Hero's Journey

This week we got a special visit from our 9th grade buddies, who came to interview us for stories they will write for us with each child as the main character in the book. The children have been so excited about this, and it is great opportunity for the grade 9 students to be writing for a purpose and with an authentic audience. It is equally beneficial to the Blazing Peacocks, who are seeing the grade 9 students model the process of writing for an audience. English language learners were supported by 9th grade students who were able to speak to them in their native languages. We had buddies who were able to speak Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, and Spanish. 

This experience provided a good reference point for the class as we began writing for an audience this week as well. After collecting many pieces of writing in our writing folders, the class decided that they want to share a piece of writing with the Preschool students. With this specific audience in mind, they each chose or created a piece that they thought the Preschool students would enjoy. 

We discussed revision strategies- how to make your writing even better. They gave advice to each other about what we could add to make our writing clearer and the illustrations better- add words, add more details, add parts that were left out, add color to illustrations, draw a cover picture to match what they book is about, etc. They took each others' advice and began making their writing the best they could make it. 

As they complete their writing projects, we will begin taking these published pieces down to Preschool to read our books to Preschool friends. It will be the first time that we share our writing as published authors in Kindergarten!

Water Slide Inquiry

Choice Time is a time during the day when children engage in self-directed play and choose their learning, with teachers on hand to support and guide when necessary. It allows for deep engagement and meaningful learning, such as the following learning experience:

Ramps have been a consistent interest in our class- making things go both up and down in a variety of ways. These children used cardboard and tape to create a car ramp. They realized that the cars would sometimes jump up and decided to create a "trap"- a hole in the box that the cars needed to jump over, so they cut a hole in the ramp. 

The following day, they added to their inquiry by putting water on the ramp so that the cars can go faster, since water makes ramps slippery, and if it's slippery you go faster. They are using what they know about water  and water slides and applying it to their ramp. They discovered that what they water did was drip through onto the floor.

The water created a big puddle that needed to be cleaned up so people would not slip on the wet tile. This child was responsible and got a cloth to wipe up the puddle before moving on to his next idea. 

The dripping water gave him the idea to make something that water could drip into, down into something else that would collect the water. He got a big box, then got a smaller box that fit inside the big box. He cut a hole in the smaller box so that water could drip through it, into the larger box. He thought it would be even better to have a tube or ramp for the water to slide down. At first he tried using cardboard, but realized that plastic would be better so it wouldn't fall apart. He taped plastic marker wrappers together to fashion a tube slide for the water. Then they let the water flow! They called it the "Leap of Death" water slide. 

When it was time to pack away, they wanted to save their water slide. When they tried to move it, they realized that the water was leaking out of the bottom of the box. Then one child decided to let all of the water out by cutting a hole in the bottom. The water flowed out and made a big puddle, which they jumped in happily. Another child said, "Now it's a puddle machine!"

Through this process, the children practiced self-direction, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, responsibility, and explored concepts such as waterproof/not waterproof, angles and speed/velocity, and friction.

Ramps Inquiry

The ramps inquiry group further explored ramps today by taking these steps:

1. Searching for materials for ramp building

2. Looking at the materials and creating an individual plan

3. Consolidating the plans to create a group plan

4. Constructing the ramp

5. Testing the ramp. We didn't get a photo of this, but they discovered that the cars got stuck on the nails, while the marbles coasted right by them. Next week, they plan on testing other objects on the ramp to see which ones are the most suitable.

Pet Show!

Some friends got together and decided to organize a Pet Show, where humans and pets sang songs together for the enjoyment of others. The human directors sang the words for all of the songs they learned in Music class, and the pets sang along in their own pet languages. A great musical collaboration that was enjoyed by all!

The Yamato Bakery

Children learn so much through play! The Yamato Bakery provided so many opportunities for children to practice literacy, math, social skills, and language skills. Here are some photos of what happened:

Personal Inquiry Unit

Our Personal Inquiry Unit is in full swing and the children have each chosen a group to be a part of to explore a topic more deeply. The essential questions that will guide us in the unit are:

1. What are different ways people learn?
2. How do I learn best?
3. How do I contribute to a learning community?

The children will be working in groups to determine how they will find the answers to their questions and then teach others about what they learned.

Below are the wonderings that each groups had about their topic...

(Harry and Seoyoon)

(Andie, Alessi, Daniela, Lucy, Emma, and Cali)

(Zeki, Tommy, Ethan, Kevin, and Kimi)

(Ziyaad, Adaen, Austin, Jo, Amer, and Jacob)