Today I decided to write about the struggle of teaching multiple age groups. Mostly this can become a problem because of the rules that we work under in different states. A lot of the things we use to do when we were little have been removed because we have kind of shifted into the over protection of children. For example, I am not allowed to use shaving cream in the classroom. One of the projects that was given by Mother Goose Time had to deal with using shaving cream in the paint. I had to modify the project for us to be able to use it. It can become hard to figure out good replacements for certain supplies. For this one, I just decided that purchasing Puffy Paint from Amazon would be the easy way out. Normally Glue, Shaving cream and the paint color is enough.
In my classroom, I have 2-5-year-old children. Most of what we are taught in school is about modifying activities according to age groups. While age is an ok way to figure out how to modify activities and projects, it could lead to frustration for you and the child. Not all children fall neatly into the categories that our education programs would like us to believe. For an example for what I mean I will pick and activity from Week three of Mother Goose Time and show how I modified it for the classroom.
Week 3 was learning about Pond Insects. Day 13 was about the Water Strider. We played a game called Strider Slider. Every activity comes with a Discuss portion of the activity. They have a question there that you can ask the children during the discussion. What is important to realize is that the children may not answer you back or you may have a group not interested in the question. Which is what I have! Instead of the Discussion: “What do you think a water strider might find to eat on top of a pond?” I started the activity off by setting out the pieces of the game and going over the animals in the picture. We pretended the blue part was the water and we asked:
“What do YOU see floating in the Pond?” We labeled the bugs and the animals, went over which ones were the predators and which ones were the food. It made the entire introduction easier and the children were engaged in the activity. The next part is the Explore portion. This involves the children gathering nature items and dropping them in the water to see which ones sink or float. I decided due to the short attention spans of the children to move this activity over and use it in the modification of the discussion portion of the Measure the Ripple activity.
The children worked together to set up the game at the table. Because at this age many children are very upset when they do not win, we discuss how to end board game play. Which is by shaking hands with our friends and saying “Good Job! Thanks for playing with me.” I take turns with them during the first play and the second time they play alone. For this game modification didn’t require anything extra from me and the children remained engaged until the second time they played through the game.
This meant that all of the children were able to play together no matter where they were developmentally, which means the younger children are learning from the older peers and the younger children are learning to help others in the class who are having a hard time. The skills identified in the Mother Goose Time teacher’s Guide are not the only skills being taught here (life science, social skills) Math, reading, and memory. These are all skills that are being engaged during this play time. Children benefit from the one room school House type of learning environment.
Until Next time! Learning is Messy!!-Ms. Tessie