Step into la clase azul at Mi Casita, and you will be transported to a world of wild animals and picturesque landscapes. Our walls are decorated with the deep greens of the jungle (la selva), vivid blues of the sea (el mar), and snowy whites of the North Pole (el polar norte). Our class has spent the entire month working on solutions to the project question: “How can we create an indoor/ outdoor habitat at Mi Casita?”
We began our project by investigating the differences between living and nonliving things (vive o no vive). The students quickly learned how to classify various objects throughout the school. The enthusiasm in our classroom could be heard down the halls in the form of lion growls and polar bear roars. In addition to researching animals, caring for living creatures has become a significant part of our daily routine. Whether it be feeding the fish or watering the flowers in the garden, the students are ecstatic to have this responsibility.
Project Based Learning incorporates profound research, where the students investigate a topic using books, songs, magazines, photos, and real life examples. In comparison to traditional methods of teaching, during project time students are encouraged to search for the answers and come up with ideas for a final project. For this month’s theme the students decided to create habitats inside small boxes. We gave the children freedom to experiment with and select from assorted supplies.
When students utilize materials in unique ways, not only to does it enhance their problem-solving skills, but it also improves their ability to communicate as they explain the rationale behind their decisions. For example, one girl decided to decorate the North Pole box with white pipe cleaners. When we asked her what she was making she told us they were icicles (carámbanos) that hang down. She was able think for herself and come up with her own creative idea.
Children are more excited about the end result of a project when they played a profound role in the creation process. For example, one boy was showing his mom his project when I overheard him say, “I actually did this all by myself.” His mother explained to me that in his prior preschool, he would come home and say his teacher did his art. We encourage the children to do their own work and use their imagination, even if the end result is not what we had in mind.
Los estudiantes de la clase azul have been practicing their presentations and are beyond excited to welcome their families to come see the habitat boxes. We are very proud and cannot wait to celebrate the culmination of their profound research and endless creativity.