I'm using the "Project Planning Journal" from the Young Investigators book as a tool for our animal adaptation project. We are in Phase I of the project, which is a time to "establish a common ground among the children by pooling the information, ideas, and experiences they already have on a topic. Build a shared perspective. During the preliminary discussions, the teacher encourages talking about a topic, playing, and depicting current understanding in many ways (Katz & Chard, 1989, p.82)."
With this in mind I am adding provocations to the learning centers in the classroom to encourage play to build on our understanding of animals.
C and A worked together at the water table melting and chipping apart a block of ice with animals frozen inside.
C: "Let's work on this one. We are chipping it."
A: Look, I got three bears now."
Me: "What is ice?"
A: "Ice is cold."
C: "Ice is water, ice is made of water."
A and K added animals, lincoln logs, and "snow" cotton balls to the sand table. They buried the animals in houses to protect them.
At one point they told me they needed something like a roof to keep the animals safe from rain and snow. I gave them two long pieces of cardboard and they fashioned a roof for themselves.
P and others add animals, cotton ball "snow" and signs to their zoo.
As we continue to work on establishing a common ground the next steps will be to extend their interest and build a common vocabulary.
I will be observing at a Reggio inspired public school tomorrow, P.S. 69 in the Bronx so I'll give the next update on Thursday.