Saturday, 26 April 2014

Garden Creations

Our inquiry into Flowers began back in December when I brought in a mystery item. The bulb came in a glass jar and the students immediately began to ask questions about what it was.
Mystery Item!
As time went on, the students noticed that this mystery thing began to grow roots from the bottom down into the vase.

Several students drew pictures of what they saw and we began to read books about plants and flowers.

After the holiday break, we came into the classroom with a wonderful surprise awaiting us. Our bulb had sprouted flowers for us to see and smell! Oh what a wonderous addition to our classroom.

Draw pictures of what we see.

Watercolour paintings of "Looking Closely"

We have continued to watch and wonder throughout the various phases of our bulb's life cycle; documenting our learning along the way.

In March one of our kiddos decided she wanted to see what was inside the dead flower heads of our plant. So she began rubbing the dead flowers between her fingers and was surprised to find seeds coming out.
Opening up the dead flowers to see what's inside.

We soon began wondering about different kinds of plants and I brought in some other bulbs and rhizomes for the kiddos to look at and plant.
Reading Non-fiction books to learn about plants.

Looking Closely at different plants and their roots/bulbs/rhizomes

We spent a day moving our original bulb from its glass vase into a pot. We also planted several other plants we were beginning to accumulate.
Planting our bulb in soil to see what happens next.
Checking out the inside of a bulb.
Planting an orange seed from our snack.

Planting more bulbs.

Will they be the same type of flower?

As we continued to document our learning, a question came up about how some of the plants grow leaves fast than others. This lead into measuring the heights of the leaves. I set out several different manipulates for measuring. The kiddos immediately grabbed the rulers and looked at the heights. This lead to a quick mini lesson on how to put the "0" of the ruler at the base of what we want to measure. The kiddos also had experiences working with cuisenaire rods to measure the various plant heights.
Measuring with a ruler.

Learning to measure starting at the "0"

Measuring with cuisenaire rods.

We have now moved our Flower Inquiry into our sandbox in order to make room for watercolour paintings of what we would like a flower garden to look like.
New location for our plants!

Create a garden and paint it!

Stay tune for the next blog post on all the beautiful garden spaces are kiddos are creating.
Perhaps our next step will be to help clean up and plant in our own Eco Garden outside.

Balance and blocks

Last week we put out a challenge to our students to see what they can create with the Idea of Balance.
Several students tried to create towers and robots that went high up. Others created balance in a symmetrical way.
Working hard to make all the parts balance.
Completed Robot.

Another Robot.

Beginning with balance.
Making it balanced is not all that easy.

A Chinese Tea House.

Very balanced.

A Castle.
Working to build up high.

Height and symmetry.

All of our students were able to orally tell what their structure represents. Next week we will print off the pictures and have the students write about what they created to add to our documentation wall. To all our parents: if you have a chance - please come by next week to see our work.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Math Ideas for Teachers

Check out the blog post by Deanna Jump to get some new ideas for teaching Math in Kindergarten.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Ocean Inquiry

A few weeks back we had one of our students come into our morning meeting wanting to share his experience of visiting Ripley's Aquarium. He described many of the ocean animals he saw and talked about petting the ray fish.

He had so much excitement, that we immediately pulled out some mural paper for him to draw some of the ocean animals he saw. Many others students joined him to draw other ocean animals they knew about too. This mural paper was laid out for many to work on over several days. The children started off using just pencils to draw their images, but soon wanted to add colour so we gave them oil pastels to add the bright colours they would see in these real animals.
Beginning with pencil drawings.
Looking in books to help draw ocean animals.

More kiddos joining and adding to the mural.
An interest started to grow amoung a group of kiddos to draw colourful fish. We pulled out the I-Pads and looked at various pictures of fish. Every time they saw a brightly coloured fish "so beautiful" were many on the comments. A group of three girls began to look closely at photos on the I-Pads and draw what they saw. We helped them to write a sentence about their fish, trying to encourage descriptive words other than pretty and beautiful. Looking at the fish we see "spots", "lines", "hearts". These girls created their own Fish Book.
Looking at pictures in books to help us draw.
Writing sentences to go with the pictures.

We read the story Rainbow Fish to the class several times. I have found through some action research, that rereading a story at least three times, and allowing the students to think about a question and share with a partner prior to the whole class, encourages more purposeful talk. We have been asking questions of the students to see their understanding of the meaning of Friendship. Friendship has many meanings to the kiddos. We sat in small groups and used the Think-Share model to share our ideas and thoughts. This allowed for the students to use purposeful talk to build on each others ideas in a meaningful way. Each child shared a shiny scale with our class friend to show how they can talk about friendship.
Writing our names on in shiny scale to share.
Lots of great ideas about
being a good friend.
I can be a good friend.

During the final read aloud of Rainbow Fish, one of the students commented "Why Rainbow fish not give the Starfish a shiny scale - he don't have any friends too." This lead the students to become interested in Starfish. "Can they walk? How can they find a friend?" "Can Starfish talk?" "What do Starfish eat?" Some other students have been interested in researching various ocean animals. This new venue for the inquiry has lead a few children to want to research Starfish and other ocean animals. They have drawn pictures of what the animals look like, they are using authentic writing to label and describe their pictures.
Looking at Starfish. What do we wonder?

Several kiddos have participated in various art activities to communicate about what the see in these ocean creatures. It is wonderful to see the animals come to life through art.
Adding blue watercolour
to imitate the ocean feel.
Using pastels to show
the beautiful colours of the fish.

Working with different art mediums to create Seahorses.
We will continue to inquire about ocean animals and keep you informed of our process.

What will we research next?
Octopus, Sharks
Shark Labeling.
The Cool Coconut Octopus.

Ms. Li our student ECE

This term we again have had a student ECE participating in our classroom.

She has taken on a project of introducing our kiddos to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We have read the fairy tale in a whole group setting several times. Then the kiddos who were interested helped to create masks for all the characters and retell the story at the puppet theatre. Other kiddos were involved in the creation of stick puppets for retelling as well.

Practicing drawing pictures and writing words.

Once the children became very familiar with the story, Ms. Li has lead them through the process of creating their own Class Big Book of the story. Our own students are the writers and illustrators of this particular book. It is coming along nicely.
Writing the words for all the characters and props.

Using our anchor chart to help create the Big Book
Paying attention to detail to illustrate our Big Book.

Creating the pictures for our Big Book

To wrap up the project, we watched the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (not animated) and the kiddos were encouraged to bring in their favourite stuffy. To introduce their stuffy to the class, each kiddo used descriptive words to talk about their animal. Great oral language skills are being developed. Some kiddos even drew pictures of themselves and their stuffy.

We would like to thank Ms. Li for all she has done with our class this term and are looking forward to helping her complete her projects with us.