Hello Stems Families,
Welcome to this weeks journey!
In this blog we will cover:
- Discovering Responsibilities
- Observations during Exploration: storytelling with loose parts, writing new words
- Skill Sets
As we start to establish the community of our classroom, we want to ensure that the Stems understand that the Stems classroom is their environment. As part of a community and an environment, responsibilities are necessary. How can a community show respect for their environment and each other?
This week, we observed multiple Stems offering to help each other in sweeping up flaxseed that was accidently spilled on the floor, sorting materials on the light table and in the tinker tray, gluing a book back together that had been ripped, cleaning up water and filling the water tray of the Buhda Board, offering hugs and materials to those who were sad, bringing back color to dull colored pencils, and watering plants outside.
During exploration and clean-up, the Stems noticed that there were materials that had been broken such as a tile, a couple plastic cups, and a pencil sharpener. The Stems also found a couple of loose parts that didn’t seem to have a home. That’s when the idea to create a ‘to be fixed’ and ‘lost and found’ signs/corresponding containers was born! Now during exploration and clean-up, if the Dots find an item that is broken or they are not sure where something belongs, they bring it to the ‘to be fixed’ tray or ‘lost and found’ tray.
During assembly, Ms. Mazi introduced the cart and trays to the Stems and did a demo on how to use the materials on the fix tray (paint brushes, glue) to repair broken items. By the end of exploration on Thursday, the lost and found tray (see above) was full of papers! During reflection that day, all of the papers were sorted and found a home!
‘The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” D.W.
Storytelling with Loose Parts
What started with sorting out colored cubes and working out equal amounts to share between one another, soon turned into the perfect setting for creating a story, with one friend stating “Let’s make a story!” after their material had been laid out. They began to create long stacked rows of blocks and a neighboring tower, incorporating clear gems up top as they built. The people peg were soon introduced to their play as they began to discuss their character, who they had decided would be a teacher.
“Maybe Ms. Mazi . Ms. Madison.” -Aditi
“No. Natalie. Natalie!” – Samanvi, as she raises the person peg up high.
“If she sits here she’ll watch”- Samanvi, grabbing a clay container that was being used for cotton balls.
“Cotton chair! Cotton chair! Cotton chair!” -Aditi
“Now she can watch everyone.” -Samanvi
“How about we go here. Yeah she can be like that.” -Aditi, as they place the peg on the chair and select the chair’s location (in between the two structures).
“That’s her toy.”- Samanvi, placing a small orange button next to the peg.
“She’s not playing with it.” -Aditi
“When someone is sad, someone can play with it.”- Samanvi
“She is sad!”- Aditi making a pouty face. “She’s not sad, she’s happy!” (quickly changing her facial expression to a big smile)
“When someone is sad, we go like this (*singing) ‘have a snow, haaaave a snooow!”- Samanvi, as she mixes flat, white and gray beads with her hand.
“How about she’s watching climbing up.”-Aditi, referring to the teacher.
Aditi then introduces another person peg and mimics climbing up the tower followed by the peg falling.
“Here’s her toy.”- Samanvi, as she places the orange button next to the fallen peg.
“No, no, no. How about she climbs up”- Aditi, once again pretending the peg is climbing up and then falls, but this time followed by the peg crying ” Wahh! Waahh!”
Writing New Words
We have observed a lot of the Dots writing words as well as letters to create ‘words’ over the past couple weeks. To support this interest in wanting to create words, we posed the question, ‘what new words would you like to learn how to spell?’ to the dots during assembly. Here are their responses-
“Whale, shark.” -Asahi
“Ballerina, unicorn, horse.” -Eden
“Book, house.” -Hank
The words mentioned were written down on a dry erase board and placed on the writing table as an area to explore during exploration. While writing, some of the children asked multiple times,
“How do you write Aurora? Princess? Love? Kittycat? Kiana? Butterfly? Anna?” as they thought of more words they wanted to write.
The Stems used these words as part of a book, Birthday Card, and pictures for their families. If you would like to send a list of names or words that your child is interested in learning to write, we welcome you to send them in!
The purpose of reflection is for the children and teachers to come together as a whole and discuss ideas, thoughts, and discoveries. It’s a time where we encourage the children to speak and share their perspectives and findings, including debates and dialogue. It’s also a time where we reflect on the children’s thoughts by watching perhaps watching a video from exploration or reading anecdotal notes of the children’s conversations/thoughts. Listening to the children converse during reflections give us educators a chance to plan for the following day (ex. provocations) as well as brainstorm questions/ideas with the children.
During a couple of reflections this week, a few children reflected on what they did with their peers.
As we are starting the 2nd week of this school year as Stems, we want to make sure that all of the Stems are on the same page in terms of skill sets. For example, the proper way to hold a paint brush, the appropriate way to use a stapler, the correct way to hold a writing utensil, etc. Each week, we want to focus on a skill set with the children, whether it be a familiar tool (ex. crayon), or a new tool (ex. watercolor pencils).
On Thursday during exploration, we talked about the purpose of a stapler as we noticed a couple of the Stems stapling a single piece of paper versus attaching pieces of paper together. We also observed a couple of the Stems repeatedly opening and closing the top of the stapler to look in the staple compartment so we commented on this observation. The reasons why a few of the children opened the top of the stapler- “We’re fixers!” (Smayana) “We want to see the staples.” (Samanvi) “We want to check the staples!” (Aditi)
Have a wonderful weekend, Ms. Krista and Ms. Cynthia