Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pre-K play on the beach

This might sound like a strange thing to write, but today in Switzerland some of our Pre-K students played on a beach.  This wasn't a normal beach - it was inside in their classroom.  A couple of days ago I wrote about the plan of the Pre-K teachers to use technology in their classes in a completely different way.  Their idea, to support their Who We Are unit of inquiry which is about how we use our senses to explore our world, was to project a scene onto the classroom wall as a visual stimulus with sound that the children could interact with.

Today I arrived at one of the classrooms eager to see how this was working.  I'd already found the YouTube video Perfect Sunset, which I'd added into Infinite Looper and shared with the teachers.  Today one of the teachers used her laptop attached to a beamer to project this 30 minute video onto a classroom wall.  In front of the wall she had a big plastic box filled with sand, shells and stones.  This was just one area in the classroom where the children could play.  Other areas were set up with building blocks, some children were working on the classroom computer, some children were painting and others were investigating light objects inside an area of the room that had been hung with black curtains.

As I sat at the "beach" I noticed the children had taken off their shoes and socks and were really interacting with the sand and making patterns with the shells and stones.  When I asked what they were doing they told me that this was a beach.  They could hear the sound of the waves all the time, and as the sun went down, the area got darker.  At this point an interesting thing happened.  One of the girls had taken on the role of "Mummy" and one of the others was "baby".  At the point that the sky got dark the Mummy told the baby it was time to go home - they then left the area and walked over to do some painting.  However because the other children wanted to carry on playing what we did was to replay the video from the start again.  The whole movie lasts 30 minutes, but the most interesting skies and the part where you can actually see the waves lapping on the beach happen in the first 15 minutes (note to self - change the slider to shorten the movie).

One thing that I noticed is that all the students playing on the beach were girls.  Perhaps this was just a coincidence.  However I'll be interested to see what happens when the movie is changed and we project a street scene with lots of cars onto the wall.

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