Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Our First Project Has Emerged!

Choosing the topic has always been the most intimidating part of project work for me.  I want it to be engaging for the children as well as relevant, real and tangible.

This year we have been providing interesting things for the children to play with and observing their interests to see what would emerge.  We have been discussing the interests to see what might make the most relevant project.  Some of the questions we asked were "What directions might this go?" "What kind of experts could we talk to?" "What would our field work be like?"

This class has been interested in spiders outside as the children keep finding webs in and around the play equipment and bushes.  They have talked about the webs and the spiders they've seen.  My assistant and I discussed this but because our time with spiders outside is limited right now due to the season, we decided it might not be the best timing.

Our class is enthralled with sticks outside.  Most children have one in their hands at some point during our outside time.  So we talked about following their interest in sticks and all the possibilities that that held.

They LOVE our outdoor mud kitchen and cooking inside as well.  We put items and play-dough to make a bakery in our  dramatic play area including play-dough extruders that we thought they might use to make "frosting" and cake decorations.  Well, this reminded them of pasta and they started making bowls of pasta to serve to each other.

Both my assistant and I have made pasta at home and have different tools used to make noodles of various kinds, so we brought them in and put them out for the children to explore.  They have been fascinated and the predictions about the tools have been very interesting.

We also noticed that several children tend to eat pasta when they bring their lunches.

My assistant and I started brainstorming pasta vocabulary and expert ideas and directions this study could go.  Tonight I emailed my class parents about this topic asking them for their ideas and connections.  I also emailed a local pasta restaurant that specializes in home made pastas.

Next week we will begin with our memory drawing and then begin our wonderings with the children to see where this pasta study will take us.

Okay, I can't resist.....the "pasta"bilities are endless and delicious!

I would love to hear about how you are getting started with your first topic.  


  1. I would hate to be the child on display for not liking pasta! Young children need to feel like they belong to help build their confidence especially so early on in the school year. The study should be a question that includes many opinions and options for all children. Not just two. This is kind of harsh and little intimidating! Maybe if the out come was anonymous it might be a better study!

  2. I wanted to respond to the comment above. The graph is our morning question. We ask a different question each day.The pictures are magnets and move around as we discuss the question. The photograph was a moment in time, not a display on the wall. We then discuss our responses. No one is left out or feels intimidated, but rather their opinions are valued and expressed and explained. There is no "right" answer to "do you like pasta?" From this discussion we actually found out that these two children LOVE macaroni and cheese, but never referred to it as pasta. It led to the question of "what IS pasta?" We started our brainstorming on the topic today and children had a great deal to add. That post will be here soon. I appreciate your feedback,as this picture in this context may give that impression. But please understand that this question is not the basis for our project work.