There are many ways to combine hands on, playful learning with whole group, lesson-based learning. In fact for most preschools, curriculum structure is a constant work in progress! We decided to research some of the different ways teachers organise learning:
1. ACTIVITY ROTATIONS
- A Maths Mini-Lesson: Whole group math lesson including maths reading-aloud and a lesson from the maths curriculum.
- Independent Practice: Students go to their table groups and explore maths concepts with manipulatives/hands on activities.
- Maths Share: Students gather in large group to discuss what they learned about the maths concept that they practiced at their tables.
Each table has one assigned mathematics activity that they must complete that day. When students complete their assigned activity they are free to choose any of the materials available in the maths centre (see picture of her maths centre above) and explore freely. There are 4 assigned activities per week, one per table. Students rotate to a different table each day to complete a total of 4 assigned activities per week and Friday is catch-up day or free choice.
2. LEARNING STATION FREE PLAY
For very young children, it is helpful to set up learning stations that can be approached by students in their own time, and which can be engaged with independently or with a teacher's support. Besides regular activities, such as puzzle or drawing tables, you might like these unique ideas:
i.) Use safe, real life resources to stimulate dramatic play and practise ideas. Like this cooking station from mamapapabubba, which uses dried pasta, dried beans and cooking props. This would engage children with measurement, fine motor development, step by step procedure concepts, and dramatic, social play.
ii.) Combine unlikely resources together for awesome creativity.
3. INDEPENDENT ACTIVITIES DESIGNED FOR PAIRS
Marsha has fantastic ideas for organising a time each day for children to complete worksheets and practise concept games in pairs. She uses a drawer set to store different sheets/games/activities. NEXT to the drawers of activities, she has a name chart... The number next to the student names is the number of the drawer the students pick an activity sheet from. She pairs together students that work well together or who are in similar 'levels' (Marsha also uses a colour system to remind her of the maths level/reading level of that student).
At the end of the day, all the numbers in the chart are moved down so that each student can work on a different drawer the next day. That's more than 2 weeks of activities in 12 drawers! Read more about her fantastic ideas for activities and games here:
We hope you've enjoyed these inspirations from different classrooms... it's always worthwhile trying something new!