Well, it’s time to pack up for three weeks of holiday vacation. But…before I do I have to share our exciting week in our new classroom space.
Our very first day in our new, cozy classroom a small group of children created a home for a snake. The block structure was the most complex they have ever built. They also collaborated throughout the process, working together and sharing space and materials. When it was time to clean up – I asked that we all leave the lovely snake house so we could talk about it during Morning Meeting. During our conversation, it became clear that every child involved had a clear shared vision for the project. “Can you tell me about this?” I would ask and soon learned that children had built: a door, lunch, toys, a roof, and a castle for the snake. Such detail! In honor of this first-of-its-kind, collaborative creation – I told a story about the snake (long story short: a wandering Bear stops by and plays with the Snake in the castle. The two are fast friends).
During the Drawing and Inquiry EARCOS workshop, Deb and Louise mentioned an important idea when looking for a project. Find the idea that rises to the top. Now, the week before holiday I was not exactly looking for a project. But, this play scenario included 6 children and the entire class was engaged in the play story I shared with them (who doesn’t love oral storytelling). And so, this mini-project, at the very least, seemed like a wonderful way to build community and connection to our new space.
So…we played and we built and we talked about snakes, and told stories about snakes. Snakes, snakes, snakes!
Mid-way through this week, Ms. Cindy, shared an idea with me – that perhaps there is a high school classroom with a real snake. Aha! I brought the idea to the group in the form of a question – ‘Do you think there could be a real snake in our school?’ There was a resounding yes to this possibility. ‘Where could it be?” ‘Under the sink!’ said Irene – and soon the entire class agreed that we had a real snake living under our sink. And so, we left science behind and continued with the art of storytelling – this time telling stories about the snake living under the sink cupboard in our classroom. The snake played in pretend play, played with puzzles, and liked our room very much.
(Above): Ann and Leo draw their own snakes and narrate their drawing. Their words are beside their drawing. You can see the shared thinking about snakes.
And now comes the digital part of our story:
After using the whiteboard and exploring vertical drawing on a white space. We projected an image of our own cupboard under the sink. We allowed for space to explore as this was a first exploration. As children explored I acted as a memory of our story – and narrated bits of our stories about the snake.
(Above): Day 1 – Irene and Leo exploring digital drawing. The sink cupboard is the background.
(Above): Day 1 – Kiera draws three snakes and her explanation mirrors the stories we have been telling as a class. We are keeping a visual record on the whiteboard (below).
(Above/Below): Day 2 – Leo and Ann draw on top of an image of a snake. Ann creates a story that the snake as it is not wearing pajamas and needs a blanket. Leo, explores color, layers, and negotiating space with a peer.
In the past, I would not necessarily look for a digital connection to a project. It would not be at the forefront of my m ind (and as mentioned, I have a bit of an aversion to technology with young children). I noticed myself pause several times as children explored over the two days of digital drawing just to consider the value of the experience. Here are a few of my final thoughts on that topic:
- This is a meaningful experience for Leo, he seems to need large motor movement and seeks opportunities to work on vertical spaces. This allows him to explore a potential physical or cognitive need.
- I noticed in my photos that Ann chooses to be a part of these large motor and vertical experiences each time as well. (the value of reflecting on documentation, right there!)
- Drawing over images (snake and cupboard) allow for a provocation as children create. I do think this supported some in thinking of stories as they drew.
- The ability to share space and navigate sharing ideas, color choice, etc is a great side-benefit of important social emotional learning.
- Teacher support – through observation and interjecting at certain moments feels necessary for supporting meaningful connections.
I am really enjoying thinking about technology in a new way. I am slowly growing in my thinking about appropriate use of technology with young children – and that is a good thing!