As a preschool teacher, I have come across times during our preschool days when the children decided that they just gave up the ghost. The classroom goes from quiet, engaged little workers to the children dangling from their chairs and giggling insanely as they jump up from their chairs and run screaming in circles and then sit down giggling in their seats again. The question on every teacher's mind?
Do I just give up?
YES! No, no hear me out, it's not a bad thing! As a matter of fact it's a very good thing. At this age it is imperative that the children like what they are doing. Being engaged in their projects is the only way to ensure that they are absorbing the new information. Once they have absorbed the information that means they will find ways to apply it. After having them engaged in learning new information, I send the children off to play with their friends. I then take about 10 minutes to clean up and to LISTEN. During my listening time I am able to figure out what has stuck from the things we have spoken about and what I need to go back over or discard.
Last week and this week the focus has been on family and the traits of friends. While they love speaking about the friends and family they have, and can tell me that they live on the continent of North America, the last two weeks have been a struggle in extending their attention spans. The thing that is hard for teachers is giving up and letting them be even when a lesson is not done. But you do not always have to finish work immediately. Sometimes giving the children a break can give them much needed clarity and renewed focus. I have found that working in centers is a great way to help the children gain focus and help them to learn how to work together. More often than not, if their friend is still working on the center project they will stay and speak to their friend and compare their work. Sometimes it becomes a race. Or this week, because we have been talking about Friendly Traits as the theme, they have been attempting to speak nicely to each other about their projects. They have even told me I am beautiful and the best teacher ever. Always good too hear!
One of the big differences in the Mother Goose Time Curriculum this year is the addition of the Invitations to create #invitationtocreate. What I have found is that while the children enjoy them....there may actually be too many. I never in a million years thought I would say this, but the children seem a bit overwhelmed with the amount of projects in the last couple of days. I have shortened the amount of time that we spend at each center and I let them worry about the process more than trying to get them to concentrate on the questions. Once I did this, their attention span returned to normal. I did extend their free play time and the stories recommended by Mother Goose Time especially the story "You Are My Sunshine, Toots and Puddle" by Holly Hobbie. We looked up the song and sang it together after reading the story. We later discovered that Toots and Puddle are a series! The children have asked for more books about the duo and I of course have no ability to say no to buying new books :).