Today Ian and I met with our classroom again. This week we built off our work from last meeting. Last week we built forts (spaceships) inside, but this week we opted to work with the children outside.
Learning from last time where energy was high and attention spans were short, we wanted to give the children a defined goal of building a fort that everyone could fit into. We posed this goal to the children in the beginning of our time.
In order to challenge the children we brought out fabrics for them to use in their fort building. We wanted to use an element they were not quite familiar using in the outdoor setting. However, we did reintroduce the wooden building blocks, which are the same as they use inside.
So, we first began with the fabrics and chose a spot in some trees to build our fort. We posed questions such as "Where should we put our sheets? How can we keep them up? Can we drape them over some branches?" in order to prompt the children to drape the fabrics over the branches. We had to show the children how to do this and then they caught on and did it for themselves. In order to secure the sheets we introduced the tool of the clothespin to hold the fabrics together. This helped the children place the sheets since gravity wasn't working for our benefit.
Since we only had 4 sheets some children got preoccupied with putting the sheets up and then taking them down to put them in a different location. Therefore, to maintain a structure I started collecting some wooden building blocks with one student. We carried all the blocks over, but the children were hesitant to actually start building with them. It may have been due to their fascination with the new material of the sheets than the old blocks they are use to working with.
Near the end of our session block walls and barriers were made. Some children even made a secret room for the "superhero squad" within the fort. Other blocks were stacked to construct a makeshift scaffolding to clothespin the fabrics to the taller branches.
We left the fort up on the children's playground which will allow them to continue with their fort building while we are gone. We also took pictures of the forts so that in our next session we can either recreate the forts out of clay or draw them.
I included a pdf of our hard work: