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.