Friday, January 26, 2018

Just try again

The Gan is a garden where children bloom.
One way to blossom is through taking risks, and making "mistakes" (a hard moment to catch on film).
Maya didn't think she could write the letter "k," she discovered she could.
Morah Katie: Look at that, you tried and you did it.
Moshe spilled his water. 
Moshe: OH! It spilled.
Morah Katie: How can you solve it?
He solved the problem by drying the table with a towel.
Morah Katie: Thank you for solving that problem Moshe.

When it gets hard, my friends can choose to give up, or try again.
In our classroom "failing" is ok, as long as we look at what happened, explore why something failed, and try again. 

We find we only truly fail when we give up.
Eli: I bumped trying to get back up.
Morah Eden: Are you going to keep riding the scooter even though you fell?

Eli: Yes!
Lakshmi was adding 7 + 3 and her result was 12.
I mentioned when I added 7 and 3 I got a different answer and asked her to get the 7 bead bar and the 3 bead bar to show me her work.  
She chose the blue bead bar and the pink bead bar and began counting. She discovered the blue bar was 9. 
Lakshmi: I was counting too fast! I thought it was the 7. I have to get the 7 bar. Now I will get the answer I bet.  7 and 3 make 10!
I believe a child is capable and can achieve any goal he/she sets.
But if he/she lacks perseverance and does not make a second, or third (or multiple) attempts, he may never realize that goal. 
Evan and Rowen are working hard to learn to write their names.
 Matan was having a rough time fitting the puzzle piece.
Morah Jillian reminded him the frog puzzle can be a challenge and she had faith in his ability.
He chose to keep at it and eventually found the correct spot.
Miles was having a hard time finding the correct bead bar for his addition work, 
he took a small break and got back to counting and found the correct bar right away.
As the children take risks, experiment and make mistakes, they learn from those experiences and become more confident and skilled. 

They use those new skills and confidence to expand their experiences in the classroom such as building new friendships or trying a new fruit at snack. They will attempt a new activity and learn from new "mistakes".

At the end of each day, as I write my reflections of what went well and what could go better, I find that I am often reminding myself to "WAIT".

The teachers at The Gan work on telling ourselves to: Stop. Watch. Wait. See.
It can be challenging to follow through on this. When I sense I may be about to interfere, I ask myself a few questions:
  • What would happen if I refrained even from a redirection?
  • Do I need to be involved? 
  • What would happen if I just paused and observed?

When we pause, we are giving the child a chance to pursue his own course and succeed. 
I am not suggesting allowing the children to continue down a path that will lead to total discouragement and frustration.
I am suggesting we pause just long enough to observe the direction the children lead us: 
  • Are they creating solutions on their own?
  • Do they really need guidance or would a little struggle help their development in this moment? 

Why is it that I work to help my friends develop persistence? 
It is a skill they will need to succeed in life.
We will find our paths blocked and attempts thwarted. 
In fact, my path was thwarted this week. 
I was very excited to experiment with the fact that for every action there is a reaction.
We were going to explore this with a balloon rocket.
I had an expectation of what was going to happen, it did not go as planned.
I was so sad. 
Matan also knew what I was expecting.
Matan: Don't give up, just try again.
All the kids joined him and told me not to give up! To try again!
As we know at The Gan, if experiments don't go right the first time, we  try again. 
So with help, we did.

We are laying a foundation for our friends. 
They are learning to count and say their abc's in English and Hebrew. 

These young children are developing their attention spans and expanding their friendships.  
This is the time to help them develop the ability to "re-start" after experiencing a disappointment.  
To be able to preserve and overcome challenges will be key to their future successes whether theses will be riding a bike without training wheels, making new friends in kindergarten or simply trying something new in their preschool classroom.

Friday, January 19, 2018

This week we ran two science experiments.

Experiment #1 Ramps

What objects can we cause to roll down a ramp?
We tried a hockey puck, laying flat.
Lochlan: It's not rolling. Put it on its side.
We turned it on its side, and it rolled down the ramp.
We tried a lego.
Ozzie: It's not rolling.
Carson: Because it is a rectangle.
We tried a domino.
It did not roll.
Carson: Because it's rectangle too.
But it did surprise us one time
We tried a cylinder, on its side.
It did roll.
Emily: It's like a circle.
Miles: It won't roll standing up because it's not round anymore, it's  flat.
We tried a block.
Ozzie: It's not rolling.
Lochlan: Because it is a square.
Morah Katie: Which objects rolled best?
Emily: The circles.
Morah Katie: What if we adjust the ramp?  What if we  make it steeper?
Let's try the domino now.  (It slid a little bit.)  What did we change that caused the domino to slide?
Matan: We moved the ramp to make it steep.
Morah Katie: The domino slid, let's try the block.   It did not slide.   What can we do?
Kids: Make it steeper.
We put a block under one side of the ramp.
We tried the block. It slid!
Morah Katie: We could make the block slide without adjusting the ramp, we could apply a force.
Force is a push or a pull.  Think for a second, what does gravity do to our bodies?
Ozzie: Push us down.
Morah Katie: We can use the ramp in reverse.  How will I get the block up the ramp?
Carson: You'll have to push it.
Morah Katie: Will I have to use a little or a lot of force?
Kids: A lot.
Morah Katie: How about the ping pong ball?
Kids: A little.
Morah Katie: What about getting the puck up the ramp? How much force will I need?
if it is flat? 
Lochlan: Maybe a not a lot, but not a little.
Morah Katie: If it is on its side?
Miles: Maybe a little.
Morah Katie: What are we applying to objects to get them to move?
Miles: Force.
We moved on to explore static electricity.
We saw what happened when positive protons and negative electrons attract each other.

Morah Katie: Please tell me what you learned about static electricity.
Jade: We rubbed the balloon on our heads and then put it over the butterfly. We FORCED the balloon on our head.
Morah Katie: We did use force to rub the balloon on our heads, and then how did the balloon use force?
Miles: The wings moved. I was surprised.  
Morah Katie: How did the balloon pull the wings up?
Jade: When we FORCED the balloon on our head.
Morah Katie: And what is force? 
Maya: It's when we make something move.
Morah Katie: By rubbing the balloon on our head, we took the negative electrons on our hair and introduced them too the positive protons of the paper. The opposite charges are attracted, they want to be friends, the balloon makes the wings lift.