Monday, January 12, 2009
Today was a great day. Not only did I get to hear Ron Clark speak this morning, but this afternoon, my assistant and I actually finished a project that has been on our to do list for two years. Hooray for us!
We have have been wanting to create a book that will provide visual support for children playing in the block area.
We have a few students who have difficulty figuring out what to do and how to play in the block area. Often one of us will play with the students and help them make choices and decisions. But just as frequently, we are working in other areas of the classroom and students are independently playing in the block area. By creating the book, we are hoping to make the area more accessible to more students.
We started off with the resource book "Beyond Centers and Circle Time." There is an excellent section on "Construction Play" that includes an observation scale of simple to complex block structures.
We used this scale to reproduce some similar structures using our classroom materials. We tried to create structures of varying complexity so that children of varying ability levels could use the idea book. We then took pictures with our digital camera and uploaded the images to a PowerPoint. The book was then printed, laminated, bound and placed in the block area. You can download our book here.
We also only used a few pictures within the book. The concept of the book is to help the child get started, not to dictate or direct his/her play. (The pictures on the right are a few that we used in the book.)
Since we haven't used it yet, I'll have to update you on the level of success. Hopefully, we can teach our students how to use the book and then increase levels of self directed play and independence.