First Days!–Part 4: Choice Time!

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the first three parts of this story here, here and here. 🙂

For those of you who have been on this first grade journey with us, I thank you for hanging on and coming back to read all the bits and pieces I’m sharing!  For those of you who are new, welcome!

Let me start this one with a picture I found (and then shared!) from Edutopia last week:

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Here’s another one–from Mr. Rogers:

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As I said when I shared this photo, I TRULY believe this to be true.  And honestly, I’m not sure that it’s just for kids.  Adults need to remember to take time out to play, too, but that’s a conversation for another time and place.  The point here is that I find play, free-time, independent discovery and curiosity to be crucial to the development and learning of kiddos.  And so because of that, we have choice time in our first grade classroom.  To some of you that’s a surprise, and believe me, it was to some of my kiddos, too!  I guess they were expecting first grade to be a vast departure from the “fun” they had in kindergarten, but in my mind we’re going to be doing some of the very same things, just at a different level.  And play is definitely one of the most important ways we will learn this year. 🙂

Our first few tries at choice time were very structured and we signed up for where we would spend our time.  As we’ve learned how to do it, and have become more familiar with the choices, they’ve gotten more freedom with deciding on their own where to play.  For now they’re only allowed to make one choice per day, though, and so they have to be really thoughtful about what that choice will be.

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See the sign-up sheet? Most of the time our groups end up being 3-4 kiddos each. One choice that is full everyday is LEGOS! I am so thankful to the families that donated these to us–we’ve used them for our learning everyday of first grade so far, and I see them being a VERY important tool for us all year!

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From the first minute that some kiddos stepped foot in our room (on Open House night!), these big blocks have been a hit. This is another learning tool that I couldn’t imagine being without. It’s also another one that some of my friends were surprised to see.

Not only the boys like big blocks, though!  Kylie and Makayla were two of the first to sign up.  Notice that they did choose to play separately, though. :)

Not only the boys like big blocks, though! Kylie and Makayla were two of the first to sign up. Notice that they did choose to play separately, though. 🙂

One of my favorite things is to see how kiddos' brains work while they are building.  For some reason when I look at blocks (including Legos), I see "square" things like houses, cars and buildings.  I love how others see more organic things in those blocks.  Kylie made a flower here. :)

One of my favorite things is to see how kiddos’ brains work while they are building. For some reason when I look at blocks (including Legos), I see “square” things like houses, cars and buildings. I love how others see more organic things in those blocks. Kylie made a flower here. 🙂

 

Lincoln Logs have been a popular choice (gotta love garage sales!) for everyone in our class!  Choice time is also snack time in Rm. 202.

Lincoln Logs have been a popular choice (gotta love garage sales!) for everyone in our class! Choice time is also snack time in Rm. 202.

Big books are always fun!  At quiet time AND at choice time!

Big books are always fun! At quiet time AND at choice time!

Do you have any stories about using choice time and/or play in your first grade classroom?  If you’re a parent, what are your kiddos saying about this time of our day?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!! 🙂

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