Friday, February 17, 2017

puppets in the classroom

question: what will we keep? we have choices, three items for us topick today to add to our classroom would you like me to show you our three choices? ok, so show me five, show me that you are ready daniel, is that helping you get in thegreen zone or is it going to put you in the yellow zone? is it helping you or do you need to putit in your backpack? ok, i'll be watching i brought in stuff for forts i brought in sheets

i brought in tunnels we have puppets, we have little puppets and we have animal masks and we canbring the puppet theater in we can make our own little classroom moms and dads have been telling me that athome you like to play teacher you like to play school so we can turn our house area into a mini classroom and this would be your white erase board and we can discuss what else we want to add to our mini classroom voting!

how do we vote? we stand at a table and whatever table has the most then you get to keep that toy perfect how many toys are you allowed to stand beside? avery? one one with your walking feet go and stand by the table of the choiceyou want choose what you want okay doesn't mean we can't have it again another time okay so look around where people arestanding daniel i'm not clear as to which you'rechoosing - you're choosing over here? ok

look around which one do you thinkhas the most people stay where you are marshal, it's okay to choose thatone but yes which has the most you think the forts? let's count andcheck i'm going to count the puppet theatres help me count 1, 2, 3 do you think you have more than three? oklet's check the teacher area 1, 2 we have 2, which one is more? from the teacher and the puppet theatre, which has more? which one has more, the teacher or the puppet theatre?

the puppet theatre, good 1, 2, 3...................20 20 did i end there? yeah ok so 20 what did we pick? forts! excellent go sit on the carpet so we can discuss it i see some people are in the blue zonebecause they didn't get their choice of what they want it doesn't mean that those items will not come back into the classroom

we can still do a teacher area we can still have a puppet area but we're going to wait to bring those in when there's more interest ok? so it doesn't mean that those toys go away and we never have them again so what do we need in order for fortsto be successful in our play? how can we, what else do we need in ourclass for forts and what kind of things do we need to remember when we are playing with our forts to make sure that we do a good play job? you want to make the rule of only two people? hands up if you think two people is reasonable

hands up if you want more than two people okay so more than two people riley has a really good point we don't want to exclude people and we want to remember that everybody gets to be part of this fort is it fair to say boys only? is it fair to say girls only? so maybe we need to make a rule that says we can't exclude people is that fair? will make another rule that says

not all at the same time why? why is that important? they might get hurt so allow everyone to play not all at thesame time we'll say inside the fort because everyone canhelp build it everyone can be a part of it but maybetwenty seven kids inside it will be difficult so we'll say everyone can play but maybe we help each other take turns in going in to the fort

maybe we could make like a special place where we put the fort stuff and then we have like a circle and we build the fort inside the circle and then when people are in it you can wait outside in the circle so i hear two things from what you'resaying i hear you saying we should decide a spot in the class where we're going to make the fort and i'm hearing you saying that weshould have a spot where kids can line up to take turns to get into the fort

how does that sound for everybody do you like that? ok so i'm going to write that down there will be a spot for our fort and a spot to line up so i'm hearing that we need - you wanted acircle you wanted our hula hoop where we can line up is that what youmean? so this'll be where we line up from? ok great we need a spot for our fort, where do we want to build our fort? so whati'm going to ask you to do right now daniel i see that's not putting you in the green zone

can you please put it away? thank you so what i need you to do is i want you to stand in the spot in the room in the room that you would like to befor our forts building go i want you to think about how big thisfort is going to be and so it needs to be a big open spot where we can build the fort think about what things in the room we're going to use to make our fort and where there's enough space to putthe fort

and what we're using to make the fort only a few people can go into the fort because it says only a few people where are you going to put it? on the fort you're going to put it on the fort for everyone to read? well basically we've been brainstorming for a week now we wanted to introduce a new toy intothe classroom, something of their interest we were finding that at play timethere was a lot of gross motor like hands-on activites

so we wanted to introduce something that is of their interest to help with that play time so we did a lot ofdiscussing with them what kind of toys they would like in the room we've been having parent teacher interviews and talking with parents what the kids like to play at home miss donald ran a lesson last week and said i'm going to give you each million dollars what would you spend, what would you buy for the class so they came up with awhole bunch of ideas and we narrowed it down to three choices which we provided today one was

making forts the other one was having puppet theatre come back andanother one they like to play teacher we thought we could set up a mini classroom for them to play so as you can see they all picked forts and we just have to roll with thepunches and we let them decide where thatactivity is going to be what we need for what activity what things we need to help them self-regulate in that to be successful at that activity so it's basically what we did there we just let them choose

and they chose the area and we established some ground rules for them what we're going to do now is lateris we're going to talk about it at our next carpet time we'll talk about what went well what didn't go well and we can modify maybe we have too many toys in there or maybe we have too many strong leaders in there we'll then debrief that later today and then make changes based on what they need as you said we both had theprivilege of participating last year in a course with sue ducau

and i think that sort of touched on and opened our eyes to including the kids and how we canbenefit their education and their performancereally in the class and help them be able to self-regulate i think back to a year ago when we started this whole process we were fortunate to move into a newclassroom everything was brand-new i spent money i had all the coloredbulletin boards and the matchy match borders and everything looked lovelyin here and it was really colorful and then i kind of you know retrospect is great and you think back and you're like

well it really wasn't my place to decorate this whole place it wasn't my home this is our classroom and it is ours together with the kids and evenwith the families too so i remember specifically thinkingand seeing a video where another teacher had to move furniture out for a cleaning and came back and itwas not put back for her and so that got us to thinkingokay well let's have a look around our class have we got too much? have we got notenough? and at that particular moment we hadlots of kids' artwork and stuff

but it was pretty much directed by myself because i had done all the boards so we quickly took everything out emptied literally the very next day emptied everything out of the classroom all the furniture in the hallway the custodian was like pulling his hair out and of course i'm the good teacher so he was like foster what have you done in here? and the parents it was really excitingto see the parents because they walk around the yard and they look in this window and then they get over here and then they get to this one and they were looking in at us like what have you guysdone? where's all your stuff?

and i think it just started a really good open ended learning environment for the kids the parents us as teachers i really myself grew it was painful to relinquish the control that i didn't ever think that i was that kind of a person that i needed that kinda control it was really a learning experience for us natalie is a big push and i love it that we took everythingout we said just like we did today what would you like to see back in theclassroom and it was really interesting to see what their choices were comingback in and

i think as the day progressed therewas a particular moment where they had brought in just a portion of the home centre and they played and it was towards the end of the day that somebody all of a sudden went oh, we're missing something we're missing a piece of the furniture and then it was like ok go get it it's still in the hall and they had that opportunity to go get whatthey were missing they brought it back in the class and i think from then onit's just is been a great opportunity for us to

always propose it back to the kids whatdo you want to see and how do you want to see it set up yeah i think the biggest thingis we were just shocked we were totally shocked i'd say that things on the walls especially they wanted a self-regulation station they wanted a a problem solving area where they could go to with their friendsto solve problems they even wanted a tent to go into to solve their problems i mean it was just things that we wouldn't have thought of that they even recognized that we had taught

they showed us a) they taught it and b) how they wanted to use it it was was amazing even from just today's experience they are so unpredictable because when she set out the teacher station and the forts and the puppets as a choice i heard the whole conversation and aftertalking with the parents i'm like these kids are going to pick the teacher station hands down they're going to pick the teacherstation all the parents are saying that's all their kids do at home they line up their stuffies

but for me it was kind of an eye opener that what they do at home is different than what they do here andwe are providing them different opportunities here and i was kind of shocked because as a kid i would build forts athome right i so i was kind of shocked to see theirchoice today that they choose the forts i thought i could nail them down and they were gonna take the teacher station i know me too just to build on that i just reallywant to highlight from the self regulation and oral language inquiry that you were involved in last year

this co-constructed learningenvironment that you're really embracing how has that affected your students'abilities to self-regulate to manage their emotions their behaviorand their attention within their co-constructed learningenvironment? when we set out to co-construct it we wanted to target some major behavioural areas that they were struggling with self-regulation so one of the biggest things was our circle time or carpet time we wanted to create an area that would help them

be better at self regulating so wefocused on this area and we made observations to see how better are they able to sit are we able to remind them we're finding that they come to thecarpet so much easier there is less distraction, things on the walls are meaningful to them so now when they want to and check in or express themselves or solve it the walls help create the ability to do that basically before when we didn't have the zonescheck-in

they would act out instead of express howthey feel now they have a way to express have a way to help themselves self regulate by getting the tool out i have way less conflict resolution i have to do way less comforting i have to do because they don't need me to hug them to feelbetter they go straight to get a tool they use that tool they are back to thegreen zone and they go back in place all of it is so authentic to them and usefulto them and at their level that they make it work and it's not me imposing on them

them deciding so we just found that ihave less problems during playtime less problems on thecarpet time you can't change everything you can't solve everything so we just wanted to target those few areas playtime and carpet time to improve their self-regulation we didn't know if it was going to work but we just thought we'd try it we just find less colour, less distractions it's not busy one really good example that we noticed this year that's changed over from last year was when the first day of school they came in

and we had nothing we didn't put anything on the walls we put some basic toys we put our tables and right away one of the kids said where's our head honcho list? which is like the start of the day or whatnot and we said well we haven't decided that we want that this year we haven't decided if we need a list and he's like well i think we need alist and so he at playtime decided that he was going to write a list

and he gathered his friends and they decided what order that head honcho was going to go he wrote the list out himself the class decided where it was going to go and this year that wasn't even agoal for us but this year no one ever asks whose turn is it tobe the head honcho no one asks when is their turn they know it's there they created the list themselves in the order that they wanted and so to us it was really reaffirming that these walls are they're recognizing what is on the wall it's meaningful to them and it's helping them self-regulate in that way that

there's less management and more teaching opportunities welcome to our classroom i'm just going to show you around in here is our coat area this is our main carpet area where we do most of our big group lessons we have our self regulation area our toolbox class rules and then over here we have our quietarea where we're reading books or sometime we are lying down we have our wonder board things thatwere wondering about things that we're learning about

about some things that they want toinquire and we have our storage space we have try to keep a sheet over areas that are neutral so that it helps to keep things calm in the room we don't have them seeing things that we don't want them to play with this is our house area and our listening centre that's quite popular over here we have our sandbox and our word wall they use the wordwall all the time

and over here is a workspace for one of our students with special needs we like her where the window is it's caused actually some skepticism they didn't think thatthis would be good work space because of the window they thought it would bedistracting and stimulating but we thought well we disagreed basically we thought that a view of the nature and the outside would help keep her calm so we saidwe're gonna give it a try and she's been completely successful inthis area having the window right there it helps keep her calm this is her safe place

and over here is where we do small group instruction and guided reading and things like that this is our craft table right now they are eating but this is where our craft area is over here this is our craft bins so they it's for free craft time they can getanything they want out of here and bring it to our craft table touse usually we have them labels out and their painting area this is where they paint

usually when the paint area is open we have the paper on there so they can put the paper themselves we have a sensory bin sometimes we are water this time wehave pasta to help them pick up small items to sort and what else can i show you over here we have more toys this is our toy bin

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