Monday, September 29, 2014

Everything it is chalked up to be

People often ask about differentiated education and how different student's needs can be met at the same time. The answer is a longer discussion, but today I enjoyed watching the children engage in "differentiated play". With the same item, the play which ensued in different areas, individually, in groups, with and without teacher guidance, and with extension of the materials was incredible.

Morah Emily brought sidewalk chalk out to recess today. She led an informal group activity with some of the students about the parts of the body. She started to draw a person, omitting parts and the students prompted her on what to add. It was a lovely group activity, causing the children to observe and think about the picture and the human body.

Then my students branched out.

A group of boys started coloring together, mostly creating a pile of white dust.
"We need a lot of coal," Jacob explained.
"For the train," Yehuda added. 
 On the other side of the playground (where our Found Sound Garden stood until 'the big kids' broke it) Moshe worked with a small pile of chalk. He diligently colored each brick.
"I am making it pretty," he explained. "But making it pretty made me dirty," he added, pointing in frustration to the chalk dust all over his tie and pants. Ahh, the price of being an artist. 

I was pulled away from observing Moshe because the girls were yelling.
I hurried over, "What is wrong?"
"--driving---on ---my Elsa!" were the words I could discern from Naomi's crying. I looked and marveled at this: 
 What I first mistakenly assumed was a map or route, was actually an image of Elsa. And someone had the audacity to drive a trike on her!
"It is a beautiful picture, Naomi. But it is very big-" I started.
"Elsa is big!" Naomi interjected.
"That big?!? It is taller than three Morahs standing on each others shoulders!" Ava giggled at that image.
"Elsa is that big!" Naomi insisted.
"Okay, but it might be hard to not drive a trike on it-" 

At this point Naomi noticed that Ava was inadvertently standing on the great Elsa. Naomi instructed her to move and immediately she obliged. 

  I returned to the first group of boys to see how their coal production was coming along. I was wowed to see their new method of using the chalk as coal for transport (or maybe it was something else).
 They discovered that pieces of chalk fit perfectly in tube on the back of their trike.
 So they fit it in.

And off they went! It was like something out of Looney Toons. 

Alone or in a group, making art or using tools, everyone had fun with the chalk. 
The proof to everyone's enjoyment? At clean-up time we said, "Go bring all the pieces of chalk back so we can play with them another time." The children ran and gathered every scrap of chalk they could find!

No comments:

Post a Comment