Thursday, 28 March 2013

Plant it and it will grow!

A couple of days ago, we had a few kiddos keep returning to the table where I had put out a pot and some planting tools. We looked at all the objects on the table and began asking questions.
Starting this inquiry
Inside the pot we found a hard, flat, round, brown disk.
G.W. "It's hard, it looks like a hard bird's nest."
C.H. "It looks round."
J.G. "It looks like soil."
We also found a packet with something inside.
G.W. "It sounds like pepper when we shake it."
C.H. "It shakes and makes a sound."
J.G. "It must be seeds that we can plant. It will need sun and water, and plant food to grow."
Ms.C "Wow, have you planted anything before?"
J.G. "Yes, we have a planting place outside in my backyard. I seen a show on tv to show how plants grow."

Brown, hard, disk from inside the pot
Packet that was in the pot.

Yesterday, some of the same interested kiddos wanted to continue on with the planting inquiry. So we read the directions and planted the seeds.

The first step involved taking the hard, brown, disk and submerging it in water. At first it was floating then the kiddos started to notice a change:
C.H. It's turning into mud.
G.W. It's starting to get fluffy and get bigger.
J.G. It's turning into soil.
C.W. Yucky.

Once the earth/soil had soaked up all the water, we took turns feeling the dirt.
C.H. It's yucky.
G.W. It's wet and soft.

Then we opened up the packet.
Everyone said - those are the seeds!

We carefully put the seeds on the soil and covered them with a bit more soil. Because the soil was already damp we didn't add anymore water. However we need to keep checking it every day.

Finally a few of the kiddos took out some paper and drew what they think the plant will look like once it starts to grow. All three of them drew a picture of a pot with flowers.
We will have to see what happens next?

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Fish and Dinosaurs

Wow! What a busy day in room 109 today. Our day started off with having to feed Angelina. Once she was fed and happy, we discussed other ways to make her happy. One of the students had collected some shells from the beach while on vacation and brought them in to share quite some time ago. We decided that maybe Angelina would like to have them in her space "maybe the shells will make her happy", "maybe she will make a home in the shells". We will just have to wait and see what happens!

Angelina looks happy with the shells so far.

Some of our kiddos had some I wonder statements, so we set up a clipboard where they could write down their statements and predict what they think might happen.

Our day also included some more Dinosaur explorations. With the mind map we created yesterday to lead us in the setting up of a Dino Museum, some of the students continued with creating entrance tickets. These are really turning out great. Some of the kiddos have begun to make their plans for what a guide-map should look like. I love how they immediately got out the rulers to measure spaces.

Today we read a book about a T-Rex and after the second reading we drew a big picture of our own T-rex and added what we learned about the dinosaur in the book. About half way through this activity C.H. put up her hand and said: "Ms Clark, it's like we are labelling that diagram!" Wow! I love how they make those connections to our past experiences with walruses and penguins.

Dinosaur mind-map
Until tomorrow!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs! And a museum?

Today our kiddos were very excited after we read them a wonderful fiction book about dinosaurs. They were all very interested to know all the names of the different Dino's featured within the story. As soon as the kiddos started to disperse from our meeting area, I had three little ones come up to me and ask if we could have a museum? Immediately I thought of turning our dramatic play centre into their dream.

In the past I would have begun to collect all the necessary items to make the centre entertaining - however this time I engaged these three students into a brainstorming conversation about what they thought it should look like. We pulled out some chart paper and began writing down all the ideas they had. "We need safety goggles" stated one of the kids. "What for?" I asked. "So we don't get sand and dirt in our eyes while digging for the bones" she exclaimed. We continued with our brainstorming web and determined that we needed to get out the I-pads for a little bit of research about guide maps and what tickets should look like.

After a bit of computer research, we decided to head over to the library to take out some books on dinosaurs. The library had so many to choose from but we were diligent and pick the best 10.

During our second learning centre times, a group of kiddos joined Ms Patel at the arts and crafts table to design the tickets for the museum. They made sure to include prices and times the museum will be open. Tomorrow we will put the finishing touches on our tickets; with dinosaur decorations on one side and all the information on the other. This will also be a good time to review some money and time concepts with a smaller group of students.

I am loving the "slowing down" process and getting the kiddos involved in all the steps to setting up their learning environment.

I can't wait until tomorrow when Ms Blundell puts out the mystery eggs we found. They have small holes in the bottom where the students can peek inside to see if they can figure out what animals belong inside! Hopefully if we treat these eggs well over the next week they will hatch Tuesday or Wednesday and we will see what's inside!?!

I promise to take more pictures tomorrow - we were very busy creating today!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Our fish has a name!

We had a couple of boys I interested in the fish inquiry today. Again they were wondering "what will make her happier?"  One of the boys thought that if she had a name "we can talk to her."

Yesterday we began creating a list of possible fish names. Many of the students gave their input on the whiteboard. Today our two inquiring boys took that list and we set them up on the computer to type up a survey sheet in order to determine to most liked name.

Typing up all the suggested names on a survey page. 

Now with a proper survey sheet and pencil ready to go, the boys began asking classmates which name they preferred. After tallying up all the marks ... Our fish is now officially "Angelina"!

Hopefully tomorrow we will have some keen artists to create her a name plate and possibly some artwork.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Reorganizing the Writing Centre

The students are becoming familiar with the new classroom set up. We have introduced several new concepts to classroom routines, and that is when it becomes apparent to us as educators that habit is easily ingrained in young ones. Some of the students asked "where do we go?", while others just "stood there" due to the structure of our old system dictating where they should begin their day. 

Language Activities

Now we have all the language learning centres open for them to choose from. After morning sign in they may freely choose the activity they would like to engage in. Today many chose to visit the writing centre while others played languages based games or read books. 

Some Class-made Books

Lots of pictures books to read!
Every day we have two students create a story on the SmartBoard. As our class has many students who are English Language Learners, Sarah (our DECE) draws a picture on the bottom of the page and the students get to talk about the picture before creating their sentences. They all love this activity and we are now including the pages in a book for them to revisit at the bookshelf.
SmartBoard stories

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Beta Fish inquiry

Today the students came in through the door and were excited to pick up a language activity to work on. Many chose letter games to play while a few began to draw and write. DD was excited to start a book about our beta fish. She was able to share this at our first morning meeting. Very exciting! 

I had another group gather around the new fish bowl. A couple of the students said that "she doesn't look very happy". I asked why they thought that? We had varying answers but mostly around her not having enough to eat. Upon further research we detained that she needs to eat every couple of days - not more as they have very tiny bellies. When I probed them further as to what else could make her happy the students didn't really have any ideas. So..... We opened up the iPad and looked at some images of beta fish. To our students surprise the fish we saw on the iPad all had rocks, shells, and plants in their bowls! CH: "oh maybe we need to put some fun things in with our fish." Tomorrow we will make a list of some of the things we can add to her bowl. 

As many of the students wanted to paint and write about the fish today - we felt it was a good idea to brainstorm with a bubble map some words to describe our beta fish.

Then Ms Blundell worked with a group of students to create a big art collage of a beta fish using the descriptive words to guide them.

Wow! What a lot of learning today. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Reforming our classroom!

So we are off to a great start on our new beginning. Today Sarah, my DECE, and I spent a good part of today rearranging furniture, talking about classroom flow, and student material accessibility. We had so much fun and the kids all enjoyed watching the changes take place before their eyes. 
Waiting for a name.
Today I brought in our new pet fish and they were all excited to share their ideas of how to feed it and give it a name. If I follow all their directions I'm pretty sure he may be belly up by the end of the week with over feeding. We are going to make a bit of an inquiry into the care and environment of a beta fish. Can't wait to see this inquiry take off. 

Friday, 15 March 2013

March Break is coming to an end

So the week off has flown by. Today I honed out a new day plan for when school starts back up again on Monday. In my new schedule I have made plans for 3 distinct Centre Time blocks, and at the end of the day the "Star of the Day" will write a journal entry onto our Smart Board through the use of a I-Pad journaling app. I can't wait to start turning our classroom into a tech savvy environment for the students!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Just beginning

I have done a lot of reading of blog posts over the past few weeks and am completely inspired to change my kindergarten program to an inquiry based environment. Engaging students in their own learning will be exciting to watch and foster over the remaining school months.
We have two focus points that have come to light over the last week or so. During one of our morning sign ins we realized that many of the children have never had a pet - therefore I am in search of a fish to bring into the classroom following March Break. This will hopefully inspire learning about animal life cycles, how to care for living things around us, and encourage different artist pieces and stories. 
Another area of interest is dinosaurs. The students already know several names and types of dinosaurs -so we are going to build upon their schema and see how fossils are created and where the dinosaurs lived and possibly the environmental changes that led to their extinction. 
I will keep you posted as to how the inquiries come along. We are also striving to continue our photo documentation of all learning.