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...
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.
This week we celebrated Deepavali or Diwali -- the Hindu 'festival of lights'. Thanks to our in-house experts, Mrs. Mano and Ms. Radhika, Kindergarten 1 was able to participate in many fun learning activities and celebrations. We learned about how the festival represents the triumph of good over evil with the story of Rama and Sita and made connections to our current unit of inquiry by uncovering the symbolism behind all the bright colours and lights at Deepavali. We had a chance to try some traditional Deepavali sweets and have henna designs on our hands. We also learned about Rangoli art. On Friday we dressed in Indian clothing and bright colours in celebration of the festival and enjoyed a presentation by Grade 1KB which taught us more about the Deepavali story. What a beautiful celebration! Happy Deepavali!
Very early on in our current unit of inquiry, Emma made the connection between shadows and the story of Peter Pan. We have been talking about what we know about the story of Peter Pan and his shadow since then and last week watched a video of Peter Pan chasing his shadow. The video isn't only about shadows though! It also gave us an opportunity to demonstrate our knowledge about reflections as there is a segment of Tinkerbelle viewing her reflection in a mirror.
We watched the video several times, each time discussing what we saw and thought was happening. We then used a Harvard Project Zero visible thinking routine called 'Claim-Support-Question' to help us express what we knew already and extend our thinking and questioning further. Here are the questions we asked ourselves:
Claim: What is happening?
Support: What do you see or know that makes you say this?
Question: What are you still wondering about?
Through the Claim-Support-Question thinking routine we were able to clarify what knowledge we had mastered as a group already and form some questions which represented what was still unclear. We look forward to investigating the following questions as our inquiry continues:
This past week we made a visit to the Botanic Gardens here in Singapore. The trip supported our ongoing investigation of light, dark, and shadows and our developing understandings of the connections between the three. It also introduced a new phenomenon: reflections. We enjoyed our search for shadows and reflections in the Ginger Garden and around the Symphony Lake and photographed what we saw using the iPads. We even saw a giant monitor lizard beside one of the ponds!
The day after our field trip, we reflected on our visit to the Botanic Gardens. We talked about our favourite parts and the things we saw. We drew in our reflection journals and discussed as a group. Keep following our blog to see how we are using the photographs we took and the observations we made to further our understandings of how shadows and reflections work and what the differences between them are.
As we continued to explore The Dark, personal connections and questions started to emerge. We recorded some of these ideas with sticky notes like active readers do:
As she reviewed the documentation, Ms. Alison realized "tensions" were starting to emerge.
In K1AC, we use Kathy Short's Authoring Cycle to guide the next steps of some of our inquiries. The Tension stage follows Connection and Invitation. It is defined by:
It seemed that the children had certain experiences with and theories about the dark, but there were some questions about how it functioned. When Axel pointed out that there was dark behind our projection sheet, the other children agreed that the dark can be in many different places. But how does it get there? No one was quite sure.
So Ms. Alison suggested that we go hunting for the dark to try to collect some clues. The children love the idea! After looking around the classroom, we went outside. We found the dark all over the court and playground! But we still were unsure how exactly it got there.
Then some people started using the word 'shadow' to describe what they were seeing. So Ms. Alison asked: "What is a shadow?"
In the next few weeks, we'll continue to play with dark, light, and shadows. We will pursue our questions and test our theories as Investigations. Stay tuned!
For the last two weeks, Wilma has been our Star Name. So many inquiries, questions, discoveries, and explorations have emerged from our Star Name programme that we've decided to slow it all down when we need, and allow 2 weeks (or maybe even longer!) for each Star Name, to to allow time for these great thinking and learning opportunities.
This week we spontaneously continued the straight letter/curvy letter challenge and tested the letters in Wilma to see which they were by forming them with straight popsicle sticks. If we could make the letter, it meant it was a straight letter. It turns out that all the capital or upper-case letters in Wilma are straight letters!
We also practiced sand tracing, handwriting, and spelling out the name Wilma with letter magnets at the fridge and light table. We watched the Sesame Street podcast for the letter 'W' and added to our list of words that start like Wilma.
Since we've been playing a lot with light and dark we decided to see if we could make the letters in Wilma using our hands and the overhead projector. Can you recognize the letters in Wilma? W-I-L-M-A?
"It's like we're having a beautiful day!" - Lea
This week we began a new unit of inquiry as part of the transdisciplinary theme 'How the World Works'. Children were invited to freely explore, play with and inquire into unit concepts through Dark Days, where our main classroom lights were turned off, the natural light from windows was blocked, and we found other ways to see and move around.
We played with materials like flashlights, prisms, lamps, transparent coloured paper and plastic, gems and jewels. During our play we had some important "Ah-ha! Moments" and "Seeds of Thought":
We reflected on our experiences by hearing our discoveries repeated to us from Ms. Alison's documentation and looking at the videos and photos that she took. We made an enormous painting the size of our bodies to represent our Dark Day experiences: