The following is a guest post from our three’s teacher, Jane Triglia. I encouraged Jane to write this post when I saw the snow people the children in her class created.
It all started with a book and some eager children wishing for winter snow. We read the book Snowballs by Lois Ehlert and discovered some children were disappointed that our snowless winter has also left them snowman-less! A discussion followed about making a snowman inside, without snow. What would we need, we asked the children. “Three circles, one big, one small and one for the middle,” they replied with excitement. The children loved the creative materials used in the book to create snow people, and wanted to make snow people of their own. They noticed that most of the materials used in the book, “we can find outside!” A walk outdoors led to a large collection of treasures the children could use to make their indoor snow people. The children added items from the classroom to their selections and we placed them all in a sorting tray.
I found some large pieces of styrofoam to use for our circles. The children asked, “Can we make a snow family with a cat?” “How about a dog”, “Don’t forget a mom and dad, a big brother and a sister!” The excitement was definitely building and all of the children seemed eager to begin. Once the circles were cut, we grouped the children (2-3 per group) and they picked which snowperson they wanted to work on. We explained to each group that they were to work together to decide what materials they would use, what the snowperson would look like and how to put it all together.
Lots of activity filled the room as each group got to work poking things in, gluing things on and cutting to size. There was conversation, idea sharing, compromise and encouragement as our snow family came alive, snow-person by snow-person.
Once completed, the children loved showing their classmates the person they worked on. We were getting them ready to display on our bulletin board when one child realized they all needed names. Ideas were shared and agreed upon and Snow Dad, Snow Mom, Jackson the brother, Lily the sister, Sophie the cat and Spot the Dog were born.
The children wanted snow falling on our family so we used some previously painted sticks to use as snowflakes. We had just been talking about snowflakes having six sides so they wanted to make sure that was exactly what their snowflake had. They put the snowflakes together and we attached them to our snow family board.
Ironically, the day they finished this activity, we had a real SNOWDAY!
I challenged Jane to write this up for the blog because I loved how she let go of control and allowed the children to direct the process. An idea became a reality with the result empowering the children and their teachers to go beyond the book. Well done Jane!