Geoboard Light Table Play

So you may expect the following information to show a geoboard being used in the traditional way with elastic bands. Apparently that was not as appealing to my grade 2 daughter as these beautiful counters and beads:

Counters and beads on a geoboard I did leave out rubber bands but they were ignored.

Instead the counters and beads seemed to be more attractive.

The counters are part of this Manipulative Kit for Light Table:

Manipulative Kit For Light Table

and the beads are from this Giant Transparent Beads kit.

Giant Transparent Beads

The counters look amazing:

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These geoboards are transparent and can be purchased at Quality Classrooms here and  are perfect for the light table. They also come in 5 x 5 and 11 x 11 and a variety of colours.

11X11 Pin Rainbow Geoboards

Maybe next time we will use them for what they have been designed for!

Or maybe we will just find another awesome use.

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Who knew geoboards could look so great!

 

Light Cube Reading Light!

The Light Cube is a wonderfully versatile light source. It can be used in many different ways including as a light table. Here it is shown as a light inside a reading fort.

Interested in learning more about the light cube? Check it out here: http://www.qualityclassrooms.com/light-cube.html

Roylco

light box cube reading house

Welcome back to 2015! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break. We are excited to kick off the New Year with a feature post on our Educational Light Cube! Here’s a cool idea: use it as a soft glowing lamp for your classroom reading fort!

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Why light play?

Light tables and light play ideas are as popular as ever! With great new products and ideas the options are endless. I have been asked what to do with the light table or panel and my answer is always “The options are endless!”

Light tables/panels/pads can be used:

  • to explore materials for opacity, transparency, translucency (science)
  • to add an extra sensory experience (make regular activities that little bit brighter)
  • to enhance art (painting, drawing, tracing, printing, colour mixing)
  • to enhance language activities (using letters to make cvc words, practice sight words, recognize names)
  • to enhance math activities (sorting, counting, shape exploration)
  • exploring and observing anything (science experiments, nature, mirrors)

We got the opportunity to play with this great Ultra Bright LED Light Panel from Quality Classrooms. It is beautifully bright without being too much. Light weight and portable means you can quickly set it up anywhere in the classroom. If you don’t want to invest in a large light table, a light panel or pad is a great option. It measures 18-3/4″ x 14″ x 1/2″ which is good size for little hands and bevelled edge makes the light seem almost magical.

Why light play?

I set out Light Table Numbers and gems from the Manipulative Kit for the Light Table and let Daisy play.

Why light play?

She organised the numbers in order and sorted the gems by colour.

Why light play?

Rose was also excited to play!

Why light play?

She was more content to enjoy the feel of the gems and the colour, letting them slip through her fingers and drop gently onto the light panel.

Why light play?Remembering to use the light table for variety of structured and unstructured activities is important. It never fails to add to the activity.

Here are some past activities where the light table has added dimensions:

Light table colour bags to practice letter formation.

Sorting fruit by colour and working on that pincer grip.

Sorting Fruit

Counting with transparent chips and sorting by colour.

Open-ended play, with the First Look Light Table Kit

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For more ideas check out our Pinterest board here.

Arctic Play with Bubber

Between working for Quality Classrooms and studying for my Masters in Education the blog posts have become fewer. The flowers; Daisy and Rose went into full time daycare for the first time last September. As a result, opportunities to schedule structured activities have slipped. I need a reminder… mama, stop and play!

Last night I set up an play invitation, using

The flowers were hopping up and down with excitement as I set up the tray, requesting to play.

Arctic-Play-with-BubberAnd they got straight into serious play!

Hands-in-bubber

Daisy made a den for the wolves and Rose’s animals began to fight and scold each other, the whale hit the rabbit with its tail.

A great conversation started on who ate who, and we were able to discuss how some animals are eaten by humans and people living in the Arctic often use the skin of the animals for clothing and shoes as well as other parts of the animal. I introduced the terms herbivore, carnivore and Inuit.

We also talked about how the animals are built to live in such a cold climate with warm fur, sometimes even on their feet.

Detail-on-figuresThe detail on the figures is wonderful. Here the people are making their way back to their igloo (scale doesn’t seem to be an issue when you are 3 and 6).

Snow-wonderlandThe wolves stuck together during play. Daisy declared they were mama and baby.

Wolf-denThe wolf den.

Hiding-bunnyCan you spot the bunny Rose put to sleep?

Putting-the-animals-to-sleeAs the play was winding up the girls put all the animals to sleep. For Daisy this meant laying them on their side. For Rose it involved covering them with Bubber.

And the light on the light table was turned out.

A much more relaxed mama was able to go put her flowers to bed and work on an assignment!

Open-Ended Playing with the First Look Light Table Kit

Look at this great resource!

So as you probably know if you are a regular reader, I am a big fan of light tables. Adding light to an activity, brightens everything, including my attention span!

This was the first time we tried out this resource, the First Look Light Table Kit so I laid it all out, showed Daisy the contents and let her explore. There are over 300  pieces in this kit and I couldn’t fit them all on the table!

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Daisy set to work matching colours:

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Clear Big Buttons were matched with colourful leaf, flower and butterfly transparencies.

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Here Daisy has matched the shapes of the Clear Big Buttons and the Fancy Stringing Rings.

I have realised the importance of letting children explore independently, without the restrictions of set tasks or outcomes. Simply playing.

The rule:

New Resource = Open Ended Exploration

The chance to fully explore a resource without the pressure of outcomes, allows children to follow their own thought patterns and investigate their own theories.

As teachers we are often too quick to narrow a resource into a set learning activity and then we wonder why students are playing with the resources rather than doing the activity we set! The pressure of following curriculum and meeting teaching targets means we often sacrifice open ended exploration.

ECE’s are wonderful at setting up explorations free from set outcomes. “Invitations” are happening frequently in daycare and preschool rooms. This carries into kindergarten where teachers still recognise the need for play based learning.

My wish: play based learning with open-ended exploration continues through elementary school.

Is this possible while still meeting curriculum targets?

My answer is yes, what is yours?

Sorting Fruit by Colour

All that gorgeous fruit from the Avalanche Fruit stand was just asking to be used in other ways. One of the ways we played with it was sorting by colour on the light table.

Sorting Fruit

The Invitation:

Sorting fruit

Daisy instantly decided on her method. She started picking out the blackberries nearest to her and putting them on the purple paper.

Sorting fruit

Rose watched Daisy for a few seconds and then got to work on her oranges, again choosing to work on one type of fruit at a time.

Sorting Fruit

Both flowers working away happily.

Sorting fruit

Rose’s hand was struggling to lift with the tweezers and she was about to drop the tweezers when I asked if her hand was tired.

A response of ‘yes’ stimulated a mini lesson from Daisy on how to use the tweezers. She explained patiently how to place her thumb on one side and two fingers on the other. Very cute.

You can still enter to win an Avalanche Fruit Stand, just click here.

Counting with transparent chips

I loved using invitations to play with my children. Sometimes these invitations are independent and others I join in on.

In this case, joining Rose allows me to spend a few minutes one on one between chores. I focus totally on her and ignore the chaos for a quick break.

We used:

I set up the option of paper and crayons also.

Rose started by counting the chips and placed them carefully on the number.

I didn’t direct, just allowed her to lead adding information such as “yes, that is a number 2” or “yellow”. She is learning colours and doesn’t always get the colour correct. If she names an incorrect colour I will correct with “it is blue” but we certainly don’t stress about the necessity of knowing all the colours yet.

She liked the added challenge of trying to pick up the chips with a mitt on. It was entertaining.

Counting out five. This is a number she tends to avoid. Not sure why. Her counting usually goes like this; “one, two, three, four, six, seven..”

This was an extension lead by Rose. She placed the counter on the paper and said, “Please colour mama” so I obliged. Hey, who doesn’t like to colour. We named the colour together as we drew.

Learning Opportunities:

  • Identify and name colours
  • Count to ten
  • Sort by colour
  • Match colours