What can you see? Who can you help?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This post will highlight, with great excitement, an invitation to play for the 2014-2015 school year with the launch of a second chapter of our "What Can You See?" collaborative inquiry project! 
For those of you new to my blog or perhaps unaware of what the "What Can You See?" project was all about, here is a snapshot of how it began and where it took us! Last year, some teachers within our Professional Learning Network (PLN), came together over a simple inquiry question that encouraged classes to compare their environments: "What can you see when you look out of your classroom window?" Classes photographed what they could see (e.g. park, basketball nets, tarmac, etc) and created a way to share their view. iBooks, Quicktime movies, comics, and blog posts were ways that classes displayed the things students could see within their schoolyard and these multimedia presentations were used to compare and discuss the similarities and differences between school environments! Over the course of the school year, some classes connected even further in conversation by engaging in SKYPE calls to further their questions and comparisons of their schoolyards. As the seasons changed, students learned about the differences in a schoolyard in Ontario versus schoolyards in Mexico, Hawaii and other locations. Safe to say, it was an incredibly rewarding project for both teachers and students involved! Teachers tweeted and blogged and students talked and shared their comparisons. Some of the interactions are posted on the collaborative blog space created for this inquiry project. You can read all about our journey by clicking on the link:

To shed light on how the second chapter of this project emerged, a reflective discussion was had between some close friends, Heidi Theis, Angie Harrison, Carmela Sita and myself whereby we reviewed how the project went and noted the benefits it had on our learners in a multitude of ways. Within our conversation, we discussed how we wanted to engage in the project again with our new group of students in the Fall. However, we feel a need to take this concept one step further - in doing so, we discussed ways to include a social justice lens that is appropriate for young learners. 
So here is our proposal to act as an invitation to play for this upcoming school year (2014-2015):
Join us in a collaborative project that will engage your students and make a difference.
At different points throughout the year, ask your students to create something that will show others what they see in their schoolyard. Use a format that works for your learners. eBooks, Quicktime Movies, Comics, picture books, audio files or any other method that is easily shared virtually.
Next, with your learners think of a way they can help. It can be as simple as helping people in your school or community. It might be participating in a food drive, helping in a seniors’ home or your class might be a part of a global project. One suggestion, your class could write picture books for your local Children’s Hospital. Your class might find an environmental issue to support or your class might respond to a crisis that is happening in your community or in the world.
A blog will be used to share what you see and ways you are helping. If you wish, you can connect with classes and SKYPE and talk about how you are helping others.
Classes could participate in this project once, or several times throughout the year. They could show progress of one way they are helping or they might show different ways they help throughout the year.
Our hope is this project will help students understand that we can all make a difference in the world. (no matter how old we are or where we live)
Here are some resources that might help launch the project.
If Everybody Did by Jo Ann Stover
How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
Lily and the Paper Man by Rebecca Upjohn
Resources for helping:
Next Step: 
Indicate on the blog that you are interested in participating. Use the blog post links to your class’ view of the schoolyard.  
Tweet using the hashtag #WCYseehelp

"This is my Rainbow Collage!" - J.S.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Last week, we received the most lovely surprise Monday morning! One of our SK students, J.S., had eagerly pulled out of his communication folder his very own "Rainbow Collage" that he had co-created with his family over the weekend while visiting his Grandma and Grandpa!

This "Rainbow Collage" had such a unique connection to our inquiry because J.S. had planted special "rainbow chard" in his Grandpa's garden! Immediately upon presenting his creation, J.S. made reference to the read aloud story we previously read entitled, "Planting a Rainbow" by Lois Ehlert!

"Here I am carefully measuring the spaces with my hand print.
Now it's time to plant the seeds!
In about 4-5 weeks, the "rainbow" chard will be ready to harvest.
Plant stems may be yellow, gold, orange, pink, violent, or variegated
along with the standard red and white. It can be used in your salad to
add colour and tastes yummy!"

The collage depicts the steps J.S. took to plant the seeds and during his presentation, he answered many questions and shared his own predictions of what will happen next!

Thank you to J.S. and his family for sharing this lovely collage with us and for continuing to update our class with photos of the growth and changes in the special "rainbow chard!" 

Here are some updated photos as changes start to happen in Port Dover! 

Notice the different coloured stems? Exciting!
We can't wait to see what unfolds 
in the next couple weeks!

"The rainbow trees get saved"

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

With much excitement brewing within the walls of our classroom over the past few weeks, this post will highlight a new path of our Rainbow Inquiry whereby our students' have taken us from a scientific exploration to one that is imaginative and taps into our students' creativity through oral language, authentic writing opportunities and through visual arts! 

I would like to dedicate this post to our students who have collaboratively co-planned, co-created, and co-constructed our class' very own...


Moreover, I would also like to share the following story since it was created by our students as part of an interactive writing experience. We hope you enjoy reading and witnessing our rainbow tree come to life!

"The rainbow trees get saved"
Written by the students in Room 126

Once upon a time there was a rainbow tree. This tree lived in a rainbow forest (M.P). All of the trees were rainbow trees (D.K). 

One day, there were regular trees in the forest and somebody dropped fruit by accident. The fruit went inside the dirt and it went all the way to the rainbow forest. Then, the trees became all the rainbow colours through the roots. An apple became a red tree, orange became an orange tree, lemon became a yellow tree (T.B).

 Then, one tree got magical and it grew rainbow leaves (S.R). It had special powers and any tree that was brown, that magical tree made it rainbow (D.K). And then, it started raining

 The sun came out again and then a rainbow came out of the leaves and it went way up into the sky so everybody could see it (J.S-SK)! 
But then, one day, a guy came and chopped down three of the rainbow trees (E.S)! The magic disappeared and there were no more rainbows up in the sky (T.D)! 

The guy took those three rainbow trees with him (E.S) because he was trying to steal the magic (T.D)! Then, a bunny came and planted a magic carrot so that the rainbow trees can grow again (P.B) but it did not work (H.R)! 

One day, a group of Kindergarten students found out that these trees were missing so ... (Ms. Schmidt) they made their own rainbow tree! They painted it white first and then rainbow colours (E.Sk).

 The next day, they went to the rainbow forest (S.R) and they dug a hole and put the rainbow tree in the hole (T.D). 

All of a sudden, more rainbow trees started to grow (Z.P) and lots of rainbows appeared back in the sky (J.S-SK)! 


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