Our week started off so beautifully. Last week, the students learned the song, "I Will Remember You." They sang this song to our hesistant hibernating animals. The students wanted to reassure them that they would remember them even though they were going off to their snowy dens to hibernate for the winter. On Monday, the students sang this song at our Rememberance Day Assembly. This was a wonderful community building assembly as the pre-school, elementary school and high school gathered together. After talking about what peace means to them, the students examined a heart. They learned that a heart is symmetrical. When we made our weekly batch of playdough, the students experimented with different heart shapes and symmetry. This led them to create butterflies...and the questioning began. The students wanted to know how butterflies prepare for the winter.
Students learned that insects are cold-blooded. This means their blood takes the temperature of the air around them. If they went out in the cold and wintry air their blood would freeze! Insects such as Monarch Butterflies fly South when the winter approaches. We learned a song about the continents as an introduction to mapping so the students could examine the path taken by migrating creatures. The students also had the opportunity to make symmetrical artwork of butterflies.
Another animal that we studied that migrates South was the Canada Goose. While studying this animal we continued to look at the concept of symmetry. Students were given the opportunity to cut out silhouettes of geese. This helped with their fine motor skills and to solidify the concept of symmetry in a hands-on way. Students were also introduced to miras and shown how make symmetrical pictures with the 2D solids.
With the arrival of the first snowfall this week, the students naturally starting asking questions about what different creatures did to prepare for the winter. The students discussed how to get ready for winter, people put on more layers of clothes, wear coats, mittens, snow pants, hats and boots. They also turn on the heat. Our Kindergarten team asked students how animals get ready for winter. Through music, stories, drama and different activities the students learned that to prepare for winter some animals eat a lot of food so they can store a lot of fat. Animals such as bears, ladybugs, some bees, garter snakes, frogs and chipmunks hibernate. We learned that when they do this their breathing slows down and so does their heart-rate. During activity time the students had a lot of fun building caves for our classroom bears to hibernate in. They also used string, leaves and logs to build hibernating dens for frogs and bees who sleep underground. We learned that ladybugs hibernate together under logs or in curled up leaves.
At our sensory station, students got to use kinetic sand, cotton balls, pine cones, and cups to build snowy dens and caves for little bears. We made our weekly batch of play dough as a class and the students used it to create hibernating caves for the mini bears and other hibernating animals such as garter snakes.
After the students had built their creations, some took pictures of what they had built and then wrote about it for our Writer's Wall. Some used knowledge gained from daily lessons and stories to draw their own pictures and create a sentence to go with it.
After our daily letter and number lesson each day the students also had the opportunity to read to different hibernating animal stuffies. After introducing this once, they requested it each day.
Students also worked on hibernating animal inspired math activities this week. They reviewed the names of the 2D solids (square, triangle, rhombus, parallelogram, trapezoids & hexagons) and used them to make garter snake patterns. They also used different coloured bears to make patterns. When they completed these they were allowed to work on pattern bracelets. While looking at patterns the students also examined the pattern core which is the smallest part of the pattern that repeats over and over again. The students also were given the opportunity to weigh the bears as a measurement activity.
This week the students were interested in examining the pumpkins that were given to us by the farm last week. They worked as super scientists to describe to our classroom pumpkin all about its life cycle. The students explained to Peter the Pumpkin how he started off as a seed that held a tiny embryo inside. They explained in role how when its seed coat is softened by the rain and it is warmed by the sun it will begin to grow. The students explained to the pumpkin how first the seed would grow a shoot, then a plant. They also described how this plant would make its own food by taking in water, carbon dioxide and sunlight and turning it into oxygen and sugar. Next, the students explained how a yellow flower would grow on the pumpkin vine. Betty the bee came in to show the students how the flower was pollinated. When Betty the bee drinks nectar from the flower pollen sticks to her legs. When she flies to another flower she moves the pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part of the flower. When she does this the flower becomes pollinated and a green pumpkin begins to grow. This finally turns into an orange pumpkin.
The students made pumpkin puppets. These pumpkins had a string which held the different parts of the pumpkin life cycle. Students had to sequence these events in order. They also worked on their fine motor skills by cutting each piece out.
Students also had the opportunity to decorate pumpkins and write about their pumpkins. They also worked on their fine motor and letter forming skills using playdough with a pumpkin theme.
Our math focus this week used pumpkins to explore many different concepts. Students made pumpkin faces with 2D solids and learned the names of different polygons including triangles, squares, hexagons, rhombuses and parallelograms. They also put our pumpkins in order from biggest to smallest. Another task consisted of weighing our pumpkins and estimating how many seeds were inside and then counting them. Students also practised writing their numbers to 20 during our daily math routine. In addition to having sensory opportunities while the students scooped out the pumpkins, students were also able to explore a pumpkin boat themed water table. They looked at properties such as how many objects they could put into each pumpkin to make it float or sink.
Halloween day was a fun one in our class! We were so lucky to have a ton of parent volunteers come in and help us run a series of centres throughout the day. Students had the chance to make Halloween themed soap. They also learned to sketch a pumpkin and make spooky bat artwork with Ms. Hyma. Another wonderful parent volunteer taught the students about The Day of the Dead. Students went on a Halloween parade around the school and enjoyed many treats. They even worked together to follow a recipe and make roasted pumpkin seeds.
This week the students had the opportunity to study plants in a wonderful hands on way. On our trip to the farm the students were able to pick organic produce from the ground themselves! In doing so, they had the opportunity to see the different parts of the plant up close (leaves, stem, flower and fruit).
At the farm, a teacher gave a presentation to the students on the life cycle of a pumpkin plant. The students continued to explore this cycle in class with a little help from some classroom characters. Sammy the seed came in and reminded the students that to grow he needed the sun to put him to the right temperature and rain to soften his seed coat. Then Sammy could use his food stored inside to grow a little plant. The students then learned that first the root grows out of the plant followed by a shoot. The roots take water to the plant. The leaves then use this water with sunlight and carbon dioxide to make sugar and oxygen. The students studied the process of photosynthesis through a beautiful art project and acting it out each day.
As sensory play the students had the opportunity to assemble flowers using kinetic sand and flower parts. As a group we made our weekly batch of playdough and the students were able assemble flowers using cookie cutters, leaves, buttons and pipe cleaner.
The students learned that at the end of the life cycle of a plant, seed form in the flower or seed pod of a plant. The students had the opportunity to play with seeds during our outdoor time. We hung the seed bird feeders that we made in class the week before.
As a fun activity at the end of the week, the students helped prepare a soup using all of the produce we had acquired at the farm. The students were able to help measure the ingredients and use scissors to help cut the cabbage for the soup. We also explored what the worms in our worm bin could and could not eat and fed them our vegetable scraps. When the soup was done we went into role and played restaurant. The students had the chance to be sous chefs, servers and even dishwashers. They found this very entertaining!
This week, following their interest on the topic of seeds, the students uncovered the characters Sammy the Seed, Rachel the Rain-cloud and Simon the Sun waiting for them in our mystery box. Similar to the students' questioning, Sammy the Seed was interested in what he needed in order to grow. He hoped the students could help teach him all about this topic. After conducting research through dramatic role play, the students learned that Sammy the seed had his own food store inside to grow. He also had a baby plant or embryo inside which needed the right conditions to sprout. The students learned that when Sammy was warmed to the right temperature with the sun and his seed coat was softened by the rain, the embryo could break through and start growing.
Students had the chance to make puppets to explain what their Seed needed to grow. They practiced using scissors, drawing faces, and gluing their puppets together and then went into role to perform for their friends. The students also practiced using the words, "first, then, next and finally," when retelling a series of events.
In our gardening centre, the students had the opportunity to assemble their own mini-green houses. Before they did this the students dissected a seed that had been soaking in water for 12 hours. As they opened the seed the students could clearly see the seed coat, the embryo and the food store inside.
As our recipe of the week, students worked to measure the ingredients for playdough. This activity also helped the students to work as a team and take turns as they waited patiently in circle as each person stirred the dough 3 times.
The students had a lot of fun playing with the seeds combined with the playdough!
The students also were able to incorporate the seeds into their artwork in a series of different art activities. They made beautiful mandalas out of seeds and also created sunflowers.
Students had a lot of fun playing in the seed sensory bin this week as well. The students also had the opportunity to make bird feeders out of seed during math centres time. Students followed a recipe and learned about fractions and shapes as we assembled these bird feeders.
Last week the students discovered an apple tree in our Kindergarten yard. This lead them to come up with a series of questions which in turn lead our inquiry unit this week on the life of an apple tree.
One of the first questions from the students was how the apple tree changed over the seasons. They knew from our inquiry last week about why the leaves changed colours but they wanted to see what an apple tree looked like throughout the different seasons.
The students learned through different stories and art projects what the trees looked like over the different seasons. When they had learned this some of the students decided to tell the trees outside what would happen to them over the seasons so they were not worried about these changes.
Studying apple trees gave us so many amazing opportunities to incorporate math into our day. The students graphed each morning their favourite type of apple and which season they preferred best for our apple tree.
The students also worked to sort apples by attribute and then make patterns with the apples. This week the students were introduced to the concept of a pattern core which is the smallest part of the pattern (like a stamp) that repeats over and over again. We also had fun as a whole group measuring each other with apples! In sampling our apples the students were also introduced to the concept of a whole, a half, thirds and quarters. This also extended into a writing activity where they wrote about their favourite apples.
The students also had the chance to play with loose parts to build apple trees and see how many apples (buttons and pompoms) they could balance on top of their structure.
Our sensory activities this week included making apples out of play dough with stems, leaves and worms! The students also created pretend apple crumble in the sensory bin.
This week Felicity the Fairy let us know that because we were so good at caring for living things in our classroom she wanted to bring us a little surprise...our very own tree. Felicity let us know that there was a new baby tree in our school yard that she wanted us to care for. She also brought a tiny tree to care for in our class. The Helper of the day will be in charge of watering our classroom tree and all of the students will be in charge of watering the tree outside daily during outdoor inquiry time. As the student examined our new gift outside their curiosity led them to develop new questions which helped to guide our inquiry. One student wanted to know why leaves changed colour in the fall. Another student wanted to know why the trees lose their leaves in the fall. We explored the theme of leaves changing colours in many kinethetic ways. During math time we followed a recipe and worked together to make leave themed playdough. We sorted the leaves by attributes as well.
To further explore this theme with our senses, the students had the opportunity to play with different coloured leaves, twigs and acorns in our sensory bin.
After we mixed red and yellow dye together in our playdough we discussed primary and secondary colours. Red and yellow are primary colours. They mix together to make orange which is a secondary colour. We further explored this theme during art and mathematics as we made calendars for October.
As we gathered leaves outside, students naturally wanted to sort them by attribute. We sorted them by colour, size and shape. When we had done this we looked at what a pattern is. After we sang a song about how a pattern is something that repeats the students started to make simple patterns during centres time.
The students read a lot of books on trees and their leaves. We also used a song about leaf pigments as our tidy-up song all week. They learned that leaves have a green pigment in them called chlorophyll. In the summer the tree uses the chlorophyll along with water and sunlight to make food for the plant. In the fall, deciduous trees stop making food and go to sleep. They stop making chlorophyll and other pigments hidden under the chlorophyll such as carotenoids (that give leaves their red and yellow pigments) can now be seen. We went on a walk to the principal's office and gave all the staff there a little lecture on the pigments in the leaves. We also gave them one of the fairy gardens so they could be reminded of the green pigment chlorophyll.
As a conclusion to our inquiry on leaves this week something magical happened in our classroom. We found that the lettuce stalk we put in the snail habitat sprouted again!!! What a wonderful way to end the week!
This week, the students started to examine the needs of the living things in our classroom. On Monday, we examined our snail habitat and the students started to question if the snails had everything they needed to be healthy and happy. The students noticed that the leaves had dried up and inferred that the snails may need fresh food daily and a light mist of water in order to stay hydrated and fed. They started to ask more questions about what our snails needed during our daily, "I Wonder" session after outdoor inquiry. The students also looked at different types of lines made by snails using loose parts.
The students also looked at the habitat we had for our classroom worms and decided that their home was not big enough. Luckily Felicity the Fairy left us the supplies needed to make a proper worm bin. The students worked to build this worm bin together. When they were done, they helped write out the instructions of how they did this in our gardening centre. During this process the students discussed how worms can help the earth by breaking down organic matter such as vegetables, fruits and even paper to make new soil. We discussed how this soil was filled with nutrients such as carbon and nitrogen which helped plants to grow.
After looking at the plants, worms and snails in our class, the students noticed how all the creatures were all so different and how these differences made them special. During our morning surveys we examined how we were all different but similar at the same time. We all have feelings, we all have family, we all need food, a home, water and air to live. We talked about how because we are all different and have different strengths we can all learn from each other. We played a lot of drama games that challenged others to "guess what we are good at!" We sang songs about being unique and special. As a final writing piece this week the students drew a picture and wrote about one thing that they were good at! We hope you can check out this writing outside of our classroom.
This week, our friend Felicity the Fairy asked us if we could find a living thing to care for in the class. During our daily outdoor exploration the search began! Students found many snail shells in our school garden but only a few held living snails. Upon returning to the classroom the students generated a series of "I Wonder" questions about our new found snail friends. These questions lead our weekly inquiry.
Later in the week, the students found that Felicity the Fairy had left them step by step instructions on how to build a snail terrarium. She also helped answer many of our questions on the snails by bringing us a snail book.
To help us to study even more living things and as a grand opening of our classroom gardening centre, Felicity the Fairy brought us succulent plants and instructions on how to build our very own fairy gardens for the class. The students worked as a team to construct our first fairy garden and then worked at centres with an instructor over the course of the week to create 3 others. While transferring different plants from one container to another the students examined the plants' roots. Through their questioning, they learned that the roots help to anchor the plant and deliver water and nutrients to it.
Throughout the week, students also continued to build their number sense through our daily math routines and hands-on exploration in learning centres. This week as a group we learned the game Race to 20. Here the students examined place value and learned how when a 10s frame is full in the 1s place we trade it in for a group of 10. Students also continued to work on their number formation, pencil grip and fine motor skills through their daily number tracing.
In writing this week, students continued to work on our letter of the week "S" and our word of the week, "you". We played a quick game each day to chant the spelling of this word in silly ways. Student also had the opportunity to work as song writers this week and write a lyric to our classroom lullaby, "This Little Light of Mine." The students also had the opportunity to make a name bracelet with letter beads. We also started working on a class book which will be revealed soon!
In our classroom, instead of just reading stories, and orally telling stories to the students we try to put the students in a story. Each Monday after they have settled in the student read a morning message left to us by one of our classroom characters. This is either from Felicity the Fairy or our friend Lightning the puppet who Felicity has brought to life. This message sets a problem for the student that they would like help with. This week, Lightning was feeling sad because he didn't know how to write any of his letters and he really wanted to learn to write his name like the students had done last week. He asked the students if this week they would be able to teach him the first letter in the alphabet, "A a" and the sound that it makes. Felicity the Fairy said if we worked hard to teach Lightning she would bring a gift from Fairyland for us to reward us for our hard work. This week she brought us the materials we needed to make our own fairies.
Each morning when the students walked in, after they had put away their indoor shoes, backpacks and special folders, the students worked quietly on hands-on letter exercises. They built and practised their names and the letter A in a variety of ways. We also learned that if we held a small shell with our baby finger, ring finger and middle finger it can help us to grip our pencil properly. When the students had worked on this activity for a couple of minutes they settled down on the carpet to read letter books.
During outdoor inquiry this week, Felicity the Fairy encouraged us to find something we found magical in nature. The students found a variety of loose parts in nature which we sorted together on the pavement outside. The students guessed if I was sorting these objects by colour, size or shape. As many of them collected a variety of sticks which they believed to have magical powers, we used these sticks to play a game called, "This is a stick...but it is not a stick it is a...(and used our imagination to transform it into something else)." Something else we found outside were living things...cicadas in particular. The students carefully cared for the cicada by returning it to a nearby tree.
In the afternoons, after they came in from lunch the students were greeted with spa music. This helps to calm them down after a busy play session. After changing into their indoor shoes the students settled into our math routine. They have the opportunity to work on hands-on math activities before coming to the carpet for our mini lesson. This week we have been working on counting how many days we have been in school using a giant tens-frame on the carpet and singing our numbers to 20 through dance and movement. Whenever the students are done, they have a chance to rest and read number books on the carpet.