Sunday, October 14, 2018

Outdoor learning

As you might have figured out, I am a strong believer in the benefit of the outdoors as a place for learning and exploration for young students. I try to take our class outdoors as often as possible, while still adhering to the curriculum standards of the kindergarten year. I've noticed over the years that being outside in nature tends to energize students to learn and explore more than some might in the classroom, and also allows for gross motor and fine motor skill development, as well as a connection to the natural world. Below are some ways we've connected to the outdoors lately!

Garden Time
We're lucky to have a beautiful garden and front yard play area at our school, and several dedicated parents who serve as our "garden liaisons." Before the weather got too cold, we were trying to go to the garden on a weekly basis. Below are some activities that we did while we were in the garden.

Will it sink or float?

Shredding paper for the compost

Sidewalk chalk

Looking for insects

Watering the plants and harvesting some vegetables

Playing in the digging pit

Making wind testers

Blowing bubbles on a windy day

Making streamers fly in the wind

Forest Friday
We also have a time called Forest Friday every week (unless it's very cold or rainy outside). This week we read the book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert, went on a leaf walk through the schoolyard and the mini forest, and then came back to make leaf art like in the book we read!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Continuing to explore and learn through math and literacy

These last two weeks have meant lots of new exploring and learning in the classroom! We have three "explore tables" in the classroom, where students can go during Choice Time and also when they've finished their work throughout different parts of the day. Below are some pictures of explore tables we had this month:

The "Family Tree" that holds photographs of our families

What can you make with shapes?

Practicing fine motor skills using gems and tweezers on an alphabet race

Spelling our names with magnetic letters
We also play and explore with math tubs at the end of each math lesson. These rotate every month as well, and have lots of math "manipulatives" (which can be used for making patterns, sorting by color and size, and other math concepts) as well as math games.

We are continuing to explore literacy through reading books like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

We also learned how to do Read to Self last week, which we will do every day during literacy time. This used to be known as "Silent Sustained Reading" or "Drop Everything in Read" back when I was in school! But we've since learned that young students need to talk, sing, and use their voice to sound out words while they read, so we don't emphasize the "silent" part anymore. This week we practiced finding a private spot to read, picking out a book, and reading in one of three ways (reading the pictures, reading the words, or retelling a familiar story). We also do partner reading on Fridays, which gives kids a chance to talk about books with their peers!