I would like to thank all of you for your participation and cooperation these past 20 weeks. I also want to thank my wonderful student teachers, who I have squeezed, hopefully until there was almost no juice inside! Show you how informal-free exploration yet very intentional set up and thought by the teachers, promote meaningful learning.
Creativity and the Arts Responding : Show others and/or talk about what they have done. Show respect for the creative work of self and others. Cognitive Development Scientific Thinking and Problem-Solving Observing: Use senses to explore the environment. Identify and/or describe objects by physical characteristics. Questioning: Express wonder about the natural world. Ask questions and seek answers through active exploration. Make predictions about natural events. Social Systems Understanding Understanding the world: Share responsibility in taking care of the environment. Identify characteristics of the places where we live and play within the community. Physical and Motor Development Fine Motor Development Develop small muscle control and coordination
Approaches to Learning Curiosity : Show eagerness and a sense of wonder as a leaner. Show interest in discovering new things. Persistence : Work at a task despite distractions or interruptions. Reflection and Interpretation : Think about events and experiences and apply this knowledge to new situations.
Approaches to Learning Reflection and Interpretation: Think about events and experiences and apply this knowledge to new situations. Generated ideas, suggestions, and/or make predictions.
Cognitive Development Mathematical and Logical Thinking Number concepts and operations: Interest and awareness of numbers Patterns and relationships: Sort objects into subgroups by one characteristic
Approaches to Learning Curiosity : Show eagerness and a sense of wonder as a learner. Show interest in discovering and learning new things.
Approaches to Learning Imagination and Invention : Try out various pretend roles in play or make-believe objects Reflection and Interpretation : Think about events and experiences and apply this knowledge to new situations. Generate ideas, suggestions and/or make predictions
Cognitive Development Mathematical and Logical Thinking Measurement: Make comparisons between at least two groups of objects
Creativity and the Arts Creating : Use a variety of media and materials for exploration and creative expression
Approaches to Learning Imagination and Invention: Pretend roles in play or with make-believe objects
Social and Emotional Development Self - Concept : Begin to experiment with own potential and show confidence in own abilities Social Competence and Relationships : Interact easily with one or more children. interact easily with familiar adults. Begin to participate successfully as a member of a group. Begin to understand others’ rights and privileges. Sustain interaction by cooperating, helping, sharing and expressing interest
Cognitive Development Scientific Thinking and Problem –Solving Observing : Identify and/or describe objects by physical characteristics Questioning : Express wonder about the natural world. Make predictions about objects and natural events Investigating : Use tools for investigation of the environment
Cognitive Development Scientific Thinking and Problem-Solving Questioning Investigating
Social Systems Understanding Understanding the World: Begin to understand the uses of media and technology
Noticing and becoming aware of our surrounding environment.
Georgia: “Squirrels and birds live in the tree…” Delilah: “The tree looks like this…”
Expressing what we see through drawings and our bodies.
Isaac: “Birds and squirrels live on opposite sides of the tree… There is a hole in there and the squirrels put their nuts in there…”
Combining what we know with our imagination and creating a story.
We explore natural materials found outdoors like acorns, bark and leaves. James: “Acorns come from Oak trees…”
Exploring materials. Sharing what we know with others.
Children’s ideas about what would happen if we had no trees… Delilah: “It would look sad…” Georgia: “We wouldn’t get shade… It’s because if you don’t have trees… the sun… Not pretty…” We plant different kinds of seeds… And once these sprout, we transfer them to small pots with dirt…
Exploring, hands-on, inquiring. Making connections with what we’ve heard and what we see.
In just a few days, our leaf-covered playground shows the first signs of winter as it is covered with a soft blanket of snow…
Noticing the weather changing… the change of seasons is also part of life cycles.
The chilly weather leads us to think and talk about ways animals cope with the cold temperatures… We talk about hibernation…
Becoming aware of animals and winter and exploring through play.
Some animals have thick fur to protect them from the cold weather…
Exploring fur qualities’ and comparing.
The children create homes for animals in winter… Georgia: “The animals live in the middle…” Aoife: “This is a house for the frogs…”
Continue to explore animals and winter through the arts.
The “Hibernating Cave” gives opportunities for socio-dramatic play and exploration of “bear-like” life…
By “pretending” the children express what they know and expand on this.
The Frog small group brings 3 tadpoles to our classroom, and we are all waiting to see how long until they grow legs and start transforming into frogs…
An additional opportunity to observe life cycle first hand.
James: “I see the three tadpoles… no they don’t have legs yet…” Ruby: “They look like this…”
Enhancing observation skills by encouraging the children to notice details and development.
James: “This is a tadpole… It is going to be on the trunk of the tree and it is going to be a forest tadpole. It’s going to have three eyes. At winter time the forest maybe will be white…”
Exploring what we know and expressing it.
Experimenting to catch a glimpse and better understand why animals eat so much before hibernating and the significance of fat in their bodies. Vaseline= animal fat Cold water= winter Which hand gets colder first? The one covered with Vaseline or the one covered with nothing? Children: “This is why animals eat a lot before winter comes!”
Hypothesizing. Using our senses to figure things out.
Question to provoke children’s thinking and expand on animals and winter… Some animals homes’ freeze during winter…
Sharing general knowledge.
And not all animals have fur or get fat before winter… some… Georgia: “Migrate!”
Understanding the animal world. Connect between things we’ve experienced and things we know.
James: “It’s a bird’s nest…” Isaac: “Yeah, we are making a bird’s nest…”
But making nests is not easy work… the eggs keep falling through the cracks… Alper: “The eggs fall!”
Frances and Leo: “Let’s put the fur to make it cozy… and the eggs stay…”
Problem-solving, cooperation, utilization.
What do we need to do to help our plants grow? Children: “Sun… light … water…” Frances: “Trees need three things: water from their roots, sun and carbon dioxide that they get from their leaves .” The acorn we planted continues to grow… over winter break we send a picture of our growing “Baby Oak Tree” and its three leaves. The children talk with their parents about it and represent what they think on paper… Alper: “It needs water…”
Noticing the plant world. Sharing knowledge abut the world. Caring for our own “baby oak tree.”
The children are looking at the map of the world with little pictures of birds… Charlie Elliot: “Look what I did… I put all the birds down… “ Why?” Charlie E: “That’s where South America is… the birds migrate there…” Isaac: “Where are we? “ Let’s see… it says Minneapolis here…” Isaac: “Then, I must be here… ST. Paul (he lives in St. Paul) (puts a little bird right next to Minneapolis…” “ I guess there still are birds around here during the winter…” Isaac: “Yes… here in St. Paul…” Alper: “Where is Minneapolis (Alper lives in Minneapolis)?” Isaac: “Here, next to St. Paul…” Alper: “I’m going to put my bird in Minneapolis.” Charlie E: “I landed all my birds in the South…” Coming back from winter break… the children are still interested in exploring migration…
Sharing our knowledge with our classmates and connecting pieces of information.
One of our tadpoles died… “ How many tadpoles can you see?” James: “Lots…” Can you count how many? Georgia: “There’s two…” Isaac: “We had three.” All of them: “Where is the other one?” “ It died…” James: “Where is it?” “ We buried it.” James: “What happened to it?” “ It got very sick and died.” James: “Why its not here?” “ What would happen if we would live the dead tadpole in the tank?” Georgia: “The others would eat it and die.”
And what happened to the Baby Oak Tree? Children: “It needs water…” “ But I watered it…” Georgia: “Maybe too much water…” Alper: “It looks like this (droopy arms and head down... The leaves are like this…”
Discussing, problem-solving, making our own theories based on what we know and what we have talked about.
During large group conversations we draw children’s attention to tracks left on the snow, which leads us to think about birds that we often see around our school and what can we do to help them survive winter… The children: “We can give them food!” So, we spread bird seed in the playground.
The children collect natural materials to make a cozy place for the birds to rest and eat…
We continue to explore birds, different kinds… feathers… we pay attention to colors, sizes, beaks… Georgia: “The pheasant has cool color…his eye is yellow, his claws are sharp and his beak is sharp…”
Trying to better understand, using different sources of information, inquiring, representing.
One more way to learn about birds… What is your wing span?
Measuring, comparing, working together.
To brighten up our long winter days, the teachers plant an Amaryllis bulb and encourage the children to follow its growth. We ask the children to predict how tall they think it will grow.
Encouraged by a teacher, Isaac pays detailed attention to the Amaryllis plant’s colors and represents in on paper.
Symbolic representation, attention to details.
We talk about plants that grow from seeds and plants that grow out of bulbs… Charlie Elliot: “It is so big, it bends down…” James: “I think this is going to be a tulip…” Alper: “It’s going to be a sunflower…” Delilah: “It’s going to turn into daisies…” Lisa: “How did it look before it grew these long leaves?” Leo: “I looked like a volcano.” Inga: “It still looks like a volcano…” Lisa shows a bulb… Do you know what this is? Children: “It’s a seed!” James: “It’s a bulb…”
Drawing children’s attention to our Amaryllis…
It doesn’t take long before a flower comes out and the children think that: “The Amaryllis plant is going to grow up to the classroom ceiling…”
Planting seeds and bulbs will allow us to support children’s understanding of plants’ cycles and taking care of our plants.
The children plant bulbs and seeds. They take care of their plants and watch them grow.
The sudden warmth, melting snow, sunny skies, and sound of birds singing clue us into the fact that winter is coming to an end and spring is on its way… the children are fascinated with the sound of birds and their shadows…
Noticing nature changes in general and weather changes in particular and how it affects our surroundings.
Charlie Elliot- “I saw 5 chickadees! Alper- “I just saw 3!” Beth- “What are they doing when they come to the feeder?” Alper- “Eating!” Beth- “What are they eating?” Charlie Elliot- “Corn and seeds” Alper- “Like corn seeds and white seeds!” Charlie Elliot- “In my group I’m going to build a bird house with seeds!”
The warm weather affects the light in the afternoons and the children notice an increase in the amount of birds and frequency of their visits to our bird feeder.
The Bird Explorers small group dedicates time to make sure the birds around our school have plenty of food during the last weeks of winter and create the Bird Cafe-Restaurant right by our playground… And the birds show their thanks by quickly noticing the precious treats they find…
Deep exploration leading to meaningful understanding.
Alper: “They are caterpillars…” “ They will turn into butterflies…” “ They will turn into black beetles…” Our newest classroom residents… Mealworms!
Life cycles are all around us… mealworms, just like our tadpoles go through a process of transformation… children relate to caterpillars and butterflies and draw from this previous knowledge and apply it to this new experience.
Aubrey” They are so little, you need this [magnifying glass] to see them. Why do you think they are called mealworms? Rosie: “Because they eat meals!”
Sharing knowledge, likes and dislikes. Exploring together is very powerful!
Aoife: “It’s the mealworm…” Rosie: “It’s looking down… a super worm… all kinds of shapes are the food it likes… it’s smiling…”
James: “It’s a dark worm… those are baby worms…” Mom: “OK.” Those are little babies… is that a larva, is that what it is?” James: “Yes … Mom: ”Because that it what it certainly looks like…” Mom: “Oh, this one is moving… do you see that, do you see that one moving? James: “Hey, I see this one moving… Mom: “Oh you are right, that one is moving, very very slow…” James: “They do move slow…”
Involving families in what we experience and learn at school.
Our froglets… … became full grown young frogs… What will happen to our mealworms? What will happen to our eggs?
Making predictions. Using previous knowledge and apply it to new situations.
What will happen to the seeds and bulbs we planted? What will happen with our trees outside? What will happen with the birds? Looking forward to an amazing Spring session, with lots of opportunities to share, learn and enjoy!