Friday, August 9, 2013

Primary Class~ Volcanoes

Thursday's theme for Primary Class was all about Volcanoes! We did a picture walk through the book Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin. The children were intrigued with the many animals that live on the Galapagos Islands, and of course they wanted to know more about volcanoes.

After doing the picture walk in the book we talked about the earth being made up of land, water, and air.

I also gave them a lesson using our land forms on how we can tell the difference from an island vs isthmus. 

We then learned more about volcanoes, using our demonstration model.

Volcanoes were made with air dry clay.


 Rocks were explored.

Another activity that they enjoyed was looking at different photos of volcanoes that I downloaded for free from the The Helpful Garden.    


 The morning was filled with three hours of fun and the kids made it very clear that they were interested in learning about turtles. Of course you can't talk about the Galapagos Islands without learning more about turtles, stay tuned because next week that is exactly what is on our agenda.

If you would like to read more about how an independent lesson went on Thursday too, please visit The Work Plan.                               

Monday, August 5, 2013

Open Studio Time: Make Your Own Board Game

Today our featured activity was "Make Your Own Board Game". It is a open ended activity in which I set out just enough materials to inspire, but leave the rest to the child and the environment to allow creativity and  the tools for the child to admire and gain full ownership of their work.

Authentic Project Based Learning is led by the child it is not a theme or adult driven way of learning. The interest should always be the child's for it to be truly Project Based Learning. I offer featured activities to help guide the child who may have never been introduced to this type of learning. They may already know exactly what it is that they want to explore, but being gently introduced helps them learn the process, and possibly spark a new interest. Also they quickly learn where things are, how to replace the items, how to refill a supply that needs to replaced,  and clean up their work area in a way that is ready for someone else to use. After a few visits the child will feel comfortable and feel independent enough to come to the Studio to do what it is intended to do, which is to promote Project Based Learning in it's truest form. I share the same view for the reasons I offer classes, visioning those who share the same interest developing collaborations on projects. You have to start somewhere! For some it may be the Forensic Science class that they find passion in, others it could be visiting the Studio during Open Studio time making a board game and finding out how much they enjoy making up their own rules.
It was a fun event and they started out by choosing one their favorite games to play from the selection that was available.


And then one by one they asked if they could begin making their own board game.

I placed the following materials on one shelf so that the children would have at least a basic supply to go to, in hopes to encourage their imaginations.

It wasn't too long into doing their work that they discovered that they may use other resources in the Studio too.

 One child used the " How To Play This Game" manual from PayDay as a help to create her own rules to her board game (research in action).
Another child used the Montessori  Small Movable Alphabet to trace letters onto her board (this is not this materials  intended purpose).

 My 15 year old daughter grabbed a Logic Puzzle book from the library shelf and decided to make a Logic Puzzle of her own.

She also used a work that she had completed in Art Journaling class and then made changes to the faces to go along with the Logic Puzzle she was writing so she could cut it out as a manipulative to help solve the puzzle.

 All and all it was a successful Open Studio time. Many didn't finish their board games in the three hours that were allotted, they say they will be back tomorrow. Tomorrow they may finish, or they may move on to something else. What counts is that they are becoming self learners one project at a time, and having major fun while doing so. 

Please know that other children were present today and I would have loved to share their work in this post, but I need parent permission to do so. Parents if I could get your photo permissions it would be appreciated!

Do you have a favorite board game? Please share in the comments, I would love to know!