About Me

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Early childhood education has been my life for over 30 years. I have taught all age groups from infants to 5-year-olds. I was a director for five years in the 1980s, but I returned to the classroom 22 years ago. My passion is watching the ways children explore and discover their world. In the classroom, everything starts with the reciprocal relationships between adults and children and between the children themselves. With that in mind, I plan and set up activities. But that is just the beginning. What actually happens is a flow that includes my efforts to invite, respond and support children's interface with those activities and with others in the room. Oh yeh, and along the way, the children change the activities to suit their own inventiveness and creativity. Now the processes become reciprocal with the children doing the inviting, responding and supporting. Young children are the best learners and teachers. I am truly fortunate to be a part of their journey.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

New toy

On my computer, I have over 35,000 photos and videos.  Not all of those are from the classroom, but I would make a rough guess that over 25,000 of them are.  However, before digital, there was film photography.  I have saved all the negatives of the pictures I took in the classroom.  Since I started taking pictures more than 28 years ago, I had a lot of photos to which I really had no access.

Not anymore!  I bought a scanner that makes digital pictures from the negatives and transfers them to an SD card.  I use the card, then, to upload the images to my computer.  It is not an expensive scanner so the color is a bit off, but I am happy to have access to all those old photos.

Here is the first picture I scanned.  This is an apparatus I built back in 2000 using chewing tobacco dispensers.   Yes, chewing tobacco dispensers.  By the year 2000, I had already been building apparatus for 12 years.  By then, parents were always on the lookout for interesting objects to offer for a new building project.  One parent worked in a gas station/convenience store where they sold chewing tobacco.  He saved two dispensers and offered them to me as a challenge to see what I could build.
I taped one of the dispenses on top of a box and the second one to the side of the same box directly below the top dispenser.  I taped a piece of cardboard at the bottom end of the top dispenser to create a flap that directed the sand into the bottom dispenser.  I covered the tobacco signage for both of the dispensers with a sheet of mirror plastic.

In essence, these were ready made chutes into which the children could dump their sand and then try to figure out where it went.  They could actually fill the bottom dispenser if they poured enough sand down the chutes.

There was more to this apparatus than the dispensers.  A second, small box was taped behind the top dispenser.  I installed that box such that it hung over a second sand table.  
It was a simple addition, but it added a connection between the two sand tables, a connection that allowed the children to move the sand into the clear sand table from a height over a moveable flap. In addition, since the clear sand table was on legs, there was another level for the children to work on.  (See axiom #3 on the right-hand column of the blog.)

Not only are levels important for children to begin to understand space, but multiple levels offer multiple entry points to explore the setup. 
Multiple entry points, in turn, increase the number of children who can engage in play and exploration at any one time. 

I said that the color was a little off.  What I found is that with some simple tools in iPhoto, I could manipulate the colors to make them look almost right.  The picture on the left is the one I transferred from the scanner.  The picture on the right is the one I adjusted for exposure, contrast, saturation, temperature and tint.

It is a bit slow and involved to recover old photos, but now I have a new toy to play with and I am thrilled at the prospect of re-discovering old creations.   And it is always a plus when play and work are synonymous.


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