Monday, March 14, 2011

Pots of Gold and Lessons Learned

This is a St. Patrick’s Day project I attempted to do last year.

To make this pot of gold, you’ll need:

Paper cup,
Gold stickers,
A whole punch,
A gold pipe cleaner,
Gold materials such as ribbon, candy wrappers, Easter grass, yarn, shiny paper etc.
You could even use sparkly crayons or gold paint.

I punched a hole on each side of the cup and put the pipe cleaner through. On each side, I bent the pipe cleaner to make a little knot on the inside of the cup to make it stay in place and to hide the sharp ends.

In the pictures, you’ll see I’ve used a Styrofoam cup, but I don’t recommend it. One of the lessons I learned from trying to do this project was that the ribbon, Easter grass and gold lace don’t stick to Styrofoam. These would have come out a lot better with paper cups or bowls. The kids kept trying and trying, but the glue wouldn’t keep any of these materials on the cups. They enjoyed trying though. They also enjoyed the glitter and foam stickers. The glitter ended up everywhere, but that was the most fun part of the project for them since the rest of it wasn’t working. They ended up with sparkly cups on the inside and out. They had at least one gold star and a couple of other gold foam stickers. Since I didn’t have enough, they could each only have one letter. Usually, they picked the first letter of their name. They could also have one or two gold numbers if they wanted. The second lesson that I learned is to double the amount of materials that you’ll think you’ll need especially for projects like this. The third lesson was to try the project yourself first to see if all the materials work as planned. If I would have done this, I would’ve realized that most of the gold materials wouldn’t stick to the cup. Only a few of the children did this project because I got overwhelmed with the amount of children who wanted to try and with the materials not working as planned, I packed it up early. Maybe I should’ve left it out longer to see what the remaining children could do. In my own frustration, I thought it was a failed project, but maybe the kids could’ve turned it into something else by exploring the materials.

The previous year, I had an idea to do a two day project with pots of gold and rainbows. We had a rainbow printable and the kids could either draw or paint their rainbow. At the last minute, the head teacher made painting the only option. The kids liked painting their rainbows. The next day, the kids were supposed to cut out their rainbows and attach them to a small pot of gold. The pot of gold was a print out, but the kids were going to decorate them with gold materials or by drawing on them with sparkly crayons. Ahead of time, I gave them the smaller pot of gold template that I found and at the last minute, they decide to change the project altogether. They had cut out the rainbows for the kids and put them in their cubbies. Then they had printed out a regular larger coloring sheet with a pot of gold on it and then expected them to color in the whole thing. I was disappointed because my plans for the project were ruined. Not only was the creativity taken out of it, but so were the kids choices. They couldn’t choose how to decorate their rainbows, they no longer had a choice of how to make their pots of gold and an opportunity for them to work on a longer project that they would put together themselves was lost.

I learned some lessons from this project too. If you plan something, make all the preparations yourself unless you know that you and whoever you are working with are definitely on the same page.
I learned that too many people take the lazy way out. How do you expect the kids to learn to take initiative or to complete a task if you can’t yourself?
How do you expect attention spans to develop if you constantly change everything at the last minute to the quickest thing possible? I’m not saying that things shouldn’t be changed to meet the kids needs or if you are short on time. I’m talking about those classrooms that are so chaotic on a daily basis that the children can’t focus on anything. Also, how do you expect teachers to take time and pride in planning when you are constantly changing their plans and ideas without talking to them about it first? These are some questions and thoughts I’ve had over these past two years.
For this St. Patrick’s Day, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for me will be to watch toddlers make shamrocks. I won’t have to worry about planning or the final product. After all, my plans have been for the kids enjoyment and to allow them to express creativity.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments! I read them all and I appreciate each one. I often reply to comments so feel free to check back for a response.

Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates