Saturday, 28 February 2015

Sharing Our Sensory Balloon Discoveries

Opening the Sensory Balloons

We presented the children with the sensory balloon provocation a few weeks ago. They displayed much interest in the balloons through their investigations and recording of ideas. This provocation was such a wonderful opportunity for the children to use their senses to discover what was inside of each balloon. Their language was rich with wonderings, hypotheses and they also developed reading and writing skills as they investigated. Please see the orginal blog post about the sensory balloons to read the children's initial explorations.

We gathered the children on the carpet to talk about their guesses for the sensory balloons. I asked them to share how they figured out what was inside of each balloon. Lily began our discussion. She said, "I thought the first balloon felt very squishy." Alexis shared, "I feeled the little puffies around the outside and could see from the outside that it was balls inside." Next to speak was Nico Q. he said, "I could feel the water because it was squishy when I touched it." The children continue to share how they determined what was inside of each balloon. Matthew described how he felt one of the balloons, "I was tapping the balloon with my finger and it was corn syrup." Makenna said, "The balloon was watery like corn syrup." Then Grace said, "I feeled them because they looked like coffee." Many of the children had guessed the coffee balloon by smelling it and then they would ask how to spell the word coffee when recording their guess. We continued our discussion and I asked the children to talk about their senses. First we labelled our senses by touching each part of our body that has a sense and saying it's name. Then Gianmarco summed up our ideas and said, "Your senses are your taste, ears, smell and touch. That's how I figured them out." Next we cut open the balloons and showed the children the contents of each balloon. They were so thrilled to finally see if their guesses were right. Jazlyn shared her ideas. She said, "I knew it was pom poms but decided to call them "Cotton balls." Makenna offered a suggestion to the children. She thinks we should mix all the balloons up after opening them and explore all the different textures together. We were so pleased with the children's explorations and discussion about the sensory balloons. We are going to refill the balloons and add them to the science centre for any further investigations the children may create.


Monday, 23 February 2015

Cork Board Investigations

Purposeful Play with Push Pins

The children have been investigating the cork board for a few weeks now. We placed the cork board on the back of the math and numeracy shelf. Included with the cork board were four tins. Two of the tins have push pins in them and in the remaining two tins are chenille yarn and elastics. I created this invitation for the children to explore and create envisioning the board as a giant geoboard. I hoped that they would not only develop their fine motor skills but also other important learning expectations from the Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten document. It has been that and so much more. Here is a look at some of their explorations.

This is one of the first explorations at the cork board by the children.
Can anyone spy the letter "J" created using push pins?

Claire, Stella and Lily worked together creating this design until they felt they
had covered the entire board. when I asked them to share what their work was
about they said, "It is a celebration for a birthday party."

The girls carefully placed the push pins so that they could stretch the elastics
out between two pins. If the tension on the elastic was not just right they would
move the pin and try again until it was just right. What wonderful problem-solving
and perseverance they displayed. Claire described their work. She said," We are
making connections. Can we sign up for shared learning?" 


Gianmarco, Joshua and Matthew created this design working for most of
play block. As the children have continued their explorations their work has
gained in complexity of the design. As well, they have become more
intentional in the placement of the push pins when creating a design. They are
using both the chenille yarn and elastics together creating shapes and lines
with these materials. We could also observe their careful planning and
problem solving as they worked together on the cork board.

Joshua described their work. He said, "It is a big machine."

Each morning before announcements the children would gather at the
cork board. They either began a new design if the board was empty
or worked on an existing design. The children would discuss their ideas
and how to best use the push pins, chenille yarn and elastics.
On this morning something very exciting happened. The children chose
to only use the push pins and the elastics. Then they began to pluck the
elastics. They were so delighted because they discovered that they
could create a sound. Jaxen shared, "Miss we made music."


Claire, Lauren and Alexis work together during play block on the cork board.
The girls wanted to use all the materials provided in their design until all the
tins were empty.

The girls were so proud of their work. They demonstrated many personal and
social skills as they worked together on their design. We look forward to many
more explorations with the children at the cork board.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sugar Cube Explorations

Sugary Sweet Construction
We were inspired by a sensory bin on Pinterest that included sugar cubes as it's base. 
Since the children were still exploring their ideas around building, constructing and
manipulating materials we decided we would create an invitation for the children to
explore with sugar cubes. We set up the invitation at the table next to the sensory bin.
At the table we placed two boxes of sugar cubes, the wooden cutting board, a clipboard
and pencils. We were so excited to see what the children would create and build with
the sugar cubes. We like to add paper and pencil to most of our invitations to play so
that the children can record their ideas or wonderings.
Joshua was eager to explore with the sugar cubes. He began by placing the cubes
around the perimeter of the wooden board. When play block was over he asked if he
could save his work for the following day. He printed this message, "Do not touch"
and left it at the table.

The following day other children became interested in Joshua's work. This often
happens as the children share their ideas and wonderings with each other. Nico,
Gianmarco and Jaxen helped Joshua build with the sugar cubes. They worked
together adding rows of sugar cubes stacked on each other.
The boys showed great perseverance as often the cubes would fall. Each time they
worked together to restack the sugary walls of the their construction. They
continued to work until they had used all the sugar cubes provided.

Claire was working with the sugar cubes. Lauren asked her about her sugar cube
structure. Claire shared that she was making a city of skyscrapers. Then she
continued to work on her design.

Makenna and Jazlyn worked together placing all the sugar cubes in this artful display.
William and Nathan explained that they were building a house. They said it would
be giant and have people inside. Then they explained that is was square shaped.

William shared that he was building a tower. Then he counted, "1,2,3." Next
he knocked his tower over. Then Nathan said, "This looks like candy." I asked
them what they thought it was. William wondered if it was sugar. I told them
it was sugar cubes.

The boys continued their explorations with the sugar cubes. They began creating
animals. William built dogs and Nathan shared that he had made a chicken.
To conclude their sugar construction William created a person.
The children continued to choose to work with the sugar cubes for the next several
weeks. Each child would bring new ideas and construction to this open ended play.

Lauren placed each cube carefully on the board. When she was finished I asked her
about her work. She shared, "I put them in lines connected." Next she counted the
cubes and stated, "There are 21 of them."

Matthew built this structure during play block. I encouraged him to record his structure
on the white board. He explained how he built with the sugar cubes and asked if he
could keep his structure on the board for the next day. Matthew printed a sign and
placed it next to his structure on the board.

When we began our animal inquiry we moved the sugar cubes to another area of the
classroom on a small table. We changed the items with the sugar cubes and put the
 silver tray and spoon as a simple invitation for further work with the cubes. The table is
closer to the kitchen space and science area. It has been interesting to see the children add
to the work space. They have included the tweezers and sugar bowl to this display. Their
explorations continue and just the other day. Matthew used the spoon to scrape one of
the cubes into the sugar bowl. When he was finished he said, "Miss I made sugar."
This exploration has shown us so many of the expectations from the Full Day Early Learning Program. The children have worked together developing personal and social skills. They have also demonstrated many mathematical skills as they have counted, sequenced and matched cubes using one to one correspondence. We have also seen literacy in their printing of the do not touch signs. As well as all of the oral language skills used to describe, discuss and share their ideas.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Valentine's Day Activities

Celebrating Friendship and Love

The children participated in Valentine's Day activities last Friday. We would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the many parent and grandparent volunteers that helped us with our celebration. We are so delighted to have had such wonderful volunteers for each of our activity days. We hope that you know how much your assistance is appreciated. Here is a peak at some of the happenings from our morning together. Hoping you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day.
Yummy Love Bugs
Thank you to Miss Virban for finding this delicious treat.
The children built yummy love bugs out of marshmallows and candy.

Playdough Explorations

The children enjoyed working with the playdough and the tools at this
centre. We saw Valentine's snowmen and Valentine's pizza created.
They molded the dough exploring it's qualities with their hands and used
the rollers to create texture and patterns. 

Valentine Books

Some of my favourite Valentine's Day stories that I have
collected were shared with the children. They loved the
pop-up book titled: "Love Bugs."

Valentine Songs and Games

We celebrated with Mrs. Geff's J.K. and S.K. class.
Here the children particiapted in a Cupid singing
game on the carpet in her room.

Valentine Tic Tac Toe

Valentine Sensory Bin

The children were eager to explore the sensory bin. They helped
me to create this initial display in the bin. Then it was Valentine's Day
fun as they pulled and uses their sense of touch to explore the
various materials in the bin. The children filled the heart containers
with petals and mini erasers. They also scooped the mini erasers
with the measuring cups and then counted them. It was one of
their favourite activities from the morning.

Valentine's Day Cards

The children created their own unique Valentine's Day card
to give to someone they love. Teaching them to share and express
their feelings is an important aspect of our Full Day Learning
Kindergarten program. 

Valentine Crowns

The art studio was the quietest space during our Valentine's Day
Activities. Each child was so engaged in creating their crown.

Here are the children wearing their beautiful creations.