Monday, May 31, 2010

Math Monday -- Data Management and Probability

In Kindergarten children sort, classify and compare objects and describe the attributes used. They collects objects or data and make representations of their observations, using concrete graphs. They answer and ask questions about their data and the graphs, and use mathematical language in their discussions.

Graphing activities for kindergarten include collecting data and organizing it in a variety of ways.

When children walk around the classroom and ask their friends which cereal they prefer, put a tally mark under the cereal picture, and count how many tally marks are in each column, they are not only graphing but also working with statistics or data analysis. There are lots of fun things to do in this area of math and the activities integrate well with science activities.

Graphs make counting and comparing meaningful and provide opportunities to bring numbers, letters, letter sounds and other literacy skills to the children's attention.

When children are making guesses about what might happen in different situations, they are learning about probability.

The children should have experiences:

  • collecting information
  • counting and making tallies
  • surveying peers
  • sorting objects
  • making graphs with real things and making picture graphs
  • reading graphs
  • making observations from a graph
  • working with tally marks and comparing their results with a friend's results
  • asking questions about graph results
  • using the terms "never, sometimes, always"
This graph is one of our "entry" activities. Each child has a name card and they pick it up upon entry and answer the question. This question was from shortly after we visited the farm and each child had an opportunity to touch a chick. As you can see, not all of the children opted to touch the chick! We talked about how many people had says yes, they had touched a chick and how many people had not touched a chick. Then I asked the hard question: How many more people touched the chick than didn't touch the chick? (4 more). This is a tricky one, but we have done it lots of times, so most Sk students and some Jk students understand it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Butterfly Garden

We painted butterfly gardens. The instruction that I gave the children was to paint a garden the our butterflies would be happy in. Didn't the classes do a fabulous job? (I also told the students that they needed to fill the paper with colour -- I did hear a lot of "Ms Brown, am I done yet?" My answer to this usually is "What do you think?" -- They really do know if they have followed the instructions or not). The children asked if they could glue on some more flowers, so we dug into the collage materials and now we have some beautifully overgrown gardens. Perfect for butterflies. (these paintings are large -- about 18"x24")(We did make some butterflies, but they're not quite finished.....)
(you can click on any of the above pictures to see them a bit larger)
We made some caterpillars too! (they were encouraged to look at our caterpillars but they didn't have to stick with the colours that they saw in real life). They added some other bits and pieces too. I have two very creative classes!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Caterpillars, chrysalis and butterflies, oh my!

We've been looking at the life cycles to butterflies in the classroom -- and due to the recent heat wave, there have been some fast changes!
First we started with caterpillars. They were all delivered in a box like this:

(looks ominous, doesn't it?)

Then the adventure began:
Inside was a jar of many, many tiny caterpillars, some rubber gloves, some food, 30 little cups with lids, a beaker and instructions.

Ms. Wren and I had to mix the food (kind of like hard Pablum) and then pack a teaspoon full into the bottom of each little cup. Then the cups had to have holes punched in the top (3 holes). Then came the fun part. You had to scoop up each little caterpillar with a paint brush (really) and place one into each cup. Without letting the other feisty caterpillars escape. The caterpillars (less than 1 cm long at this point) clung to the paintbrushes and had to be coaxed off (well, really, shook off). Fun was had by all, and I am very happy that we didn't do these preparations in front of the students because that would have ensured mass mayhem. Once we had filled the 30 cups, we still had about another 30 caterpillars! the instructions say to double them up (this hasn't worked well in the past) or to put them in the freezer (to kill them). I came up with the bright idea of putting them in jars ( the caterpillars had a difficult time with the jars -- maybe too slippery? -- so I had to put in popsicle sticks for them to climb up to the lids)

They grew so quickly! In a day or two they looked like this:

When fully grown they were about 3 cm long (1 1/4 inches). Then they climbed around their cups for a few days and then climbed to the top and went into chrysalis -- and hung from the lids of the cups. I took the lids off of the cups and taped them to cardboard which was placed across the top of an aquarium (with some netting on top).
A few days later (each stage is supposed to be at least a week, but I think that the heat sped it up a bit), the butterflies began to emerge from their chrysalis. They are beautiful! They are called Painted Lady Butterflies. We have sugar water in a lid for them to drink, but we released the ones who had emerged into the front garden today. We still have a few more caterpillars and a few more chrysalis to watch next week.

Here is what the empty chrysalis looks like:

Cool isn't it?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Arts Night

As most of you know, Arts Night was last Thursday (the night before the farm trip -- we didn't plan it this way -- we booked the farm in January!)

At Arts Night the Kindergarten Students performed 2 songs -- This Land is Your Land and Feelin' Groovy. We were so lucky to have a parent come in and help us with the singing. Sheila Philcox is a mom of one of the students in the morning class -- and she came in weekly to teach the morning kindergarten classes some music and movement. THANK YOU SO MUCH SHEILA!!! I taught my afternoon myself -- it was a bit harder because we had to learn the songs unaccompanied by piano ( Ms. Brown doesn't play the piano). But we all pulled it together and did a Great Job!!!!

We also had art to display. We displayed our houses that we made from boxes -- and we displayed some new art. We made faux batik on fabric! It took 3 days to complete our pieces. The first day learned all about lines and practiced making some lines with markers. Then we "drew" lines with special glue onto fabric squares. After these dried overnight, we painted the fabric squares with watery paint. These had to dry overnight again. The next day we had to soak and scrub our squares to get all of the slimy glue off. Then we had to let them dry again. It was a lot of waiting! But the result was worth it. These batiks can be frame or mounted onto canvas to hang on the wall. they can also be stitched into a wall hanging -- or to make a cushion cover. They are now up on our classroom wall, but will come home in June.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!

We made thumbprint necklaces for our mothers out of fimo. If you click on the photo -- you can see the print very clearly!

This is the poem that we attached:

My dirty little fingerprints
I've left on every wall,
And on the drawers and tabletops
I've really marked them all,
But here is one that won't rub off
I'm giving it to you,
Because I am so thankful
For a mom just like you!

We were really rushed with our mothers day gifts this year - we were so busy preparing for Arts Night and the farm. Last week was the busiest week ever!
(Check back on Tuesday for more on Arts night )

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Farm Trip

On Friday we visited Willowgrove Farm in Stouffville! We had a sloooow start (our bus was very late arriving at the school and then the driver got a bit lost). So we were rushed at the farm a bit.... And then we arrived back at the school a bit late, but fun was had by all!
I took as many photos as I could -- We will make an in-class book with lots of pictures of the kids at the farm. If any of the PM parents took pictures -- please email them to me! I only have one shot of the afternoon class. I traveled around with the AM group because 1 child has an Epi Pen and I didn't want to be too far away from her.

Here is what we did and saw!

Up first (for the AM group -- pm had a different order)was the hayloft -- it had a slide, rope swings, tires swings and tires to climb on. It was a bit dusty....... but really fun!
Then we all got into a wagon which was pulled by a tractor
and we traveled down a lane into the woods where we saw trilliums, some wild leeks and maple trees. We learned that there is a $5,000 fine if you pick a trillium (Ontario's provincial flower). It takes 7 years for them to bloom. The children didn't seem to care much about the fine -- but the adults were impressed!

Then we walked through the barns!

First we went to the chicken barn:
We saw some peacocks and pea hens and their eggs (the peacock was stubborn and wouldn't fan his tail -- when he did he wouldn't face us)Then we saw the chickens:
(see the eggs?)And a rooster:
Then we went to the 4 legged animal barn:

We saw pigs:
We saw mama sheep and baby lambs (I think that the sheep that is lying down is just about to give birth -- I don't think that it is the mama of these very active lambs)
and then we saw an incubator for chicks and we all got to touch a baby chick while our farmer/leader held it!Then we used hand sanitizer on our hands!
Interesting information for adults......
Then we got on the bus and went back to Earl Beatty.....
(I forgot to take a picture of our school bus, but it looked a lot like this one)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Inferring about Spring

Inferring is a thinking skill that is demonstrated when a student makes conclusions based on content from reading, or from triggered prior knowledge.
On April 14 the kindergarten classes walked around the neighbourhood looking for signs of Spring. We were looking for recent additions to our familiar natural world – things that we hadn’t seen during the winter. We then asked the students the question – How do you know that it is spring? They gave such answers such as “I know it is spring because I saw worms on the ground. Worms aren’t on the sidewalk in winter”. “I know that it is spring because I saw forsythia, and the yellow forsythia flowers aren’t there in the winter” What is there in the winter? “ Just the snow and the bare branches.”

(These are posted in the hallway outside of our classroom -- along with many others!)