Saturday, October 24, 2015

Jack-o-Lantern fun!

With Halloween about a week away, we decided to get into the Halloween spirit throughout our classroom.
 This was a felt board activity I made years ago but it seems to be a hit year after year!
Our students designed different faces for the pumpkin.
You can read all about this felt board activity, and another fun Halloween one, here.
We set out this provocation asking the students if they could design a face for our pumpkin.
We plan on carving it next week and it would be great if we could take a vote after all the entries are in.
The adorable printable comes from the Club Chica Circle blog and you can find it as a free download by clicking here.
We have been discussing emotions quite a bit since the beginning of school so we thought this free download was perfect!
I also discovered this great song, all about the 5 Little Pumpkins, and how they each show an emotion.  Our students love singing along on our Bright Links board!
If you are looking for a free download for a cute and easy Halloween song, click the picture above to see my post from a couple of years ago.
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Making Applesauce

After our field trip to the apple orchard a couple of weeks ago, we noticed that our students still had such an interest in apples!
Each day, the conversations around the snack centre (or "Bistro") included comparing the apples many students brought for a snack, trying different ways to get the seeds out, counting the apples seeds, and listening for the loudest crunch.
We had a big bag full of apples and asked the children what they thought we could make with them.
M.R.:  We can make apple pie!
M.P.:  Apple cake!
J.M.:  We can make applesauce!
We decided that applesauce was probably the easiest thing to make inside our classroom since we already had a few ingredients handy.
We showed the students how to peel the apples carefully using a peeler.
Everyone wanted a turn to try!
S.S.:  This is a lot of work!  You have to be careful when peeling the apples!
These children were trying to pick up all of the seeds to keep them as part of our Seed Inquiry happening in the classroom.
One of the ingredients in our recipe was cinnamon.  We passed it around for students to smell.
Jo.F.:  I like it!  It smells so nice!
Ju.F.:  This reminds me of a Beaver Tail that I had in Mont Tremblant!
L.G.:  It smells like a cappuccino!
And then for the best part....after waiting about 3 hours for it to cook in the slow cooker, it was finally ready to EAT!
I love when our students have hands-on opportunities to create various food to eat!
Many of the Senior Kindergarten students remembered the vegetable soup we made last fall!
So much learning (and fun!) happening at the same time!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Come take a closer look at our classroom...

With the first month of school already done, our students are finally starting to feel like our classroom is their "home away from home".
Here's a little peek into our classroom...
Since our Dramatic Centre is so popular, we decided to leave it in the centre of our classroom, with lots of room for the children to move around and play.
It's easily accessible to all the centres in the room which provides for a rich learning experience:  we often find students bring materials they find at another centre nearby (for example, our math area) and use those in the Dramatic Centre.  We have seen students use blocks, beads, and clay as well to enhance their learning!
This centre often turns into many different things, including a hospital, grocery store, ice cream shoppe, etc.  We can easily move the furniture around to accommodate for whatever is "cooking" at this centre!
We don't have a lot of corners in our classroom with useable space, and I really wanted to set up an atelier (or art studio) in one space near a window, so we placed it here.  All of the containers hold our materials that we have collected over the years from our Beautiful Junk projects, donations, etc. 
We often hang paintings and art work from the clothespins you see hanging.
The canvas colours were made last year as part of our Colour Inquiry.
I think it's so important to preserve and display work from years past as it shows we value student work.
The tank you see sits empty for now, but there have been discussions this week amongst the students about a possible classroom pet to put inside!
Last year we had a fish...and I loved how the children drew him, fed him, and read to him all of the time!
I wonder what will be the newest addition to our classroom this year?
This is the other part of the atelier.
We have a paint easel and drying rack as well as a large shelf which holds a variety of materials students may need for creating artistic pieces, including old magazines, paint brushes, tissue paper, foam pieces, stickers, beads, buttons, etc.
Our "Wonder Window" is also nearby to provide inspiration for painting.
Here is our Science/Discovery Table.  One of the first things I left out at the beginning of this school year was a bird nest I found in my backyard, along with magnifying glasses, paper and book about nests.
I added a small shelf on the wall behind the table where we have displayed other interesting items the children have brought in, books about nature, and seashells from our inquiry last year!
Our Math Centre holds lots of open-ended materials for the beginning of the school year, including dice, Unifix cubes, coloured bears, plastic straws in various colours (for sorting, tallying, etc.), double-sided counters, and large wooden numbers.  I love to see how the children explore and experiment with the different materials before introducing more.
This Learning Carpet is a must!
I was fortunate to have it funded through My Class Needs last fall.
Last year I had a large carpet off to the side of the classroom that housed all building materials.  Since I've made the atelier larger, I had to move the building area to the gathering area at the front of our classroom.
We use two large shelves that hold different sizes and shapes of wooden blocks, as well as tin cans and tubes of various sizes.
We will continue to add pinecones, sticks, etc. as our students notice them on our nature walks.
The light table is always a favourite in the classroom as well.
I found that by making it accessible on all sides more students can create.
The large shelf holds open-ended materials for the light table, but we encourage our students to take materials and use them in various parts of the classroom as well.
There are a couple of tables that I like to set out provocations, or invitations to play.
We put out a simple provocation for the first week of school, picking up magnetic letters using tongs and matching them to the mat.
I find that there are always some students who enjoy a quiet place in the classroom to read, use our iPad, or create projects using loose parts so we placed our class library in one corner.
There is a large amount of low counter space near the smaller sink.  It makes for a perfect area to set up playdough, clay, art projects, etc.
There are 2 sensory bins in our classroom - the one on the left changes periodically and holds anything from rice and water to leaves and soil.  The larger bin on the right holds sand; however, we offer students a variety of materials to engage with while there including rocks, jewels, a Lazy Susan, sifters, etc.
I use two very large rectangular tables as our Writing Centre each year.  I find that since we model and ask that our students write on a daily basis, we find that this centre is always full of hard working children!
So many materials are made available:  a variety of paper, markers, crayons, pencil crayons, scissors, glue, dictionaries, stencils, sticky notes, etc.  All of these tools encourage students to write!
And finally our bistro area...or snack centre.
We are using three round tables this year to encourage conversations amongst friends while enjoying a snack.  Since our students have self-regulated snack, this centre is always buzzing!
You can read more about our Snack Centre here.
Our classroom is always changing.  We listen to the needs, wants, interests, and wonders of our students and invite them to help us create a space that will reflect that.
I am so excited to see how our classroom will continue to change and revolve around our students this year!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Terry Fox Walk....tomorrow!

Tomorrow is our annual Terry Fox walk at our school.
We spoke a little about Terry today and how we will be having fun tomorrow and remembering how brave Terry was to raise awareness to cancer.
To learn more about Terry Fox please view the video below.
To celebrate and honour this Canadian hero, we will be having a Civvies day tomorrow where we ask the children to wear red and white.
I have blogged about our Daily Schedule before (click here to read all about how we use it on a regular basis in our class) and since tomorrow we will be having a special morning dedicated to Terry Fox, I created a card for our schedule.
If you use my Daily Schedule cards I your classroom, you can click on the picture below to download your free copy!
To see all of the Daily Schedule cards please click the picture below.
Looking forward to our walk tomorrow!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Using the phone book at the Dramatic Play Center...FREE download!

Each year, the Dramatic Play Centre is a class favourite!
Even though school just started, I can already see how much interest there is at this centre.
Students have been "cooking" food, setting the table, creating menus and using the telephone to call people and places.
My in-laws gave me this phone a few years back - if you have a real one that you no longer use, add it to your Dramatic Centre.  The students love pretending that it is real!
We listen to the children and plan for our program based on their interests and wonders.  Over the years, our Dramatic Centre has been a grocery store, bakery, doctor's office, ice cream parlor and so much more! 
Students can make an appointment by calling the doctor, order a cake by calling the bakery, etc.
You can add this to your Dramatic Play Centre and see all of the possibilities. 
Last week I noticed that one student spent much of her time reading the phone numbers in our phone book and identifying the numbers.  What a great way to practice number identification!
I decided to update this old phone book.
Click {here} if you would like to download a copy of the phone book with numbers already included.
Click {here} for a download of a blank phone book for you to write in your own numbers.
Have fun!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Travelling Tuesday....with Kate Hitch from World of Wonders

I am so excited to be featuring Kate Hitch from World of Wonders this week on my blog!
Kate started her blog last spring but it's already growing full of inspirational ideas. 
I was fortunate enough to actually meet Kate last spring through a course we took together!
Her classroom environment is so inviting!
I love the small wooden tent with lights strung inside.  What a wonderful way to create a safe, quiet space for her students to read, relax and reflect.
Everything is neat and tidy, this shelf is a great way to keep materials organized and inviting, so that students can choose to create using a variety of items.
I was mesmerized by the creativity her students showed and the interest they had in creating their Fairy Garden. 
Lots of hands-on, co-created experiences take place in Kate's classroom.  Here the students are experimenting with a way to dye eggs naturally by making their own dye!
This simple provocation invites students to use loose parts to explore a variety of lines.
Here is another way for students to use loose parts for open ended play.
Kate explains how she documents in a variety of is one example of an Inquiry Map.  You can see how one idea, or wonder, has evolved!
Please share an insight...
"I was initially inspired by Reggio Emilia and fell in love with the fact that it is not a prescription. Making it my own has been an enjoyable journey and true passion. I once read that Kindergarten should be a magical place for children. I have strived to make it just that ever since. "
For more inspiring ideas please visit Kate's blog!
Do you have a classroom that encompasses the same philosophies and beliefs about emergent curriculum as we do?

We would love to feature your blog/website for an upcoming Travelling Tuesday!

Please leave a comment below with a link to your site or send me an e-mail.

Thanks for travelling with us this week!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Travelling Tuesday....with Carmelina Digrigoli

We are going on an adventure today into one of the most beautiful and inspiring classrooms I discovered online earlier this school year.
Carmelina Digrigoli is a Full Day Kindergarten teacher with the York Region District School Board and author of the blog:
When I examine the pictures Carmelina posts of her students in action, learning and playing, I am in awe of the materials she has chosen, her learning environment and how much fun not only her students are having, but she is, too!
This is a picture of the Classroom Inquiry Learning Web from September to June.  I know that by showcasing and having students involved in their learning, it brings meaning to what we, as educators, are doing.  This learning web is not only a valuable tool for the parents and guests in Carmelina's classroom, but her students can reflect upon where their learning has gone and is going.  I am certainly going to take this idea of creating an ongoing learning web with my students this coming school year.
This is the main atelier workshop where art becomes the curriculum and all materials are accessible.  It's also the main space of the classroom.
Isn't it so inviting?
These students are painting under a tree!
Learning doesn't always take place inside the classroom, after all!
Here's a picture of a construction site using blocks and loose parts...not only are the students offered a variety of blocks to build and explore with, it is located near the atelier so art, drama, and tinkering with loose parts are encouraged.
Lots and lots of tinkering materials for make it and break it play.
Imagine all of the possibilities here!
This is where the "Beautiful Stuff" is housed.  Here students can search for that perfect piece for their creation!
All of the loose parts are neatly arranged so that it's not only visually appealing but also easy for students to take, use and put away once they are finished.
So many students love creating with loose parts!
Please share an insight...
"Inspiration does exist, but it must find us working."
~Pablo Picasso
"As educators, we begin to prepare our minds and bodies for back to school, we wonder what we need, what we should collect, what will we do differently this school year, and how we will setup our classrooms.  I prefer to use the term 'design' in place of setup.  To design our learning environments considers space and opportunity for growth, that it will indeed change and will transform and grow with the students' interests and learning outcomes.  Let's embrace our bare September walls and prepare for endless learning opportunities and authentic classroom transformations."
For more inspiring ideas please visit Carmelina's blog!
Do you have a classroom that encompasses the same philosophies and beliefs about emergent curriculum as we do?

We would love to feature your blog/website for an upcoming Travelling Tuesday!

Please leave a comment below with a link to your site.

Thanks for travelling with us this week!