One Sunflower

A, B, Z and Company at work

on April 25, 2010

When my preschool moved from our classroom in “The Little House” to our current classroom in an elementary school, there were a few pieces of furniture I made sure came with me: the sensory table, 5 cube chairs, some carpet covered boxes and “the climbing box.”  The climbing box is a wooden structure created with interchangeable panels.  It had originally been purchased by the Evenstart program when we served kids aged 0-5.  Even though it is a great climbing structure for toddlers (and I could have left it in the birth to three classroom), it was the only equipment we had that provided a “hidey” hole space for my preschoolers – and I selfishly kept it. Sometimes it creates discipline issues – kids like to sit up on the corners or noisily jump in it – but for the most part we are able to support some good times with it.  I move it around the room throughout the year and sometimes turn it on its side.

Right now, the box is the center of the classroom and Alpha, Beta, Zed and Company has come to town.   The plastic construction toys are out, kids are wearing goggles and moving about the room like scenes from a  Home Depot commercial. 

The other day I brought in poster paper and showed some of my builders how to measure, mark and cut paper to cover the top of the box.  Since then, the box is the center of a construction zone.  Roles of colored tape are the nails and glue.  At the end of the day I leave some of the work up but since the tape peels off pretty well so I strip and recycle most of the building supplies.

It isn’t surprising then, that when I questioned Zed about the story he wanted to tell the class, he chose to write about the box.  He drew his builder friends, I helped draw the box.  At this point I dismissed the rest of the class to work in their journals because I could tell Zed was going to need more of my attention to get the “rest of the story.”  I helped the other students get settled while Zed finished his character drawing and when I returned he had drawn some lines moving around the picture.  I thought maybe it was the tape – we had used a lot of tape.  But then he took his crayon and demonstrated how the lines were the movements each character made in and around the box.  I was thrilled!  This was Zed’s first demonstration of action in a story – usually his stories are pretty static, and lack details.  He even went ahead and put his own letters below the line and then asked me to write, “I play with my friends.”

This piece of work shows so much progress for Zed.  His people are of a decent proportion and have bodies, his arms are sticks with hands.  Until recently, he’d been drawing heads with a stick for a body and overly long arms with overly long spikey fingers.  In this picture, he was a little concerned about his sideways smiles but I showed him how to wrap the smile around to the right – notice the red person.  Each person is a different color to show different people, each person has their own line of movement.  Pretty cool I think.

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