I’m so excited to be writing my first blog post! I’ve spent years reading other blogs and being inspired by so many teachers around the world and now I have caught the blogging bug.
My first post will be about something new I am trying in my class! I’ve been a part of a group of teachers in my district who are trying out play based learning (or inquiry learning or exploration time) in Kindergarten up to grade two. The idea is that you find out what the students are interested in and you guide their learning through purposeful placement of materials and allowing students more time to talk and explore with each other. The teacher has more of a facilitator role and spends more time observing and less time giving instructions. Students are given a guiding question or problem and through their own explorations they come to the answers with minimal teacher direction. Let me tell you, it is VERY hard to give up that control. This is very much a work in progress and I have only tried it out a few times with my students but it is exciting and the students were highly engaged.
I was inspired by this video:
So, I promptly went to school the next day and gave my students cardboard, tape and markers and told them to create something. In no time at all we had dog houses, castles, posters, computers, a firehall, a giant card, a Pac Man game and more. Now you might wonder what they were actually learning. Well, for this first exploration time I just wanted to observe the students working with each other, I wanted to listen to conversations and watch them problem solve. They were developing some important learning skills during this time. In the future there will be more of a purposeful curriculum focus during exploration time but for that one day it was wonderful to watch and listen to kids being kids.