Recently, our classroom has been pretty focused on building in general. This led me to look at how we could offer different types of building on our provocation tables one afternoon. I always like to have at least one table that gives children a chance to fine tune the fine motor movements of holding a pen, pencil, or some other writing utensil so the first thing I put out was a table for building and writing words or letters.
Another building exercise we often use is the curlers. I set them out in a circle pattern and paused- it still looked empty. I didn't feel that the provocation looked very inviting. What else could we use to build with the curlers? Before long I had found a few other small materials- paper shreds and cu-tips- that could easily be incorporated into building with the curlers. We liked to have at least 3-4 provocations set up at once so this still left a few more tables to be put together.
What else could incorporate our love of building, though? I wanted to do something that wasn't necessarily building with small blocks or dominoes- both of which are provocations I often find myself setting up. As I perused our art shelf my eyes fell on the glue guns we had recently bought. We hadn't used them, yet, so I wanted to set up a table where only one child could work at once. This would allow a lot of teacher interaction. I also wanted to make sure we could introduce the glue gun and discuss it's purpose, how it's used, and more before it began being used. This also led me to set out a few other gluing activities- including gluing feathers onto a canvas with our beloved glue sticks.
I had expected to introduce the glue gun before children began using it, but the way that everything unfolded was much more beautiful than anything I could have intended. In our classroom we have a glue gun connoisseur. In fact, TUS is the one who asked us to get the glue guns to begin with. Since TUS was one of the first ones up and ready for tables, he immediately spotted the glue gun and headed to it. I checked in with him to see if he needed any instruction on the use of the gun, but he assured me he knew how to proceed. Within seconds, a small group of children had circled around TUS. They attentively watched as he worked, asking questions about the gun and the different parts.
TB pointed to the glue sticking out the end, "What is that!? Do you push it?" TUS nodded, "Oh that! That's the glue. The gun turns it into a liquid. Watch!" He made a small dot of glue on the canvas. WK was amazed, "How did you do that!?" TUS held the gun up and showed her the lever, "You push right here." He slowly made another dot on the canvas again. This further intrigued WK, "But can you get burned?" I had told TUS earlier that the gun was a cool touch gun but he still remembered how to be extra safe while using a glue gun. He informed WK that she couldn't touch the tip of the glue gun but she could touch the lever and hold the handle in her hand. He pointed to each different part as he explained.