Showing posts from November, 2011

figuring out ferris wheels

This is just a small part of the long story of  Ferris Wheels in the pre-school. It started with A.L.'s attempt to make one back in early October. Even with J's help,they couldn't make it turn. Even though they couldn't solve the problem, the two children knew it wouldn't be a very fun ride if the Ferris Wheel just sat still. 
Later they took their Ferris Wheel to circle and got a lot off helpful advice from the larger Meadow room group.  The day these pictures were made was the day, several weeks later on November 15th, when the children were able to make Ferris wheels that could really spin! What made the difference? The children had come to understand the role that axles play in the process of spinning wheels. 

It spun on this hook, but then there wasn't any room for the seats. The plan shows J's revised ideas with a center axle, spokes, and a base.

I can hear myself say "Let's see, is it going to spin? Um, yes, it is"
Not my most inspired Teac…

Edublog Nominations

There are a lot of great resources out there on the internet. Three of my favorites are Marla McLean, Atelierista  and I go to them for information, for beautiful pictures, and mostly because they make me feel like a friend. It can be a lonely job, trying to figure out something new, and as the only 'edublogger' at my school, I have struggled to find the balance between meeting the school's desires and my own need to dialog and reflect. Although I have good friends and treasure my wonderful colleagues at Sabot, these bloggers help me feel I am not alone in reflecting on the kind of teaching I want to do.
So, that's why I'd like to nominate them for Edublog awards. You can nominate them too, by writing about them on your blog, and then filling out the form at
And thanks to Teacher Tom for sharing this idea! He is another wonderful resource and internet friend, and I second his nomination

The the 2nd grade is investigating the question "Who was here before us?" in social studies. They are gathering an incredible amount of information on Native American tribes in Virginia as well as about the first English settlers at Jamestown and Henricus through their research. Their sources include books, interviews, and field trips, including a couple visits to both Historical Jamestowne and the Jamestown Settlement and a visit to a pow-wow and 'Indian Exposition'. They are a gregarious class, and ask lots of questions of the people they meet on these trips.

They stopped in the studio after their Pow-wow trip to think about what they had seen and to make some things for the exhibition they are going to have. G. is interested in Native American Myths and especially mythical creatures. He was sad, because he felt like there was nothing he could make to go into the 2nd grade museum. R was most interested making one of the jingle dresses she had seen in the Powhatan da…

`Ferris wheels

Last night at the fall parent dialog the Parents all came to school and joined in with some tinkering. I got to be with the oldest pre-schoolers parent group, who worked on building some Ferris wheels for the children. It was lots of fun, and the children enjoyed the constructions today, noticing the way the parents made the wire seats, and used axles to make the wheels spin.

cool goggles


The Kindness of Children

I don't usually take phone calls while I'm at school, but yesterday I was on call with the Vet while my big dog Bill was in surgery. The children wondered what was going on, so I told them that Bill was in the hospital and I was worried about him. W. began to make me a dog to cheer me up, saying to anyone who passed by "Anna's doggie is sick, so I'm making her another Bill!" His care for me was just so sweet, and when he took "Bill" for a walk in the hall with such joy, he did cheer me up.
Children can be like this: just caring and feeling with their whole body and heart.

An idea to ponder from the NAEYC conference

"It is in the space between inner and outer world, which is also the space between people--the transitional space--that intimate relationships and creativity occur." D.W. Winnicott 

One of the best things about going to the  NAEYC conference in Orlando last week, was getting to meet some people who's work I admire. I also saw some good presentations, including Vivian Gussin Paley's keynote address "Who Will Save the Kindergarten?" and another one that was called 'Where is Play Today?', and was sponsored by people from the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood.
This was especially relevant since it was given in the heart of Disney-land, one of the most prominent marketers to young children. In a way it was a sad talk, since in many ways play seems to be an endangered species these days. But on the other hand, research is really on the side of people who think children need time to play meaningfully. That means, play that is creative and not merely i…

Two kinds of tinkering