It rained a lot this week!

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Hi all,

First of all a very Happy Birthday to Kelvin, thank you for sharing your special day with us and that delicious party food.

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On Tuesday we said bye bye Joanne as she headed to America for a family trip and we are excited to see her again next year with her new baby brother, best wishes to Joanne and her family over this exciting time.

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It rained every day this week and we have had one outdoor inquiry time, what do you do when you’re stuck inside all week? Well we kept busy with cubby houses and painting and throwing wool to make a spiders web and then adding hand made spiders. We played play dough and we danced to GoNoodle, we sang and napped. We built amazing things that can only be done in a whole morning of uninterrupted play. What a wonderful time we had just being together and having fun.

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We also had time to do our last self portrait, a beautiful work done with play dough and other items added for detail, you can see them when you come to our class party on Tuesday. How wonderful it is to see how much the children have grown and developed in the past year.

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Next week will be lots more playing and enjoying each others company as we prepare to say goodbye for the vacation and also for the move to a new class. The students have been keeping a count down calendar of the days left and they are all excited to think about which class they may be in next year. They know that they will be the big kids now as we get another group of children in Penguin class. We look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday for our end of year class party.

have a great weekend and download any picture here.

Beach day!

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Hi all,

Well we have been working on “Who We Are” making balloon books about ourselves, measuring and comparing to each other, making graphs of the things we have in common and things that are different. Students have been sharing their likes and dislikes and we have been talking about  why people like different things and is that OK?

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We also had a special visitor Danny Bracken and artist from the USA who helped us to contribute to the art installation in the courtyard. His nature inspiration was so exciting to see, he shared bird pictures and sounds with us and then we tried making the bird sound ourselves as he recorded them. This has been added to a beautiful display of foil, painted leaves hung in the courtyard. When the children walked through the next day with Mr.Danny they stood quietly and gazed at the leaves shimmering in the sun and tried to hear their own voice on the recording of bird sounds, it was wonderful to see their enthusiasm for this art project.

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On Wednesday the students and Mr.Nathan invited Ms.Rachel to attend their last gymnastics lesson so they could teach me what they have learned. They were wonderful, enthusiastic teachers and it wasn’t long before I was jumping, balancing and tumbling along behind them (with a little bit of giggling coming from the students!).

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There were many other exciting happenings in and out of our classroom this week but I’m sure the one you have heard the most about was beach day! We face painted, splashed water all over each other, squirted each other with the hoses and slid on the slip’n slide. After all that running we were tired and went inside to change have lunch and finish a super fun day with a nice cold ice cream. WHAT A DAY!!

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Have a great weekend, click here to download this weeks pictures.

How did you get bigger?

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Hi all,

First of all a very Happy Birthday to Thibault, thank you so much for sharing your cake and some yummy fruit with us, it was delicious.

 

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Next week we start our last UOI of the year, a last look at “Who We Are” and students will be reflecting on how they have grown and changed over the year. Students will be measured and make graphs of their like and dislikes, we will do some more book making about each child and we’re going to do one more self portrait, in play dough.

We have started this investigation with some body measuring and conversation about how we got bigger, we heard that you can get bigger if you eat your rice, your vegetables and if you have a Birthday you also grow! We look forward to finding out more about each child’s unique family, likes and dislike and working out how to share this with everyone. We started our first like and dislike experiment today with some pancake making, and a choice of three toppings for your pancake, students chose between apple, corn and banana. Students tried several flavors and talked to each other about what they like or disliked.

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We had a wonderful time at the 3-5 assembly where we were invited to present our video about water pollution and speak to the ‘big kids’ about our concerns regarding rubbish on the playground. The students confidently walked onto the stage in front of so many people, sat quietly as their movie played and then bravely stood up and said what they wanted to with the microphone. We are so proud of our students for taking this important action, and Ms.Tatz has asked us if we would like to help her monitor the problem to see if we can fix it so now we are rubbish monitors one day a week, checking the playground and reporting our results to Ms.Tatz.

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And in between all of this excitement we were very busy playing with our new toys and reading our new books. Our international order arrived on Monday and we have had such a wonderful time making buildings with the new big blocks, setting up and sharing the new trains and tracks, rolling balls down the new rolling tracks and shooting hoops in our new basket ball ring. If we’re a bit tired this weekend you know why!

Have a great weekend, and click here to download.

We are risk takers!

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Hi all,

It’s been another busy week and we can see that our students (and our teachers!) are getting tired. This week has been the finishing parts of our UOI ‘Sharing the Planet’. Ms.Simone came to see our video about how we want to stop water pollution. She gave us an invitation to attend 3-5 assembly and share our video, we talked about what this would look like and went to the MPR to see how big it is, where we would sit and talked about how many people there would be. The students agreed that it might be a bit scary but they all agreed they would like to go.

The water play areas have been increasingly popular as the weather has warmed up, thank you to everyone for making sure your child has spare clothes. And if you did, thank you for having a conversation with your child about getting wet. It provides an invaluable opportunity for students to try something new, take risks, learn new things about floating sinking and measuring not to mention social skills like sharing negotiating, role playing and turn taking. This week we saw some wonderful turn taking and risk taking as a group of girls shared Maggie’s goggles to put their face in the water and blow bubbles, what a great experience for them as they lined up waited, tried it, then clapped for each other. And many of our children tried out the ‘water slide’, with a splash at the bottom.

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We have also had several visits from Butterfly class (thank you Lowenna and Noelle previous Penguin students) wanting to show and share their snail pets, our students have been so brave and interested in touching and holding the snails. We truly are risk takers!

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We’ve been taking risks in PE too, with our gymnastics lessons, walking along the high beam and jumping down from the high mats. Ms.Felix and I are so proud of our students for being brave and trying things that may be a little bit scary. We’re going to look further into why we can do things we couldn’t do before next week as we prepare for the end of the year and our ‘graduation’ bulletin board.

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We’ve also been working on our relaxation skills, each day after lunch we do a kids mindfulness video or a GoNoodle breathing video follow the link to try it at home. Students are learning to calm their bodies down and take a five minute time out to help them manage their feelings and feel calm and relaxed. Ms.Hiromi has also been working on calm down and waiting strategies in our guidance lessons. Students are using these strategies in class and during outdoor inquiry time and we can see that they are effective as students manage their own conflicts or their difficulty with waiting for their turn.

On Friday we spent an exciting hour in the MPR watching the students from Kindergarten expressing themselves on stage. The children from Penguin class were amazed and delighted as they saw children not much bigger than them dancing, doing magic, playing piano and much more. It was a wonderful way for Penguin class to prepare for their stage debut at the 3-5 assembly next week.

We were excited to release our frogs this week, students talked about what the frogs need to grow and be healthy and agreed that many of those things could not be in a box. The students discussed what kind of place would be right for the frogs and after listing, cool, wet, leave, bugs and somewhere where kids won’t stand on them, we found a lovely garden bed at the back of the gym where we opened the box and watched them hop away. It was such a wonderful way to show responsibility for a creature we had cared for since it was young. We are very grateful to Joanne and her parents for providing this opportunity.

We have started our 20 days of school count down this week, we’ve listed all the exciting things we will do before then and have also been talking about the transition to the four year old classes next year. As a result of open door Fridays students have gotten to know all of the four year old teachers and seen the rooms so we are confident that they are familiar with the room that they will move too. As we work through the count down calendar we will discuss this more and do further visits to the other rooms and start making notes to the teachers to ask any questions the children have. If your child has questions encourage them to talk to their teacher (or email me) so we can find the answer and calm any unease they may have about the transition.

My experience with this last month has shown me that now more than ever, routines, regular bed times and quiet family time are even more important. Students are tired, emotional about the changes coming and ready for a break. Please help us to help your child by keeping to your routines, and calmly discussing any fears they may have. If you have any questions about the coming year or your child’s ability to manage the change please do not hesitate to email me.

Have a great weekend and click here to download photo’s. (our Mothers Day preparations are in this slide show)

We’re going to make a movie…

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Hi all,

It was so lovely to see you all at school with your children this week, what a wonderful way to show your child that you are interested in what they are learning and that it is important. I was so impressed by comments I heard from so many of you telling your child how good their work was, how interesting their stories were and how beautiful their pictures were. Book making is a wonderful way for the children to use their emergent writing skills, mark making that represents words, letters and numbers they have learned, sounding out words, and understanding that their thoughts hold meaning and can be shared with others.

Click here to download these photos.

You can continue to support this learning by asking questions about books you read with your child. Ask ‘where is the front of the book’, ‘what do you think it’s about’, ‘who wrote this book’, ‘can you see their name’, ‘what do you think this page is about, tell me what you can see’, and ‘what do you think is going to happen?’ before you turn the page. Add simple comments to pages like ‘look that letter is the same as your name’, ‘oh I can see turtles’, ‘how many are there?’. We had a student teacher with us this week, Miss.Reggie and she did a wonderful job of this, the children were completely focused on her story time because she made the book engaging, fun and challenging, thanks Miss Reggie.

Another exciting development this week has been three of our tadpoles growing four legs, two of them are climbing up the sides of our container and one of them is still learning to use his legs, doing a bit of swimming and a bit of sitting! We also realized that they would soon need to eat bugs not rice or lettuce so we had to find a way to catch bugs! We did some research and found out that we could make a bug trap in a cup with some plastic and some fruit. We built it and set it up on the growing table and by the end of the day we had collected enough bugs to fee our frogs for a week. We have learned that frogs only need to be fed every three days and we have marked our feeding days on the calendar. So much can be learned from keeping a pet, all kinds of science, math, literacy along with care and responsibility.

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Jason and William look for insects to feed the frog.

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Abby shows the class the bug trap we made.

All of these lessons are being reinforced through our project on water pollution, students are showing a deep sense of care for the animals and their habitats. They have learned that rubbish from our playground can make it’s way to the ocean and make sea creatures sick. This is something they want tell others about and they have decided that the best place to start would be the students who they share the playground with. We have found quite a lot of rubbish on the playground when we go out after the upper grades and the children have collected it and added it to our display board. This week they went to collect rubbish while the students were out and they asked if they could send them a letter to tell them to stop dropping rubbish. I asked if they would like to make a movie to go with their note and they were very excited to do this.

We have had hours of fun planning, recording and even investigating how to make a movie. We will have Ms.Tanya our tech coach come to our classroom next week to help us with editing and Ms.Simone our PYP co-ordinator has asked if we would like to have the movie played at the 5th grade assembly.  We have some exciting action ahead of us and as we know from the students previous interests, taking action is a very effective way to consolidate learning.

Our window seeds have grown so much in the last month and some of them were so big they needed transplanting to the garden box by the door, we also added some beans from Ms.Christina. We wondered how the beans would look when they grew roots and shoots so we went looking in Teddy Bear class. They planted theirs last week and we saw the roots in a glass jar. Then we went out to the garden to see some that were planted the week before by Panda class and we saw the shoots and some leaves emerging. We are excited to see if ours have grown on Monday.

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I’d like to add a short reminder that the weather is warming up and this means the children are interested in more water play, mixing, measuring, splashing, sliding, pouring, floating sinking and so much more. Please be sure to have two changes of clothes in your child’s cubby at all times. If you want to children can also bring swim wear and water shoes. There is so much socializing, gross motor and language development, as well as science and math involved in water play so please talk with your child and not only make sure they know it’s ok to get wet but encourage them to do so. If your child has been unwell and you would prefer them to stay dry for a day or two please let us know and we will help them to do this, but please also help them to understand when they are well enough to try again.

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Have a great weekend, enjoy the photo’s of our week, click here to download them.

Turtles eat jelly fish not plastic bags!

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Hi all,

It’s been a week of environmental awareness, since wondering about air pollution and discovering what we could do to help the air stay clean children have also started to wonder about water pollution. While learning about turtles for a book Abby was making students discovered that turtles sometimes get sick because of rubbish in the ocean. We asked more questions about what kind of rubbish makes them sick and how does it get to the ocean and we discovered some problems we wanted to solve.

A scientist told us about turtles favorite food, jelly fish and that in the water plastic also looks like a jelly fish and so sometimes jelly fish eat plastic bags and get very sore tummies. We discovered in a book from the library that rubbish goes all the way from our school or the streets near our house down the drain, along the river and into the ocean.

The book we read asked the children what can you do to help the turtles and many children said we can tell everyone ‘don’t drop your rubbish, put it in the bin’. So decided we could tell everyone and show everyone by making our bulletin board a message about rubbish in the ocean. We worked together to paint animals, take pictures of littering and show that it’s not OK, we collected trash from the playground and told the big kids not to drop their rubbish. All of this is displayed on our board now and today a kindergarten class came to visit us and ask about why we had trash on our bulletin board. The students proudly explained why it was important to show people what happens when we drop our trash on the ground.

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Students discuss what they want to tell people on their water pollution display board.

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Penguin students collect rubbish from the playground and tell the big kids to put their rubbish in the bin.

Today students also looked at the drains in our playground and looked at the water going down after the rain and thought about how rubbish might make it’s way from here to the ocean. Some students wanted to make jelly fish to add to the board so that the turtles didn’t eat rubbish, their concern for the turtles is very strong and a number of children have wondered about what ‘endangered’ means and want to make sure the turtles don’t become extinct like dinosaurs.

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Students make sea creatures, including jelly fish for our diplay on water pollution.

There has been a stream of books being made as children are excited to read aloud to their parents, we have fiction , non-fiction, books with no words, books with no pictures, all kinds of books. It’s wonderful to see children confidently making their mark on a book they have folded and stapled and then put their name as the author and show the class at circle time. We can’t show you any picture as the children are excitedly waiting to show you on the 3rd of May!

Some of our peas are getting too big for their window bags so we have transplanted them to the planter box by the door. They have sticks to help them grow up, water each day and a little sun light from outside when the door is open. We have been measuring them to see how fast they grow and we are wondering when will they get flowers and peas in a pod?

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We’re looking forward to seeing all of you next week for our preschool read aloud day, have a great weekend.

Click here to download photo’s from this week.

We’re wondering about air.

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Hi all,

This week we had a couple of bad air pollution days and we had several children come to school wearing their masks. This sparked quite a lot of conversation about what is wrong with the air and why it is dirty. We had though earlier in the week  about how far up in the sky we could breathe air and in finding answers we watched a short film about the ozone layer. The animation showed where the air stops being breathable but also where the pollution is coming from that makes the air dirty. We learned that smoke from cars, buses, airplanes and factories all make the air unclean. We also found out that trees can clean the air, children asked if their school buses made smoke and we discovered that they do.

Children thought carefully about what they could do to help keep the air clean and we decided that we could plant more trees and ride our bikes. What an exciting thing to hear from our youngest generation of learners, they want to keep our planet healthy and hopefully we can do something to help this. Don’t be surprised if your child asks if they can ride to school or plant some trees, they are the future of our planet.

We have started to make a display to show our learning about air and we are thinking more about how we can help others to think about keeping the air clean. Watch this space to see what the children come up with, be prepared to make a change! Research tells us that one of the most effective ways to learn is to take action in a way that is meaningful to the learner.

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As well as some wonderful wondering about our world, we had literacy week! And what a week it was, we had our library lesson in Pandas class, we dressed up as our favorite book character, we went to a whole school assembly. On Thursday we met  the author Helen Becker, listened to a yet to be released story asked her questions bout how to write a book and then the fifth graders came and read to us. WOW, it was so much fun, we read all over the school, with so many people. We hope you are reading at home every day.

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We were also excited to start our gymnastics lessons with Mr.Nathan in PE and we are working hard at taking our shoes off and putting them on for each lesson, it’s so great to see so much independence.

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And not to forget Monday was cake day, the students has carefully chosen the ingredients for my Birthday ice-cream cake and we got busy making it early Monday morning so we could freeze it and eat it before home time. It was very delicious, with a chocolate layer, then strawberries, then a mango layer then some sprinkles on top!

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We have also completed this month’s self portraits, to follow our nature interests and the UOI ‘Sharing the Planet’ we asked the children, if you were a bug what would you look like? Here’s what we discovered…

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Click here to see the rest of this week’s 237 photo’s!!

What kind of seed is it?

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Hi all,

Following some seed investigations in the garden during outdoor inquiry time students have bee very interested in  growing things. Our growing table is positively groaning with the weight of things added to it, Ms.Felix cut open the apple we had been drawing and painting and modeling with paper mache, and planted the seeds, after just one week one of the seeds have sprouted. Along with some lemon seeds and today we saw the first glimpse of our ‘window seeds’ sending up shoots.

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We have learned a new song about seeds and their life cycle called the farmer plants a seed, you’ve probably heard it if you wait at the front gate for dismissal as we often sing it as we walk to the gate. We know that different types of seeds, produce different types of plants. The children chose the window seeds based on the vegetable they wanted. We know that the apple seeds will one day grow to be an apple tree that will flower, bees will pollinate and then there will be apples. Our paper mache apples have been completed and hung on the tree this week, although we did investigate different apple varieties it seems we might have some junior biologists who believe they can produce blue apples!

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As our seeds get bigger we will move them to our classroom garden, out to the mud pit, or ask students if they would like to take their plants home to watch them grow. One of the school staff came to help us assemble our indoor garden bed today and there was much excitement and lots of questions for him as he did it.

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We have inquired into what is living and not living and what makes things living, the children know that living things need to breathe air and this week I was called to settle a disagreement between two students because they couldn’t agree where in the sky you stop being able to breath the air! I tried my best to describe the layers of earths atmosphere but we will be doing some further investigations into breathing, how and where it is done to get the finer details.

We also spent some time making a big cocoon and a giant butterfly for our classroom door so that we can participate in next week’s door scavenger hunt. As part of literacy week we will go on a door/book hunt, attend a special literacy assembly, dress up as our favorite book character, have our library lesson outside and meet a visiting author. It will be a fun filled week!

Making a big cocoon for our door.

Making a big cocoon for our door.

I also tried to help students discover answers to their questions about what kind of frogs our tadpoles will be when they grow up. This has led to some inquiry into different types of frogs, their habitats, colours, sounds they make and whether they are poisonous. This will also help us to know how to care for the frogs that will go into our wildlife centre next week. We will need to work out what they need to live in, to eat and which frogs can share and enclosure (don’t worry, they’re plastic!).

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Looking closely at the tadpoles

These will be the three main areas of inquiry for now as children inquire deeply into what seeds, reptiles and people need to stay healthy. Along the way we will also take time to look at what makes them unhealthy; looking at healthy eating, clean air and our responsibility to the environment.

Have a great weekend and enjoy some pictures from our week. (Students from Panda class stayed with us for two morning this week as preschool four teachers did admissions testing for next year. Penguins were very caring in showing them what our routines were, you may see some of them in our slideshow.)

Click here to download the photo’s.

Living or non-living?

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Hi all,

First of all a very Happy (early) Birthday to Anna, thank you for sharing your cake with us and thank you so much for the lovely gifts you gave us all to say goodbye. We had a happy time singing Happy Birthday and then we had a sad time saying goodbye! It has been a pleasure to have Anna in our class, she has been a good friend to everyone and has grown so confident to share her knowledge with others, we have learned so much from her. We hope you are very happy at your new school in Japan, we will miss you.

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This is the question we have been wondering about this week, and it’s kept us very busy! Students started by thinking about what makes something living, and we came up with a list of things that plants animals and people need to be living. Then we looked around our room and wondered which things were living and non-living. This wondering was taken further as students looked at sticks and leaves fallen from trees and also things we eat like apples and eggs.

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Students also thought about what they had seen outside that was living and non-living, cars, tadpoles, bicycles, ducks, frogs… wow there is so much to think about in the living world. We looked further into how to help living things grow and stay healthy. Joanne brought in some tadpoles that she found in the pond near her house and we talked about how we would care for them and what would happen to them, many children knew that they would grow into frogs. We have spent time looking at pictures of the various stages of frog metamorphosis and also drawing the stages in our writing books. To make things even more exciting, when we were cleaning out out sand toys, Ms Paula found a frog and some of the children were brave enough to have a hold!

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During our conversations a couple of children said that they knew that caterpillars also change, that they become butterflies. So we have looked at the butterfly life cycle and read the Hungry Caterpillar to see what happens in what order. We have seen many butterflies outside and although we have looked we have not been able to find any butterfly eggs, so we decided to make our own! We found leaves, rolled up little balls of play dough and stuck them to the leaves with glue. They’re on the board in our butterfly life cycle display now.

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Somewhere in the middle there students had also been wondering about how chickens come in eggs sometimes. It came up in our conversation about living and non-living things. Students were able to see that the eggs we eat for snack are non-living but some eggs have bay chicks in them and they are living. So we watched with eyes WIDE open as a baby chick cheeped and cheeped and cracked out of an egg under it’s Mummy’s warm tummy. Following this there may have been some short conversations between children about where human babies come from but no details yet, we’ll see if we can leave it another year or two!!

Outside students have been excited to think about what is living and non-living in our playground, they found rocks and sticks and seeds and looked closely to see if they were living or non-living and wondered if we could make them living again if they were once living but not now. Students spent quite a lot of time cracking open seed shells with rocks  that they found in the garden. They wanted to see what was inside and discovered it was a seed. Then they wondered if the seeds would grow if we put them in some soil and added some water. We’ll see what happens…

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We asked the students if they would like to learn more about any of the life cycles we have looked at already and they all agreed they would like to know more about plants. At the students requests we are going to look further into flowers, apple trees and banana trees. Soon our classroom with be an edible jungle, if you have looked at the growing table lately it’s got; lemon seeds, spinach, celery, and avocado seed, grass seeds, a carrot top, a fish and a tadpole! If there’s anything you would like to add please send along items or email me photo’s of living things you have seen near home.

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We can’t wait to see what the coming weeks bring as we look closely at how we can look after living things and share the planet responsibly.

Have a great weekend, Ms Rachel & Ms Felix.

Click here to download the photo’s.

Have you grown? How did that happen?

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Hi all,

It was so wonderful to see you all here being interested in your child’s learning and giving them encouragement for what they can do. This has been a wonderful way to reinforce what we have been looking at this week in Penguin class. Our focus has been on ‘Who we are’ the first Unit Of Inquiry from the start of the year. It has been so interesting to revisit this UOI after the children have grown so much as they are really able to reflect on their growth and how they achieved it.

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We’re  looking at our portraits from the start of the year and comparing them to this month’s, we are measuring heights and comparing heights with our classmates. We have been thinking deeply about how we have grown and changed and how this happened. Some thoughts we have heard this week were “I get bigger when I eat all my rice” and “now that I’m bigger I am a good friend”.

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Next week we will continue to look into what makes us grow and change with some thinking about healthy eating and dental hygiene. We have a dentist coming soon to talk to the children about dental care and we want to make sure the children understand the importance of healthy teeth, both now and when they get their adult teeth. Please be talking about dental care at home and help your child to understand the value of good habits by reminding them to brush twice a day, washing their mouth with water after eating snacks, limiting sugary snacks and drinks and having regular dental check ups.

teeth2Following this revisit to “Who am I” we will move onto “Sharing the Planet” where our central idea will be; living things have needs so that they can live and grow. One of the ways we provoke interest in this topic is by setting up a dramatic play area where the children can care for animals. The children have said they would like to care for wild animals, so I will assist them in working out what goes in a wildlife centre. They can contribute to this by bringing stuffed toys to share with their friends. If you have any wild animals you can send to school we wold love to look after them. Elephants, birds, lions, zebras, monkeys, snakes, kangaroo’s, penguins…. we’ll think about what they need and do our best to keep them healthy.

We will also be growing plants indoors and out, just wait and see what we can do…

Have  a great weekend.

Click here to download the pictures from this week.