I have a fabulous group of first graders who are eager and excited to learn every day. Our school is a Title I school, with 75% of our students receiving free/reduced price lunch. We are surrounded by a vibrant neighborhood community that is very supportive of our educational efforts and helps our students in many ways.
Creative play and exploration is essential in young minds for the growth and development of critical thinking.
My students are naturally inquisitive and have such creative minds. They enjoy tasks and challenges that allow them to build and create and work together as a team. They inspire me every day as they dream big, interact without social barriers, and always see limitless possibilities in challenges.
Creative play and building with a variety of materials is something that has been lacking in first grade classrooms. However, it is essential for developing critical thinking, hand-eye coordination, problem solving and working interactively. Many of my students do not have the resources at home to develop these skills and I would like to provide them with the opportunity to experience them at school.
Building and creative play is where the hard work and learning takes place in young minds.
This develops the background knowledge for how things work. Allowing young learners to to freely play and build creatively with these magnetic shapes, log sets, or blocks gives them a concrete understanding of construction. Students will be also be given specific challenges to complete, like building a house for a stuffed animal or designing and building a bridge that will span across desks. Students can learn how to plan, design, build, and make improvements with the marble run set. Providing unique opportunities for my students to explore, design, play, and build will not only spark their creative learning, but also start their day off with excitement and an anticipation for learning.
I would like to offer a variety of materials for my students to choose from when they first enter my classroom each morning. I feel it would be a huge benefit for them as they transition from home to school each day to have some free play, or design tasks to jump into, while being able to socialize and work together with others. I would also like to use these same materials to complete STEM design challenges on Fridays each week. These fun, hands-on materials can help engage and motivate my students to be problem solvers and critical thinkers, and to be fearless in approaching new challenges.
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