Friday, February 27, 2015

It All Started with a Red Ribbon....our Fashion Inquiry

If you read my last post, you would remember that I wrote that a LOT is happening in our classroom, or should I say in general?!?!  Let's begin by me explaining my lack of blogging lately...I have been busy getting ready to move into our new house, which is just over 2 weeks away!
This is only about 1/10 of the boxes in our house.  The rest are all around the rest of the basement, main floor, kitchen, well, pretty much everywhere!
 
And in our classroom the month of February, although short, has been packed with lots of things!
We celebrated Carnival and have been sticking out the weather, despite daily indoor recesses.  Every Thursday we have been hosting visiting Kindergarten teachers in our classroom, giving them a glimpse of what the FDK program is all about!
 
Last month, one teacher who came to visit brought us a present wrapped up in a beautiful black box with a large red ribbon around it.
The students could not stop admiring the red ribbon and were wondering what they might create with it!
(Yes, they loved the present too, thank you Ms. L!)
And so it began....our Fashion Inquiry.
 
E.S.:  We can use it to decorate our classroom!
 
M.R.:  It can be used as a sash!
 
S.S.:  It looks like when you have a contest and you win an award.
The next day one student brought in an American Girl doll and started sketching clothing designs for her.  Another student joined in.
I invited the students to share their creations before lunch time and by late afternoon, many other students were interested in sketching clothes using the red ribbon as our inspiration.
 
When my teaching partner, Mrs. Parisi, went to the Dollar Store that weekend, she picked up a pad of sketch paper that had girl and boy silhouettes as well as stencils for their clothes.
I left these out the next morning and the students absolutely loved using them to create clothes - we encouraged them to design and make a plan.
We visited our librarian and found many books about Fashion Designers, clothing and more!
 
 
Students began bringing in lots of material to support our new inquiry.
After choosing material and then making a plan of what they wanted to make, they set to work.
I love how they helped each other, measured, cut, hot glued (with a little help from Mrs. Petrone!), and made their creations come to life!
 


 
 
Here is one student who wanted to create a dress for her doll that she brought in from home.
First, she choose the fabric she wanted to use.
Then, she made a plan.
And finally, she cut and glued her creation with the help of a friend.

 
The students designed outfits for their dolls, stuffed animals and each other!
 








 
We showed the students a few logos of famous designers and much to our surprise, they knew many of them!
 
D.P.:  My mom has a purse with this on it!
 
S.S.:  I saw this before in the closet!
 
 
So we chose one famous designer, Prada, and used the overhead to make the sign for our design studio.
 
We also found this mannequin in the library and often used it to display our creations.
(Don't mind the background - those are pictures from our Space Inquiry from the fall.)
 
We watched a video all about models walking down a runway and showcasing the designers pieces.
Of course, we had to try it too!
(And there is the famous red ribbon!)
 
 
Some students decided that they wanted to create a real runway and have a fashion show - and they wanted to invite students from other classes that might be interested in coming.
 
They used this picture of a runway to make their own.
(This student is measuring it to see how long she should make ours.)
 
I have a lot of former students visiting our classroom often...and so when one former student (who is now in grade 3 and has a sibling in the class) asked if he could help out with our inquiry, we were so fortunate!
This grade 3 student has a real passion for fashion and was able to assist the students in adding buttons, lace, and other decoratives to their creations.  He also helped co-ordinate our fashion show - and was our announcer and director!
 
Thank you M.T. for sharing your talents with our students!
 
 

 
Here are a couple of the many posters that we put up around our school this week.
Two students also wrote a script and read it over the PA System inviting others to attend.
 
M.R.:  The name of our fashion show is "Fashion Universe".
 
We kept all of our designer pieces for the show on this rack for display.
After rehearsing daily all week, the students were ready to present today!
 
We got a chance to rehearse with a live audience this morning with our reading buddies in the hallway.
Isn't our red carpet fabulous?!!!
The show was complete with a variety of strobe lights and music (thanks to a few students who created a list of everything we needed for our big debut!).
 
A few other students came up with the idea of making cameras as they wanted to be the "paparazzi", just like the ones we saw in the videos of the fashion shows!
 
 
We were ready to have the fashion show in our kindergarten hallway this afternoon, thinking that maybe a handful of students and staff would attend, but after speaking to teachers this morning, we anticipated a larger crowd so we relocated to the gymnasium.
 
The students (as well as Mrs. Petrone and I!) were in complete shock to see how many came out to support our show this afternoon!
I wish I could post a picture but there were so many students (and we can't post pictures of faces) - just imagine our large gym almost full!
 
 
It was so nice to have an amazing audience cheering the students on!
For the past month the students have been working hard on designing and bringing their creations to life.
I know that this will be a day that many of us will remember forever!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Hot Wheels as part of our Race Car Inquiry

I'm not going to lie...there is a LOT happening in our classroom right now that I don't know if my DECE and I can keep up!
Amazing things started happening last week and continue this week....
 
 
I received this amazing Hot Wheels Fundamentals Package just before the Christmas holidays.
When I brought it in to the classroom last week, the students absolutely loved it!
We introduced Hot Wheels last year too - and some incredible structures and creations started happening!
You can read about that post here.
 
Last week the students we noticed that the students were using the cars to race one another.
Some even experimented with building a straight track to keep their cars from going all over the place!
I went over to the children building the tracks and asked them if they had ever heard of the Honda Indy or Formula One.
Some of them said yes, or that their parents had attended a race before.
I showed them pictures of a few race tracks from these events.
The next day the students found these tracks left near the blocks and the Hot Wheels cars.
They immediately gravitated towards them and got to work building similar tracks!
 
I love how this student decided to work on her "Plan" before she started building her track!
 
Many students spent a good part of today building and constructing a race track for their cars.
They even added details like the checkered flags!
 
 
This launcher that came with the Hot Wheels Fundamentals Kit was very popular as the students used it to launch their cars and see how fast and far they would travel.
 
Some students quickly realized that by placing walls around the track the cars wouldn't keep falling off!
 
I love how this track has a sharp turn, just like some of the tracks that we examined!
Other students found creative ways to travel through the race course.
 
I love using open-ended toys in the classroom - it allows for students to use their imagination, create, explore, ask questions, experiment and so much more!
 
If you are a Kindergarten or Grade 1 teacher in Canada, you can sign up to receive your
FREE Hot Wheels Fundamentals Kit by clicking on the picture below.
 
http://www.hotwheelsinschool.ca/


Monday, February 02, 2015

Race to the Top - A Graphing Game Freebie!

 
Throughout the month of January, our students have been exploring the concept of graphing by
"collecting objects and data and making representations of their observations, using concrete graphs". (Ontario Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program, Ministry Expectations, DM 5.2)
 
My students love to learn using manipulatives and by playing games.  That's why I enjoy teaching them how to play a variety of games during our whole group math lessons so that they can go back and play it with their friends during Thinking and Learning Time.

 
We played "Race to the Top" a couple of weeks ago and it's been very popular at our Math Centre ever since!
 
Here's how you play:
 
- Group your students (or individuals) into colour teams (green, yellow, blue and red)
- Have one player from each turn roll both dice.  One die has "+" and "-" symbols and the other has numbers 1-3.
- That students will add or subtract that many counters to the correct colour column
- Play turns to the next team and continues until one team reaches the top
 
While playing, you can stop and ask the students what they notice:
"Which colour is more? less? same?"
"How many more (red) do you need to make it to the top?"
...etc.
 
An easy to make and set-up game for your students to continue working on graphing skills!
 
You can download your copy for FREE by clicking on the picture below.
 
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxagjstn4BviVGNaVFktaVlza2M/view?usp=sharing
 
If you have a Bright Links board, have students colour/erase on it.
We used 2 large plastic dice that enable you to place your own cards inside, but if you don't have those you can easily make dice.
All of the templates are included in this download.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Doctor's Office - Dramatic Play

We always have fun at the Dramatic Centre!
This centre starts off at the beginning of each school year as a "house centre" - I have real pots and pans, ceramic plates and bowls from Ikea, stainless steel cutlery, an old phone and many more items you would find in your own home!
As the school year progresses, however, the students often want to change this centre into a variety of things.
We have already had a Witches' Brew Centre and Santa's Workshop this year.
Last year, we turned it into Post Office, Grocery Store, Pizzeria and even an Ice Cream Parlour!
 
So last week there was a lot of buzz around students going to the doctor for a checkup (or being sick during the Winter Break!) that the children wanted to turn this centre into a Doctor's Office.
We started by examining and sorting out all of the medical supplies a doctor and nurse might need.
We discussed the role of a Pharmacist - and had a variety of 'medicine' at the pharmacy.
We left out a few books about visiting a doctor.
We are fortunate to have a day care centre attached to our school.  We asked the day care if we could borrow a cot and the children thought it would be a great idea to place tissue paper on top, just like in a real doctor's office.
I find that sometimes the students need a little more structure when it comes time to assume roles - everyone always wants to be the doctor and we never have enough patients!  So by choosing a name badge, students take turns playing different parts.
Here is the Reception Area - one student is the receptionist.  Patients must sign in first and then wait in the waiting room.  The receptionist also takes calls over the phone to book appointments.
We used different corners of the Dramatic Centre as exam rooms.  Here, the patients can get their eyes checked.  We also had this medical cart where the doctor and nurse can place all of their tools they need.
I printed in colour and laminated the Patient Medical Records so we could easily wipe them clean (and save paper!).  They are stored in this box for the doctors and nurses.  The receptionist hands these to them as a patient arrives.T
A few students created a large x-ray machine using an old box.  We found and printed x-ray photos online and glued them to the sides.  There are 2 openings on either end ... and of course we had to create x-rays themselves!
These were very easy to make!  I printed the x-ray photos we found online and the students labelled each one.  Then I photocopied them onto transparencies - I love that the students learned many parts of the body by having the pictures labelled!  Some students brought these x-rays to the light table to have a closer look!


Here are the students playing at the Doctor's Office.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/HospitalDoctors-Office-Dramatic-Play-Center-1247878
You can find all of the above....and SO MUCH MORE...in my Hospital/Doctor's Office Dramatic Play Centre
Or you can purchase all of the Dramatic Play Centres in The Complete Set BUNDLE which is discounted at 20% if you were to purchase each one individually.
(Note:  I am continuously updating this bundle and adding more!  You will receive all of the new centres for FREE by re-downloading it.)