Good. Didn't want you to forget how much I am enjoying my time in the kindergarten room.
Can I tell you that it's not always sweet tea and butterflies?
It can be fun, stimulating, humorous, and it sure can be sweet tea and butterflies-BUT. It can be challenging. It can be tiresome. It can be the sound of wet hands on a balloon. (That's my analogy for really freaking annoying.) That probably sounds harsh. I don't mean it to be, and despite the fact that at times it seems like a little mosquito is buzzing in my ear while I'm in my tent trying to fall asleep-I still don't swat those mosquitoes! :) Instead-redirection is the key. I know that when the play turns to silliness-and we have boys rolling on the ground in the block center-they are secretly screaming "CHALLENGE ME!!!" So. Challenge we do.
The block center is where most things that are annoying in my opinion, happen. These things aren't actually annoying. They are just annoying to me in the moment because I want them to be learning something-and they don't seem to want to do anything but call each other "poo poo head" and make helicopter gun noises. This is where the next idea came in.
We have been struggling in the past 2 weeks with a lot of nonsense going on in the blocks. Lots of gun noises (no weapons at school), lots of name calling in a really silly manner, lots of rolling around, ruining other peoples creations!
We thought this could help solve our problems. (We were right)
It's a book-full of structures. Many structures from our world (The Eiffel Tower, London Bridge) many structures from our country (Scotiabank Place, The CN Tower), and a few structures from our own community (Our school, our local bank). I found pictures on the Internet, and made a little book. Laminated and did a little binding, and added it to the block center. So far- SOOOO good. They knew automatically what they should do. Look through the book-decide-plan-build! It is really amazing to see what they are coming up with!
It has been super for teaching cooperation naturally because they all decide on one structure they want to create and work together to make it look like the picture. They also have been asking questions like "What is this one?" I got to explain to them it was an arena in Ottawa-that housed one of our Canadian Hockey Teams! We talked about how long it takes to drive to Ottawa from where we live-and we talked about how mad their dads were that "the hockey players don't want to play hockey unless they make like 150 bucks a game-so they are having a break."
Seriously. That happened. I love their interpretations of adult conversations.
We also discussed which structure was the biggest. Two kids told me about when they saw the CN tower on TV.
I gave my camera out again-and had a child take a picture of the hotel they were designing. There is a picture of a hotel in the book-and they did an amazing job recreating it!
The hotel in the book was very pyramid-y looking. (That's my own word-but you can borrow it if you see fit). I was amazed at their ability to get that right in their own structure. I'm not sure why I continue to be amazed by these things-because I know that we have a class full of little geniuses!
Try it. If you are having annoying problems in your block center-I beg you try this approach. It worked for us-and I'd bet it would work for you too.
Can We Build It? the book is mosquito repellent!