Monday, July 18, 2011

Gaining Meaning

This week in the block center we had some photos of block buildings. The kids looked at the photos and worked to recreate the buildings with blocks.

As I watched them think and plan, I began to think about kids and literacy. (Our book study blog party has me seeing literacy foundations everywhere!)

How does building with blocks connect with literacy? Well, I see the kids looking at photos--symbols of something in the real world--and gaining meaning. They see the block structure and interpret what they see to build.

"But there are no words." I know, but learning, meaning, and reading is not just words. We have signs in our world that are symbols. We have instructions that have pictures rather than words. 

And, besides, letters and words are just symbols that convey meaning. Words and pictures are conveying meaning for the real world.

That's what books and signs and Bibles and notes are all about. Helping people gain meaning and understanding. Blocks = literacy. That's why I love teaching young kids.


  1. Exactly, Scott! Exactly! Did you have a look at my latest post yet? It's got some ideas for playing music using the kids' art- ie interpreting symbols.

    I particularly like this idea with the blocks because it's a great extension idea for gifted kids- it can be as simple or as complex as you like to make it. Thanks!

  2. Yes! I believe that blocks build the thinking for literacy, but also for conceptual understanding in social studies, math and science. I see it as a chance for balance, for cause and effect and for other critical thinking skills.

  3. Ooohhhh...I like this! I have lots of props, but think I'll be adding a photo album of simple block structures!!!

  4. Love your idea! Where did you find the photos of block buildings?

  5. Those particular photos were from resources from an old curriculum that I had filed away. I've also taken photos of block buildings, too.

    As a alternate, we've constructed a block building and laid the blocks on poster board in the correct configuration and traced around the blocks. Kids used the outlines to recreate the structures.

  6. Thanks for sharing, Scott!

  7. They say imitation is the best form of flattery. Guess what I did today? Give up? I added a small photo album of pictures of some simple block structures for the kids to recreate. I can't wait to see what they do with them! Thanks again! :)