Friday, 29 May 2015

25th - 29th May

We have continued to prepare for Jāņi and held a rehearsal on the school grounds under the big trees. Students are enjoying the rhyme and dance:

Kas dārzā, kas dārzā,
Bitīt rožu dārzņā,
Kas dārzā, kas dārzā,
Bitīt rožu dārzņā

Ložņā bitīt caur zaru zariem,
Caur zaru zariem, caur lapu lapai,
Ja citu atrod, liec to savā vietā,
Ja citu atrod, liec to savā vietā

This week continuing to explore the unit of inquiry ‘’Sprouting up’’, the Toddlers were happy to create their own butterflies, colorful flowers and leaves where those butterflies could land on. During story time they enjoyed listening a story about the very hungry caterpillar which turned into a beautiful butterfly.

Continuing to explore numbers and colors, students played  different games.
As this school year is coming to an end, it is great to see that Toddlers have developed a sense of belonging to the Toddlers classroom. They are happy to meet and welcome each other in the mornings and take care of each other as well as help around the classroom!

Preschool 1a
This week the Preschool 1a students, together with the Preschool 1b class, went on a walking field trip around the school grounds. What changes we have seen over the past 6 weeks with each week presenting something new to inquire into and observe. This week we made links to our learning about seeds. Some of the students found chestnuts under the chestnut tree and as we discussed what these round shapes are then we discovered that they are the seeds of the tree and that from a seed a tree can grow!

We liked engaging in various pattern activities such as making: bumble bees with an A,B,A,B (yellow, black, yellow, black) pattern; flowers of various coloured petals with either A,B,A,B or A,B,C,A,B,C or AA,BB,AA,BB patterns! In Art class with Ms Valda we also worked on patterns and made vases (out of small colourful square shaped) for our colourful flowers. Another fun pattern activity was making pattern crowns. Students could choose which pattern they would like to make out of pre-printed flowers: sunflower, tulip, rose. Great job!

Preschool 1b
On Monday we all became very secretive in preschool 1b, because we prepared surprise birthday cards and a heart book for Ms Zoja. On Tuesday it was her birthday and the children prepared a picnic for her in the morning, and later we made banana muffins together, which we enjoyed as a desert after lunch.

On Wednesday the children proved that they were very knowledgeable indeed when they completed a task given to them by Ms Valda. As a final assessment for this Unit of Inquiry, they used different art materials to create a picture of a flower with all its parts and the things it needs to grow. They were also careful to draw and paint everything in the right sequence and last but not least made a frame decorated with a pattern of yellow and red dots. You are very welcome to see their art works exhibited in our classroom!

Preschool 2
We kicked off the week with a wonderful day in the forest! The weather was perfect for various activities allowing us to explore and enjoy all the changes that Spring has brought to the forest. We found bugs, different leaves, made houses and ran around!

For the rest of the week we have continued to observe plants and how they are changing. During our math activities we were challenged by difficult flower patterns focusing not only on the colour, but also on the flower shape pattern.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Sprouting Up!

It was an exciting week for the youngest students at ISR! On Wednesday the Toddlers went on the field trip and visited the Botanical Garden near the school. They were so curious about the nature during this field trip! Children were excited to see and observe different plants and flowers. They even were trying to name the colors of flowers and leaves!

Walking around the garden, the Toddlers saw some little butterflies flying up in air and one bee which landed on the flower. On the footpath they also met a little beetle with some red dots. During this field trip all students demonstrated themselves not only as great observers, but also as explorers that are being caring towards the nature around them!

As we continued to explore the unit of inquiry ‘’Sprouting up’’, the little ones also listened to a story ‘’The Very Hungry Caterpillar’’  written by Eric Carle.  They were curious to make their own caterpillars and created sunny and bright dandelions during arts & crafts. Students also continued  to develop their fine motor skills when cutting  the scrap paper with scissors.

Preschool 1a
The Preschool 1A students worked collaboratively on an art activity where we revisited the learning we have done the past weeks. We created and assembled a LARGE sunflower. Students practiced their fine motor skills and traced flower petals, applied water colours to them, coloured a long stem, leaves and seed, braided yarn to make roots and placed sunflower seeds in the middle of the bloom. Come and admire this wonderful plant!

On Wednesday, together with all pre-schoolers and Toddlers, we went to explore the Botanical Gardens. This was an opportunity for students to inquire into the reason why some buds had already opened and where in bloom, while others had not signs of flowering. We met a gardener who explained that he was pulling the weeds up and out of the soil to give the other plants more space to grow. This information was all consistent and familiar to the learning that had taken place in the literature we had read by Krauss Johnson, The Carrot Seed as well as the song about the plants five needs:
We have also continued to enjoy our Language Arts lessons with Alphie and have also revisited the letter sounds: ‘g’, ‘o’, ‘c’, and  ‘k’.

Finally, we all enjoyed the busy day that we spent on Friday. Not only did we celebrate Friendship Day, and admired the lovely colourful flowers, but we also celebrated Jakub’s fourth birthday and expressed our friendship by making Jakub a heart shape birthday book. Happy Birthday Jakub!

Preschool 1b
The highlight of this week surely was our field trip to the Botanical Garden. Encountering all those flowers, blossoms, leaves and plants, the children were very excited to make connections between them and the knowledge they had gained during this Unit of Inquiry in and around the school. They commented on almost every blossom they saw, made observations on the soil and seeds and asked questions to the gardeners. One of the first flowers we found was a dandelion, which was met with great enthusiasm, since we had been working on a dandelion project the day before. Every child was asked to trace the outline of a dandelion with a yellow and a green marker and to colour the picture with pencils. When they had finished they filled out an evaluation sheet, colouring in a happy, neutral or unhappy face and thus reflecting on how they followed the instructions, whether they worked neatly and how much they enjoyed this project. It was the first time we asked them to reflect like this and they did an amazing job! The next day, some children even requested another evaluation sheet for their free-choice project!

Preschool 2
This week we have really enjoyed our weekly observation field trip around the school. It is all green! Finally all the buds on the trees have opened up and turned into marvelous green leaves! We were astonished to discover the chestnut tree’s huge leaves. Some of us became sad finding tulips petals on the ground; at first we thought that someone had broken them! But as we looked closer, we found they have become old…

All our observations and the flowers outside inspired us to create our own flowers by using a variety of materials and techniques.

The plants that we are growing on our windowsills in the classroom are getting taller and taller; we have been learning about the needs of plants and since one of the needs is space, we decided the plants are getting too big for the small pots and need to be replanted. That kept us busy all Friday morning!

Overall, this week our minds have been challenged to reflect on all the things we have learned so far through observing the changes in the environment all around us.