Back To The Rhythm

I know what you’re thinking.  Rhythm? What does she mean? When it is report card writing time, assessments seem to take over your classroom for a while.  I know it’s important to know where your students are to help them grow.  We view it as assessment for learning not just of learning. The past week we’ve gotten back into our rhythm.  You know what I mean, our grove.  Reader’s workshop and math workshop groups are in full swing. We’re back! 🙂

Since our last post our school has had a Remembrance Day assembly to honour the Canadian military both past and present.  Explaining what this day means and represents can be tricky. The concept of war, defending our country, being peacekeepers, and Canada’s role in the world, is a huge concept for 6-7 year olds to understand.  I like to take it from a playground approach.  The world is like a big playground.  Some countries get along and others don’t.  Canada’s job is to help other countries talk out their problems.  Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes we have to help a country who is being hurt or mistreated by another. Remembrance Day is a day to say thank you.  Thank you for doing this really hard job.  Thank you to veterans and current military personal who decided to represent our country and stand up for what is right.  The Super Kids think that the leaders of the countries of the world should come back to elementary school and learn how to play on a playground together.  I know…you have to just love the minds and hearts of kids.  If only…

To help explain this we watched the Canadian Legion commercial below.  It has no words just music.  We first watched it fully and then we watched it again.  I paused it throughout to asked questions.  I asked them to infer. What was happening? Why was she doing it? What do you think the girl was thinking?  What do you think the man thought and felt at the end?

The first time we watched it the kids missed the point.  The second time with the pauses really helped and they really got it!  One student yelled “STOP the video Mrs. Didyk! Flander’s Field is the name of that poem the Canadian soldier wrote.  You mean she had a poppy sent from there!  That was so nice!” 🙂

In the afternoon we learned about an artist named Georgia O’Keeffe.  Some of my students from last year remembered we talked about her around Mother’s Day.  We read a book about her life, looked at many of her close up flowers, and focussed on her poppy art.  We looked at lots of her flower art pieces and noticed that it was like we were bugs on the flower.

       

Then it was our turn to create our own flower art with pastels.  Students were given the option to make a poppy or another flower to show their understanding.

     

Our nocturnal animal projects has been researched with jot notes and typed using “book writing”.  The Super Kids were then asked to sketch out a plan for their animal diorama.  The diorama needed to have their nocturnal animal, a food source, a water source, and a habitat.  Our 5/6 buddies helped us create our plan.  Plasticine can be a tricky media!

       

This past Friday we had a full classroom day until the last period when we had music.  What could we do on a Friday afternoon that was fun, engaging, and help us develop a new skill? Stop motion video with our dioramas was the answer.  My daughter created a stop motion video for a project for school last year and I thought I could do that with my students.  I’ve never done it before in my classroom and the app at school was different from the one we have at home.  I was still going to give it a try.  I ran into our teacher librarian Mme. Meg in the photocopier room and asked if she had a minute to show me the app.  She offered to come to our classroom for a few minutes in the afternoon and show the class how to use the app before she had to go to another classroom.  Perfect!

The kids loved it!  I called them over two at a time and they helped each other create their own stop motion movie!

     

We had a viewing party during our afternoon snack. Check out a few of our videos below.  The Super Kids can’t wait to share them with their families on conference night.

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This week is the 50th day of school!  How can that be!  We plan to celebrate with all 5 grade1 / 2 classes with a 50s celebration.  We can’t wait to share the excitement with you in our next post.

 

 

 

Spirit week, Halloween, and so much more!

A month ago we were talking about what elections are and who was the elected premier of our province.  You might remember our cookie election and debate from a pervious post.  Well, not a month later we were back at it with our federal election.  Who is the Prime Minister of Canada?  What is their job?  Where do they work?  We started the day by making Canada puzzles.  Each group was given a big piece puzzle and told to work together to create it.  Next we used the puzzles to find important places in our country like our city of Winnipeg and Ottawa, the capital city of Canada.  Next, we research where the Parliament Buildings are and what they looked like.  It was raining that day so some kids used their indoor recess time to create their own Parliament Buildings!

 

Have you heard of the impressionist painter Mary Cassatt?  The Super Kids learned about her style of painting as well as her life by reading the story book “Mary Cassatt Extraordinary Impressionist Painter”.  The class was surprised to know that her family didn’t think she should be a painter because she was a girl.

 

    

We were inspired by her painting below.  The class noticed that the water isn’t completely blue but has many different colours from reflections.

We took inspiration from this painting to create our own art pieces in the style of Cassatt, but with a Canadian twist. The class painted Canadian geese. Our community has many ponds and geese like to stop by on as they migrate south.  Every morning we watch them fly over our school at recess.  First was the sketching stage where students used whiteboards and markers. Next was the water and then students painted the goose.  It was a day full of art!

 

Spirit week, pumpkin centres, and Halloween!  It was a busy week.  Pumpkin centres with our 5/6 buddies was a blast.  How much does your pumpkin weigh?  How tall is your pumpkin?  How many pumpkins tall are you?  Will your pumpkin sink or float?  It was an afternoon of estimating and measuring.

   

Skeletons can be a bit scary for kids and they definitely remind us of Halloween.  Some of the kids noticed some X-rays I had under the light table and were wondering what they were.  We took a closer look at the animal skeletons, which led us to the idea of looking at a human skeleton.  Why do we have a skeleton?  What are joints?  How does our body move?

 

After reading “Bonaparte Falls Apart” we wanted to dig deeper about skeletons.

With some QR code videos to help our developing understanding we took it to the next level with a challenge.

The kids were put into group and asked if they could make a symmetrical skeleton using Q-tips and play dough? How about using 5, 6, 8, 10, or 12 Q-tips?

   

Spirit week had our school dressing as twins, kids dressing as adults, PJ day and ending with Halloween.  It was a CRAZY week full of activities.

 

Pyjama Day is always a hit.  The Super Kids estimated and measured their favourite stuffies, graphed their bedtimes, read in the dark with flashlights, and read bedtime stories.

   

One of the Super Kids even dressed in skeleton pyjamas like our new favourite book Bonaparte!

Halloween was a great day!  Our Woodlily team was ready for our day with our kids and everyone had a blast.

In the morning we had Halloween themed centres such as tic tac toe, code a friend with a Halloween theme, bingo, and create a skeleton.

     

In the afternoon all of the grade 1/2 classrooms mixed up their kids into 5 groups which rotated through the classroom doing Halloween themed activities such as art, a break out activity, coding, yoga, and a scavenger hunt.  The Super Kids love getting to know and spending time with other kids from the other classrooms.  What a great way to spend our Halloween afternoon!