Project approach! Let's learn together!

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by msj, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. msj

    msj Companion

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    Aug 13, 2008

    Okay, I'm going to start it because I think a bunch of us would like to learn more about the project approach. I attended a training on the P.A. but it was more of an overview and really didn't get into how it's started or the details. So if anyone would share a project approach project they did, I'd love to hear all about it!:2up:
     
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  3. KarenPreK

    KarenPreK Companion

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I have a few of my projects documented on this page. This isn't all the projects I've done, though.

    Also, check the Project Approach website & click "Project Examples".
     
  4. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I don't start school yet for a few weeks-

    But.. I'm interested. I have quite a few books and went through some Project training.
     
  5. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Okay, I'll bite, but it's loooooong . . . I was an graduate assistant (like an assistant teacher) in an infant-toddler room at a lab school. We did several projects over the 2 years I was there, but this is my favorite, because I documented it for a graduate class credit. I'm sure the Project Approach for pre-k is a little different, but the pre-k at my site used similar methods to do projects.

    We would have "curriculum meetings" once a week for an hour with the 3 teachers, me (assistant), and a faculty advisor, various college student interns, sometimes our director would come too. We talked about issues that had come up that week and then we talked about what the children seemed to be interested in. If we noticed something that several of the children were interested in, we would discuss and then decide to focus on a topic at least for that week, until the next meeting. We would discuss materials to bring in to support the topic, if we needed to rearrange centers or create new centers, and what we could do as teachers to support the interest. At each meeting, we would reevaluate what we were doing--Are the children still interested in this topic? How have they engaged with the materials we brought in? Do we see new topics of interest occuring? The project could last a week or a semester, it just depends on the children's interests.

    Here is my initial write-up for the project "Interactions between Infants and Toddlers" and then some "provocations" (materials, methods, etc we brought in) to help the children develop the project. It lasted almost a whole semester and then led into a smaller project on care-giving.

    Original question:
    How do the infants and toddlers interact?

    Rationale:
    At the very beginning of the semester, the infants had not started coming to school. The first infant (P., 9 months), started coming about two weeks after the toddlers started. C. (6 months), was the second infant to enroll and then A. (3 months), started school. Right away, the toddlers were interested in what the infants were doing, how they were cared for, and the different toys that the infant side had.

    The infant and toddler areas are in one big room, with gates to separate the two areas. Interactions between the toddlers and infants began to occur at these gates, during lunch and snack times, and when toddlers and infants visited each other’s sides. They also had opportunities to play together on the playground and on walks in the strollers. I began to wonder how the infants and toddlers would interact with each other to create an extended community.

    Additional Questions:
    As we have been taking pictures, videos, and transcriptions, several other questions began to occur:

    •How does the new “baby” dramatic play area show the toddler’s understanding of infants?
    •How does the toddler’s baby doll play imitate how they see the infants cared for in the classroom?
    •How do the toddlers use the “baby” toys and dolls to engage in their own pretend play?
    •How do the infants show their understanding of and interest in the toddlers?
    •How do special relationships between individual infants and toddlers develop?
    •What new materials can we (teachers) introduce to extend the children’s play?
    •How can we, as teachers, support and extend the toddler’s understanding of infants?

    Provocations:
    •Toddlers push baby dolls in strollers on a walk around campus.
    •Toddlers and infants take walks together in the same strollers.
    •Toddlers give baby dolls a bath at the water table with soap and washcloths.
    •Toddlers are invited over to the infant side of the classroom throughout the day as they show interest.
    •“Baby” toys and materials are added to the toddler side of the room . . . baby dolls, clothes, bottles, diapers, diaper wipe boxes, plastic cups, plates, spoons, forks.
    •A “baby care” center is created near housekeeping to house baby materials and a miniature changing table, cradle, and small cot are added.
    •Toddlers are allowed to help care for the infants . . . helping a teacher feed food or formula, watching teachers do diaper changes, fetching things for the infants.
    •Books about infants or featuring infants are added to the toddler side to read.
    •Teachers discuss informally with the toddlers how infants and toddlers are alike and different.
    •Individual relationships between infants and toddlers are encouraged as they occur . . . sitting a toddler and infant beside each other at meals when possible, allowing toddlers and infants to play together while being monitored.
     
  6. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2008

    Hooray,

    KarenEC thanks for the wonderful link-you are really up on your network skills. Anyway, when I followed the link and chose a project from the examples that we had done I saw - to my great suprise---we were on task!! I am so happy. I don't really know anyone that is doing things this way. This is wonderful networking!!!
     
  7. teacherSMK

    teacherSMK Habitué

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    karenec.... I LOVE your snakes project...I know this will sound corny to some, but I got a little teary eyed, because this is my first "official" year with this grade level, and holy cow! seeing your kids having so much fun doing such neat things, I just can't explain how happy it made me. I hope I can be as great at this as you all are. I love the prject approach idea! Thanks for the thread. :blush:
     
  8. KarenPreK

    KarenPreK Companion

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    Thank you WAProvider & TeacherKenny!

    I'd love to see other project examples to get new ideas!
     
  9. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 14, 2008

  10. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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  11. Dzenna

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    Aug 14, 2008

    ChicagoTurtle- Do you have a book we can follow and discuss on the Professional Forum. It looks like we finished with the first book.
    How does everyone feel about that?
     
  12. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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  13. Dzenna

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    Aug 14, 2008

    Do you think this would be a good method of discussing the project approach? There have been some wonderful sites on this thread. Should expand the thread to the book list thread and discuss it or just keep going here. What does everyone think?
     
  14. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 14, 2008

    :eek::eek::eek:
    There is a new project for us-teach the teacher to use the computer effectively. :haha:

    not my long suit.:eek:

    Our favorite one as of late as was detailed study of the backyard life in our play yard. It started innocently looking for rolly pollies in the yard and turned into applying for the backyard certification from National wildlife federation. We ran science experiements to see if we could train outdoor squirrels to go where we wanted to for food. We learned our squirrels were spoiled and that they would only work for food if it was sunflower seeds, not cracked corn.

    We planted butterfly habitats and raised butterflies and ladybugs. We examined Manitis examples.

    we built bird houses and bird baths. It was great. :woot:
     
  15. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    IMO seems like we do better here, when we took the other to the book page things slowed down. Maybe that is due to the lag between book reading and school starting.

    Another suggestion (and I am really easy going -so I have no motive here if you don't like it) would be to use the 48 page paper that was linked in as if it were a book. There are some really great examples in there that could lead to the discussions of "how to you begin" and how to you manage to keep going and so on. just an idea.:eek:
     
  16. Dzenna

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    I like that idea. As a matter of fact, I already bookmarked that site!
     
  17. teacherSMK

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    I love, love, love the sample pages from Chicago! Thank yoU!
     
  18. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Ok, I will restart this one. Has anyone (especially the ones new to this plan) run a lesson that looked remotely like the awsome ones in the website posted above?
     
  19. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I've done some of the things- but not all- it goes over a period of weeks- not days, just so you know.
     
  20. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    ChicagoTurtle- I clicked on your link and the book looked vaguely familiar. I found it in my bookshelf. I think I received it last year from NAEYC and stuck it in there. :eek:
     
  21. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    :whistle:
    Right--I have a really enjoyed my program since I let go of the constantly changing theme idea. I really like the depth of study that can happen when you aren't running for new decorations and items. I see how the theme idea works for some, but my program and I really benifited from the idea of actually looking and thinking about the things we were engaged in.

    I found the web like lesson planning idea about 2 yrs after I started the change. Seemed natural. It was in a resource book called the Visionary Director by Marge Carter and Deb Curtis. In Washington these are two very, very big names. I loved the idea of the web. Seemed to fit better with what I was doing than the chart types of forms. I really appreciated how all items seemed to origionate w/ the central idea. I tried it, and I love it now.

    I make the lesson plan 1 wk ahead and then add what comes up as it does, so if Bob were to add some detail that I was going to encourage the class to delve into I would add it mid week. Then next week I would have it on the web as a regular portion. ;)

    I do wonder though, how would you do this type of web in more than 1 wk hunks? How would you know where the children would be later?

    Anyone?:confused:
     
  22. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Well since project work isn't your only thing going on- we planned for many other things and then had "project work" Theme: also on the plans. Some of it is so spontaneous- Heck half the time I feel like what is on the "plans" isn't the actuality.
     
  23. msj

    msj Companion

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    I'm so excited about all the ideas! I can't wait to try it out.
     
  24. imat

    imat Rookie

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    Aug 22, 2008

    We just finished our project approach study on sunflowers. I just started using the project approach practices this summer and this is our fist try at it. I created a page to view. Please give me feed back!!! I need input to make the next project better. One thing I did learn was you need to have a camera in your pocket at all times or you will miss great things that are happening.
    Link:

    http://kidsworldexploration.com/id80.html
     
  25. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    OK, How do you get the pages onto the net and into the atoz forum land?
     
  26. wann2119

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    I am really interested in this style of teaching, and I have been doing a little online research. Most everything I have found includes taking the kids on a field trip. Is this necessary? I know for a fact that a field trip is not possible for my class. I don't want that to stop me though.
     
  27. KarenPreK

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    I do the project approach & we only do 2 field trips a year. From what I've seen of the Katz & Chard brand of "Project Approach" it is very formulaic & most of them seem to involve a field trip. Project learning doesn't have to be done exactly that way. Reggio project learning is a little different-- not as formulaic. What I've noticed is that the children do tend be more interested in things they have seen & touched, like trees or plants or bugs. The best projects are ones where the child can see & touch. Dinosaurs or space, IMO, would not work as well for project topics. But, no you don't have to go on a field trip for everything.

    Here are some links that might interest you.
     
  28. wann2119

    wann2119 Rookie

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    Thanks for explaining. I didn't realize that there was more than one method. I get what you mean about dinosaurs and space not working as well. I need to come up with something that is very hands on. I'm going to try and pick a topic by the end of this week and start developing it. Thanks!
     
  29. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Yeah we tried to do dinosaurs and were told it wasn't appropriate.
     
  30. WaProvider

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    Now that most of the classes are opening and some maybe though thier "how to work the classroom" lessons what projects are you thinking the children may be interested in. Where are you all going from here? And will any of you need to bait your children into a "theme" before you move deeper into a "project".:anyone:
     
  31. KarenPreK

    KarenPreK Companion

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    I always think I'm going to have to "bait" my kids into a project, set up a provocation to get them interested, but then projects just fall into our lap. Right now, it is bugs. We have seen so many bugs the past several weeks: ants, caterpillars, praying mantis, centipedes, beetles, grasshoppers. Bugs are everywhere. In the past I always did a bug theme in spring, so it feels a little weird to pull out my bug books & cocoons & things now, but they are really into it. They would rather go out to the garden to search for bugs than go play on the playground.
     
  32. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    wow, that could turn into a brand new sort of "hibranate" issue in the later fall. Sounds like a lot of fun. :D
     
  33. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Right now I am planning to start the apples/orchard idea. We began it with peaches last month. At the same time we have a huge interest in rodeos and related sports. So I think we will be firmly on the "ranch" somewhere. I don't know where yet. We have a transition week of lightness usually right when school starts, even though we are year round the act of older sibs going to school changes the environment.
     
  34. Dzenna

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    I think we are going to do a Ladybug project. We have lots of them on the playground. The kids are really interested. I can expand it into beetles or bugs if necessary.

    We will either go to a nearby farm as a fieldtrip. They release ladybugs on the crops with the kids or I can bring a box of them into our playground to release.

    I'm a little nervous.
     
  35. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Oh, I love the ladybug lesson. I usually do it in spring-but I guess it really wouldn't matter. Will you be raising them from babies (then I would imagine they would need to stay indoors with your class if you have winter) or just viewing adults?
     
  36. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Language project perhaps?

    My projects have always been about science before. I am not sure if they always have to be, that is just what they were. So I think my class chose their project today. It is to learn to count 1-10 in 10 languages by next fall (when they enter kinder). So far we have english, spanish, chinese, japanese, american sign, we are looking into french and german and arabic. Any more ideas?
     
  37. Dzenna

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    I've never thought about raising them. What a great idea. Where do you find the eggs? We don't have a real winter here. In fact, it should be pretty warm for another month.
     
  38. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    great. Insectlore.com sells catepillars, prying mantis egg sacks, tadpole eggs, and ladybug larvae. They are tiny when they arrive and I talk about how they are eggs in the mail so we can let the babies out. They also have incrediable life cycle posters. We make a small paper plate into a lady bug w/ paint on front and then draw a "map of how to grow" on the other side. We make fractions out of the plate w/a pencil and then draw what each stage looks like. it is fun. the cage insect lore can sell you for the ladybug babies will allow them to escape. we cover the cage w/ a hand towel so the babies just get out and hide. check it often. This ladybug roundup is how we decide to make the map.

    see?
     
  39. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    The other thing we are thinking about turning into a bigger project is the rodeo/ranch idea we have.

    Does anyone have info on ranches, horses or any related topics? I have done horses as they fit into fair but not really much past that.

    We currently have stick poines for rodeo/barrel racing (and obstacle courses) and roping area w/a real lasso (thanks Ranch and Home) and a calf head to rope, a plastic climb through barrel on its' side w/rugs on top for blankets to ride, a bounce horse, and our outdoor rabbit is out there to pet and visit. In our garden we have produce that is ready and we made an apple pie and tiny pretend carmel apples (thanks Family Fun Mag). So our fair study went well, but not to exstensive once you leave the playground-See? Can anyone help me fill out the learning centers - since I am not sure we are going to give it up?
     
  40. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Thanks WA. I did some hunting today and found Insectlore. The web site said they won't be shipping ladybug larvae until October because of the heat here in CA. But when I called the customer service rep said they are shipping Monday. I am so excited.

    I'm hoping to get a Praying (Preying?) Mantis after I make my terrarium. The CS Rep said the Mantis eggs will not be available until January.

    She is sending me a catalogue.

    Great idea about the ladybugs with the plates.
     
  41. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Sep 10, 2008

    welcome. That is what networking is for. Do you think that will be enough to get your people started? We usually read the Eric Carle books that start our "an egg lay on a leaf" to get them in the mood. So that may help you pass the time. There are a few that start that way.
     

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