Video segment about me, by the school district

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Using DUPLOs

For the last 20 years, I have used DUPLOs in my classroom and in my home when young nieces and nephews come over to play.  I used to buy my DUPLOs at full price, but now I look for special sales at Lego stores and try to pick up different sets at thrift stores and yard sales.  Let me tell you, you can find really good deals at yard sales.

Cover of the book "LEGO City Heroes!"

I received the book LEGO City Heroes! by Scholastic for Christmas last year, from a dear friend who knows that I would rather have teaching supplies than things for me.  This is a lift-the-flap board book that can be used as a read-aloud or placed in a center for pre-k or kindergarten children to have wonderful building adventures.  It also teaches social studies concepts such as community helpers, the tools/vehicles they use, and where they work.

Sometimes I feel like there is so much paper work for our kids today.  I really like to give my students opportunities to develop their fine motor skills in a way that's creative and totally fun for them.

Students building with DUPLOs in  a water table

There are so many fabulous sets that you can find or purchase; your children will never be bored!  I have found sets for the farm, zoo, community helpers, dinosaurs, and many more.  Since my children came in this year speaking very little English, the DUPLOs helped to put them at ease because they recognized different animals.  That's how they started role-playing together, pretending that they were the various animals.  Throughout the year, I placed DUPLOs in my science, math and construction centers.

I would like to find or purchase more sets that deal with habitats and simple machines, to use in science and social studies.

In ABC center I always place these DUPLO letter tiles and boards.

Student spelling her name with DUPLO letter tiles

In kindergarten, I plan to use these for word families.  I think it'll be a great way for the students to see how they can just change the first letters and make a new word.  For math, Lego also has a number and mosaic set.

One strategy that I used in pre-k was putting my students' names on Mega Blocks and then having them vote for different things throughout the day.  The blocks with their names on them really personalized the activity for all of my students and increased name recognition, one-to-one correspondence, measuring skills, and the concept of more and less.  I'm going to continue to use blocks with their names on them in kindergarten for the daily question, how we get home, spelling their friends' names, making real graphs, and data analysis.  I had to use the Mega Blocks because I also had to fit the Braille on each block so I could read the students' names.  But I had colleagues who used DUPLO bricks for the same purpose.  They said they found it very convenient to store, since they could keep them all in one basket.

Using Mega Blocks to graph a student vote
Using Mega Blocks to measure student height

Here is the site for Lego Education, in case you wish to browse some of their products:

Lego Education

I'm also very excited that I recently became a member of LEAP (the Lego Education Advisory Panel) and will be able to contribute ideas to the manufacturers for the development of these products.  Lego is paying my way to an annual LEAP conference in Kansas City, Missouri in July - I'm really looking forward to it!

I'm very interested to know how or if you use DUPLO or Lego products in your classrooms or at home with your kids, grandkids, etc.  Please leave me a comment - they always make my day!  :-)

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