Things to do in Spring

Sunday, April 28, 2013

30 things to do in the spring!
It's reminding ourselves of the little things in life that we really enjoy! 

Thanks to a colleague who shared the wonderful family blog "Finding Joy: Beautiful Connected Life". My inspiration for this blog post and some of the ideas came from Rachel's list of spring things.

1. Document the leaves budding on the trees - what changes do you see?

2. Dance in the spring rain.

3. Watch the birds return and talk about where they might be going.

4. Make bird feeders for the birds - talk about what they'd like to eat and why.

5. Draw with chalk all over the sidewalk and get messy.

6. Jump in the puddles (and if you're really brave let it be mud!)

7. Have strawberry shortcake for dinner. With whipped cream.

8. Go to the park, ride a bike and/or walk outside. 

9. Make cleaning up the yard fun by sorting everything - great way to stay organized.

10. Go through old toys and clothes and donate them.

11. Have a yard sale - great opportunity to talk about numbers and money and even make some!

12. Paint pots for the garden.  

13. Plan a garden and start seedlings.

14. Plant a garden.

15. Talk about what your garden will need to grow.

16. Plant flowers.

17. Read your favourite stories under a tree outside.

18. Have a picnic lunch and talk about healthy eating.

19. Fly a kite!

20. Learn about butterflies and try and spot some outside.

21. Order caterpillars and watch them turn into butterflies!

21. Read about bugs.

22. Find bugs outside and talk about where they might live and why.

23. Blow bubbles outside and count them!

24. Go rollerblading somewhere you haven't explored.

25. Have some "technology" free days (no t.v., iPads, social media, cell phones, etc).

26. Go for Nature Walks and talk about what you see, smell, hear, and wonder.

27. Wash the bikes, trikes, cars and outdoor stuff! 

28. Look up at the sky and talk about what you see, hear, think and wonder.

29. Do messy science experiments outside.

30. Write a list of things you want to do in the summer. 

What are some of the things you like to do in the spring with your students, as a family, or by yourself?

A Pilot Visits Airport 126

Last week, my DECE and I surprised our class with a visit from a real pilot! We thought what a better way to have some of our students' questions answered than by an expert! Prior to his arrival, our class looked back at our blog to review some of the questions we had around airplanes and airports with hopes that our visitor could answer them! The following video was put together to celebrate our learning from Pilot Ryan at our school's Good News Assembly on Friday and below is the interview our class had with our surprise visitor:

About Pilot Ryan: 
Pilot Ryan works for Toronto Airways and he teaches people how to fly and help them become pilots.

J.S. (SK): How does an airplane fly when it's so big and heavy?
"An airplane needs three things to fly: lots of speed, air and gas! Once it gets speed and goes fast enough the wings become weightless and then the airplane can fly into the sky."

T.B.: What places have you gone to in your airplane?
"My favourite place to fly to was Chicago and it took me 3 whole hours to get there! 

S.M.: Do you fly an airplane everyday?
"I like to fly airplanes when the weather is nice and sunny like today. It's the best time to fly because it makes it easier to see everything on the ground which helps make it safe and fun!"

I.D.: How do you fly an airplane? We learned from Daniel Cook that you can push and pull the steering wheel to make it fly.
"You have to use a whole bunch of controls and there's little dials called "instruments" that tell me how fast I'm going, how high and in which direction. The steering wheel is called a "yolk" in an airplane and you're absolutely right! When you pull back on the yolk towards your belly button the airplane will go up and when you push the yolk it will go down."

J.S. (JK): How does an airplane know where to land?
"Before you go flying, you have to make a plan using a map to figure out where you want to go and how you're going to get there. Bigger airplanes have something called "autopilot" and with that button the plane flies all by itself because of computers. It uses something fancy called a "GPS" and that tells the plane where to go. The job of the pilot then would be to monitor all the systems and make sure the plane is flying safe and using the right amount of gas."

L.D.: I have a GPS in my car! You have to push buttons for where you want to go and it tells you where to go. 

S.M.: What are all the buttons for in the cockpit?
"The majority of the buttons are all for emergencies. I have to go through a checklist before I can fly to make sure they are all working. The buttons that are in front of me are the ones I use and they are sometimes the "autopilot," radio buttons, gas buttons and safety."

L.D.: How does the pilot know where the airport is?
"We have the GPS' on an airplane and the computer will guide the airplane where it needs to go but there are also indicators on the ground that tell the pilot where to go and where you are. Every airport has different ones that tell the pilot where the runway is, what direction it is going, etc. If it's really cloudy outside then we use our radios and the airport workers help us navigate and guide us where we want to go."

Ms. Theis: Does an airplane need a key to start like a car does?
"When you have a small airplane you need a key to start it like a car. A bigger airplane needs the pilot to push a button to start the airplane. They have lots of different steps to take before it'll start the engines."

A.C.: What do the people in the towers do?
"People in the towers have a very important job to do. They help pilots when they can't see anything like when it is foggy outside. They tell pilots where to go and how to get there safely. They give directions on how to find the runway and how to land their plane safely. They also give pilots permission to take off and land on the runway so there are no accidents."

W.F.: Why is the airplane wing shaped like this?
"It is shaped like this with a curve because it needs to let the air go over and under it to help the plane fly. The gasoline is also kept in the airplane wings."

Pilot Ryan brought in his Pilot License too which looked a lot like our passports! 
"Pilots need a license in order to fly an airplane just like you need a license to drive a car. It looks like a passport but it also has all of my information about my health too. You have to be very healthy in order to stay safe when flying. You have to go to the doctor every year for check-ups."

W.V.: What is your special badge for?
"This badge shows that I'm a pilot and the role that I play when I'm at the airport. Different airlines have different pins for their pilots." 

I.D.: What do the stripes on your shoulders mean?
"The stripes on my shoulders mean the position I am in within a company. The three stripes mean I am a teacher. If you have two stripes then you're a "Second Officer" that sits at the back of the cockpit. If you have four stripes then you're a "Captain.""

Thanks to my wonderful grade partner Melanie (@mel4education) for giving us his name and helping to coordinate this surprise visit! 

We look forward to visiting Pilot Ryan at his airport very soon! 

A Story of Maple Syrup & Surprise Treats

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Last week, my wonderful DECE (@h_theis) and I received a lovely surprise from one of our JK students! Upon his arrival to school, he eagerly took out two specially wrapped jars of maple syrup! To our surprise, Jordan went on to tell us that he in fact made the maple syrup with his cousin and Grandpa at his Grandpa's house over the weekend! Without question, we asked Jordan if he would like to share his story and pictures with the class since we knew it would spark connections to other students who had visited outdoor learning and conservation centres like Kortright Centre during their Maple Syrup Festival! He did a wonderful job holding up the photos while I read his mom's email about what was happening in each picture. We were delighted when his parents gave us permission to share Jordan's story with you! We truly enjoy celebrating these wonderful moments shared with us by our students and their families and we hope you enjoy reading them!

"This is Jordan and his cousin looking into the barrel filled with fresh sap from the trees. The sap is then filtered by hose into the boilers in the next photo. These barrels will process about 4-5 litres of finished maple syrup! Jordan also told us that him and his cousin had to hike through the forest along with their uncles and cousins to help collect the sap from the actual trees (approximately 65-75 trees) and dump it into the big barrels on the trailer!"

"When they got back from the bush, they watched Grandpa hoist the barrels off the trailer and put them into the platform and proceeded inside to watch the making of the maple syrup! Jordan then asked his Grandpa if he could take some maple syrup to his two teachers and of course Grandpa obliged."  

Thank you Jordan and his family for sharing such a wonderful story and family tradition with our class!

Lorna Jackson Airline Update

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Airport 126 has been quite a busy space in our classroom over the past few weeks! With flights going to Florida, China, Germany, Australia and beyond, our students have not only adopted particular roles which they felt were important (e.g. ticket agent, flight announcer, pilot, co-pilot, passenger, security guard, flight attendant), but they have truly shown eagerness and enthusiasm towards participating in this new transformed learning space.

Thank you to my wonderful Aunt who is a Travel Agent, for visiting our classroom and teaching us about what travel agents do, what belongs and doesn't belong in a suitcase, and surprising us with luggage tags, ticket holders and our very own airplane model! Your visit sparked lots of conversation around vacations and the steps to take once you arrive at an airport. Many of our students enjoyed sharing their own personal experiences from visiting places around the world and drawing and writing about them.  

This post highlights the student-led advancements within our dramatic play area as we continue to learn more 
about airplanes and airports! 

Here are some of the exciting additions to our learning space:

1. "Role Tags": Students decided that in order for everyone to know what role they are playing, they need a tag (e.g. ticket agent, pilot, co-pilot, etc). These are just simple clip-on plastic tag sleeves whereby students have written down each role.

2. Personal Passports: L.D. mentioned during a mini lesson that he needed a passport in order to go on his trip with his family. That comment led to much excitement as other students were able to make connections to having passports also. To support their idea, my DECE and I created a simple template for them to use. Each student filled out their passport and whenever they visit a new place, they get a sticker inside their passport to symbolize where they've been! It's been a hit!

3. Seat numbers: After reading many books about airplanes during our shared reading and read-aloud time, A.C., I.D., and C.M. decided that it was important for passengers to know what seat to sit in so they created seat numbers for the backs of our chairs. This also made it easier to fill in our Airline tickets!
T.B. (JK) decided to sort the airport word cards
around the carpet based on the first letter of
every word! Students saw and began reading all the
different vocabulary cards and making connections
to our airport! 

4. Luggage Scanner: After sharing A.C.'s creative representation of an "x-ray machine" at the Building and Constructing area to the class, she inspired a few students to make a plan for our giant cardboard box. R.L., T.B., I.D., J.S., and A.C. worked together to draw what they wanted our scanner to look like and what materials we would need to make it work. As a result, black streamers, tape and scissors were used to give it that realistic look! 

5. Security Computer and Checklists: I.D. brought in a book from home to share with the class that was all about airports. She noticed in the middle of the book that there was a picture of a luggage scanner! She also noticed that it needed a computer to see inside the luggage so she decided to create one to add to our airport. Similarly, a small group of SK's came up with the idea to make a checklist of "safe" and "not safe" items so that when luggage goes through the scanner, they can use the computer to check off what they see. Amazing!

This transformation of our dramatic play area has allowed us as educators to integrate, document and assess many curriculum expectations! Below are two short videos of three of our SK students (I.D., A.C., and S.M.) engaged at our ticket counter: 

(I apologize for the video being so was much better quality on iMovie)

Oral Communication
BIG IDEA: Children are effective communicators.
1. Communicate by talking and by listening and speaking to others for a variety of purposes and in a variety of contexts. (1.2, 1.5, 1.7)
4. Communicate in writing, using strategies that are appropriate for beginners (4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5)

Number Sense
NS1.3 Begin to make use of one-to-one correspondence in counting objects
NS1.4 Demonstrate an understanding of the counting concepts of stable order

Stay tuned for another update since we have another surprise visitor coming!

Blocks, Books and X-Ray Machines

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Since the start of our airport a few weeks ago, our students have truly taken ownership over the learning space. In particular, the personal experiences and stories being shared by our students daily has really helped shape our learning and make the space meaningful to them. That being said, our students have found connections to each other which has allowed for an incredible sense of teamwork and creativity to flourish within our classroom! Moreover, with their interests and preferences at the forefront of our learning, collaborative projects are now underway to make our airport "more like a real one" (S.M.).

This post highlights the work of one of our SK students who used her schema, personal experiences and newly acquired knowledge to construct something spectacular in our Building and Construction area!

During our exploration time, A.C. decided to make an "x-ray machine" as part of our airport (now formally known as Airport 126). My amazing DECE and I noticed quite an interesting construction underway and wasted no time to jump in, dialogue and document her thinking. 

How it started... 

Here is how A.C.'s x-ray machine works:

Once A.C. was seen demonstrating how her x-ray machine works when scanning luggages at an airport, W.V. wanted to share his theory on how he thinks an x-ray machine works based on his personal experience at an airport:

Thank you to A.C.'s parents for letting us post these pictures since it truly helped make her thinking visible to all! 
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