Monday, 30 September 2013

Adopting a Tree

This week room 127 completed our tree adoption process. We are very excited to now be a proud class to own our very own tree to watch and nurture throughout the school year.

This is the tree we adopted  It's a Silver Maple.

We began our search with a walk through the parklands close to the school. On this beginning trip we collected leaves from various trees along our route. Once back in the classroom we saved the specimens on blank white paper with packing tape.

Leaf Snap app on the I-Pad
During the week, small groups of students worked with Ms Clark to identify the tree type and look at various parts of the tree - for example the leaves, fruits, and bark. This research was done in a couple of ways. Firstly we used an amazing app called Leaf Snap. The kiddos were thrilled to see our specimens come up on the screen and we classified them to our school zone. Secondly, as our classroom is sometimes lacking in a strong wireless service, and Leaf Snap wouldn't cooperate with us, we turned to library books with which to complete old fashioned research. This was great as some of the kiddos were able to quickly identify trees of acorns and pinecones that we had collected. It is great for them to see how both methods of research are successful and rewarding.

Once we had identified all our leaves, I narrowed down our choices to four based on conversations held with the kiddos during the week as to which they preferred and why. It was interesting to heard some of their responses.
I like this one because:
It is red
It is oval
It has 3 pointy ends.
It has 5 pointy tops.
This one is big.
I like this one so much.
This one is a maple tree.

With our narrowed down list, we provided the kiddos the opportunity to choose there favourite at our outdoor learning circle. This was a great way to authentically teach data management and graphing. The kiddos loved counting with the anticipation of finding out which tree would be ours.

After the teachers added their votes due to a tie - we went in search of where OUR tree was located. The kiddos were so excited it was hard to contain them not to run too far ahead.  Once we gathered around our tree in a circle, Ms Clark told the folklore story about the Maple Tree and the forest animals. All the kiddos listened intently to hear how the Maple Tree helped the animals live through the harsh winter months. At the end of the tale, each kiddo picked up their own leaf (off the ground, as we don't pull leaves of the tree - that would hurt) to bring back to the classroom for their own creative art expressions.

We finished our tour of the parkland with comparing OUR tree to others in the same area. We came to the conclusion that our tree is still a kid tree, while others we saw were mamas and papas, while others still were grandma and grandpa trees. During our walk we also witnessed a squirrel climbing up and down a tree. Many thoughts were tossed around.
She's looking for her nest.
He lives in that tree.
He's looking for food.
He eats nuts and things.

We wonder if any animals will live in our tree?

Once we got back into our classroom, the kiddos were allowed to take their leaf and create anything they wanted to remember our tree.
We also had some good discussions and wondering so about the tree.

We need to create a sign so everyone knows that tree is ours.
We need to give it a name.
We need to paint pictures.

I can't wait to see where this inquiry will lead us throughout the year.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Class Pet Inquiry - our Bunny

Our class has a pet bunny. For the first few weeks of school, she has been allowed out of her cage during our learning time. This has allowed both our bunny and the kiddos to explore our environment together.

The bunny and kiddos share the learning environment.

Our kiddos are learning about pets. This is helping to explore social skills. We are learning not to chase after the bunny as it scares her. We wouldn't want someone to chase us either - thats scary. We are learning how to care for an animal. As a whole group we brainstormed what we think bunnies eat.

A few days later, a group of interested kiddos, took some pictures of what our bunny has been eating and created a piccollage the show everyone what we have observed.

While observing our Bunny's eating habits we are asking questions and theorizing about the answers.

C.C. Why is the bunny eating paper?

       C.C. She's hungry.
       D.D. She likes the taste.
       T.T. That's what they eat.

This week the kiddos began to help feed our bunny. They enjoy watching her sniff as the veggies go in, then she hops up to sniff and nibble on the food.

Inquiry into Dot Day and Colours

September 15th was International Dot Day, inspired by author Peter Reynolds.

Our class read his book "The Dot" to inspire us all to create something artistic. We no longer say "I can't."

Last week we used paint and Bingo Dabbers to learn the letters in our names.

This week we were introduced to a new art material: oil pastels. We are learning how to care for our art materials, and to make a plan before using these materials. In tribute to "Dot Day" we are leaning about colour combinations and looking at what certain colour combinations make us think about.

Learning to use oil pastels for art projects.

We will continue to create colourful dots throughout the next few weeks and display them in our school's front foyer for Curriculum Night for all to see.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Learning the letters in our names

I thoroughly enjoy watching the kiddos begin to recognize their names as they walk into the classroom, but this week we have created some provocations to allow the kiddos to practice putting all the letters in the correct order.

Using Upper and Lowercase stamps 
Using Bingo Dabbers to create "rainbow names"

They love using the different materials and especially enjoy creating "rainbow names", just like our shared reading poem this week: "Rainbow Hair". It is so rewarding to hear them make the connections to stories we have read.

Using coloured letter beads to lace our names into bracelets.

We are continuing to create more and more "Dot Day" artistic pieces for our school-wide culminating task to transform our foyer into a waterfall of Dots to be displayed for curriculum night. We have a special project on the go to add to the foyer on October 3rd for all parents and grandparents to see. 

I am please to see more parents joining our blogspot and following along with our classroom learning. This is a great opportunity to talk to your children about what they are learning in school. You can also follow our classroom twitter account @MMPSkinderclass

Friday, 6 September 2013

A very busy week back!

Welcome back to our Blog. I'm so excited to be starting a new year with all the kiddos. They are so excited and inquisitive - it's going to be a great year full of learning.

We had many centres for exploration this week. Lots of great learning and thinking happening. So glad the kiddos are already in the habit of making sure they post their thinking and learning on our DAILY WRITING Wall.

Drawing what I see on the table. I will hang it on my placemat. 

We have built castles, and tall towers.

We have experimented with water colour paintings and told our stories to an adult to be captured on paper.
Sorry no photos. :-(

Observed and asked questions about the bunny. Today she was even out for the majority of the day. Many of the kiddos were able to pat her gently while she even hopped over one of our kiddos who was lying on the floor watching her.

Created travel destinations for the trains.

Looked at beautiful sunflowers and created our own art interpretations.

And finally went on an adventure today and collected very cool things. We brought these back into the class to share at our tables, by talking about what we found, what we thought was cool, and what we liked best. The "piece de resistance" at our table groups we cooperated together to create some loose parts art. We are all so proud of the our imaginations.

What a great week. Inquiries are starting and we have more nature to come next week. Stay tuned.