We have been enjoying getting to know one another in the early years class, and we’ve been familiarising ourselves with daily routines and procedures. The two foremost routines we have are our morning routine and our end of day routine. Beginning at 8:45 each day, students may choose from a variety of learning engagements connected to various subject areas. Often times, they are all connected. This gives us the opportunity to take part in hands-on exploration of math and language concepts, as well as those connected to our units of inquiry. This week the activities focused on sorting/petterning and numeracy concepts.
Following this, we take time for a GoNoodle body break and then a brain break focused on mindfulness. We then review our schedule and job chart, and our student created calendar, where whoever has the calendar job for the day tells us the date, and adds it to the calendar. We may also represent this number with dots if we wish. Then, we are ready to start our day.
At the end of each day we take time to unwind and show gratitude for the people and events that made our day a success. Students share their highs and lows of the day, with the lows often focusing on problems that were or can be solved. We also share any moments of gratitude we may have felt, and use this time to say thank you to friends.
We are currently still working on assessments in language and math. Some of them are one-on-one, some are small group, and some happen by chance during learning engagements. These assessments allow me to differentiate the learning of each child, and the data collected is starting to be used in order to individualize learning. Some students are focused on letter recognition and phonemic awareness, while others are starting to recognize high-frequency sight words for reading fluency. In math, some students are focused on sorting by specific attributes while others are using their understanding of this concept to help them create complex patterns. Our mixed age grouping provides opportunities to develop conceptual understanding together and in a more individualized manner.
Our How the World Works unit focuses on patterns and cycles in the natural world. This week we discussed the fact that we still have a few weeks of summer left before autumn arrives. To celebrate, we went for a nature walk, gathering items that could be used to make “nature faces.” This was an extension of the self-portrait activity we completed last week. Students considered the parts of faces they would need to represent, and what items they might find in nature that they could use. After we gathered all the pieces, students then found round tree stumps in the yard to use as their canvas. This was also an introduction to transient art, which allows students to create temporary works. This is a tactile and reflective experience which reminds us that sometimes it can be nice to focus on process rather than product.
Our How We Express Ourselves unit focuses on play. We read some Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems this week, which focus heavily on Learner Profile attributes such as caring, open-minded, and reflective, as well as attitudes such as appreciation, empathy, and cooperation. All of these are at the core of healthy friendships, and this is part of the focus of our unit. We’re also exploring the ways people use their imagination when they play, understanding that our imaginations can take us anywhere. This was demonstrated through a wonderful book called The Box, by Axel Janssens. Before and after various play experiences this week, we brainstormed what play looks like, sounds like, and feels like. We’re excited to incorporate more play into our learning!