Learning and becoming caring helpers of the environment, is one of the many overall expectations these student directed inquiry included. The holistic or organic teaching approach requires teachers to provide students not with a plan, but with the resources and space for their learning, going back to the basics. This is referred to as The Environment as the Third Teacher. The classroom becomes a co-educator fostering opportunities for curiosity, wonder, and inquiry. Understanding the "100 languages of children" as part of the Reggio Emilia educational theory will help educators understand the beauty of the educational triangle between students, educators, and classroom. As my love for art projects into our classroom, I could not help but share some of my favourite works of art such as Van Gogh's Starry Night and Sunflowers. The students took this in this own hands and started inquiring about sunflowers and painting techniques. The classroom space provided the children with various painting utensils and colour mixing opportunities. The natural centre included seeds, fully grown sunflowers, bean stocks, and soil. Each area of the room was greeted with a book pertaining to living things. This inquiry, took many weeks, it actually never ended! The students continue to snow ball their learning and continued their own research within the summer months. The environment as the third teacher allows the classroom to visually foster students to use materials and spark their natural sense of curiosity and imagination.
Why do sunflowers face the sun? In this inquiry our class has started to inquire about planting. Our inquiry binder started from a book a student signed our from our school library. We started planting seeds and watching them grow. Watching seeds grow is a timely task for FDK students! They loved it! They realized some seeds grow faster than others. They learn how to share roles for caring for our living things in the classroom. It certainly was fun! Van Gogh was also an extension... why did he love to paint sunflowers? Well, he was not the only one. Together, our inquiry binder is looking fabulous! next, our connection to soil and worms!
How many expectations and big ideas do you see?
(the answer is ... endless amount!)
- co-created with Gilda DeLuca DECE, Vellore Woods P.S
Inquiry- How many plants should we have in our classroom? A collaborative inquiry with our grade 8 students
Pairing up with the intermediate students helped teach our FDK students about the importance of fresh air and plants. The grade 8s conducted a research about how many square feet should be occupied with a plant... the answer... every 100 square feet. This week our students along with the grade 8s helped position the plants in our classroom according to our needs as well as all the plants. We have a total of 5 plants in our classroom, and we are more than happy to name them and write about them.
Fostering the opportunities for students to collaborate on work in the classroom allows teachers to assess and observe the many expectations from the curriculum. It helps children learn to share, respect the opinion of others, and learn from a child's different perspective.
Teaching FDK students to think about their space is a great way to explore critical thinking and their connections to their surroundings. Our main purpose was to gather the students' opinions on their classroom and spaces. Many students drew their favourite spaces larger than surrounding details. Later, we encouraged students to investigate and gather evidence to support their plan and map. It was fabulous fun!
Working with this program thus far, has been very successful. Students are developing confidence and a joy for writing. I really enjoyed the tips about "little hands, little pencils". Our classroom has continued to send practice home for children on the weekends- called fun folder! Teaching students scaffolded steps to writing builds their confidence and sets students up for success!
Environmentalists - Exploring nature, helping earth creatures, and our role on Earth - Inviting friends and Professionals in the community into our classroom
Today our class welcomes scientist Adrianna, she helped us research and explore helping friends of the Earth (like worms) and our role as helpers of the Earth. Creating a sorting recycling centre was lots of fun and the students had the opportunity to use lunch time props to make their own lunches.