This week’s blog post was contributed by Linda Snead-Sanders, an assistant project director at Best Practices.
During the 2015-16 training session, new assistant teachers have been diving into to the Pre-K Teacher Toolbox. They were given four Toolbox activities that required the use of masking tape and other real and found materials. While everyone was provided with the same materials, teachers problem-solved and worked collaboratively to build structures that reflected the unique contributions of their group and the principles of developmentally appropriate practice. Finally, as a whole group, we discussed ways to extend children’s learning using these activities across different domains.
Take a look at the creative ways teachers used their materials.
Math – Small Group, Card #102
MA.4.4a: Independently orders objects using one characteristic and describes the criteria used.
Give the children several plastic straws and scissors. Place a strip of masking tape on the table, sticky side up. Challenge the children to cut the straws into various lengths and stick them to the tape in order of size, smallest to largest. Show them that they can move the straws around until they are in the order they want. After they have their set arranged in order, cut a length of straw, give it to them and ask them to place it where it goes in their set.
Physical Development & Motor Skills – Centers, Card #16
PDM 5.4: Coordinates movements to perform more complex tasks.
Block Area – Spider Hula Hoop
Create a spider web using a hula-hoop and masking tape, sticky side facing out. Hang up in the classroom. Place a small basket of cotton balls (flies) for the spider to catch. Encourage the children to throw the balls toward the web.
Approaches to Play and Learning – Centers, Card #46
APL3.4d: Persists in trying to complete a task after previous attempts have failed.
Block Area – Marble Race Track
Cut paper towel tubes in half lengthwise to create tracks for marbles. Encourage the children to construct tracks using the tubes and masking tape. They will need to determine the correct lengths to run marbles successfully through the track. This is a great way for the children to learn through trial and error.
Cognitive Processes – Centers, Card #172
CP3.4a: Makes statements and appropriately answers questions about how objects/materials can be used to solve problems.
Block Area – Building Bridges
Provide craft sticks and masking tape. Encourage the children to construct bridges that stretch from one structure to another. Show them pictures of bridges in books and photographs to get them started.