Story Spaces

Dear Pre-K Parents,

It’s been a very intense few weeks of storytelling in the Pre-K classrooms.  We are continuing to inquire into “How We Express Ourselves,” thinking about different ways to express ideas and enjoy our creativity.

Central Idea: Stories can be expressed and interpreted in many ways.

Lines of Inquiry that will define the scope of our inquiry into the central idea:

  • Ways stories are expressed
  • Ways people respond to and retell stories
  • Creating and expressing our own stories

All throughout this unit, we are discussing and exploring various means of storytelling. During the open inquiry time, students have access to the different storytelling spaces created for them in our Pre-K classrooms:

  • Drama area with a stage and costumes
  • Puppet theatre
  • Shadow theatre with a projector for their pictures (they call it “the cinema”)
  • A story building space which has building blocks, Lego, stumps, mirror panels, transparent blocks and more
  • An Art Studio where they can paint and use colour clay
  • An IT space for using tech tools to create stories

There is also a “Creation Station” in which students can create any of the characters, make the settings, or built the props that they need for their story. We are thrilled to see how much thinking is happening through play in those areas!  We will share the stories with you near the end of the unit.

So far, we have seen the children inquiring into musical stories, theatre, dance, art, poetry, claymation, photography, building, live storytelling, art stories, and story books.       

Ways you can help at home:

  • Help your child notice the different ways we share and tell stories at home or during family day trips. Take pictures or draw them and encourage your child to share his/her understanding in class.
  • Read books or watch movies and talk about who the characters are, in what setting the story takes place, and what problem the characters are trying to solve.
  • Please speak with your child’s teacher if you would like to come in and share a story with the class.  Maybe you have a way of sharing stories that other children may not have experienced – something specific to your culture.

 

Happy storytelling!

Pre-K Team

 

Counting Stumps

Dear Parents,

A learning provocation is a way to invite students to have a new experience, use materials in an inventive way, apply their prior knowledge and escalate their thinking.

One morning students discovered some tree stumps and rubber numbers and letters laid out on the carpet.

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Children started using the stumps to make a walking path.

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For a while, the stumps were used to create islands for the children’s role play.Other children were putting the numbers on top of the stumps and thought of them as buttons on a spacecraft… 110_6489

Then someone brought a pencil and started tracing the numbers.

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That seemed like fun for a while, but our pirates said they couldn’t see the numbers from afar… so they decided to paint them, using the same paints being used for the fence project.

Students helped each other to put aprons on and carried the stumps back and forth between the classes.

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When there were a lot of different numbers painted, it turned out it was hard to keep track of which numbers have been done, so a check list was created.

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Students kept on working.

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When we got into twenties, the children noticed that the stumps we had were too narrow to fit two numerals on them.

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Students went to look for some wider ones.

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Students also had to check if they are writing the larger numbers with the numerals in the correct order.

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Finally, the painting was done. Students created an obstacle course out of the stumps, sorted them by color or put them in order and practiced their counting, while they stepped from stump to stump.

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This inquiry brought a lot of opportunities for children to develop their thinking. To start with, kids were thinking about their bodies and figuring out ways to carry heavy stumps. They were learning about numbers in a natural and authentic way. Students were exploring the numbers and the order of numerals in two-digit numbers. Students had to work collaboratively on a project: helping each other with aprons and paintbrushes, teaching friends about numbers, negotiating what number they are going to paint… Our kinesthetic learners were able to benefit from an opportunity to practice counting while moving their bodies stepping from stump to stump.

The other side of the stumps are still empty… We’ll see what will appear there… Just give those kids some time…

Pre-K Team

The Doctor Will See You Now

To introduce our Open Inquiry approach to learning we invited the other Pre-K classes to our room for a play date.  We introduced ourselves to our new friends and welcomed them to our classroom.

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Through these play dates we noticed that the children loved playing with the doctor kit in the dramatic play area. img_3718 img_0120 img_0104

We decided to change our dramatic play area into a Doctor’s Office. img_3969 We asked the children what they would like to see in the space. img_3593 We added books, bandages, x-rays and a skeleton at their request. 
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As time went on the space grew and changed.
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We added a document camera and a projector to show their play. The projection showed on both sides of the screen and we discovered that it was also a great way for the teacher to observe their play without influencing it.

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Each day the children’s play took on different scenarios. Some days we had patients with babies in their tummies and other days we had animals as patients.

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Through this play the children began to establish and sustain positive relationships. They interacted with their peers and made new friends.They learned to work cooperatively in the space, share classroom materials and take turns.

Young Authors

Dear Parents,

We all agree that it is very important for children to learn how to read and write… But the most important thing young children need to learn is to enjoy reading and writing and being excited about working on their learning!

A Book about Bookmaking:

Being inspired a lot of students went to work on their own books. Each author needs to think about the plot and the illustrations, the front page and the title, the sequence and the writing that might appear on some pages… Children have made a lot of books already. The writing centre is always available to them with a variety of book making supplies.  No one is told that they have to do this, but everyone is invited to make a book.

Conferring with young authors helps to bring their writing to a higher level:

No matter where your child is in book making, we, as grownups, need to be encouraging listeners and positive inquires when we are blessed to have a child’s book read to us. Listen to their compositions.  Ask questions about their book.  Ask them what they think they did well, and what they might do next time.

Enjoy listening to your little authors!

Your Pre-K Team

Connecting More Than Lego…

Please take the time to reflect with your child:

What are you doing?  What were you learning about?  What makes you think that?  How do you make a new friend?

 

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While inquiring into Who We Are and thinking about how we connect to others, we asked the children “Where do you go with people that you know?”  We made a list:

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Children were then asked “What spaces can we make in our classrooms that will be fun to go to with new friends?”  They considered the options, and after a vote, it was decided that we would make Legoland as a place for us to go with people that we are getting to know!

 

 

 

How are we going to make Legoland?  What do we need?

The children brought out all the lego and had a play with it.  There was a bit of a dispute over where the best location would be to build Legoland, either on the stage area or in our makerspace.  They decided to play in both spots and see which worked better – it was quickly decided that the stage area had more space.   Children thought that the big bins holding our Lego wasn’t best for seeing all the pieces and expressed interest in organizing them.

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They brought the Lego outside because there was more room to spread it out and decided on how to organize the pieces.  After much debate, it was decided that the bins would be organized according to colour as well as items.

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Over two days, bins were organized:

Red, Green, Yellow, Blue, People, Animals, Things with Wheels, Train Tracks, Things to build a House, Flowers and Trees, Little Lego, Not Lego, and I Don’t Know What This Is.  Land pieces were separated and left out.

Once the bins were brought back inside, it was chaos.  No one knew were pieces were, there were too many bins taking up too much space.  Children saw that they were using all kinds of pieces at the same time, that maybe organizing them wasn’t such a good idea.  Not all children knew the rules of the bins, which was frustrating some.  There was not a lot of play happening.  It seemed like everyone wanted something different.

Is Legoland working?  What can we make/do for Legoland to make it better?

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  The children set off to work again, this time with more of a plan.  Some children were going to make a sign, some were going to build a Lego house where they could host birthday parties, while others wanted to stick to organizing the pieces.

Once the children started to focus on the play instead of only on the organization the entire Legoland experience changed.  We started seeing children work and play collaboratively, using Lego as the common understanding.  Lego started to spread throughout the classroom.  Some playmates were familiar with each other, and others were becoming new friends.  Lego, it seemed, was connecting them to each other.

LEGOLAND – Sept-Oct, 2016.

 

 

 

 

Taking Time to Reflect…

Dear Families,

We are coming to the end of our Unit of Inquiry and it is time to really focus on reflecting on what we’ve learned over the last few months.  Reflection is an important part of any learning process. Without reflection, learning becomes only an activity — like viewing a simple cartoon — something that may not have much meaning but just occupies time.

Reflection is an active conversation exercise that requires as much intellectual work as does every other aspect of the learning process, from analysis to synthesis to evaluation. In reflection, all the learned material can be gathered about, sorted and resorted, and searched through for greater understanding and inspiration.

Over the next few days we will be posting documentation from the last two months. Please take the very valuable time to talk to your children about what is happening in the videos and photos.  Is your child able to apply some of the learning that they are doing at school into your home?  How so?

Please record and let me know how they are making meaningful connections.  Are they able to recall or show you understanding?  In what ways?

You could ask questions like:

What are you doing?  What were you learning about?  What makes you think that?  Do we do something like this at home?

We will continue to reflect with the children about their experiences here at school, helping them to think about their thinking and learning, reminding them of their goals and reviewing the ways they are moving towards achieving them.  On Nov. 18th you will receive your child’s report card and we will have a three-way conference on Nov. 24th.

Kind regards,

The Pre-K Team

Amazing Forest…

Dear Pre-K Parents,

We are fortunate to have a beautiful forest near the school… so we take advantage of it!

Our weekly forest trips engage mind, body and spirit, which in turn helps the children grow. We are very happy to be together in forest and share our findings with friends.It’s all about the process of exploring!

Nature helps nurture harmony and balance which in turn leads to happiness.

And we are happy for our children,

Pre-K Team