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Our Friendship Feast

Sunday, November 23, 2014

To celebrate the new friendships that have developed and to continue to build relationships with our families, three of our classes decided to hold a Friendship Feast right before our Thanksgiving break. We had the feast in the evening so that more parents would be able to join us. The kids created invitations inviting families to come.  

I was blown away that almost every family from our class was able to come! That meant we needed to get planning! We had parents sign up to bring items for the feast. Our amazing head of food services provided her fabulous roast turkey and cooked it for us on our feast day!
Next we decided to create a beautiful (kid-created) environment to hold our feast. 
We created pumpkins for centerpieces by stuffing paper bags with newsprint, twisting the top and painting them. The kids traced their hands on green paper and cut them out for the leaves. 

We painted our hands to create this friendship banner with the other classes involved. 

The kids collaborated in small groups to come up with a design for a table runner, sketched it on the runner and then painted it. 

We made labels for all of the food that would be set out. 

We created "Thank You" cards for the head cook for making us turkey and the custodians who helped set everything up and helped us to tear it all down and clean it all up afterward. 

Then us teachers took everything our three classes made to the gym after school and set it all up. 

As families arrived, we organized the food on the buffet and the celebration began!  You could see signs of friendship and community building everywhere you looked!

We had around 200 people show up for this wonderful celebration of friendship. I had so much fun talking with families and enjoying a wonderful evening with them all! I always enjoy building relationships with the families that I have the privilege to work with. I hope we can do it again!

Here is the wonderful team of teachers that worked together to make this all happen. I am so lucky to work with such a wonderful group and I can never thank them enough! I adore them!

I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving Break full of family, friends, and food! Enjoy every moment!

Presenting Our Homemade Blocks to Another Class

Saturday, November 22, 2014

We created blocks for another class who did not have any! You can see the process of creating these blocks and our book of Archetectual Blueprints here at.        It took us a while but we finally finished our book of plans for the other class to use with their blocks.   

We presented the pages of our book to Mrs. Fischer's class by showing and telling them things they could build with these blocks.  This was their first presentation and they loved doing it!  They were so happy to provide these beautiful blocks to this class! They knew how fun they were because they had been playing with them for a while!

The kids left with that warm glow of doing something kind for others! Mrs. Fischer sent me an email letting us know that a group of her kids picked a design and created one of the structures by following the blueprint! I can't wait to show the kids! 

I love how you can actually see them studying the plans to see what to do next! This was such a fun project that we have worked on almost the whole first quarter! Seeing these pictures makes all the hard work worth it!

Looking Closer at Pumpkins

Monday, November 17, 2014

We did not have an in-depth inquiry about pumpkins since we have been digging deep into architecture, engineering and block making as you saw in the last post.  But we had pumpkins and gourds at our "Look Closer" table, and a lot of exploring and noticing went on there! Here are some photos that capture some of the learning moments with pumpkins and gourds. 

We picked four different sized pumpkins and the kids predicted which would have the most seeds. 

They had a great sensory experience digging out thhe seeds and separating them from the pulp!

Each table had the seeds from one of the pumpkins and counted them into groups of tens. 

I took a picture of the seeds from each table and projected them onto the promethium board so that we could count them all by tens together. The kids were of coarse trying to count the groups on their own also while they were at their tables. 

After counting them by tens, we found out that the biggest pumpkin did have the most seeds, but the smallest one only had 20 less!  They were very surprised by that!

On our last day before break, the kids begged me to cut open all of the tiny pumpkins and gourds so they could see the seeds inside of them and explore. Of course I had to oblige! 

We are now on break and will start something new when we get back! I wonder what it could be? Also stay tuned for a post about our Friendship Feast! It was amazing!

The Block Project: Creating a Block Set For Another Class

Saturday, November 8, 2014

One day, the kids were not showing responsibility in the block area. They were not cleaning them up, and when they did, they were not organizing them on the clearly marked shelves to make it easy for friends to find the blocks they need. I mentioned that we were very lucky to have a block set! There were many kindergarten classes in our school that did not have a block set for architecture and engineering! I wish I had a camera to show all the hands that flew up to their mouths as they gasped in horror at the thought! As they were not in the mindset (yet) of seeing themselves as being able to problem solve on this scale, it took some guiding to get them to the idea that THEY could make a block set for a class that needs them!   This began our project!Our Driving Question:  How can we as Engineers design a beautiful, strong block set for a class that does not have one?
We brainstormed what we would need for materials and came up with this list. We added to the list as the project went on as they learned about more 3D shapes. 

The kids brought in all kinds of recyclables that we could use as blocks.

We explored the recyclables to make sure they would work by creating structures with them.

They worked very well! (I think they had more fun with these than our own wooden blocks set!)

We sorted them by shape.  This started a conversation about 3D shapes! We noticed most of the blocks were cylinders and rectangular prisms.

We knew space was limited so we went through the recyclables and kept only the ones that were sturdy enough to use.  Anything crushed was recycled.  This way they could fit in one bin.

The next step was to paint the boxes.  We decided to put glue in the paint to make it stick better.

Painting was messy business!  They loved it!  Next they decorated them to make them beautiful. They had to think for a while and come up with a plan before they started.

Here is the finished set!  They are so beautiful!

We read a lot of books about Archetecture to figure out what all could be built with their blocks.  Here are a few of them. 

They also explored with our own block area to see what all could be built! 

The kids brainstormed things that could be created with these blocks.  They each signed up to create one of the structures of their choice. 

They designed their own structure and created a blueprint for children to follow.  A photo of the structure was added also. These were made into an Architectural Plan Book for the class receiving the blocks.

The next step is to finish the book of blueprints and present the blocks to the lucky class!
Through this project, the students became a bit obsessed with 3D shapes!  They found them everywhere we went and created them in many areas of our room. 

The friend who created the snowman below in the clay area pointed out to me that snowmen are made with spheres and their hats are cylinders!

The friend below noticed that our lamp was a cylinder!

They have learned to identify the cube, cone, rectangular prism, sphere, cylinder, pyramid, and some have discovered an octagonal prism!
Here is our Documentation Wall documenting our experiences with this project. This is our way as a project based classroom of sharing our experiences and what we have learned with parents and other teachers. 

You may notice the skyscrapers on the bottom. Through this project, an interest in different forms of architecture has emerged. We have been obsessed with skyscrapers and created this skyline based on what they noticed. But that may be another post as the kids may extend this inquiry on architecture further! We will see!  
Below you will find the main standards covered during this project! Of course these are on top of the 21st Century Skills they had to learn and use as we worked on this project such as problem solving, collaboration, persistence, creative thinking, critical thinking, personal expression, dealing with frustration and so many more.
Standards Covered During This Project
  • W.K.2- I can write, draw and tell to teach.
  • L.K.1- I can print many uppercase and lowercase letters. 
  • L.K.2- I can write a letter or letters for most consonant  sounds.
  • L.K.2- I can use what I know about phonics to write words.
  • K.CC.6- I can tell if a group of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to a group of objects in another group.
  • K.MD.2- I can compare how two objects are similar or different.
  • K.G.1- I can find shapes around me.
  • K.G.1- I can tell about shapes.
  • K.G.1- I can compare shapes.
  • K.G.3- I can name shapes.
  • K.G.4- I can tell about and compare 2D and 3D shapes.
  • K.G.5- I can make shapes using materials like sticks and clay.
  • K.G.6- I can use simple shapes to make larger shapes.

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