While the collective interest in building a living pond in our classroom continues, we have been doing a variety of activities in preparation for construction. Natural materials that were collected during our field trip to the ponds and throughout the fall (sticks, leaves, rocks, acorns) were organized and sorted according to their relevant characteristics. More detailed information on these activities will be posted under the "Investigations" tab.
Hover over the images for a short description of what you're viewing.
It was a highly anticipated event that exceeded expectations! After many weeks of reading, watching videos, singing songs, and building a paper pond out of things we had, our class had a chance to take their knowledge out into the real world and experience it first hand. It was a thrilling experience for the children to make connections between what they had learned in the classroom and what they experienced.
In preparation for the trip, we previewed our travel route using Google Maps and pretended we were traveling the streets in Google's Street View. We also used the satellite option to view the shapes of the pond and plot out a walking plan for our day. This exercise helped children visual our trip but provoked them to develop an understanding of cardinal directions (N, S, E, W) and anticipate various aspects, like seeing the island in South pond or walking on the docks at both ponds.
This is a collection of photos taken on our day. Many of the photos were taken by students and all photos were selected by children to include in the slideshow for sharing. The process of selecting photos was a great reflection tool that encouraged conversation about what we experienced and what was worth sharing with others. In the days ahead, we will continue to reflect on our experiences and use our observation notes, pictures, video, and memories to move ahead with the next phase of our project: building a living pond in our classroom!
The evolution of the school year is one of my favorite parts about being a teacher. Meeting new children and families at the beginning of the year, engaging them in various learning activities, and watching them grow is fascinating! For this post, I am going to focus on two progressions of our classroom that have challenged our students' creation/making skills and emerging reader abilities.
Let's start with reading. Most children love picture books. You know the kind, bright beautiful illustrations that match words and compile a short story that is typically readable in about 10-15 minutes. If you're lucky, you'll find a "series" of these books, think Knuffle Bunny or the Pigeon books, (Thanks Mo Willems!) that excite and interest children in reading. But as children learn to read, they need opportunities to develop a great capacity for storytelling, vocabulary, and comprehension. Which leads us to things like expository texts and chapter books. Last week we started reading aloud our first short chapter book, Dinosaurs Before Dark, from the Magic Tree House collection written by Mary Pope Osborne. I think these books are a great introduction to the next level of story telling, visualization, comprehension, and retelling. After finishing the first book in the series, we are ready to begin the second. Ask your child about the main characters Jack and Annie.
And one of the main "side projects" this week was making stencils! Our students have been using stencils, for about a month, to make letters, numbers, shapes, and other various kinds of animals. If you look at our the pictures of our pond you will notice fish, frogs, butterflies and a turtle all traced from stencils. While we were using stencils one morning, a child suggested we make stencils of ourselves! What a great idea! I asked how we could do it, one suggestion led to another and we were making stencils. The process was summed up by our kids in six steps that they wanted to share at all-school meeting.
The steps are as follows:
This site was created by Colin Reynolds as the SK Lead Teacher for the 2014-2015 school year. Stephanie Holdridge was the apprentice teacher for the academic year.. You can contact me via e-mail or follow me on Twitter.