Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How Do I Introduce a Topic

I received an email asking how do I introduce a new topic in a drop-in program. 

In StrongStart, families are welcome to come whenever they can.  
Which means I might see a family a couple of times in one week but not again 
for several, while others come regular days every week.  
I might see families for the whole morning or just half an hour.

The question also asked, do I start with a book, and read it at the beginning 
of the morning?  If they don’t come on the day or even the time I read the story 
then how do I catch them up to the story?

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Thanks for the question Heather.  
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Generally there is a lay over between what we we’re focusing on
and what will come next.

For example; we are still talking and playing about transportation
and we’ll soon be focusing on stars
(which will be connected back to our Fairy Lane project).

Yesterday I created a Star Viewing Station.
It is a large cardboard box (from our fire truck) with white Christmas
lights poked through the top of the box.
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Today, a telescope was added
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and books related to stars.
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This is the starting point to talk with the children about stars
to learn what might interest them.  To talk with the grown ups
and listen to any ideas they may have on the topic.
Then I'll be more prepared to provide a variety of activities,
like art, stories, games, etc.

This is not to say that my whole room is based on one theme.  
So many children and so many interests means having a great variety 
of activities to meet not only their interests but also the developmental 
needs of all the children.

There are also times when introduction of a new topic is very spontaneous.  
If a family comes in excited and wants to share an idea then we build on it.  
We use what resources we have on hand.  
We use the school library.  
We make lists of things to gather for their next visit.

How do you transition from one topic or project to another?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Trains and Planes

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Today was a perfect day to be outside and learn about trains and planes.
We headed to our Airpark to first investigate an old steam engine.
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The bell on top still works and it was wonderful to hear it ring.

But the real attraction for the day was a walk around the small plane
air port.
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One our grandfathers owns an ultra light plane and he brought it
out for us to enjoy. 
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And we did by taking turns climbing in.
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Even the grown ups were curious.
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We had a good look at the instrument panel,
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to compare it to ours at school.
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Although we may have to create a stick for steering.

We`ll continue to play with trains too.
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We finished the tour by watching grandpa Peter take off in his plane.
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                                   Happy flying!
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Play Trays

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Subitizing, love how that word feels on the tongue, funny I know.

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This activity also worked on one-to-one correspondence and counting.

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A pile of bungee style lanyards.

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To explore, to connect,

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to sort and to stretch.

nov 14 024 And to be used as a dog leash.

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Scrabble tiles and abc cards.
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Fun to match to the cards,
finding the first letter that begins our names
and for saying the ABCs.

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Twisty turning puzzles.

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Surprisingly wasn’t that attractive to the children. 
Although once I showed them how they turned they did enjoy doing that.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fire Fighter’s Dramatic Play

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For the past month we have been focused on fire fighters and vehicles.

We created a fire truck out of two cardboard boxes.
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We spent the first couple of weeks just exploring the truck. 
How to get in and out, the front and the back, the equipment and steering wheel.

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After we had visited our local fire station we learned that fire trucks can be
different colours other than red. 
Our local fire trucks are black so when we wanted to paint our truck we
took a survey. 
What colour should we paint our truck; red, black or yellow?
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It was a tie between red and yellow.
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We started painting.  It didn`t matter where the red and yellow went.

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The children were so excited to continue playing
that they didn`t wait for the painting to be finished.
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I found a flashing light, after Halloween, that when covered with red cellophane
worked well for our emergency lights on top of the truck. 
A parent did offer to bring a siren in for us to use but I declined.

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Another prop that was added was an orange cheerleaders pompom
without the handle. 
It`s bright orange like fire and occasionally it would show up in
different areas of the room that would be on fire. 
Our fire fighters quickly put each fire out using their hoses made from
dryer vent tubing.

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The children have learned, not only about fire fighters,
but about taking turns,
working out differences,
and working together.