## One Koinobori, four areas of curriculum intergration.

May 16, 2013

This is a perfect example of how different areas of the curriculum come together in authentic ways to support student learning. Ms Yuri invited the children to learn about Children’s Day from her book about Japanese cultural events.  The children remembered there was a huge Koinobori in ELC. We wondered whether the children would like to visit the ELC. They quickly said yes and made the suggestion of taking clipboards and paper to  sketch the Koinobori.

Koinobori inquiry by Yuri Airs

The children applied their sketching skills from art, carefully recording details of Koinobori for their own design. The children noted the Koinobori fluttering in the wind and pondered the question, What material is this made of? This was a direct link to our Unit of Inquiry about how we manipulate materials to suit our purposes.

Drawing our Koinobori on PhotoPeach

The children came back to class and wanted to share ideas of  how to make their own Koinobori. The children had lengthy discussions about the appropriate materials for their Koinobori. They pondered which adhesives would be needed to connect pieces.They estimated lengths of fabric, paper and plastic.  Some children used rulers to measure the length of their fish. They used words such as, longer, shorter, fatter and small to describe their designs. This shows the practical application of our measurement unit in maths.

Making Koinobori on PhotoPeach

The children made their Koinobori on a particularly gusty day and were able to test and modify their designs.

## Kindergarteners as problem solvers, counting large amounts.

April 12, 2013

Linking taught curriculum with children’s passions, the background.

Aiden brought in a big bag of one yen coins for the school one yen drive. The children wanted to know,

• Why was he doing this?
• What was the money for?
• Why was he giving away his money?

Aiden said the money came from his mum and it was to help people. The children thought this must mean poor people. They explained that poor people don’t have food. They surmised that this meant they couldn’t go to restaurants which needed money. Other children decided to give some one yen coins and others said they didn’t want to share their money. One of the high school students came told us the money was to build wells.

How much money did we have and how could we count it accurately?

This video is a celebration of learning. We have spent many hours as a class discussing how to count large amounts. Each child proposed strategies, tested and evaluated their idea. Many frustrations were faced and ideas challenged. We pondered the notion of counting,

• Why do we count?
• Why do we need to be accurate?
• Which idea works best, why?

This four minute video shows the children counting all the one yen coins, it has been edited from thirty five minutes of footage. The video aims to capture the essence of learning within the class. I have tried to create a story, each transition in the video shows the next development in the ‘plot’,  as children share their deepening mathematical thinking.

You will note the following in the video,

• Counting 1 to 10 accurately, matching object to a word.
• Self-regulating, checking and counting for accuracy.
• Counting in mother tongue and transferring to English.
• Calculating amounts needed to make 1o.
• Problem-solving ways to make 10.
• Developing the language of large numbers ‘ty’ words, 10, 20, 30
• Working with others to negotiate the sharing of money.
• Forming groups to share expertise and check for accuracy.

In case you were wondering… we had 678 yen when we  finished counting.

## Exploring and developing an understanding of number value in Kindergarten.

January 30, 2013

This game helps children develop skills for organising data, counting large numbers and constructing understanding of place value.

The children and I  gave the cubes names and decided they would be sweets or candy. BEWARE, the purple cubes are purple puckers! Sometimes I hand out huge handfuls of cubes. Other times I throw the cubes about the floor for the children to collect.

The children sort the cubes to see how many of each sweet they have. The children quickly realized it was easiest to sort the cubes into sets. The problem was counting them accurately.

Some children sorting the cubes into connected towers. They said connecting the cubes into sets helped them see which there were more of. Over several games the children started to order their connected cubes. They made 3D graphs, scanned sets of cubes and made comparisons between their sets and other children’s. They used mathematical language such as more, less and the same.

The children thought the game needed a winner, they decided the person with the most cubes should win.This gave an authentic reason to count. The children were also focused on accuracy. The children counted their own cubes and checked the answer with a partner. They found this time consuming.

Some children started to group their cubes into ten’s. This gave us an opportunity to explore the children’s understanding of our number system. Children can rote count numbers but it is developmentally challenging to understand we only have nine number symbols in our counting system (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9). All other numbers are made up of these symbols.

These symbols have no meaning in isolation and need to be connected to the object being counted. For example going up to your child and saying  ” 4.” 4 what? A number needs to be connected to the object being counted, “Give me 4 plates please.” The same is true of ’0′. In mathematical terms zero means nothing of the set e.g. none of the plates.  202, indicates none of the 10′s.

When we talk to the children about larger numbers we talk about 51 being, 5 of the tens and 1 of the one’s.

## iPads and abacus fusing the ancient and modern to explore percentages in kindergarten.

January 21, 2013

The children and I were engaged in a conversation regarding the iPads. Why do they go flat? How could we stop this happening? When should we charge the iPads? I found myself saying the iPad were “low on juice.” The children laughed at my expression and said the iPad didn’t drink juice you need to charge them. Our iPads are set up to the show the battery and the percentage. The children made the connection between the battery and power, but how could they understand percentages?

The abacus and the iPad may seem unusual partners but we were able to marry the ancient with the modern to represent the charge on the iPad. We have been exploring ways of representing numbers. The children have been making number patterns with the abacus and during this exploration made the discovery that the Slavic abacus has ten rows of ten.

I explained that percentage means of of one hundred and we could show how much charge was left by using the abacus, which also represent one hundred. We picked up an iPad and the children read the percentage. We then represented the percentage of charge left on the abacus. The children then had a clear way of assessing the charge. The children decided that eleven percent was “really low” and ninety five percent was “loads”. We have agreed to start charging the iPads if they reach twenty percent.

## Complex patterns, complex thinking?

November 30, 2012

We continue to work on patterning and have added a new level of complexity. The children made a pattern and then transferred it to another form. An example would be a red, blue, red, blue pattern transferring into a sound pattern bing,bong, bing, bong or a number pattern 10,11,10,11.

We wanted to add yet another level of thinking.  How complex could children make patterns? An example being 1,1,2,2,3,1,1,2,2,3.

Could they identify the repeating element of a pattern? An example being 1,1,2,2,3,1,1,2,2,31,1,2,2,31,1,2,2,3,1,1,2,2,3.

Thinking Routine, What makes you say that?

We will work on making our thinking visible as we ponder the complexity of patternw with our learning community, including our buddies. Grade 4N will go on a pattern hunt with KP and explore the questions,”Why do people design things with patterns? What is the purpose of the pattern? When they formulate an answer we will challenge them to ‘dig deeper’ and explain their thinking by asking the question, What makes you say that?

Complex patterns

## Grade 10 buddies learn to play.

November 28, 2012

We invited our grade 10 buddies to share some of the manipulatives we use to inquire into shape. To begin with the Grade 10′s helped the kindergarten children. After about thirty minutes the kindergarten children had taught the grade 10′s  how to re-engage themselves in play. We hope to keep learning from each other.

## Do other countries have patterns?

October 15, 2012

I was wondering whether other countries have patterns. I went searching around and found these at the Western Academy of Beijing. Do you think these count as patterns?
Patterns in China on PhotoPeach

## KIndergarten document their learning- Our post By KP

October 9, 2012

Children’s self-documentation can be shared, revisited and reflected upon, using the blog.  Ray says, “We used the iTouch to take pictures and videos to save [on the blog]. When you get to be a grown up you forget what you did last year.” Yesterday the children decided to take photographs to remember their models,  keep them safe and show what they had achieved. Ray took pictures of people who make the model so he could represent his collaborators and  credit his team.

Ray asked that these images be placed on the blog.

The children are beginning to:

•  document their own learning
• share their learning
• verbalise their thinking
• share what is important to them
• express their creativity

This video represents how the children used the iTouch in August and September. Ray helped edit the photographs. To begin with the children liked to record themselves and watch the video. Now they want to share their documentation with others.

## Sorting using our buddies bodies!

October 3, 2012

The Grade four buddy time was spent representing our understanding of sorting through  sets of people. The photopeach below shows some of  the ways the children choose to sort people. It was an interesting process, the sets started off being very simple i.e. hair colour and ended up being very complex and included “What do you think of Wayne Rooney?”

Our time with the buddies is a valuable learning time  for both classes. The children learn to work together and bring their understandings of a subject to new levels. Teaching others challenges children tothink and find ways to communicate with others.

So can you guess the criteria the children choose to sort by… here are some clues

• Age
• Hair colour
• Skin tone
• Eye colour
• What you are wearing on your feet
• What is your opinion of Wayne Rooney.
• How much skin are you showing.

Buddy body sorting! on PhotoPeach . You can see their post here.

## Five year olds use Fotobabble to share their mathematical thinking with others.

October 3, 2012

The children received a tweet picture from AGS in Canada. They had to sort their beads when they drop them on the floor. As teachers we are looking for teachable moments and this picture was a great provocation for the class. I suggested that we could share some of our sorting with the class in Canada. This gave an authentic reason to sort and share.

The children became very excited by this possibility and quickly set about working in groups. This can be a challenging task for children who are learning English, the children picked a partner who they could work with and support if needed. Some children needed additional support to create sets.

Note the criteria the children used. We are trying to move beyond one simple criteria such as colour. Being able to sort thoughtfully and creatively depends on the materials which are available. We will ask parents and children to source objects for us. Watch this weeks newsletter.

TO AGS and Kinder PRIS look at our sorting pictures and try and guess how we sorted them. When you have guessed you can click on the picture and we will share our thinking.

To Parents get your child to show you their picture try and guess how we sorted them. When you have guessed you can click on the picture and we will share our thinking.