At the LAB school, they teach and introduce work by telling social stories. For our truck homes, we developed a short little story asking questions about homes, and what kind of home would be good for which kind of truck.
Thursday April 15, we visited Ayuko's class.
We get to class and set up our truck house stories.
The other teachers get the rest of the classroom ready. Natalie is setting up a breadstick making station.
Kids start coming in - the sand table and worms are the biggest hit.
Madeline is playing at the table and tells the others (and Beth) "spiders don't scare me. Some are poisonous though".
I show Elliot the truck social story. He is interested for a bit. The story has a firetruck on it, and when Ebisaa sees the truck he tells me he is going to be a fireman when he grows up.
Playing at the sand table, I tell Madeline she does a good job of filling up the ice cube trays (using a little measuring spoon). She says "yep, I do. Just two scoops fills it up!"
Cormack is playing with the worms and shows me the caterpillars. He tells me "these are caterpillars, they'll turn into butterflies."
When the teachers open up the accordion doors, the kids run to the back and instantly pick up trucks and blocks. We show them the social story they heard a bit earlier. We ask them if they want to make a house for their trucks. They yell yes! We show them the paper boxes we bought and ask if they think the truck will fit. They try it out, and tell us yes. Then we get blocks down and they start creating little garages. Using the boxes as roofs too. We have to get them to work to share trucks and blocks. A few start taking blocks or boxes from other's truck homes. We encourage them to share, and work together, some are very receptive to this, others don't like it. By the end of it, three boys worked together to build a big tunnel/truck home.
Elliot was adding blue blocks to the roof of the boys' long tunnel. Beth asked what it was, and he said "A flue to let the smoke out". We were both dumbfounded by his vocabulary and asked him again... Same answer. Future chimney sweep, perhaps?
When the boys continued on to another fort/house for their truck, this one was big enough for them and their trucks to pass through. At one point there were 4 trucks and half a 3 year-old trying to get through, Sam calls out, "too much traffic!"
Sam was driving a garbage truck, and was very vocal about him picking up garbage. "It's garbage day!!! Pick up the garbage! (over and over) At one point we decide that a garbage dump would be best, because his garbage truck is filling up! We build a ramp to back the truck up on to, and then have a box below to catch all the "garbage" (little trinkets from the classroom).
I notice Eleanor sitting quietly on the phone by herself, she talks very animatedly to whoever is on the other end. "Who's there?! Hellllooo? I''ll be right there" Once she notices me watching her from across the room, she gets a self-conscious smile on her face and talks more quietly and turns away.
At the start of free play, one of the teachers lets Madeline do some typing. She is all business. Later on Katie and Ebisaa begin. Ebisaa knows what letter his name starts with, and shows me. Katie begs for a chance to show me she can spell her own name, and her brothers. Ebisaa soon gets tired of typing, and lets Katie show me her name. She does a great job. Both kids had a hard time telling the difference between the L and the I. (On a mac they are a little tough to tell apart) Ebisaa comes back and helps me spell my name. I tell him the letters and he finds it. Again, L and I are tough for him. I tell him the L has a little tail on the end and the I is just a straight line, this helps him find the right letter.
As we were leaving, all the kids get into a circle for large group (a teacher teaches a small lesson). Cormack is playing peek-a-boo with Beth and me, instead of listening to the story. I think we were a bit of a distraction for him.