Saturday, March 31, 2012

Science of Art and BIG Pictures

I'm at the MiAEYC Conference in Grand Rapids.  I always have such a fantastic time learning and growing when I have the opportunity to sit in on and present professional development sessions.

This year, I am presenting on the Science of Art and BIG pictures!
I'll be talking about things like pendulum painting....

And fizzing sidewalk paint....

Just to name a few!
 I plan to share a few video clips from some of our experiences:



Unfortunately, with only 75 minutes, I don't have as much time as I would like to engage everyone in all of these fantastic ideas, but we will be trying a couple!

Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Outdoor Classrooms!

I'm at the MiAEYC Conference in Grand Rapids, and this morning I have the wonderful opportunity to listen to a keynote presentation on outdoor classrooms... quite fitting and coincidental, as my post over at PreKandKSharing today is ALL about our outdoor classroom!

Hop on over and check it out! AND there is a linky at the end for you to link all of your great outdoor activities and outdoor classroom areas!!!!

Creating an Outdoor Classroom at PreKandK Sharing!

Oh, and if you happen to be at MiAEYC- I'll be presenting at noon tomorrow in the Atrium Room, We will have some fun messy play with the Science of Art and BIG Pictures!  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Making music with Infants - Mini Thunder Drum

Around here, we "run" with an emergent curriculum. 
Sometimes, I get a lot of questions in regards to,
well... what about the infants and toddlers?

Well, some of our activities have to be adapted when 
it comes to working with younger children, 
but for the most part working with our infants and toddlers 
is not much different from working with our preschool aged children.

We still follow the children's lead. We spend a lot of time setting up a rich environment 
that gives each child the opportunity to learn and grow through exploration.
However, with infants and toddlers, they do not directly tell you... you have to observe 
and make some assumptions about their actions and play......

Our little guys are simply fascinated by sound. 
They have been doing their best to make music wherever they go.

This little guy loves the texture of our bench. 
He spends quite a bit of time exploring the sounds made by running 
different toys back and forth across the slightly bumpy surface. 
To encourage his continued exploration, I moved a wide range of toys 
within his reach. Each one offering a slightly different sound 
and experience for him.

If you remember, we have an outdoor music area
When I initially set it up, I made sure to place some of the
 "instruments" within reach of our youngest learners.
 However recently, it became quite clear 
that our Thunder Drum was too high for our little guys......
They can reach up and over, but it is not comfortable 
for them to do so for very long, but they love to try.... 
and they love the sound.....

So, to facilitate their continued exploration,
 I went out and found a galvanized utility tub. 
It is large enough to encourage side by side play, 
but short enough for our infants to use without concern 
of the drum or the children falling over! 
(Right now, it is inside, but the plan is to move it to the outdoor music area!)

Our boys are having a great time banging, singing, and clapping!

Friday, March 16, 2012

More Music in the Yard!

The warm temperatures have melted the snow! It seems so odd to be raking instead of shoveling during the middle of March! Our outdoor time has increased significantly and today- we spent a lot of time making music!

After the winter snow, we have a few things to touch up.... 
The top of our thunder drum needs a little sanding and a fresh coat of paint,
and our tire drum needs a new drum head....

And... we have all kinds of plans for some new additions too... stay tuned!
If you are looking for more details in regard to our outdoor music area, 
you might want to check out these posts:

IF you would like to hear some of the wonderful music we made today- 

I shared this post here:


I'd love it if you'd link it up to my outdoor inspiration- music areas linky!
Do you have an outdoor music post?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Loose Parts = Creativity and Imagination

Have you seen the Winter edition of Connections for a Great Start?
The whole issue is based upon supporting children's creativity and imagination, and we shared some of our fun with loose parts.

Loose parts are great indoors and out... Putting them together is fantastic for fort building!

Imagination soars when cardboard boxes are instantly transformed!

A row of chairs could be a train, a bus or a plane..... Where are we travelling today?

Teamwork happens when parts are too big to move by yourself!

Large loose blocks can be built into a stage, and tubes become microphones or instruments for your band!

Industrial sized tubes become great listening ears and muscles!

Tires are great for pretty much everything!

Obstacle courses start to pop up all over the place!

How have you been using loose parts?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Experimenting with Hydraulics!

I've been busy, and other aspects of life have taken over for the time being. Thus, I've been away from the blog. I'm still busy- posting here and there on our Facebook page. I'll be back eventually. Until then.... I thought I would schedule a few posts from the archives to repost!
 This one orginally posted last August. Enjoy!

Last night, I finally sat down and tried to make it through my google reader. (After an hour or so of reading and still having over 1000 posts, I cleared it.... So, if I missed something great that you wrote about please bring it to my attention!) One of the posts that I did manage to read before clearing the slate was a selection from Tom Sensori. If you have a sand and water table and have not been to Tom's blog... you need to stop reading this post and go over there RIGHT NOW! (Just don't forget to come back!) Tom has amazing ideas for really making the most of your table and providing engaging learning activities for your children (of all ages!)

With inspiration from Tom, the children and I put together this wonderful hydraulics station today! Please stop by his blog for the instructions.... know that we opted to make ours just a little bit different.....
First off, we made ours with our already existing plethora of pvc pipe set. (We didn't even have to drill holes because we had some with holes from our Bike Wash already!)We didn't want the apparatus to be permanent, so we didn't use plumber's putty or glue. To keep the water from running down into the support pipes we used.... DUCT tape! (Imagine that!) We put a piece over the end of the pipe and then....
Cut off the excess so that there was a small amount of tape that would wrap around the side of the pipe. Just enough to keep the tape tight and across, but not so much that you wouldn't be able to fit the pipe in the fittings.

We also taped the funnels to a very short piece of pvc pipe that we added to the connections. This kept our set up "temporary", but still allowed the apparatus to function properly. (After we are done exploring this way.... I am hoping that the children will want to come up with their own ideas to test out.)
We played and explored for hours this morning! The children thought it was "AWESOME!!!!" and we made a short thank you video for Tom!
The children noticed that when you filled some of the funnels up quickly, you could make the other ones over flow!
 The spent a lot of time collecting the water from the fountains and noticed that they could change where the water landed by turning the pipes (another benefit of not gluing them!) AND... If they put their finger over some of the holes the other ones sprayed higher!
We ended up with hours of fun... We were all drenched and we did move water in and out of the table! The carpet soaked up some of our fun, but that's what shop vacs and steam cleaners are for!

Some of the older children are already working on the "blue prints" for another contraption. They really want to use clear pipe so they can see what is happening inside. I have a feeling we will be making a trip the hardware store soon!

My friend died

 I learned a hell of a lot from Dan Hodgins.  He was mentor, a friend, and a "bone shaker" for many of us in the field of Early Ch...