Thursday, 25 October 2012

Sorting and Classifying

Through active participation in mathematics investigations, including problem solving and discussions, children develop their ability to use mathematics as a way of making sense out of their daily experiences.
(The Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program)

Children construct ideas about organizing things when they sort and classify objects, such as play materials. Experiences in sorting help children to develop critical mathematical skills (e.g., observing, analyzing, comparing). 

Sorting Rules

This week, our class began to learn about “sorting rules” in mathematics. We began by focusing on one attribute. During our whole group lesson, we asked the children how they could sort the basket of apples.

How can we sort these apples?

The children took turns making suggestions, such as:
 “Big apples with big ones and small apples with small apples.” A.L.
“All the same colours.” T.K.

The children were then asked to sort the apples by colour.

We discussed that when we put all the coloured apples that “go together” in the same group we used the sorting rule, sorting by “colour”.

“It’s an apple snowman.” L.C.

Sorting, Sorting and More Sorting

The children were encouraged to explore sorting and creating sorting rules at the Hands on Thinking Center during center time.
M. immediately went to the Hands on Thinking Center and sorting patterning blocks.

Ms. P: How are these objects alike?

M: They are the same colours, these are green, these are red, these are yellow.

Ms. P: What name could you give to this group?

M: These are colours.

Sorting by Colour

E.L. used the bears to practice sorting.

Ms. P: How did you sort these objects?

E.L: By colours.

Ms. P: How could you sort these objects in a different way?

E.L. dumps out all the bears and examines the bear counters. He then begins to make three groups based on the different sizes of the bear counters.

E.L. These are the small bears, there is the medium bears and there is the big bears.

Ms. P: What is your new sorting rule?

E.L: size. 

I wonder how you could sort the animals?

S.T: Those are the dangerous animals with antlers so I put them over there far away because you don’t want them to come close.  This lives far away and dinosaurs live far away so put it there.
M: Those live in the Northwest, dinosaurs, dinosaurs lived together, those animals live on the farm, those animals came from the Wild West; these are pond animals that live in a pond.
S.T: And these are animals that live in the zoo.
Ms. P: I wonder what name you could give this group?
M: Where the animals live.

Ms. P: How could you sort these objects in a different way?

S.T: I don’t know.
Ms. P: I wonder if you could sort the animals by colour?
S.T: You will have to paint them.
M: Well, this horse is brown and there is a different brown on the camel. They can go together.
S.T: and when they are black and white they go in the basket.
M: This dinosaur has black and white dots, it goes here (points to basket).
S.T: Yes! Absolutely!

Co-Constructing a Graph

Following our apple sort, the children tasted each type of apple. 

Tasting Apples

E.L: The green apple is sour.

A.C: Me like the red apple it’s so juicy.

R: Yum!

Writing numbers

0 – 20

We counted the number of students we had in our class before we labeled the numbers on our graph.

“We have 20 students here today.” S.

Labeling our Graph

Organizing data in graphs:

The skills and concepts that students develop through experiences in sorting objects help them understand how date can be organized in graphs. Children learn that data, like objects, can be sorted into groups and categories. 

Graphing Data

What apple did you like the most?

A.L: Most people like the red apple, medium people like the yellow apple and the least people like the green apple.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Kite Project

A Collaborative Kite
Up, Up and Away


“Look at how this blows in the wind.” S.M.

During outdoor exploration, the children observed the movement of a streamer blowing in the wind. They observed the streamer move up and down and change directions as the wind blew. The movement of the streamer in the wind became a provocation for a project on kites.
A group of children decided they wanted to make a kite to fly in the wind.      

A few of the children went to the art center and began drawing kites.
C.Z: This kite is so small.
S.M: This kite can’t fly like a real kite.


Later that day, the children took out some larger sheets of paper and headed to the art center to begin working on their kite…

Incorporating literacy skills in an authentic way.

“Through experience and oral language, children develop the ability to identify and manipulate phonemes, build vocabulary, develop awareness of meaning, and develop awareness of language structure, and thus develop the foundations for reading and writing. Proficiency in oral language is critical to the success of literacy development.” 
(The Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program Document 2010)

Ms. P: What is our plan? How will we know what we need to make our kite?

The children began by watching a video clip on kites.

Ms. P: What did we notice about the kite?

S.M: you need a string and tie it with the kite and hold on tight so it doesn’t blow away. We need some colour for the kite. It had a line. On its back it had a “T” shape.

T.K: a kite has a back and a spine. We need string and if we don’t have string we can use streamers. We need something to make the “t.”

T.K: What if it blows away by itself?

Ms. P: Very important! What should we include so it doesn’t blow away?

T.K: a string.

Ms. P: What should we connect the string to?

A.C: a stick like this.

“Let’s Get to Work.” – T.K. 

Making a Plan

The children worked together to build a list of materials for their kite. They practiced sounding out the letters of each word.


Gathering Materials

Once the children created their list, it was time to collect the materials they would need.

S: This is a good stick for the “T”.

S.M: I found this stick on the ground, I didn’t hurt the 
trees to take it. 

C.Z: Everybody hold it and we are
going to put the tape for a big kite. 

CiCi: I draw the butterfly kite like 
the real butterfly.

T: It’s big.

R.S: I cut on the line.
A.C: Now my turn, I like to cut. 

R.S: I hold it for you?
A.C: You hold it and I cut. 

T.K: It won’t be a kite without a spine.

Ms. P: Are kites the only things with spines?

C.L: No, me too. (Points to her back)

S.M: And even butterflies have a spine.

Ms. P: I wonder why spines are important.

T.K: I think it makes it like this (makes his arm straight).

S.M: it needs some colour.

Ms. P: What colours would you like to use?

S: Blue.

A.C: Pink.

C.L: Yellow.


“We are making art by collaborating.” T.K.

C.Z: We have to focus.

S.M: and use teamwork and work together to get our best work done.

T.K: I am focusing and doing my best work.


C.L: The butterfly needs the streamers.

Ms. P: How long will the streamers be?

S.M: This big (points from one end of the kite to the 

T.K: Okay, we have to hold it here and then we have to cut it.

A.C: Rolling, rolling, rolling the string.
C.L: The kite needs a lot of string because it’s going to fly.

Celebrating the Learning

You have to let go!  - M.L.

S.M:  When I say go, you let go of the kite. 

A.L:  You need more wind then it can go higher. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Creating our own Calendar

Out with the Old 

In with the New

For the month of September our classroom displayed a plastic calendar I had purchased at the store. We noticed that students paid little attention to this calendar and did not interact with the numbers or dates. We were wondering if replacing the store bought calendar with one created by the children would change this. When children participate in a project from the very beginning does it have any effect on how they use and interact with the material?

Painting the October Calendar

In hopes of encouraging the children to refer to the numbers on the calendar, to observe number patterns, etc. we invited the children to paint October’s Calendar.  The children chose fall colours (reds, oranges, browns, yellows) and painted leaves with watercolour paints. 

"Don’t Forget the Numbers."

Once the calendar was dry a few SK students worked together to include the numbers on the calendar. The group of SK students was very excited while writing out all of the numbers for the month of October. 


To complete the project, the children wrote a sign for October. The children helped each other sound out all of the letters to spell the word, October

Displaying the Final Product

The children took down the store bought calendar and replaced it with their beautiful October calendar. The result was a group of very pleased SK students who took great care and precision in displaying their calendar and sign followed by a few moments to admire their hard work.