Think It Through: Fall Owls

“Whooo” likes owls?! We do! See what I did there? Whoooo- like an owl? Gosh, I crack myself up!

With the changing seasons comes new animals and habitats to explore! I decided to try out the makings of an owl for this weeks Think it Through activity. As with all think it through activities, we began with going over the steps to creating our baby owls.

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I will say that the pumpkin activity proved to be more clear when it came to the finished product but in all honesty, that’s not the point! The point is for students to exercise their independence and begin strengthening their cognitive skills when it comes to interpreting information.

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I find this activity so powerful. Again, it works on establishing and growing those important skills but it creates an environment where students can feel confident in practicing. By not having a model to refer to and only a set of instructions, this eliminates the common concern of doing something the right or wrong way. This activity helps to solidify the mentality that there are many ways to do the same thing and many ways to interpret information.

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I absolutely love how our Think It Through wall is looking right now! On to the next… what will it be?!

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Letter Dunk!

Thinking up and creating new centres is one of my favourite parts of kindergarten! Kindergarten is built upon inquiry and play based learning, where centres are created and introduced based on the interests of the students in the class. The reading level in our kindergarten classroom varies. There are a few students who are already reading books, some who are actually at the higher grade 1 reading level, while some students are still struggling with letter recognition. It’s great to see that students are wanting to learn to read and learn their letters!

I found myself inclined to create a centre that merged students love for games and hands on activities along with literacy skills. I had seen a number game that used the some of the same materials as this activity and it inspired me to create a centre that worked in a similar capacity.

Knowing that I would need a good amount of egg cartons, I tasked my partner with making sure to save all the cartons after he finished them! I used one 18 carton and one 12 carton to create ONE letter dunk game. I painted them a fun and bright colour and then hot glued them together. After, I printed enough letters, both upper and lower case letters to fit into the carton and hot glued them into each space!

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There are many ways to cater to the different literacy levels within the class. For students who are just beginning their literacy journey, have them toss the ping pong ball into the carton. Then, have them find the letter that their ball fell in on the colouring sheet and have them colour it in.

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For students who are more advanced in their literacy skills, give them 20 turns and have them record each letter that they think. At the end of their 20 turns, ask them to try and make a word with some of the letters they sank.

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This game also works as a great form of assessment; working with a student one-on-one, have students orally identify the letters that they sink. This will help you gauge where the student is at in their letter recognition and competency!

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This centre has been a hit! Have you tried something similar before? I would love to hear your ideas!

 

 

Silly Jack-o-lanters

Well it certainly feels like October flew by, doesn’t it?! Like post people, I absolutely love the season of fall. Even if the temperatures stayed warmer for longer than I would have liked, there are still so many changes that spur wonderful conversation in the classroom!

Of course, a big part of October is Halloween and the kids get so excited, which makes me excited too! In order to celebrate, I decided to cater this week’s Think it Through activity to the spirit of the occasion!

*Pause* Think It Through activity? What’s that? Good question! I am not sure about you, but I sometimes find myself challenged by the new Kinder program. Don’t get me wrong, I love it- but it requires a new approach to teaching which can, at times, prove to be challenging. It requires a degree of hands off in order to foster the “child lead learning”. It requires teachers to knowingly take a step back and allow the students to work through the activities on their own. Teachers need to work at suppressing some deeply ingrained impulses to readily help students and offer them solutions to their learning processes. *Enter Think It Through Activity* This kind of activity really helps the teacher to follow through and practice the attitude of child lead learning. The teacher writes out instructions in the most simplest form, as a class, you go through each of them so that they all understand what each step says. Then…. they do it. With no intervention from the teacher (unless safety is an issue of course!).

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I prepared the materials for the students; I had the orange and yellow paint in a bowl, but not mixed. Step 1: Mix orange and yellow paint and make a circle.

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I had already cut out pieces of black and white construction paper in order to save time, but simply gave them to the students once everyone had completed Step 1 and we took away all of the paint and brushes.

Step 2: Use construction paper to make eyes, a mouth and some teeth. How many eyes? Don’t know…. How many teeth? Up to you!

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Step 3: Glue the face on your pumpkin and add a stem!

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I ended up loving this activity. It was so telling about all the students in various ways! The activity helped me see how my students interpreted information. Which students needed to constantly ask for clarification, who was looking over at their neighbour and following their lead? Who was working completely independently? It was a great formative assessment activity! Watching how students worked and processed instructions helped me understand the strengths and needs of my students in order to plan where I needed to go in my teaching moving forward.

My favourite part however, was hanging all of the creations and seeing how different each and everyone turned out. It is my favourite wall in the classroom!

Have you done a Think It Through Activity before? 

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