Monday, 26 January 2015

The Week Without Lego

Lego has become a central point of creativity and play in our classroom. My students frequently make cars, spaceships and even doll furniture. I really do love Lego, but "everything is not awesome". Although it is exciting to observe these little "makers" at work, lately the play has become stagnant.

Before Christmas vacation one of my students initiated Lego play by making superheros. (a simple construction of a 2x2 brick on top of a 2x4 brick with a 2x2 brick beneath). For weeks sharing time has involved superheroes and their vehicles.

As far as I have come with embracing the mess - I must say the Lego mess is out of control ...

So for one week I am removing the Lego from my classroom for those reasons: superheroes, messes and a wee bit of curiosity-what will they do without Lego?

- Monday, January 19 -

It did not take long for my little makers to seek out everything and anything they could build with during free exploration and play; the linking cubes and wooden blocks were front and centre (and there were of course, linking cube super heroes). One student even discovered an old box of LASY technics we had found while cleaning out the old classroom in November. I must admit, after I washed them I barely looked at them, and since I have yet to label the bin I put them in, had forgotten all about them.

- Tuesday, January 20 -

The LASY was the go-to toy again today. The students are quickly learning how to incorporate wheels and gears into their building. Our kit originally came with battery packs and lead wires.
We are missing the wires, so we went on quite the hunt today during prep. The students are very curious about the battery packs. They are VERY interested in trying them out. (So much so that I just spent an hour sourcing an Ontario supplier: Spectrum).

Aside from the LASY, there has been a lot more interest in our house centre, reading corner and big foam building blocks this week. Although I have been reading a lot online about setting up invitations for learning - I have done nothing differently this week.
All I have done is remove the Lego.

- Thursday, January 22 (oops, forgot yesterday) -

The classroom has really been transformed this week. Over the past two days the students have been very engaged in turning the house centre into a hospital. A LASY helicopter even became the primary vehicle for delivering student patients to its doors.  The waiting room has a great selection of books, the check-in clerks collect detail notes of your ailments and the doctors give prescriptions for bananas and strawberries - just make sure you have your health card!

- Friday, January 23  -

I have come to confirm what I suspected from the beginning. It is not really the Lego that was the problem. Lego is a great toy (it really is awesome). What I am learning in my infancy as an ELKP teacher is that play becomes stagnant unless something changes. Removing the Lego was the change my students needed to try something completely new.

What I am still struggling with is what to do with all of the stuff! (the age-old teacher conundrum). Although I have lots of shelving, there is no closed storage. It is not easy to hide the students' favourite toys - although I have put my mom to work sewing us some much-needed curtains.

What do you do to rotate learning materials / toys in your classroom?

(Oh, and if you have any LASY you would like to unload - we would LOVE it!)

***I am posting this Monday the 26th - and they did NOT ask for the Lego today :)

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