Space-When six year olds get to show their compassion and take action.

The story so far…

The children have been fascinated by space since August. (This is all the blog posts about space).

So we have made a stop animation film about Mars and a book to go with the film. Next week we will be making the audio recording for the book, yes it is going to be an audio book! Grade 4G have made a trailer for the film and posters.

The children have decided to share it with you in our assembly.

Is that it?

Since this is K-Perfect, it is most certainly not the end of this child generated inquiry. The children decided people can see the film for free but must pay for the book (future careers in marketing here!). They had a very passionate debate about what to do with the money.

The children finally decided to give the money to a homeless shelter in Kannai and after the earth quake they rethought this. They now want half  of the money to go to the homeless shelter in Kannai and half to the earthquake victim support because,

“We want to care for people and everyone needs money”. (There list became huge and we would have needed a UN budget).

They still want to have a party for some people at the Kannai shelter because,

“We don’t want them to be sad and we want them to know we care”.

Yeah… I have had to stop myself crying a few times during the discussions!

I have tried to edit this, but it does not  show the hours that went into this discussion over many weeks. It doesn’t convey the changes in debating and thinking. I did want to share it though, because, as ever, I feel these children have incredible capacities for sharing.

Space-The continuing journey.

Imaginative play and the children’s self-generated space inquiry-incorporating new students.

It seems that three weeks off school and an earthquake have not stopped the passion for the space inquiry. The new children have been drawn into the play scenario. I have found it absolutely fascinating to see the children go back to previous play ideas. They have started to rewrite the list of who will go on the space ship. This time the children have written lists with first and second names and they knew how to write them by themselves, last time it was scribble writing and copied names. Everyone has taken part.

The new ideas involve acting out space adventures and making new machines. I have tried to capture some of it on video… but it moves very fast!

This is the first one… I have gotten even better footage today… watch this space!

KP-Number Boggle

Do you want to learn how to play number boggle? Watch this video Mai, Sojiro, Jolie and Molly made it for you.

I helped edited but the filming and ideas are all there’s. I only saw it at the editing stage. Note the incredible filming, directing and cast.

How many ways can you find?

Please share with us, leave comments or tweets.

How can Kindergarten children research if they are only just learning to read?

This video shows how the children decided to go to the library to find books about space. They brought them back to the classroom and researched using the pictures. They gleamed a great deal of information.

What they discovered:

Hashu: When stars die you get black holes.

Mai: The moon is not a planet.

Anton: Sun is fire.

Molly: People float in space ships.

Matthew: Stars and people get sucked into black holes.

Sojiro: Water stay (droplets of water stay in the air in space).

Julia: Earth is four (number four on diagram of solar system)

Taiki: Black hole tiny one.

Watch this blog for… research on the iPad.

Why would you let children pursue their interests. What about teaching them the facts they need?


We can teach just facts…

Think they are the foundation on which all knowledge is built… something that never changes?

A lesson in facts… Good bye Pluto!

The first idea the children had was to have the title of their animation about Pluto. We found images of Pluto and discovered it is no longer considered a planet.

The background to this inquiry.

The children started their own inquiry into space in August. They created a dramatic play area, created a whole class scenario where flight manifests were created. They built space ships and all manner of devises to stop alien invasion of their space ship.There was an incredible amount of writing, reasoning and problem solving. They were using high order thinking skills to solve issues. There has also been a great deal of social interaction and development of social skills. I had NOTHING to do with any of this.

In our current unit How We Express Ourselves Elif Raskin (elementary IT support) offered to help the children make a stop animation film, which she would edit. The children were excited to see an example of this. They decided to take one of their favourite books “There’s nothing to do on Mars” Chris Gall and retell the story in new way.

Back to space we go!

There is just so much to share with you. The blog would explode! I will put a little bit on each day. It is incredible. The research and thinking is amazing.

To begin…

I am supporting this inquiry by facilitating the use of technology, finding apps and other research tools. I am making sure the children have access to as many art supplies as they need. Most importantly when the children plan their own day we make sure there is them plenty of time to inquire and design.

Talking and sharing ideas.

I have given lots of time to talking about their ideas. We spent some time discussing the title of the animation and this generated a huge amount of discussion. You can see from the video showing their preexisting ideas. They wanted to see Pluto and then discovered it was no longer considered a planet. A big discussion followed.

We want to our Mars to look real. Art from research. on PhotoPeach

How is my child doing with their writing?

Celebration of learning Publishing Party- party planning.

Unit of inquiry- How we organise ourselves.

Here is a video of the children writing their lists for the celebration of learning, publishing party. Observe the great discussion. See their list of ideas outside the classroom. The video shows the children working together to make a list of food and items they would like.

NOTE: Great collaboration, cooperation and respecting others.

Applying taught skills: list making, phonics and editing work.

Now remember this was only about ten minutes of their day!

KP beyond the classroom, beyond the world and into space.

How clever is my child?

Can they apply what they have learned?

I know the highest level of thinking is now considered to be creativity, so is my child thinking at this level?

KP have had a passion for space.  This was started by Matthew and Hashu but everyone has joined in at some time during the year. The loft area in the classroom has many functions, construction area, book area, home,  paper areoplane launching area (their knowledge of design and aerodynamics is very impressive), but mostly it is a space ship. One afternoon during free inquiry time the whole class engaged in a scenario where the children were getting ready to launch into space. It was decided that a  flight manifest of everyone who was going on board would be needed. They cooperated and helped each other write down names.  Some children found the names on the wall and read and copied them, some tried to sound them out and some asked for potential passengers to write their own names. This process was sustained for over 45 minutes before the launch commenced. It was a highly creative process which showed problem solving, collaboration and application of taught skills.

Great, but are they learning anything?

  • Meta-cognition (Having the ability to express ideas verbally, explaining thought processes. Remember many of the children are doing this in two languages).
  • Problem-solving (Coming across an issue, being able to work through many stages and use different strategies to find a solution).
  • Cooperation (Work with others to find solutions for using resources. Listening to others and respecting different ways of achieving the same end).
  • Writing (Understanding that we use writing as a way to communicate and help us organise ideas. Knows about letters and that they have a corresponding sound.)
  • Phonemic awareness/sight words/reading words (We are not automatically readers and writers, the way we are walkers and talkers. Try and remember how hard it is to learn these skills. The children used many strategies to help them write the words they wanted).
  • Lists (Picking the write kind of writing for the job. Showing an understanding that we write in different ways for different reasons, for example lists, cards and emails).

p La Spaceship Lists use

Now do you see why we have a class of rocket scientists!

Who will go on the space ship? on PhotoPeach

How technology helped us.

We used the digital camera and Iphone to take pictures and recorded the children’s work with a photostory. This time I took the pictures but it is usually hard to get the camera out of the children’s hands. It is important to teach them about respecting the technology. Mostly it is just a case of practise makes perfect with taking the pictures.

photopeachPhotopeach (free) Is simple to use. If you make a file of pictures that children can access they can upload them  by themselves and add music from the site. Photopeach honours children’s work by presenting it in a professional manner.  In this case I typed down what each child said and this is a record of their thinking, so I could assess their level of understanding about writing shown through this free inquiry.

Yoyoutubeu Tube (free) We searched You Tube for videoes that showed launches and reentries to earth.  You can also use teacher tube, which may give you more educational chooses. The children were able to see inside the space shuttle. This is very easy to do but it is a good idea to preview video if possible. There has seldom been a topic I can’t find a video on. It is fantastic for maths and Language Arts. I am still a big fan of Sesame Street.