Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January Ramblings

A bear den...lift the lid to see the bear sleeping inside!

Labelling an illustration of an animal that survives the winter outside.

Winter animals celebrate Christmas in the sensory bin filled with Epsom salts.

A beaver!

Tracing, painting, and cutting out numbers.

Creating art based on Ezra Jack Keats' "The Snowy Day".

Co-created number anchor charts in the works.

Sometimes it feels like we're doing everything but just being in the now of teaching Kindergarten. From November's progress reports to Decembers concerts and open-houses, into January's cold-weather warnings and February's report cards, there are so many places for our attention to be. 

This has been a busy year so far! Extreme cold weather has forces many indoor recesses on us which do take their toll after several days in a row. My teaching partner and I were busy preparing a presentation to other Kindergarten educators in our board when I came down with the flu. Close on its heels was bronchitis, which flattened me and kept me from work for a week. Add to that the inevitable illnesses of my toddler, husband, and older children, and you can understand how grateful I am to just BE here today, focused on the children in our class.

Since our return after Christmas holidays, we've been exploring ideas around how animals survive the harsh winter. As a rural school, many of the children have experiences of seeing animals like wild turkeys, deer, porcupines, and birds outside in the snow. Through rich read alouds, we have come up with many questions and answered most of them! The children loved creating charts of animal behaviours in winter (hibernate? migrate? stay here?), and were very diligent about recording all the animals they could think of. Their interest in animals spilled over into the sensory bin, art centre, and creative centre where one little girl in particular loved sculpting Canadian animals that we had discussed during our circle times.

I've been wanting to get the children working on a number wall since early fall, but the interest didn't seem to be there. Today the conditions were perfect somehow, and some of the Year 2s got busy tracing our number lacing shapes. I asked them to paint them then wondered aloud how else we could show the numbers we'd created. Different students contributed their fingers for photographing, or glued pompoms on ten frames.

I'm enjoying just being here in each moment of the day, observing the children, and making plans to extend their learning and understanding. We've had some great discussions about maps and globes and I sense a new inquiry blossoming. 

Stay tuned for a "teacher tutorial" for a beautiful art project we created last week!

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