OhThisClassroomGlows

Create, Be Curious, Learn, have Fun and GLOW

A Morning at the Assiniboine ZOO!

 

This morning we went to the zoo on the bus (Zoe and Aude). The first thing we did was we went into the ZOO classroom (Maevyn). We checked out some bear claws and we got to feel the fur of different bears (Anton). The zoo classroom had a lot of different animals  around us (Quintin). We got to feel a Polar Bear and Brown Bear skull – it felt hard and the teeth were very sharp and the nose was very big (Luca and Levi). We asked the zoo expert Bran our 5 questions that we could not find the answers to (Julia). We learned that:

  • Bears Tarpor instead of hibernate. Which means they don’t sleep as soundly as animals who hibernate – they may wake up to eat or move.
  • We learned which bears are carnivores and which bears are herbivores.
  • Bears don’t hibernate together – but different bears may have different bear dens that would be in the same place but they wouldn’t be in the same dens together. They can be found side by side but not in the same den.
  • There are 8 different kinds of bears; Spectacled Bear, Panda Bear, Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear, American Black Bear, Asiatic Black Bear. Brown Bear, Sun Bear and Sloth Bear.
  • The Polar Bear is the biggest bear and his hair is see though (translucent or clear)

We checked out the Reindeer and we learned that when they are walking it makes a rice krispy noise (Levi). The reindeer boys grow antlers to attract girls (Keito).

We saw two Polar Bears playing in their den. We also got to watch a 10 min video about protecting the Earth so that the animals can continue to roam free.

We learned that the zoo uses Beet Juice on the zoo sidewalks to keep the sidewalks from becoming slippery. We thought it smelled like soya sauce or pizza.

We saw a red fox named Simon. He was walking into a hole(Anton).

We saw a pack of Wolves there were 5 of them. 1 girl and 4 boys they were brother and sister and cousins. (Levi)

We saw Buffalo and I thought they were disgusting, because they smelled gross. The Buffalo dad was walking weird. (Mira and Levi)

We finished the morning with a snack. Aude and her  mommy made some awesome Banana Bread with chocolate chips for all the Grade 1/2 Montrosians. It was so good, it was BANANAS!!

We love the zoo and can’t wait to go back again!

 

 

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Knowledge Building Circle

Today we had a Knowledge Building Circle. I learned about Knowledge Building Circles last spring at a Natural Curiosity two day workshop Montrose Staff attended.

The term Knowledge Building Circle refers to the seating configuration of students as they engage in Knowledge Building Discourse. The circle is an intentional physical configuration that is conducive to successful Knowledge Building for several reasons:

• Circles promote attentive listening and communication. The physical shape facilitates face-to-face dialogue amongst students. Eye contact and ‘attentive’ body language – physical signs of respect and active listening – are more visibly apparent.

• Circles eliminate hierarchy. All students enjoy an equal place in a circle. No one student takes precedence over another. The teacher takes his or her place within the circle as a co-learner. As members of this egalitarian knowledge building community, students both learn from, and contribute to, each other’s understanding. They take turns speaking and wait patiently for their turn. In Early Years classrooms, or in classes at any grade level that are new to Knowledge Building Discourse, the teacher may direct the conversation by selecting which student with their hand up will speak next. The goal is for the students to eventually raise their hands and wait for the student who has just spoken (not the teacher) to choose who will speak next. (Natural Curiosity 2016)

It was extremely inspiring to see the students sharing what they have learned, listening to their peers and then making connections to what was said. It is always important to share what we have learned or what we are learning. As students were sharing – I was madly listening and typing out their words. Their words were instantly projected onto the smart board with their names attached to their comments. You could see how proud they were of themselves and you could see their confidence increasing as learners, zoologists and scientists.

Knowledge Building Circle – February 10th 2017

  • Polar Bears like to tackle each other and slide on the snow. The cubs get to ride on the back of the mama Polar Bear.(Janna).
  • Grizzly Bear and Polar Bears are dangerous. (Shayle)
  • Polar Bears can blend in or camouflage into the snow. (Shayle and Luca)
  • Grizzly Bears like to eat fish especially Salmon and grubs and berries. (Georgia and Keito)
  • Grizzly Bears like to play in the water. (Georgia)
  • Right before summer Polar Bears build dens and they are like freezer in the summer to keep them cool. (Julia)
  • Grizzly Bears like to eat insects, bison, fluff on dandelions. (Julia)
  • Polar Bears can eat Moose, Elk, Caribou, Seal, – they are the only animals that can eat and kill large animals. (Levi)
  • Polar Bears like to eat plants and berries. They live in Dens. (Sari)
  • Sometimes tackle each other. I think they might be playing. (Zoe)
  • Black Bears hibernate in caves. Black Bears also hibernate for a very long time. They also like to dig holes in the ground to sleep in. Polar Bears sleep for 6 months. (Shayle and Quintin and Julia and Anton)
  • Polar Bears become camouflaged in the snow from their fur. (Maevyn)
  • Polar Bears are very big animals. (Anton) Polar Bears are as heavy as a washing machine and as big as a car. (Julia) A Polar Bear is 10 feet tall and a Grizzly Bear is 8 Feet tall. (Levi) A Polar Bear is the largest bear on Earth. A Brown Bear is second biggest. (Room 129)
  • I learned that Polar Bears have black skin to keep them very warm in the winter. Sometimes you can see if when they come out of the (Finnley)
  • A Queen Black Bear gets a set of large fangs and long sharp claws. The male has stronger bones than the Woman. The male is the bear who fights off the enemies. (Mira)

So much learning. I’m a pretty proud teacher.

 Have a great weekend and keep exploring Bears!

 

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We Wonder About Canadian Bears

This January we began our inquiry into Canadian Animals. We asked questions about Canadian Animals: What makes an Animal a Canadian Animal? What are mammals? Why are there no Tigers in Canada? Are there Panda Bears in Canada? And so many other great questions. ~ One of the most exciting things about teaching grade 1/2’s is the natural curiosity they all have. They really all see themselves as scientists seeking out answers to their every day, every second questions. ~  Over the course of  this first week back at school, we began to identify characteristics that were common of Canadian Animals – we knew where they lived and we learned the different animal baby names thanks to a fantastic U of M – Women In Science Presentation. We began the process of learning how to research and find facts about animals  from different sources. Over the course of our Canadian Animal discovery we thought it would be a good idea to go deeper with our learning and really explore and inquire about one animal, together as a class. So we voted as a class to go in depth into Canadian Bears. How exciting it is to be learning, discovering, researching together about Canadian Bears. We thought of a lot of questions about Canadian Bears and then we brainstormed ways to find the answers to these questions. Room 129 zoologists are well on their way to becoming Canadian Bear experts! This week we started our Knowledge Gaining Centres where we have set out to find answers to our questions though, books, information found online, Online Videos, Poetry and Look/Draw Sketching. We also have a field trip planned to the zoo for this Monday, where we will be asking Bear experts all of our deeper questions that we haven’t been able to find the answers to.

Students are understanding how to review questions they’ve had, look at sources and begin to find the information to answer their questions. I can pretty much guarantee we will all be Canadian Bear experts by the end of our Inquiry. Then we just need to decide how we want to share everything that we have learned! hmmmmmmmm.

Today we continued our Mindfulness activities, but also incorporated our bear theme. We pretended to breath like bears that were hibernating. This means to breath slowly through our noses. 5 seconds to breath in, 5 seconds to breath out. Try it with yourself or your little cubs at home! It is a great way to relax and re-focus.

Have your been following our OhThisClassroomGlows Instagram account! I have been sharing a photo each day of our learning. It’s a pretty neat way to stay involved with what your child is doing at school. Let me know if you need some help getting set up. It’s a pretty fun way to stay connected with what is happening.I always appreciate comments and feedback too! 🙂

I’m still blogging…and I have a guest blogger working on a blog too! So lots continues to happen if Room 129! Thanks for following along!

 

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Staying Mindful in a busy World

It’s 2017!!! Yea! What a year it will be! So exciting!

We are often excited at the passing of time. Anticipating the happy things that will happen to us this year. Thinking about all the good we can do. Some of us make resolutions. As a teacher and a mom I often think about what the passing of years means to kids. Does it make them excited? Do they have the skills to think about the year ahead and make goals for themselves?

I think they are beginning to understand.

I blogged in the beginning of the year about how we practice mindfulness in our classroom. I have come to believe that it is an essential skill in our hectic World today. Kids are shuttled around from home to school to afterschool activities and back again, sometimes (often) with no transition time or down time. We all hope that children can lead happy, relaxed and calm lives, but often we neither teach them how to do this nor do we lead by example. So this year, I am teaching them more. They have always had their regular day 4 yoga class with Murray. He does an excellent job of leading the students though yoga and mindful activities. I just feel like it needs to be more and as I do it more, maybe it will become more at home too.

Mindfulness and relaxation have many health benefits, Relaxation and a child’s ability to consciously relax the body and clear the mind can also help address issues such as:

  • Anxiety – kids have anxiety. When I talk to my class about what makes them anxious they talk about being worried about who they will play with at recess or lunch. They talk about being nervous to start a new school or meet a new teacher in their school.
  • Sleep disorders and nightmares – many parents have talked to me about the sleep habits of their 6 and 7 year old. There are many obstacles that are keeping them awake or  waking them up in the middle of the night.
  • Anger issues
  • Focus and concentration issues
  • Depression
  • Low-self-esteem or negative attitude
  • Grief
  • Life changes such as a move, divorce or change at school

Mindfulness can also address everyday challenges in children’s lives including:

  • Being afraid of the dark at bedtime
  • Having a bad day at school
  • Anxiety about school
  • Missing a parent at work or who travels
  • Feeling frustrated over school work or at home

Sometimes we do some mindful activities using you tube videos to help guide us. We sit on the carpet together and let the words guide our thoughts and breath.

Here are some examples:

 

 

Most of the videos we watch are about 5 minutes or less and then we talk afterwards about what we notice about our body and mind after.

 

I also use the Imaginations book – Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids by Carolyn Clarke. I have the students find a comfy, cozy place all by themselves in the classroom. They have their sketch books with them. They can choose to sketch as I tell a story (meditation) or they can just close their eyes, breath and imagine. Most students choose to draw as I talk. Today we did one called A day at the Beach. Seemed fitting with three indoor recesses and an Extreme Cold Warning outside our classroom window. We all needed an escape to our minds and breath. So we imagined our breath was the Ocean and were guided from there. It was lovely. At the end we shared our sketches with friends and talked about what we noticed as we were listening and  meditating.

I hope you and your child can find or have found peacefulness, happiness and a sense of calm in your life. I hope this blog inspires you to maybe try some being mindful activities at home. Perhaps your child can lead you through some.

Have fun and happy relaxing.

 

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Followers! I’m excited about 2017! For many reasons and lots having to do with the happenings in Room 129!

But first, a little pep talk to welcome you back to the blog and remind you to BE MORE AWESOME and let’s explore 2017 together!

 

I have to apologize for my lack of blogging. There are a number of reasons for my absence and it’s not because I haven’t been thinking our this blog. I think about this blog a lot. If you look at my picture stream in my phone – I take a lot of pictures of the cuties in Room 129. I have ideas for blogs, I just haven’t made time to sit down and write them. Some of that has to do with the busy time that is the month of December (and November…). Some of that has to do with Winnipeg School Division wanting me to transfer this blog over to a WSDedublog, which I will do in 2017. Some of it has to do with being bombarded with Seasaw (http://web.seesaw.me/seesaw-for-schools/)  and other forms of Digital Portfolios for students. I’m trying to figure out what is the best and most efficient and practical way to communicate and share learning digitally online for 6 and 7 year olds.

I love this blog. I love blogging. The purpose of starting this blog was to communicate with and inspire parents, grandparents, family near and far, friends and even my family (perhaps my most loyal followers, my mom, dad and grandparents!). So often these 6 and 7 year old students go home after a busy day of learning and forget to share what they have learned with their parents. I thought if parents had talking points or pictures that they could talk about or ask deeper questions about, it would ignite lively dinner time conversations, encourage interesting bedtime discussions and just connect student’s home and family with their learning. I also thought it may extend student’s learning by allowing opportunities for families to find their own connections through books at home and there own opportunities to investigate inquiries together as a family. Last year when my class was learning about Winnipeg, families really took it upon themselves to get out and explore Winnipeg! They visited many different places In Winnipeg and shared stories of experiences in Winnipeg that may have gone unshared. We looked at the history of Winnipeg and each student wrote amazing books about A Winnipeg Day. I was fulfilled as a teacher to hear about all of these vast experiences that families were having together that were prompted by learning done in school. I would see grandparents in Superstore and they would tell me the difference the blog was making in discussions with their grandchildren. They were sharing and making history together.

So, in 2017 we will continue our blogging. The blog will remain OhthisclassroomGlows and hopefully I can copy my blog history to our new url with Winnipeg School Divisions Edublog (I’m sure we can).

2017 will also have us reveal two new opportunities to share our learning. We will start our OhthisclassroomGlows twitter account. Twitter is different than blogging and the way Room 129 will be using to twitter will be to help us connect with authors of books we love, people around Canada (maybe even our Prime Minister). In the past we were using my laura_thomas_99 twitter handle. We connected on twitter with the Mayor Brian Bowman’s office last year and have followed Barbara Reid and a few other authors connecting with them. I think moving forward it is best if we have a classroom twitter handle and my own professional twitter handle separate (although feel free to follow me on both!). In the year 2017 I know it is hard to believe. but twitter is a way, possibly the best way, for people and students to connect with many interesting people around Canada and the World. It is quick and easy and opens up opportunities to exchange knowledge and information. And don’t worry President Elect Donald Trump will not be followed by OhthisclassroomGlows. There are things that I don’t like about twitter and I’m sure we can/will have a discussion about those. Room 129 will be using twitter to connect with people that they are interested in or that link to our classroom learning. I monitor all of our social media regularly. Twitter can be a really positive way to extend our classroom discussions and a very exciting way for classrooms to participate with others in meaningful, relevant and very currant ways. The link below shows some of the benefits.

15 Ways To Use Twitter In Education (For Students And Teachers Alike)

Something that I am very excited about starting is our brand new OhthisclassroomGlows instagram account! Personally I love Instagram. I love it for many reasons and use it often with my own family. It is like an online digital portfolio of the past few years. Our family trips, funny moments, embarrassing moments, life experiences and all the monumental, memorable moments in between. They are documented. For me. For my family. For my friends near and far. But a lot of my Instagram is just for me. One of my favourite things is how easy it is to look back on our previous years. See how my kids have grown. I have hashtags in place that connect their birthdays all together (some of you may have no idea what I am talking about when I say hashtag to connect all of their birthdays 🙂 and that’s okay! ).

I created an OhthisclassroomGlows Instagram account over the Christmas break https://www.instagram.com/?hl=en . I encourage you to follow us, as I will be using Instagram often in 2017. I am going to challenge myself to try and Instagram a picture each school day. I will be showing our followers through pictures; our good moments, funny moments, interesting moments, our learning, our art, our math, and it may be through an amazing Instagram filter, but I promise you it will be real life in Room 129! My hope is that through our Room 129 picture of the day you will see a glimpse or moment that you can talk with your child about. Two of our students have parents that live outside of Canada (Shout out to Keito’s dad who follows our blog regularly and Jenna’s dad from the Philippines). Grandparents and family that live far away will be able to see what we are up to. It’s an exciting World where we are all able to connect together in such meaningful and fairly easy ways! I can’t wait for you to follow our journey. (side note: Our account is private and I will be monitoring and adding only followers I myself or student’s in Room 129 know). If my 61 year old mom and 72 year old father in law and my 86 year old grandma can figure out how to use Instagram (although they had a fair bit of help with start up – but now they follow along fairly easily!) I know that you all can do it! Perhaps you will be inspired by our Instagram account and will create one for yourself!

So why all of this technology? Why all this social media in 2017?

Because….it’s nice to have options. Because…it’s nice to have balance. Because… it’s nice to share. Because… it’s great to inspire others. Because… learning is meaningful when it is connected to real life. Because… it’s 2017 and I am teaching to the future. Because…. I want you to be a part of our learning. Because… students will learn that their learning matters to themselves and others. Because…so many conversations will be started and continued thanks to these interactions on social media.

There is a balance to technology and social media. I am well aware of the stats and the research into too much. I read articles about putting your phone down more, being more present. I am NOT the mom in the park so interested in getting a good Instagram photo I forget why I am at the park 🙂 . Balance is important. So let’s try. See what happens. Take a chance. Share more of ourselves. I am so excited to have more conversations with you about this.

I’m going to link a few articles that I have read. Maybe I will write an article one day about our Grade 1/2 experiences with social media. In my research into this I did not find many articles talking specifically about early years, so there is a bit of a gap when I was looking at articles related to all of education (K-Gr. 12).  Not all of the information in these articles is pertinent to Room 129’s inquiry with social media. But they are interesting.

~ We were made to be awesome! Let’s get out there! Let’s do this 2017!! ~  

 

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/guidebook-social-media-in-classroom-vicki-davis   (I love edutopia)

 

http://www.teachhub.com/13-reasons-use-twitter-classroom

 

25 top ways teachers use Twitter in the classroom

 

 

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Sky Sisters Art

 

 

Suddenly, I hear my sister exclaim, “Look. They’re here!” High above us are the SkySpirits, dressed in my favourite green and Nimise’s blue. We watch them sway and flicker in the four directions. Streamers of pink and purple swirl and flow across the sky. Twisting and turning, the SkySpirits join together. Around and around they spin. Faster and faster. Their shimmering parkas and scarves lift with the wind as they dance in the northern sky.

They wave down to us. And we wave back. Over and over.

~ Sky Sister ~ Written by Jan Bourdeau Waboose

 

Over the past few weeks we have been looking at the Canadian Northern Lights. Their colour and sequence. We have been wondering about how they happen. When they happen. And ofcourse why they happen. We were inspired by the Sky Sisters book to create our own Northern Light Art work. They turned out so well, we are going to do something very special with them.

We also had a guest speaker come, Alex, from Yellowknife to speak about what it is like to live there and he spoke a lot about the Northern Lights. Alex can climb up a hill or even his roof to see the Northern Lights almost every single night in the winter.

Come enjoy our beautiful Art. They are posted outside of our classroom on our bulletin board.

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A Porcupine in a Pine Tree

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We had a great day performing our amazing rendition of A Porcupine in a Pine Tree!

Thanks to everyone for coming to see!

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Snowologists At Work

Snowologists: Noun. Someone who studies snow (and ice). Someone who knows a lot about snow. It’s like a scientist. They draw, build, research and study snow very closely. (sn-ow-ol-o-gist).

We love to get outside, especially when it is snowing “slushing” outside. It’s not rain and it’s not snow… what is it??!!

Room 129 can’t wait to get outside each and every day. They love their three recesses and are really enjoying working together on different snow projects. Last year Montrosians built a GIGANTIC snow fort, as well as many other smaller fort variations. I can tell already that this year the students will continue with these efforts and are already inspired to make huge forts.  It was amazing to see the kids work together, sorting out jobs/positions for each other and you better do your job or you’re FIRED kindly and respectively asked to go and work at another position! 🙂

 

So, today I went around and took some pictures of our Snowologists at work!

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That’s a canon ball made out of snow! Come on! You can’t make this stuff up!! 🙂

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These girls worked so hard. I kept telling them to ROLL the snowballs instead of picking them up. But they were innovative and came up with their own ways!

 

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Keito’s first Canadian Winter! (Hi Dad!!!)

 

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Zoe and Sari spent their time cleaning and adding to their fort. These are Snow Chairs they are resting on after working so hard! #Genius

 

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Busy guy here! Mucking around in his own pile of snow!

20161129-202916.jpg   Brody got me with snow!

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Caution : Snowologists At Work!

20161129-202958.jpg     He danced and watched his classmates having fun in the snow! Snow Much Fun!

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This group worked hard. They all had “jobs” and were learning to communicate so that everyone was heard and everyone worked together.

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SNOW MUCH FUN!

Okay, it was a little icy! But she INSISTED on doing another shot!

 

We are enjoying all this snow and we hope it snows so much more!

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O CANADA

We are beginning our Inquiry into Canada. I am asking that students bring in a picture (or a few ) of a place that they have visited in Canada. We will be grouping the pictures into provinces and territories and then seeing where the learning takes us with the students leading the way. It will be very exciting to travel Canada in the coziness of our Room 129 classroom! If you have a contact that would be interested in skyiping with us, we would love to meet different people from different provinces.

O Canada! We are so inspired by our Country!

 

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SNOW Wonder

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Students were up at the window, amazed at the beautiful snow. It proved quite inspiring to our writing. We are working on some pretty interesting books and poems. Using these first few snow falls as inspiration!

Cheers to Snow!!

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