Wednesday morning was deemed too cold to venture outdoors, but as some children needed big body play, and the temperature greatly increased, Madame McMillan asked who would like to join her for some outside play. They were out for a good 30 minutes before they decided that it was time to come in. We took our time enjoying lunch and later ventured outside for a shortened recess.
We believe in a democratic classroom and asked the children individually, if they had some interests that they would like to further explore. Here is what they said they were interested in: Water, Sharks, Space, Crabs, Dolphins, Whales, Butterflies, Ocean, Snow, Sparkly Fish, Robots, Starfish, and Penguins. We later discussed these ideas as a big group and the consensus was that we would like to learn more about different animals that live in and around the ocean. We took some books out of the library for the children to freely explore. Body tracing is always a lot of fun, so we began to trace the children asking them what type of marine animal they would like to be. They have been busy decorating their sea creature (shark, mermaid, merman, fish, starfish, etc...). Our idea is to transform the classroom into an ocean, allowing children to self-direct their learning with guidance from the educators. When we feel that our ocean learning is nearing the end, we would like to invite parents in during the day to see what we have been working on.
The children have continued to be interested in hibernation, migration, how animals survive in the winter and what we can do to help. They truly enjoyed the story, The Mitten, and have an excellent understanding of story retell, characteristics of various animals, as well as ordinal numbers. We will also be creating various types of bird feeders to learn what they like to eat as well as helping them through this cold snap.
We had some relief on Thursday when the temperature was much more reasonable. We all stayed outside and made our way to the forest. We wondered why some of the snow blocks were heavier than others and concluded that some had ice centres. There was a lot of imaginative play outside today! Near the forest, we discovered that someone made a quinzhee. A quinzhee is similar to an igloo, but is not made out of blocks of snow. We learnt some snow safety today too. We do not want to climb and jump on snow forts/quinzhees as we would not want to fall through the roof and get hurt. Furthermore, we would not want to destroy something that someone worked so hard to build. Finally, we also want to ensure that we are safe when entering snow structures.
After 40 minutes of recess, our book buddies wanted to stay outside with us and play. We brought out the toboggans and had such a fun time together. Again, those who preferred to go inside were given that option. We took advantage of the outdoors and explored and played until the end of the school day-another 2 hours.
Friday, some of the children chose to stay outdoors from 8h25 until 10h40, while others decided to venture in at different times throughout the morning. They engaged in all sorts of self-directed outdoor and indoor activities which allows them to develop in many ways.
Self-directed play with 30 - 90 students and only 14 toboggans, 8 shovels, a bucket of sand toys, 2 trucks, three hills, and copious amounts of snow, these are some of the questions that they asked and we are quite sure thought about.
How can we share?
How can I ask if I would like a turn too?
How many of us will fit on the blue toboggan? on the red one?
How can I get the toboggan up the hill? Do I need help?
How can I make this toboggan move down the hill?
Which hill is the best one to navigate?
How can we take turns to push groups of friends down the hill and still have fun?
How come the big kids (book buddies) like playing with us so much?
Why do the teachers like to play so much too?
Do you think they will play with me?
How can I help my friend who is wondering how to do something?
I realize that someone else may like a turn with my shovel. Who should I offer it too?
I am tired and need a break. Where can I go?
I am not sure what to do out here. Can I just watch my friends for a while and figure out what I would like to do?
I just want to play alone. Is that okay?
My friend said something I didn't like, what can I say or do?
Why is the snow heavier in some spots?
Why is there a crusty surface on the snow, a layer of fluffy snow, and ice below?
Why can I sort of make a snowball today, but not yesterday?
Why do the tree branches snap more easily now?
Hey, when I turn this broken branch it looks like the letter L, V, N. How can I paint it when I get back to class?
Who made the igloo?
What instrument can I make with this piece of wood and a branch?
What made these tracks?
What bird is making that sound?
What do the birds eat in the winter?
Why is it so warm inside the igloo?
How come it is light enough to see inside the igloo?
How many of us can fit inside?
Why is madame asking us to stop climbing the igloo?
What can I make in the snow?
How can I make a snow cake? Castle Cake does not rhyme, but Gâteau-Château do. What else rhymes?
What else can I add to this cake.
How high can I climb?
How cold is it outside?
Have a great weekend!