Wednesday, 25 June 2014

June Adventures!

Before posting the June adventures video, I decided to show the students the video accompanied to a few different songs. Since it is their work, I wanted to post the video to the song they most enjoyed. So we watched the video to each of the three songs, and did a survey to determine which song would be played with the video on the blog. We had such a close result that students wanted to show the same video to both songs.

What a memorable learning adventure! Thank you to our families, and most importantly our students, for enlightening us with joy and wonder everyday!


Mrs. Ralph and Ms. Powell

Sunday, 22 June 2014

How many different 3-D figures can you make?

Creating Unique 3-D Figures: A Lesson in Discovering “Sameness” Through Flips, Turns, and Rotations
By: Welcome to the Math for Young Children, The Blantyre Lesson Study Team, Public Lesson, 2012

This activity, which lasted for a couple weeks, supported students in understanding that certain 3-D figures, although different in orientations, could be flipped or rotated and be made to look the same. In discovering how and why some 3-D figures were the same, students also learned how and why some 3-D figures were different.

As some students progressed from building with 3 interlocking cubes to eventually building with 4 or 5 interlocking cubes, they were increasingly challenged to think of the multiple combinations in which the interlocking cubes could be combined to create new and unique 3-D figures.
Blantyre Lesson Study Team, 2012, pg. 4

The students were very engaged and worked tirelessly trying to figure out how many different 3-D figures they could create if using 3, 4 or 5 interlocking cubes. It was wonderful to see the level of camaraderie that developed during this activity. 

"If they are flipped it looks different." A.T.

"I put this one like this and I put this one a different way, they looked different. I flipped them around and I could tell they were the same shape!". O.S.


"You can't make so many shapes, there are only certain ways to make the shapes with three cubes!" D.S.

"There are four ways because if you make a chair with two on the bottom and one on the top, you can flip it and make it into something else." G.B.

"No, it doesn't change the shape because you are just flipping it and you don't take it apart. They're all the same, you don't pull it apart, you are just flipping it over and over. You can only make two shapes with three cubes." A.M.

"It was a little harder to build with the four cubes because it took long to make all the different shapes. I thinked it and then I found that this shape was missing." M.P.

"Once you get past six shapes it gets hard!" E.H.

"I got it! This one is missing!" A.P. 

"Oh yea! It was pretty hard because on the last one I could't have anymore ideas and I tried and tried and I didn't know how to do it. I saw that two were the same and then I was trying to fix it but I had no more ideas and M.P. and C.D. helped me." H.S.

With minimal teacher guidance, students explored, investigated and started helping others when they were stuck. They naturally started working in pairs and groups, reasoning with each other, comparing, and debating, in order to accomplish the task of figuring out as many different 3-D figures as possible.   

This is a great challenging activity that can be continued at home. All you need is some interlocking cubes! 
*Hint: 2 possible 3-D figures if using 3 cubes, 8 possible 3-D figures if using 4 cubes, and 29 possible 3-D figures if using 5 cubes! Good luck! 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Extending our inquiry learning...

What a wonderful surprise! Today G.B. was excited to share the book she made about rocks with Ms. Powell and I, as well as her class friends!  

"I got some rocks at my birthday party, and I got the idea to make a book because those rocks were so cool. I thought maybe I can write about what they could have been, like the purple one could have been an amathyst, and the blue one could have been from aquamarine, and I thought the pink one would be from the red gem stone called ruby. In my back yard there is a big rock and it sort of looks like a fossil, so I thought it could be a real fossil so I wrote about it. We have a fossil in our class and it looks the same like the one in my yard!" G.B. 

Real authentic learning is even more evident when it extends outside the classroom. Following students' interests in kindergarten supports engagement and motivation and encompasses many curriculum expectations!

G.M. brought in his rock kit to share with the class.

We love when students share their learning with us!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Meeting new friends and families!

Ms. Powell and I had a great time meeting new friends and families at our open house for new students! We set up some invitations for learning and were pleased to see how engaged our new friends and families were, cutting, observing, and creating with the variety of materials! We were excited to see that even our hermit crab friends, Dottie and Pinche came out of their shell to say hi to all the new faces! They were a huge deal with the crowd! 

It was so nice to meet everyone! We are so excited to start our learning journey with you! 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

School and Home Learning Connections

There is nothing more validating for an educator then when the learning that takes place at school is extended to the home environment. The following pictures were taken by the families of some of the students in our class. I was told in many of the emails, that their child was quite persistent on having the picture taken to share what they saw or created! I am so excited that they are learning that technology supports learning and sharing this knowledge with others to discuss further! Thanks to all for sharing these wonderful pictures with us!

D.S. Sharing the garden she created at home!

"Hi Mrs. Ralph,

We were out for a bike ride and O.S. wanted to stop and share her water with the new garden. Truly an amazing learning experience for her, thank you for coordinating and developing a love of nature for her." Suzanne

E.H. Purchased a new sketch pad from Target to continue his love of sketching at home!

K.E. Created our school's fun fair!

M.P. Noticed the beautiful garden planted outside a paint store!

K.E. Sharing his herb garden at home!

C.M. Taking care of a ladybug she found at home!

We look forward to many more sharing opportunities!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Learning from a plant and garden expert!

Today the students had a big surprise! They got the chance to meet and learn from a plant and garden expert! Scientist Dave came equipped with a shovel and a Hosta, and demonstrated to the students how to plant and care for their brand new garden!

The students learned they need to water, weed, and turn over the soil in their garden, to keep their flowers alive and healthy!

The students also had some questions for our expert!

Thank you Scientist Dave for teaching us more about plants, gardening, and answering all of our questions!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Creating our beautiful flower garden!

“For students to understand their fundamental connections with all living things, they need opportunities to connect directly with the environment, and to reflect on that experience.”
Natural Curiosity: A resource for Teachers. Pg. 37

"Children learn best through their everyday experiences with the people they love and trust, and when the learning is fun. And the best place for these experiences is outdoors, in the natural world." Centre for Families, Communities, Schools and Children's Learning

After the students chose the perfect spot for our garden, a place allowing sun, rain, and shelter, it was time to get weeding and clear the space in preparation for planting the many flowers that were so graciously donated to us by our families! 

After weeding and raking the garden, it was time to plant some of the flowers. We investigated the different variety of flowers and noted that some flowers needed a lot of sun, while others preferred a bit of sun. We planted them accordingly. It was lovely to see that many of the flowers we had, stemmed from the survey choices that the students themselves created and voted on.  

After the flowers were planted, as done in our class on many creations, the students decided they wanted to place labels beside each flower so that others would know the names of the flowers we planted!

The best learning happens when it extends to the home environment, where students share their thoughts, excitements, and wonders with family! Below is E.S.' family watering our class' brand new flower garden!  Many thanks for your help on this warm sunny weekend!

Regular positive interactions within nature help children develop respect and a caring attitude for the environment. 

Young Children's Relationship with Nature: Its Importance to Children's Development & the Earth's Future