interested in as a starting place. I actually ask their parents to bring me their children's favorite books at the beginning of the year and I feature these books and activities that are related to them the first few weeks. This way I know I am featuring things they are interested in until we have bonded and gotten to know each other better. A little later in the year I will sometimes ask kids what they want to learn about and we will build some projects from there. It is always evolving - sometimes I think they are super interested in something and it fizzles in a few days. Sometimes something I thought would be quick lasts a long time and evolves into something else.

    Why do I love it? It is interesting! There is no boredom of doing the same thing in the same way every year. Children are engaged. I am engaged. You get to know families and use their talents and resources. I learn along with the kids.

    Could I have done this at the beginning of my career? No way! Do I think children can still learn the "basics" in this way? Absolutely! The downside - it is hard work and takes the confidence to go with the flow and know you don't have to have everything planned out in advance. It is not for control freaks.

    I put mini posters up with pictures of the kids doing and discovering and exploring and add comments about what the children are learning so parents (and administrators) "get it." That's what Reggio schools call documentation.

    I consider my teaching still a work in progress. I am not an expert at this by any means but I think it has been a valuable experience. I really have noticed that the kids are better thinkers and problem-solvers, and also much better in representational art because of all the process-oriented artwork and drawing we are doing in our planning and projects. I have a lot to learn.
     
  15. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,591
    Likes Received:
    3

    Apr 22, 2011

    For me, emergent curriculum means planning themes based upon what you observe the children to be interested in. Your learning objectives will be the same.

    You will teach them the color names, by eating green, yellow, and red food. But if the children are interested in airplanes, you can teach them about green, yellow and red airplanes. I see this as the major concept that PS teachers need help with.

    I sure enjoyed hearing about the styles and opinions of everyone. I had begun to think there were no Play, Emergent teachers out there.
     
  16. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,591
    Likes Received:
    3

    Apr 22, 2011

    Wa, I think it would be great to come visit you. When things calm down, I will.
     
  17. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Messages:
    815
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 22, 2011

    Oh I love this question! I am currently writing my thesis on this very topic. I am going to be following this thread :)

    I think play is an important way for children to learn. I also have high academic standards that I am required to meet which eliminates a huge chunk of time in my day.
     
  18. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 22, 2011

    AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW, thanks, Blue! I think when you get here I may at scmom's place. She is cool, too. Those posters of documentation are all over here, plus a binder of what we are doing for the parents (or wandering licensors or visiting school employees) to see what we are doing and how it realates. Those documentation measures are one of the things that "set me apart" locally. I try to explain that this is just how Reggio works and that I have adopted it, but I am sure in now way can I claim to be Reggio.

    I agree, teaching is about life long learning for me. My style is evolving as well.
     
  19. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 22, 2011

    I have seen great big documentation boards which are great but I took the lead from La Jolla United Methodist Nursery School. They do their documentation on regular 8 1/2 X 11 because it can then be put into binders and kept to show prospective parents or as record for the year. I brought the binder to my last 2 daycare interviews and it got me the job both times, so is good for that as well.

    Their former director was one of my college instructors and she is the "leader" of Reggio here in San Diego. The school is amazing and they give tours all the time. They have a website which has some great pictures if you want to check it out - http://www.ljumcns.com/site/Welcome.html.
    One of the things about the school I like the most is their outdoor classroom. They have a teacher outside and the classes rotate to her and she does wood working, gardening, animals husbandry, art - a wide variety of things, some of which I haven't had the courage to do (kids with power tools - ahh!!).

    Another amazing school is the Children's School in La Jolla, http://www.tcslj.org/, which I have also visited. The power of both these schools is people with vision working together, money, and they have staff who have actually been to Reggio Emilia, Italiy.

    The San Diego Roundtable is a group of teachers throughout the county. Some work in Reggio schools, some just are interested. I have gone to a couple of meetings but haven't had much time this year. Anyway, they also have a website, http://www.sdreggioroundtable.com/, and on the bottom of the first page they have a link to local schools. There aren't a lot here but it sounds like more than in your area. The one thing most of them have in common is money but I think we can still have emergent, Reggio influenced classrooms without that - they just aren't as stunning.

    Well, I thought you might enjoy these resources. When I visited the schools I took my camera with me to record all the little details which were amazing.
     
  20. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 22, 2011

    I teach kindergarten, so it is difficult to do- but I find with constructivism and the pre-planning as you pointed out, that I can manage that and I do not have to fight for it. I do not have to prove what I am doing in the public school using this approach. So my biggest goal is to be hands on and to make learning fun through engaging with the tools and discovering for themselves- so a lot of self discovery and learning initiated by the students. It is not all student led as your approach is- although I think that would be amazing- I cannot see that flying at my public school.

    Not everything has to be pencil and paper and even as a new teacher it is very hard, very difficult not to fall into that trap. There are times I do go to the worksheet and I hate it. On those days I am not very good at it and I am disappointed when I do that, but then there are days when it just clicks and it is amazing how they are constructing knowledge and learning without me yakking at them or whatever just by engaging in the tools in a discovery based way. Just giving them stuff and letting them do what they will with it to teacher math or science is amazing. Honestly, which is more effective a worksheet for patterning or using tools to create patterns and manipulate and move them? Will they ever remember that worksheet? No way, but they do remember that day "playing" on the rug for before school work and the knowledge they constructed on patterns, shapes, colors, creation, and design. That lesson ended being a lot more informative and driven than if I had just given them the worksheet- which would have been colored and done in a moment without much thought or consideration. So there are days- it is a definite work in progress. Always so much more to learn and to understand and to think about. It is definitely a skill I am working on.

    SC there is a school like that near me that I visited it was amazing! The teacher there also visited the school in Italy and had some amazing photos- how incredible! Just awesome- her school is amazing too! It really inspires you- how out of the box and just engaging it all can be.
     
  21. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 22, 2011

    See, I knew you all were doing the same thing as me! I couldn't be the coolest.....there is so much left for me to learn. I love the links scmom! The nearest Reggio school that I have heard of in my state is in Seattle.......4 to 5 hrs away. Haven't made it there.

    And I agree Swocean that when I was having to defend myself to the schools I was much more construction based so that I could be sure I got it all. Now, I have started to rest a bit on my good "street credit" I bet.

    I am so happy to hear you have a worksheet reduced Kinder room! I have been looking for one of those!

    To anyone:

    What is your favorite way to involve the children or get them to gain momentum when you are engaged?
     
  22. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,912
    Likes Received:
    14

    Apr 22, 2011

    When I was in a preschool room, I felt like I had the freedom to drop whatever my "plan" was and follow then children in their interests - wherever that took us. It wasn't only encouraged, it was expected - the whole philosophy of our program.

    In elementary, I feel almost like I spend the whole time convincing myself that it is ok... Defending my actions to myself... There is so much to cover, and so little time, do I have the time to take these child-centered "detours?" Will the parents understand the value of these play-based activities?

    I can defend them when asked, and often send newsletters explaining activities we are doing, and my regular volunteers are great about discussing these activities with parents. But then I hear, "oh, all these moms were at the park for a play-date on Saturday, and they were talking about how much you PLAY!" and my heart starts to race...
     
  23. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 22, 2011

    That is how I thought the "big schools" meaning elm schools might be. I have to say that with the structure of the lessons in the bigger age groups I could totally see how it would be harder. I am sure someone somewhere does it.....but I can see how it would be hard to explain. I find myself having to "explain" my style to newer families when their children are older as well.
     
  24. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 22, 2011

    I think that is where constructivism comes in. I have those days/ moments where I think and fret about the same thing and think oh, boy! If the P comes in now- she will not be happy! But with constructivism I have the objective and somewhat of a plan/idea of how to get there, but the students are in charge of actually getting there and sometimes they do take charge and we end up somewhere else or learn something I was not exactly expecting, but we follow through and we go there, but they need to discover the answer for themselves and only after they get it then I can give them the language to express their learning and thus achieve our objective. In some cases after that point, we do have to write about it or have a physical hard copy paper showing they have it. That assessment piece is important and unfortunately it cannot all be anecdotal notes, observations, projects- I need those pieces for portfolios and report cards to show parents and staff. Sometimes that is where I take the easy road and have those worksheets, or sometimes make my own. I try not to rely on worksheets or use them more than necessary- baby steps, I have a long way to go, but I try. Also, you can't always do it, but I do try to at least have that hands on piece where they are engaged with the tools or manipulatives learning and exploring on their own- so that they can build some schema for whatever prior to just hearing me talk and explain. Let them have the opportunity to do that in pairs, groups, whole class, try to build some of their own knowledge to share and learn from. Hearing it from a peer is always nice!
     
  25. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,591
    Likes Received:
    3

    Apr 22, 2011

    Sw, you have discovered that worksheets seem to be for evaluation, not direct instruction.
     
  26. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 22, 2011

    I have gone worksheetless this year which feels good but I don't have to do assessments like many schools. Sw, it sounds like you are doing an excellent job within the parameters you have.

    One thing I made up this year to help with assessments were to print out sheets of labels with the skills I wanted to assess on each one so I could quickly put them on the work a child did. I have a clipboard of them I can grab and put the child's name and date on the label with the skill. For example, rather than do a worksheet on patterning we could do patterning in an art project (macaroni or whatever) and I slap the label on and put it in the portfolio.

    I also do a lot of journaling of what they observe, think, etc. which I can use for assessments. For example, in their science journal they wrote down the stages of the frog life cycle which we had observed in class which is another standard. It also assesses their level of writing, fine motor skills, etc.

    I do use a lot of observations and anecdotes. Labels can be good for this do. Jot down what you observe and stick it on a sheet in their portfolios.

    I don't think there is any one perfect answer but what I think is important is that we put the effort forth to be thoughtful about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we can be better.

    Part of what other posters talked about was justifying or explaining what we did. I think this is the wonderful part of documentation. It provides clear evidence of what has happened in the classroom and the learning going on.
     
  27. Maxadoodle

    Maxadoodle Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    Oh, how I wish I could try the emergent style in my classroom! However, at my preschool the director insists each level (in my case 3-year olds) do the same thing. So last week was Easter, this week is Pond Life, next week is Caterpillars, on so on.
     
  28. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    Maxadoodle - I HATE it when the director choses the themes and schedule. So if your kids could care less about caterpillars you have to do it all week and if they are fascinated you have to cut it off on Friday. Ridiculous, but probably the norm!

    WaProvider asked a question about how to engage the children which is an excellent question in itself. Maybe we should make it another thread because I think it is pertinent whether you are doing emergent or not. What do you think?
     
  29. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011


    I do exactly this. If you pattern in the blocks on the floor I may snap a picture and pop the sticky label on the yucky paper print out and pop it in the portfolio. If you are making a journal entry for science and you happen to write that you think the caterpillar will become a butterfly then I will pop it on the copier and file it in the portfolio with the sticker on it that says..."can predict in science". As Blue has said for years, all of my objectives and all of their subpoints are listed and I design my room to encourage them to "think about" these things. When they do I capture it and booom! Got it!

    However, I do see how this would be hard with many students (my class size is small) and with older students. I have loved reading how the school aged teachers are doing these things.
     
  30. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    oooops sorry to hijack. I just thought it was a natural question. Getting the children engaged can look many different ways. If someone wants to move it over, have at it, or I could just table the question. Sorry.:eek:
     
  31. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

     
  32. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    Nothing to be sorry about. It is a great question I just thought was worth a separate thread because it doesn't matter your philosophy or style - everyone has the same problem. I don't know how to move it so I thought you might want to start a different thread.
     
  33. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    Maxadoodle, Don't you find it interesting the more we find out about brain development and learning, the less school hierarchy follows what we have learned?
     
  34. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    maxadoodle....is there anyway that you can make a higher overarching theme that goes around them all? Like rabbits myths and reality (Easter secular), pond and caterpillars .....could all go into a spring animal sort of theme. At least your children and your own own teachers could grapple with a larger topic while not causing a problem with administration.
     
  35. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    SC and Wa- that is an awesome idea! I really love that. New summer project!
    I actually have taken pictures of the kids in action doing something that is on the report card and demonstrating their knowledge of it- but it is just more of a reminder for me- I do not actually do anything with the pic. I might look back at it and remember and realize how it really does work and it is a powerful approach to education- but yeah, that is great to add to their portfolio. I have never done that though.

    So for the sticker labels- you pretty much go through the report card or the standards whatever you are working with and write it out on the sticky or print it and then stick it on the work sample or pic of it?
    Could you tell me an example of the language you use on the sticky? Is it directly from the standards/report card or the gist of it in your own words? That would be awesome to have and to have it so organized and ready at an instant would really encourage anecdotal and observational notes- which will be my key focus this summer just getting it perfected- so it is readily available in an instant. Having the stickies would just really increase my notes- wow and definitely improve my portfolios. That is such better info than what I currently have. That is awesome. I am excited to get that started yay!

    Wa you said your design your room around the objectives and encourage the class to think about them- what do you mean? what does that look like? Do you have those posters that previous posters spoke about that defend their work and give reasons about why they are doing what they are doing or do you do something different? In the K room having those posters would not really do as much as they do in a center or a place where parents actually come in and pick up the kids. I can see the benefit of it for open house and whatnot, but otherwise not so much.
     
  36. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    As a preschool Pre-K teacher I like the idea of mixing the best of play-based and academic based styles. It seems like most people who promote play-based are adament that no worksheets, workbooks or any printed type materials are to be used. My school does not allow any worksheet type materials, but fail to provide the materials that are needed to do a totally theme based - center based program. I also have to plan all my curriculum over a month in advance, so Emergent is difficult. In the perfect world, if you had the materials and support that is needed, a fully emergent, center based environment would work great. However, if your center doesn't provide prop boxes, then you end up making so much stuff yourself or buying materials, than it is hard to keep up with all the themes. If I had it my way I would like to merge the best of both worlds. I like to plan fun centers like looking at live bugs that we find in the yard on my computer microscope. But with all the play based learning they get during the day, I don't think having the students make a mini-book about spiders or do a worksheet matching bugs is a bad idea. All information they receive is beneficial. It just gives them one more way to process the information. All my students are at school at least 9 hours a day, and some up to 12 hours. It is alot of time to fill. I think there is room for both types of learning! I would like to have the flexiblity to do all styles, instead of a very strict set of rules and regulations.
     
  37. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    SWOcean

    Yes, "those posters" are a summary of nearly every unit. I would say that you could do the same thing with sort of a picture and word format in a "newsletter" for parents. I do argue though that "defending" yourself to the admin and other teachers would be a wonderful reason to use the posters. I use them NOW for the children to track what we are doing and update themselves...the defense to others is not important really anymore as I have the same students for many years, so the same clients for many years.

    I use the language from my state benchmarks sort of as written, but just the snippet that means something to me. So, "counts by rote past 20" would be all that remains of a target that showed evidence of much more wordsmithing.

    Along the same target I also knew a teacher that hung signs up in the room when they were working with a "science" idea or a "literacy" idea. She said it helped with the people who were wondering what happened, but that it also helped her feel like she was moving along.
     
  38. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    Can you have the students draw what they see, even if it doesn't look like what they see. Make a playdough sculpture of what they see....even if it bears no resemblance. Over time their skills will grow. I am amazed with what my little ones can draw these days......and that is a benchmark! So I am thrilled!
     
  39. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    Isabunny,

    I think I can speak for WaProvider when I say we are not trying to judge you in any way for what you do. We are just lucky that at this point in our careers we have the power to choose to do it differently and have the experience and resources to do so. I have made many games, etc. over the years which I can pull out. I am laughing to myself because I don't do that much anymore but have spent my day making peg doll fairies because we are doing fairies next week which I have never done before.

    I have used worksheets in the past but choose not to do so anymore for a number of reasons. I just think that in most cases there is almost always (my opinion only) a better way. For example, following your spider theme I would have kids sort plastic spiders and bugs into groups - arachnids or insects and have children make their own mini books about what they learned about spiders drawing and dictating (or writing themselves).

    I am LUCKY I don't have to do formal assessments - I just do some for myself or parents. The labels match a standard but I just put a shortened version on the top line of the label - counts to _____. On the second line I write in all the kids names alphabetically so they are easy to find and have a place to put the date. That way when I wander around the room or am doing a small group activity I can notice something they have done and note it, rather than having to go back and formally assess that skill in an isolated event. It is more natural, I suppose. I'm not sure I am explaining it clearly.

    I am realistic to understand an emergent approach isn't realistic for many people but I think there are valuable aspects of it that can be used in almost every situation.
     
  40. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,661
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    OH, no I am not judging.....I was just thinking that drawing the bug would help reduce the wish/desire for a worksheet that was deemed illegal. And I am quite overtly coveting the computer hook up microscope!!!!!!! If only I had tools like that!!!!!!!!!
     
  41. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    2,188
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 23, 2011

    I am also breaking the "thou shalt not covet" my neighbor's microscope commandment!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Mrs. K.,
  2. futuremathsprof,
  3. vickilyn
Total: 339 (members: 5, guests: 316, robots: 18)
test