Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

The environment is the third teacher when it provides children the opportunity to slow down and take note. One of the questions I often ask is, “What do you notice?” This encourages reflection, conversation, and knowledge-building among the students. For some students, observations take time. They answer without really thinking or noticing – by rushing to give an expected answer rather than a response that is unexpected.

The use of light and projection in the classroom has provided students with new perspectives. They may be looking at a familiar subject, yet they see it in a new way. When they are introduced to the act of tracing an image, they are fascinated with the simple task and it slows down their consideration of the subject.

From our neighbourhood walks, we had observed a variety of trees. The children compared coniferous and deciduous and talked about the differences that made each identifiable. However, when drawing deciduous trees, their observations from the walks were not evident. The trees still looked like trunks with a circle of green set on top. So we revisited the trees and took photos.

neighbourhood tree

 

 

When an image of one of the local trees was projected to a table in the classroom, the children were intrigued with the task of tracing its many limbs. I noticed how this task slowed down their movements and also their consideration of the tree. After this opportunity, the children’s drawings were more realistic in that long limbs were included and the proportions changed.

 

Tracing and noticing

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The Hundred Languages

No way. The hundred is there.

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.

A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.

The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.

They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.

They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

-Loris Malaguzzi (translated by Lella Gandini) 

Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach

 

I think of all the results of play that the children want to share with me each day. I take photos to celebrate their works.

IMG_2674

 

IMG_2515

 

 

What do you see?  I see the “Hundred Languages” and use these languages to see the child.

 

Read Full Post »

In Kindergarten, my favourite integration of subjects is probably language, science, and art. The children are always fascinated with nature and our surroundings. We have looked at trees, squirrels, clouds, plants, and birds as topics of study. The tangible subjects provide the best science subjects – as the children can observe and predict first hand.

A few months ago, one of the books we were reading introduced hibernation. This was a concept that we explored further. Then we found we were comparing hibernation with migration. I was amazed at how much the children understood in our group discussions. I wanted to provide an opportunity for those with other strengths to also demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, so I thought about a class mural. This would provide an open invitation for those children to contribute and it also allowed them the opportunity to collaborate and discuss their ideas and understandings.

Setting out Kraft brown paper as the backdrop and providing the children with a variety of materials, they were invited to add signs of hibernation or migration.

Hibernation and Migration Mural

 

I noticed that some children were more interested in contributing their ideas as visual representations, while others were more interested in providing oral comments and discussing the work of their peers. They wanted to add clouds, snow on the ground, and a sun. Once the mural was complete, I asked the children, “How do you know whether the animals are hibernating or migrating?” Here are a few responses:

  • “The bear is hibernating because he is sleeping in the cave.”
  • “The frog is hibernating in the pond.”
  • “I know the birds are migrating because they are up in the sky flying to where it is warm.”
  • “I see a butterfly that migrates.”
  • “The bunny has a path to get out and in of his tunnel.”

Completed Collaborative Mural

 

Not only does this make their thinking more visible, it also demonstrates how well the children are learning in relationship with one another. All year they have been working side by side showing their ability to not only share materials but work on shared representations – representations that demonstrate their ability to collaborate.

Read Full Post »

As I mentioned previously, this is a newly acquired space for Kindergarten. Unfortunately,the environment has to evolve and develop while resources and time becomes available. There are many details and layers to add as I work with the children, but the following photos document the most basic changes to an area as it has changed in the last two months.

The building blocks are an integral part of the Full-Day Kindergarten program. In September, I was provided with a large library book bin to hold blocks. When the big blocks arrived I placed them in the bin, and the children used the carpet to build on.

 

The box lasted about two weeks. The taller children were able to reach inside and access the blocks, but some of them were dangling from the sides and I envisioned them falling head first as they were independently attempting to use the blocks. So, I moved the bin out of the classroom and rethought the space. There are built in shelves under the window that I could use to hold the blocks. So this was the second major change for the building area.

 

This new area was beside the math centre. There was no clear divider, so I would need to find a unit to define the areas. The blocks were now visible to the children and at their level to see and access easily. I observed the children as they used the area and I noticed that their space was smaller, but they were working more collaboratively with the same number of students. To anchor the space and make it more inviting, I searched for a carpet that would fit the space.

After asking friends (which they are used to) for a carpet they were no longer in need of, my friend provided me with a great carpet. It fit the space, and the colours of black, green, and beige were neutral to fit with the materials. I then moved a small bookcase to use as a shelving unit for the math centre, and the back of the unit defines the space for the building area. There is a basket of clipboards that will be introduced soon to encourage drawings of plans and finished products. There are also baskets for recycled materials (paper towel tubes and boxes) that can be incorporated into the builds. The children also often use manipulatives such as cubes and counters to integrate with their structures. The biggest change I noticed after adding the carpet was that girls were selecting the building centre more than previously. The carpet provided comfort to an inviting space.

Read Full Post »

I am in a new school and in a classroom that was not designed for early years. These are the challenges that many educators face, especially as full-day Kindergarten is being rolled out quickly across the Ontario with acquisitions of regular classrooms and stock furniture orders! Here is my new space:

 

The coat hooks along the back wall were removed and the children have space in the hallway outside the classroom for their outdoor wear. This has at least allowed for the back wall to be used for learning centre spaces. I wasn’t able to get the dividers and shelving that I was hoping for, but my new space is still in transition and it continues to evolve. One of the first centres that I worked on was a Reading Centre. I had a carpet from home, but no small furniture. The students looked lost sitting on the carpet leaning up against the wall. So within the first week of school I was sourcing used chairs that I could buy to make a more comfortable meeting place. By chance, a friend of mine was cleaning out her shed and offered some weathered wooden furniture that her child had outgrown. It would need painting she said. I jumped at the offer, painted the furniture in a neutral taupe and hauled it to my classroom. That same weekend I bought a green leaf canopy from IKEA to frame the space.

The children were elated to see the new reading area made just for them. There is never a day that the area is not occupied with independent readers or children sharing a story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I have since then acquired an open front facing book case to replace the metal book rack that was provided with the room set-up stock order.)

Read Full Post »

In a grade one and two classroom you usually see desks and bookshelves, with possibly a cozy reading area. I think moving from Kindergarten to Grade 1 must be such a shock for the youngsters. They had freedom to move around their classroom and explore so many materials with their hands-on learning. By setting up some additional “areas” or centres in this Grade 1 and 2 class, I am hoping to provide the children with an environment that keeps them comfortable and engaged, allowing for movement and exploration. One of the first centres I added, was an atelier. Amazing to see the children flock there when they are given some free time to explore. Right now the boys are using ribbon and doilies to make kites. Through observation, I have noticed them returning to this idea for the past week. It will tie in well with the curriculum for Grade 2 Science – air/wind. Another centre that is quite popular is the math centre. There are two chairs set across from one another to encourage conversation. The children have worked together to create patterns using two abacuses. They also use the shapes to create patterns and pictures. There is a listening centre in the reading corner, but I have noticed that the children prefer social groupings at active centres when they are given the choice.

 

Read Full Post »

Here I am with a new challenge. Adapting to a new space (a smaller room), a new age group (6 to 8 year olds), and a content-driven curriculum, while attempting a Reggio approach. My first step, of course, was to set up the environment and make changes to the layout. I painted where there was an array of bright colours and made centres for collaboration around the room with grouped tables or desks in the centre of the room. Smaller carpets, tables, and shelves make inviting spaces and create areas for research and exploration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

johnaleslietdsb

Our Inquiry Journey

The Third Teacher

reggio inspirations in my classroom

let the children play

reggio inspirations in my classroom

Inquiring Minds: Mrs. Myers' Kindergarten

reggio inspirations in my classroom

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry