As part of the Kindergarten Japanese Culture program and our unit of inquiry into how we express ourselves, the children had the opportunity to work with Dr Amato, head of our International Center for Japanese Culture, who is a passionate and accomplished koto player.
As part of our unit of inquiry into the properties of materials, a team of Kindergarten parents came into school this morning to do some ‘kitchen science’ with the children. They offered five different cooking activities, each of which explored changes of state, from solid to liquid and liquid to solid. There was a purposeful buzz as children and parents worked together, discussing scientific properties of the materials they were working with.
Kitchen Science on PhotoPeach
Thank you to the parents for taking the time to plan and offer this hands-on experience. The children thoroughly enjoyed it.
As part on an ongoing inquiry into pattern and in response to an emerging interest in the concept of infinity, I showed the children some images (click here for some great examples) and YouTube clips of fractal patterns. This provoked a huge interest. The children have asked again and again to watch the clips. They are particularly interested in Mandelbrot’s fractal shape.
The videos have inspired the children to experiment with pattern making themselves and there has been an injection of enthusiasm for pattern exploration.
Today we talked about patterns in nature.
If your child is interested, you could extend this inquiry by looking for interesting patterns at home and when you are out and about.
In music class, the children have been working with Ms Bridgewater to develop the musical skills, attitudes and understandings using the Orff approach. The children’s performance at our Friday assembly was a culmination of the work they have been doing this semester. The children performed two songs, one in Japanese and one in Korean. Each class took turns singing and playing accompaniment with percussion instruments. This was a truly collaborative effort as several parents helped the children learn the songs in music class, to ensure the correct pronunciation. It was a delight to see the children rise to the occasion, standing on the stage as true performers, singing clearly and trying to keep time with Ms Bridgewater.
Our author for June will be Lauren Child, an award winning children’s author from England, best known for the Charlie and Lola stories. Child writes about characters and events that five and six year olds can relate to from their own first hand experiences. The stories are a great way of getting the children to think more deeply about the characters in a story and about why authors portray characters in a particular way.
As the children become increasingly aware of text and text styles, they get particular enjoyment from the way that Lauren Child mixes text fonts, sizes,bold and regular, upper and lower case letters etc to create particular effects.
Many of the stories have been made into animated cartoons, available on YouTube. Below is one that we watched at the sleepover and which the children thought was particularly appropriate!
A landmark event in the Kindergarten learning journey:
Exploring in the dark:
A communal breakfast.
As happens so often, I am inspired by the independence and initiative of these five and six year olds as they manage their belongings and take responsibility for their needs. And I am humbled by the empathy and compassion with which the children treat each other and the way they comfort and care for one another. The sleepover has been a bonding experience for the children and an important part of their personal and group learning journey through Kindergarten.
We have dedicated a few meetings to discussions about our meals during the sleepover. First we figured out which meals we would need to provide for. We did a think, pair, share thinking routine. We came up with this list:
Next, we had to decide what to eat. After much data collecting, recording, analyzing and interpreting, we came up with these lists:
We made shopping lists, divided up into small groups and off we went!
(Many of the photographs are of one group -sorry, we only had one camera. The process was the same for each group.)
The children are very excited about sleeping in school next Friday. For many, this is a landmark in their personal learning journeys; the first night they have spent away from their parents. School is a great place for a first sleepover as it is space the children know well and in which they feel comfortable. Over the week, we have discussed the sleep-over in detail.
The things that the children are most excited about are:
sleeping with their friends and teddies
exploring the school at night time
playing outside in their pyjamas
The things that the children are most concerned about are:
optional -pillow (we have lots of pillows in school but some children have special pillows they wanted to bring
full set of extra clothes (some children have a full set of extra clothes in school and do not need to bring more)
The children are excited about managing their own belongings and routines, “just like grown-ups!”. It will be easier for the children to look after their belongings if they are clearly labeled. This weekend the children should practice packing and unpacking their bags by themselves, several times, so that they know exactly what they have in their bags, where to find everything and how to fit it all in. (Sleeping bags can be particularly tricky.) This will help the children feel a sense of control and independence and will ease anxiety.
We talked about how everything has to fit in one overnight bag and the importance of “packing light”. While we have discouraged the children from bringing big suitcases (for space and storage reasons), it is important that the bag is big enough for children to fit ALL their belongings inside easily.
In our writing sessions, the children choose what they will write about. Our session starts with a ten minute mini-lesson, where we focus on one small aspect of writing. We have a quick practice all together or in pairs and then the children go off to experiment using our focus lesson in their writing. Before they start writing, they think about whether they will:
continue working on something they have started before or start a new piece
write a fiction piece or a non fiction piece
take their writing through to publishing stage or leave it in draft form
share their published work as a book, poster, Puppet Pals animation, kamishi bai or other form
This week the we added another choice to the list – blogging. The children love their kidblogs! They have been amazed and delighted by the number of comments they have received and are highly motivated to write comments on each others blogs. We have added two other class kidblogs to our blog roll – our good friends from Canada, @KinderPals (who introduced us to kidblogs in the first place) and a new class, Ms Lirenman’s Grade 1 class.
The KC children have noticed that KinderPals and Ms Lirenman’s class have photographs on their kidblogs. They are keen to add photographs to their blogs. I have explained that I don’t know how to do that (yet!) but have promised to ask the teachers, Michelle and Karen, how they manage their students’ photographs and get them onto the blog. A learning journey for all!
The children are realizing that some of the comments are hard to read and are discovering for themselves the importance of conventional spelling. In our reflection circle after one blogging session, the children came up with a list of strategies to help them with their spelling:
You can ask your friend who is very good at writing.
I looked in my reading book because that word was there and I read it.
I sounded out with the alphabet chart
Well you can just keep writing and not worry about the red lines till you finish, like we do in our other writing.
I copied sleepover from the paper where we wrote it before.
Me too, I copy from there. (points to time line)
We did our together and we helped each other by sounding out but we didn’t know if there was silent letters
As the children work on their writing, I observe them experimenting, re-reading their work, thinking out loud, seeking and offering help, discussing their ideas with peers and encouraging and supporting each other. Everyone is actively engaged and focused and working at a level that is right for them. I am reminded of the importance of giving learners a choice and enabling them to make decisions about their learning.