One of the most important things in starting off a school year is building a sense of community where students feel safe and secure. Of course, this means having students understand teachers' rules and expectations, the proper ways to handle classroom materials and tools, and social courtesies. This past week we decided to have students lead the thinking in terms of how we can work together to make our classroom the BEST Kindergarten class that ever was. Students did this by using loose parts to create their ideal classroom. As they collaborated with one another in small groups, teachers circulated and asked the students to consider the following questions: what does the ideal classroom look like? Sound like? How do the children treat each other in the ideal classroom? How would the students feel being in your classroom?
Afterward, we collaborated as a whole class on the carpet. It was very insightful to hear the students' thoughts and ideas. As we move forward in the coming weeks, we will use the ideas that were generated through this activity to highlight model behaviour that we notice from our students. Please feel free to carry on this conversation in your home, to help enforce the idea that there are things we can do in the classroom to make it ideal. Let's all do our part! Thank you.
Wow! What an exciting first two weeks of school. We have enjoyed getting to know one another by playing a lot of name games and partner games. It is our hope that by the end of September each child knows everyone's name.
We have also jumped right into our Kindergarten and Grade One curriculums. Students have been spending a lot of time looking at and playing with letters and words.
Our Grade One's are working on reviewing Kindergarten sight words and studying their new Grade One sight words in the photographs above. Below you can see our enthusiastic K's searching for letters in magazines and pasting them appropriately on the big white paper.
We are looking forward to doing more printing next week as we focus on our Collaboration inquiry and About Me inquiry. Have a lovely weekend!
Mastering sight words is essential to becoming a good reader! I just had to post these super cute photos of our class playing a new sight word game. Usually, on Wednesdays, after our library book exchange, students participate in a literacy activity called 'Writing the Wall'. This is a game where they walk around our classroom with a mini white board or a clipboard and simply practice reading and then writing down different words that are visible around the classroom. However, this past Wednesday we printed our sight words on Post-its and stuck one to everyone's back. The students found it absolutely delightful to walk around the room and copy the words off each other's back. Enjoy!
Last week Division 17 was all about FLOWERS! We studied flowers in our Whiteside Outdoor Community, drew flowers, added flowers to our sensory bins, and made gorgeous fairy potions.
To make our potions we cut up flowers (kindly donated to us by Broadmoor Safeway) and then added a bit of water from our classroom sink. However, the mixing became very enthusiastic once the students began using their pipettes to add coloured water as well.
Students were thrilled to take their potions home at the end of the day. I encourage families that want to make potions at home to use clear cups or jars so that students can also see the mixture from the outside of the jar. In our case we used red cups because they were what we had on hand and we are all about reusing materials we already have in Division 17. Enjoy the photos below!
We were super excited last week to learn about and explore Ollies and Spheros. Ollies and Spheros are robust robots that can be controlled using a bluetooth enabled device- in our case, iPads.
By exploring these robots students are learning beginner programming and coding skills.
This coming week we will revisit using the iPads when we begin learning about Stop Motion Animation. More on that to come!
This past Wednesday we celebrated the 100th day of school. As this is a fun milestone that we have been looking forward to all year we spent the morning reviewing photos of special events and learning that have taken place in our classroom up until this point. Before recess we even took advantage of this day to practice counting to 100 by walking around the classroom and touching 100 things with our pinky finger. But as a teacher my personal favourite thing about 100 day is combining all aspects of curriculum into a focussed activity. We incorporate reading, writing, art and science throughout the week leading up to and the actual day itself. It's a whole curriculum approach to learning, including the partner piece of sharing our 100 things homework.
Over the past couple of months, you may have heard your child talking about the STEM challenges that they have been participating in, in the library. As well, last week's blog post was about the Wonderful Bridges that our students had created during one of those challenges. But what is STEM? In a nutshell, STEM (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) combines rigorous academic areas with the technical challenges of mastering skills in these areas. This intentional grouping develops critical thinking, creativity, engineering design process, and problem solving skills. Please enjoy the pictures below of a challenge that students worked on last week. The challenge was to build a house with walls, a door, windows, and a roof.
Our Kinders have participated in many science-related inquiries/experiences since September including spiders, trees, our garden, apples, gourds/squash and magnets. When teaching science we always like to take a step back from front-loading students with all the ‘answers’ and instead have students develop their critical thinking skills by requiring them to explain their own reasoning. In the beginning students are often unsure of how to go about this but just like anything it only needs a bit of practice- and we will work on this for the duration of the year. Last week Mrs. Kawas encouraged students to think like scientists and use their senses while experimenting with coloured water, baking soda and pipettes. When I saw the photos she had taken I was blown away by how incredibly engaged ALL the students looked- and how very much they have truly become scientists in their own right.
Happy Saturday, Families! Today I wanted to share my favourite child-inspired poem to go with the pictures in the previous post. Enjoy.
When I am building in the block room, please don't say I'm "just playing". For you see, I'm learning as I play, about balance and shapes. Who knows, I may be an architect someday.
When I'm getting all dressed up, setting the table, caring for the babies, don't get the idea I'm "just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play; I may be a mother or a father someday.
When you see me up to my elbows in paint or standing at an easel, or molding and shaping clay, please don't let me hear you say, "He is just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm expressing myself and being creative. I may be an artist or an inventor someday.
When you see me sitting in a chair "reading" to an imaginary audience, please don't laugh and think I'm "just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a teacher someday.
When you see me combing the bushes for bugs, or packing my pockets with choice things I find, don't pass it off as "just play". For you see, I'm learning as I play. I may be a scientist someday.
When you see me engrossed in a puzzle or some "plaything" at my school, please don't feel the time is wasted in "play". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to solve problems and concentrate. I may be in business someday.
When you see me cooking or tasting foods, please don't think that because I enjoy it, it is "just play". I'm learning to follow direction and see differences. I may be a cook someday.
When you see me learning to skip, hop, run and move my body, please don't say I'm "just playing". For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning how my body works. I may be a doctor, nurse or athlete someday.
When you ask me what I've done at school today, and I say, "I just played", please don't misunderstand me. For you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. I'm preparing for tomorrow. Today, I am a child and my work is play.