One of our current classroom inquiries...
"Why is this alive?" The FDK research team is on duty and is busily researching all about living things, different kinds of plants, trees, and nutritional requirements. This week, a student asked me "Ms. D flowers like these need water like our African aqua frogs, do they eat frog food too?" This lead us into our extension activity and inquiry question "what is soil?"
Full-Day Kindergarten Teachers 2014 Conference for Ontario "today I am a child and my work is my play" - Anita Wadley
My teaching partner and I attended the FDK Teachers 2014 Ontario Conference at the Prince Westin Hotel. We left inspired to get back into the class! Some of the workshops included Music and Movement by the famous children's singer Joe Hartman. His workshop included a warm up of fun energizers to get your FDK students feeling ready to work... oh I mean play! My favourite was his Rock Star Song! It was so silly! It had everyone up and moving in the conference room! I am so excited to play it tomorrow for the kids, the best thing, acting is involved! Yippe! (yes, there is a cowgirl and rapper involved)
Visit Jack Hartman's website
Next up, Implementing Ontario's FDK Program & Making it Work presented by Diana Hart and Jessica Nephin. This session was interesting, it went into detail about how the classroom FDK team explores the new FDK program in a non structured manner. The FDK program is about a constant flow, referred to as "the flow of the day". Learning in the classroom is on going and the importance for child lead inquiry is essential. In this session, our FDK team gained strategies for easily integrating language arts and math through the day while ensuring the flow of the day was primarily lead by inquiry research time. We had the opportunity to learn about useful apps, SMARTboard activities, and programs such as REMIND ME 101 for communication between class and parents.
Dorothy is not the only one in Oz! Kathy Griffen's (not the comedian) session: Science, math, and Critical thinking, Oh My! was fantastic! She provided her listeners with inexpensive ways to include science, math, and on going critical thinking skills throughout student play and inquiry. Something I brought back was the idea to use paper towel rolls and a ping pong ball to explore movement. Using the rolls, students create a structure and try to movement the ping pong ball through the rolls and into a bucket. The strategies and team work skills get all the students interested involved and it can be explored using many variables.
Visit Kathy Griffin's blog
My favourite workshop session was with the very passionate and Reggio Emilia inspired Lauren McCann! If you are looking for FDK inspiration she is the teacher for you! With teaching experience in Poland, Paris, New York, Montreal, and Ontario, Lauren truly empowers the child and develops positive concepts of literacy while engages her class with purposeful dialogue. This month in our classroom, we are going to plant a seed literally and figuratively, and by that I mean introducing Matisse, Van Gough, Picasso and many famous artists to the children to further spark their interest in art history.
* Say it like they would! Thank you Lauren McCann for the tips!
Use markers to connect the critical thinking process and mind mapping. Before an activity ask your students to plan their work. If they want to build a structure ask them " what are you going to make? " "what materials will you need?" "What will it look like?"" Let's start with big makers and draw the big parts, then we will use the little markers for the little parts" (details).
Big markers- big ideas ------------------- Little markers- little ideas
For more information visit Lauren McCann's website
Being a FDK teacher allows me to professionally grow everyday. Working through play in the classroom allows students to express themselves creativity and bring froward their natural strengths. Early lerners are strong and and capable thinkers. Early learners require the confidence and motivation to love and learn from their play and bring fourth their natural sense of curiosity.
In our classroom, encouraging our students to share their work and think critically about their creations allows them to share their perspectives and modes of reasoning behind their work. It is not only adorable, it is genius. Better yet, it is natural. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia educational approach, my blog will continue to document my journey with fabulous photos of my favourite teachers... my FDK students. Photos, dialogue, ideas, tasks, activities and articles are in collaboration with my teaching DECE partner. Working as a team and sharing a passion for teaching early learners is a gift we both cherish to have.
Student structure photograph dialogue:
Student: "Ms. D I made a city with slides and towers. Look it can go down!"
Ms. D: "What a great city! I really like how the slide looks like an inclined plane! What are these?" (pointing at the vertical branches)
Student: "trees, big ones!"