Reggio Emilia, anyone?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jem, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 5, 2010

    I'm becoming familar with this methodology, and am looking for others to collaborate with. More specifically with bringing it up into first through fifth grade.

    Does anyone work in an elementary school that brings it past the pre-school and kindergarten ages into 'upper' elementary?
     
  2.  
  3. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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

    Feb 5, 2010

    I have used it in PS, but find it interesting that you are using it in elementary school. It might help you to remember that this methodology has been around a long time, but Reggio just made it popular again.
     
  4. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    12

    Feb 5, 2010

    Don't have any words of wisdom, but I've always been fascinated with this methodology. I remember in one of my child development classes years ago, we watched a movie about the Reggio Emilia "way" and it was so interesting. I'd love to hear others experience with it.
     
  5. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 5, 2010

    Blue-absolutely. While attending the conference last weekend, I kept thinking to myself 'of course! of course!' I find the entire thought process so LOGICAL!! But I want to stay as true to it as possible while integrating content and crossing four grade levels (oy!), which is not quite so logical. I'm thinking there aren't many who are using it in elementary yet. I had the privilege of speaking with Amelia Gambinni (one of the original Reggio founders) and she said they are just starting research on elementaries in Italy. I want to get in on the study, but meanwhile I have a sample lesson next Wednesday to prepare for and thought I might find some advice from practicing teachers.

    If not, I'm thinking something with tessellations and tanagrams...
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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

    Feb 5, 2010

    I could help you if it were PS or K, but not elementary school. I have no doubt that you will do great.
     
  7. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    821
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 5, 2010

    I'm interested in this.. can someone fill me in on what this is?
     
  8. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 6, 2010

    If you Google 'Reggio Emilia', you'll get lots of websites that have a brief overview. Although I've noticed they all say the exact same thing, down to the same typo. I laughed for quite some time after that discovery.

    It's basically a discovery based methodology (someone correct me if I'm wrong in any of this). When working with younger students, the idea is to give them access to as many natural 'supplies' as possible for learning-art supplies, musical instruments, building blocks, etc. During center time, students have access to everything and can combine them as they wish. When working on more specific skills or themes, teachers present students with a vague idea or a pile of supplies and then encourage students to craft their own lesson out of it using cooperative learning. For example (I LOVE this example), a teacher took a group of students to a metal staircase. The kids were running up and down, jumping, skipping, etc., and they noticed that their feet were making different sounds depending on their shoes and the pressure they were applying. The teacher supplied them with many different pairs of shoes-boots, high heels, slippers. The kids wore them on the stairs and listened to the sounds. They then drew visual representations of the sounds with squiggles, lines, dots. Then they drew a staircase and placed the sounds on the staircase in a pattern, and recorded themselves following their visual pattern wearing the different shoes. They used a computer program to edit it, and then had a party at the staircase where they played the recording as a 'gift' to the stairs. The age of these kids? Four years old.

    Another example is a teacher who took her students to a giant room with 6 large columns. The kids ran around for about an hour, playing. Then they visually drew their running patterns, choreographed a 'running' dance program and performed it for their parents.

    So as I understand it, you start out with an exploration of a seemingly 'normal' situation, let the kids discuss their experiences and come up with a creative way to present their learning, and then help the kids construct.

    Assessment is done in the form of the teacher recording thought processes through photographs, audio recordings and written quotes. I'm thinking the Creative Memories digital scrapbooking software would be perfect, as they recommend making 2-3 assessment pages a week for the classroom.

    As you can see, this works GREAT for pre-school. But once you have to add content into this, it gets tricky. I'm thinking maybe you present a mini-lesson on a content area, and then the kids brainstorm where they want to delve deeper and choose a project off a pre-brainstormed list. It def. does not fit with my backward design usual way of planning, as you really don't know where the kids are going to take it. Although you could probably keep a general benchmark or skill in mind that the child has to 'prove' with their project.

    These are some of my favorite quotes from the exhibit I visited:

    "Children are central to participation, actively constructing their own learning and producing original points of view on the world. When their points of view enter into dialogue with the points of view of other children and adults, and if schools are capable of fully taking up the value and practice of participation, then these can translate into a culture of childhood and citizenship inside schools themselves and also in the social fabric."

    "Documentation = not products, but mental paths."

    No Way. The Hundred Is There. by Loris Malaguzzi (founder)

    The child
    is made of one hundred.
    The has
    a hundred languages
    a hundred hands
    a hundred thoughts
    a hundred ways of thinking
    of playing, of speaking.
    A hundred always a hundred
    ways of listening
    of marveling of loving
    a hundred joys
    for singing and understanding
    a hundred worlds
    to discover
    a hundred worlds
    to invent
    a hundred worlds
    to dream.
    The child has
    a hundred languages
    (and a hundred hundred hundred more)
    but they steal ninety-nine.
    The school and the culture
    separate the head from the body.
    They tell the child
    to think without the hands
    to do without the head
    to listen and not to speak
    to understand without joy
    to love and to marvel
    only at Easter and at Christmas.
    They tell the child:
    to discover the world already there
    and of the hundred
    they steal ninety-nine.
    They tell the child:
    that work and play
    reality and fantasy
    science and imagination
    sky and earth
    reason and dream
    are things
    that do not belong together.

    And thus they tell the child
    that the hundred is not there.
    The child says:
    No way. The hundred is there.

    I'd love any other thoughts. This is NOT a dig into other teaching styles (I think, re-reading the poem, it kind of sounds like it). It's just one more, like Waldorf or Montessori. I'm just looking for ideas, advice, insight, etc.
     
  9. SandyCastles

    SandyCastles Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    1

    Feb 6, 2010

    When I was an undergrad, I did intern work in a Reggio Emilia based center. I was in a kindergarten room, which still doesn't really help you, but this is basically what it was like. This was about 6 or so years ago so I will do my best to remember. There were still parts of the day where the children had some forms of directed instruction. I remember the teachers would do math lessons on patterning using something like cubes. The kids would all be sitting around on the carpet watching. Then, they would go off to explore it on their own using different materials- some would choose the colored bears, others would use the chain links, etc...
    Now for my project, which I remember a lot better, I had to choose an interest of the children and develop a unit based off of it. It was around the time of the Olympics, so they were talking about sports a lot. I designed a unit on the Olympics and we learned about what the rings stood for, made a banner with the rings, designed and created a torch, took a field trip to participate in some sports games at a local gym, and planned and held our own Olympic relay race on the playground. I remember having them draw their perception of a baseball field. Many of them drew squares, or other various shapes. So we talked about the shapes of different sports fields. I had to create a documentation binder, which I still have. It is full of photographs and quotes of their progress. Some people in my class made big poster boards. But you are right, it is HUGE in Reggio Emilia. You want to be sure to write down what the kids are saying when they say it.
    Every day the children would have center time, where they were able to have different things available to them. This was their time for creating- water/snow table, blocks, writing, music, puppets, manipulatives, etc... This is also a great time to find out their interests and to figure out what your next unit would be. If a lot of students are expressing an interest in a particular topic, that would be something to focus on.
    I think that it may be challenging to go in for one day to do a lesson in this style without really knowing the children, but my guess is they want to see how well you connect with the kids, and if you can grasp their interests during the lesson. I wouldn't be surprised if they asked "now where would you go from here..." as a follow up question, so maybe be prepared with something like how you noticed the children really connected with this or with that so you would draw from it to explore in the future.
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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

    Feb 6, 2010

    My program uses the Reggio inspired "project based" learning style. I would like to say that we function very much on this path, but as there are no programs near us that use the method I have no real idea.

    However, we do in the summer have frequent school age children in our group.

    This is how we run our method when they are here.

    I, as the teacher have a general idea of what we should be talking about (ie, gardens in the spring vs say penguins). I have a tiny intro (as you said "mini lesson") and then let the children free play or experimentally play with the ideas.

    They just jump in, staff and I listen, watch, write, retrieve extra items needed for the process and talk amongst ourselves as to where we are going. During this time we are also logging what the children are saying on sticky notes so we can keep track not only of where we are going but what learning goals are being worked on along the way. Blue has some really great explanations of this logging.

    This time lasts about 2 days for us.

    Then, we call a group meeting, the children bring what they have learned to the group and we make a 'what did you know, what do you want to know' chart. At the end we will review this chart and add 'what did you learn'.

    At this circle time we choose a place to concentrate out efforts. This doesn't mean you can't also be working on a different idea, just we are all working as a group on one area---you have the freedom to think about whatever item you want.

    Then we jump into action. So for gardens the mapping, greenhouse building and so on maybe beginning. People will be making layouts working on space allocation, water levels, thinking about if big plants will make small plants be in the shade and so on. Someone else maybe planting seeds and documenting that or predicting and showing what they think will happen.

    All of these pods are (or could be if you were school children) documenting and making posters and so on so you can see where they are, where they have been and so on.

    Group presentations could also be run if you were older than we are.

    see?

    And just like MCCL said--as you are going along you are also making a blog or poster boards of what the children are doing and their quotes to tell the parents, mark the objectives that are being covered but also so the children can use that to distill their ideas into a plan. It is wonderful and very eye opening.

    I hope you enjoy your journey.
     
  11. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 6, 2010

    Thank you so much for the examples and advice!!! This is perfect.

    I have a bit of an idea of the kids, as I observed for a morning last week and had a chance to work with each of them (there are only maybe 9 kids?). That greenhouse idea is wonderful.

    I'm not really going to think about the lesson until Monday. I need some downtime this weekend, and if I think on it too long, I'll go crazy. I'll post here when I have a better idea, and would love feedback. It's only one lesson, so it won't have the longevity that lessons usually would, but it will be enough for them to see my style and understanding.

    Thank you again!!!
     
  12. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,641
    Likes Received:
    362

    Feb 6, 2010

    I drove through Reggio Emilia in the Summer. It's on the road between Milan and Bologna. My wife, who teaches Kindergarden, told me about the place. Apparently the regime is a response to the schooling put in place by Mussillini before the war, the town devised it's own education system to try and put right what the fascists had done to the system.
     
  13. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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

    Feb 6, 2010

    Yes, I have heard that too. I love the idea of the system. I would love to go there someday.
     
  14. gottagoodgig

    gottagoodgig Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 6, 2010

    Howdy....there is a fantastic school in Boulder, CO called Boulder Journey School that is Reggio inspired. It's an early childhood school with infants-K. I worked there as a graduate intern and they paid for my MA!! They have a great program still, but now you get paid and get a discounted MA program....I think. You should go to www.boulderjourneyschool.com and check it out. There may be some resources there that could help you!

    I now teach elementary school and feel like I'm able to bring some of the bigger philosophies into the classroom. The Reggio approach forever changed the way I view children. "They are strong, capable, and rich in resources!"

    Good luck!
     
  15. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 9, 2010

    Ok. Observation lesson is tomorrow. This is what I've got:

    We're going to read Alexander, Who Use to Be Rich Last Sunday. We'll read it through and talk about what happened, etc. Then I will give each child a dollar in plastic coins, and we'll read through it again, moving the change into a pile as Alexander 'looses' it. When we're done, we'll read it AGAIN translating the coins into numbers on wipe-off boards, and practicing subtraction. The older kids can use decimals, the younger kids can use plain numbers, the really young kids will get a sheet of 100 pennies that they can cross off as we go through the story. Then they can all create a story about what they would have spent their $1 on.

    Teaching kids in such a wide age group is HARD!! Hoping this goes smoothly!!
     
  16. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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

    Feb 10, 2010

    Oh, that sounds wonderful. And, basing your lesson on a book is a great reflection about who you are.
     
  17. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2010

    That means so much coming from you, Blue.

    Your books will be mailed out tomorrow!! Hugs.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,950
    Likes Received:
    2,105

    Feb 10, 2010

    Great book- I've done this lesson many times. Even in a 'typical' classroom, there are many levels of learners so it's always smart to plan on differentiating...you might want to assess as you go along who can handle what- differentiating by ability/understanding of concept/prior knowledge and experience is going to work out better for you than differentiating by 'age'...I teach 2nd grade- I have kids who could handle subtraction with money (decimals) quite well.

    If you are going to submit a typed lesson plan, spell check your use of the word 'looses'...it's loses...administrators can be picky about such things. :blush:

    Good luck, have fun with this!
     
  19. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2010

    Thanks! No typed plan. Just me and my brain. ;) But I do need to check spelling.

    Whew. Ok. Off to the lesson.
     
  20. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2010

    Got the job!
     
  21. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,397
    Likes Received:
    4

    Feb 10, 2010

    Congrats, Jem!!

    This sounds perfect for you!
     
  22. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Messages:
    1,233
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 10, 2010

    Congrats Jem :) You will be absolutely brilliant. You are so full of great ideas it's unbelieveable.
     
  23. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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

    Feb 10, 2010

    Jem, there never was a doubt in my mind--I would hire you in minute. Your postings are creative and intellegent. I see you are an Aquarian. Many of my friends are too, including me.

    We are looking forward to the books.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. MissCeliaB,
  2. mrsf70
Total: 287 (members: 4, guests: 266, robots: 17)
test