Building Leadership in ECE Through Community

Ben Zoma says: Who is wise? He who learns from every person. – Pirkei Avot 4:1

How do we build the capacity of early childhood educators to become leaders? An important goal in Jewish early childhood education is to provide a foundation for children to become caring, contributing members of society who make a positive impact on the world. Early childhood (EC) educators spend a long time focusing on teaching and supporting children to practice their social/emotional skills, such as empathy and cooperation. EC educators realize that when children cooperate, they expand their skills. If we know this to be true for children, why then, do we offer such little time for EC educators to learn together through cooperation? 

An interesting study from 2012, conducted by Scholastic and the Gates Foundation, found that teachers spend only about 3 percent of their teaching day collaborating with colleagues. Although this study was focused on K-12 educators, it unfortunately highlights the fact that most teachers plan, teach and reflect on their practice alone.  How can we expect our teachers to grow into leaders if they are isolated? The Efshar Project, formerly known the Colorado Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (COJECEI) has found success in supporting educators in growing their leadership capacity through learning cohorts.  One such model is a Community of Practice. 

A Community of Practice (CoP) is a “learning experience with a committed community of members who share a domain of interest, interact and engage in shared activities, help each other, share information, and build relationships that enable them to learn with and from each other.”  If properly facilitated, a CoP not only increases the capacity of an educator in a particular domain, it has also proven to increase the capacity and desire to become educational leaders. 

In addition to fostering the leadership capacity in educators, the ripple effect of reaching other educators is profound. Natalie Boscoe, pedagogical coach for the Efshar Project, facilitated  a two-year-long CoP focused on documentation in early childhood education. Educators from four different schools in the Denver area participated in this CoP. Over the two years, the CoP had a total of 13 group sessions as well as individual coaching time for each participant. The group sessions allowed for and encouraged collaboration, shared learning and relationship building. The individual coaching hours offered an opportunity for differentiated learning and goal setting for each participant. 

This mix of group learning with individualized coaching was critical in supporting the participants’ learning and capacity to grow their leadership abilities. All of the participants grew their understanding of documentation and the majority of participants took on leadership roles within their school after participating in the CoP. The educators not only had increased knowledge of a particular domain, but also reported that working together with other teachers increased their confidence and comfort working with their colleagues. One participant named Sheryl, said: 

Over the course of the past two years, I have been a part of this amazing Cop and learned together with wonderful teachers.  This has been a different way of learning for me—in the past I learned one-on-one…  This type of learning [within the CoP] has helped me to think differently and to become more vulnerable in my own work.  Sharing with a group of teachers can be scary; however these women are open and non-judgemental which is very humbling.

During the second year of the CoP, Sheryl took on a coaching role at her school. She was given the title Madricha, the Hebrew word for guide. She coached two classrooms per week focusing on documentation. Gaining confidence and practice through her experience as a Madricha, Sheryl is now serving as an assistant director at another school and coaching an entire staff.

Through collaboration, teachers are able to grow their own practice and skills. Another participant of the CoP, Jen Brehmer, wrote a wonderful blog post for the Early Childhood Education of Reformed Judaism’s website entitled Discovery Through Documentation: Learning from the Children’s point of View. In this post she highlighted the impact her cohort members had on her own learning: 

Through discussions and constructive critiques of my earlier documentation examples by fellow cohort members and our coach, I quickly changed my goal of documentation to making learning visible to the children, school, parents, and myself.  With this change in mind, it was like putting on a new pair of glasses when walking into my classroom.

In addition to sharing her own learning journey in this blog post, hoping to inspire others on a national level, Jen also now serves as a documentation mentor and resource to her colleagues at her school. She offers her time, expertise and what she learned during the CoP to her community. Before participating in the CoP, Jen had not taken on a leadership role in her school.  She gained confidence and the necessary skills to support others by participating in the CoP. 

Francie is another example of growing an educator’s leadership capacity by providing opportunities to collaborate with fellow teachers and a mentor/coach. She, like the other participants, didn’t necessarily have a leadership role in the school prior to participating in the CoP. Francie was so enthralled with the topic and what she was learning that she facilitated a professional development session on documentation at her school for the entire staff. She, too, offers her time and skills by serving as a resource to her colleagues at her school.  

By providing opportunities to collaborate, work within a group and have support from a coach, the participants not only grew their capacity within a particular domain, they also practiced and increased their leadership skills. Listening, empathy, curiosity, collaboration, courage, risk taking, and bravery are all necessary skills to have as a successful leader.  Each participant of the CoP was asked to enter each group session as a learner and a brave leader and as Ben Zoma said, Who is wise? He who learns from every person.

Integrating Different Academic Disciplines though Havdalah

Havdalah requires participants to use all five senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight. What better way for young children to use all five senses and learn about Havdalah than to incorporate more natural elements. Mixing elements traditionally used during the Havdalah ceremony with complementary materials will add another layer to the exploration.

Traditionally, the spice box is filled with dried spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. Try offering fresh herbs in addition to dried spices for children to explore. Offer whole and ground spices so they can compare and contrast them. I love using whole nutmeg and cinnamon sticks and comparing it to the ground spices.  Children and educators can discuss the entire process of herbs and spices: where the herbs come from, how it is grown, the process of drying and then crushing the spices.

Incorporating and discussing different spices and herbs into Havdalah offers opportunities to experience a sacred ceremony through multiple avenues. Just like we are supposed to use all 5 of our senses in the ceremony, we can use and explore different subject areas: math, science, art, social studies, technology and literacy to enhance the experience. 

Here are some ways to incorporate different academic disciplines into your classroom exploration:

Math

  • Compare and contrast dried herbs to fresh herbs
  • Categorize and sort herbs based on smells, tastes, color etc.

Science

  • Study the process of herbs and spices from growth to store
  • Explore 5 senses
  • Grow your own herbs in the class

Art

  • Draw using the herbs (nutmeg and cinnamon sticks can be used to make brown marks)
  • Create a collage using  herbs/spices
  • Draw a still life

Literacy

  • Create a poem about how the children feel during Havdalah. What is smells like, looks like etc.
  • Practice singing the prayers

Technology

  • Use a postal and mortar to crush spices
  • Use a magnifying glass to take a closer look

 

These pictures show how educators explored Havdalah spices during a professional development session. The session encouraged play and using materials in a different or unexpected way. 

 

Exploring STEM using Art

When I walk into early childhood classrooms, I often see wonderful art explorations. The teachers offer a wide variety of materials and open-ended opportunities to explore and create with the materials. When I ask about what types of STEM explorations the children experience, the responses are less enthusiastic. When I facilitate professional development sessions for KODO Kids, I ask the participants, “who has a background in STEM subjects?” and “do you feel comfortable offering STEM experiences to young children?” The responses are often “No” to both questions, with a few exceptions. The teachers report that they are more comfortable offering art, literacy and dramatic play opportunities. Those teachers are sometimes frustrated because they don’t know how to present STEM explorations in early childhood classrooms. 

 

By employing a few key strategies, such as integrating materials in a different and unexpected way, using “I wonder” statements, and  asking questions that focus on STEM ideas, STEM concepts can be seamlessly integrated into classroom explorations using art.  

 

Kodo Kids has wonderful materials to encourage STEM explorations, and I encourage educators to use the materials in all facets of the classroom. My son and I attend a toddler art class and the teacher is great at using materials in creative and open ended ways. During one class, she used the Kodo Kids arches with paint and cars. The materials were set up for the children to explore and use as they wished.

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To integrate STEM concepts and learning into this art activity, educators can facilitate learning through questions that explore physics, math, and engineering concepts. Here are just a few examples of concepts to explore in this situation:

 

  • Compare and contrast 
    • Speed of cars, which car goes faster
    • Length of tracks
    • Does the color of paint affect the speed of car
    • What, if any, variables affect car’s speed
    • Using the arches convexly and concavely  
  • Counting/measuring
    • How long it takes for the cars to cross arch
    • Length of track
    • How many cars can fit on track
    • Velocity of car

Asking questions that start with “I wonder…” will facilitate exploration of STEM concepts. In order to build an affinity to and level of comfort with STEM, adults and children need to learn how to ask questions in addition to feeling comfortable discovering the answers. It is also important to use real terminology with children. The earlier children are exposed to STEM vocabulary, the more comfortable they will be with it. A few words that are useful in the arch and car scenario:

  • Velocity
  • Speed
  • Incline
  • Hypothesis
  • Theory
  • Estimate
  • Momentum
  • Convex/Concave

I encourage educators to take on new challenges one goal at a time. For example: use one material in a different way than originally intended per week,  ask one question that integrates STEM concepts or introduce one new STEM vocabulary word per week. Practicing and integrating one goal at a time will make the goal approachable and achievable. Integrating experiences and concepts that you might not feel as comfortable with, such as STEM, with experiences you feel more comfortable with, such as art, will also make it more approachable and increase the chance of success. 

 

Capturing Children’s Thinking

Young children learn and process new concepts at an incredible pace. Just think about language acquisition. Children begin speaking, on average, around 12 months. By age two they have about 50 words and by three years old (Johns Hopkins Medicine), most can speak full sentences and express complex ideas and thoughts. Since everything is new to children, they process and interpret things differently than adults. In early childhood classrooms, it is important to capture the children’s learning and thinking.  Documenting children’s learning helps in understanding how children think, this in turn can aid in the plannin process for educators as well as  offer opportunities for reflection, both in student and educators. 

One of the best ways to capture children’s learning and their thinking process right when it happens is to carry sticky notes, or a small notepad and writing utensil with you at all times in the classroom. Whenever I am in a classroom working with children, I always have sticky notes and pencil in my pocket. If I wait to record what is happening, there is a higher chance I will forget or misremember what happend or what was said. If I need to get up to search for a recording device too much time passes, or I interrupt the moment and risk distrupting a child’s thought process and lose the sincerity of the moment.  Ideally, documenting children’s learning should not be intrusive and should not interrupt the child and their thinking and learning. The educator should be able to seamlessly document the children’s learning while still engaging with the children. Taking a picture of children  to help document their learning is only the beginning. It is important to have multiple means and use varied media, such as recording conversations, to help document learning.  

I recorded a conversation I had with a child who was between 3-4 years old.  I used short hand notes while recording the conversation and was careful and deliberate when taking notes to keep my focus on the child and not lose the connection I had with her. This takes  a lot of practice. It is important to be able to take notes that will be short and concise while still being able to decipher them at a later date. It is also important to be able to take notes while not always having to look at what you’re writing. You want to make sure the children know that they are your main focus. 

Here is my conversation with Iris (I changed her name for this post) and the accompanying pictures:

Background:

This took place at the “painting Matzah table”. Iris was painting the Matzah with a roller brush, I noticed there was paper as well. I said “I wonder if I paint the paper will there be a different pattern than when I paint the Matzah?” I used the brush with many strands to “stamp” the paper producing dot like shapes and then I said “I wonder what the pattern looks like when I do long strokes and use the brush like this” creating two different patterns on separate papers. I was just speaking out loud, not necessarily speaking directly to Iris. She was painting her matzah while watching me. This is the conversation that followed:

Iris:  pointing to the one that resembled dots) “this looks like prints” and, (pointing to the one with long strokes) “this looks like tracks”.

 

Natalie: Those area great words! I wonder what the difference between tracks and prints is? Hm….

Iris: hm… those are footprints and those are tracks (pointing to the respective papers) (she knows that they look different and she labeled them differently but she can’t explain it yet, my goal is to get her to explain her thinking and reasoning behind why she labeled them differently)

Natalie: Oh so those are FOOTprints…feet made that pattern

Iris: Yes, people made those. I make footprints in the snow when I walk

Natalie: And what made these tracks?

Iris: someone dragging something

Natalie: so there is a difference between footprints and tracks

Iris: Yes, someone walks to make these and someone drags something to make these (pointing to respective picture).

Natalie: hm, I see

Iris: yes, and someone can drag their feet to make the tracks.

Natalie: oh so a person can use their feet to make footprints and tracks?

Iris: Yes

Natalie: I wonder what else can make these tracks?

Iris: (pausing to think, continues to paint matzah, about a 20 second silence) A stick! If you drag a stick you can make this track!

Natalie: I think that would work too! I would love to test out your theories!

Iris: I have a dinosaur path (described a carpet at home with dinosaurs and walking paths and footprints)

 

We then tried the roller brush on the paper that she was using on the matzah and it made a different pattern. She said that if you drag your feet sideways it would make that track.

 

In capturing this conversation, I was able to discover a few things about this child and her thinking. I get insights into her previous experiences and knowledge of snow, dinosaurs, footprints, and tracks. I also get to know her better since she shares some facts about her home, specifically her dinosaur-path rug.  I can use this knowledge to plan curriculum for the students such as experiments with footprints and tracks, comparing different  materials to make the tracks in, snow, sand, ice, paint, grass etc., and track making materials (sticks, feet, shoes). This investigation could last weeks or months depending on the interest of the children.

  

Choosing the Right Preschool for You and Your Family

Choosing a preschool is stressful. Often this is the first time your child is in someone else’s care or away from you for an extended amount of time. Adding to that stress, in some communities the competition to send your child to the “best” preschool is fierce, motivating parents to put their child on a waitlist the moment the child is born. The decision is not just about the child it is about the parents, too. Preschool is a place for the family to build a community. Parents interact with peers, meet new friends and build a community for their whole family. Just think about how much more willing you are to take your child to an event or activity when you know your friends will be there.

As an educational consultant, I get phone calls and questions from families about where they should send their child. Families are hoping that I will share the inside scoop and give them the “real story” about each school. Sorry to tell you that this article isn’t a TMZ style gossip column about each school’s dramas or successes. Instead, I will share some simple tips to help you choose the right school for your child and family.

I tell everyone I speak with to start with a list; Write down all of the elements you want in a school. List everything. It doesn’t matter how seemingly crazy or far fetched it might be, just list it (see below for some suggestions). Once you have a list, number each element either by a number system from most important to least important, or label each element with “must have”, “nice to have”, or “not crucial”.

Once you have created and labeled the list, look at all of the must have elements and see if any of the schools you are considering would automatically be cut from your list. If, for example, a kosher school is a must have for you, then remove all non-kosher programs from your list. Take each element and work your way through your list of schools. If you really don’t have any must have parameters, then you can do the same thing with the “nice to have” list and review the schools using that list.

Once you have a list of schools you are considering, call each school and visit. Visit once without your child (so that you can have an uninterrupted experience) and visit once with your child. It is important to see how your child interacts with the staff and surroundings and vice versa. If the school will allow you, the best way to really see how a classroom and teachers operate is to spend at least 20 minutes in the classroom. If you do this, you have to follow certain protocol so you don’t disrupt the classroom. The best way to observe a classroom is to place a chair at the perimeter of the class and sit quietly and “disappear”. Do not interact with the teachers or students, unless a child approaches you. In that case don’t ignore the child, but don’t initiate the interaction. This enables the children and teachers to interact as usual and is minimally disruptive to the classroom.

Many directors won’t allow families to observe for an extended period of time because it can be disruptive to the classroom community. If this is the case, respect the director and the school’s policy and don’t demand or push your agenda.

Once you have chosen your school be happy with your decision and don’t second guess. Each child and each family is different. What works for your friends or even your first child might not work for you or your other child. Take a deep breath, relax and if it doesn’t work out, homeschooling at their grandparents’ house is always an option. Just kidding mom and dad.

Here are a few examples of items for your list:

  • Proximity to your home or work
  • Religious affiliation
    • Jewish
      • Denomination
      • Kosher
  • Classroom size (number of students per class)
  • Size of school (how many total children)
  • Student teacher ratio
  • Allergy Sensitive school
    • Nut-free school
  • Provide lunch
  • Provide snack
  • Educational philosophy of school (Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Constructivist, Emergent, Play)
  • Tuition
  • Hours of school
  • Whether they offer enrichment programming and classes such as music, yoga, art specific teachers, science, cooking etc as part of the daily schedule
  • Outdoor classrooms and outdoor space
  • Flexible schedules
  • Family engagement programming
  • Potty training
  • Staff education and professional development opportunities
  • Staff turnover rate
  • Year-round options

 

Being the Agent of Change

 

“Make G-d a verb, not a noun”

I recently attended the Third Annual Paradigm Project Conference, where about 160 people who are passionate about Jewish early childhood education (ECE) gathered for a three day conference. This is a unique conference, the only one that I am aware of that brings together people from all aspects of Jewish ECE. Everyone from Directors of schools, teachers, education specialists, university researchers and professors, to consultants and artists gather to learn together. Even more unique is that all ranges of Jewish observation are represented. Members of orthodox communities, Chabbad and yeshiva schools, JCCs and Conservative and Reform synagogues share experience and knowledge and work together to create high quality ECE practices and standards.

During the conference, there are a number of sessions to choose from. Whenever I attend any conference, the most stressful part for me is choosing between sessions. If it is a good conference, there are inevitably too many choices and I don’t want to miss out. I try to pick sessions that offer something that I don’t have a lot of expertise with. When I work with schools and educators as a consultant, I offer an experiential approach, such as play based workshops exploring materials, but I’ve rarely used cooking as a tool in teaching. I love using kitchen tools in the classroom and was interested in learning more about the actual process of cooking with children. This led me to choose my first session with Danny Corson of Culinary Kids Academy. His philosophy is to use cooking as a tool to teach “valuable lessons covering a broad array of subjects.” He integrates history, math, science, social/emotional lessons and standards; when teaching a Jewish audience, he bases his lessons around Jewish values and traditions.

One of the most apt statements Danny Corsun related during the session was “Make G-d a verb, not a noun.” I thought that this was a perfect sentiment for the conference and the mission of the Paradigm Project. Essentially this expression is encouraging one to take action and make the changes that one sees as necessary. The story of Nachshon* is often referred to when relating this idea of taking action and not sitting idly by waiting for change. When I heard Danny bring up this reference and the plea to “take action” it resonated even more for me given the setting and the company. I was surrounded by some of the most passionate, dedicated, hard-working educators and ECE activists in the US and Canada who embody this sentiment in real life.

The Paradigm Project community like to say #makeshifthappen. This puts the sometimes onerous task and responsibility directly on the individual. It is up to each person to make the shift and to take responsibility to be a leader that makes the positive and necessary changes. There is no better way to get the strength, knowledge and power to do this than learning with a community who has a shared vision of creating the best Jewish ECE centers possible. The Paradigm Project Conference offers a gathering place for the community to come together and #makeshifthappen. Each community and school represented at the conference is different. The schools and organizations represented vary in terms of their geography, finances, affiliation, educational philosophy, religious observance and so on, but they all have a shared vision of creating their best version of Jewish ECE and #makingshifthappen.

*During the story of the Exodus, Nachshon walked into the sea of Reeds before the sea had split and had faith that G-d would help. After Nachshon took action, G-d sea split the sea when Nachshon was almost fully emerged in the sea.

Newest Art Studio: The Kitchen

I love the Denver Art Museum (DAM) and on a recent visit my daughter and I were delighted to find a wonderful art room where visitors can explore different art techniques with loose parts and found materials. Regular readers will know that I am a huge proponent of using loose parts with children  (see related articles materials, Passover, story stones, loose parts, and recycled art).

It is important to offer children an opportunity to explore different materials in an open-ended setting. Allowing children to use their imaginations and creativity with materials (especially in ways other than the original intended uses) helps encourage many skills, not least of which is creative problem solving. When children are able to envision many different possibilities and outcomes they can approach and solve a problem by trying alternative strategies. One way to encourage this in young children is to offer nontraditional art tools, what I like to call BPB (Beyond Paint Brushes).

At the DAM, two of the art tables featured materials typically found in a kitchen. Salad spinners covered one table to create spin art. This is a great activity for kids, particularly young children. Spin art requires a variety of gross and motor skills and a child has to go through a certain number of steps in the correct order. The young artist has to carefully place paper inside a basket, squeeze paint onto the paper, line up the top so that it closes properly and then push down on the button to make the basket spin. Not only is the child exploring art concepts like colors, color mixing, and shapes, but also science themes like centripetal force, friction and momentum.

Spin artwork:

Another table featured a variety of BPB tools, including sponges, loofahs, toothbrushes and other metal tools typically found in a kitchen. It is important to offer materials of varying textures to children. Having varied materials can encourage exploration of cause and effect and give children an opportunity to hypothesize, and later test, what the resulting prints and art work will look like when they use the different tools.

This lovely kitchen exhibit demonstrates that giving children an opportunity to explore art using different materials can be easy and inexpensive, and for educators it shows how providing new and different materials in the classroom throughout the year keeps children engaged and excited.

Exploring Passover in the Classroom

Passover is a Jewish holiday rich in tradition and content. The unique traditions practiced and foods eaten during the holiday can offer an exciting and enriching experience within the classroom. Combining the traditional ritual objects associated with Passover with loose parts can offer an open-ended opportunity for children to explore the holiday. For more on loose parts in the classroom, see our earlier post on play and loose parts in the classroom.

Here are a few examples of hands-on exploration ideas from a professional development workshop I recently led. 

The child safe grain grinder and wheat berries above from Kodo Kids offer an opportunity to investigate the process of making Matzah from start to finish. Highlighting and showing children each stage of wheat is a great way to develop STEM skills in the classroom. The children can see and touch the different stages of wheat from green grass to dried stalk to wheat berry and then they can grind the berries to make flour.

wheat grass

 

 

Wheat grass grows incredibly fast. The picture on the left is after 7 days of growth. If you have wheat allergies in the classroom you can use another type of grass and grind a different grain to make a wheat-free matzah.

 

 

 

 

Using wheat berries in a tray or sensory table.

Using loose parts to create a visual representation of the story of Passover. Above left: Colored sand, stones, shells and plastic people to create the parting of the Red Sea. Above Right: Blue and clear glass stones, plastic frogs, fish and plants, shells and a baby in a “basket” create the scene of baby Moses in the river.

In the pictures above, wheat stalks, white glue, wheat berries, matzah, paint brushes and liquid water colors were set-up on the table. There were no instructions or directions given to the educators about how to use the products or what to create. This provocation allowed the educators to explore the materials in any way they wished. Some used the wheat stalks as brushes. Others painted directly onto the Matzah, while others glued the materials onto the paper to create a collage with texture and color. Food coloring or dyes made from vegetables can be substituted for the water colors if children want to eat the matzah after painting on it.

Please share any of your hands-on explorations of Passover as we would love to see them.

Reimagining the Materials in your Classroom

“Provide materials that leave room for the imagination and sufficient time to innovate with these materials.”

– David Elkind

The types of materials used in the classroom can have a huge impact on learning and development. The challenge is to reimagine and rethink classroom materials and how they are being used in order to explore possible new and open-ended uses. Just think of the endless opportunities to create, explore and learn using recycled materials or  “mundane”, everyday objects if only viewed from a different lens.

I recently led a workshop on exploring open-ended materials used in a play based curriculum. It was an opportunity for teachers to explore, create and use materials in a completely new and different way than their intended or original purpose.

Offering alternatives to traditional tools, like paintbrushes, can encourage exploration and creativity. In the pictures above, flowers, flower stems, pinecones, and foam shapes that were once packing material were used instead of brushes to apply homemade “puffy paint” (white glue, shaving cream and liquid water color). The teachers explored the different textures of the non traditional tools and the images created.

Play dough is another wonderful activity to have in early education classrooms. It offers open ended exploration of colors, shapes, textures and encourages development in fine and gross motor skills, as well as developing physical strength (think about all the times you have seen a child use their entire body to flatten a ball of dough). Materials with different shapes and textures such as, shells, star fish, corks, and packing cardboard are just a few examples of items that can be paired with dough. They are a great alternative to the traditional plastic play dough toys and cookie cutters.

Providing materials that encourage exploration in areas of STEM in classrooms, especially ECE classrooms, is also critical. It can be as easy as bringing in a few plastic tubes, balls and cardboard tubes cut in half. These resources can be found at resource recycling centers such as the RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) and are very inexpensive.  The materials provide an opportunity to engage in trial and error, engineering, and cooperation.

Children are incredibly creative and imaginative. It is important to provide a wide array of developmentally appropriate materials and the time and space for children to explore, create and discover using those materials.

Annual Jewish ECE Conference- Colorado

I recently had the opportunity to host a workshop at the Annual Jewish ECE Conference sponsored by Colorado Agency for Jewish Education (CAJE) and the ECE Initiative in Denver, CO. The event brings together Jewish preschools in the greater Denver, Boulder Colorado Springs area as well other cities in Colorado.  Educators attend various workshops and seminars focused around a general theme. This year the theme was “The Power of Story.” I presented a hands-on workshop, Enhancing Storytelling using Story Stones and Loose Parts, and we had an amazing group of educators who made the session a total success. For more insight on story stones, please see my related blog post.

Please enjoy some pictures below from the workshop. I would love to answer any questions you may have and hear about how you use story stones in your classroom!

Telling a Story

Creating Noah’s Ark using a combination of story stones loose parts and traditional toys:

Seminar (1 of 35)

Examples of Jewish Themed Story Stones

Seminar (29 of 35)

These stones are hand drawn illustrations using permanent art markers.

Seminar (15 of 35)

Some of the stones are decorated with clipart images that were printed from a computer and affixed with glue. Other images are hand drawn on paper and then glued onto the stones. All of the stones were covered with a water and glue mixture to seal the paper onto the stones.

Seminar (14 of 35)

These stones are either hand-drawn or they have stickers glued to the face.

Room Set- Up and Materials

 

General Themed Story Stones

 

Adding an Auditory Element to the Stories

Seminar (5 of 35)

A chime, wooden frog instrument and a rain stick

 

The Results