Friday, May 27, 2016

Of Sand and Glue and Process

I've been working with young kids for a while. When I talk or write about teaching early childhood, I mention things like process and choice and creativity and independent exploration. And yet, I continue to be amazed when I see these things in action. I saw it again this week when we used colored sand and glue.

Sand and glue pictures (Brick by Brick)

We decided to use white glue (thinned a little with water) and brushes to better control the glue. We used paper plates as a surface since plates are heavier (to hold the glue/sand combination). We discovered the scalloped edge of the plates added more interesting effects to the glue and sand.

Sand and glue pictures (Brick by Brick)

Kids spread glue with the brushes, sprinkled glue on the plates, and poured any excess back into the bowls of sand. I already had a sand mixture from previous sand art. If you use individual colors of sand, you will need a place to empty mixed sand (a tray or box or another bowl).

Sand and glue pictures (Brick by Brick)

Most of the kids began to create a specific design or picture, drawing lines or shapes with the glue and adding sand.

But at some point, most began to just explore adding glue and sand to the plates. The process was interesting to watch. Some kids tried different ways of sprinkling the sand.

Sand and glue pictures (Brick by Brick)

Some painted glue on top of sand and added more.

But all explored in ways they chose. I listened as they talked about what they were doing. Or how the sand felt. Or what they did last week. Conversations are an important part of what we do and how we work. I talked about our story and connected the sand to the sandy road that Saul walked on. But mostly we explored and experimented with sand and glue.

Sand and glue pictures (Brick by Brick)

At the end, most of the plates had clumped of colored sand glued in various places or covering the entire plate. Not much "product" to show at the end.

Sand and glue pictures (Brick by Brick)

But lots of learning that happened during the process. Including how to get the sand from the table back into the bowl.

Sand and glue pictures (Brick by Brick)

I continue to learn that it's important to see what's happening during the process. The final product so often doesn't reflect the learning and skills that occurred. If we get too focused on what things look like in the end, we miss the real point. Kids are learning about their world; kids are developing understanding and skills that will be foundational to future learning; kids are developing social skills and feelings of competence. Much more important than a sand picture.

Plan for experiences instead of products. The results are always successful. (Even if the plate of sand ends up in the trash can.)

No comments:

Post a Comment