Saturday, August 9, 2008

beginning my adventures in house keeping

i've decided that this year i'm going to do a mini-teacher research project on using the house keeping center in kindergarten as a teaching tool. one of our headstart teachers has the most incredible house keeping center i've ever seen, with literacy opportunities hidden inside their play area. i'm obsessed and excited to try it on my own.

the last few days i have just sat beside the house keeping center, accepting the meals cooked for me by the students (yum, yum, yum, a sandwich made of plastic pizza, hamburger bun, and banana) and chatted with them on the play phones. i've brought in take-out menus they give me that i can select my meals from, and a pad of paper they scribble on to take my order. i've also brought in a phone book but this doesn't seem to be catching their interest at all, so it may soon go to give more valuable space elsewhere.

even though these 20 minutes of house keeping have been uneventful i've been excited about the possibilities that are presenting themselves. my kiddos who tend not to talk much in the classroom, and who have signifigant speech impediments talk wildly on the "phone" to me. when i ask them to clarify something or use their words they don't put their head down and mumble as they may on the carpet. into the phone they repeat themselves with more clarity, making themselves heard so that i know that they want me to cook them a fake pizza.

a few of them love to set up a restaurant and one boy continues to "leave to go to cooking school". next time i want to have paper and markers near by so we can make signs for cooking school and make a sign for the name of the restaurant. we'll see if he lets me interrupt the play for a writing activity...

it has also given me the opportunity to bond with a few children i feel i have done nothing but re-direct since they entered our classroom. sitting on the carpet at story time the little ones impulses do nothing but distract others, but during house keeping they play nicely, sharing and chatting, giving me the opportunity to interact with them without constantly reminding them how we act in kindergarten.

i'm not sure this project will take off, or if it will prove to be much more than 20 minutes of me "eating" fake food 3 times a week, but so far i'm hoping it will give me the opportunity to:

1. create meaningful literacy activities in play
2. coach my children with special needs on their social skills in a meaningful, natural way
3. create play opportunities we can later take back and write about during writing workshop.

we'll see how it goes!


diane said...

I worked for a few years in a classroom for multiply-handicapped children. Most of our learning was center based.

You can do almost any kind of activity imaginable up in a kitchen center: sorting by color, counting, stacking, organizing, following multi-step directions, creating stories, having conversation, learning sign language, etc.

It will be fun to see how you develop this!

Snippety Gibbet said...

My most favorite memories of my Aunt Helen who passed last Christmas, was from when I was four. Aunt Helen would patiently play "drive-in" with me. Multiple times. I'm sure that was the most individual attention I got from an adult at that age. And that undivided attention from a grown up left a deep impression on me.