Friday, 27 December 2013

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is keeping warm, especially if your power went out!  

I want to wish you and your family a happy holiday. 

Get outside and enjoy the icy beauty that is surrounding us!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Meet Floppy!

This toy has continually popped up around our classroom and in a variety of locations. No one knows where he came from. Students kept bringing him to an adult during clean up not knowing where he should be put away. 
We asked the students where they thought he came from. 
T.K- I keep seeing him!

Z.H- next door

P.D- before when it was in the house centre, I saw in the house centre

V.A- I think when I be a JK, I think I have it last year with a house

D.D- at night time someone brought him

A.B- maybe he came from a class

A.Bh- maybe he came from next door when someone didn’t have anybody to play with it, no one liked it so they put it inside our class

K.B- maybe he came from Ms. S

C.C- from next door

M.W- I think he used to be real and then he came pretend

D.S- another class

D.Z- outside

With such a variety of ideas, we used this as an opportunity to promote creative writing. Encouraging the students to write their ideas during Thinking and Learning Time. The students said he needed a name so they shared some of their ideas for names including: Bob, Floppy and Wonder Man. We had a vote and the name 'Floppy' was chosen.  

One morning we came in and the students asked where Floppy was. We looked around and couldn’t find him. The students decided to make a home for Floppy for when he came back.

A.B and S.P each made a plan for Floppy’s house, which then encouraged many other students to sketch plans for his house.

Comparing the different plans

Here is a snippet of the conversation that happened. I hope it catches the excitement and collaboration that went into this creation.

A.B- one (house) could be playing one could be eating 

D.K- we need to let Floppy decide what house he wants to live in

A.B- this one could be play this one could be eating, we need a bed for him

D.K- we could make it

S.P- A.B make the bed

A.B- you make the pillow, you make the bed

D.K- it will be tricky to make the house

S.P- we need cardboard

A.B- we’re making it out of wood

S.P- where can we get wood from?

D.K- it’s going to be tricky, once we find out which house Floppy likes the best he’ll live in it

A.B- we’re going to make the lights, the beds, you could make it out of wood

D.K- cardboard would be better because we could make a better triangular roof

S.P- what about stairs? Paper won’t work because when he steps on it it will go down

K.B- he needs a basement, how are we going to get a basement? Maybe we can get the popsicle sticks and make a little square with it

A.B- maybe he could have a stove to cook, maybe he could have a little pond and he could have his own little library

D.K- how can we make a little pond? 

K.B- how are we going to make the weeds in the pond?

D.K- how will be put the water in?

Working together to create the house

Sketching the windows

Creating a motorcycle for Floppy

Creating furniture and objects for Floppy's house

Working as a team

Floppy in bed

We eventually found Floppy hiding in blocks and the students have since been adding to his house, creating motorcycles for him, writing books and stories about him and designing costumes for him! 

Floppy has been writing messages to the students encouraging them to engage in different activities around the classroom. 

It has been exciting to watch the students learn to work collaboratively and to watch their creativity come out in a variety of different ways!

We are wondering what he will be up to next! Be sure to ask your child about Floppy's adventures!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Can Plants Grow in Rocks?

Ms. Tompkins went on a trip to Australia and while she was there she saw these trees growing in the rocks! She showed the picture to the students and asked them what they thought or wondered about this picture. 

Many students thought that there was soil under the rocks for the roots to go to. 
The students thought that plants can grow in rocks. We decided to test this idea. A small group of students were excited about this and decided to plant pumpkin seeds in some rocks. They said they needed to add water and put the seeds near the window to get sun. 

S.P described the process we took. "We put the rocks in and then we put in seeds and we pushed it in and then it’s going to grow. First it will grow roots, then a flower, then a green pumpkin, then a big orange pumpkin with a stem"

Ms.Tompkins- What do you think will happen?

M.W- it will grow up big to the sky

E.K- the seed in the rocks, a big one

A.A- what will happen to my seeds is... the seeds go over the rocks, it goes down in the rocks

A.Bh- if it doesn’t have any soil in it, it can't grow in the rocks, if we put it outside in the sun it could grow in the sun

Ms. Tompkins- there is no soil, do you think they will grow?

A.A- no soil, no grow

S.P- no, it’s not going to grow

M.W- yes they will grow with rocks

A.Bh- we need water

The students then said we needed to add water. So we poured some water into the cups.

M.W- it’s going to grow big

A.A- water is going to grow it, but we didn’t have soil

S.P- it’s not going to grow because it has no soil and we didn’t put it where it can get sun and air from the window. We should put them in the window 

We moved the cups into the window.

We became excited when the sprouts started to grow in the rocks!

M.W's stem began to grow

A.A- the plant is growing
A.B- A.Bh's is growing a little bit very slow, and M.W's is growing very fast

Ms. Tompkins- What do plants need to grow?
A.Bh- water, soil, sun and seeds
Ms. Tompkins- We planted ours without soil, how is it growing?
T.K- it has seeds
A.M- because of the rocks, the rocks are inside this water and sun. The seeds help the plant grow without soil because somedays me and my mom get a plant with rocks and it grows and grows 
Z.H- it will turn into a green pumpkin and then an orange pumpkin after
D.D- maybe the roots and the water and sun and the seed is helping it grow
A.B- in M.W's, the seed is opening and its attached to the stem
D.S- it's growing up and it will make orange pumpkin
D.K- it's growing from the rocks because some rocks, there must be nutrients inside the rocks to grow 
A.A- the plant is growing bigger and bigger 
V.A- how about it's going to grow more pumpkins
A.Bh- we talked about growing in the sun. Some grow slow and some plants grow fast.

We have been able to make some really detailed observations about the plants. Students were able to make comparisons between the different plants and share their theories about why certain seeds sprouted and others didn't. 

What amazing learning has come from a simple picture taken on vacation!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

An Update on our Learning in November

We have been very busy! The students have become very comfortable with the program and have been showing so much improvement in their reading, writing and speaking.

We have been learning about different ways to do our 'daily writing'. We can label pictures, write and illustrate books, write a list, draw a picture and write a sentence about it or write our wonders. The quality of writing has improved since September, which in turn has helped the students with their reading! We have been so excited to see the incredible improvement in every student in the class!

E.M- My pumpkin seed is growing.
(In the picture it starts as a sprout on the right, then a yellow flower, then a green pumpkin and then an orange pumpkin!)
S.J writing about his creation

Writing about their building creations

Students have been asking a lot of questions about seeds (we are still growing pumpkin seeds), teeth (we had dental screening and a few students have begun to lose teeth), snow, water, and much more!

The students in Room 122 are very curious!

Wondering about the snow

Trying to make it stick together

Planting seeds in rocks

Wondering if the seeds will grow in rocks

Wondering about the colour of rain

Students are finding patterns everywhere! They have also been creating patterns during 'Thinking and Learning Time'.

Students have been creative during 'Thinking and Learning Time' creating many beautiful works of art. They have also been in Room 122 Library pretending to be teachers and librarians.

Naming the "man" (a toy that has appeared in our room) in our class 'Floppy'

November has been a great month of learning!