hands on is, hands down, the way to go

Internship is drawing (very quickly!) to a close – only four days left ūüė¶ ¬†I realized that I have a lot of recapping to do. Here are some pictures of my lovely little learners engaging in some of the activities I have planned over the past month… (Never again will I put off posting this long – lesson learned!)

One thing I am extremely proud of is creating this Word of the Day program during my internship. This idea was taken from a Kindergarten teacher from Kindersley (check out¬†@PamelaSawatzky‘s Twitter handle – she is a wonderful K teacher!) during a Phonological Awareness PD event at the beginning of the school year. It involves breaking down simple CVC words into their individual sounds and then placing a dot into a box (these are called El Konin boxes and are great for students to visualize the breaking down of words into sounds) for each of the sounds heard.

In the above example (“tack”), students identify the sounds they hear:

/t/  /a/  /k/    Then, Leaders for the day get to drag a dot into a box. We then practice pulling the sounds apart and putting them back together to create the original word. We also discuss which letters make the corresponding sounds.

Nest Making

As part of our Bird Inquiry unit, I was constantly adding to and changing our authentic nest centre. It ended with this evolution, where students had the chance to create their own nests. It was so interesting to see what students came up with and what strategies they used to make their nests. On one of my observation days, some of my students were eager to teach my faculty advisor how to make a nest. Such a cool thing to see! Nest Making 2

Here are some of the finished nests:

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Another endeavour that was on my internship bucket list was Outdoor Winter Centres. These were a lot of work (and took up a lot of freezer space – haha) but SO MUCH FUN! Take a look…

I filled spray bottles with coloured water for students to ‘spray paint’ the snow with. This was definitely the biggest hit. I wished I had had more spray bottles!

Winter Centres 8

Students also used the cookie cutters to create coloured shapes in the snow.

I also made ice cubes in every colour of the rainbow for students to create snow castle creations out of. This was also very popular. The spray bottles also become a tool for decorating the castles (of course the students thought of something I didn’t).

The students above are trying to save some ‘frozen’ animals (plastic figurines I froze into clear water) using warm water. Students also tried to refreeze the animals by adding snow into the water.

Frozen Animals

 

This is a fun activity that can cover a lot of Science outcomes, but those icy animals melt a lot faster than they freeze, so have A LOT on hand.

Winter Centres 2

I thought a frozen treat was appropriate for our ice and snow themed centres. Some apple juice, ice cube trays, and popsicle sticks did the trick real quick!

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Lucky for us, this December has included GORGEOUS weather, so it was cold enough to keep the snow on the ground, but still nice enough outside that mitts could be taken off for periods of time without frozen fingers. The perfect medium!

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I loved doing centres in my Math Patterns unit, so tried to do some hands on work for our Number unit as well. Some of the centres pictures in the slideshow above are:

  • putting the correct number of eggs into nests (to tie in with our Bird Inquiry unit)
  • putting the correct amount of coloured tiles into a ten frame
  • counting objects and finding the corresponding numeral to match up
  • building block towers of a specific height
  • playing a board game with a partner and moving a specific number of spaces using 10 sided dice
  • counting the number of stars in a ‘parking lot space’ and parking a car with the corresponding number in that spot

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I also added some centres to our letter learning work. Students could choose if they wanted to do work in their ABC books, draw items that started with the designated letter, make that letter out of play dough, or trace that letter on sheets in page protectors. Although this made Learning Time pretty hectic, I think it really affirms that students all learn in different ways and that these different learning styles are represented and planned for. This also gives students choice to try several centres that suit their interests, or hone in on a specific one.

One other cool thing we did for our Bird Inquiry unit was research on the iPads using QR codes that I created for websites, photo galleries, and videos all about birds. We were lucky enough to have the Grade 6 class come in and buddy up with our K’s, who loved this! 21st century learning at its finest!

 

 

To learn about the colour Blue in November, we discussed Picasso’s blue period and tried our hand at creating masterpieces using only shades of blue.

Picasso Blue Period

 

And just to end on a sweet note, here is an adorable Snowman and Reindeer cupcake that we all had (messy) fun making.

 

Stay tuned for a post in the future that sums up my internship experience.

Yours truly,

KKF

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exciting news!

kindergarten here i come

I just found out today that I am placed in the Kindergarten class at Davidson Elementary School for my internship! I am very excited to learn a lot more about play-based, inquiry, and experiential learning in an early childhood setting. I am also quite interested in digging into the Kindergarten curriculum, as it is structured a bit differently than all of the other elementary grades.

I know that this is going to be such an amazingly rewarding learning experience for me. I have never been extensively involved in Kindergarten, so I am really looking forward to all of the joys that it brings. I can’t wait to learn alongside some awesome students and have the chance to shape their first experience at school.

More information to follow. For now, I’ll be burying my nose in Kindergarten curriculum and resources!

-KKF

final week of pre-internship

I taught my half day on Monday afternoon and, thankfully, it went very well. Due to the way the schedule worked out this week, I ended up teaching an entire afternoon of Arts Ed (the subject area of my unit) to count as my lessons for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Again, I had some tough-to-manage action going on in the classroom, as students were given time to work on the musical pieces they had been creating in small groups. I ran this like Daily 5 – having 3 stations for the groups to cycle through in timed¬†rounds. Each station helped the group to prepare or reflect upon their final project¬†(my unit’s summative assessment): Station 1 allowed the students to practice their musical piece with their instruments of choice, Station 2 had the groups create a write up about their piece, and the third Station involved a group assessment of the students’ cooperation thus far. The Instrument station was a bit noisy, but again, this was productive noise. My co-op reassured me that there would have been no way to evade this noise level problem, so, all things considered, I was happy with how the group work went.

Once students had a chance to practice and prepare, they performed their music pieces for the class. I was very impressed with how well they did, and how they embodied and applied the concepts we had been learning as a whole class. The students who were not performing also made me proud by showing proper audience behaviour (something that we are constantly working on with my group of movers and shakers!).

I finished the day with a crossover Arts Ed lesson that infused Music into Visual Art, by having students draw pictures using only music notes (pictures below). They turned out great and I was pleasantly surprised with all of the creativity my students showed during this activity. My main goal during this time was to keep the students settled and calm, as this was the end of the day, when the students tend to be more unfocused and harder to rein in. They worked quietly and productively on their task, so I was very pleased.

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Teaching a half day was a totally new experience, and I found that once I got started, the time just flew by! The parts of the day when you are teaching seem like they happen in the blink of an eye.

Today, my teaching partner taught her half day. Tomorrow, our class is going on a field trip (in the afternoon) to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, so I am very excited to have that kind of out-of-classroom experience with the students (I’m interested to see how the students behave in a different environment).

Thursday is my final day, and I am already trying to mentally prepare myself for how bittersweet this will be! I am very proud and excited to finish such a successful 3 week block, but I am going to miss my students SO much! I have grown to know them (and ADORE them!) much more after seeing them every day, all day. Although they are, at times, interesting to manage, I love them each to pieces and couldn’t have asked for a better class to teach me how to be a better educator! It’s so difficult to spend 3 weeks straight with a group of students and then be ripped away so abruptly! My goal is to enjoy every last second of them before pre-internship is over.

Although I am heartbroken that pre-internship (which has been an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING experience for me) is coming to an end, I also know that this means there are new beginnings in store for me. My internship awaits me in the fall, with many more learning experiences to come!

Until next time,

-KKF

day two in a nutshell

Today was an awesome teaching day for both me and my pre-internship partner. Both of our lessons went SO well (hopefully we can have a repeat of that tomorrow when our faculty advisor comes to watch us – haha)! After two days in the school and with the kids, I’m definitely getting into the swing of things. They students are all so sweet, I find myself resisting the urge to just gather them up in a hug and hold on for five minutes. There is nothing quite like learning alongside a group of kids! Such a rush!

In my lesson today, students learned about Call and Response in songs (where one person says something – the ‘call’ – and the group repeats it back – the ‘response’). We sang Down By The Bay (with my guitar) and Che Che Kooley (an African song kind of like Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes). The kids ate this up! I was amazed at how easy they are to manage when you have them all hooked. It definitely made my job as a teacher 10 times easier.

I’m excited to take my confidence and calm, cool, collected attitude from today’s lesson and use it tomorrow during my Writing lesson and for the rest of my three week block (and beyond!).

-KKF

pre-internship day 1 snapshot

Day 1 was a success! I am just happy to get to hang out with students all day and soak up their vibrant personalities. Schools have always felt like such welcoming, warm places to me, so it’s awesome to get to spend the next three weeks there with a fantastic co-op and a group of 25 wonderful students (who keep me on my toes, teach me TONS, and help me improve as a teacher every single MINUTE). Here are some of today’s highlights:

Best Thing About My Lesson: The students really enjoyed the hands-on music tasks (which is good, because they are part of every single lesson in my unit!). Yet another reminder that music works magic with kids!

Uh-Oh Moment: YouTube videos wouldn’t play with sound! Stay calm, think fast, ALWAYS have a back up plan (and time fillers).

Something To Work On: Relax. Keep expectations high and students accountable.

Something New I Tried: “Around the World” engagement strategy: Teacher moves around the room while talking to students and they have to continually pivot to stay facing the teacher. Will have to practice this a bit more so all students are following me with their eyes.

Quote of the Day: “Is Superman real?”

What I’m Excited for Tomorrow:¬†Playing my guitar and singing with the students! Wish me luck!

-KKF

i am a question mark

Today, my classmates¬†and I went on a tour through the Mackenzie Art Gallery’s newest exhibition, Moving Forward Never Forgetting (which was phenomenal and I highly recommend everyone go check out). During some hands-on experience of making art, we were each asked to “draw a symbol that represents you in this moment.” Instantly, I decided upon a question mark, and it seemed very fitting.

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This year (and semester) has been a time of great learning and growing for me. But it seems the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. When I was in high school, a teacher whose classroom I volunteered in told me, “You could walk into a classroom tomorrow and be a teacher.” And I thought, “Yeah, I could!” Now that I am three years into my degree, I think, “No! I am not ready! I could go to school for three more years and not be ready!” It just goes to show you how complex a job teaching truly is, and that having your B.Ed. only begins to prepare you for being an educator; you do so much more learning when you actually ARE a teacher.

So while I may still have so many questions and things I want to learn (especially with my three week block coming up Рcountdown is at 11 days!), I am in one of the best professions to continue to be a lifelong learner alongside my students.

Until next time,

-KKF

your kids teach you, all right

Today, I did a pre-assessment for my Arts Ed unit on Music that I will be teaching in March-April. I had students fill in the first two columns of a KWL chart (K – what I Know already and W – what I Want to know). When reading them through tonight, I saw a great question in the W column: “How was music invented?”

Then I went, “Hmmm… I actually don’t know!” And here I am, Googling the answer and doing some research at 8:00 p.m. Hopefully, I can share my finding and start a discussion with my students during one of my lessons.

This moment just goes to show you that your students can teach you a lot (and get you thinking from their point of view)! I can’t wait to keep learning with my Grade 3’s!

-KKF