Sunday, 8 November 2015

Exploring, investigating, and creating: Learning more about ourselves and each other!

We strive to provide children with a learning environment that encompasses explorations, investigations, open, guided and explicit instruction. We try to meet the individual needs of our learners which are all unique in their abilities, learning styles, and background experiences. But most importantly it is through play that children develop and learn important skills such as self-regulation.

"The abilities of children to regulate their own emotions, behaviours, and attention increase over time with maturation, experience, and responsive relationships. Supporting self-regulation is a central focus of early development because self-reguation skills lead to physical, social, emotional, behavioural, and cognitive competence."
The Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program

According to The Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program: Self-regulation is central to a child's capacity to learn. It is "a cornerstone of development and a central building block of early learning" (Charles Pascal, Every Child, Every Opportunity: Curriculum and Pedagogy for the Early Learning Program, p. 4). The ability to self-regulate, or to set limits for onself, allows a child to develop the emotional well-being and the habits of mind, such as persistence and curiosity, that are essential for early learning and that set the stage for lifelong learning. Self-regulation involves attention skills, working memory, and cognitive flexibility-qualities that provide the underpinning for essential skills needed throughout life, such as planning and problem-solving skills (ibid., p. 4). Self-regulation allows children to have positive social interactions and sets a pattern of behaviour that will benefit them throughout their lives. Social, emotional, and cognitive self-regulation and the ability to communicate with others are foundational to all forms of learning and have been shown to be best developed in play-based environments (p. 7., 2010-11).

"It has long been acknowledged that there is a strong link between play and learning for young children, especially in the areas of problem solving, language acquisition, literacy, numeracy, and social, physical, and emotional skills. Young children actively explore their environment and the world around them through a process of learning-based play."
The Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program

I hope you enjoy these moments of learning from the past few months and I hope you view them through a new lens!

M. S. reading the poem Pick a Pumpkin to his classmates! As students walk into class each morning, they each take turns reading classroom poems to each other until everyone has signed in. I love seeing them take turns, share the reading, and help each other out with reading. They have gotten to the stage where this is all done independently. 

F. W. playing a matching numbers game with B. P.!

C. C. and A. R. playing a new math game together!

Quickly! Guess how many dots!

These two students decided they wanted to create some yoga poses for the class! They modeled it after the book "I AM YOGA". 

This area is used by students when they are tired or would like to engage in calming activities. A wonderful space supporting self-regulation.

C. D. decided she wanted to go to our yoga area and practice some yoga poses.

One day I asked the students what we can do to "grow our learning?" The red dots are what they came up with during our discussion. 
I noticed that some students never attempted some things and chose to just say they couldn't do it. This has become a wonderful support for all our learners!

Everyone is a mentor in our classroom because everyone is good at something! But being able to ask for help is key! Here is C. C. placing a piece of paint paper up for M. K. so he can paint.

Painting at the easel takes a lot of skill! But we have such wonderful mentors that it's become quite simple for some of our new friends to learn! We have many brushes to choose from and many paint colours that the students created themselves! We stress how important it is to have an idea first before starting so that one knows what type of brushes and colours will be needed!

Here is a look at the cleaning process after one is done painting at the easel! Lots of brushes to clean, re-filling the jar with fresh water, and placing everything back in the proper place for the next person. Well done C. T.!

A gorgeous day for a neighbourhood pumpkin tally walk!

S. T. and L. B. creating a pattern together using natural materials from our Rock Garden.

Playing teacher at the easel!

A few students decided to do a t-chart and sort the letters by straight lines and curved line. Take a look at what they started noticing while they did this. They got a bit confused with some but you should be able to figure out what they discovered!

Math concepts happen so often during play! Can you see all the math in their (N. M. and A. R.) creation? They shared it all with their peers!

J. K. and B. P. worked together on this detailed number story at the math carpet. Every piece placed had a purpose in their story! Here they are sharing their creation with classmates.

Creating surveys and asking classmates which pumpkin we should carve?

E. B. and J. K. creating a number story about different animals eating and playing with each other!

Extending our learning of patterns. They do not need to be straight! B. P. created this amazing growing design pattern! This has lead to a discussion about symmetry.

J. B. started using a My Story template to draw and "write" the story he created at the light table.

Z. G. and F. D. spend a few days counting all the seeds from the green pumpkin we cut open. They wanted to use the fastest method for counting. After some planning, they opted to use a few hundred charts and ten frame templates. They reported 406 seeds! A wonderful experience they shared with classmates!

But the seed experience wasn't over for Z. G. From the time we cut open our pumpkin he told me he had a plan to not only count all the seeds but to give everyone the same amount in little baggies to take home for crafts, planting or roasting. Here he is with A. J. helping him count ten seeds in every bag!

I have to admit, I wasn't sure how Z. G. was going to figure out how to give everyone the same number of seeds. But he asked me for 31 bags. He included myself and Mrs. Powell in his seed giving. He numbered the bags so he knew what bag number they were on and would know how many more to do. Ten seeds were then placed in every bag! Sure there are seeds left over but they did manage to give everyone the same number! Z. G. told me the leftover seeds were for the Art Studio so we can make art with them.  

K. C. surveying a classmate about our pumpkins. We often use surveys when we want to make decisions as a whole group. The students also like to vote. 

M. O. using a mirror to explore symmetry.

We are Mathematicians! 

I started printing pictures of learning moments. The students enjoy documenting their work and sharing it with the class. This particular documentation was placed on the math (We are Mathematicians) board.

E. B. and P. M. worked together to created this number story at the math carpet.

Our magnetic sight word board is carried around by students where they can easily see the words. Often students also take individual sight words with them and place them back once they are done using them. 

Log Book writing with one group of students.

Math instruction/games with another group of students.

Literacy instruction/games with a third group of students.
The groups all rotate to different activities depending on the day of the week.

M. N. drawing how her heart felt today. Knowing how children feel each day and listening to their explanations allowed me to support them better during the day and enabled them to reflect and recognize their emotions. 

S. F. made a card for C. P. but she didn't know how to write his name. He then got his name tag and wrote it down for her to see. Very resourceful!

A. F. created a survey about feelings and asked her peers how they felt today.

A few friends created a name graph at the math carpet. Based on the names they used, the found that M. N. as the longest name and Z. G. was the shortest! Here they are sharing their work with their classmates! Sharing is so important! It not only celebrates the work done by students, but also promotes oral communication, reading skills, critical thinking skills in terms of the questions and comments made by the audience, and supports the growth of new learning from others!

P. M. and G. S. creating self portraits of how they are feeling using open ended materials!

C. D., S. T., and B. P. drawing and writing about their story called Pony Lake at the construction area. 

A. F. and C. D. created a number line and growing pattern at the math carpet. They are documenting their work.

I enjoy when students bring things they find outside into the classroom. They usually have some great ideas as to what they want to do with them. These two girls brought in some leaves, grabbed a ruler and wanted to measure them so they can compare sizes.

It's important for children to challenge themselves, take pride in their work, and try to do their best. We co-created this display to know what best work entails. This applies to any area in the classroom!
The other chart on the right (How we write) demonstrates a few stages of writing. It's main objective is for students to think and see themselves as writers and to get reluctant "writers" to attempt to make a mark on paper. 

Painting with a friend has become quite a trend in our class. I am so happy that I was able to capture this tender moment between M. K. and E. C. as they explored using black and white paint together.

Look at the joy in their faces! I was walking by and i noticed how excited they they were because they created pink using red and white paint! Funny they weren't as interested in their painting as much but rather what colour the dirty water turned, which was pink! I would  have never known by looking at this picture what was making them so happy. Context is everything!

Our weekly sketching time with Mrs. Powell. During this time students get a quick lesson on different elements of design such as colour, line, shape, texture, form. Students are also introduced and shown how to use various art materials such as oil pastels, chalk pastels, charcoal, water colour paint, acrylic paint, clay, sharpies, etc. Students sketch still art, create self portraits, and learn about different art techniques. Sketching supports students with their fine motor, attention to detail by looking closely, and forming relationships with things they are creating. 

1 comment:

  1. Can you please run a classroom for grown-ups? All these photos are making me want to come back to school! :)
    AMAZING! So glad the blogging is back!!