A couple of weeks ago, Henry was our Star Name, which introduced us to the letter 'H'. As we investigated the name 'Henry' and practiced writing the letters, we realized that the lower case letters 'h', 'n', and 'r' are formed very similarly. Can you see how they are nearly the same?
We are doing a lot of projects right now in the Elementary School to respond to the disaster in the Philippines, including a toy sale, an art auction, and a Philippines flag colour day. As we collected toys from our homes to donate to the sale, we began to discuss what we knew about why this project was happening. We started with a simple question:
What do you know about the Philippines?
Daniel: An big wind blew the houses.
Axel: The wind went around so fast that they could not go outside.
Lea: My auntie is from the Philippines and now she lives in Singapore. A big strong rain and a strong wind blew all the houses out.
Zoe: The wind was first big like this and then small like this [describing a tornado].
Aziz: Maybe the big wind blew all the money away. The wind was too strong.
Axel: We can give the toys so the babies can touch them.
Ms. Alison: These toys are actual going to be for sale tomorrow with other toys that we can buy so that we can collect money to send to the Philippines because that's really what they need right now. Why do you think?
Daniel: Because they need to get really strong things to build a house.
Axel: What about the ones that don't have mummies and daddies?
Aziz: Only the adults can hold money.
Lea: What can the babies do with the money?
Daniel: What if the babies don't know how to talk AND they don't have a mummy or daddy? What can we do?
Violett: A big girl can help them.
Lea: My auntie is a mummy in the Philippines and her baby is there. Her baby is all grown up.
Leading on from Violett's idea, Ms. Alison explained how there are lots of different people helping in the Philippines right now to make sure that children are getting what they need. They might be doing this just to be kind to people they see need help or this might be their job and they work as part of an organization.
Daniel: Do they have schools in the Philippines now?
Ms. Alison: Some schools, yes, and some people are using them to live in in some places.
Daniel: Why didn't the school fall?
Aziz: They made it so strong that the wall wouldn't break.
Daniel: And they are heavy! I want to go to the Philippines to give all this stuff!
Axel: How can people go to the Philippines if the wind is going around and around?
Daniel: It will take a very long time to build again. And what if the wind comes again? It will break and they will have to build it again and again!
We started to think about what kinds of paintings we wanted to do which would be on sale as part of the art auction fundraiser and got excited about the idea of collecting more money to help. We decided then that it was time to bring our toys to the donation box.
Today we visited Paper Monkey Theatre at the Goodman Arts Centre. We learned about the origins of shadow puppetry, watched a shadow puppet show, and made our own puppets. Some interesting new words were introduced to us to describe how (or if) light passes through things, including 'opaque', 'transparent', and 'translucent'. We look forward to explore shadow puppetry more at home and in the classroom and are very excited about some of the stories we started creating!
Taking action back at school with our learning:
In preparation for our field trip to the Paper Monkey Theatre 'Shadow Play' workshop, Ms. Alison set out a simple provocation. She moved the overhead projector and sheet from where they usual sit and hang, out into the middle of the room. When the children returned from outdoor play, they discovered the change, which prompted some creative new discoveries, thoughts, and action...
"Documentation is not about what we do, but what we are searching for." - Carla Rinaldi
About a month ago, we started to wonder about the 'FORM' of the things around us. As we discussed, an intriguing question emerged that we were all curious to investigate: How tall is the school? Since then, we have been pursuing a long-term and transdisciplinary inquiry to answer this question.
Ms. Alison kept documentation along the way, which serves to represent our ideas and thinking and the evolution of our inquiry over time. The photographs and audio-recorded (now transcribed) discussions made visible in this document supported the development of "next steps" during the course of our project. Both teachers and students have used this documentation to reflect on our learning journey, which has been truly emergent in the sense that none of us could have predicted the exact outcomes. Of course, we have also made connections to our written curriculum, including comparison of objects, measurement vocabulary, positional language, and non-standard measurement.
What is most important here though, of course, is the process of learning. Emergent curriculum builds on the strengths of children and directly addresses their interests and learning needs. In collaboration with their peers, children were able to engage in open-ended exploration and decision-making, while also giving careful and critical consideration to the suggestions and proposals of their teacher. In this way our inquiry has been co-constructed.
We hope you enjoy our learning journey documented below!
We began our lesson by recalling the story of number one. We remembered everything!...the lagoon, the ocean, the one special shell with the mermaid whispers. And so, it was time for the story to continue...
The sun was low in the sky and it would soon be evening. Mum and I reached the rocks at mouth of the lagoon and stopped to look around. On one side was the ocean and on the other side, the rocky mountain. We continued, climbing over the rocks and following the shore until we were far from the lagoon at a small beach.
Mum pointed high above the beach to TWO caves, and we started to climb. The first cave had a lovely sweet smell, it smelt like yummy honey. I wanted to look inside but Mum promised we would return to explore it on another day.
We climbed a little higher and reached the second cave. The entrance was very wide and the whole cave was filled with the orange glow of the sunset. One side was filled with soft red sand, perfect for sleeping. We set out our blankets and opened our baskets.
Mum and I each ate an apple while watching the moon rise over the ocean. The sun had set and it was time to sleep. Mum and Dad kissed me good night and cuddled me to sleep.
When the story was finished, we each counted two pearls into our counting shells. We talked about the things that there were two of in the story:
Last week when we were talking about sources of light, Daniel wondered:
How can the light bulbs make light?
Some of us had theories, but nobody was quite sure and nearly everybody agreed that this was a very complicated and important question. Luckily Ms. Alison knew some experts that were close on hand. She asked James and Jack from Grade 2AR if they could bring their circuits to school and show K1AC how light bulbs work. And what a great job they did!
Their presentation answered our questions and inspired some new ones too:
The next day we discussed what we remembered about Jack & James' visit from the day before:
We watched a video about light bulbs and made sketches in our Light & Shadow Journals. Thank you Jack and James for supporting our learning!
What a beautiful surprise we had this morning when we opened the mailbox...LETTERS FROM OUR FAMILIES!
As the mail was handed out, the excitement increased. The children decided that they wanted to hear all of the letters read out loud, so we did. How excited we were to hear our mummy's, daddy's, grandma's, and grandpa's words and how wonderful to think that they would take the time and care to write us a letter! After we finished reading the letters, we talked about what we could do next. Everyone's ideas connected to saying thank you and a couple of people suggested that we should write some letters in return.
So it was off to the writing centre for us to collect some materials and make decisions about exactly what would be important to write and draw for our families. Here are some photos of us reading our letters and holding the letters we received and the letters we wrote. We hope you like them!
We've been wondering about how shadows work since our Dark Days unit invitation. We've continued to play with shadows inside and outside and have practiced expressing our theories and further questions.
At the end of October, we used the FUNCTION concept key to unlock our thinking about how shadows work. We decided to focus our thinking on a moment that had created a lot of joy, laughter, ideas, and questions during our Dark Day and luckily we had a photograph on hand which had captured that moment. Here is Axel dancing in front of the overhead projector and here are our original theories about that moment:
It was clear from these reflections that the children were beginning to make the connection between light and shadows. There were also some connections being made between reflections and shadows.
Ms. Alison then selected the book Bear Shadow by Frank Asch from our classroom library to see if we could collect some ideas to further our thinking. Bear Shadow was a book that we'd read before, but this time, we wanted to see if we could make any more discoveries, including some connections between what happens in the story and what happened when Axel put himself in front of the overhead projector.
With this story, we confirmed our theory that shadows are connected to light. In the case of Bear, this was sunlight. In the case of Axel, this was the light from the projector.
The next day, someone suggested that we go outside to try to see our shadows, just like Bear did in Bear Shadow. Ms. Alison suggested that we first look out the window and make a prediction of whether we'd be able to see our shadows. The answer was unanimously:
"YES!"..."because we can always see our shadows outside".
So we went outside to see if we were right.
We found someone's shadow very quickly! When Ms. Yvonne came over to ask us what we were doing, we spotted her shadow straight away. But where were our own shadows? We couldn't see them. We looked back to find Ms. Yvonne's shadow and it was gone too! What was happening? Where did they go? Why did they disappear?
The children were full of wonderful questions, concerns, confusion, and chaos. We had to find out!
Where did our shadows go?
Suddenly our shadows were back! Hooray!
But as we moved to different places in the playground they went away again, but then they would come back, and go away again...
Our excitement was frenetic and many more questions and ideas started flying:
When Ms. Alison asked us to think about where our shadows were coming from and what was creating them, most of us pointed to the sun. We noticed that we could see more than the sun when we looked up. There were trees, a roof, and clouds. Suddenly Daniel had an "Ah-ha!" moment:
The clouds are moving! They are going in front of the sun!
The experience of the disappearing and reappearing shadows got us thinking about how shadows can CHANGE.
The next week we invited our Grade 3SS buddies to help us do some shadow tracing. We met them in the morning in our K1 playground. They helped us to stand in one place and used one colour of chalk to trace around our feet and another colour to trace around our shadows. We met them again in the afternoon to trace again. Before we went out though, we made some predictions about whether our shadows would change. Everybody agreed that they would stay the same, but when our buddies traced our shadows we found that they had changed...a lot!!
Why did they change though? What was happening?
The next day we looked back at the photographs of our shadow tracing and reflected on the experience. We used the CHANGE concept key to unlock our thinking and asked ourselves the questions: Why did our shadows change? What is changing?
Here are our theories and reflections:
It seems from the theories expressed that most children now have a clear understanding that shadows are connected to light and that when something changes about the light source, our shadows also change. Well done K1AC!
Since these experiences some more questions and wonderings about natural light sources have emerged including:
We will continue our explorations by tuning into these thoughts. I will also continue to play with shadows to be sure that we understand how light sources (including the sun) and objects interact to create shadows.