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Showing posts from 2013

We Decorate Our World - Gingerbread House

Wendy's activity of edible decorations made me think of the Witch's gingerbread house in the story Hansel and Gretel. We looked at the story and wondered what it would be like to live in a house we could eat. The children thought it would be fun but not a good place to be when it rains.

We undertook the task of decorating a gingerbread house. It was a very collaborative effort. Before we began, the children made a plan deciding on the colours and the placement of the candy decorations. The children were very patient waiting for their turns.  Upon completion of the house, the children decided that their house is not for a witch but for them to eat. Our house is on display for all the children to enjoy.....for now!

Decorate our World - Assessment

Today the children each did an assessment in the form of a booklet. The booklet was to help me see what the children's understanding of the line of inquiry is and to assess what they have learned thus far. Please have a look at your child's book, each are eager to share his/her knowledge with you.

Clay Decorations

We finished our clay decorations today.  Each child chose four colours to paint with. It was wonderful to watch each child taking the time to choose the colours and carefully paint their decorations.  The children showed commitment and enthusiasm during this project. The final products provided wonderful conversations at the table as each child was eager to proudly present their decorations.

Grace: I have a special place on my shelf to put it on.
Byron: I want to give my decorations as a present.
Jayla: I am going to hang them on a wall in my room.
Sophie: My mom will put it on a wall in my room so I can see it.
Alan: I made a mountain.
Tyreese: I'm going to put mine in my keeping box.
Esme: I'm putting my decoration on a high shelf because Remi can climb now.

Decorations tell human stories and help us know one another.

Line of Inquiry: Decorations tell human stories and help us know one another.

We began a clay project on Wednesday. The children used clay to make a decoration for themselves or as a gift for someone special. For some, it was the first time using clay. The children loved creating with their hands. We will paint the clay next week so you will have to wait to see what each child made!

Today, the children made mobiles as decorations. Each child was given a picture of him or herself to place on the mobile. The rest of the items added were chosen by each of the children. It was fun to hear the conversation as the children shared with one another their likes and dislikes in a decoration.

Alan chose blue because that is his favourite colour.
Oliver added a heart for his mom and a happy face for his dad.
Jayla added a girl because she is a girl.
Sophie chose purple because purple is her favourite.
Grace chose a different way to hang her mobile because she wanted it flat against her wall.

We hung t…

We Decorate Our World - Body Decoration

Last week, the Wind Group painted their faces.  The Fire Group was very intrigued and expressed interest in face painting.  Following the interests of the children, we looked at pictures of people from countries around the world that used decoration on  their faces and bodies.  Some of the examples we looked at were: Japan and the Geisha, henna painting from India, tribal paint in Kenya, and North American sports fans. For each example, we talked about the meaning and history of the decorations as well as the colours and designs used. The children decorated masks and then were given the opportunity to have their face and hands painted with designs of their choice.

We Decorate Our World - Row, Row, Row Your Boat

We dramatized canoeing down a river and greeting people along the way.  Every stop we made, the children were asked questions to help us connect with one another better. Some of the questions  asked were:
- what colours do you like?
- do you have a favourite animal?                                                       -  what do you like to play?
At the end of the journey I asked the children what kind of decorations they would like to put on their canoe paddles. Their decorations reflected the answers to these questions. The children took the task to decorating the paddle very seriously and were committed to the project. It was a great activity for the children to learn about how decoration can tell a story.

We Decorate Our World - Coast Salish Carvings

Today's activity stems from the comments from the children last week that a decoration needs colour.
Does a decoration have to be colourful?
I brought in a number of Coast Salish carvings for the children to explore.  None of these carvings were painted.  I wanted the children to see the geometric designs that the artists used to transform the wood into decorative pieces of art. We compiled a list of the different shapes we found in the carvings.
Byron/Alan: circles
Sophie: triangles
Esme: squares
Jayla: lines
Grace: ovals.

The children practiced drawing those shapes before decorating a whale to make their own Coast Salish drawing.  Being able to touch the art and not just see it from pictures was helpful for the children to make a connection with the Coast Salish art.  This hands-on experience helped the children see some one else's perspective and that for some people decoration does not require colour.

We Decorate Our World - Totem Tales

We have begun our new unit exploring decorations from some First Nations' cultures and how these decorations tell us a story that helps us connect with one another.  Traditionally, totem poles are found in the Pacific Northwest and are used to commemorate an event, represent family lineage and/or history.  If you are interested in  learning more about totem poles, this link has great information.

Before we could begin learning about totem poles, I asked if the children knew what they were. Many have seen the totem poles situated at Stanley Park.  We looked at pictures and  discussed what the totem poles are made of and what they could mean. Most of the children felt the totems were decorations except for the ones that were not very colourful.

We read the story "Totem Tales" by Deb Vanasse.  It is an Alaskan story of how a totem pole comes to life and the figures have to reassemble in proper order bef…

Music Webs

We continued with the music webs that Wendy started. 

What feelings and ideas do you want to express?
What instruments and sounds will you use?

Happy music. The song is about my family.  I love being with them.  I want it to sound like a rock song!
Guitar, piano and trumpet.

Grace: Sad music.  I miss my mom. It's hard to keep my stuffies in my cubby for a long long time. Voice.
Jayla: Happy music. I want to sing the ABC's.  It's happy. Drum, voice and cymbals.

Garage Band - Preparing for our Summative Activity

As we are approaching the end of this unit (2 weeks left), we are preparing for our summative activity.  For our summative activity each child will use Garage Band to make their own music sequences to describe a thought or a feeling. They may use found objects or musical instruments. The following questions will help guide the children through the summative process:
What do you want to express?
How will you express it?
What tool/instrument will you use?
Why did you choose that tool?

This week, we listened to four very different types of music: Bobby McFerrin who uses his voice in different ways, Under the Sea from Little Mermaid, Coastal Wolf Pack (First Nations music) and a classical piece by Strauss.  For each piece of music, the children identified the different instruments they heard, what the song expressed from their perspective and what feelings were generated from the sounds. This was in preparation for composing their own music sequences. We also experimented with Garage Band …


Causation: How sounds are experienced.

This week we conducted a number of experiments to help the children understand that sound is made when something vibrates and causes sound waves to travel. We started by placing our hands on the side of our throats and made different sounds. The children were able to feel the different vibrations when they talked, hummed and whispered. The children began to understand that when they stopped making sound, the vibration on their throats stopped.
After conducting experiments, the children had a better understanding that when vibrations stop so does the sound. We concluded by making telephones.  There was lots of giggling as the children talked to one another using their phones. The children were amazed that the sound (vibrations) could travel from one end of the cup to the other.

Instrument Sounds

As we examined the sounds in our environment, the children asked to learn more about sound from musical instruments. I had a tray of instruments for the children to play and they took turns trying each instrument. The children tried playing the instruments in a variety of ways: tapping, rubbing, blowing.
Oliver: I like playing the bongo.  It's loud. Sophie: I like to play the xylophone. I make sound when I hit it. Jayla: I like playing the cymbals. Alan: I like the harmonica. It sounds like a train. Grace: You use air to make sound on the recorder. 

After taking turns, each child chose an instrument to play.  Grace said they sounded like a band when they played together.
We also played a game on the smartboard. The children had to listen to a sound and match it to the correct instrument.  Here is the link:

Sounds In Our Enviroment

On Wednesday afternoon, Sophie asked to have the vacuum turned off because the sound scared her. Her comment prompted our discussion today as to how environmental sounds cause certain feelings to arise.  We revisited the sounds we heard on our walk and discussed if any feelings arose from hearing these sounds.  None did but the children recalled hearing thunder the previous week.  The children found the loudness of the sound of thunder scary. We ended group time by playing charades.  We took turns expressing different emotions and ideas through the use of sound.

Listening Walk

What are the sounds in our immediate environment?

The children listed some sounds they thought they would hear on our listening walk:
Jayla - dogs
Grace - coyotes howling
Byron - cars
Tyreese - birds singing
Sophie - a horse
Esme - people sounds.

It was easy for the children to list what would be expressing sounds but difficult to describe these sounds with language. For example, when asked what sound people would make, the children stomped their feet. For myself, I never realized until today how difficult it is to describe sound!

Our listening walk was very enjoyable. We heard everything on our list except for the coyote! We also heard the wind blowing, leaves crunching under our feet and a garbage truck.
The most exciting part of our walk was when the children discovered
 they can make sounds using their bodies or other objects around them.  This led the children to begin tapping rocks to make different sounds. Esme suggested we sing a song.  While the children tapped rocks togethe…

Expressing through song

Simone's singing of a Barbie tune prompted us to write a song.  We borrowed the a line from Simone's song to start us of. The topic chosen was dreams and what each of us dream about.  Here is our song:

Whenever we dream, we dream the same dream.
We dream about bunny and how soft he is. (Grace)
We dream about zebra and his stripes. (Esme)
We dream about Bambi and his cute nose and how he soft he is. (Simone)
We dream about the forest and the boat we play on. (Roy)
We dream about horses and stuffies. (Alfie)
We dream about princesses. (Sofia)
We dream about happy things to make us smile. (Deb)


The Water Group invited us for a pirate feast today!!!! The children felt they could not got to a pirate feast without becoming a pirate first.  They donned scarves and eye patches which immediately prompted their language to change to pirate talk. Aye matey!!  They drew a map so we could sail without getting lost to the location of the Water Group.  Before the feast, the Water Group shared all of their pirate knowledge through dramatization, song and a book they wrote.  I am sure you will have a few pirates going home today!