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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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

Prism Brick Ice Shelter

These gorgeous prisms bricks have been played with lots by Rose. She loves pouring them onto the light table and organising them to her fancy. Daisy has not been so into theses gorgeous blocks so I set her a challenge.

These little people are outside and need shelter. It is windy and cold (not hard to imagine, considering where we live) and they need four walls and a roof to keep out the cold.

This was all Daisy needed to inspire some building. I had never thought about it much but block building is not something either of my children choose to do, unless I lift the blocks out and model some building. I sat down and played along side.

Rose chose to play for a few minutes then decided to bug her sister by sitting on her chair. She tends to wander around then come back to the task at hand. I counted and she would last 3 to 4 minutes, play elsewhere for 3 to 4 minutes and then return to the light table.

She returned 3 times before losing interest.

Daisy continued to build, ignoring Rose’s antics.

The roof was quite a discussion. After a little questioning:

“Does the roof need to be bigger than the building?”

“What do you think we could use?”

“Can you see anything flat and the same size as the base?”

I gave up and suggested she use anther prism base. This idea was met with a look of frustration and a sigh.

“No mama that would be too slippy and the wind will blow it off”.

So having been told, I left her to search for a roof. When I came back five minutes later she proudly announced she had finished and her people were warm.