Sunday, February 26, 2012

Extending Literacy Beyond the Book

I love connecting my centers to the books we are currently using in our classroom as read alouds to facilitate play. This center, construction zone, was turned into a grocery store where students could stock the shelves with items needed by the Little Red Hen in the story the Little Red Hen makes a Pizza. They could connect what they read in the book to what they know in their own world like trips to the local grocery store with their parents.

Becoming the Expert

 In Playing Their Way into Literacies, Karen Wohlwend outlines the significance of mediation in the classroom. She speaks of kindergarten as a community of practice, and how learners are marked by those who participate in core practices and allow them to take a new identity as an expert as opposed to a newcomer (p. 13). It is through play, she argues, that children can mediate print texts for themselves by taking on the role as a more experienced reader. In my classroom, we have allowed for children to have multiple opportunities to be the expert. In this photo, a student has the book Ten Apples Up on Top opened beneath him and is retelling it in sequence using felt characters. This particular students has trouble articulating his thoughts about books and would not necessarily be able to retell the story with words, so this felt board activity provided him with his own means to becoming the expert, and what an expert he is putting all of the apples up on top!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Playing to get Smart!

Here my students set up a car and head off to the zoo! One of the boys drives the car using a pizza pan as the wheel while the boy standing turned himself into the stoplight. According to Elizabeth Jones in Playing to Get Smart, "it is through play with materials and relationships...and solving problems in dialogue with others that young children develop the basic skills they will need to become effective contributors to the health of a changing world." I see my students like those to the right using their imagination to play together and recreate real life events every day. I know that the conversations they have and the interactions they encounter with one another ultimately are giving them important skills they will need in their future. Thus, even though the dramatic play center was presented to them as a museum that week, I know that the experience of working together and finding tools to create a car driving down the street to the zoo ultimately was more beneficial to their skill set then forcing them to take notes on the pictures they were looking at in the "museum".

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pete the Cat invades Construction Zone!

This week we read Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Students were given a cut out of Pete the Cat to encourage pretend play as suggested in the article Children's Context for Development by Klein, Wirth, and Linas. This girl was putting fences around the colors on the carpet to keep Pete from getting his shoes all dirty like he does in the book when he steps in the strawberries and other colorful items.