Sunday, 11 December 2011

Paper Chains. Connecting Kids.

I am a kinder teacher that thinks glitter is evil.  In a playful, not for me kinda way.  I am also a kindergarten teacher who thinks the same of Paper Chains.  You know them. Strips of paper mucked together with too much or too little tape, staples, or the dreaded glue sticks that are dollar store designed to come unstuck after a time lapse of anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days.  
I am thrilled this year to have two amazing K teachers to share my school with. One of whom managed to have her kinders build gorgeous, stayed stuck, patterned paper chains to celebrate 24 days till Christmas.  Hmmm.  Maybe we could muster 10?  
Then a couple of my  weeds attach theirs together. And of course, more join in.  “AHHHHH It is SOOOOO big.  It it TOOOOOO heavy!!” as they drag it around the room.  
“I wonder,” says I.  “Could it reach . . .  the office?”  And we smile.  
Over two days, teams build. Individuals set up work crews. Fine motor fingers pinch and glue. Bossy, Bold and ToldYouSo figure it out. Songs of triumph and pride are sung. Dances are danced around the growing pile. 
We hang the first chain in the Primary hallway. Hmmm - only half way there. . .
Some bigkids are looking.  
“How many?”  a grade 3er asks.   
“Well.  If this is ten, how many do you think?”  
I leave some stickies on the hall wall for guesses.  
Meanwhile, a kinder wonders, “It is  A LOT of chains.  Like maybe ahunfrendthree a thousand?” So we build and count  and make 10s and build 100.  And hang it and OHHHHHH look,  we make it!
And we smile. 
Bigkids are MORE curious.  So we make signs.  We set up a guess board. We make cookies for the kid that guesses the closest.  We say, “If this is 100, how many do you think?”  

And they do. Think. Estimate. Plan. Argue. Prove. Rethink. Record.

And the kinders look at the bigkids, who are looking at them. "Cool chain," says a bigkid. "You guys rock."  And we smile. 
I guess now I like paper chains.  But never glitter : )