In the Classroom: The Rainbows
March 15, 2016
Senses and Sensibility
We know that our children learn about the world through their senses. The Rainbow teachers were excited to study the five senses as a way to build upon what our toddlers had already discovered in their young lives. We also planned to explore literacy and numeracy through books and games while tasting, seeing, smelling, hearing and touching.
We introduced our study by reading Margaret Miller’s book My five senses and then began with taste. We set up a tasting table with a tray containing honey, sprinkles and crackers. The Rainbows made a sweet treat by dipping the crackers into the honey, then into the sprinkles. We introduced another sweet taste by peeling and trying clementines. Everything on the tray was labeled, supporting letter and word recognition.
See It! Our newest addition to the Rainbow family is our pet frog. The Rainbows spend time each day observing and caring for the frog. They mist him/her with water and watch as it stretches its legs, eats, and explores the dry and wet surfaces in the aquarium. While we watch, we point out that our frog is also experiencing his world through his senses as he gobbles up those fat, juicy, live crickets in his new home.
Also during our study of sight, we played a game called “What’s missing?” To increase mathematical reasoning, materials are laid out in a particular order and then removed or subtracted. The Rainbows enjoyed breaking the “no peeking” rule, as they guessed “what’s missing?”
Smell it! Scented oils helped us to create smelling stations where Rainbows used their noses to experience coffee grinds, oranges, pineapples and what one Rainbow described, with his eyes watering, as a “hot” smell. It was peppermint! We touched and smelled fresh rose petals and real limes. We even smelled warm corn bread that the Rainbows had baked.
Have you ever gone on a listening walk? The Rainbows made a list of possible sounds we would hear as we experienced our neighborhood through sound. Hearing the air pump at the bike store, the release of air as a bus brakes or doors close, and the huge air vents at the Penn dental school were just some of the sounds that caught our attention. And occasionally, the children heard “shhh” as we reminded them that “we’re listening.”
Touch it! While following the lead of the text from Cold, Crunchy, Colorful: Using our Senses by author Jane Brocket the adventurous Rainbows experienced touch through our feet. Leggings and socks were peeled off as the Rainbows touched water that had been frozen in a rubber glove. After removing shoes and socks, one cautious 'bow decided not to touch the ice because it would be "too cold." She watched as her friends squealed in delight repeatedly stepping on the ice. Then very slowly we saw a small toe move towards the cold mound. Shared smiles crept on all of our faces as she experimented with her level of tolerance for the cold.
Author Margaret Miller said it best: “Through our senses we enjoy our world.” The Rainbows and their teachers have been enjoying our world together through active exploration.