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December 20, 2006

Creative Thinking, Simple Resources

Whoever thought a big brown box could prove so exciting for four year olds and such a valuable teaching tool? Unlike other pre-kindergarten teachers in inner city areas, I am fortunate to have plenty of funds for classroom resources allocated by the great state of New Jersey.  Yet I have also learned that even the most simple and inexpensive resources can offer learning experiences equally as, if not more, rich than commercially bought toys.

This past week we explored boxes, and the students’ creativity took off. They transformed plain cardboard from the school cafeteria, my apartment, and the apartments of several friends into everything from a house where they could live with their family and friends to an enormous hat for Cat in the Hat. Their great ideas spawned discussions about parts of the house to add, common behaviors of a famous literary characters including The Cat in the Hat and the peddler from Caps for Sale, and even what I can only define as a precursor to some intense union negotiations. When an imaginary hurricane destroyed my roof, the students’ team of engineers said they could no longer work to repair it because the time was eight o’clock.

I can’t wait to see what they do with old newspapers and bottle caps. Oh, the possibilities…

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