Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Hundred Languages of Children

I am currently taking an additional qualification course through York University. We are looking to the Reggio Emilia approach to learning and how we can encourage students to demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways. Inquiry learning provides the students with an opportunity to engage with materials, each other, the teacher and themselves. They recognise themselves as capable learners and researchers, while developing critical thinking skills. 

Here is a poem that I love, as it explains the importance of providing opportunities for students to show their learning in a variety of ways. My goal is that my classroom be a place to support these 100 languages and allow the students to flourish. We are continually making changes to create an environment in which the students feel safe, comfortable, and challenged while being given the necessary opportunities to show their understanding. 

No way. The hundred is there.
The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.
And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.
-Loris Malaguzzi (translated by Lella Gandini)
Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach

Saturday, 22 February 2014


The students decided they wanted to transform 'Room 122 Library' (our drama centre) into a Pizza Shop. The students quickly got to work removing the library materials and brainstorming what we would need for a pizza store. We encouraged them to write lists of what we needed, then many students began to write menus and signs for the store.

We set up a provocation to encourage the students to see shapes in their pizzas.

They began working collaboratively to make toppings (shapes) for the pizzas they could use when in the pizza shop. It was exciting to see the students working collaboratively to create!

Many of the students then took their pizza creations to the pizza store where they placed them into the oven to cook them.

It has been great to see the students finding different 2D shapes within their pizzas, working together to create and to dramatize what happens in a pizza shop, and most importantly, delivering us delicious pizzas all day long!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


Miss. Durant’s class was doing an inquiry on the Olympics and they joined our class to share their knowledge. In pairs they shared information they had learned about the Olympics (i.e. about the medals, the torch, the sports) with the students in our class. We then watched the Opening Ceremonies live from Russia. Students cheered for the Canadian team and began chanting ‘Can-a-da!” over and over! 

After watching the Opening Ceremonies students began having lots of questions and wonders about the Olympics. About the sports and athletes. Throughout the two weeks of the Olympics we showed the students a variety of sports and cheered on Canadian athletes as they received their medals. 

Students shared some wonders about the Olympics:

S.P- how do they skate fast?

P.D- I wonder why they have numbers on their heads and numbers on their t-shirts. I wonder how they get gold medals and silver medals

A.L- I wonder why they play hockey in the Olympics

A.B- I wonder why they have different colour medals

Z.H- I wonder why there are different flags

V.A- I wonder why Olympics have the rings

D.K- I wonder if they practice a lot

A.M- I wonder why they wear special suits 

M.W- I wonder how they could sled down the hill. I wonder why the skiers have glasses

A.A- I wonder how they sled

D.K- maybe the Olympics have something to do with a rainbow because they both have red. I wonder if the Olympics have something to do with rainbows, sometimes the people are dressed in rainbows.

After D.K shared this wonder we went on to the computer to get a picture of the jackets.

When we looked closely at the jackets we saw so many shapes! The students noticed diamonds, circles, triangles, flowers, octagons, squares and then a variety of lines (wavy, zig zag, straight). 

If you are interested in the story behind the patchwork quilt that is the design of the Olympics, check out this link and then click on 'look of the games':  

We put materials out for the students to make their own versions of the designs. 

Students first sketched their designs with pencil and then traced over it with black marker.

What the students created was absolutely beautiful! We will frame them and display them in our classroom.

We hope you continue to enjoy watching the Olympics and cheering on Team Canada!

Here is what the documentation of our learning looks like in the classroom:

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


Does this picture intrigue you? 
If your child was at school on this snowy day, ask them to describe what we did!

(More detailed post to come!)

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Our Snake Inquiry

The students are showing a continued interest in snakes. We have been exploring the students' wonders and finding answers to some of these questions!

We asked students 'what do snakes eat'? Students shared their thinking.

We had a discussion about how to find out what snakes actually eat. Students shared a lot of different ideas. D.K. suggested that we put out all the food that we wrote and see which the snakes eat the most. Another student said "that is a summer experiment not a winter one". This began a fabulous discussion about how to get information. Here is what we came up with:
We are going to continue to add ways to find information as they come up!
The students decided that using books was the best way to find out what snakes eat. They set off to find answers!
We have learned a lot using books to get information!

'Thinking and Learning Time'
Students have been creating habitats for snakes independently and creating collaboratively with each other.
Created by A.B, A.Bh, D.K, S.J, K.B, E.M
Created by K.B.
Created by S.P
Created by D.Z
Created by K.B
Lots of amazing daily writing has been done during Thinking and Learning Time to share their understanding of snakes.

Writing & drawing about snake camouflaging in sand
S.P's story book about a guinea pig hiding from a hungry snake 
D.D's work about the different snakes he knows 

Our team is excited to see what else we can learn about snakes and what the students will continue to create!