Monday, February 16, 2015

Large, Medium, Small

Lesson prep and learning doesn't need to be hard.  I hit the Wal-Mart clearance rack and bought a set of heart cookie cutters over the weekend.  They were half of 97 cents.  

I pulled the smallest, a medium sized one and the largest heart from the set.  From there I put paint on paper plates and handed out large sheets of construction paper and the stamping began.

Had I walked away and let the kids stamp on their own..we'd have had an art project.

Instead I sat as the stamping happened.  I didn't dictate the stamping.  Stamping happened how ever and where ever the child wanted.  I simply commented using appropriate vocabulary.  "Oh, you just made a small heart."  "The purple hearts really are large, aren't they?"  "Which do you like better, the small, medium or large?"

The activity easily took over a half an hour because conversation became a large part of the activity.  When we as teachers and parents walk away from the activity and don't guide learning conversations, we miss out on so much learning.  By the time we were done, my little artist was using the words fluently saying things like, "Oh-oh.  My medium heart got stuck on the paper".

After our pictures dried we extend the learning by talking about the project.  Conversation quickly moved to numbers.  "How many large hearts did you stamp?"  "Which size do you have the most of?"

With one simple activity we practiced language skills.  We engaged with an art medium.  We talked about the math concept, small, medium and large.  We practiced our counting.

To many it may look like a simple art project.  To me it looks like a day of curriculum planning that only took a few short minutes and to the child, it never looked like learning.  That's one way to make learning fun.

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