We like to take the indoor things out (we are reading and writing outside these days), and we like to bring the outdoors in (we ordered caterpillars from a company in Ontario)! They arrived by mail in little cups, with everything they need to live through all the stages. We are singing about how to tell if something is living, nonliving, or used to be living, and what living things need. You'll see from our wonderful pictures how small the caterpillars used to be, and how they are busy growing and pooping! We are fascinated by this process, as it reminds us of the Eric Carle book, 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. We have learned how and why to clean the caterpillar habitat, and are anxiously predicting and watching for the next stages. We'll do other updates soon about these amazing changes! When you read the words on each photo, you'll see what each child has said about the process and how they are demonstrating their learning of the K Program science expectations.
Now that the warmer weather is here, we try to learn outdoors as much as we can. We've also started participating in the 5-minute run, which is a school-wide initiative from Grades 1 to 8 that we are also joining. We love feeling strong and healthy as we become more aware of our heartbeat, our stamina, and our own physical development over time. Every day, half the class runs with a teacher and we know how to stay on the white path, how to recover, and how to listen to our body as we run our 2 laps. It's amazing the change and progress we can see! This will be great training for those of you who are participating in the Kid's Duathlon on June 6th, a fantastic community event started by local parents 6 years ago. The permission form is pictured if anyone still wants to join.
Last week we got so much rain! It changed our plans to talk about shadows, and made us think about how the birds, bugs and creatures would fare with all the rain and even hail. We thought we'd design a safe space for a bug to take shelter in that could withstand a watering can rain! Planning and talking about a working design is one of our K Program expectations, as well as describing, observing and explaining their science investigation. So after all our materials were put out, each child or group thought about the materials and design that would keep water off a plastic bug. Would we use paper, plastic, wood, fabric, or straws? How would we secure it and which shape would it take? Where was the best place to put the bug to keep out of the rain? After we conducted our watering can experiment, many children told us what was a good idea or a bad idea. It was exciting to see them change their minds about a future building plan- there are no mistakes, just refinements as we work towards something that works better!
This week marked the last week of Ms. Shearer's teaching placement with us. You might recognize her from a junior placement here earlier in the school year- and we were lucky enough to get her again! She has been a wonderful addition to our class during her practice teaching, gradually taking on all my responsibilities, including planning, instruction, assessment, and communication. I know she has delighted in seeing how the Kindergarten child thinks, feels, and understands! We're having a little send-off party for her on Friday, and we wish her well in her summer jobs in Cookstown and then a year's teaching placement in England next year.
This week we went ahead with our planned fundraiser, our Dance-a-Thon! It was great to see all the children who came in with their floral shirts, skirts, flowers, even flip flops! A big thank you to Tiffany Gallagher who bought leis for everyone in the class and even 2 grass skirts for the teachers! It was so fun to dance and sing together. We went down to the gym right away, with only Grade 1 and 2 students, and our DJ was ready! The gym was decorated, the lights were up, and we learned a lot of specific dances like 'YMCA', 'Cha Cha Slide', the Mexican Hat Dance, and everyone's favourite, The Chicken Dance. The DJ did a great job keeping everyone engaged, busy and happy!
Everyone who donated money will get tickets for the draw, which is a gift card to the Georgian Mall! We'll draw on Monday. Thanks for supporting our efforts to raise needed funds for the school. You can see from our pictures that we had a great time!
It was very hard to hear that our loved and loving Mrs. Wilmott, an EA at our school and in our classroom, died very unexpectedly on Tuesday. Even as we were reeling from this news, the school board and our administration did an excellent job guiding us through our own feelings, what to do, and above all how to talk about it with our students. From the grief team, superintendent, refreshments, classroom resources, and and overwhelming feeling of shared loss, we've been well supported through this dark time.
I wanted to share the advice we were given from the team about how to talk about death and what children might do or say. We used the proper word 'dead' and 'died' so that children don't wonder how someone was 'lost' or how you 'pass'. We found that when we started the conversation by talking about pets and grandparents, that they understood, and used these terms themselves. We know that Kindergarten children might react like this: bedtime anxiety, seeking physical contact, showing signs of sadness or anger, and even violent play or death reinactment. They may ask lots of questions but should be made to understand that death is not reversible or temporary.
At school, they have been offered ways to express their feelings, through making cards and pictures, talking about our love for Mrs. Wilmott and what we will miss. We will have a special assembly on April 30th to remember her, and her family has asked us to plant a tree in her honour on the property. Do take some time to discuss these things with your children, so we don't create a taboo subject.
Mrs. Wilmott was hired to work with specific students but it was her joy to help everyone. She loved working with the kindies and her eyes lit up when she talked about them. We will not forget her sweet loving ways with each child, her stories, her listening ear, her blue coat, her water bottle. She was a huge part of our loving Tos family and we will miss her for a long, long time.
Here comes Peter Cottontail! We're getting ready to welcome him with our annual Easter Centres. We make sure each centre addresses either a math, language, arts, or physical education expectation from the K Program document. That doesn't mean they aren't fun! The expectations in the Ministry of Ed document are beautifully written to allow us to reach children where they already are and play and work through them to the real learning underneath. When we ask the children later what they learned at each centre, we wonder if they remembered what they did and why it was important- and fun!
Now that March Break is over, we are back at it! We are learning about capacity, area, mass and length by working and playing with measurement tools to see what they can do. This is 'purposeful play' when a nearby adult has a learning goal in mind and uses the expectations from the K Program document to set up the growth that might occur. We are ready for anything! This week it's been fun to talk about capacity, using 'magic math' words like full, empty, enough, level, more and less. What the children say as they work and play has been recorded below, because it shows us they 'own' it. They don't really know it until they play it.
Years ago I would have taught measurement through a learning experience I had planned, complete with worksheets and a final product I would grade. But what if your child was having an off day on my assessment day? Now I can look at their work over a few weeks, and I have a chance to change how I teach or what they might do in case there are any gaps in their learning. This is much better than before!!
Just like adults use tool boxes to fix things, we can use our Red Zone Tool Box to 'fix' our zone. Everybody gets in the yellow zone sometimes (silly, frustrated, anxious), or the blue zone (sad, tired, sick), or even the red zone (shouting, angry, spinning), but it's no fun to stay there for a long time. We want to get back to the green zone (calm, relaxed, happy) as soon as possible, and we're learning that we can change our zone! Have a look at the tools below that we've packed into our Red Zone Tool Box. It's available to us in the classroom whenever we need it, and we know how to use each tool to change us on the inside and then the outside.
Our weather has been so unpredictable, but after Winterfest was cancelled we decided to find a way to enjoy the outdoors! We worked in our classes to bring out unusual and interesting tools and toys to explore the South East Yard, a place we don't always get to play in. The snow was perfect for dumping, shoving, scooping, decorating, We had a great time enjoying nature and exercising our bodies in the deep snow.