Week Thirty: Earth Day and Cherry Blossoms

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Happy Earth Day! We had another exciting, plants-filled week in and out of the classroom. The girls are really enjoying all of the outside time we have been spending, and I am noticing that all of the fresh air leaves them awake and ready to learn. We were lucky to take a trip to High Park to see the cherry blossoms up close, and were truly mesmerized by their beauty. We spent a lot of time this week thinking about the Earth, how we can treat it well, and why taking care of it is important. This week's set of pictures  show deep thinking, genuine curiosity, and independent learning. Enjoy!

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G comes into school Monday morning and announces that it is sports day for her (which is why she is wearing her Toronto Blue Jays baseball cap). Here, she carefully adds blocks to her structure, continually checking that it is the same on both sides (symmetrical). She tells M that she wants to build a bridge, and M gives her the idea to lay the blocks across while leaving a gap.

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M also creates a unique structure this morning. She has built components that look almost like archways, and then also adds gems and marbles to fill out the design. I share with her that it reminds me of the Templo de Debod in Madrid, Spain. After showing her a picture, she adds a few new parts to make her structure more closely resemble the Spanish temple. 

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Z plays our coding board game independently. She demonstrates her capability to work independently as she first chooses the characters she wants and places them on the board, then puts out the “barriers”, and finally figures out the pathway of arrows to connect one character to the other. 

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S, M, K, and G show me their almost finished recycled planters. To celebrate Earth Day, which was on April 22nd, we created, planted and hung up recycled planters to revitalize our rooftop playground. The girls were excited to do this with the girls in grades 3, 4, 5, and 6. Stop by and check out the painted and sprouting planters.

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K adds a final touch to her planter with a stamp and some purple paint. Having their work displayed for everyone to see is very special to the girls. It will be exciting to water the plants and watch them grow over the next few weeks.

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Z and G work together to dissect our dying hyacinth. They discover that on top of having petals, leaves, and a stem, the hyacinth is growing from a bulb! Z spends a long time peeling away the layers around the bulb, and she eagerly shares her observations with her classmates. Z excitedly tells me that the bulb is like an onion (it is very white and shiny looking without the outside layers of the bulb). 

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As G dissects the hyacinth, she is curious about the leaves. She decides to break the leaf in smaller pieces, and quickly feels something sticky, which reminds her of aloe vera. With a closer look, we can even see the sticky strands stretching across the leaf gap when it is broken – very cool!

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S has designed and created this beautiful pipe-cleaner necklace at the Art Centre. If you ask me, it looks like she could have a future in jewellery design. She suggested that we collect rocks from the ravine and get wire to wrap around them to create necklaces.

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G uses the plant parts from the dissected hyacinth to create artwork. This is definitely an interesting way to reuse the plants that we’ve watched bloom, dry out, and then taken apart. 

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M works on finding different combinations of shapes that, put together, can make a hexagon.  A big part of developing spatial sense is working through composing and decomposing shapes. She was so excited to find all 8 combinations!

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M and S look closely at the daffodil plant that they are dissecting at the Nature Centre. Like the hyacinth, it has seen better days, and can support the girls’ learning about plants in a new way. These girls noticed that unlike the hyacinth, which was only one bulb, the daffodil actually has 3-4 smaller bulbs in the soil that the separate plants are growing from. Multiple bulbs allow both girls to work with their own plant.

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At the Light Table this week, the girls were provoked with the question, “What do you think the Earth looks like?”. Z and GK worked together on this design. At the top the black beads represent outer space. There are a few different planets in the space. On Earth there is a special tree that gives life to people. 

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S uses the separated daffodil pieces to create artwork at the Nature Centre. 

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M practices her weekly words, underlining the middle vowel in each word. After a bit of practice, she can tell me all of the vowels without looking at the board

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The beautiful cherry blossom blooms at High Park. We took a field trip to see them in the middle of the week.

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Delicately, K holds some of the blooms in her hand to steady them so that she can get a closer look at them using her magnifying glass. They are absolutely stunning. 

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The gang’s all here (and Ellen is taking the picture). Taking a trip to High Park to see the cherry blossoms was very special. We practiced riding the TTC, sketched the blossoms up close, made landscape drawings of the trees from farther back, and played on the playground before heading back to Linden. The appreciation for, and excitement towards nature that these girls show is inspiring. 

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GK glues down a daffodil bulb, and encircles it with a long leaf. Noticing the extra glue, she decides to add dirt to the design and sprinkles it onto the wet glue. Very interesting to watch each girl find her own creative way to use the materials in her work.

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G and M are using materials to show their ideas about what the Earth looks like. The pompoms are the stars, the gem-rimmed circle is the earth with the oceans, and there are a number of planets and homes floating around. They have even added “binoculars” for visitors to take a look at the Earth with.

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S directs her own learning at the Math Centre, choosing a variety of materials to use today. She uses all of these materials to practice her addition.

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S is working independently on representing the Earth how she sees it. She includes the sky, the shore, grass, and oceans. The white buttons have a couple purposes – boats in the open water and islands in the water.

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K celebrated her 6th birthday this week, and the girls had a French birthday party for her!