Now that I have dabbled with blogging for a bit, I realize that I have many ideas to share that don’t fit my “Hurray for Play” vision. I have decided to create a second blog, “Hurray for Learning” and from today onward, I will separate “learning through play” posts from “language learning” posts. To check out my other blog, please go to Hurray for Learning.
10. Pirate hats – Print and copy the pirate hat template from www.learningenglish-esl.blogspot.ca on 8.5″ x 14″ paper. Once students have coloured and cut out their hats, staple them in the middle of a 2″ x 24″ strip, leaving about 2″ of the hat brim unattached on each side. Fit to each student’s head and staple strip into a loop.
9. Eye patches – These super quick and easy! All you need is a small piece of paper, some string and some tape. I make a patch tracer out of cardboard for my students to use as tracing is a great 2-handed activity for developing hand dominance and building fine motor skills.
8. Hooks – Roll a 12″ piece of tinfoil up, squeeze it to form a tight “rod” and shape that rod into a hook. Take a cup (we used black paper cups here) and cut an “X” in the bottom. Push about 3″ of the tinfoil hook through the “X ” in the cup to create a “handle” to hold on to on the inside of the cup.
7. Telescopes – All you need for this is a paper towel roll, some paint, glitter and some white glue. For this one, I mixed the white glue into the yellow paint so that students could dip the ends of their telescope into glitter (and have it stick) once they are done painting.
6. Noodle necklaces & tin foil earrings – Every good pirate needs some jewels. Our pirates hang their tin foil loop earrings around their ear with an elastic band and we use dyed pasta to make our necklaces. When doing threading activities with string, try wrapping masking tape around the end of the string to prevent fraying. To learn how to dye pasta, click here.
5. Treasure maps – Have students draw their treasure maps with wax crayons. When they are done drawing, have them paint their maps with watered down brown paint, then rinse them in a bucket (or sink of water) and then leave to dry. (You can also dye them using tea however they need to soak in the tea for a while and this can be less efficient if you are working with a classroom of children). Once dry, my students crumpled them up to make them look really old and some added little rips around the edges.
4. Paper bag treasure chests – These are quite simple to do. For complete instructions, please click here.
3. Salt dough treasure – Make salt dough. Have students roll the dough and cut it into circles (we use water glasses). Texture and details can beaded to the “treasure” using things like thread spools, screws, nuts and bolts, nails, etc. Once cooked, paint with gold acrylic paint and finish with glitter. Once dry, put them in your paper bag treasure chest for safe keeping!
2. Pirate pastel pictures – Once we have done lots of pirate crafts and built our pirate language and vocabulary, we transfer this knowledge to drawing pirates. Before we go to paper, we do guided drawing activities on white boards. I give my students big paper (12″ X 18″) to draw on and we use oil pastels to colour them (Kindergarten students have great success with pastels and love the ease of adding bright colours to their art work).
1. Pirate ship pencil drawings – After you have looked at pictures of pirate ships in books (or online) with your students, brainstorm all the things that a pirate ship needs. Give them a big piece of paper (about 16″ x 24″) and have them draw a ship with as many details as possible (we will also do guided drawing before we go to paper). It is amazing what they can do when they have a big piece of paper to draw on.
Why play in the kindergarten classroom (or any classroom), you ask? Well, put simply, I regularly see how play captivates my students and stimulates language learning and growth (for examples of kindergarten outcomes evident during play, click here). I have witnessed, first hand, a cardboard box in my dramatic play area become a pirate ship and my ELL students transform into the captain and crew. As they “hoist the Jolly-Roger” and to “set sail on the seven seas” in search of their treasure, their interest in learning the desired language to enact their story is apparent. It only takes hearing “Arrrr” “Land ahoy!” or “Shiver me timbers!” once before it has become part of the common language used regularly while playing in our classroom.
But can play be more than that? At a recent PD session where we watched a video from the Galileo Network’s Website and looked at Stuart Brown’s seven patterns of play, I began to reflect on the the play that happens daily in my classroom and how it could help develop an even deeper understandings of the world around us. I began to look not only at the materials that are readily available but also how the classroom environment could foster certain types of play, curiosity and exploration. I became intrigued by the Reggio Emilia Approach and giving my classroom more of a “Reggio” feeling. And that, my friends, is where my classroom remodel, begins. Stay-tuned for the big reveal.