Monday, August 7, 2017

A Tale of Two Puzzle Workers

Working Puzzles (Brick by Brick)

I was watching a couple of children working wooden puzzles the other day. Sometimes just watching kids work is great way to think about and understand more about children and development.

These two kids were working puzzles. Well, one was working a puzzle and the other was watching. (Her preferred method of learning is watching.) But occasionally the watcher would help with pieces and the worker was fine with that.

But as I watched, I noticed that there were two different techniques at play. One child would hold a piece and try it in several different places or in several different ways in a space. She would keep working until she found the right place or abandoned that piece for a new one. The other child would just look at the puzzle and look at the pieces lying around the table. Suddenly she would swoop in, grab and piece, and insert it in the right place.

Two different ways to solve puzzles - exploring and experimenting by physically trying different things; looking, observing, taking in the overall look and then seeing the "right answer" to the problem.

Both of these are valid puzzle solving strategies...and problem solving strategies. It was interesting to see these two children working on the same puzzle in completely different ways...and not even really communicating to one another as they worked.

Watching these children work reminded me of a few things that I need to keep in mind as I encounter a new group of children in my church kindergarten class.

  • In most things there are many different ways to approach an issue or a problem. I need to be open to different ways to do things. Open to the children's different approaches and open to other teachers' or adults' approaches. I have my favorite ways to do things. But that doesn't mean it's the "right" way.
  • All children are different and the classroom should allow for those differences and encourage those differences in learning.
  • I need to watch more and discover what's happening in the classroom. Often things happen that I completely miss. So this year I want to watch more and listen more and step back more.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Technology in the Classroom

Inspiration from the Blogosphere (Brick by Brick)

Recently I talked with some preschool teachers about using technology in the preschool classroom. Sometimes that can be a subject with lots of opinions. I believe that kids having hands-on experiences and playing are the best ways to learn. Technology can be a part of a hands-on playing classroom, too.

Here are a few ideas from around the blogosphere for using technology in the preschool classroom.

QR Code Listening Center (Pre-K Pages)
I love this idea for an updated or different way for kids to listen to reading. I'm familiar with QR codes and have explored them for use with older kids in the classroom. But this is a fun way to use them with preschoolers...and have a listening center with less expense and less hassle. And I found a new online tool - QRStuff.

Using digital scale (Brick by Brick)

Shapes Photo Book (Pre-K Pages)
I love to use my camera. And we've made our own books with photos I've taken. But I like this idea of going on a shapes scavenger hunt and taking photos to create your own book. And it's connected to the book So Many Circles, So Many Squares.

Teach Syllables with Children's Photos (Prekinders)
Here's another idea with photos - the children's photos. Sort them according to syllables in their names. Kids' photos make great resources in the classroom...and if you add names printed on the photos you can use them for all kinds of activities.

Old technology in dramatic play (Brick by Brick)

Building with Blocks and Technology (Hands on As We Grow)
You know I love my kids love using blocks. Photos of block structures on a tablet add some technology to the blocks center and offer challenges and opportunities for problem-solving. Fun!

Make a Music Video with Preschoolers (Handmade Kids Art)
I've never done this but I can see that it would be a fun thing to do with a familiar song. This post has the quick and easy version (probably the way I would do it) and the more involved but better result version. Just may need to put this on my list for our preschool choir activities this year.

Typing on a laptop (Brick by Brick)

And here are a few of my own posts related to technology and the preschool classroom:

Repurposing Old Technology (Pre-K and K Sharing)
My post on this collaborative blog that shows how we've used outdated technology in the classroom.

Exploring Writing in a Different Way
We use an old laptop as part of our writing center.

Using Photos to Build Parent Relationships
Two quick ideas about using photos in parent communications.

To Plug In or Not Plug In?
Part of my reflection on the book What If Everybody Understood Child Development by Rae Pica.

A few years ago I was a part of a blog book study on the book Teaching in the Digital Age by Brian Puerling. Those book study posts are on Preschool Spot.