teaching to learn, means learning to teach

Posts tagged ‘music’

Snakes in the Room!

We’ve been using these scooter board on flat ground for a while, but were limited to the cement areas as the carpet and astro turf really slowed them down. Once we added the ramp and a some teacher muscle, the kids immediately renewed their interest!

We’ve been enjoying the ramp and roll so I thought I’d take advantage of this interest and introduce some maths concepts into our play.

As the kid rolled down I marked their end point with chalk. They were so excited to see their names and places. Most of them repeated the roll, altering their hold or improving their grip to see where they ended up on the chart 🙂

We found that each child could change where they would finish, but not accurately predict whether they would end up from their body positions.

Oh, and after we’d finished it was really cute to see some of the other children move in with dustpan and brushes to try to clean off the chalk!

As a side note, introducing the Boa Constrictor song, that I mentioned yesterday, was hugely popular 🙂 The song and actions were picked up quickly. I realised that ‘middle’ was a foreign concept for them, as was a ‘boa constrictor’! So I stopped what I was doing and started again. This time with a feather boa from the dress up box. Slinking it in front of and on top of the kids like a snake.

Then for the safety lesson. Talking about how this type of snake wraps itself around the animal’s neck to stop them breathing. This is constriction and why we don’t wrap things around our friends, or our own, necks.

Then on to the fun part! Having our ‘boa constrictor’ nibble on our toes and all the way up to our heads 🙂

Because the kids were singing the song spontaneously during the day, I introduced a sleeve puppet snake and began a simpler, more interactive group time and chasey play.

When you ‘threaten’ the children with being ‘eaten’, it’s the giggles that let you know their sense of humour, imagination and cognitive skills are happily on track 🙂


I love it when a plan comes together!

The classroom environment is a huge part of the children’s learning. We often think of spaces for quiet, soft, noisier, building, small group, large group, individual play and off course art work. WE make beautiful displays of the children’s art work, we theme walls to role play areas, we look at passage ways between areas to try to minimize running lines and maximise children’s ability to concentrate on tasks.

Sometimes we see going outside as a bit of a relief, a place for the kids to run off their energy and for us to chill a little as the messes are meant to be there, the areas are laid out for them and the running rules cease to exist.

Since moving into the Kindy room, my outdoor area has kinda stumped me. It’s a long yard of cement and astro turf. We added the \’jungle\’ but the yard seems more bare because of it! I keep looking and trying new things, tweaking bits, but I’ve come to the decision that I’m going to have to do a bit of an overhaul on it. Some things just won’t sit well with me until I do. I want it to be more of an outdoor classroom than just a yard. I’d love a workbench, with hammers and nails and glue and goodies to work with. I’d love to create a swirly walkway path that is covered in Arches of plants, with large rocks and small pebbles. I’d love the path to end at our dividing fence to the Koala yard and have little tubes of pipe for us to ‘post’ toys back and forth, use as telescopes and as foghorns. I’d love my jungle to be filled with real living plants and not just off cuts. I want a wall off herbs and flowers that we can care for and eat. Most of all I want the yard to be an area that excites and entices exploring and play. I want the thought that goes into the inside program and design to go into my outdoor area. But I also know that I have to start small.

I’d like to see areas for role play, gross motor, music, science and environments all work together in an easy and relaxed setting. So I’ve started small, on things I can change.

After a few days trying out different ways to make this work, I finally pulled it together from op shop and cheap shop buys! A pulley system!

With wooden ‘coins’ cut from some of the larger branches I acquired for our ‘jungle’ to use as weights. They really aren’t heavy at all, which makes me feel better about the safety of the area if someone tips the bucket on their own head!

My co-workers loved it – as did the kids! they started cheeky games with each other to pull the buckets out of reach, they held onto them to create more weight, they raced each other to fill them up. All fantastic learning opportunities for maths and science skills without me saying a word!

You know,  a few kids even clocked themselves on the head with the bucket or tipped wood coins on their toes, but not a sound of complaint was hears! Instead it was giggles and surprised looks. They’re learning resilience and testing hypotheses without even knowing what the words mean! I’m looking forward to this becoming less of a ‘new thing’ and more of an experience that the children drive and create themselves 🙂

Here’s another thing that I’d picked up a long time ago. Xylophone pieces that were mounted individually. I believe someone was throwing them out because there is not a complete set. I’ve had them at home, not knowing what it was I wanted to do with them, watching my kids play with them and ignore them. When I started thinking of permanent musical structures in my outdoor area, these quickly came to mind (along with some other things I’ve been sitting on, but I’m yet to figure out how to make them work successfully) A few cable ties later, borrowing sticks from our indoor musical kit, and voilà! A beautiful sounding musical pole!

I thought I’d add this pic in, because I found it so amusing when I figured out what he’d done…. can you see the stick is actually being held in the hand of one of our action figures (no, I’m not sure what happened to the rest of him either!) And E is using the action figures hand to make the music! So impressed with his spatial awareness to figure out that the stick would fit in, guess everyone needs a helping hand every now and again!