Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2011

What is a decoration?

Line of Inquiry: similarities and differences in ideas about what a decoration is.
T This week we explored what a decoration is to each of us. On Wednesday, the children created table decorations. Prior to group time, I let the children know that we would be making table decorations to display at lunch. I asked the children to think about what materials would be needed. Adyson suggested we look for leaves and sticks in the forest to use. All the children agreed that was a great idea. Leaves, twigs, and rocks were collected. To complete the decoration, the children made paper candles to place in the centre.

On Thursday, we used the Smart Board to create a Venn Diagram to sort items into categories: "decoration" and "not a decoration". The children had different perspectives as to what items are considered a decoration. Sorting the items into the categories helped the children to see that what is a decoration to one may not be to another. We comple…

Walk to Musqueam

We were lucky today was such a beautiful day for our walk to Musqueam to view decorations created by two Musqueam members. At the entrance of the reserve (Crown St. and Stautlo Ave.), Debra Sparrow has designed a modern day Coast Salish monument of The Runner. The Runner was the person who kept watch for the Nation and would run through the village alerting the community of people approaching their territory. A plaque placed at the feet of The Runner  states "The spirit of our ancestors moves through the open spaces of our runner. He carries the knowledge and history of our people....he whispers to them...generation to generation."  This monument is another example of how people use decorations to tell stories.

Next we looked at a house post carved by Dave Louis Jr. The Coast Salish people do not carve totem poles but rather house posts that traditionally would adorn the interior entrance ways of the each respective family long house.  The house posts would commemorate an eve…

Totem Tales

Totem poles are not only decorations but also tell stories.  Today, we read "Totem Tales" an Alaskan story by Deb Vanasse.  It is the story of a totem pole that comes to life.  The totem figures: Grizzly, Beaver, Frog, Wolf and Eagle have to reassemble themselves in proper order before daybreak.  After reading the story, we used puppets to reenact the story.  I am sure your child would love to share the story with you.

The children are still using dough to make decorations.  Some children chose to make more decorations while others chose to paint those already made.  As soon as they are dry and painted, the decorations will be sent home.

Next week (weather permitting), we will walk to Musqueam to view two Coast Salish house posts that were erected during the 2010 Olympics.

Decorations Tell Stories

Kai chose to share with us a plaque from his Trindadian heritage.  The plaque had a steel drum replica and a description of the drum's importance to the people of Trinidad.

This plaque inspired us to make decorative plaques representing the heritage of each of us.   Each child was given his/her picture and flags of the countries his/her family originates from to decorate with.   Many added drawn pictures of other family members as well.  When they were finished, many of the children went around the room showing their plaques to others.  It was amazing to see the pride the children had in their work and the willingness to share with others.

November 16, 2011

Today I shared my prairie heritage with the children.  My maternal and paternal grandparents came from different parts of Europe and settled on the prairies in the early 1900's.  I chose to share a wheat ornament made of glass.  This ornament was given to me by my parents so I will always remember my prairie roots and my family that is still there.  (I really wanted to share the Saskatchewan Riders' logo)

Lots of giggles erupted when I told the children I was from Saskatchewan.  There was even more laughter as the children all tried to say Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We read the book "If you're not from the prairie...." by David Bouchard.  I shared my stories of growing up in Saskatchewan, the land of endless sky and very cold winters.I asked the children to make a decoration of their choice using dough as the medium.    When the decorations dry, they will be painted and brought home to share.

Korean Decorations

Yu Ha shared with us a fan and a drum decoration from her Korean culture. 

Painted on the drum was the Sam-Taegeuk symbol which is found on many Korean items.  The symbol is comprised of three colours: red representing earth, yellow representing humanity and the blue representing the heavens.  Using these three colours, the children painted a decoration on a fan.

To see how the Korean fan is used as a decoration and an instrument of art, we watched a Korean fan dance. ( This dance inspired the children to create their own fan dance.

The children were proud of their fans and were excited to bring them home to share.  Adyson asked to hang her fan at the daycare because she wanted to share her decoration with everyone.

This unit of inquiry is not only fun but also a wonderful opportunity for us to share who we are and learn more about each other.

Summative Week

We finished the summative project Wendy started this week giving the children the opportunity to express and show their understanding of the unit of inquiry. All of the children I worked with chose to express through painting.
Julia, Chloe, Adyson and Natalya chose the  piece "African Tribal Orchestra - Sundown in Madagaskar." Julia called the group "The Madagascar Girls."  Chloe and Julia also sang while they painted. Chloe made up her own song while Julia sang "Rain, Rain Go Away."
Rocco was the only child to choose "Vivaldi - La tempesta di mare" to paint to.   He said the music reminded him of Trinidad and that he missed Tobago.  
Next week, we will begin our formative week for the unit of inquiry "How people use decoration and how this helps us learn about each other."

Group Time October 19 & 20

We completed our maracas this week. The children painted the maracas while listening to a steel drum band.  It was wonderful to see the children put so much thought into the decoration of their instruments.  After we finished, we continued with learning about beat and rhythm using the tune "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

This unit is coming to an end as next week is our summative week.

African Music

At the beginning of our inquiry, the children expressed interest in making instruments.  We decided to make two types of musical shakers.  The first shaker we made used paper cups, different types of beads and popcorn kernels.  The children experimented with sound by placing the different items in the shaker to produce different sounds.  The children were able to identify that placing the various items in the cups different sounds were created.

The second shaker  made used a balloon and popcorn kernels.  The children used newspaper and a flour paste to papier mache the balloons.  Once the balloons dry, the shakers will be decorated.

Continuing with our inquiry into music around the world, we listened and danced to music from Angola.  The children were able to identify  the sounds of the African drums and shakers by listening to the

Princess Music

What is princess music?  Before we could find the music, we had to determine what and who a princess is. The children identified that a princess is a female with long hair, a long dress, and nice shoes.  We viewed images of woman, from all over the world, dressed in their traditional attire to help define a princess.  The children said that a princess does not just have to be a Disney princess.  All of these women were considered princesses.  It was interesting to see that the music associated with these women's culture was not always considered princess music.  After listening to each piece of music, the children would vote as to whether or not the music was deemed princess music.  The results:  opera music-split decision, Chinese opera music-unanimous "yes" and Pow Wow music was a definitive "no".

The children also used the smart board to identify how each piece of music made them feel.  Next week, we will continue to look at music and instruments from around…

Group Time Oct.5 /2011

We continued with the teacher question "how does music make us think and feel?"  We listened to Coast Salish music by the Sto:Lo Voices which is a group comprised of family members from the Sto:lo and Chehalis people of the Fraser Valley.  The children were captivated by the sound of the drums and began to clap to the beat.  

After listening to the "Salmon Song", the children had different thoughts and reflections of how the song made them feel.  

Natalya: I liked the girls' voices.
Leighton: The song made me feel sad and alone. It made me think of being the forest by myself.
Rocco:  I feel happy, I like the drums.
Chloe: I feel sad like crying.
Hao Hao: I like fish.

We watched some you tube videos of the  Tsatsu Stalqayu(Coastal Wolfpack) singing and dancing to Coast Salish songs. The children painted to the Coast Salish music.

At the end of group today, some children asked if we could listen to princess music.  I asked what princess music is and the response I receiv…

Group Time Sept. 28 & 29

Sounds In Our Environment
The children identified items in our environment that make sounds.  For example, cars roar, horns beep, dogs bark, etc.  We made a collage of these items representing the sounds around us.  These collages prompted a discussion of how sounds make us feel. For example, some children said that they feel scared when they hear a dog barking, others said the same sound makes them feel happy.

We continued this inquiry by listening to sound clips ranging from the ordinary (dog, bell) to the unordinary (alligator). The children had a lot of fun identifying these sounds.After each clip, the children were asked how the felt when they heard the sound for the first time. For each sound, the children made a human bar graph representing their feelings.  Next week, we will explore "how does music make me think and feel".

Week of Sept. 14 & 15

Sound & Vibration
Our line of inquiry this week was “how sounds are created”.
The children learned that energy is needed to create vibration and that vibration makes sound.  We used a drum to feel and hear how sound and vibration are connected.  As we were drumming, Jared noticed that if he placed his hand on the drum he could stop the vibration and the sound would also stop.  

We continued Jared’s observation using triangles and cymbals making loud and soft sounds. The children found when they stopped the vibrations on the instruments, the sound stopped as well. We concluded this activity with comb kazoos.  The children made kazoos using combs and wax paper.  They ended with a rousing rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on their                                                 kazoos.

When we were conducting our sound and vibration experiments, the children began to notice that they could affect the sounds they heard by covering their ears.  This will lead us into next week’…