Saturday, 28 May 2016

Thinking Mathematically

One thing I love about teaching kindergarten is how our learners see math everywhere. They explore mathematical concepts naturally during their play and exploration. We set up invitations for them to explore these concepts and we're usually blown away by the complexity of their thinking.

"It started as a square, then a cube and then a rectangular prism!"
Counting and patterning in the sand table.

Sorting by colour.
Creating growing patterns by 1 and by 2.
So many complex patterns created by I.S!
Creating patterns and measuring the lines using loose parts. What math can you see?

Measuring how many caps long the line is.

This pattern blew me away, can you figure out what is it?

D.A. worked to determine which line was longest using the measuring tool penne pasta. She determined that the curvy line is the longest.
2D shape creations. We still love making mandalas!

When your children are playing, take time to observe their play. Chances are you are able to find math! You can encourage your child/student to think about math concepts by naturally integrating it into your questioning about what they're doing:

  • How tall do you think your structure is? How can you find out?
  • How many ____ did you use?
  • What would go next in your pattern?
  • How do you know?
  • What shapes are in your creation/drawing/structure?
  • How many tickets do we need for everyone in our family to go on the ride? What coins do we need to use?
  • My bike has 2 wheels and your bike has 3 wheels, how many wheels do we have all together?
  • Which ____ do you think is longer? How can you show me.
  • Show me your thinking. 
  • Tell me more.
This list could go on and on! 

Prompts or "talk moves" to encourage your child/students math thinking from 'Maximizing Math Learning in the Early Years'

Math is naturally everywhere if you take the time to look. Cannot wait to see what our mathematicians do next!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Importance of Trees

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not."
- The Lorax

Our learners have been exploring environmental stewardship and the importance of trees through conversations, outdoor experiences and various texts (books, videos, etc.). We have been blown away by the incredible thinking and ideas each learner has shared about trees and their importance to our lives.

We took (and will continue to take) lots of nature walks. Our walks focused on plants and trees. Learners recorded their observations during each walk and outdoor learning time.

Students recorded through pictures or words all the plants they saw on our walk

"Ms. Tompkins, we love this tree! It's so beautiful!"

We read many books with a focus on trees and deforestation. Our learners broke out into applause at the end of 'The Great Kapok Tree' book (spoiler) because the man didn't cut the tree down. A student wrote her wonder after the book was finished:
"I wonder why the people chop down the trees and they don't plant back? The animals have no home. I think because they won't have a house."- M.L.
During 'The Lorax' one student commented, "I wonder why the man wants more money, because he will die (because he is cutting all the trees down) and then he cannot see his money." They are thinking so critically!

Our learners are passionate about helping save energy and not cutting down the trees. They have been making connections to our learning about polar bears (click here for link) and how we need to save energy to help the planet. With their focus on not cutting down trees, we felt it would be important to provide an opportunity for our learners to plant trees. Then we found out Grade 5s were planting trees! We were so excited to join in on the hard work!

Stomping on the soil to pack it down
Digging the hole 

We were so impressed with each learner as they got their hands dirty and worked in the heat to plant a tree. They all felt very accomplished. It brought their learning to life!

We are so excited to continue to learn about trees and their roles in our lives!