Spring Has Sprung!

Spring has sprung! Ok.. I thought it had until yesterday when I woke up to snow on the ground and crazy high winds!  I guess that’s spring in Manitoba.  I hope that my Super Kids and their families are enjoying their spring break.  I’m making the best out of the no travel situation with my family and enjoying some time together.

To get into the spring spirit our class read the book “The Tale Of Peter Rabbit” written by Beatrix Potter.

This children’s classic was a favourite of mine as a kid and my class loved the story.  Thank you to the two families that sent in the classic book (a family heirloom according to the inscription in the front) and the Peter Rabbit stuffed animal after lunch that day.  These two treasures were perfect for our afternoon of art making.

Deep Space Sparkle has been my inspiration for art making for years and the Peter Rabbit project just jumped out as a perfect spring activity that incorporates our nutrition lessons, sketching practice, and spring!  Despite it being suggested for older students we tackled this lesson head on!  “There are no mistakes in art, just opportunities” is our art motto in our classroom and boy did my amazing kiddos enjoy creating their own Peter Rabbits!  We looked closely at the illustrations in to book and discussed muted colours and how we could make them with our watercolour paints.  We just loved how they turned out and so did our families.  So many families commented on the art project during our virtual student led conferences!

Earlier in the month I presented the class with a challenge.  St. Patrick’s Day was coming up and we needed to catch a leprechaun! I told them that last year a leprechaun came into my classroom and played some tricks and we would get a wish if we could catch him/her this year.  Of course we would let them go and ask them politely for our wish.  To say the kids were all in would be an understatement! After reading “How To Trap a Leprechaun” for some inspiration, the kids got right into planning.  We reviewed what we knew about simple machines that could be used in our designs and made a list of materials that they needed to create their traps. Many designs included an incline plane, wedges, and even a few pulleys.

The day before St. Patrick’s Day was our designing day.  Creating these STEM projects is one of my favourite things about my job.  The creativity, patience, and problem solving that happens during these times is amazing.  Kids develop critical thinking skills and have to pivot their designs when something doesn’t work.  I love how it gives some kids the opportunity to shine and help others when they sometimes feel like they need the help in other subject areas.  Check out the Super Kids and some of their amazing designs below.

The next morning the class was so excited to come into the classroom.  Had we caught a leprechaun? They quickly ran to their traps and found a surprise waiting for them.  Footprints!!!

Traps had been sprung!  Nets were down! Secret hidden holes were pushed through! We didn’t catch a leprechaun that day, but we did get a challenge from Lucky the Leprechaun.  It came in a small envelope addressed to our class.

The class had to complete a series of activities to earn each colour of the rainbow to earn a price.  Each activity completed earn a matching coloured pipe cleaner.  The game board had a few detour movement breaks built it.  Our “Unlock A Rainbow” Day was a huge hit.  Activities included math problems, rainbow science, bubble science, a rainbow foods activity and much more.

It was a day full of making connections to our science units, math skills, and word work activities. The kids had a blast and I did too!

 

Once all the challenges were complete the kids had to create a rainbow with the correct sequence of colours with their pipe cleaners and some plasticine.

I wanted to thank the parent readers who volunteers their time to join us virtually this month to read a family favourite to us.  I know that many of you wish you could come into our classroom and volunteer, but unfortunately do to the Covid-19 restrictions we are unable to do that this year.  I’m crossing my fingers for next year! Thank you for spending some time with us.  I’ve added a few pictures of more parents that volunteered since our last post.

The week before spring beak our class concluded our nutrition unit with a focus on dental hygiene. Why is it important to brush our teeth? What does a dentist do?  What happens if I don’t brush my teeth? We began the week with two experiments that lasted the whole week.  What would happen to an apple if we poked it with a pencil and created a “cavity”?  We observed the apple each day and discussed what would happen if we don’t take care of a cavity.

The second experiment involved hard boiled eggs, Coke, vinegar, and juice. What would happen to the egg when placed in the liquids?  What does this experiment show about the enamel on our teeth?  When we brush the stains do they go away?

Have a lovely spring break and Easter for those families that celebrate it.  Take care and I’ll see you next week. 🙂

Mrs. Didyk 🙂

March Highlights

First an important anniversary…

Today marks the year anniversary of the day our staff found out that our school was going to remote learning.  It was for two weeks the government told us.  We knew better.  It lasted for the rest of the school year.  The school exhibition, that my last year’s group of students spent so long preparing for, didn’t happen and we pivoted to learning together from my home office.  This school year has been full of restrictions, masks, distance, and figuring it all out.  I want to publicly thank my students from both this year and last, for being so amazing and putting a smile on my face every day!  You really are special kids and I consider myself lucky everyday to get to spend time with you.  Thank you to the parents of my students for their kindness and flexibility.  I want to thank my amazing cohort!  The team that planned vertical learning together on Zoom for hours in the evening after teaching online all day. The same group of ladies that come to school and have each other’s back.  You make me laugh and your support has helped me get through this crazy year.  A HUGE thank you to our administration who somehow managed to lead us through all this.  I can’t even imagine the stress that you faced this year.  I appreciate you all so much!

March 2nd was Dr. Seuss Day.  The Super Kids read “The Cat In The Hat” before tackling a rhyming word game and creating our own artwork inspired by  the cat character.  After reading the book, one Super Kid asked me why they were home alone all day and if their school was closed because of the virus like ours was.  I had to explain that the book was written a long time ago and I’m not sure why they were alone.  We then brainstormed reasons.  Maybe their mom was just running to the store quickly or she had to work and the kids were actually older.  🙂

Doing a direct drawing lesson of the cat together took some patience.  The class created their own “Cat In the Hat” inspired characters that they couldn’t wait to take home and show their families.

We took a closer look at the Inuit art form of soapstone carving.  One student’s family had some pieces that they were kind enough to let us borrow.  I also borrowed some pieces from my parents.  I lived in Thompson Manitoba for a few years a child.  My dad was a RCMP police officer for 36 years, so I moved around a bit as a kid.  My mom got a few of these pieces as gifts from her students and the large polar bear from an artist they knew.  The class took a closer look at the pieces and watched a few videos on how soapstone carvings are made.  We then took bars of ivory soap and attempted to make our own carvings!

We wrapped up our Arctic unit by finishing our Arctic animal research projects and creating a diorama of their habitat.  Each student had to incorporate the animal, the habitat, food source, and a water source.  We then learned how to make a stop motion animation video!  The kids became directors and videographers.  They were so excited!

Check out our video links below!

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Reader’s workshop and math workshop are daily activities that our class looks forward to.  Students rotate through activities that help practice their skills and work with me in small groups.  The Super Kids are working on counting back and subtraction skills.  We often stand in a large circle and count back from 100.  If you are in a spot that you hit when you count by 5s you have to sit down.  The last person standing starts the game the next time we play.  This is a big challenge for many of the kids.

 

We took a closer look at the artistic works of artist Norval Morriseau.  He is also known as Copper Thunderhead.  He is an Indigenous artist that uses bright colours and layering techniques to depict animals. We were inspired by his piece “Spirit Bear” .  We created our own bears using paper and shapes.

Unfortunately, our family members are unable to volunteer in our school this year.  To welcome them into our classroom we decided to invite our parents to virtual story time.  Any parents that would like to set up a virtual time with us to read a family favourite is welcome.  The class is so excited to meet each other’s parents. We’ve had three so far and more scheduled for next week!

March is nutrition month and the class has been learning about the new Canadian Food Guide.

We started our inquiry with our snacks and lunch kits.  What food groups do our snacks fall into?  Why does it matter what we eat?  Why do our parents tell us that we need to eat our vegetables?  Each morning at snack time I have been reading a nutrition book.  These books have been about our bodies, our digestive system, bones, our heart, and healthy habits.  The class had been really expanding their vocabulary and knowledge about our bodies!  Thank you to those families that send in a picture of a healthy meal from home.  Students have been sharing their meals with the class and explaining what food groups are represented.  It also has been so interesting to learn about different foods that many of the students haven’t had before!

Next week is St. Patrick’s Day and the Super Kids will be making leprechaun traps and learning about rainbows! We know that leprechauns can be really tricky. 🙂 Our design and construction day is Tuesday so we can see if we catch one on St. Patrick’s day morning. Students are to bring in their supplies by Tuesday so we can get creating! Stay tuned…:)

Have a great weekend everyone and enjoy the sunshine!