Tuesday, November 29, 2011

an ode to blocks (from me and the new york times)

Blocks are my favorite. It is my favorite center. I love how children feel so proud and satisfied when they stand back and look at a structure they built. I even love the loud crash of blocks when they topple to the floor. This love for blocks is evidenced by the catalog of 1000's of block building photos on my computer. I don't really have memories of building with blocks as a child...but I blame this on my poor memory and believe I must have to love them so much now.

Thanks to blocks - friendships are made, stories are told, cities are built, and blue felt can become the sea. Here's one of our recent stories - told through images.

Here is a New York Times article for all block lovers.

And this quote from the article had me thinking immediately,
At the Packer Collegiate Institute, the Brooklyn Heights private school where educators have recently recommitted themselves to blocks by hosting workshops for teachers and moving block corners to more centralized locations, students often use classroom computers to search for images or watch videos that help them visualize something to build.
we have a new Smartboard in the classroom and this 'super computer' may be a wonderful tool for builders in block center. I can see the grand scale of the Smartboard being an inspiring way to view images. Living in New York City, our children are often building self-described "cities" and the Web has a wealth of breathtaking city-scapes. More to come on this soon, until then...

Do you use technology with children as they build? How?


  1. Merril! Yay for the new SMARTboard in your classroom! I wish I was there to see it! I'm amazed at how much the kids love to knock down tall buildings in block center! I do remember using the SMARTboard to show videos of buildings being built for the afterschool program. There was something on the History channel website (the vocabulary isn't grade approrpriate) but it showed images of construction workers and architects building skyscrapers---http://www.history.com/topics/skyscrapers

    There might be some interesting stuff here as well: http://videos.doityourself.com/

    OOoo---I think you may be able to schedule a trip to the Home Depot in Flushing--they used to throw special birthday parties for kids where they build (not sure on the specifics) though

    Side note---I miss you! :)

  2. Esther, Thank you for all of that wonderful information! I will check out both websites right now. I would never have though to check the History channel :) And...my kids would go crazy for a trip to Home Depot - so I will have to make a call tomorrow. I have been silently reading your blog - you are doing amazing things as usual. I think pre-k is your niche, what do you think? We all miss you here in Flushing!!!

  3. One of my kid-inspired curriculum units last year for my 4 1/2 yo Snapdragon class:

    "Snapdragon Construction Company: Ramps & Bridges Our Speciality"

  4. I'm a big believer in block play! Love this, thanks.

  5. What a great blog post on block play. The photos and your commentary give a great sense of the importance of block play. It is heartening to see such work being done in the NYC public schools. I used to teach in a Pre-K program at PS11 in Manhattan. Your classroom looks inspiring. I'd love to visit.

    Karen Hewitt, Learning Materials workshop

  6. Thanks for all of the block play love! It's heartening to know that so many of us believe so strongly in the importance of blocks. And Karen, I will stop by your blog now to invite you into our classroom anytime.



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