Monday, December 3, 2012

Choice Time

A few times a week, at the end of the day, we have "choice time".  During this time children are allowed to pick from various activities in the room.  There are many reasons for having "choice time".  Here are a few of the reasons I find this time a crucial part of the children's school experience:
-the children learn to make decisions about how to spend their time and with who  
-children need a balance of direct instruction, teacher driven projects, and self-selected activities.  
-"choice time" provides children the time and freedom to can expand and extend their ideas
-it gives children time to process and play with information they are learning
-it is a time for personal expression

Here are some examples of things the children have been doing recently.

There is now paint at the easel.  Children sit and mix colors and create beautiful works of art.  Most paintings take about 15 minutes so only one or two children get a turn during a choice time.  A growing gallery of paintings are on display outside the classroom.

Several weeks after finishing the novel Fortune's Magic Farm, Lilith and Maia made the farm with blocks and used the  wooden figures to represent the characters in the story.

On Thursday many of the children were using the dress up clothes.  As they took on characters they decided they should make a play.  They discussed ideas and worked on a plot.  
One child was designated as scribe and wrote down the characters and a script. The hallway outside the classroom became back stage.  
After the first performance they realized not all the characters were included in the play. Unfortunately, it was time to go home.  But the idea didn't die; Monday the play was worked on some more and continues to develop.

I take a back seat during this time of day.  I support the children by providing materials, making occasional suggestions, and playing the role of mediator when necessary.  Mostly I just sit back and observe the amazing skills the children are developing: organizing, negotiating, planning, cooperating, creativity, reading, writing,...the list goes on and on.

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