The Curious Kindergarten. Do you have a wonder window in your classroom?
Perhaps you call it something else – an observation window or a nature window? I first read about the idea of an “Observation Window” in A Place for Wonder: Reading and Writing in the Primary Grades by Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough. It’s one of my favourite resources for ideas about developing an inquiry based program in the primary grades, in part because the ideas are so practical (as you read about them you can instantly picture how they could work in your classroom) but also because the strategies so clearly create opportunities for rich dialogue and deep learning. I created a Wonder Window in my classroom because I wanted to give my students a dedicated space for scientific thinking…for looking out into the world, for noticing, for theorizing, for questioning. I love writing poems, so to spark some curiosity about our window, I wrote the following poem. At first, I only had one student eager to visit the Wonder Window.
Our Kindergarten Journey: PicCollage and Daily Goals. I am very excited to be writing this post not only because it has been a while since I sat down and shared some of our classroom learning, but because it is a true celebration of some of the risk-taking my DECE and I have been doing in our classroom and we are thrilled to see the results!
Throughout this school year, we have been using technology to enhance our practice and programming but most importantly we've been experimenting with how it can truly push our students' thinking and learning. After being introduced to PicCollage by our friend and colleague Angie Harrison (@TechieAng), we have been finding new ways of embedding this incredible app into our classroom! As the company description outlines, PicCollage lets you instantly arrange your photos into frames - or get creative with freeform collages, cutouts, filters, borders, stickers, and text.
It's like photoshop with your fingers! To begin, we decided to create something called a "Learning Collage. " This kindergarten life: loosely told stories. Today I take a break from reflecting upon individual students for reporting to revisit the story I began in the last post: loose parts exploration in my classroom.
While loose parts play is difficult to categorize because it allows players to imagine endless scenarios and enjoy a tactile experience, there are rather different directions that this play can take. In part one, I looked at the play that evolved when I brought buckets of water-softened beach stones, driftwood, and bricks, and also shared a beautiful provocation in the form of photos of stone balance structures created by Peter Reidel.
Those stone and wood stacks still grow, tumble, and grow anew in the class. The same materials also spill onto the carpet and onto nearby tables, with jumbles of fancy fabric samples and empty frames, and bowls of stones, glass gems, seeds, acorn caps and other purchased and found treasures. Learning in a Reggio Inspired Kindergarten Environment: FDK Learning Environment: What messages are you sending your children? “ There are three teachers of children: adults, other children, and their physical environment.” – Loris Malaguzzi These were the first walls that I had when I started in Kindergarten...and I thought they were perfect.
My teaching partners and I put up bright broad cloth and busy borders. I thought this was what Kindergarten was supposed to look like. When I look at these photos from a few years ago today, I feel instantly overwhelmed. All that I know and believe about the Environment as a Third teacher has been influenced by the incredible ECE's that I have had the honour of working with both in the classroom and through our Reggio Inspired Book Club.
I think I will always continue to be inspired by beautiful spaces that I see online, at other schools, and during workshops. I wanted to share some things I have learned along the way from other educators, resources, and experiences... 1) What message does your classroom send to families/students? 2) How does your room flow? Mrs. Myers' Kindergarten: Welcome to a New Year of Kindergarten: A Tour of Important Areas of Our Room. After a long hiatus from blogging, I am back!
First I want to welcome all the new parents to our blog! Because there will not be much in the way of worksheets coming home to show you what we do each day, this will be the place where you can see the amazing things and the learning that goes on here in Kindergarten! I want to start out by showing you some areas in our room and explaining to you why they are so important for your child's learning experience. Here is a glance at our environment! I have worked to create a calming environment that provides experiences that encourage the children to learn, no matter where they go in our room! Materials are shared in the middle of the tables. Materials for art, science and projects were categorized by my students last year and are displayed where we can grab them when needed!
Here is the library with some friendship art created by past classes. The writing area is ready for them to start recording their stories on paper!