Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SOLSC 2015 #24: What do you want to learn about?

Each day during March, I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC). All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, every day for thirty-one days. My slices will be primarily about teaching preschoolers. Check out the Two Writing Teachers  website for lots more reflections on teaching. Thanks especially to Stacey, Tara, Anna, Beth, Dana, and Betsy for hosting this writing challenge. 


"Quick, Ms. Ingram, quick! Over here!"
"You have to have your feet on the bench! You can't have your feet on the ground!"
"The spaceship is getting ready to take off!"
"Come on, astronauts!"
"I want to get on!"
"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off!"
"We're going to the moon!"
"We're going to Jupiter!"
"I want to go to Mars!"

We pretend that the rockets blast, there is some turbulence, we bounce into a landing, and all the children spill off the bench, running in all directions, with hands held up to their faces (pretending to have oxygen masks of astronauts). Several are in charge and at a moment's notice, we must get back onto the rocket for another space trip.

Many voices at once, many preschool bodies, squeezing onto one of our big wooden playground benches, James, Katherine, Simona, Julian, Micah, Nicky, Evan, Kaelyn, Dmitry, Avery, Naima, Luke, Jackson...how can so many children fit on one bench? I know I'm pretty much on the bottom of the heap, using my arms to embrace and hold onto a few children...they always allow me to be on the bench first, thank goodness! Others are hanging onto the back of the bench, feet wedged into the bottom part (making sure their feet are not on the ground, interfering with takeoff), still others are on the arms of the bench, entangled with one another and me. 

In recent weeks, on the playground, it's all about going to space, being on a rocket (the bench). Truly, I think everyone in our class has played this game with us at some time...children from other classes join in on it, too. We simply expand the number of rockets (lucky us, there are four strong benches on our playground).

Yesterday, at read-aloud time, I chose two books about the moon, 

The nonfiction Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness Book Moon for nonfiction and the lovely story by Floyd Cooper, Max and the Tag-Along Moon

I love reading books that parallel their interests, provoking questions, comments, thought. Once again, play helps me see what they want to learn.


  1. Oh, this reminded me of one of my first years teaching. I had first grade, and I brought a refrigerator box to school that we turned into a space ship. I put pillows and a tape recorder with headsets in there where they could sit in the dark and listen to a story about a trip to the moon I'd read and taped with some Moody Blues "spacy" background music. They loved it!
    Such fun! Any time you can get their imaginations going you create an exciting environment for learning! I'll bet your little astronauts will remember this for a long time.

  2. Sounds like such fun, and I love Max and The Tagalong Moon. When my son was in an 'open school' (years ago before everything closed up) they had an old rowboat on the playground. It was a marvelous pretend place. Love your benches as rockets!