This week the students walked into a newly set-up classroom with a whole new set of routines and they were incredible. It was as if both kindergarten classes had been together all along.
We started our week off with a gift from our classroom fairy. She let us know that she had heard how amazing we were at caring for each other so she decided to bring us a classroom pet to care for. She also let us know that the classroom pet was going to go through a big change, just as our class had. She left us a song about the characteristics of living things and had us guess what the living thing was. We learned in the song that insects have 6 legs and 3 body parts. When we saw that this was one of the clues about our pet we guessed it was an insect. A few students shared that caterpillars went through a big change. They guessed our pet correctly!
The more we studied our caterpillars and the life cycle of a butterfly, the more it made us think of patterns in nature. The students found repeating segments on the caterpillars and made caterpillar patterns with 2D pattern blocks. Students spoke about how the life cycle is a pattern that repeats over and over again. They acted out this process in song, through drama and drew this process.
Students explored symmetry and reviewed their primary and secondary colours while making different butterfly art projects.
Students also wrote about what they had learned about the butterfly life cycles. It was wonderful to see so many ages and stages of writing. Some students worked on their pencil grip by holding a small magic crystal in their hands and wrapping three fingers around it. This helped them hold their marker with a pincer grip.
Our senior kindergarten students started sounding out their words and copied scribed sentences about the butterfly life cycle. The junior kindergarten students worked on letter recognition and fine motor skills by tracing over words relating to the butterfly life cycle. We also incorporated math and shapes as they created symmetrical butterfly art. As we played with shapes we ran out of hexagons. Students learned they could put two trapezoids together and three rhombuses together to make hexagons.
What a week filled with enthusiasm and new learning. We can't wait to see what next week brings.
This week our theme was caring for each other and treating people with kindness. In our first read aloud we reflected on how if we want to care for others we have to care for ourselves too. We read a beautiful story called, "I am Enough." After we had done this, we made self-portraits out of tree stumps and objects from nature. We counted how many objects we used and learned about how tree rings can help you learn the age of a tree.
We also read a story called, "The Kindness Quilt". We decided to make a classroom kindness quilt to display acts of kindness we had bestowed upon others. We used 2D shapes to make a pattern border on our quilt square first. We talked about the names of each shape and the type of pattern we used (AB, AAB, ABB or ABC).
On Wednesday we listened to the story, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today." We learned that everyone has an invisible bucket over their head and when we do kind things it fills their bucket and when we do unkind things it dips from their bucket. We learned the Bucket-Filler song and brainstormed ways we could be kind to our classmates and family. We also explored symmetry and shapes by making origami buckets.
The Senior Kindergarten students learned to draw buckets and wrote down one way they could fill someone else's bucket.
Finally, on Friday we read stories about Thanksgiving. We spoke about how when we tell others we are thankful for something they have done it fills their bucket. We also spoke about how just by noticing the things we are thankful for, it fills our own buckets. We were thankful for a lovely week together!
This week, we continued on with our theme that we are all different and because of this we can learn from each other. We explored how we all have different opinions, tastes, stories, experiences and strategies to face hard feelings. We talked about how we need to respect each others differences.
On Orange Shirt Day, students learned about a little girl Phyllis who attended a residential school. She was so proud to wear her new orange shirt on her first day of school but when she arrived, she was told how they all needed to dress the same and her individual voice did not matter. The students spoke up and made connections that this was not kind because we all need to learn from each other's differences. We made self-portraits to show that each child and their individual voices matter.
Students also learned about their primary and secondary colours when we painted rocks orange. We had a scavenger hunt to find primary colours in the yard (red, yellow and blue) and secondary colours in the yard (green, violet and orange). We used our knowledge of the primary and secondary colours mix orange for our rocks. We then wrote on them, "I Matter". Students were also encouraged to use these as worry rocks at home as we have our ladybug worry rocks in class.
This week, we also learned about another strategy to deal with our individual worries. We read the book Ruby finds a worry. This book taught us that just by telling someone our worry, it helps the worry to get smaller and go away. We made worry dolls in class. Our classroom fairy brought us the supplies and told us the fairies we made would have magical powers. Felicity the Fairy said that when we whispered our worries to our dolls that they would get smaller.
This week, students also learned that we all have different things that bother us and what we can do if someone is "bugging" us. As a playful activity, we made bugs out of items from nature. We learned the classroom script we could use when someone does something to bother or bug us. The students learned to put their hands on their hips in a confident way and say, "I don't like that. It makes me sad and mad and I want you to STOP!" The students also learned to draw bugs on Kids Art Hub.
Another wonderful book we read this week was Carla's Sandwich. This book taught us that we all like to eat different foods and all have different tastes. The student designed a specialty sandwich based on what they like to eat. As an outdoor activity, they created a mud kitchen in our kindie yard and made different food creations! As a math activity we also learned about measurement, fractions and capacity as we prepared sand playdough together.
We were so proud of our hard working students this week and look forward to another amazing week ahead!
We had a wonderful week together in room 127. Our theme this week was examining how we are all different and how this enables us to learn from one another. Our day we used drama games to act out different things we were good at. We played a game, "Guess What I am Good At?" where students had to act out something they were proud of and the other students had to guess what it was. As our art activity that day students drew self-portraits of themselves and wrote what they were good at underneath.
We also looked at our different names this week. Students created beautiful name tags from objects found in nature and other craft materials. We sorted our names alphabetically, by how many syllables they had and how many letters they had.
When looking at names we read the story about a mouse can Chrysanthemum. This story taught us to be proud of all our different names. After hearing this story, the students learned to draw mice. As a language extension they named their mice.
The students also looked at how we can use our strengths to work together as a team this week. Here, the students worked in groups of three to each add individual items to a terrarium. We saw that when we all added our personal touch to a project we could collectively create something beautiful. We extended the learning here by exploring the needs of plants. We reviewed how to care for our plant it needed soil, sunlight and water.
This week also looked at how we all need different things to find our inner balance. We learned about different breathing techniques we could use to become calm when we are feeling tired, angry, worried or sad. Students wrote about what type of breathing they liked best and taught these techniques to the Junior Kindergarten students. As a fun STEM activity to go with this theme, the student made balance buddies. They learned about weight distribution as they tried to balance their buddies on their hands.
We had such a peaceful week together and the students were so focussed and eager to learn. We were so proud of them and cannot wait for our week ahead!
This week our SKs were introduced to their new classroom and so many new routines. They met this new experience and learning with enthusiasm!
Each morning we started our day outside with morning circle. We sang our greeting songs and opened our mystery box to find our theme story of the day. This week, our theme was around our new routines. We then worked on different STEM tasks. These tasks included lessons in Mathematics and were also tied to a mini science lesson in class that the students listened to as they ate their snacks. This week our STEM activities included making crowns, to celebrate their first day, using 2D shapes and patterning to make germ pictures, using a pattern to make lanyards and testing our counting skills by making colourful ladybug worry rocks.
When they finished their writing, students explored their personal bins. They worked on tracing their letters, numbers or drawing while they waited for others to be done.
When they finished their writing, students listened to our daily phonics song. This is a cue to put away their bins and get out their yoga mat for yoga time.
After lunch, students engaged in outdoor inquiry outside followed by physical education. In outdoor inquiry this week, we pulled up the weeds in our planters outside and started planting our perennials. While pulling out the plants we examined the roots and spoke about how the roots carry water and nutrients to the plant.
After this, students came in for a snack and our learning centres component of the day. While listening to meditation music, students spread out on their yoga mats to build a creation of their choice. When they were done, students put the contents of their individual centre into a mesh bag to be washed.
After a long day, students prepared to go home and finish off the day with Mystery Object outside. What a wonderful week. We are so proud of our wonderful, clever and hard-working students!
This week the students continued to study great change makers who stood up for what they believed in when they were treated in an unfair way. Our first story was about Viola Desmond. The students learned that until the Civil Rights act in 1964 people were given different rights based on the colour of their skin in the United States and Canada. The students learned how strong Viola Desmond was for refusing to sit separately from white people in a movie theater in Nova Scotia. For her action she was put in jail. One student exclaimed how this hurt his heart because our differences make us special and it would be boring if we all looked the same. The students had the change to retell this story using artifacts and pictures. We turned our dramatic play area into a movie theater and talked about how important it was to include others in our play.
After listening to many stories over the week on change-makers such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks, the students started making a class book on their favourite change maker.
We cannot wait to read and present our Change Maker's Book at our Reader's Cafe when we return. The new date will be announced as soon as we know when we will be returning to school!
The students used special water colour pencil crayons to add colour to their Kindness Quilt Squares. We cannot wait to also present this quilt to you at our Reader's Cafe.
To prepare for our Reader's Cafe, we also opened up a General Store in our dramatic play centre. The students have been working all year on counting to $1 in different ways. We are hoping to bake goods and pretend to sell these treats at the cafe. This week they wored on counting by 5, 10 and 25 independently with our play money.
The students who attended the last day of school before the break were given a vacation journal. Over this extended break use this time to follow your child's lead and make activities they love educational. Bake with them and learn about fractions, capacity and measurement. Write out recipes and scrapbook with them. If they loved to build take a picture of their creation and have them write a sentence about it or label a diagram. Write letters to friends they can't see for a while. Play freeze dance to phonics or counting songs. I will miss my students over the break. I hope everyone stays healthy.
ABC mouse, Adventure Academy and ReadingIQ are online resources that can also be used during this time. Due to school closures they have waived the fee for these programs. Our school code is:
Redeem Code: SCHOOL8866 (This code will work for all 3 products.)
For Children in 3rd Through 8th Grade
This week, Lightning asked the students if they could research what a change-maker was. Our friend Felicity the fairy told Lightning that if he wanted to see an example of a change-maker he should learn about Harriet Tubman. The students loved hearing stories about Harriet Tubman. We found out she was born into slavery in Maryland the 1820s. Even though it was dangerous, Harriet knew slavery was not right and she escaped to freedom on the Underground Railroad. The students said she had personal power because she was brave and listened to her heart. During her life, Harriet brought over 300 slaves to freedom. Even though there was a $40, 000 reward for her capture, Harriet made 19 trips back to the South to free as many people from slavery as she could.
After we had heard a couple of different versions of Harriet's life story, the students made Harriet Tubman puppets and used the puppet theatre to act out her story. They also helped illustrate and add material to a book about Harriet Tubman.
During sensory play, the students played with different symbols around the Underground Railroad. Our weekly batch of play dough also explored this theme. During our block play the student built a path of safe houses to represent the Underground Railroad.
Other books we explored this week included the Howard B. Wigglebottom series. This bouncy bunny really illustrates what personal power looks like. He is a brave character who listens to his heart even when he is scared. The students reflected on how this made him stronger. Another book we read was about Dr. Temple Grandin. Temple Granin has autism and as a girl was mistreated for not acting the same as her classmates. This amazing change-maker taught the students about how thinking differently is a gift. Her ability to see things in a new way made her an incredible inventor and make positive changes in the world. Another change-maker we studied was Misty Copeland who was the first African-American principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater.
To further explore how we can be change-makers, the students reflected on what they had done over the week to help others. We started working on the squares of our Kindness Quilt. Stay tuned for the finished product of this wonderful artwork.
Seeing how responsible the students were and how determined they were to help one another. We decided it was time to give the students official classroom jobs. The students rose to this occasion. The best part was that when they had each completed their jobs during tidy up time they looked to see if anyone else needed help. Another monumental event that took place was that this week each day the students all helped one another get their backpacks on. The kindergarten team stood back and watched as each student helped their friends get their backpacks off the fence and put it on their backs. We were so proud of them.
As a final positive contribution to our classroom community, the students continued to write Happy Monday Messages for one another. After having modeled this skill for them for the past 6 months, the students were ready to take this responsibility on themselves.
This week, the students continued to study secret messages that the slaves used in the mid 1800s to help them escape to freedom in Canada and some northern states in the U.S. We read edited versions of The Patchwork Path and Clara and the Freedom quilt and saw how the quilt squares had secret messages that would help the slaves escape. After reviewing symbols hidden in songs and the quilts, the students designed their own quilt squares.
The students explained in their quilt squares how the slaves needed to go North, follow the Drinking Gourd (Big Dipper), wade in the water so it would wash away their scent and even follow bear tracks to find clean water. One student wrote how the road to freedom would be dangerous. She remarked how the escaping slaves had so much personal power and strength.
To incorporate this theme in Mathematics, the students made symbols such as Peg-Leg Joe, quails (the first sign of Spring and when the slaves should leave) and a boat with the pattern blocks. They also made quilt squares using the pattern blocks. As the dominoes looked like stars in the sky, the students also used them for an adding game.
To conclude this weekly unit, we read the book The Kindness Quilt in class. We talked about how the slaves helped each other by putting secret messages in a quilt. In the Kindness Quilt the characters help each other and record their acts of kindness into a quilt.
Weekly Happy Monday Messages:
This week the students got a letter from Lightning. He was in the blue zone and feeling very sad. We found out that Lightning had been to a monster party where he was the only one there with Green fur. Other monsters made fun of him for being different. As a group we spoke about how our differences make us special and if how we were all the same it would be very boring. Also, if we were all the same we would not be able to learn from one another.
The students looked at what personal power is. This means being true to your heart and what you believe or like if you are alone or in a group. We role played what we could say if someone made fun of us for having a different hair style, shirt or opinion. We read a book called the Sneetches based on this theme and Amazing Grace. In this book when Grace is told by one of her peers that she cannot audition for the role of Peter pan because she is a girl and she is black, Grace uses her personal power, listens to her heart and does it anyways. She is given the part of Peter Pan and soars in this role.
Continuing on with our bucket-fillers theme, the students looked at ways they could make Lightning feel better. One student remembered that if you dip someone else's bucket it is usually because your bucket is empty. Another student remembered that when you fill someone else's bucket it also fills your bucket too. The students decided to write notes to Lightning and their friends to fill their buckets. We also worked together on putting a quiet corner together in case anyone is in the blue zone and needs recharging.
After we had visited the topics of personal power, learning from our differences and helping those around us by filling their buckets we found another note from Lighting. He wanted us to study the book Follow the Drinking Gourd. In this book the students learned (in an age appropriate way) about slavery and the Underground Railroad. They followed the story of Molly and her family who as slaves were treated like property instead of people. The students learned how the song called Follow the Drinking Gourd held a secret message that would help slaves escape on a path where they could be free in Canada.
The students learned that Molly and her family followed the constellation The Big Dipper (The Drinking Gourd) which pointed to the North Star. The lyrics held a secret map. The students like being detectives and decoding the song. As a sensory activity the students made constellations in our sensory bin. As a math exercise they also used dice to add numbers together and cover giant stars made of pattern blocks.
To conclude our week, the students wrote Happy Monday Messages for each other. The students really loved filling each other's buckets and in doing so, their own as well.
This Tuesday our class celebrated the 100th day of school! This was a very exciting event. We started our day by forming the number 100 with our bodies in our outdoor playground. When it was time to come inside, the students counted by 25s, 10s, 5s and then by 1s until we reached our classroom door.
Inside, the students participated in many learning centres. They made the number 100 with loose parts.
They also counted out 100 fruit loops and made 100th day of school necklaces.
In our final project, students used counters to make 100th day of school crowns.
On Thursday this week we celebrated Valentine's Day in our class. As the students arrived in the class they found a letter from Lightning. He urged us to fill each other's buckets that day. He left us a book and a song to explain what that meant. The student made the connection that filling someone's bucket was just like making their hearts bigger. When we do something to make someone feel good it also fills our bucket or makes our hearts feel bigger. Lightning also left us a template of a letter we could use to write someone a letter and fill their buckets.
Other activities the students participated in on Thursday included making hearts with our pattern blocks, decorating their Valentine's bags and making love bugs.
In the afternoon the students participated in a scientific experiments with candy hearts. They made predictions about whether a candy heart would sink or float in soda, water and vinegar. The students also recorded their observations around the results of the experiment. Another game they loved playing was roll to 20 with candy hearts. Each time the students filled up their tens frame with candy hearts they traded it in for a tens bar. When this happened they got to eat the candy. This was a very exciting way to build numbers.
Throughout the day the students got to fill each other's buckets by taking charge of our weekly Happy Monday Messages. All the students reported something a friend had done to fill their buckets that day. They felt so good highlighting their friend's accomplishments. It certainly was a short week together but it was filled with so much sweetness!