How can an airplane fly?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Our Morning Meetings are always a wonderful opportunity for us as a class to reflect on the previous days learning, set goals for the day and share artefacts, sentimental items, and/or ideas and wonderments. With our classroom airport now up and running, our meetings have been filled with new and exciting learning moments and in particular, today's meeting was an extra special one! J.S. (one of our SK students) shared a "wonderment" that was brought up at home, specifically by his Dad:

How do the airplanes get up in the sky if they are so heavy and big?

What an excellent wonderment and it definitely got our students' minds-on to thinking about just how this could be! After some much needed "think time," our students were eager to share their theories behind such a puzzling concept. Here is what they had to say:

1. I know how they go up in the air. It's because they have a giant engine. - I.D.
2. I think an airplane can fly because of the wings because they are real wings. - R.L.
3. Well, you know the wings sore and then the pilot presses a special button and then it sores up in the air with the wings like a bird. - S.M.
4. I think it's the steering wheel that makes it fly because when you pull it into your belly button the plane goes up. We learned that from Daniel Cook. - J.S. (SK)
5. I think the airplanes go slow first, then they go faster, then faster, then even faster and faster and then it'll fly. - T.B.
6. The airplane are to go to the floor and then the wheels will turn and it go up the sky. - H.D.
7. Airplanes fly because it gets up in the air when the wheels go up into the plane because it is just in the sky now. - J.S. (JK)
8. Maybe when the airplane runs on the runway, it needs to go fast so that it can take off. - L.D.
9. I want to add to T.B.'s comment. Once it goes faster and faster before it's in the air you have to use the steering wheel because you have to pull it so that it will take off. - S.M.
10. It needs a ramp so it can fly. It has to be on the runway and then it goes straight and then it goes up and up and then it flies. - W.V.
11. When the bags go in the airplane's tummy, then it'll fly and now the machine will move and then the bags will move and in will go the airplane which makes it heavy but that's ok. - T.B.

How do you think airplanes fly?

Please leave a comment, idea, or question below because we would love to read your theories as we continue to investigate and learn more about airplanes!

"We're going to send our letters!"

Monday, March 25, 2013

After much hard work, today was the day where our class finally mailed their letters to our friends in New York City! As we began our walk this afternoon, our class was full of song as we sang about our letters and marching to the mailbox! 

Once we got there, our students began to make connections to their own mailboxes and where they go to get their mail. R.F. even posed this question: "How will the mail carrier get our letter?" which led to such a wonderful learning opportunity for our students to understand the process of using mail as a form of communication in our world. 

We even went on a Nature Walk and looked for
signs of Spring!
It's safe to say that our class is already eager to receive letters back from Ms. Callenbach's kindergarten class! Here is a snapshot of some of the letters that our students worked so hard on creating! We look forward to sharing our hopeful response from our new friends very soon as we embrace the wonderful pen-pal tradition!

Comments, questions and suggestions are always welcome as we continue on this incredible journey!  

Up, Up and Away!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The phrase "reaching new heights" continues to be evident within the walls of our classroom! Ever since our two Skype sessions with Ms. Callenbach's kindergarten class from New York City, the students in our classroom have not only been very busy writing letters and investigating the similarities and differences between our two communities, but they have used their prior and learned knowledge about the world around them to make incredible connections between our inquiries and their own personal experiences!
But just how far is New York City from Woodbridge?
How could we get there?

These questions led to a rich conversation whereby the following connections were made by some students:
"I went on a plane when I went to Punta Cana." - R.L.
"Me too! I went to Egypt on an airplane." - T.B.
"I went on an airplane to Bahamas with my family." - I.D.
"I went in an airplane and when it closed it moved. Airplanes are really big." - L.D.
"When my Mom went to America she went in a plane." - W.F.
"I watched movies on my plane when I went to Florida." - E.S.
"Airplanes can fly in the clouds because the clouds are air. It looks like fog." - L.D.
"You can fly in the clouds, up in the sky, look outside the window and see houses!"- S.M.

With airplanes becoming the headline of our conversation, our students (with little prompting) came up with the idea to transform our Dramatic Play area into an airport! When asked what we could use our airport for, I.D. replied, "Well, we need airplanes to visit all of the far away places on our "What Can You See?" map because they are just really far." The amazing thing is, our students' thinking didn't stop here. Many of our students began making connections to our Cloud Inquiry and talking about what happens when airplanes fly through clouds. Students also began talking about what airplanes look like and sound like when flying up in the sky and sharing personal experiences with each other! I think it goes without saying that my DECE and I continue to feel inspired by our youngest learners and how they can take their own learning to "new heights!"

Over the past couple weeks, the students in our class have shared many personal experiences and prior knowledge about airplanes, airports and vacations! Below are some of their initial theories around what they see, think and wonder when it comes to airplanes and airports:

What do you see in or on an airplane?
"You put your seatbelt, just like car." - T.B.
"There is a bathroom but it's really small. I saw a place where a conductor steers the plane too. Oh, the pilot is in the cockpit. I know that place because me and my brother we walked right by it." - S.M.
"An airplane has wings." - R.F.
"Windows." - T.D.
"You see lots of things when you see out the window." - J.S. (JK)
"There is like you have a number in your seat, so you know where you sit." - I.D.
"I saw tv's, magazines, books and stuff." - S.M.
"Jets make it go (turbines)." - J.S. (SK)
"To be safe, you have a life jacket and a mask. Something is for the mouth." - T.B.

Signs and posters being made for our airport

Who do you think has special jobs on an airplane or at the airport?
"I think a butler pushes the food carts." - W.F.
"I think people are helping the pilot on the plane." - I.D.
"I think there is another plane but it's called a jet." - L.D.
"I think that when the pilot lands there are people who tells them where to land and helps them where the plane lands." - L.D.
"There are passengers." - S.M.
"I know you need a ticket and bags when you go to the airport." - E.S.


As of last week, students have begun to create special job tags, vacation books, airport signs and giant wordles to make their thinking visible around their ongoing learning about airplanes and airports! With the giant donated box, our students have amazing and innovative plans to turn it into either a "baggage scanner" or the side of a giant airplane! Even our cockpit is under construction! Similarly, we have begun to create individual student passports to make being a passenger feel even more real since one of our students enthusiastically shared that you need a passport in order to go on an airplane! We know we are only just scratching the surface right now in our airplane inquiry, but we can't wait to see where we fly off to next with it! 
Our Cockpit under construction
Stay tuned for another update this week as we also have a "Surprise Visitor" coming in to teach us more about airports! 

New York City...China...Germany...Winnipeg...Mexico...British Columbia...and more - the sky is truly the limit in our classroom! 

Skype, New York City & New Learning!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"We're Skyping with our friends from New York City! Look!" - A.C.

Since watching Ms. Callenbach's (@monicak206) Kindergarten class' digital book at the end of January, some of our students have been busy thinking about and writing down questions they would like our new friends to answer as a way of teaching us more about their school and community! In preparation for our New York City Skype session, we decided to revisit their "What Can You See?" book and review our connections, comments and wonderings! This opportunity allowed for rich dialogue amongst our class since they used their prior knowledge from the book to generate new wonderings! 

Just like when we skyped Ms. Gomez' class from Monterrey, Mexico, and Mrs. Harrison's class from Keswick, Ontario, our students came up with six questions that they wanted Ms. Callenbach's class to answer so that we could gain a deeper understanding of their school and where they live! 
Here is what we came up with:

1. How many friends do you have in your classroom?
2. What is a butcher shop?
3. How many trees do you have?
4. Why do you have ladders on your buildings?
5. Why is your fire hydrant black?
6. What is a boiler truck?

As students arrived last Tuesday morning, they could tell we would be skyping with our new Manhattan friends with how the room was set-up! Our morning announcements hadn't even begun and you could feel the excitement in our classroom rise! Once our Morning Meeting had finished, our selected speakers grabbed their interview clipboards and we made the "call" to our new friends!

Here is what we learned from Ms. Callenbach's class and their community:

1. We have 25 kids in our class! Our class is called K206!
2. A butcher shop is a shop where people cut meat. You can buy stuff like hamburgers, steaks, and stuff.
3. We have 2000 trees! (corrected by Ms. Callenbach) - We have very little trees around our schoolyard and very few with no leaves.
4. The ladders are fire escape ladders. Not all buildings have them but the older ones do. They are special ladders to use in case of a fire. They make it easy for the firemen to get into buildings and get out.
5. We don't know why we have black fire hydrants. In New York City there are lots of different coloured fire hydrants. Megan's dad is a firefighter so we will find out and ask him! 
6. A boiler truck is something that repairs stuff. A boiler in a building heats things up and makes buildings warm. 

Here are the questions Ms. Callenbach's class asked us about our classroom and community:

1. How did you make your "We can see" book?
- We went on a Nature Walk and took lots of pictures then we added our words. - S.M.
- Ms. Callenbach's class: We went on a Neighbourhood Walk and took pictures too! Our neighbourhood is very busy and loud.

2. What colour is your rug?
- It's rainbow colours and has lots of letters on it. It even has numbers and clouds. - E.S.

3. Does your school have an elevator?
- Yes! We can't go in it though. Only the pizza goes in it on Pizza Day. - L.D.
- Ms. Callenbach's class: We only have stairs in our school because our school building is old. 

4. Do you have a bathroom in your classroom?
 - Yes, we have one bathroom. It's big. - A.M. 
- Ms. Callenbach's class: We have one bathroom too but we have separate doors. One door is for girls and one is for boys.

5. We looked your school up on Google Earth! We saw so many houses and lots of green stuff. Do you have trees or a forest near your school?
- We have lots of trees and a park but we don't see a forest. That would be really cool! - J.S. (SK)

We also discovered that they have a "Nature Table" in their classroom to which our students made connections to our "Discovery Centre!" We learned that Ms. Callenbach's Nature Table had a lot of the same learning materials as our centre and they even have 2 GUINEA PIGS named Roxy and Zamboni! Our SK's got excited that they could share their connection from last year when we had 2 frogs in our classroom! We also learned that two students in Ms. Callenbach's class had the same names as two students in our class (J.S. and E.S.) - that brought on a lot of excitement! 

To conclude our Skype session, our new friends asked us if we would like to be pen pals and write letters back and forth to each other to help us learn more about each other's communities! Our class shouted "YES!" and we can't wait to read and learn more about their school and city! 

Our SK's have already been very busy crafting their letters on "special" paper to send to our Manhattan friends and are very excited to send them in the mail! We also added a new "school bus" to our world "What Can You See?" map in our classroom to help signify and illustrate all the places we've connected with over the course of this incredible project! We truly look forward to reconnecting with Ms. Callenbach's class again in the near future! Stay tuned for more updates! 
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