In Search of Loose Parts

 If you are like me, you spend most of the summer planning for the next school year, specifically gathering materials. When I was in the classroom, one type of material that I was always on the lookout for was loose parts. Loose parts are open-ended materials that, as their name implies, can often be parts of other everyday items, such as empty spools. The beauty of loose parts is that you can get them for very low prices, sometimes even free, yet their classroom potential is limitless. Because loose parts are used as open-ended materials, materials without a set purpose, students can use problem-solving and creativity skills to figure out what to do with them. Teachers can also be creative in how to intentially use them in teaching specific content.

 

Teachers that have been including loose parts in their classrooms for multiple years tend to have many different interesting items throughout their rooms. This abundance of resourcefulness can be overwhelming for a teacher just starting to incorporate the idea of loose parts. Luckily, there are resources to help.

 

Reusable Resource Centers are excellent places to gather loose parts. By simply doing a google search for reusable resource centers I came across the Reusable Resources Association which lists these resource centers by city and state. Unfortunately, there is not a center listed in San Antonio, but a quick drive to Austin, and I can shop at a non-profit called Austin Creative Reuse. This listing of resource centers could be quite helpful if you’re planning to travel for the summer. You’ll never know how materials might change as the way of life and industry changes from place to place. Happy gathering!

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Training Spotlight

1st-3rd grade educators worked together to learn engaging ways to develop number sense. Students will develop fact fluency while playing games that use their number sense strategies. By learning their facts in this way, students are not merely memorizing, but rather learning to work with numbers flexibly.  “Low achievers are often low achievers not because they know less but because they don’t use numbers flexibly – they have been set on the wrong path, often from an early age, of trying to memorize methods instead of interacting with numbers flexibly.” Jo Boaler,  Stanford University, 2009

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April 8, 2019

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