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GETTING STARTED. PHASE I. LAUNCHING THE PROJECT. Topic of the investigation is selected Feasibility: Local resources & opportunities for first-hand experiences Children’s experiences & understandings Questions investigation will answer Preparing the Classroom for an Investigation.

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Launching the project

Topic of the investigation is selected

Feasibility: Local resources & opportunities for first-hand experiences

Children’s experiences & understandings

Questions investigation will answer

Preparing the Classroom for an Investigation

Issues in selecting topics for projects
Issues in Selecting Topics for Projects

Common Experiences

Limited experiences

Provide common experiences

Children need to take the major responsibility

Determining Children’s Interest

Identify current and emerging interests

Look for expressions of interest: play, nonverbal

Child-Initiated Topics

Catalytic Event: causes a project process to begin

Moves to investigation phase quickly

Teacher-Initiated Topics

Broad to allow for a range of possible interests among all children in the class

Children must be interested to follow your idea

Practical considerations in topic selection
Practical Considerations in Topic Selection

  • Should be more concrete than abstract – involve an abundance of hands-first experiences – real objects that young investigators can interact with directly

  • Related to young investigators own prior knowledge

  • Nearby field sites that can be visited and revisited

  • Investigated with minimal assistance from adults

  • Opportunities to represent what they know and learn by using skills and techniques appropriate for their age

  • Relate to curriculum goals (ECE standards)

  • Culturally relevant to the children and their families to encourage active engagement and in-depth learning

Successful projects
Successful Projects

Avoid topic of interest to only one of two children

Avoid being drawn into multiple topics simultaneously

Real world investigations
Real World Investigations





Anticipatory teacher planning
Anticipatory Teacher Planning


Project potential
Project Potential?

  • Anticipatory Teacher Planning Web: helps you think about how a project might develop

    • Review Content or Curriculum Objectives: how does this topic support growth

    • Concepts within the topic

    • Anticipate questions children may ask

    • Reflect on the potential of the topic

  • Worthiness of the topic?

  • Direction it may go?

  • Are their experts available? Relevant sites to visit?

  • How might parents respond or participate?

  • How will young investigators represent their findings?

Building common experiences
Building Common Experiences

  • Teacher initiated topic – Strategies to Build Common Background of Experiences – Shared perspective

    • To enrich discussions and interactions before project begins – evoke curiosity

    • Your own experience – solicit similar stories

    • An artifact shown at group meeting time

    • A picture book can be read and discussed

    • Introduce props and costumes in play for role-play

    • Draw, paint, construct

What do they know
What do they know?

  • Discussions before webbing

  • Graphic representation of children’s beginning knowledge

  • Revisit throughout project – Add children’s new knowledge --

  • KEY E K: spend time in advance accessing prior knowledge & helping children build a common vocabulary for thinking about and interaction about the topic

  • Keeping a history of the projects

Growing a common e xperience focusing ideas
Growing a commonExperience: Focusing ideas

  • Dramatic Play

    • Provide props that relate to the topic

    • Shows depth of knowledge and adult roles

  • Drawings Memories

    • Insight into concepts – misconceptions - directions

  • Construction

    • Spontaneous – add props & images to extend

  • Preserving First Representations – VERY important

    • Initial documentation of their knowledge, skills, dispositions,

    • Carefully preserved – dated - labeled

Developing w onderings q uestions for investigation
DevelopingWonderings & Questions for Investigation

The Road Map….



    • What don’t they know?

    • What would they like to know?

    • What theories do you hear?

  • Framing questions…wondering…convert to questions

    • Is that something you would like to know?

    • I am wondering about…what do you think?

  • A Question Table: Predictions

  • First List…date – Next List…

An invitation to learning
An Invitation to Learning

  • Physical Areas

    • Block area

    • Art area

    • Dramatic play

    • Sensory or Science explorations: Sand, water, nature, light table

    • Manipulatives & Math

    • Group meeting area

    • Library

  • Considerations

    • Organization

    • Accessibility

    • Aesthetic

  • Equipment and Supplies

    • Construction materials, Art materials, literacy materials

    • Realistic picture books

    • Recording materials: clipboards, cameras, journals

A day in the life of a project
A day in the life of a Project

  • Daily Schedule

    • Learning Block for Project Work

    • 45-60 minutes

    • Choice time for investigation and discovery

  • A Life of Its Own!!

    • Listen

    • Observe

Your role

  • Designer

    • Classroom

    • Schedule

  • Researcher

    • Listen – Observe

    • Document

  • Co-Constructor

    • Build Common Knowledge

    • Protagonist - Curious

    • Recorder

Phase 1
Phase 1

Begin this processes now

You are on your way…..