Yesterday in class, we began my favourite unit of the year. I enjoy teaching structures as the children have the opportunity to build with a variety of materials – and enjoy it. Even all the girls get into it – though some of them tell me they are not good at it. It saddens me to hear a 7 year old already inhibited by the social expectation that girls are not good at building and at math.
Yesterday I gave my students the opportunity to build with blocks and lego. The classroom was buzzing with activity as the children tried to build what was in their mind. I love seeing their creativity. The structures that they build also give me an idea of where they are in understanding three dimensions.
I spent the day stepping over lego and blocks but I did not mind. Learning was at work – even in their attempts to draw what they had created.
The children in my classroom were exploring and learning today. I am sure that they went home and told their parents they played with lego the whole day but hopefully, by now, the parents will understand that the day was more than just play.
One of the highlights of the Structures Inquiry that I am currently doing with my students is a woodworking workshop. Each year I invite a person into my class to run the workshop. He prepares the materials for the project I have chosen (this year I chose the windmill). He brings the tools and woodworking tables into my room and he runs the sessions. This year the grade 1 classes joined my class.
The children love this workshop – and I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they they see that they are building something themselves with a hammer and nails. This year was extra special to me because, not only were the girls successfully building, but the parent volunteers were all women.
Two days later, all the classes had tried their hand at building and we were ready for the next phase of the project: painting and decorating. I set aside Friday afternoon as ending the week with a burst of creativity is always a good thing.
The children enjoy this part of the project as much as the building. When they took their efforts home, the windmills were held proudly in their hands. I can only imagine the smiles the structures would bring to the faces of those who admire them.
Once again the woodworking workshop was a success. No matter what grade I teach next year, I know I will include this activity on my programme.
Good morning to you and welcome. A cup of something warm would be appreciated as it is still a little chilly outside. Afternoons are warming up and some brave people – and many children – are going outside in their short sleeves.
The past week has been busy and yet fulfilling. I am getting everything ready so that I can put a final mark next to the work my students have done during the second half of the year. I have read with most of them, given them their final writing “test’, and organised all their work. In the upcoming week I shall listen to them speak with a view of giving them a mark, and complete the final Science activity for the report card. I am hoping by the end of next week to have all of the marks recorded so that on Friday (the PA day set aside for reporting), I can complete my report cards. If everything is in place and I focus, I know that I can do it!
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I tried a new activity with my students during the past week and it worked very well. For our inquiry on animals, I took out non-fiction books on a range of creatures from our school library. I asked the children to choose a book to do research on an animal of their choice. With the help of sentence starters, they took down notes to record the information they had found. With this information, they wrote a paragraph which I then corrected.
The fun part of the activity was when the children worked on their neat copy. They typed their paragraph into an app using the iPad. I had previously taught them how to use Piccollage and many of them were able to work independently.
They chose their background, font, and searched on the Web for appropriate pictures. I enjoyed reading their final copies as much as they enjoyed making them.
Next week, we will move onto the life cycles of animals. Once again, children will be researching their animal as well as using the iPad. But that story will be told next week.
Today the sun is shining and the skies are a beautiful pale blue. I am going out now to buy some groceries, pop into the library, and then go to my Zumba class. I look forward to the rest of my day (which will include some time relaxing and reading). May you have a wonderful day too.
During the Inquiry on themselves, my students discovered where their ancestors came from. They explored their ancestral countries by using the Google App, looked through the atlas to see the shape of the country, and touched the country and its neighbours on an old-fashioned globe.
With each child I tracked the countries of their ancestors on a world map. When looking at the map afterwards, we noticed that we were a group of people who had history from all over the world.
The next step in the inquiry was for the children to find out more about one of their ancestral counrties. This they did by interviewing one of their family members. Their results were presented to me last week on poster boards and in an oral presentation.
What I noted, as I was reading the work, that many families had come to Canada for the same reason:
Many families left their countries of birth in the hopes of finding a better life for their families. One hopes that their optimism bore fruit.