Creating environments for learning happens each time we walk into children's spaces. Whether we intend to or not, we set the stage for how the children feel about themselves and us when they are in our presence.
Our careful observations help us learn what children believe about themselves as learners. Their play and conversation with us helps us know how we can value their contributions to the classroom atmosphere.
Our goal is to learn to create places and events where children feel safe to show their courage. Standing up to show a dance move or read a song map are opportunities for children to expand their sense of self. By being the "orchestra" the children demonstrate their ability to cooperate and give comfort so the "composer" can do her best as she explores the song.
As some of you already know through the excited stories of your children, we are studying the J. Strauss composition, The Beautiful Blue Danube. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLoe4tXisFw
We began by wondering aloud about such a river and if it really existed and then Ileana brought us her photos of Vienna and the river came alive.
We have looked at images of Strauss and have imagined what we might see if we were floating along the river in a boat.
In this piece of music there is a set of repeated lines and the children have practiced using some arm and hand gestures to express the sounds they hear.
This led to the study of the song map for Row, Row, Row, Your Boat.
Can you read the map in the photo above?
Because the children were so charmed by the map and had a strong sense of the song’s structure I was able to help them learn about being composers. In this case the children take their own initiate to repeat lines or chunks of the song that they want the rest of the group to sing. Each child brings his or her unique approach and interest to the project.
What might you do if you were the composer?