Showing posts from December, 2011

The difference between centers and provocations

During a meeting a few weeks ago a teacher asked the preschool staff what the difference was between 'centers' and 'provocations'. It seems to me that there are a lot of similarities between the 2 things. Provocations are materials or experiences that Teachers set out to provoke children's thinking. From what I've seen, centers are classroom areas that are set out to give children experience with certain developmentally appropriate learning activities.

So in a traditional classroom you might see a literacy center where children can practice certain writing activities, and in a Sabot classroom you will find writing materials, a variety of papers, things that make marks, envelopes, books and other tools and materials that can be used for writing. One mistake people sometimes make is to assume that the fact that the environment is set up differently and may look looser and less formal in a more progressive school means that teachers don't look for those moment…

Winter Circle

Before the Winter break, there is a big circle where all of the classes gather to hear a story and then sing together. It's one of the traditions that has helped to create the culture of our school.

In the pre-school winter circle, we heard the story of Raven and sang songs.

big people and great big people

Years ago we had a student named Anna in the preschool. I remember someone asking if they should call me big Anna and her little Anna. She told them that she was big, so that wouldn't work...maybe they could call her big Anna and me great big Anna. I liked that a lot.

Here are some pictures of some big people with some great big people around the school.

how awesome?

The boys came with a note that said "We want to make a fish for our Pirate play."
They set out to make some fish, and decided on a shark, a puffer fish, and a turtle. I helped cut a fish shape out of blue plastic, and helped the guys make some triangles for fins (the plastic and cardboard was hard to cut).

When the fish were taking shape, D said "That's shark awesome!"
I wondered aloud "Shark awesome? ("yeah") What is more awesome, shark awesome or Batman awesome?"
D said, without looking up from his coloring "Shark awesome."
Is shark awesome better than robot awesome?
R said "yeah", and T said "Yes. Look! (The shark) it's bigger than a PERSON!"
 D said "Dinosaurs used to be the biggest living animal in the world.
Did you know that, T?
Dinosaurs used to be, (most awesome) because they were alive, now they died.
Now sharks are the biggest, so it's shark awesome. ("But it used to be Dinosaur awesome…

uncommonly beautiful

Here are some things people were working on in the studio today...

Substituting in the Forest Room

Last week I spent some time with the youngest children at school.
One child asked "You know what I can do?" and showed me a terrific spin.
Soon they were showing me all sorts of ways that they could move. Big fun!

They Have to Believe They're Free

On This American Life this weekend,there was a story about a man who raises geese in a new way. Eduardo Sousa shares the secret: the geese "have to feel like they're free". 

What fascinated me about this story is the difference between the way Mr. Sousa developed and then carried out his method on his farm in Spain, and the way another chef tried to implement that method here in the states. 

When the American chef invites Mr. Sousa to his New York farm to see his operation, Mr. Sousa is surprised to see things like a hatching room and incubators. He cautions the Americans not to touch the chicks, because their touch will communicate "love and domestication" rather than wildness. Mr. Sousa reminds them that the geese don't need high quality feed.  "They'll eat anything if they think that they're wild. But that's the key: they have to think, from the moment they're born, that they're just passing through, that they're not part of th…