Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Add Straws to the Block Center

Block accessories can be expensive. But a trip to the dollar store or grocery store can yield materials to supplement your block center at little cost. One day in the grocery store, I saw packets of neon straws. I tossed a pack into my cart and took them to my classroom. I didn't have a plan for the straws. I thought my great thinkers in the classroom could figure something out.

I put the straws in the blocks center. My group likes to build and I want to give them some different things to work with. We were talking about wells, so I also added a couple of small buckets with yarn attached. (In the past, kids have built wells and pretended to scoop out water.)

A couple of boys decided to use the straws as "water." They stuffed the straws into the buckets and transported them across the center. They dumped the "water" onto the picture of the well, I think to fill it up. The boys worked at this for a while.

Meanwhile, in another part of the center, one of my builders was at work creating a large structure.

After the others left, the builder completed his building and began to scoop and play with the straws.

Then he decided to incorporate the straws in his structure.

I love how each straw is strategically placed. He worked really hard to find just the right spot for each one.

Sometimes I'll put things out and they will be ignored. Sometimes the kids do things that I expect. And sometimes I get a block structure filled with straws. And if I put these same materials out with a different group of kids, I'll get a different result.

Repurposing and recycling materials for the classroom is great for the budget. It's great for creative thinking. And it's just fun!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Let's Learn Together

I love to learn new stuff. Going to conferences...reading books...talking with other teachers...watching videos...listening to podcasts. These are all ways I learn and probably you, too.

I'm excited about a week-long opportunity to learn. The second Soar to Success Summit is July 15-19. It's online learning with people who know about teaching young kids. Full disclosure: I'm on the list this year! It was great fun making the video and talking about teaching kids. Here's a clip.

What I like best about these videos are the hands-on, practical stuff. I love to learn all kinds of things but the best things are the ones that I can put into practice in the classroom immediately.

Use this summit to brush up on skills, get new ideas, or take a running start at the new year.

And, in celebration of the summit--and because I missed it, too--I'm going to resume posting here on a weekly (or so) basis. First up are posts with recycle, repurpose, and reuse ideas for teaching.