Thursday, September 29, 2016

Using our Families to Explore Math

As we get to know one another this first month of school we have spent some time talking about our personal lives and interests. Exploring the number of people in each family was a great opportunity for the children to share information and embed some number sense into our discussions.

I noticed that the children really have enjoyed building with the unifix cubes during free play time.





After reading a book about the diversity of families, the children were asked to represent the number of people in their families, using one cube per person. We didn't limit this to the number of people living in a house, so the children had interpretation and control over who they considered their 'family' and built their numbers as they chose.






Once every child had created their 'family' using cubes, we used number cards to help us graph them. Each child had a turn putting his or her family under the corresponding number.




Comparing the number of families who had 3, 4, 5, or 6 members gave us an opportunity to count and compare numbers as we looked for the most and least in each group.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Exploring Sunflowers

Sunflowers are such a fun, vibrant flower to explore as we begin to notice the seasons changing and autumn arrive. We explored a wonderful text called "Lilla's Sunflowers" last week that discusses how many sunflowers are planted all over the country when a young girl shares seeds with her military father. This text is beautifully written with easy to understand narrative and captivating illustrations.
 
In order to help our children make connections to the book, we offered real sunflowers and dried sunflowers at a table along with the book and tools like tweezers, sorting trays and magnifying glasses.


The children were encouraged to visit the centre and use the tools to examine the sunflowers up close and then pick out the seeds. This activity required detailed fine motor work and helped strengthen children's patience as well as their pincher grasp.





The next day we offered the large dried sunflowers as tools for making prints. The children were interested in how the stems acted as handles and kept their hands clean during the activity.


We pressed the sunflowers into paint and made a beautiful print!
 



Family Math Bags

Families,
 
I was very excited by the professional development I was offered on the PD day last Friday. During that meeting our school discussed as a staff how we can better support children and their families in becoming interested, confident, and successful mathematicians. As many of you know math has been a great interest of mine the last few years.
 
This weekend I created a number of 'take home' math bags. Each of these bags is numbered. On Fridays your child will bring a new math bag home to explore with you. In each bag are activities that are designed to refine math concepts from the Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum, with a special emphasis on number sense and numeration, specifically subitizing and composing/decomposing numbers. Please send the bag back to school by the following Wednesday so that we can send a new bag home with your child.
 
 
Inside each bag will be an instruction card and any applicable materials you will need to play the game together.


I am excited to see how the children's math mindset and abilities are influenced by these activities. We will continue to focus on math rich tasks at school as well. Any feedback regarding these bags is greatly appreciated. The first bags will start to come home this week on Friday, September 30.

If you would like a sneak peek at some of the activities, follow this link: Family Math Bags

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cooking Squash

We were so lucky to have a special parent volunteer with us today! Mrs. Montcalm spent time with the children in our kitchen cooking two kinds of squash. The children were very excited to be making something to eat! They first explored the differences in the outsides of the squash...

...and then scooped out the seeds.


The squash guts were so much fun to squish!




We used child friendly choppers to help remove the peel of the butternut squash...


 ...and also to chop it into little pieces.





We also chopped some apple to add to give it a sweet flavour.


When the spaghetti squash was cooked the children each had a chance to help scoop it out.






We were so proud of the children! Many tried the different kinds and some even asked for a second helping!





We love having parents and other family members in our classroom! If you have a special talent that you are willing to share with us, please consider spending time volunteering in our room!

Mirror Writing

We always love to have engaging literacy activities available for the children to explore. Motivating them to draw and write is fun when we use exciting materials like mirrors and dry erase markers. The markers wipe off so easily and the reflection and unique surface (and experience) of writing on a mirror is very interesting for young learners.

It was interesting to see what the children drew. Many noticed their reflection and drew that. Others practised printing their name.





We noticed counting happening too as the children drew their own five and ten frames!


Others drew interesting designs! Whatever it was that was drawn, the conversation around the table was lively as many children squeezed in to share the fun tools!


Monday, September 19, 2016

What's Inside?

Last week the children were very interested in seeing what they had each brought for snack. There were some great conversations happening at the snack centre about what the food looked like, smelled like, and tasted like.
 
Today I brought in some different kinds of squash. I wanted to extend the children's interests and thought this would be an engaging way to do so.
 
First we passed the different squash around the carpet. The children were encouraged to use many senses to explore; what did the squash feel like (exploring textures), how heavy was it (exploring measurement), how did it look (noting similarities and differences). This was also a good activity to reinforce turn taking.



During playtime the children were invited to explore the inside of the squash. This lead to many interesting math discussions - equality (2 halves of a squash are the same as 1 whole), estimation and counting (how many seeds are inside), measurement (which squash is biggest? which has the biggest seeds?) and shape (some squash are round and some are not). The children also practiced their fine motor skills as they used the tweezers to pick the seeds out. This took a lot of patience and perseverance because the seeds were slippery and stuck in the squash guts!
 






 

Families we are hoping to cook some squash for the children to taste. If you have any you are able to donate to our room, we would appreciate it! Also, if you are interested in volunteering to help with this activity, please let us know! Thank you!


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