During Earth Week the children chose to represent their appreciation for the Earth by creating an art project. We decided that a collaborative art project would be fun and the children had many ideas about what this could look like. The consistent message was that: they wanted the Earth to be in the project and they wanted pictures of things they loved in nature to be represented as well.
We have been studying the author/illustrator Barbara Reid, who is famous for her beautiful illustrations created using Plasticine. The students were curious about this art medium, so we decided to incorporate Plasticine art into our Earth Art Project.
But where to begin?
First, we watched some instructional videos made by Barbara Reid on creating pictures from Plasticine:
Then, we followed Barbara Reid’s advice and sketched our plans. Also on the advice of Barbara Reid, many of the students researched the animals or plants that they wished to create in books or on the internet.
The first step in creating our art was to make the background. The students selected and mixed the colours that they wished to use. We used our plans to guide our work with the Plasticine. We discovered that setting our Plasticine in a sunny window helped to make it nice and soft for spreading.
Next, we added our foreground figures. The techniques of rolling snakes and balls that we learned from Mr. Wilson came in handy for this part!
Last, we added details and textures. We used a variety of tools to create the looks we wanted.
Here is an Animoto of the process and our finished product! Please come and see it in person outside of our classroom!
Barbara Reid will be presenting at the upcoming Vancouver Island BookFest. We have sent her this book and letter:
This week, the students have been celebrating and showing care for the Earth through a variety of projects and activities. Here is an animoto we created to show you what we have been up to. Stay tuned for more on the special art project we are working on!
We also had our second visit from artist Shane Wilson. During this visit, the students learned techniques for carving bars of soap. We learned that the difference between sculpting and carving is that, with sculpting you are building up to create something and with carving you are taking away to create something. The students were deeply engaged in the carving, at some points you could have heard a pin drop (which, as you might imagine, is very rare in kindergarten!) We tried out many techniques for carving with a simple plastic knife. We also had the opportunity to try out Mr. Wilson’s carving power tools. Here are some photos from our morning with Mr. Wilson:
It has been an exciting week in Kindergarten! We began the week by welcoming our 14th member and have been loving getting to know our new friend!
We also began our next Unit of Inquiry. Throughout April and part of May, we will be inquiring into forces and motion. As with all Units of Inquiry, we began our inquiry by making connections to what we already know. The students have spent much of the year building and experimenting with ramps during their child-directed Independent Inquiry times. To get the students making connections between what they are familiar with (ramps) and what will be new to them (forces), I gave them the challenge of creating something to move a bowl of balls from one side of our classroom to the other. The students decided to call their project a “Contraption”. The Contraption Project served as a wonderful opportunity for collaboration, problem-solving, showing an attitude of commitment and testing theories. It also gave me an opportunity to see what the children already understood about forces and motion and where their misunderstandings were.
Here are some photos of the group in action:
After many failed attempts and much “tweaking” by the students, we finally achieved our goal!
Here are some of our reflections about the Contraption Project (I apologize for the sideways videos, but the children’s words were too cute not to share!)
Why we built the Contraption (and a theory on how it works):
Tips for Rolling the Ball (and some more theories):
Next week we will be exploring different types of forces and exploring how they can push or pull to cause motion.
Before the Spring Break we wrapped-up our Unit of Inquiry into Healthy Choices by performing our Hand-Washing Demonstrations and creating our Healthy Choices VoiceThreads to reflect on the choices we make and why they are considered healthy.
Here are some photos and a video from our presentations!
Our Healthy Choices VoiceThreads will be shared with you at the upcoming Student-Led Conferences!
The AGS Penny Drive to provide clean water for people in developing countries came to a close. Here is an animoto of the Cuddly Cougars doing the final count of our classroom pennies:
This week the students have been busy preparing for the upcoming Student-Led Conferences. We are very eager to celebrate our learning so far this year with you!
Here is another animoto highlighting events in our classroom since March!
The JK4 families came for a visit today! The Cuddly Cougars chose activities in our classroom that they thought the JK4 families would be interested in hearing about. The children worked in teams to present “stations” to groups of JK4 parents.
Here are some photos from today!
This is the Animoto that we also showed:
The students (and teachers!) were very proud of their accomplishment and we hope that the JK4 parents enjoyed their afternoon!
We had a short week in Kindergarten but we all enjoyed being back in action after the long weekend!
Our Unit of Inquiry into healthy choices continued this week with a visit from a Body Expert. We learned about choices we can make to take care of our brains, lungs and hearts. Here were the students reflections:
What choices can you make to take care of your Brain?
- “eat healthy food”
- “wear a helmet”
What choices can you make to take care of your Lungs?
- “NEVER smoke!”
- “exercise and breathe lots”
What choices can you make to take care of your heart?
- “get lots of exercise”
- “eat healthy food”
The students were making connections to previous learning in our unit as well. C made a connection about sun safety in her Reader Book. Here she shares the story with the class.
We all decided that the little girl in the story did not make healthy choices when she went out to play in the sun without any protection. The students shared what they would do if they were the little girl.
Another highlight of our week was celebrating Valentine’s Day by focusing on spending time with our friends and by showing how much we care for others through words, actions, special gifts and hugs.
The children enjoyed making our “Friendship Fruit Salad”. Each student chose and prepped a piece of fruit and together we created something yummy to share!
Check out our weekly video to see some of what we’ve been up to!
We have kicked off the New Year in Kindergarten with a new Unit of Inquiry about how the choices we make affect our health and well-being.
Our new classroom member “Aunt Bernie” got the children thinking about what they know about their bodies and helped to stimulate their interest in learning more! As the children gathered round I recorded their conversation. It is interesting to hear what they understand, wonder and are confused by…
- “This is a skeleton. I recognize the teeth and the legs.”
- “I see the knees.”
- “Who died?”
- “When you die they bury you, but they put a sign so that they will remember where you are and can dig you up. Then they build your skeleton again. Like this one.”
- “It is so spooky!”
- “It is so cool!”
- “I wonder what is inside the head?”
- “I wonder if it is a woman or a man?”
- “Women have bigger hips!”
- “We can’t tell if this one is bigger or not. We need another skeleton!”
- “Why is there no hair?”
- “Your hair grows out of your head, but not out of your bones!”
- “It is very bendy, but it can’t move alone!”
- “You can’t see the muscles. They are the squishy part of your body that helps you to move.”
- “This is where the blood goes (child points to the rib cage)”
- “Why do the blood things (pointing to ribs again) not go all over? Blood goes all over your body!”
- “I don’t think that is where the blood goes then.”
- “I think your skin carries your blood.”
The students were then asked: “What choices do you make to take care of your body?”
Many students identified Healthy Eating as one choice that they make to take care of themselves. We investigated the different food groups and identified which food groups were in our snacks each day. We learned that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables than any other food group. We began the Vegetable and Fruit Challenge at snack time to help us eat more. We hope to eat 800 pieces of fruit or vegetables in our snacks and lunches!
We also identified Keeping Clean as one important way to care for our bodies. The students identified washing hands as particularly important for preventing colds and flus. We make sure to wash properly each time we eat, after we use the washroom or blow our nose and whenever we come inside from playing. To take action with the new information we have learned, the students have decided to make posters about proper hand washing for each of the bathrooms at AGS. We hope you will come and check them out!
We also had a visit from Dr. Simice last Wednesday. She taught us about taking care of our bodies by being “sun safe”. She introduced us to Sid the Seagull Here is his song to remind us of the important steps for staying safe in the sun. It sure was catchy and we have been humming it ever since!
In Gym the students have been learning about how exercise keeps their bodies healthy. We were motivated to open a Yoga Center in our classroom so that we can have a brain break during the day as well.
Here are some of our students doing Yoga at our Yoga Center!
You can support the students in their inquiry into healthy choices by talking about the healthy choices that you make as a family at home!
As part of our unit, we have also been doing artwork and writing to help us explore our own identities. Noticing and appreciating our own special qualities helps keep us motivated to take care of ourselves! Stay tuned for more posts on our final products
Check out our video to get a glimpse of some of the fun things that happened in January! These summary videos will become a weekly feature on our blog – check-in on Fridays!
Last week the Cuddly Cougars were taken-over by the magic of the ballet!
As preparation for our visit to the Kirkwood ballet performance, we read “The Nutcracker” story so that the students would have some background knowledge for understanding the show.
During Independent Inquiry on Wednesday, the students chose to create their own Nutcracker ballet. They asked me to play some music and videos of ballerinas on the projector. Here are some scenes from the afternoon…(please excuse the poor photo quality…”no flash photography allowed in the theater!”)
Dancers practicing and negotiating their roles as they retold the story (note J. in the background playing the part of the “orchestra” with his homemade instrument)…
The show is almost beginning! “Tickets please!”
C. and R. volunteered to play the handsome prince. We had MANY sugar plum fairies and Clara characters!
On Friday morning the students arrived excited to visit the show!
We brainstormed some ways to be a good audience:
- sit quietly
- sit still
- watch the show
- show respect to other audience members by not talking to them
- whisper or no talking. Only whisper to say things like “don’t you like this part of the show?”
- feet off the chairs
- use your manners “thank you” “excuse me”
Here are some photos of us at the show! (M. is sitting with Ms. Ihara, our classroom helper!)
What a wonderful show! When we got back to the classroom, the children drew and wrote about their favourite parts…
“I liked the nutcracker and the mice fighting” ~ R.L.
“I liked the nutcracker and the sugar plum fairy!” ~ L.L.
“My favourite part was when the sugar plum fairy and the nutcracker danced and Clara joined in”~ E.W.
“My favourite part was the lady with the really big dress! Little kids came out of it!” ~ B.N.
“I liked the lady with the really big dress!” ~ D.P.
“I liked when they fight and the sugar plum fairy booted the mice and I liked the lights and the mouse queen”~ A.M.
“I liked when all of the dancers came out and bowed at the end. Then the audience clapped”~ R.S.
“I liked the ballerinas”~ O.F.
“I liked when the kids came out of the lady’s dress. It was so funny!”~ J.K.
“I liked the part when they fight with swords” ~ C.C.
“I liked the candy cane girl and when the little kids came out of the big dress”~ N.F.
“I liked the nutcracker and the rat queen and the little mice.” ~ C.W.
“I liked the nutcracker and the rat queen and Clara and Fritz” ~ M.A.
Many of these photos were sent on Twitter, but we wanted to make sure that ALL of our parents could see them
The students have been VERY interested in learning to sew! When I was at the thrift store this weekend I found all the supplies we would need for learning to cross-stitch. I picked up the supplies and presented them to the children this morning. The students thought it would be fun to learn a new skill. We also knew that sewing would help to exercise the small muscles in our fingers (the same muscles that help us to write!). They were eager to get started on their projects and many of the children spent all of their Independent Inquiry time sewing! I heard many of the children saying:
“I can’t believe I am sewing! I am only five and I know how to sew!”
“My mom is going to freak out when she hears that I learned how to sew!”
“I think I will just sew everyday forever and ever now. This is so much fun!”
By the end of the day we had some advice for anyone who wishes to sew:
- you can make letters or shapes…whatever you want!
- if you want to make a project you need to make a pattern first.
- you should be careful so that you don’t get poked!
- sewing is fun!
If anyone has any fabric scraps that they are able to donate, we would love to have them so that we can continue making projects!