Our Fellow Snail Christian, is both Chinese and Danish. His family came to class to read and sing to us in Danish. They also brought some special traditional Danish Christmas cookies called klejner. We especially loved hearing one of our favorite books “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” being read in another language!
During our Belonging unit, we have been exploring the different communities (groups) that we belong to. As a shared PreK 2 activity, all 5 classes came together to have a Morning Assembly (just like the big E.S. kids). This was such a success! Both teachers and children enjoyed it. We decided that throughout the school year, all PreK 2 classes will meet periodically to have a Morning Assembly. Each class will take turns in leading a song, story or dance that showcases their learning. At the end of the assembly all 5 classes will sing a shared Chinese song.
This activity will be kept fun and engaging to build the routine of presenting in front of others. This will help the Snails continue to build their self confidence and build a foundation for public speaking.
Our Writing Center has wheels-so we can move it anywhere.
Since the children have been very interested in building houses during Exploration time…I thought that I would surprise them with one. When the children were at recess I set up a house with a curtain, picnic blanket, blocks and our stuffed animals set up at the table.
When the children came into the room they were very surprised to see this scene. They immediately asked me why I set it up. I told them that I was so busy with my teacher work and I didn’t see what happened. I told them that when I returned back to the classroom, the house was set up. They started asking questions and offering ideas of who was responsible. Was it the animals themselves? Was it one of our neighboring teachers (Ms. Natalie or Mr. K.)? The Ayi or Ms. Laura? Since we are already in the Halloween spirit, they wondered if it was a fairy or a good witch.
The reason for not admitting that I was responsible for setting up this scene was more than just for fun. I set it up as a provocation. I knew that the children would be surprised and interested in the house. I also knew that they would have many questions about how, why and who. Instead of me giving the children the facts, I wanted them to share their thoughts and ideas. Many times throughout the day teachers do not answer many of the children’s questions. We put the questions back onto them and their classmates. We are interested in hearing their theories and reasoning. It doesn’t matter whether the children’s theories are believable or not. What we are looking for is that the children are developing their critical thinking skills. That they are developing the ability to
communicate when formulating and sharing their ideas.
Over the course of a week, we took the time to choose our class name. We first listed all the animals that we knew, then we began voting on which animal mascot we preferred. We visited the list daily and voted each time to make the list shorter. When we finally got down to 2 animals (frog and Snail), we then drew the animal that we preferred.
When we had the final vote for snails, we then listed the kind of snails that we liked. Each idea that the children suggested, we did research on. As a class, we looked at google images of each idea i.e. Bubble Snails, Fire Snails, Flower Snails..
Working together as a class to choose our name, gave the children ownership. All children were a part of the discussions and decisions. Activities like these set the feeling that we are a community, a team where every one has the opportunity and responsibility to contribute. Little did the children know that the were busy learning new vocabulary, math skills and growing as communicators by sharing their ideas.
Sharing our travel journals, has been a great way to verbally practice sharing our experiences with our friends. The children have been proud (not shy at all) to read their Travel Journals to their classmates. As you can see from the video, the children are welcome to contribute to the discussion of asking and answering questions in the language that they need to express their thoughts in.
The Laser Bugs were a bit sad that the rain was too heavy to have our Field Day! They were looking forward to putting on their Laser Bug uniforms and showing their parents the P.E. skills that they had learned this year. Never the less, we still put on our Laser Bug uniforms and had an exciting morning together. We had a dance party, read books together, took photos of each other, colored our own Laser Bugs and did exercise videos together. We are looking forward to the postponed date when we can wear our uniforms and have our parents cheer us on!
Here is a “Story” I have created with Storify. It is a digital platform that compiles information shared on social media (using hashtags and links). This story showcases the connections and conversations regarding our #eccphoto Project (mostly on twitter and instagram) amongst the contributing teachers and our supportive administration. Take a look through and you will see just how many contributors are sharing their thoughts/reflection and their student’s learning.
The Spy Kids (our 4th grade reading buddies) came to mentor the Laser Bugs on how to properly hold the iPads and to take photos. The 4th grade teacher had prepared her students by having a discussion on how they could coach the Laser Bugs in their photo taking. She had explained to them in that the Laser Bugs had begun to practice taking photos in their classroom with their teachers. She suggested that they come up with an agreed criteria, that was similar to what the Laser Bugs were already learning. Also because of the Laser Bugs’ age she encouraged that the goals should be clear and an appropriate amount. The Spy Kids came up with a plan of action and decided on the skills that they would help the Laser Bugs with.
-Holding the iPad still
-Counting to 3 (allowing time to steady hands and focus)
-Pressing the button only one time (so we only here one click)
A lot of smiles, giggles and rich conversations were generated throughout the learning experience. Both the big and small students took turns posing and taking photos as they walked around the Mountianside campus. The Spy Kids did a great job giving directions to the Laser Bugs, they were clear, patient and kind to their small buddies. The best part is that teachers could see the Spy Kids’ excitement while taking on the role as mentor.