Thursday, April 11

Play-Based Learning...In grade 1?

I had the opportunity about a month ago to attend a workshop with some of my colleagues.  The team included a Kindie Teacher, the DECE (Designated Early Childhood Educator) that works in her class, the grade 1/2 teacher, and myself - representing grade 1.

We were pumped!  The workshop was about Inquiry in the Primary Classroom and we were thinking "Yes!  They'll tell us how to bring 'play-based' learning into our class".  We had lots of questions like: Where does the time come from?  What about assessment?  Will our kiddos learn enough?  The Kindie team was already doing this in their classrooms as part of the All-Day Every-Day Kindergarten program that was implemented in our school this year....

So did we get our questions answered???  That would be a....not really....

We were sent away to learn what we could about it by experimenting in our classes.  So what did we learn?  We have more questions than answers.  Our students loved our 'exploration time'!!  I'm not really loving our 'exploration time' though...  Any ideas how I can keep it meaningful and engaging?  What materials have you put out for students to explore in your class??

I haven't found my groove yet, but my teaching partner has...check her out over at Second-Grade-Alicious to see what she's been up to.  As for what we've been up to, here are some pics...

I brought a cash register from home that I used when I taught Kindergarten and the students brainstormed some places where we would use a cash register.  After some narrowing down, they decided to make a restaurant.  Here are a couple of my cuties working on 'menus' for the restaurant.

Here a couple students decided to build a tower with plastic glasses.  They were all done and I asked: "Is that the tallest tower we could build?"  They said: "Yup!"  I then flipped a cup on its end to show them a different perspective...then off they went to build a 2nd tower!

In Social Studies, my kiddos are learning about communities.  I put out a large scale map of our neighbourhood (thank you Google Earth!) and borrowed the construction paper road idea from a colleague at another school.  The students then went adding buildings according to the large map.  It's definitely one of those times I could see the benefit of this "play" time and loved how engaged my kiddos were :)

Au revoir mes amis,

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