Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Creativity Unleashed

Hello readers!
Part of my centre's philosophy relates to encouraging creativity in the children and providing a stimulating environment for them, so today I would like to share with you about a few of the great creative experiences that I have been doing with the two year olds in my classroom.

I love inspiring children to use everyday objects in interesting ways to create art. This innovative approach to using resources relates to the Tataiako competency of Wananga (Communication, Problem Solving, and Innovation).

It also links to one of the Te Whaariki learning outcomes in Communication Goal 4, which says "Children develop skill and confidence with the processes of art and craft".

The first experience we did was cotton reel painting. I selected several different shaped cotton reels that produced different patterns. As the children stamped the cotton reels onto the paper, some of them recognised the different patterns, and could also distinguish which cotton reels produced the same pattern. This kind of visual discrimination will actually help the children when they learn to recognise letters and numerals later on.

After the success of the cotton reel painting, I decided to share with the children another everyday object that we could use to make art- this time it was fly swats. For this experience, I got large pieces of paper and invited the children to do the painting in groups of three or four. This encouraged collaboration, a sense of group ownership over the experience, and spatial awareness as they worked together to cover the whole sheet of paper with fly swat patterns, without going over the top of their friends' fly swat prints too much. This links to the Te Whaariki Exploration Goal 4 learning outcome "Children develop an understanding of how two-dimensional objects can be fitted together in space".
It also relates to Te Whaariki Contribution Goal 3: "Children experience an environment where they are encouraged to learn with and alongside others".

Finally, we did "car track" painting. One of the children's current interests in our room right now is transport, so I took that as inspiration for this experience, and we dipped toy cars into paint and rolled them across the paper. Since doing the fly swat painting as a group had been such a success, I decided to do the car track painting in a group with a large piece of paper, too. My ability to consider the children's interests and create experiences based on these relates to my competence in knowing about my learners and their learning, and this relates to the Pou of Matauranga in He Pou Tataki.

Where to from here?
I believe that children are naturally creative beings, and as such it is likely that creativity will continue to be an interest for the children in my room on an ongoing basis. I am undertaking a self-review at the moment about how I can provide a better variety of resources and experiences for children to be creative with, so if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them! In the meantime, I am enjoying sharing my learning with other teachers, just like I am doing with all of you whom are reading this blog :)

Links to Practising Teacher Criteria:
Key link: #5i: actively contribute to the professional learning community.
Other links: 6, 8, 9, 12.

Melanie Raye.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

I contain multitudes.

Hello friends!

My good friend Corrigan Vaughan posted this story on twitter today:

I have got feelings about this, and I need to share them.

Here's the thing, guys. Rihanna can like Star Trek if she wants to. And even if she didn't, and just chose to make her "Sledgehammer" video tie in to Star Trek because that was her best option at the time, that still wouldn't give anyone the right to jump all over her about it like some silly people have done. Rihanna is quite capable of steering her own rudder on the ship of her life.

My two favourite podcasters, Corrigan Vaughan and Kristin Latourelle of the Electric Fancave introduced me to the saying "Women contain multitudes". And it's true. You will be hard pressed to ever find two women who are made up exactly the same way, with the same sets of hobbies and interests, the same dress sense, and the same beliefs and values. And that's a beautiful thing. It's what makes us unique. So when people start losing their lids over Rihanna being a Star Trek fan, I get a little concerned.

See, I'm a mish-mash of different, seemingly incompatible likes and dislikes myself.

I love wearing pretty dresses, BUT I am most comfortable in sweatshirts and jeans.
I love classical music, AND I love 90's boy bands.
I love romantic comedies AND action-packed spy movies.
I hate wearing make-up, BUT I am never seen without my favourite lip gloss.
I can't play video games myself (because I have zero coordination), BUT I think that "Portal" has a great storyline.

I contain multitudes. And so do you. And so does Rihanna.
So can we please, PLEASE stop chewing each other out every time someone breaks away from our preconceived narratives of how another person should act, think, or feel? Muchas gracias.

As always, I love you all. Go forth and embrace YOUR "multitudes", whatever they may be.

Melanie Raye.