I yam what I yam! All my life I’ve taught through songs, movement, games, hands-on activities, and play. Boys and girls, we need to all get on the ACTIVE LEARNING bandwagon while it is HOT! I’ve been working on my new seminar called “Dr. Jean’s Active Learning Adventure: Let’s make it purposeful, planful, and playful.” I came across this idea that I used in my classroom and it’s perfect for helping parents, administrators, and visitors understand the value of active learning. All of my centers had signs that described what children were learning as they played. Below you’ll find some of the captions that I used. I thought it might be something you’d like to create this summer for setting up your classroom.
Dramatic Play – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing social skills, emotional skills, independence, oral language, my imagination, responsibility, and the executive function. I may use these skills as a mother, father, safety officer, or politician one day.
Blocks - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing motor skills, math concepts (number, size, shape, space), oral language, social skills. eye-hand coordination, self control, and my imagination. I may be a builder or architect when I’m grown.
Art – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing my creativity, small motor skills, problem solving, sharing, cooperation, independence and responsibility. I may use these skills as an artist, illustrator, or designer one day.
Math - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing oral language, social skills, small motor skills, concepts about quantity, shape, size, pattern, and an interest in math. I may use these tools as a computer programmer, accountant, or mathematician in the future.
Library - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing alphabet knowledge, oral language, print knowledge, listening skills, eye-hand coordination, concepts about the world, and the desire to read. Maybe I’ll be a publisher, author, or librarian when I grow up.
Science - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing a curiosity about the world, sensory skills, problem solving, language skills, and experience with the scientific process (observing, predicting, experimenting, recording, reporting). If I’m a doctor, lab technician, pharmacist, or landscaper I will utilize these skills.
Small Motor - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing small muscles, eye-hand coordination, attention span, social skills, and concepts about size, shape, color pattern. I might use these skills as a chef or dentist one day.
Language – It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing oral language, alphabet knowledge, print connections, phonological awareness, visual skills, book knowledge, phonics, motivation to read. No matter what I become when I grow it, it will be important to know how to read.
Writing - It looks like I’m playing, but I’m developing eye-hand coordination, small motor skills, alphabet knowledge, self confidence, vocabulary, and an interest in print. I might use these skills one day as a journalist, administrative assistant, or poet.
Embrace the curiosity, enthusiasm, energy, and JOY of young children and let it be the momentum and springboard for developing skills and meeting standards! Play can be just as “rigorous” as a worksheet.