teaching to learn, means learning to teach

Posts tagged ‘bodies’

Sound and Reason

I recently came across this quote, but I’m not sure where it originates from….Kids need to hear it AND see it AND do it if you really want them to learn it. When looking at sound and noises, it’s hard to separate sound from noises. So we incorporated the two together!

I’ve been telling the ‘draw and tell’ of Bibbles the dog for a long time, since I’d seen how positively the kids reacted to it when I first saw a colleague do it! We extended on the echoes and interest in this story, by re-telling the story of Katie and The Giant, but with a more Australian twist and echoing across the mountains/over our fences “Stop throwing stones! You could hurt me!” The kids really love being noisy, and I love how well it can be a positive part of story telling 🙂

The flip side of those group times, are these. The quietest group times around. Here’s my fantastic colleague teaching the kids how to listen for the beeps, so they know how to turn the pages at the listening post. Serious silence in the room – it was kind of spooky actually!

As a hands on ears on activity, we tried to find new ways to hear. This is us testing out echoes and how loud our voices can sound when we whisper! As long as our ears are in past the rim (and no body parts have crept in) you get a great sound. I could have kept my head down there with these kids for ages!

The kids tried tapping sticks to see what sort of sound they got – interesting experiment really! IT also showed us the limitations of our courage as they tried to lean in to pick it up off the floor. The distance was greater than they could reach, but bending over half way into the tunnel was a brave feat!

We even set one up in the yard to see how it worked outside! While our sounds were trapped in the tunnel, the tunnel also worked to block off sounds from the yard.

Of course what would Kindy be if there wasn’t some noise! Like these vesuvelas and paper tubes enriching our singing?

Or creating a fantastic honking sound!

It seems that seeing really is believing!

And as we all know, when one good idea takes hold, spreading the word is quick and easy…

After all, what’s the point of being able to hear, is we aren’t really able to communicate!


If it’s what’s inside that counts, we’d better find out what “it” is!

Originally I planned to write a post about the range of learning and activities we’d been engaged in this month. Our kindy program is running under a “body” theme. I know lots of people don’t like running their rooms under a theme, but I find it helps me to create a frame for our room that gets the most successful learning.  I can incorporate the theme into all areas of play, whilst still plan around children’s observations and extend on their skills. However, the further we’ve carried the theme, the more excited learning I’m seeing happen, the more activities, discussions and the more photos I’ve taken. So, it’ll have to be split into 2 or 3 posts (at least!)

We started with the basics, could the children name their body parts? Could they create facial features on a template? Could they use their body to mimic movements? Could they identify what different parts of their body could do? Turns out they could! This meant it was time to up the ante….two of our puzzles shows you the layers of the body, one a girl and one a boy; the skeleton, the internal organs, the musculature, the bare skin and finally, dressed. Taking our inspiration from this and from our body paint activity, we’ve begun delving below the skin.

I thought we’d start easy, with something tangible, something we could see and understand. Our lungs. They breathe, they help us yell, they cough, they help make funny noises and they make our chests move. I’d already drawn up a near-life-sized picture of a child and we used this to identify where our lungs were hiding. We tested out how we could make big breaths and little breaths then discussed how the shallow breaths felt. This lead on to a discussion about exercise, getting sick, asthma and smoking. The kids really seemed to know what they were talking about! Now for the fun stuff! using a large sheet, we created ‘breaths’ by pumping it up and down like lungs.

Then to show how much harder our lungs had to work when they were put under stress, I added a lightweight carpet mat on top of the sheet 🙂 Oh boy, we had so much trouble creating that breeze and all of us had to work our muscles to move it! It really showed the ‘working harder’ concept better than I thought it would!

It did however the lead to one of our favourite songs “My Lovely Lycra”, which was lovely for me, as I hadn’t sung this in ages and for them to remind me of the song was flattering.

During the day, after each ‘body part’ discussion, we’d lay out a particular art activity to extend our learning. Of course, with lungs on the ‘menu’ we did blow painting 🙂

Seeing as I don’t think you’re bored yet, I’ll go on to another body part we looked at. The Heart. We talked about the difference in shape between a ‘Love Heart’ and our own ‘hearts’. We talked about how the heart cleans our blood and pumps it through our bodies. The kids all knew that our blood was red (which was a nice sideline to discuss how even though we were a great range of skin colours, we all bled red…..oh and that the darker your skin tone, the less you can see the veins in your wrists!) and that when you cut yourself, you bleed. But how did the heart move all that blood around? Well, like this 🙂

and this (Balloons are awesome hey?!) By pumping the air from one end of the balloon to another, we were able to see how our heart pushes blood and why it comes in spurts ba boom ba boom.

The follow-up art activity for this was to create people from cardboard shapes and split pins, add a heart and a brain (just so they could have an idea of another organ to go to) then take them over to the tables for painting in veins with red paint and ice block sticks. The lines were fine and encouraged the children to focus on direction and not just smear the bodies, like a range of actors form a B grade Zombie flick!

I apologise, but I have no pictures of the art work, the process or the steps. It was a fully involved, multi step process that had all the kids clamouring for a go! No hands free, means no photos for you but a great time for us! I might take one of where they are displayed in the room and add it as an edit! Sorry about that, but you can’t blame me for forgetting you all when I’m so immersed and engaged with the kids 😛

Words to “My Lovely Lycra” (note that I couldn’t afford a large piece of lycra, so I’ve used a large piece of stretch knit cotton)

*everyone sits in a circle, with their legs outstretched under the ‘Lycra’, holding the edge with both hands. I usually start with a round of the chorus, sort of as a warm up 🙂

My lovely Lycra can stretch (*everyone leans back, pulling the lycra taut) and relax (*everyone sits up, lettign the lycra go slack, still holding on)

Stretch and relax, stretch adn relax *add movements

My lovely Lycra can stretch and relax, str-eee-tch and re-la-a-a-ax (stretch these movements out longer to match the longer sound)


*shaking the Lycra quickly from side to side

Ching Chinga ching, ching chinga ching, ching ching ching ching

My lovely Lycra can make lots of waves (small short bursts of an up and down movement – no higher than the kids shoulders)

Make lots of waves, make lots of waves, make lots of waves

My lovely Lycra can make lots of waves, make lots of wa-aa-aa-aves


My lovely Lycra can show all the toes (lift above your head and look at everyone, then snap it back down all in the space of “show all the toes”)

Show all the toes, show all the toes, show all the toes

My lovely Lycra can show all the toes, show… all… the… to-o-o-oes


(for an older group, pop a large soft toy on to the Lycra and bounce it up and down with large ‘up and down’ motions, for a younger group, I’ve sewn large buttons on in three places and tied elastic around the body of three ‘beanie’ toys with a loop at the other end to fit around the button – this stops them flying off the mat and keeps this ‘wild’ part of the game fun! 3 buttons for 3 toys to extend the fun!)

My lovely Lion/pets/animal name can play trampoline,

Play trampoline, play trampoline, play trampoline

My lovely Lion/pets/animal name can play trampoline, play tra-mpo-li-i-i-ine

The fun of “Scary”

We’ve been learning about bodies this week. Discussing what we know, introducing toys and puzzles to enhance our understanding and seeking out what different parts of our bodies are for. I’m really looking forward to the discussions we’ll have, invariably some of the cutest answers come out of Kindy Kids mouths and the sneakiest chuckles when we talk about bottoms!
One of the puzzles we have out is set in layers. The first layer, the base, is the skeleton of a little boy, the next is his internal organs. After that is a layer of muscle, then skin and finally clothes. What I love about this puzzle, is that it reminds me of the old encyclopaedias we had as kids, the ones with the clear pages that layered over each other. I used to sit looking at those layers of people and frogs for ages!
Well Quinn has decided he LOVES this puzzle. He’ll sit there and pull it apart, carefully putting in pieces until he gets to the muscles layer. As he stared intently at the picture before him and intones “Scary”, he also has a smudge of a smile playing at his lips. It surprises me when kids show this sort of understanding of the thrill of being scared. I guess it shouldn’t really – I do seem to spend many an afternoon chasing them into giggles with “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” and the snappy turtle game!
(where I *threaten* to pinch their bottoms if they keep following me. Which somehow always ends with a huge following of just-out-of-reach giggling gerties who are waiting for the tickle to end all tickles!)
I diverge. With Quinn’s interest in this puzzle, and a class that’s filled with a vivid array of skin colours and cultures, I decided now was the time to break out the face paints. Instead of painting butterflies and superheroes, I painted bones and muscles and tendons along their forearms! We talked about how the colour of our skin may be different, but on the inside we’re all made of the same stuff. We practised fists and wiggling fingers to see how our wrists made the ‘muscles’ jump.
The kids couldn’t get enough of the painting, so we flipped their hands over and painted on all the bones that help their fingers move and showed how that joined up to the bones painted on the other side. It was really exciting to see how much the kids appeared to be understanding what I was talking about. I may not be able to remember the words to the “Dem Bones” but I know how to make the skeleton come to life! 🙂