Thursday, August 4, 2016

Block Centers and a Freebie!

Hey there!  I've been invited to participate in Pre-K Partner's Learning Centers Blog Hop Series! The series will run through November and will highlight unique learning center ideas...the first topic we will talk about is the blocks center!
It's funny how with each group of students the block center varies in popularity during free choice time.  I've had students who go absolutely crazy over, can't get enough of building with blocks to students who have zero interest and never choose the block center on their own.  These are the students who need extra prodding.  This is where the teacher plays an important role.
For the reluctant student, I feel it is important for an adult {teacher or para} to just be present at the block center during free play time.  Most pre-k students like to be anywhere the teacher is in the room.  There is a higher likelihood your students will want to visit the block center if you are there.  I  start simple, like showing students how to build ramps and then use toy cars to roll down the ramp.  You can expand that to have students experiment with building different types of ramps, coming up with their own designs, and then conduct races to see whose ramp design made the car go the fastest. {Bonus:  It throws in an introduction to early STEM exposure}.  Other things I have done if I cannot be in the block center is to pair a very enthusiastic block builder with a reluctant student and also to take advantage of using older students in the school to come play with us during center time.  We have pre-k through 5th grade in the building.  The older students love the pre-k students and often request to come to my room after they have earned a reward from their teacher.  Just a thought of mine....I feel it is my role to especially get girls interested in blocks.  It's not always this way, but typically boys are drawn to the block center.  Books are another great way to motivate and engage little ones with block play.
This is a fantastic book to do just that!
Along with these to display or have available in a basket in your block center is a great way incorporate literature into play.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to set up my classroom yet so I do not have any photos to share at this time.  I plan to share later.  This is what my wood block set looks like.
I also have a vast array of other types of building materials.
 Magna Tiles are a HUGE hit in my classroom!
 I will cut the examples from the boxes and slip them into the tubs to give some examples and ideas to my little learners.
I also try to incorporate block play into my themes.  Here these sweet boys are making a leprechaun trap on St. Patrick's Day!  :)

Before I unleash my students into my block center {or any center, for that matter} we go over rules, expectations and role play some scenarios.   I have a freebie for you.  Click on the picture to download!
It is a question and answer social story on the right and wrong ways to play with blocks.  I hope you can use it in your class! 
Now, hop on over to Teaching With Preschoolers to find out about her block centers!

No comments:

Post a Comment