Learning Through Play

It’s very exciting to see Kindergarten children constructing their own knowledge during open ended, self-guided play centers each afternoon. In our classroom, children are invited to play where their interests take them. If I am not working with a small group on a project at the large table, I try to circulate to observe the conversations and self-talk happening at various centers. The Felt Board center is a favorite of several students. In this picture, a student is re-enacting and extending a class game called “Hide Your Eyes, no Peeking,” where I line up numbers 1-12 and remove one while the students cover their eyes. When they open their eyes, they raise hands to guess which number is missing. It is interesting to see the different strategies at work–some students count up from 1 to the gap to figure out the missing number, others count backwards from 12 if it is a higher number that is missing. Some students can’t name their strategy and will say, “I just know!” which means they are using a strategy so quickly and efficiently that they answer comes to them automatically, which is the goal!

When I took this photo, K. was working very hard to place the teen numbers correctly in her number line. She asked for help and I encouraged her to look for a pattern. After a few minutes, she excitedly named the pattern herself: “there’s a one, and then a next higher number!” and then we counted the numbers together once she had them all down. This was a significant moment of knowledge building for her, and helpful for me from an assessment standpoint to see the ways she was using her knowledge of patterns (something we’ve been working hard on!).

Halloween Work Stations

Treat Bags and Math Work Stations! We spent 2 weeks rotating through 11 Math Work Stations. These stations helped practice skills introduced in the first few weeks of school, such as patterning, recognizing an arrangement of items at a glance (without having to count), making five (eg. 2 and 3, 4 and 1), and matching quantities to numerals. 

We had a great time gearing up for Halloween!  We started a unit on spiders, which we will continue this week.  We are working on completing a research book using non-fiction resources, and this week we will use plasticine for the first time to construct a 3D model of a spider.  Last Monday, we headed to the Richmond Country Farms for a hay fight, wagon ride, and tromp through a very muddy pumpkin patch!  The next day our big buddies helped us carve our pumpkins, and on Wednesday our Jack-o-Lanterns participated in the school wide pumpkin carving contest in the gym.  They all looked great!  I loved seeing all of the creative costumes the children wore to school on Wednesday.  I took pictures of each person and we created a class book called, “Kindergarten, Kindergarten, What Do You See?”  If you have a chance, let your student invite you in after school one day to read it together and admire all of the characters that came to our class on Halloween.

Our room looks very bare now that the Halloween art has gone home, but this week we will discuss Remembrance Day and create some multi-media art around a poppy theme.  On Thursday after recess (around 10:30), classes will participate in a solemn Remembrance Day assembly, which parents are welcome to attend.  For a list of upcoming school events in November, please visit our school website.

Two students work on Skeleton Bones, a Math Work Station in our Halloween rotation. Next week we will have new Math Work Stations that build on number sense skills.

Exploring iPads

Through a technology grant, our school is fortunate to have 10 iPads for the primary classes to share. We use these to practice our skills using fun apps like Bugs and Buttons. I will publish a more detailed post soon about how we use the iPads. The children love them!

Get Buggy!

ImageLast Tuesday we “got buggy” with an in-class presentation called “Get Buggy!” from High Touch, High Tech Science. Galaxy Gavin brought his collection of bugs and scientific tools into our classroom and we had a great time as honorary entomologists.  The children learned about sorting and classifying bugs, the difference Imagebetween insects, arachnids, and millipedes, and how to use five senses to explore science.  

We used spinnerettes (glues bottles) to create a silk (glue gel) web.  The children also learned a fun action song called “Head, Thorax, Abdomen” to remember the names of the three main insect parts.  It was a really fun morning, and a great way to continue our spider study.



Welcome to our Pumpkin Patch!

We painted the pumpkins onto black paper, and then children were given paper scraps to create the faces. Aren’t they fabulous?

Even though Halloween is more than a week away, we are definitely feeling spooky in our class!  I can’t really resist a great deal at the dollar store, so when I saw some glittery Halloween foam stickers, I just had to buy them. They Imagewere perfect for our patterning unit wrap up!
We used the foam stickers to create AB patterns in our books.  We also used Halloween stamps, regular stickers, Imageand bingo dabbers (by popular request!) to create patterns on other pages.

We have been practicing patterns for several weeks now, and some children were ready for the added challenge of describing their patterns in different ways (such as with numbers, actions, or other items).  Some children took on a more difficult task of patterning with a Imagelarger core (3 or 4 elements), while others needed extra practice with a simpler core (AB).

We will continue to practice pattern through calendar activities and math work stations throughout the year.  Patterning is a crucial skill that lays a foundation for mathematical fluency in the later grades, so please continue to practice at home.  A fun way is to play “guess my pattern” with actions or funny sounds.  Looking for patterns in nature, songs, books, and fabrics/visual arts is always an interesting challenge as well.

Guided Drawing: An Owl

Each afternoon, we practice Guided Drawing. Sometimes we make a drawing in our drawing books, and other times we do it on large paper to display. In a Guided Drawing lesson, the students follow the teacher’s drawing step by step. This is a great exercise in listening, following instructions, and referencing an example. It also helps students develop their drawing skills. How cute are these owls?!