Saturday, 27 April 2013

Gardens and Flowers

Many of our kiddos are very interested in gardens and flowers.

Milliken Mills Eco Garden

We have visited our school Eco Garden from outside the fenced area. Many questions are starting to arise.
M. What kinds of plants are those?
G. Who looks after the garden?
J. When are more plants going to grow?

Back inside the classroom, Ms Blundell has been working hard with a handful of students creating our very own indoor garden box. We have planted seeds and are waiting for them to begin "sprouting" (our new FANCY word) before we take them out to the Eco Garden for planting.

We began the Garden Box by decorating the outside.

Then we filled the box with soil (we no longer call this dirt).

One of our kiddos brought in flower bombs. She and her mom thought this would be good for our class and we were thrilled to receive the gift.
So the next step was to plant the seeds and put a bit more soil on top.

The last step of course was to water the soil and place it by the window to get sun.

A few days later, some of our kiddos were reading through the garden and plant books out in this inquiry area. These kiddos discovered through their research several factors that will affect the growth of plants.

I invited them to jot down this information for others to learn from. I was very impressed with their documentation and felt it would be good to post by the Indoor Garden Box for all to see. They are so proud of their own work and I am beeming too! :-)

And now we wait .....

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Daffodils for a spring provocation

This week I borrowed a provocation from one of my PLN partners: Laurel Fynes at This Kindergarten Life blogspot. She put out a provocation for her students and I thought what a great idea.

Our kiddos have been very interested in flowers, gardens, and growth over the last few weeks. We have begun to create our own indoor garden; keep tuned for another post solely dedicated to this.

So while I was out this week I bought a small pot of flowers that had just started to show their buds. We could see some yellow just peeking through the tops of the "leaves" as the kiddos said. I put this pot out on our art table and added some green and yellow paints in a few shades. Many of the kiddos flocked to the table during Learning Centre time.

At first we had large papers set out to see what creations they would make with the one pot of flowers out as a model. One kiddo began painting some daisy type flowers, while another took in the details and made a replica of what he saw. As there was still a lot of white space left to his paper he began filling in all the white spaces with more green paint that he described as "adding more and more petals".

It was fascinating watching and documenting their process. To further investigate how the kiddos could focus their sense of detail, over the next few days we put out paper of a smaller scale. Surprisingly, the kiddos began to really paint what they saw; they were no longer painting random flowers rather we began to see the detail of the slender leaves, and the varying colours in the flower heads.

When asked what they wanted to name their paintings, all the kiddos thought of a name of a flower. Having never told them these flowers I purchased where called daffodils, it was interesting to hear the various names they used: "sunflower", "lily", "marigold".

Next week we may have to take a trip outside to our school gardens as I have seen some tulip heads starting to poke up out of the ground. These could add to our painting provocations. Maybe we'll see some new colours for next week.

Teaching how to draw!

After attending one of the workshops at the 2013 Kindergarten Conference, I was determined to come back into the classroom and try out one of the suggestions. I have to thank Tarmara Martin-Spady the Art Lady for introducing me to such a fun way to teach the art of drawing to young people.

Today I had so much fun with the kiddos in room 109. We read and retread the book: Big Sarah, Little Boots by Paulete Bourgois and Brenda Clark.

While we were reading we talked a lot about how Sarah was feeling. There were many clues in her facial expressions throughout the story to indicate that "she's sad", " she's mad", "she's angry", "she's upset".

After reading the story, the kiddos went to sit at tables and together, using a set by step instructions, we created the outline of a girl. I then let the kiddos use their imaginations to add in the details of facial expression and costume to their body. All the students were successful in drawing a girl with all her body parts. In the end, each final product was very unique with how the kiddos remembered Sarah during the various parts of the story.

Here is the outline we used for the step by step drawing (however, once all the kiddos were done their pictures I also did my own idea of what I saw) and all the kiddos drawing. They turned out so well! All the kiddos were able to feel successful with their drawings. How AWESOME!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

"We can see" project - Spring movie

Wow! It was such a beautiful day today, that our Kindergarten class decided to spend some extra time outside. Prior to going out, we talked about the changes that are happening around us in terms of winter and spring. Many of the kiddos know that the snow has melted and that on March 20th we officially called it Spring.

They were excited to head outside and experience some of this warmer weather, however during our Focussed Learning time we talked about "observing" the world around us to see if we could "see" any of the changes from winter to spring.

The kiddos bounded outside, and to hear all the comments of changes they could see was priceless.

We had our I-pad ready in hand and began documenting through pictures and words what the kiddos were observing.

Please enjoy the movie we created with all the spring changes! We would love to hear your comments and any questions you have.


Monday, 15 April 2013

We can see project

The kiddos in our class have joined a "We can see" project with other kindergarten classes in the blogsphere.

Here is a copy of the movie room 109 created in the winter about the things we see around our school community.

Please leave any comments you have.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

2013 FDK Ontario Conference

Wow what a great two day conference held in Mississauga this past Thursday and Friday.

With the opportunity to visit eight different workshops and hear two fabulous keynote speakers; Donna Whyte and Enrique Feldman, my head is full of new ideas to try. I am one to try and jump in and change everything to make my program even better, however I am learning that sometimes it's better to go a little slower for the kiddos in my class. They so thrive on routine and when I change everything because it sounds so great to me they are thrown into the whirlwind of keeping up.

So with all the great things I am taking away from this conference, I will store most to try next year in the fall. The two ideas I am going to practice right now can be implemented without the kiddos even knowing.

The workshop I was looking most forward to was about documentation by Amy Murray. We played with, and learned some of the ins and outs of the Evernote app. This looks like a great tool for on-going documentation using pictures, videos, audio files, and typed notes. I can document the kiddos work samples, add what they said and cut and paste in the curriculum expectations. This app also allows for my DECE and I to share the input notes and pictures, as well as allowing me to share each child's portfolio with their families for a specific period of time (for example: only the 2 weeks right after reporting is done).

I'm going to try this for the next couple of months to see how it works and if I think it will be a worthwhile app to peruse long term.

Enrique Feldman delivered a fabulous workshop on brain games. I have done a few different brain activities with my kiddos, more I must admit at the beginning of the year. However, this workshop really reaffirmed my belief that all students benefit from brain games to get their thinking focused prior to a task orientated activity. Brain activators also help with settling the bouncers down when they seem to be winding up.

Brain games are easy to perform anywhere and anytime. We just need to think about activities where the students are completing two separate movements activities (therefore holding one in their brains
while performing the other).

I can't wait to share some of this learning with my kiddos and my colleagues. This was a great professional learning experience.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Spring is so much fun!

Just a quick post tonight for our parent followers.

Today really felt like spring out in the playground. We read a book about spring at morning recess and talked all about the rainbow of flowers we could plant when the weather gets warmer.  The kiddos really enjoyed listening to the story "Planting a Rainbow" by Lois Ehlert.

C.H. Immediately waved her hand in the air to share that there is a perfect spot outside for us to plant our own rainbow of flowers. At recess she lead me to our school Eco Garden, where I had already been thinking of approaching the Principal to see if we can have our own little (ok BIG) spot.

The bug has been planted. We already have a Plant Inquiry started in the classroom - but to my excitement it will be expanding over the next several weeks. We are planning a garden! Dirty hands, digging in mud, watching things come to life! Oh how exciting :-)

Along with this inquiry I can already hear the buzzing of a Bug Investigation on the way too! Another one of my favourites.

Here's a quick update to our Plant Inquiry. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the drawings and writing the kiddos did wih this entry, but they are in our inquiry book if you happen to stop into the class anytime soon.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Bey Blades come to life in room 109

For a couple of weeks now we have had quite a few of our boys very interested in making and playing with Bey Blades. I know my own boys loved these toys when they were younger. It's something about the spinning that is quite mesmerizing.

The boys in my class are obsessed with the battle aspect, so in the hopes of taking the aggression out of the classroom I began to ask them questions about which model they thought would spin the longest? This lead to some thoughts about heavy and light, bigger and smaller.

The students started creating their own Bey Blades using Lego and snap cubes.

When the Bey Blades starting popping up I had encouraged the kiddos to make a plan about what their Bey Blade would look like and write a sentence about their personal creation.

Then they took these into battle. We created an arena using a table and the kiddos decided to put chairs around to stop the toys from spinning off.

We created a chart for them to keep track of the winning Blade using a tally score sheet.
Tally chart.

The new stadium.
Several days later the kiddos wanted to make Bey Blades again, so I encouraged them to think of a different type of arena for their play.They soon got out some blocks and boards to create an open arena for their battles.

This is when I began to introduce the concept of  timing the length of each spin. With this introduction the kiddos began looking at a clock to see the movement of a second hand instead of counting using their own time meter.

Again several days later, with the Bey Blades still going strong, some of the kiddos started building really big Blades. I questioned them as to which ones they thought would spin for the longest time?
J.L. Mine will because it is smaller.
Ms. C. Why do you think it will spin for a longer time?
J.L. Because the other one is heavier.
J.S. Beacause the big one will tip over.

We started spinning them and J.L. was right. The bigger heavy Blades didn't spin as long.
As the Blades were spinning we noticed they all made the same shape. They all looked like a circle when spinning even though all the Blades were made using different shapes.

       J.S. Mine looks like a fan.
       P.L. It also looks like a windmill.

We are now creating a Bay Blade inquiry book where the kiddos can pose more questions in the "I wonder ..." section. We will also be encouraging the kiddos to put their "I think ..." statements as well to capture their theories.

Looking forward to see where this takes us next!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Dinosaurs Galore!

Yesterday was so exciting for the kiddos in room 109 - the eggs hatched!!!

Some of the kiddos were reading around the room, when they happened upon the Dino Museum, excitment quickly burst around the room when they declared that the eggs had cracked open.

They are hatching!
Many kiddos came running to look and see what was happening. They wanted to see what the dinosaurs looked like.

Quickly I grabbed a piece of paper to start documenting their thinking. Here are a few things I heard:

Hey they hatched.
Don't scare her!
Don't yell. Shhhh.
A.L. Dinosaurs - a T-rex
M.P. I saw them move.
D.D. Each egg has a different dinosaur.
D.C. They already hatched. hey have baby eggs.
M.P. They're not toys. They're real.
C.Y. They are moving.
G.D. Maybe they will eat us.
B.L. I see a lizzard.
J.G. After they hatch they need to go in the nest.

The kiddos gently took the dinos out of their shells and put them into the bowl with the grass.

Feeding one of the baby dinosaurs.
Several minutes later as couple of the kiddos came up to me and D.D. and G.W. said: Maybe we should move the T-rex out of the nest so he doesn't eat the others.
Wow!  I love the connections to the readings we have done together about the different kinds of dinosaurs. Room 109 knows that T-rexs are carnivores and the other dinosaurs look like herbivores.

A little bit later I had a few more kiddos come and tell me that we needed to feed these dinos just like we do Angelina - our pet fish. So sure enough as soon as Learning Centres were open we had a group of students create/make food for our new friends.

Here are a few more pictures of how the day unfolded.

Carfully removing the dinosaurs
and putting them in the nest.
The empty egg shells.
Talking about how they are different.

Entrance tickets to the museum.
Our comparative achor charts of the T-rex
and Triceratops.
I would like to thank all the parents who have come in to say they like this blogspot. I am so happy to be able to share our day with you in this forum. We often read these posts during class to celebrate the things that have happened in the classroom, therefore we would welcome any comments and/or questions from our parents.
Can't wait to see how these dinosaurs continue to grow with the wonderful attention they are getting from all our kiddos.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Dinosaur Eggs

On Thursday before the Easter Break, our kiddos came to our morning meeting where a surprise awaited them. We had "found" a bowl with 3 large eggs in it. We asked the class what they thought might be inside? They discovered that each egg had a hole they could peek into. They were very excited to have a turn looking.

What could be inside?
First we talked about how important it is to handle the eggs gently, as we didn't know where they came from. Looking inside very carefully, this is what we recorded them saying:

A.W. I see something green inside.
G.D. Maybe it's a baby dinosaur.
D.C. Maybe it's a baby bunny.
L.H. It is dark inside. Why is there grass in the bowl?

J.S. It's a soft spot for the eggs.
C.H. The grass is to hide the eggs.

Later at Learning Centres we had a few kiddos really interested in setting up the Dino Museum. First they checked the mind map to see what else needed to be done before the opening.

They decided to make the sign for the entrance. It turned out great with lots of pictures they made using library books to guide their sketches.

Creating the entrance sign.
Library books for reference.

The final product.
While the sign was being created, we had another student working on creating a rope to put around the exhibit. She remembered seeing one at the museum she went to last summer.
Rope with "please be careful!"
Hopefully the eggs "hatch" next week and we will have more excitment in the Dino Museum. Also looking forward to digging up some bones in the sand box. Stay tuned!