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!
This very short week in class, the students started gearing up for the 100th day of school. Over the past few months the students have worked on how many days we have been in school using a place value chart, units and tens bars. They have counted to the number of the day by 1s and have practiced counting to 100 by 5s, 10s and 25s. We have done this using songs, base ten blocks and coins. The students have also been working on writing out their numbers during our daily number routine. This week the students looked at different patterns in a 100s chart each and how these patterns help them predict which number comes next.
During learning buddies with the grade 6&7 students, our kindies had the opportunity to explore the number 100 in a variety of fun ways. They used the 2D solids to see if they could build the number 100. They also played a game called roll to 100 where they had to see who could get to the number 100 first. The students also were given the materials to make a necklace with 100 beads. As a fine-motor and counting activity, the students also counted out 10 groups of 10 beads using tongs and muffin tins. They also played with number tiles.
For sensory play, the students played with pretend snow and magnets. They were challenged to count by 10 in order to 100. We also made our weekly batch of playdough. With cookie cutters and base ten units the students were also challenged to make different numbers to 100. We are certainly all set to celebrate the 100th day of school on Monday!
This week we continued to build our dragon for our Lunar New Year parade. As we built our dragon, Lightning challenged us to look at patterns in our dragon with colour and sound. The students created AB patterns in our dragon with yellow and red streamers. They also learned that they could create patterns with sound and movement for our parade. The students created drums and made patterns in sound, used ribbons to create dance patterns. As we did this we looked at the pattern core, AB, AAB, and ABC patterns.
In studying the colours in our dragon float, the students also continued to learn about primary and secondary colours. We reviewed how red (magenta), blue (cyan) and yellow were primary colours. We learned how these three colours could mix together to make the secondary colours. Students had the opportunity to make the secondary colours with lenses and paint.
This week we also got a message from Felicity the Fairy letting us know that there was a contest going on in Fairyland for the Lunar New Year. She told us that if the students built dragons with the pattern blocks the images would be printed in The Fairytimes Newspaper. Students quickly got to work. After they were done they wrote about their creations and identified which shapes they used.
We ended our week with our dragon parade through the school. The students proudly showed off our dragon through the high school, our elementary school and the preschool. While doing so they danced and sang our Chinese New Year song. It was a wonderful event to build community and showcase what we had learned this week.
This week when the students walked in they found a note from Lightning. He told the students that he left them a box some books and a song. He wanted the students to infer what he wanted them to make with the box based on what they learned from the song and the stories. After listening to the song and stories, the students figured out that we would be making a Dragon for Lunar New Year. We learned that in Chinese culture dragons are a symbol for a river and rain spirit. On New Years Day fireworks are set off to wake up the dragon so that this spirit may bring on the rain and the Spring.
Before we started creating our dragon, we reviewed our 3D shapes and looked to see if we had any of these shapes that we could incorporate into our dragon's head around the class. The students uncovered that we had cylinders (toilet paper rolls), styrofoam spheres and a square-based prism (cracker box) that we could add to the creating. We explored measurement as we followed a recipe to make papier mache paste.
As we continued our research into the customs of Lunar New Year, we learned that on this occasion, families give each other red envelopes that contain money. We learned that by giving the money to children, elders are hoping to pass on a year of good fortune and blessings. Another version is given by the younger generation to their elders as a blessing of longevity and a show of gratitude. Students used red envelopes to match coins to the corresponding number on the front. They also put two envelopes together to add the money together.
Students explored Lunar New Year using their senses as well. We made playdough as a class on Tuesday and experimented with putting it in different Chinese moulds. To help build their fine motor skills while exploring symbols from Lunar New year, students were given the opportunity to use chopsticks.
Jane also taught the students the symbols for the animals in the lunar calendar. Students were shown how to make these Chinese symbols using brush painting. This magic paper let the students paint on it with water over and over again as when it dried it was a clear canvas again!
Last week, the students started thinking about what their goals would be for the year. We spoke about how we are all different and how we all have unique goals and things we want to get better at. The students took their time to draw their self-portrait and write their goal for the year.
After they had done the first step of their portraits, the students learned about 3 star colouring. They worked hard to do their personal best on their pictures.