Connections! Learning taking place! Applied knowledge! Isn't that what all teacher want to see happening with their students? Here is one example from last week.
Early in the morning many students were using beads and laces to make chains. They would do and undo them until two students said they wanted to share what they had done.
Beads and laces are also a great fine motor activity.
One of the girls began to talk about her chain and she said she used a bead like the cube we have in our 3D shapes box. Then she showed the cylinder-shaped and sphere-shaped beads. Of course she hadn't planned to discuss the "3D beads," but rather is was a connection she made once she started to talk about her chain.
One of the boys also made a chain and made all the connections with the shapes we have been exploring. He also noted his chain was longer than the girl’s chain, and they began comparing who used more cylinders.
From this day, on almost every day we’ve had someone making a chain and asking to share with the group. The end result is that the students found a way to review 3D shapes with something they were interested in; thus the initiative came from them and not from the teacher.
This week a girl called me to show she found the 'primary colors' in the beads.
I had also done a “shape hunt’ around the classroom and other relevant activities such as comparing shapes properties, which ones can roll, etc, but to me the best learning experience are the ones initiated by the children.
I use the word “connection” often and frequently ask them to draw parallels with past learning. It is wonderful to see this becoming established in the student’s minds.
I never ceases to amaze me how children are so ready and eager to absorb knowledge. As Maria Montessori used to say: "Children are like sponges absorbing everything around them. They have absorbent minds”.