Week Three: Making Salsa and Being Creative
I continue to be blown away each day by the curiosity these girls have and the initiative they already take so naturally in the classroom. They have learned where materials are located and how to access and use them in appropriate, respectful ways. They generate creative solutions to problems we encounter, and are eager to "solve mysteries" around the school. I am excited to see them share their voice openly throughout the day, and also respect each others' voices in and out of the classroom.
Here's a snapshot of learning through play this week:
A Linden family generously donated this set of funky craft scissors, and it was no surprise that it was a popular material this week. Here, Z is working on her own creation, using a mix of materials in the Art Centre. She takes close attention to inspect the pattern that the scissors will cut before choosing a pair to use.
G brought in a ton of fresh tomatoes this week from her home garden, so we decided to make salsa. G is using all of her strength to squeeze lime juice into the bowl of diced tomatoes and pressed garlic. Most of the girls recognized the smell of limes, although initially they thought it was a lemon!
All four girls are enjoying their first taste of the class-made salsa. Only two had previously tried salsa, but it was a unanimous vote of "I love it" all around.
A look at our masterpiece, which also served as snack throughout the week. RECIPE: 6-8 medium to large tomatoes (diced), 1 shallot (finely chopped), 3 cloves of garlic (pressed), juice from 1 lime, cilantro & salt to taste; I diced/chopped the ingredients before the girls mixed all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, and then stored extras in a sealed container in the fridge for the week.
G spends some time after Writer's Workshop practicing writing her letters using the class "practice boards". These come in handy for letter practice, number practice, or creative drawing.
Z listens to two Grade 6 girls read Dinorella. It is our first session of Reading Buddies, where each Early Learner is grouped with 3-4 Grade 6 girls, and will have Reading Buddy time with one of the older girls each week. Today the girls discussed their favourite colours, animals, foods, and books, and then chose a book to read together.
G is working on sight word recognition. She is learning the words "see" and "you" by finding them in the weekly poem.
M has found a new, creative use for our building materials - chopsticks! She was excited to show the girls how to use these.
G is working on representing a sunflower on paper using plasticine. She enjoys squishing the green between her fingers and then adding it to the page to create the stem. Here, she is rolling the yellow out, and then layers each piece around the centre of the flower to create the petals.
M is the first girl in the class to create a calendar for next month for us to use to help us track the days we are at school, as well as track special days like birthdays and holidays! She uses an example to write the month, days of the week, and numbers in the appropriate places. You can see that we have used yellow post-it notes to represent days at school, and green post-it notes to represent days at home.
Last week I asked the girls what items they felt could be added to the Drama Centre. Responses ranged from a telephone to a garden to play people. I managed to find an old phone to incorporate, and it was an instant hit. M is having a serious conversation with her driver about picking her up to take her to the airport. The excitement toward a new material in the classroom emphasizes how important it is for students to co-create their learning environment.
Z is happy to share her version of a plasticine sunflower. You can see that she looked closely as an observer to notice the small leaves interspersed with the petals, the larger leaf coming off of the stem at the top, and the small knots along the sides of the stem.
M, along with all of the other girls, is creating alphabet letters using sticks collected from the ravine. This is one small piece of our nature alphabet, which will be displayed in the classroom.
In Art, the girls are working on creating backgrounds out of small squares of tissue paper and a glue mixture, which will then act as a background to a piece of artwork. First Z carefully lays out the paper to create a design, then paints glue overtop to attach and seal each piece to the paper.
G is designing her own cell phone in art. You can see how carefully she's measuring the paper against the box that she wants to cover, and then using the edges to guide her cutting. There is a lot of spatial sense that goes into a task like this!
M has been very curious about the plants, especially the sunflowers that we continue to have in our classroom. They are noticeably dying, and the girls have been making predictions about why this might be happening (i.e., "the petals are falling off like the leaves because it's fall and winter's coming"). M spent time creating a book in the Nature Centre with pictures and words to help share her theories about the sunflowers. She also included detailed depictions of other items that caught her eye, like the leaf from "her tree" in the park that we found earlier in the week.
G & Z work collaboratively on tracing the letters, and then ordering them around the carpet based on their alphabetic order. A lot of letter recognition, identification, and position in reference to other letters is happening here.
Z is drawing different repeating patterns on her practice board, as well as building patterns based on varying the shape and size of pieces. You can see from top to bottom, hers are: square-square-rectangle-triangle; A-C-E; heart-square-triangle; girl-boy. We are practicing ensuring that each time the pattern repeats all of the parts of the pattern are there.