Monday, 24 November 2014

Patterns, Patterns, Everywhere!

The Full-Day Early Learning- Kindergarten Program states that EL-K teams should "introduce mathematical concepts in carefully planned hands-on activities at various learning centres in the classroom and provide children with opportunities to explore mathematical concepts and strategies in a wide variety of ways (pg. 93)." In addition, "children should be provided with ready access to a wide range of concrete materials such as found objects, so that they can develop beginning understanding of how to use various materials to explore mathematical concepts (pg. 94)." 

In order to see what the students already knew about patterns, a provocation was set up with the question, "Can you create a pattern?"

AAB Pattern: green, green, red

AB Pattern: orange, green

AB Patterns

We accessed prior knowledge during a Knowledge Building Circle by asking the question, 
"What is a pattern?"

We read books during our read-alouds to deepen the students understanding of patterns. "Reading books aloud and in shared reading contexts provides real links between literature and mathematical ideas, since some stories use mathematical terminology and/or contain illustrations of mathematical concepts (FD-ELK, pg. 93)."

Students explored different patterns during math exploration, small group, and whole group lessons. 

ABB Pattern using small and big corks

AB Pattern using links

ABB Pattern using coloured buttons

ABB Pattern using pattern blocks

Students also chose to draw and write about their patterns during their work on daily writing.

AB Pattern: star, heart

AB Pattern: blue, red

AB Pattern: blue, red

We worked with the students to help extend their learning and understanding by having them reflect on the patterns they created by asking them to "tell me about your pattern" and "what comes next?" Reflecting is one of the seven mathematical processes for early learners where they "demonstrate that they are reflecting on and monitoring their thinking to help clarify their understanding as they complete an investigation (FD-ELK, pg. 95)."

Monday, 17 November 2014

Exploring Seasonal Changes

I have learned that inquires can spark in many different ways; students interests, conversations, emerging events, provocations, observing children in play, or simply by stepping outside into the outdoors and embarking on a nature walk. 

On our very first nature walk as a class, we asked the question, "What do you see?" 
The students in Room 9 noticed "red and green trees," "Canada flag leaves," and "different leaves."

One student shared, during an outdoor Knowledge Building Circle, "I found a leaf and it is a red one.
I think fall is coming!"

We asked the students, "Why do you think fall is coming?" They were eager to share their theories- 
"Leaves are changing colours," "some places are green and red," "it is windy," "it is cold in fall," "leaves turn yellow, red, and brown and they fall on the ground."

At a later Knowledge Building Circle, the students began wondering about leaves-
"I wonder why leaves have two different colours Ms. Dutt." "I wonder why leaves are falling down to the ground." "I wonder why leaves fall down for winter." "I wonder why leaves turn from red to yellow to brown and why they fall and die." "I wonder why trees turn colours."

We read fiction and non-fiction books during our read-alouds to deepen our understanding of why leaves change colours and why leaves fall off trees. 

We explored the students wonders through the 100 languages of children.

Using our "Wonder Window" together with our light table to represent the changes we see.
Working together to draw what we see on a nature walk.
An Invitation to Learn about Fall.
Learning about the different types of leaves.
An Invitation to create with leaves and loose parts.
"A forest with lots of leaves falling because it's windy."

We also created Web Maps and Anchor Charts to organize our thinking and learning.

After several opportunities to explore, create, represent, and reflect, the students gathered to share their theories about why leaves change colours and why they fall off trees. 
"They need sun and water to stay green." "The sun makes it change colour because it goes away early." "Because it's fall and windy and they get sick." "When fall comes they change colours." "The sun points at the leaves." "They give trees sugar so they can grow." "The leaves give the trees food." "In fall trees don't need water and sugar." "The leaves are the trees body." "The leaves fall because the trees don't need them anymore." "The leaves get ready to fall because it's almost winter."

As a culminating task, the students worked on a collaborative art piece and story to represent their understanding of the changes in fall.

(Another wonderful example of a collaborative art piece and story can be found at by the inspiring Jocelyn Schmidt and Heidi Theis.) 

How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and colour are their last days.