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!

 

 

100 Days and Counting…

Can you believe that we’ve had 100 days so far this school year?  I can’t believe it!  Every year my class celebrates 100 days of learning together.  Each year I like to switch it up a bit and have a different theme.  This year posed a few challenges to my plans, but with some brainstorming the “Escape Room 100th Day Challenge” was formed.

The class came into the room with decorations, 100th day bracelets and stickers, and a bag full of activities on each desk.

An envelope was at the front of the room with a QR code on it.  We scanned the code and found this video!

The kids were so excited to for this challenge!  The 100 minute timer was set and we were off. After each challenge was completed we opened the envelope that had a clue inside.  The clue led to a new envelope hidden in the room.  Each challenge earned the class numbers for the 100 chart.  Activities included secret code math, 100 exercises, puzzles, race to 100 game, building a pair of 100 day glasses out of the supplies given, building out of 100 materials, and counting how many of something you can do in 100 seconds.  Check out the fun in the pictures below!

  

Last week our school also celebrated Festival Du Voyageur.  The Festival is an annual event in Manitoba that celebrates the strong French culture in the history of Manitoba.  Our class learned Voyageur vocabulary and danced a jig every day when the whole school stopped, dropped, and jigged with a surprise announcement.  We also participated in a Voyageur whole school bingo.  We learned about Voyageur clothing and looked closely at the ceinture flechee.  This piece of clothing is like a woven scarf worn around the waist.  Many of the Super Kids choose to wear one throughout the week.  We then attempted some paper weaving as a class to simulate the weaving on the ceinture flechee.

Having snowshoed a few week ago, we noticed that the Voyageurs also used snowshoes.  Diving into our Arctic inquiry we also made the connection to the people of the North and how snowshoes are important to them too.  I challenged the students to design a pair of snowshoes using the supplies they had at home or in the recycling bin.  The class came with a bunch of supplies, ideas, and a lot of enthusiasm!  The Super Kids spent the morning designing their plans, talking about how to make something waterproof, and testing out their creations.  When something doesn’t work, the students had to rethink their plans.  Many realized that they needed some kind of a grip and made adaptations to their designs.  We then headed outside to test their designs again.  The class had to focus on a growth mindset through the process and many gave each other ideas and encouragement throughout the process.

Last week was full of critical thinking and problem solving. When something doesn’t work the first time, we think about solutions.  This is a HUGE skill to develop and the more opportunities kids can be put into that frame of mind in fun and exciting ways the better.

Oh and yes…I did turn the class into Super Heroes for our blog header!  I couldn’t resist.  Check out my boots! 🙂

Stay tuned for more adventures! 🙂

Brrrr….it’s February!

I don’t know about everyone else, but this week has been a bit over the top!  I know that we’ve had a mild winter up until now, but -40 with the windshield is just ridiculous.  This morning when my dog woke me up my phone said -50!  It’s a good thing the Super Kids are learning about the Arctic because it sure feels like we live there. 🙂

February started off wondering what the groundhogs from around Canada and the USA would predict.  Would we have 6 more weeks of winter or an early spring?  Manitoba Merv predicted 6 more weeks and we watched the original groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, make his prediction.

This lead us into why this annual tradition even happens and how we can predict what will happen based on the weather of the day.  We explored shadows and what causes them.  The Super Kids used flashlights to make their own groundhog shadows.

Each morning the class comes into the classroom with a new writing task projected on our wall.  Even before the announcements start, many kids eagerly write their responses down in their journals.  This soft entry into the classroom gives students time to adjust and get ready for our day of learning together. I give them 15-20 minutes after the announcements to complete their writing warm up and draw a picture to go with it.  Sometimes I have to remind them to stop for O’Canada!  They really do look forward to writing their responses and then turning to a friend and sharing their thoughts during our morning meeting.

 

The 1/2 cohort borrowed the divisional snowshoes for some outdoor fun.  Our class heading outside to try them out.  We talked about how this invention helps people walk in deep snow and brainstormed why that would be important for people living in the tundra.  A big thank you to our educational assistant, Mr. K, for coming outside with us and helping me put on 16 pairs of snowshoes on a very chilly day!  We headed inside to warm up with a fire projected on our wall to help us “warm up”. 🙂

 

We continued our Arctic inquiry by asking “What adaptations do Arctic animals have so they can live in such cold weather?”

Using lard, some Ziplocs, and a bucket of cold water we found out.  Blubber!  Many Arctic animals such as polar bears, seals, whales, narwhals,  and walruses all have blubber to help keep them warm.  We have been taking a closer look at many different Arctic animals to understand their adaptations as a class.  Each student has picked an animal that they are researching to “dive deeper” into understanding that animal.  The Super Kids are so excited to be researchers!

 

After reading “My Map Book” by Sarah Fanelli, we took a closer look at map of my heart page.  If you could map out your heart what would be in it?  Each student drew a heart and divided it into sections.  We brainstormed ideas together and created a big list.  Then each child added what was in their hearts. We added some watercolour at the end and took them home for our families.  I just love how they turned out.

With Lunar New Year approaching, we took a closer look at the Ming Dynasty vases.  The class loved looking at the detailed designs on these amazing vases.

We then created our own artwork inspired by these historic pieces.

On Friday we celebrated our friendships in the morning and the Lunar New Year in the afternoon.  With our school’s decision to not hand out valentines this year, due to our current situation, we had to get creative with our friendship cards.  On Monday, each student had a picture taken and we created our own friendship hearts with Post It Hearts to put on each large card.  These were handed out on Friday to take home.

Students came into the class with a bag of supplies and a challenge for them.  Create a love monster or a love bug out of the play dough and supplies.  Then they had to write about their creations.  What is their name? Where does it live?

Next, half the class coded a friend while the other played double trouble with a partner. Then they switched. Using our coding skills from Kodable, we did some unplugged coding with Valentine themed actions.

Practicing our doubles skills has been a focus in math.  This differentiated game allows students at different places in math to play against each other.

After recess we conducted a candy heart experiment using vinegar, soda, and water.

We read the friendship book Stick and Stone before learning the tradition Indigenous game of stick and stone. Each student brought home a bag with sticks and stones to show you how to play!

In the afternoon we learned about Lunar New Year, the legend of its origin, and created our own lions to perform our own lion dance.  One Super Kid even read us a book about Lunar New Year using our document camera for story time.

Super Kids Lion Dance Video

Enjoy the long weekend and stay warm! 🙂

January Highlights

January has been full of learning adventures!

We read the book “Lewis Cardinal’s First Winter” on Tumble books one day while having our morning snack.

The story follows a cardinal who is experiencing his first winter.  This story lead to some natural conversations about where cardinals live, how they can survive winter, and why they don’t live in Manitoba.  Our conversation lead to a fun afternoon art project the next day.  We even had a student bring in her stuffed animal cardinal.  We used acrylic paint and created our own cardinals!

 

The Super Kids have been busy learning addition and subtraction strategies in math along with fact families.  Math games are part of our math workshop time.  Practicing doubles, doubles plus one, making 10 are a few examples.  Some math groups are working on adding large numbers with and without regrouping.  Phonetic patterns, vowel patterns, and reading strategies have been an important part to our daily morning work routine.

Each afternoon when the class comes in from lunch recess we have quiet time.  This is a time when the lights are dimmed, soft music is playing, and the kids have ten minutes to take some deep breathes, read a book from their book bins, or draw on their white boards. This time is vital to getting our bodies ready for more learning and help with the transition back into the classroom.  Before lunch one day our class read a book called “The Noisy Paint Box” by  Barb Rosenstock .

The book is the story of the famous artist Kandinsky.  It explains that the famous artist painted the music he heard.  After lunch the class came back into the classroom with classical music playing, a piece of watercolour paper on their desk, and their own watercolour paint box.  I told them to paint what they heard.

Kandinsky inspired painting time video

Bell Let’s Talk day is a day that I like to spend with my class talking about our emotions, the zones of regulation, and what a growth mindset is.  We read several books about emotions and having a growth mindset.  I’ve attached some links to videos of the books that I read to the class below.  Each student took a mindset game home to share with their families.  I hope that this helps start a conversation in your families about mental health. 🙂

 

 

The Super Kids have been busy becoming Arctic explorers this January!  The class has jumped into our inquiry unit by learning about the water cycle, where snow comes from, and the states of matter with a focus on ice.   We began by learning about snow.  Where does it come from?  Why do we get snow and other parts of the world don’t?  How does ice form?  The first thing we did was go outside and get some snow to investigate. After careful examination we determined that it is a solid that melt when in warmer temperatures, it melt very fast on our warm skin and it’s made of water and dirt.

These discussions lead naturally to what the water cycle is, the vocabulary associated with it, and how it is an endless cycle.  The class thought that was very cool! We plan to make a large water/snow cycle on our window this coming week. 🙂

Our states of matter lessons got one Super Kid thinking about the icicles hanging off his house. He brought one in to show us.  Our plans for our morning activity went out the window because we just hand to look closely at this icicle and how it formed before it melted!

To show how temperature can change the states of matter, I surprised the class with a tasty experiment. We made vanilla ice cream and recorded our results.  To say that they were excited would be an understatement.  We mixed our ingredients into a small Ziploc bag and then placed it into a large Ziploc bag filled half way with ice and some rock salt.  Next we put on our mitts and began shaking with the help of Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off”. 🙂

 

Ice cream shaking video 1

Ice cream shaking video 2

Ice cream shaking video 3

After all this shaking and excitement, it seemed like the Go Noddle melting video was just right to help calm us down.

How do we have seasons?  Why do we get a snowy cold winter and places like Mexico don’t?  The tilt of the Earth as it rotates around the Sun is what we determined from watching videos, looking at books, and exploring how the Earth travels through space.

This also explains why the Arctic circle experiences a polar night and a polar day (midnight sun).  Our class finds it fascinating that the Arctic in winter has very little light hours in their day and even some days with no light at all!  In the summer it is the opposite.  We are reading the poems from a book “Recess In The Dark” that I found while searching for books about Arctic life for kids on Amazon. Imagine playing outside for recess in the dark! We will be using the book of poetry throughout our Arctic inquiry and writing our own poems.

Showing our understanding with all these big concepts is important so the kids were challenged to created their own stop motion animation video showing that they understood how the Earth rotates around the sun and where the Arctic is during this rotation.  Check out some examples below.  So much learning was shown not to mention learning how to do stop motion animation! The kids loved it so much we plan to use it again later in our unit when researching Arctic animals.

video example 1

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Snowy owls are an Arctic animal that migrates a bit south to search for food during the harsh winter months.  This picture was taken by my daughter’s friend’s mom.  She’s a photographer who loves to look for owls to photograph.  Ironically ,she posted this picture the day we spent some time learning about these amazing creatures.

One Super Kid brought in the book “Ookpik” by Bruce Hiscock to share with the class.  She even brought a Snowy Owl stuffy and dressed in own themed clothes right down to her socks. 🙂 This story tells the story of Ookpik which is owl in Inuktitut, and his journey.

We researched and recorded our findings together.

One Super Kid even volunteered to use the document camera to share his writing.

 

In the afternoon we painted our own Oopik which are hanging on our bulletin board in our classroom.

Polar bears are a favourite in our classroom and spending time on Friday learning about them was a big hit!  We created questions that we wanted to find out together and began looking for answers.  One guided reading group even had a polar bear information to share that they had been reading.  We went on a “virtual” field trip to the North to learn about polar bears and one specific bear named Ursula.  Did you know that polar bears have webbed feet? Did you know that they have transparent fur if you look closely or that their cubs are the size of a rat when they are born?  Ask a Super Kid what they know!

 

Check out the link to the video below.

Ted Harrison is a famous Canadian artist who painted life in the north in his own unique way.  After looking at his paintings for inspiration we created our own polar bear art pieces with a Ted Harrison inspired background.

Next week we are excited to welcome back two of our friends from the temporary learning from home school.  We can’t wait to share our learning with them and continue on our Arctic journey.

It’s a New Year!

Well, it’s a new year!  Welcome back everyone.  I hope you had a nice winter break.  I know I did with my family.  The holidays were very different this year being in code red in Manitoba and not being able to see our extended family.  We adjusted and had a lot of Zoom and Face Time calls!  Teaching my parents how to do that was a bit of a challenge. 🙂

I’m so glad that our class was able to be back together again after the holidays.  My daughter is in grade 9 and is home for the 2 weeks doing remote learning as mandated by the government.  It’s challenging that’s for sure!

The Super Kids are back in the swing of things.  It took a few days to get back into our routines and the kids were tired, but they were so excited to see each other.  This week we focussed on New Years goals, created fireworks during art class,  and creating our our STEM New Years noisemakers.

We started the week talking about fireworks.  My family set off fireworks on the lake on New Years Eve.  I shared the videos with the kids and they had a good laugh watching my husband run away after he lite them.  We watched them a few times to see how they looked in the sky and how we could see a variety of colours.  Using toilet paper rolls as our tool, we create our own fireworks!  They turned out so good!

Continuing with our New Years lessons we talked about the noise makers many people use to celebrate.  What is sound and how do we hear it?  When you use a noise maker how can we hear it?  The kids had so many great questions.  We dove in to find the answers to their questions. Using QR codes and experiments we explored what sound is and how sound waves travel to our ears.

Each student brought materials from home to create their own New Years noisemakers.  The kids had a blast designing, testing, and modifying their designs. We even played them together like a band. 🙂

Playing together video

We explored how sound vibrates by making our own string phones.  Each student wore their mask and the string was 2m.  The kids tried talking to each other with the string tight and loose.  They loved it!

We continued our New Years STEM exploring by looking closely at confetti poppers.  How do they work?  What makes the popping sound?  We learned about stored and kinetic energy before making our own.  We used Pom Poms as our confetti!

Popper Testing Video

Popper Testing Video 2

It was a”noisy” week, but so much learning happened.  Take care and stay tuned for more Super Kid adventures.  🙂

 

 

 

Happy Holidays!

This week was a busy one! Our class learned about reindeer and how they are also called caribou.  We became caribou experts!  Each student researched interesting facts about caribou using our favourite research program, read non-fiction books as a whole class and during guided reading book clubs.  We used ice and mittens to learn how caribou have adapted to their environment and even used milk cartons do show how their wide feet help them not sink in the snow.

 

After learning so much about these Arctic animals, we created our own art!  First we talked about what a simile is and brainstormed as many red things that we could think of to complete our sentence.  Rudolph’s nose is a red as a ___________.  Ideas included firetrucks, lava, a raspberry, and a cherry.

It was also spirit week this past week.  Days included 80s day, PJ day, crazy hair day, and ugly sweater day.

 

The Super Kids were challenged with two STEM challenges this week.  Each student created their own jingle bell lego mazes and a Santa parachutes.

 

Jingle Bell Maze Video_

I want to wish all of my students and their families a restful break and a happy holiday season.  I look forward to seeing everyone again in the new year.

 

Gingerbread Inquiry And Much More

This past week our class has been exploring states of matter, our senses, the difference between physical and chemical changes through an inquiry study on gingerbread.  We read and compared many different versions of the classic tale.  We talked about the settings, characters, and different endings.  We even baked our own!

The week began with the class walking into “Chef Didyk’s Cooking Show”!  The room was set up ready for a baking demonstration.  In a normal year ,I would have had the kids making it themselves, but with some gloves, a recipe they had to make sure I followed, and a silly accent, I had them hooked.

The class had to put on their “scientist hats” and look at the baking progress from a science prospective.  The kids noted that the measurements were important.  Too much of one ingredient would ruin the taste.  They had to tell me if each step was a physical or chemical reaction.  We even put some baking soda in vinegar (a side bowl) to see the reaction.  Why is baking soda important when baking?  One Super Kid said, “You mean baking is science and math!”  🙂

The class made me promise to not open the oven door until they were cooked.  They could jump out like in the books!  After lunch we decorated our cookies and ate them.  Again we were scientists through our tasting.  What are the properties of gingerbread?

The next day we sewed our own gingerbread toy.  Yep…I sewed with 6 and 7 year olds and there were no injuries.  By watching me with the use of our classroom document camera and a lot of patience, we all made our own toy.

We took the left over gingerbread cookies and conducted a science experiment. What would happened if we put a cookie into eggnog and milk?  Would the same thing happen?  Would it break up?  We conducted the experiment to find out.  Our findings surprised us. The results were different for each liquid.  We looked at the ingredients in the liquids and came up with our own hypothesis.  These kids surprise me with their out of the box thinking every day!

We noticed that the gingerbread man/woman couldn’t get across the river in all of our books.  The fox was always there to “help”.  What could we make to help the gingerbread man/woman get across and not have to worry about the fox?  A boat.  Each student was challenged to make a boat for their gingerbread person to use.  It had to float and have a sail.  This was such a fun afternoon.  To be honest it didn’t feel like I was teaching in a pandemic.  I forgot that we were wearing masks.  The kids were so excited , still distanced, but so into creating their boats.  It was so much fun!

We also participated in “Hour of Code” computer education week.  We learned both online and unplugged coding in our classroom.  We used the app Kodable to learn the basics of beginning coding for kids.

We took that knowledge and used it to do some unplugged gingerbread coding.  The students had to code their gingerbread person to the gingerbread house.

This week was also the beginning of the students sharing a family tradition with the class.  Traditions already shared was making reindeer food, annual family pictures, putting up a Christmas tree, spending summer vacation at a cabin, and eating seafood every Christmas Eve.  I can’t wait to learn about the rest of our family traditions this week.

Hanukkah began this week and we learned about this tradition through books, videos, and even played a dreidel math game. I just noticed that these two kids in the pictures below are wearing the same shirt. 🙂

What do snowmen do at night?  Last week we read the classic and created our own snowman at night using chalk pastel  We learned about shadow and what side of the snowman would have the shadow when the moon was shining.  Well… we also learned that the moon doesn’t shine it reflects the sun’s light.  Yes.. I connect science to everything. 🙂

One week left of school before winter break.  This week the Super Kids will be continuing to learn about traditions, created some gifts for their families, learning about caribou and how they are actually reindeer, and much more.

With the holidays coming up I wanted to thank my student’s families for everything they have done to help us throughout this crazy school year.  To say that this is a very strange teaching year would be an understatement.  20 years of teaching and it feels like the first with having to adjust my teaching style to make sure that I’m keep your children safe and following the regulations mandated.  I recognize that this holiday season is like no other.  I wish that I could see my family, but I know that I can’t.  My bubble is too big with my job and the government has laid our their mandate.  It’s a FaceTime Christmas for my family.  The first time in my whole life that I won’t be with my parents.  Thank you for all that your families are doing to help keep our classroom community and my own family safe.  

One week to go…:)

 

 

What’s Your Superpower?

Good afternoon everyone!

The Super Kids have been busy exploring the scientific process, making observations, and conducting some hands on experiments.  There is a mandated to wear masks in public places in Manitoba, but what is a medical grade mask made of?  What can we learn about them by using our senses?  We took a closer look at medical grade masks.  By using scientific tools like magnifying glasses and even a microscope the kids made observations and came to some theories about the materials used in these masks.  They tested to see if the material was waterproof and took a closer look at the way they are made.

Winnipeg in November can provide some interesting weather!  This November we have been having some cold days followed by a few mild days and then back to cold.  These changing temperatures makes for a slippery playground.  The students noticed that the snow was melting and then turning to ice only to melt during the day and make a slushy mess.  It was a perfect opportunity to talk about states of matter.  We dove into accessing what our prior knowledge was, making questions, and researching why our playground kept changing.

What is temperature?  Each morning in November we look up what the temperature outside was and recorded it.  The Super Kids explored with thermometers and conducted experiments with both hot and cold water.   We discussed how matter is made up of particles and how when they are heated they speed up and when they are cooled they slow down.

Sid the Science Kid is a class favourite so we had to watch the episode that talks about states of matter.

The Super Kids came in from recess to a surprise the other day…hot chocolate with marshmallows! Not only is it a tasty treat, but it also has all three states of matter.  As we mixed our hot chocolate we talked about what we noticed.  Why does the water turned brown?  Why do the marshmallows melt?  Why is there stem coming off our cups?  Why does blowing on our cups help?  There were so many connections being made!

The next set was to create an art project that shows all three states of matter.  We drew and painted hot chocolate mugs.

While conducting these experiments and talking about states of matter, we were also reading the book “Peter Powers And His Not So Super Power” by Kent Clark. Which I just realized as I type this is an interesting author’s name for a superhero book.  Clark Kent is Superman isn’t it?

It is a beginning chapter books that the class just loved!  It’s about a boy who is in a superhero family and he is just developing his superpowers.  At the moment he can only make ice cubes with his fingers.  Of course the class made the connection to our science lessons!  I wish I could said that I planned that connection, but honestly it was a happy coincidence that we ran with. 🙂 Have you ever noticed that superheroes usually have powers that control matter, a state of matter, or maybe even more than one?  If you could have a superpower that controlled a state of matter what would it be? That was the question posed to the Super Kids.  We are currently in the middle of our writing project describing their superpower!  Some of their superheroes name’s are Lava Girl, Homeless Helper, Freezer Burn, Earth Girl, Captain Tornado, Gravity Boy and so many more.  I just love the creativity!

Next it was creating our own superhero!  With a direct drawing lesson, each student created their own superhero art project. They turned out so great.  The kids love them!

National Kindness Day was this month.  We read “Kindness Is My Superpower” to set the stage for the day.

Our class had to take the opportunity to thank the adults in our school that help teach us and keep us safe every day.  We made kindness confetti cards and delivered them to these adults.  We put a lot of smiles on peoples faces.  I always tell my students that “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

We watched the following video showing how one act of kindness can lead to another.

I then challenged the class to create their own chain reactions to show that one action leads to another.  They created them with supplies brought from home or in the classroom.

A fun new math game the kids have been excited to play is called Even Steven and Odd Todd.  Students roll 1,2, or even 3 dice, add the numbers together and then determine if the number is even or odd.  They race themselves to the end of line.  Then they race up to the board and tally if Odd Todd or Even Steven won.  The class is given a certain amount of time to complete as many rounds as they can and we then see who is the winner.  To say we get really crazy during this time would be an understatement.  It’s been a blast.

 

The class has been exploring making words during word work time.

Our school’s mascot even popped by on Friday to put some smiles on our faces!

Take care and stay tuned for more Super Kids adventures. 🙂

Catching Up With The Super Kids

October in the Super Kids’ classroom ended with a pumpkin inquiry. Student’s practiced their estimating skills by making estimations and then measuring how much a pumpkin weighs, how many creases it has, how tall is the pumpkin, and if it will sink or float.

Next we learned how to draw a pumpkin using oil and chalk pastels.

Around Halloween it’s always fun to learn more about spiders!  The Super Kids learned about the difference between spiders and insects through information books and videos.  Did you know that some spiders have up to 8 eyes! After researching we created our own spooky spider webs with pastels and watercolour.  Learning how to draw spider webs was a bit tricky, but the Super Kids practiced on whiteboards first before they felt confident in trying it with pastel.

Halloween was a busy day!  Planning for this year’s Halloween classroom activities took a bit more planning due to our distancing and current situation in Winnipeg.  The traditional “party” was a bit different but the kids had a blast!  The class “coded” a friend with Halloween themed movements, played themed tic tac toe, had a dance party to Halloween themed music, and worked on a pumpkin candy STEM challenge.

Halloween Costumes video

Each student was challenged to create their own 3D pumpkin structure with pumpkin candies and toothpicks.  We had learned earlier using QR code videos on structures that the triangle is the strongest shape and kids were encouraged to use 2D and 3D shapes for their creations.  Each student was given their own baggie of supplies and had 10 minutes to complete their first structure before measuring it with unifix cubes.   Then they were given another 10 minutes to modify their designs and create new structures.  WOW! This was a hit!  Once time was up, we took a gallery walk around the room to look at each other’s structures.  We they recorded what 2D and 3D shapes they used in their structures and how tall it was this time to compare.  Below are a few pictures of the process.

 

PJ day was on Friday and Super Kids came to school ready for bed.  Ok…not really, but they had a stuffed animal and a flashlight.  🙂   The Super Kids graphed their bedtimes, used flashlights for reading, and measured their stuffed animals.  We even read bedtime stories for story time!

The beginning of November starts conversations about peace, kindness, and working out our problems using our words.  Remembrance Day is coming up this Wednesday and I always take the time in my classroom each year to help explain why this day is so important.  It’s hard to explain to 5-7 year olds why there is war in our world.  I always find that relating our world to a playground helps.  The world is like a playground.  Sometimes countries don’t get alone.  They have a disagreement or maybe one country is bullying the other.  Even after trying to talk it out sometime it can result in fighting.  Canada is like the recess supervisors.  Canada is peacemakers.  Canada tries to help these countries talk about their problems peacefully. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work.   Sometimes Canada has to help countries that need help defending themselves.  Just like sometimes we have to stand up for our friends and tell another student to stop.  I try to use simple language and terms that they can understand.   We learned about why we remember on November 11th, why we wear poppies, and how we can be thankful.  We watched the commercial below and then rewatched it.  The second time we paused it and I asked the class to explain the story in their own words.

 

Our class created plasticine poppy art which is displayed on our window ledges in our classroom.  We listened to calming instrumental music while learning how to manipulate plasticine to create our scenes.

This year we are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to write to a World War II veteran.  One of my student’s great grandfather is a 98 year old veteran who I have had the privilege to met when I taught his other great grandchild a few years ago.  Mr. Jim Mcgill is a Legion Of Honour Medal recipient.  He was honoured a few years ago by being knighted for his service to the liberation of France.  Mr. Mcgill has been a visitor to my classroom in the past for Remembrance Day  and grandparents day. He is just the sweetest man!  Due to Covid restrictions this isn’t possible this year, but our class is writing him letters!  The class brainstormed ideas and got to work.  Mr. Mcgill decided to write us a letter too!  The Super Kids were so excited to get it.  He has a lovely way of explaining Remembrance Day to the kids and they felt so proud to receive it.

Our letters will be sent to him on Monday.  A few samples will be posted in our next blog post.  Some students have a few details to add to their letters. 🙂

Check out our video about what peace means to us and thanking Mr. Mcgill below