Inquiries and reflection

This is my professional blog for my own reflections. My class blog is a space in which I blog for my families and other K classrooms. I try to make our classroom learning as transparent as possible. This blog lets me reflect and get feedback from my PLN, my critical friends online.

Today I posted a blog entry about whole class inquiry and small group inquiries. We are at the beginning stages of the inquiry and a lot of my own questions are emerging. I ask that if you haven’t already read my post please do so at

I originally planned out the shoe inquiry because I have a group of students who spend most of their open choice play time at the art center. They create and make many different things every day. I do worry that they are not experiencing the problem solving or designing that happens at block center or building areas. I have tried to find an inquiry that will engage and push this group of learners into a new direction.

I know trains are not of any interest to this group, so I introduced the provocation of Pete the Cat Loves his White Shoes  video and story. To my surprise almost all of the students jumped on board and began creating and designing shoes. I had originally thought about one group in particular while I was selecting materials for the challenge. Many students have attempted this challenge and I ran into a similar experience as when I conducted our Duct Tape Challenge last winter. Aviva @Avivaloca and I discussed the obstacle of thinking in 2D and 3D for my young learners. I was amazed to see that once students used a plan our youngest learners created a flat creation and not a 3 dimensional object.

The group that I had intended to bring forward with the shoe inquiry are designing 3D shoes that actually go on and off the dolls. Our youngest JKs are struggling with this because they are thinking in 2D. They drew shoes and then cut them out and couldn’t figure out how the shoes would fit on the dolls. While this is funny to watch and I have to say I did chuckle in the classroom, I also took it as a time to reflect. This week, I’ll make more materials available and encourage 2D designs in order for students to experience success at making a shoe design. Then I need to think of ways to help the learners think and create in 3D. This is where my challenge is and where I seek help from my PLN. What tasks do you do to help bridge this thinking? I think about playdough and how students immediately crush the playdough to the table and then use cookie cutters or their hands to flatten it. It is rare for students to create 3D objects in playdough. Hopefully we will have snow soon and we can do some 3D snow creations. We use sensory bins and students work with 3D objects and experience different textures. What more can I do to help the students move from 2D to 3D?


4 thoughts on “Inquiries and reflection

  1. Angie, I’ve been thinking about this post of yours a lot today. Your snow sculpture idea gave me an idea too: what about the possibility of cotton balls and/or styrofoam balls? Could students make 3-D works of art with these using tape or white glue to hold them together? Would this help them see how 3-D works of art vary from 2-D ones?

    I’ll keep thinking! I’m curious to hear what you try!

  2. Thanks Aviva. That’s a good idea. I’ll incorporate it into our future art lessons.
    I’ve been thinking about how some students never go to building tasks which involved more 3D building with 3d shapes. I’m wondering if students know how to take a 2 d shape and make it 3D. I’m thinking about tasks that will help some of the students see this transition.

  3. I have an idea, Angie, but I don’t know if it will work:

    You mentioned in your post that even if students are using playdough, they make it flat and cut it out with cookie cutters. What if you created a provocation where you show the steps (using playdough or plasticine) with putting 2-D shapes into 3-D figures (e.g., showing one square, then another one attached, and so on)? Even if you don’t finish it all, if you had this model in the middle of the table, would students start to think about trying it?

    If you did the same thing with cut pieces of construction paper, but this time using tape to hold them together, would students start to put these shapes together? Would they start to transfer 2-D shapes into 3-D figures? I’m not sure, but it might work.

    I also wonder about those shapes that click together (making 2-D shapes into 3-D figures). If those went in the middle of the playdough table or in front of some piece of construction paper, would students use them when experimenting with “creating” using different mediums? Again, I’m not sure, but boy am I curious …

    Thanks for getting me thinking!

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