I love it when technology makes it easier for us to help kids do what they really need to do to grow and develop: Play! This blog focuses on all of the fun technology based things we do in our class each day, but really, the technology makes up such a small part of our school day. What we’re really all about is play. So when we find a way that technology can enhance that play time, I get really excited. And that’s what happened today.
Early in the day we turned on some music, thinking it would provide some atmosphere. But then this happened:
And then this:
And before we knew it, our entire class had transformed into a full on concert. They turned cylinder blocks into microphones and were using rectangular blocks as guitars. They arranged the chairs to create platforms. They raided the dress up corner to find costumes. And they danced. And they sang. And it was awesome.
It was only because of our technology set up that we were able to run with this play opportunity when it was upon us. We were able to plug a phone (which thanks to Teaching Partner’s music savvy teenage son, was loaded with music,) into our speaker system and broadcast loud and clear the music that was inspiring this sort of creative play.
The children continued on this way for close to 45 minutes, growing more relaxed and confident in their play and dancing as we introduced each new song. They would have kept going were it not time for their “real” music class.
It’s rare that a a teacher is able to re-create that kind of spontaneous learning opportunity, but we decided that we would try. Besides which, the kids were begging us for another dance party. I went home and created a playlist of dance-able and pre-school appropriate music on my kindle. The kids had just as much fun dancing at our pre-planned, manufactured party as they had at our spontaneous one the day before. Teaching Partner, who is really much more musically inclined than I am, played DJ and switched back and forth between our three music devices (an iphone, an android phone and a Kindle Fire) to play the songs that our little ones found most dance-able.
Again, the children would have danced all day if we’d let them. There was energy in the room and it was contagious. My favorite moment came when a little girl ran up and exclaimed, “This is all just so amazing! I have to get a picture of it.” And she tore off to the art center, grabbed her supplies and began to draw:
That’s when I was certain that we’d just created an amazing learning environment. We used technology to amplify the play that the kids were already naturally engaged in, which then transformed into the desire to create. And isn’t that what it’s really all about? Inspiring students to create and to do great things? I think so, and I’m so happy that we were able to do that today.