Today was the first day of a new quarter in the homeschool program I teach in on Wednesdays. I didn’t sleep well, as new classes always seem to set me to worrying if I’ve got all my materials organized and all my activities well thought out. Last night before bed I read Teacher Tom’s 4/17/12 blog post about Teaching A Play Based Curriculum and followed a link to Is Free Play “Teaching?” from thenaturalplayground blog. Both of these posts really inspired me.
One of the classes I am teaching this quarter is sculpture in which I have a multiage group of 13 students ranging from 8 to 14 years old. In the past I have done a demo on sculpting with tinfoil the first day of class. Students have enjoyed this, but many of these students have taken my sculpture class before and I wanted to do something different. I had planned on having an open ended collaborative activity similar to the TASK party I attended with some recycled materials such as cardboard and newspaper tubes. After reading these blogs I got inspired to have the students try and create a hut like structure. The fun part I thought was that the sculptures would be large and require figuring out how to get them to be stable with fairly lightweight materials.
The kids really enjoyed working together and an amazing variety of structures were created. It was fun listening to their comments at the end about how they got their ideas and some of the challenges they encountered.
I feel a debt of gratitude to all of the educators out there that are sharing and contributing to the professional dialogue that helps us all to grow!