Monday, March 28, 2016

A regular morning

The first hour of our day is 'free play'. This is always an exciting time for creative exploration. Here is a snapshot of this morning.

One activity was drawing in permanent marker and painting the results. We tried it before here.
A beautiful, multi-step planning, creative process.

 Problem solving and spacial awareness in puzzles.
On the mat, Orlee and Lainey's dolls were in a state of crisis, and Judah's gumball machine in a pick-up truck saved the day.
 At the sand table, the students enjoyed sensory play, make-believe, modelling, and creative problem solving.
"We need to get it ready for the guests," Chana announced.
"How many guests are coming?" asked Yaakov.
"Forty," she replied.
"Then we need forty tables," Yitzy directed.
"It's not going to be enough food," Chana worried.
"Just add more potatoes to the soup," Yochanan suggested.

Meanwhile. Elisha discovered a new item in the room. The Lego table! This is an item that waits until the students are ready to share, before it can appear. The students have displayed beautiful social emotional development and the Legos were ready for use.
 Elisha concentrated on his building and enjoyed the solitary play, but seemed thrilled when others came to join him.
Soon the table was a beehive of activity.
"I made a rocket ship!" Elisha announced. "It can go really really far away."
"Me too!" Ori agreed. "This is my rocket. It has three shooters. They shoot water," he explained.
Everyone built together in impressive harmony.

 "We built the Kline Galland," Yochanan said.
"There is the spot sick people go so they don't share their germs," Yaakov explained the bubble in the middle.
"This is where they daven," Yitzy pointed at one end.
"And this is the couch to rest on," Yochanan added.

In another corner of the room, Orlee noticed the big screen.
"It is a movie theater for the dolls," she explained.
"They will watch Frozen Fever," Judah explained. The students knew that the screen was for Skyping with Chaya (we did that later in the morning) but enjoyed using it as a prop in their imaginary play.
After clean-up we daven. This hour of fun is always different, and always exciting (for me)!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Making the Mishkan

For perashat Pekudei, we made a 'replica' of the Mishkan.
I explained how the frame was wood covered in gold, but that since we didn't have spare gold at TDS, we would be covering wood with silver. Small people inevitably confuse these two colors anyway.
With aluminum foil, the students began the task of covering our blocks. This builds skills in logistics, coordination and fine motor development. And of course it is super fun!
 When we had a large pile of shinny blocks, construction began. There were pictures of the Mishkan around the room if they wanted a guide, but I only provided one directive: "The Mishkan can only be built if everyone works together."

 Working all together was challenging at first. Everyone wanted to build their own Mishkan or to work only with a select group. Several separate construction sites began.

 "We don't have enough blocks," they began to complain. "That is because you need to work together. If you work together and make one Mishkan, there will be enough."

 Slowly they began to work together.
 And a beautiful structure took form.

 More valuable than learning about the form of the Mishkan, was the lesson that great things can only be created if everyone works together.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Painting Outside the Box

Painting is fun, but it was time to extend this activity. 
First the students drew pictures and then painted them.

 The kids enjoyed this and it is what led to our playground adventure last week.

Then we changed the paper and colored on foil, creating a mural. Everyone loved this group activity!

The painting was so enjoyed that during recess, Yitzy and Yochanan asked for paintbrushes. "We need brushes and water," they explained. "We are painting our ship."
Other 'fixer-men' came to help. A 4th grader said, "You know that isn't really painting. Soon it will disappear." They were not deterred by this comment. "It is turning it black now. If the paint comes off, we will paint it again!"