Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentines and 100th Day and Monkeys...oh my!

I knew that I was in for quite the week rather early in the school year when I discovered that Valentine's Day and the 100th Day of School would fall in the same week. Then add in an enormous (for PH) snowfall, a school-wide skating afternoon, and the week felt like a non-stop party (Also known as draining.  Very draining.).

However, parties and party events can lead to excellent learning opportunities!

Decorating for Valentine's Day allows us to talk about symmetry and balance...

...and to learn about balanced diets (and eating the healthy stuff first!).

The 100th day of school...

...allowed us to count out 100 books, figure out how many each student should carry to the gym to make the loads fair, and to stack them up to see how high the pile was...

...before laying them out end-to-end to see how long the line was!  

It stretched across the gym then almost all the way back again.

Streamers, of course, make everything more fun!  Unfortunately, all of my balloon fun pictures, and images of other activities, have the students featuring prominently.  Great for their parents, but not for my blog.  :)

Then there was Curious George.  We watched the movie over the course of the week (about 25 minutes each afternoon Monday-Thursday) to replace our Rest Time, and loved it completely!  It was absolutely darling, the music was great, and appealed to the all of the children...and to their teacher!  We've been reading Curious George stories, so watching the movie was a logical choice this week. 

 Not surprisingly, the students wanted to paint all over the walls like George did!  While this wasn't possible, we did have a blast on Friday painting all over the floor!  We measured off equal sections of the big drop cloth (more math!) which usually goes underneath our tables during art projects, poured out the paints (lessons in colour blending!)...

...and went wild!  You'll notice that a couple of the students wanted to work together, hence the double-sized section.  This activity also provided a lesson in natural consequences.  We practiced (without paint!) how to start at the top of the section and then work down, to avoid kneeling on the paint, before getting down to the art.  They all mastered this, though one sock got some paint marks...not bad! We also tested to see how thickly we could glop paint before it started to leak through to the carpet!  The results of that will not be known until I go to the school on Sunday.

Our finished masterpieces included everything from trucks and coconut monkeys and robots!

Of course, Curious George was a very important part of the finished product!

This activity was a great example of Teacher as Facilitator...and of interest-led learning!  I had nothing to do with the art or ideas, and everything to do with running around madly changing paint water, getting more paint, replacing paper towels, washing brushes, and generally trying to keep things clean.  Did I have "paint big scenes on the floor" in my lesson plans for the day?  No, I sure didn't.  I don't know if I would have ever even dreamed of taping down a big canvas and letting them go at it.  It's a lesson that I definitely plan to repeat!

Friday, February 4, 2011


Top Grade One Moment of the Day...while the students were playing with Playmobil and setting up a forest camp:

R, a very entertaining and precocious little girl, said, "The men need to go off hunting and the women need to stay and set up the camp."

When I questioned the reason for the traditional roles (not criticizing, just questioning), I was told that it was "because the women actually know what needs to be done!"

How do you argue with that?