t is for time

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i’ve heard the question several times: when do you have time to take all those photos?

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well, there are two of us and the camera is easy to use, so it’s not just me.

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but i have been thinking about how it is that there is time.

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let me ask this:  when there is a group of children on the playground, they are usually busy, yes?

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they are engaged and active.  engrossed in building or bug observing.  flitting from slide to slide.  with one friend the whole time or on her own.  new groupings of children emerge because they all ended up on the tire swing at once.

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there is seldom need for a teacher to create experiences for them.  the space is predictable yet open ended. and there is time for taking photos.

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this is how i like my indoor classroom to be as well.

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in the wise words of maria montessori:

“The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult.”

The Secret of Childhood

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on a day when i have done my job, there is time.

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a is for autumn

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we’ve been celebrating the changing of seasons with an exploration of color all week.

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on the first day of autumn, we “tie dyed” big coffee filters cut into leaf shapes.

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my washable liquid watercolor hasn’t arrived yet (?!?!?!?!?), so i opened several of these and diluted them with water.  they worked great (though now we don’t have our red, yellow or orange dot markers)…

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the first day we did this project, each child worked on their own leaf.  the next day we had the individual leaves balled and twisted on the table for the children to paint until all were colored.  i did this at first because i anticipated some younger ones having a hard time stopping when their leaf was saturated.

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this really simplified the project.  there was less teacher work in name writing (because we did it ahead of time).  there was a relaxed tone of working together to hide all the white.   i liked that the focus was on pulling paint into the dropper and then squeezing it out.

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we hung a string between a couple poles to let them dry (with the help of a fan).

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these are delightfully colorful.  especially when in a window or fluttering in a row.

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r is for roll

really it was b week….and we rolled a ball for our project time.

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with three blobs of paint (primary colors) on a paper covered table and one ball, we created this:

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almost immediately we could see secondary colors emerging.  some children knew right away what was happening, others looked to the paint bottles to see if there was a green, orange or purple one.

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the only instruction was to wear a paint shirt and move up close to the table.

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when the ball rolled to you, you simply rolled it somewhere else.  it became clear who wanted a turn (and who didn’t!) and we teachers could help facilitate turn taking.

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we let the children roll as long as they liked.  some were done within moments, others lasted until it was a two person activity.

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we tried to make our bodies like a fence around the table to keep the ball in.  but that ball was tricky and fell on the floor many times.  glad i had helpers to clean (why can’t i have as much fun cleaning my floor as they do?).

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at the end of the day (and after a fan blew on the projects) i cut the papers apart so each could take part of the masterpiece home. it was a new concept for some that they were taking home part of a group project, and could simply choose any paper they wanted (no names to look for!).

you can almost see their minds expanding.

b is for book

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we have regular “book time” each day after we’re done cleaning up.  as soon as cleaning up is finished (or not constructive and there isn’t much left!), i’ll sing:  if you’re done cleaning up, then go sit down and find a book to look at.

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after their own “book time” we transition to “story time” when i read aloud to them.  i’ll do this in another area of the room so that children have space and time to finish looking at their own books.  children are invited to  join us when they are ready (which is usually right away!).

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i really enjoy finding all these photos on my camera.  thanks, ms carol! IMG_2081.JPG

b is for blue

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blue bits of paper

blue stickers

blue tape

blue streamers to tear

blue lids

blue beads

blue poms poms

blue feathers

bottles of glue (hmmmm….that rhymes with blue!)

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since the favored technique was putting the glue on TOP of the collage items, i’m glad it dries clear.

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u is for up

i highly recommend getting one of these mirrors just so you can tuck it in your ceiling tile braces:

the view is a thrill.  what’s really fun is watching kids discover that it’s there for the first time. : )