Sunflowers, Blow Paint & Bugs- Oh My!

We had a crazy week! And by crazy, I mean busy. Jump Rope for Heart, Jumbo Sale and lots of new activities, the students were so busy! As reported last week, on Friday we planted our sunflower seeds so we were excited to check out their progress when we got back to school on Monday. Students worked hard throughout the week recording their observations, watering them daily and comparing each plant’s progress to others.

 

With plants comes….. Bugs! We have started exploring the functions and jobs of different bugs. We read a fun story about ants, watched videos and learned all about an array of different backyard critters. We compared which kinds of bugs had similar jobs and family make up.

Keeping our bug theme going we made…. Ladybugs! This craft required a black marker, red paint, googley eyes, red construction paper and glue!

IMG_1529

After we created our lady bugs, the students participated in a fun STEM activity. Miss. Lyons explained to the class that the lady bugs were sad that they didn’t had a bed to sleep in at night. So all students were given a cup or bowl of a differing size and 3 different sets of materials. Using these materials, students had to make the ladybug sit on top of cup (not turning the cup over) using the materials. Once they successfully built their first bed, Miss. Lyons began giving them challenges: “use only paper”, “use only pipecleaners” etc., It was so fun to watch how each student interpreted this challenge and all of their different creations!

Lastly, with having such amazing weather to finish off our week, we took to the outdoors to participate in some fun blow paint art! Their art work turned out amazingly!

Nature Scavenger Hunt

We had such a great day today! It was the most beautiful weather this morning so we definitely took advantage of it! We began our day by going on a nature scavenger hunt. Students were divided up into 7 teams and given a carton filled with objects found in our field. As a team, students had to go and find the same objects and add them to the their cartons. Students worked very hard & well together and loved getting to explore their playground. Miss. Lyons just wishes that she had remembered to take her allergy medicine this morning…. there was A LOT of sneezing!

Once we found all of our objects we headed back into the classroom to investigate, observe and talk about our discoveries. Here, we talked about what each item was (in French and English), we talked about their descriptive features (hard, soft, small, prickly etc.,). Then, we started to compare some of the SAME objects; this encouraged us to practice our math language! “Ce rocher est plus gros que ce rocher.”, “Cette roche est plus petite que cette roche”. We also worked on ordering our items from smallest to biggest!

We didn’t stop there! We then used our findings to make art! We squished our weeds, dandelions, wood etc, to use their natural ink to make unique pieces of art! These amazing art creations will be going up on display on our bulletin board outside our classroom tomorrow! Can you believe all of this learning came from a simple nature scavenger hunt?! Science, math, art- oh my!

We certainly had a fun filled and busy day! There is so much learning happening and investigations underway. We can’t wait for tomorrow to keep growing our brains!

Flowers in KJSC

Hi there!

If this is your first time stopping by here, I am going to guess that you are following along because I am now your child’s Kindergarten teacher! Myself and the school sent home a newsletter yesterday offering a little insight as to who I am, my background, how to contact me and my teaching philosophy. As mentioned in my newsletter, I will be updating this space with our activities and what we are getting up to throughout the week, regularly. So, if you’re keen to know what your little munchkins are spending their days doing, check in here!

With the beautiful weather welcoming us, we decided that we should bring that into our classroom! We now have our own flower shop up and running where we can explore different kinds of flowers, sort and count different variations and exercise our bouquet designing skills!

Our centres are also beginning to reflect these interests! From writing to math, from painting to science, we have some pretty fun activities up our sleeves! We are going to be exploring the outdoors; how do plants grow? what kinds of bugs and insects are in our environment? Tomorrow we will be going on a nature scavenger hunt in our big field and later in the week we will be planting our own sunflowers! We will watch our sunflowers grow, observe, notice and record their changes and then bring them home at the end of the year!

I have included some of our Design plans that we have created so far! Students chose if they wanted to design a bouquet, yard, vase or garden. I love seeing how each child sees their bouquet/yard/vase/garden and how they are so different from their peers! Do you see your little one’s artwork? Check back soon for more fun!

 

 

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.

IMG_8572

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.

IMG_8578

IMG_8579

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.

IMG_8580

IMG_8581

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

IMG_8586

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!

IMG_0133

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.

IMG_8574

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.

IMG_8563

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!

IMG_8568

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!).

IMG_0117

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.

IMG_0116

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!

IMG_0111

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

IMG_0112IMG_0113

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? 

IMG_0115

“Sky Colour” Imagination & Art Activity

I have always been a big fan of the books by Peter H. Reynolds. If you teach in an elementary school I highly doubt that you have never read “The Dot”. Many of my kinder students had read that particular book, so I decided to try out “Sky Colour”.

Sky Colour is about a girl name Marisol who is a great artist! Her class is tasked with creating a mural and she decides to paint the sky. But when she goes to begin, she realizes that there is no blue paint… How can she paint the sky without blue paint?

Marisol goes home and notices that at different times of the day, the sky changes colours… Blue, orange, purple, black, grey…. Hmmm…

Marisol goes to school the next day with a renewed ambition and she raced for the paints and began mixing every colour! The sky she paints is every colour! When her classmate asks her, “What colour is THAT?”, Marisol responds, “THAT is Sky Colour!”. 

As a class, we began talking about how things can look differently to each of us! Whether it is the sky, the ocean or even…. our problems! But what we learned was that there is no ONE right way to paint the sky, the ocean etc., and there is no ONE right way to solve a problem.

The students were then given the opportunity to create their own sky! Using (precut/rationed) tissue paper of many different colours, students made a sky collage. Each student’s creation was wonderful and drastically different, but none the less, a sky!

IMG_7948.JPG