What is hidden in play …

Blake and I watch a video this morning. It is about Build with Chrome, which is a tool that a colleague shared after the music teacher at our junior campus told her that he was using in music classes.


He wants to know why we are watching it, and if he can try it, in the same breath.

We start off taking a “Master Class”, learning the basic skills of how to build. Blake masters the skills really quickly, giving things a second and third go when he is confused.  He has to read short bits of information and interpret symbols and visual cues.  He makes a few mistakes, but he doesn’t show any signs of frustration … He has mastered enough skills to be able to correct them and move on. After three attempts at creating the basic models, he wants to “try the real thing”.


Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 11.13.26 am

So, he clicks on the site, which takes him to a world map, locating him in Australia. “I don’t want to build here,” he announces. We discuss where he wants to create, the city and reasons. He searches for the place, realising that he needs to choose specific locations and he decides to build in the ocean.  I ask if he would like to see models of what other people have made and he quite simply says, “No, I want to make my own.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 11.13.45 am.pngScreen Shot 2016-07-22 at 11.13.38 am.png

While he is creating, I ask him questions like:

Why are you using that?

What are you thinking?

What do you think you will need next?

We discuss which mathematical concepts he is linking to (shape, location, doubling, subtraction, space, estimation and comparisons).

When the bell rings to signal the end of the lesson, he doesn’t want to stop.

“Next time,” I say, “shall we start by writing what you did and the process you went through before you continue building?”

“Sure!” he answers and off he goes.

I am left thinking about all the skills that have been used – literacy, inquiry, maths, communication … Trans disciplinary life skills that have hidden in this “game”.

How often do we have the opportunity to play and learn through the play?

Is this something that happens all the time and we just don’t realise it?





About Jina Belnick

I am a full time learner - tumbling head first into education and joining my learners on the amazing adventures that we encounter daily at our PYP school in Melbourne, Australia.I am currently working in learning support, feeling the waters and seeing how teachers and learners are best supported, I am a listener and a leader, an inquirer and a follower. I'm loving the ride!
This entry was posted in Jina, learning support, ownership, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What is hidden in play …

  1. Lana says:

    We know that this is the best way to learn! Jina you compliment the process so beautifully by noticing and naming the learning for Blake – a very powerful role of a teacher. Blake is so privileged to have opportunities to learn like this in ‘support’ – very different to answering reading comprehension questions or completing worksheets. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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