Friday, May 8, 2009

Have You Ever Done The Metal Insets Blindfolded?

"Miss Dyer, may I do that work next," asked one child and then another.

I wanted to re-present metal inset work to my four and five year olds. I find myself reminding them again and again not to add rainbows and flowers to their work. I wanted to add an extension to the work so as to draw them back to the work's original purpose. I decided that adding a blindfold to the lesson would work.

One morning last week, I invited the first child that arrived to join me at a chowki, or small table. I did the work first. The child gave me an odd look when I put a metal inset and frame on my table, along with a blindfold.

"Why did you get the blindfold?" the student asked.

"I am going to use it," I answered with a smile.

I placed a tissue over the blindfold and then put it on. I slowly moved the tip of my right pointer finger (I am left handed) to the interior edge of the frame. I then placed the tip of my pencil at that place. I carefully moved my pencil around the edge of the shape. I must admit that it was a very centering experience. It reminded me of doing the bell game.

Then the child did the work. I watched her place her finger at the interior edge and trace the absent inset's shape. It was such purposeful movement.

Moments after she completed her work, I heard a child ask, "Miss Dyer, may I do that work next?"

I heard that question over and over again for the next hour and a half. I was glad to hear it.

My youngest student did the work:

And my oldest:


Leslie said...

How wonderful! What is the bell game? Have you already written about it somewhere? Thanks for sharing all of your good work!

Children's House said...

We tried the knobbed cylinders blindfolded this week....the blindfold is a great way to re-awaken interest in a material the children have "left behind" . Would love to hear from others of ways they've used the blindfold.

Susan Y. Dyer said...

The bell game is a large group activity. One child attempts to walk from their place in the circle across to another child while carrying a bell by its stem. The goal is to not have the bell ring the entire time the child is walking nor when they carefully bend over and place it in front of the child that they have chosen to deliver it to. If the bell rings they are to return to their place and start is not a punishment but rather a new opportunity to try. I amend the rules slightly for younger children. I let them have three or four rings so that they do not get discouraged. Once, years ago, it took an older student five tries to carry the bell across the circle to another student without the bell ringing. All of the other children were completely silent and when he placed the bell down and turned to return to his place in the circle, the other students spontaneously began clapping. They were so proud of him. It was a very touching moment. I keep many bells in my classroom and rotate their use in the game. It is a very calming practice.

Susan Dyer
The Moveable Alphabet

Leslie said...

Susan, thanks so much for describing the bell game. If you have time to say, how do you first introduce it? Thanks again for sharing your expertise!

Emily R-B said...

i love this idea! a wonderful variation for working with the metal insets. my kids will love this.

Deb Chitwood said...

This is a wonderful extension of metal inset work! I've enjoyed reading about your extensions and featuring your metal inset extensions and one of your blindfold photos in my DIY Geometric Shapes post at