Monday, 9 November 2015

'Thinking and Learning Time'

I'm sure you hear the term 'Thinking and Learning Time' a lot when asking your child about their day. You hear this for good reason. We spend most of our time throughout the day in 'Thinking and Learning Time'. You might be wondering, "if they are just playing all day, how can they learn things like reading and math?" I'd like to explain why we have chosen to have the majority of our day dedicated to play. We have purposefully set up our classroom to provide materials and opportunities for the students to independently explore, create and learn.

Students can explore visual arts in different ways. 

Sketching and Drawing
N.B. doing a still life sketch, adding in all the details he saw.
A.R. using her observation skills to see all the details in the flowers.
Painting the sketch of the flowers using water colour paints.
A.S. taking her time and painting what she sees.

Loose Parts on the Light Table
Can you see the math in these beautiful creations? Many students chose to sort the leaves and colours to create their pictures. Some students compared the number of leaves on each tree to see which had the most and least.
Students Halloween Art inspired by a story we read.
Students can explore various math concepts.

Data Management & Probability
L.L's survey. Students love moving around the classroom asking their friends various questions and recording their responses using tallies.
A.H. created this "rainbow tower" demonstrating an ability to sort by colour.
A. Ah exploring probability by rolling the number cube and tallying the numbers.
Number Sense:
Using counters and ten-frame mats to explore one to one matching.
D.C. using dot plates and counters. He then put the plates in order from 1-11.
E.B. playing dominoes demonstrating an ability to recognize numbers.
L.L adding counters using ten frames and then recording his learning in writing.
A.R. creating a number line using wooden numbers, counters and cubes.
M.R. ordering number cards.
J.C. adding three numbers together using one to one matching and number recognition. 
M.L. creating a number line.
E.B and L.R worked together to count 100 of our pumpkin seeds.

M.S. matching numbers on the dominoes with the ones on the number cubes.
We worked together to count all 515 seeds in our pumpkin!

D.M. using cubes and a measuring tape to find out how big her pumpkin is.
L.R. measuring the length of her pattern.
A.S. showing her understanding of capacity in our sensory bin.
Measuring the pumpkin using stones.

I.S. worked outdoors to build a cube out of our sit spots first, then he turned his cube into a rectangular prism.


A.P. created lots of patterns, he then sorted the patterns he made (ABC, ABB, and AB patterns).

M.A. creating an AB (white, orange) pattern with pumpkins.
While students are constantly speaking and sharing ideas with teachers and peers, they have many opportunities to explore literacy concepts.
We love to write outside!
M.L. made the alphabet using pieces of mulch from the yard.
Building sight words.
Wiki stick letters.
Sorting letters by colour.
Writing about the Blue Jays.
H.W. created the entire alphabet using Lego!
M.S. on a letter hunt.
Creating the alphabet using magnet letters.
As you can see, while they are playing for most of our day, they are learning so many different skills. This post doesn't even highlight all the learning happening about science, drama, health, physical education, dance, etc! I am always so impressed with the students and the incredible ideas they explore when they are playing. 

I hope this post has helped you understand the benefits of allowing for large chunks of time devoted to play. I also hope you can now understand why we call this time, 'Thinking and Learning Time'. 

Here are some links about the importance of play, learning and allowing the students to direct their own learning:

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