We began exploring the concept of measurement this week. Most children can easily size up two objects and determine which one is bigger and which one is smaller, so we’ve been learning to use more specific language. The children engaged in a few measurement challenges over the course of the week. Each one was designed to help them explore length, height or weight. Working in teams, the children built towers and compared their height, built bridges and compared their length, found objects and lined them up in order of length or height, and compared the weight of objects using a balance scale. In each challenge, the children practiced using words like taller, tallest, shorter, shortest, heavier and lighter. Ask your child which challenges s/he enjoyed most and why. Consider looking for natural opportunities to talk about length, height and weight at home and encourage your child to use specific language instead of just saying bigger and smaller. Here are some photos from the challenges:
After many days spent building stamina for reading independently, we moved on to a new reading practice last week. The children are now enjoying reading to each other. Just like in independent reading, the children make meaning while reading the pictures and the words, but having a partner allows them to deepen their comprehension by talking about the books, too. Reading to a friend has been a popular option during our learning choice times lately. Other options include reading independently, playing a math game, playing a literacy game, writing a book, or building. If you’re coming to open classrooms on Friday morning, you’ll have a chance to see this routine in action.
We will begin listening to books on iPads soon. Please send a pair of headphones to school with your child as soon as possible. Headphones should fit over ears (not ear buds) and should be labeled with your child’s name. Please send the headphones in a bag to help us keep them organized and clean.
The Three Billy Goats Gruff has provide opportunities for making connections between our UOI and our math and literacy work this week. In addition to comparing and ranking the goats’ sizes, the children have talked about the purpose of the bridge in the story and how it’s constructed. While practicing re-telling the beginning, middle and end of the story, we got into an interesting discussion about whether knocking the troll down into the river was the best way to solve the problem. A few children offered alternate solutions (talking to the troll, explaining that they’re hungry, promising to be careful on his bridge, etc.). The children asked if we could re-write the story with a different ending. On Thursday, children formed teams and worked together to build the setting and make the characters to re-tell the story. This project is just getting underway, but we’re excited to see what creative, and more peaceful, solutions the children come up with when their goats are faced with a mean troll.
On Thursday morning, we went on a structure walk around the UNIS campus with our grade 4 buddies. Working in small groups, the children visited places they hadn’t been before and thought about the purpose, design and materials used for some of our campus structures. We recently sorted questions from our trips into groups based on our lines of inquiry. We’ll be adding our new wonderings and forming study groups soon. Many children have reported that they’ve been noticing and building structures outside of school. If you have photos of your child showing interest in this topic and taking action outside of school (by building, for example), please feel free to share them with us.
Thanks to everyone who came to open classrooms on Thursday afternoon. I hope you left with a greater appreciation for the learning that’s happening when children are playing. We’re looking forward to seeing parents again on Friday morning.