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Junk Modelling/workshop


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Hi and Happy New year everybody!

I teach reception and would like to set up a modelling/workshop area. I am not sure how best to go about this in terms of organisation. i want the children to be able to learn joining techniques etc and so am not sure whether to give them a specific task or whether to let them choose what they want to make and have an adult in the modelling area to support as necessary. At the moment I have a 'making' table where children have access to paper, scissors, glue / collage materials, string, masking tape, pens, crayons etc Oh and parents have sent in lots of packaging etc..

Your valuable tips and ideas would be greatly appreciated! thanks.

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I work in pre-school so our 'clientele' and our environment are different to yours, clearly! However we find that whenever we have junk modelling (and yes I have 'reclaimed' that term if you'll pardon the pun! xD ) children engage with the process of joining and building much more deeply when there is no pressure to perform a set task or build a particular 'thing'. There is an adult who can engage the child in conversation and find out what s/he is making and is on hand to extend the child's thinking so that they (the children) can identify potential problems (or even just wait until it all collapses!) and begin to develop problem solving skills by thinking about how to make it work.

 

That way Johnny can build a dolls' house and Jilly can make a racing car whereas if either were being asked to do the opposite it might be a whole lot more difficult to persuade them to join in! :(

 

We also take lots of photographs of children as they work both for their learning journeys but also (perhaps - I've just thought of it!) compiling a sort of 'how to' guidebook junk modelling techniques and methods. I have this vision of a Haynes Manual that children could consult when they need to find a solution to a problem... :o

 

Think I need to go and lie down in a dark room now...

 

Maz

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Hi,

 

I'm in Reception and have had a junk modelling area since the start of the year. It's generally free choice, though we did have a fireworks workshop for a while! To extend construction in general tomorrow I am introducing 'my construction' sheets and a worktop where they can place their constructions and drawings of them. I'm going to encourage them to look at colours and attempt to write a caption... I'm also going to suggest they can ask/get paints etc to paint their junk models. I have buttons, tubes, matchsticks etc available for them and try to change what's available. They can go and get scissors etc from the shelves and have sellotape, masking tape, pritt stick, PVA glue (not necessarily all at the same time!). Not sure this helps at all... I'll stop rambling now...

 

Nic

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Hi and Happy New year everybody!

I teach reception and would like to set up a modelling/workshop area. I am not sure how best to go about this in terms of organisation. i want the children to be able to learn joining techniques etc and so am not sure whether to give them a specific task or whether to let them choose what they want to make and have an adult in the modelling area to support as necessary. At the moment I have a 'making' table where children have access to paper, scissors, glue / collage materials, string, masking tape, pens, crayons etc Oh and parents have sent in lots of packaging etc..

Your valuable tips and ideas would be greatly appreciated! thanks.

 

 

Hi there Spotty66!

 

Like Susan, I would advocate planning for both free, exploratory opportunities and some focused practical tasks where you set a practical challenge to a small group and they set out to solve it. They certainly need time daily for open-ended exploration and experimentation with a range of materials/tools, make decisions for themselves and try out their own ideas but by raising practical problems now and again, you will be providing them with a contextual/purposeful application for these emerging skills and added breadth/depth.

 

Our focused activities are often related to books we have read - for instance Jolly Snow (Jane Hissey) lent itself well. Little Ted and his friends can't get outside to enjoy the snow so make a sledge out of a cardboard box with a string handle, which they pulled up a white sheet - and then slid down the slope! Illustrations are amazing and there was a hub-bub of purposeful discussion and activity when I produced a range of soft-toys (including Little Bear, rabbit, Big Bear and zebra) and set the challenge "Who can make a sledge for these toys?"

 

The children (group of 7) eagerly re-visited the story and began to plan, generated their own ideas for making their sledges, suggested different ways to make it possible to pull their sledges, selected tools (hole punch or poking through a pencil to make tie holes!), marked out shapes (for elaborate doors/windows on sledges), shaped their boxes, joined boxes together - and one even added a safety belt (wool) so his stuffed hedgehog didn't fall out! The best bit was when we tested them out (Are they fit for purpose?) and pushed them down our sheeted slope. I simply set the challenge - they did all the rest!

 

While the children were working, I made a series/sequence of photographs of a child at work which were later displayed in the area - with his dialogue and evaluation. I then saw the heart of thoughtful designing when he said "I wish I made a roof, coz in the snow...he might get cold" to which another answered "Well, he can wear a hat!"

 

Our workshop areas (Nursery and Reception classes) are organised with low level, easy access materials including sheet materials (paper/card of various kinds), scissors, adhesives, fabrics, textiles, re-cyclable materials, cotton reels and malleable materials as core provision and other things added to enhance the area according to interests/challenges (fasteners, hole punchers, tin foil, feathers, beads, sequins, cutters, buttons, laces, cork, string - the list is endless!). Our re-cyclable materials are sorted into storage boxes labelled, cylinders, cubes, cuboids so we can talk about the properties of the boxes (and 2D and 3D shape names) and their fitness for purpose when they are chosen. We we have also displayed (and re-visit) an inspiring poem called 'Three Cardboard Boxes' which is about the magical, imaginative things empty boxes can become with a little bit of creativity! A most important part is the 'holding bay' where creations can be placed, safely waiting to be re-visited over time.

 

We also carry out explicit teaching about safe use of tools/materials then display photos of the children, annotated with their safety messages as visual reminders.

 

Good luch with your new venture - let us know how it goes.

 

Happy new year

 

Fingertips

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For inspiration read Kate Pahl's wonderful book Transformations: Meaning-Making in the Nursery:

http://www.trentham-books.co.uk/acatalog/T..._education.html

 

and Gunther Kress's Before Writing: Rethinking the Paths to Literacy http://www.amazon.co.uk/Before-Writing-Ret...7883&sr=1-7

 

They are inspirational in terms of 'technology' (and made me see children's 'cut-outs' in a new light).

 

Both books also provide a really good background on multi-modal play (which also connects with children's drawings, emergent writing and other 'written' symbols (e.g. maths).

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