Sunday, February 12, 2017

Exploring Sound in Kindergarten

I can see why they have made exploring sound one of our science standards.  Every year, without any push from me, the kids start showing me how different objects make sound in different ways. It always seems to be an interest that leads to an inquiry. This year, the interest started the first month of school!  Especially when we were outside.

Showing how pouring rocks into the cups made different sounds. She also shook them to make sound.

Banging pot lids on a metal pole made a very loud sound!

Noticing that the sound traveled through both pipes when they connected them.

This friend was creating a rhythm using different materials by striking each object.

I set out some invitations for them to explore different instruments to see what they could find out about sound.

They noticed that each glass made a different sound.  The more liquid, the lower the sound.

An invitation to see what they notice about strumming and how different materials create different sounds.

Large, medium, and small beads were available to put in a jar and shake. 

I put out some recyclables for them to create different kinds of instruments that would make sound in different ways.

They were very creative and created instruments that you had to strike, shake, strum or blow to make sound.

I set out this large floor keyboard and it was an instant hit with the kids!  They explored all the different sounds by hitting different keys and moving on it in different ways.

I set out some sharpies and watercolors and let our artists show what they noticed when they looked closer at some pictures of instruments.

They turned out beautiful!

The kids learned that sound was caused by vibration, but that something had to start the vibration.  They noticed that they could produce sound by striking, shaking, blowing, strumming and rubbing.  We formed expert groups and they each made circle maps showing instruments that made sound in the way they were focussing on.

The kids on each expert team picked an instrument to model how it makes sound.  We started collecting a lot of recyclables to help us create these instruments.

We then got to work on our projects. The kids had to test out different materials to see what sound they produced.  Below you can see a friend testing out different sized beads for her egg shakers.

Fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination were definitely getting a workout!

Using a wooden mallet and screw (I didn't have a nail) to create a hole to thread her handles onto her cymbals.

Painting maracas.

Threading nuts onto bolts to create a nice tight handle on a bell.

Threading yarn into chimes from a broken wind chime to create a  triangle.

Beads threaded onto pipe cleaners to make shekers.

While I was working on projects with the kids, I noticed some instruments popping up in our art studio so I set out some invitations to create some Picasso inspired blue guitar art.  Their creations amazed me!

I displayed their art with the data they collected showing the different ways they discovered they could make sound and their circle maps showing instruments that make sound in those ways.

All of their amazing instrument projects are displayed also along with their beautiful watercolor instrument art.

The last step is for the kids to present their projects and show how they make sound and what they noticed.

Some other things they have shared and demonstrated throughout the inquiry is that rhythm is a pattern made from sound.  Different materials can affect sound and size can affect sound.  They loved watching videos from youtube of the group STOMP.  This also lead to them using recyclables and objects like buckets and pipes to create rhythm and sound.  This is always such a fun, hands on inquiry to do with the kids!  Now on to our next inquiry!  Wait until you see what we investigate next!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Creative and Critical Thinking with the Gingerbread Man

Every December, Our class gets a visitor from up north!  The Gingerbread Man comes to spend the Holidays with us!  This of course spurred an interest in the different versions of the Gingerbread Man!  The kids enjoyed comparing them and through these stories learned the story elements such as characters, main characters, setting, problem and solution.  At the end, each child wrote their own version making sure they included all of these elements. I wish I had photos of the books and their stories, but I forgot to take any!  They were so creative and their stories spanned three pages.  So many reading and writing standards are covered here!

I set out some experiences for them to explore.  Our artists created paintings and sculptures of the Gingerbread Man with gingerbread dough and loose parts.  I love making this gingerbread dough.  It makes the classroom smell amazing!

For our scientists, the kids enjoyed taking different spices and creating their own mixture by grinding them.  They also added water into a test tube and mixed the spices to see what would happen.  They loved taking the test tubes around the class so everyone could smell their "potions." Again, our classroom smelled amazing!

They created observational drawing of the clove, allspice and anise.  They are definitely getting better at drawing like a scientist when needed!  They also recorded what happened when they mixed their potions.

For our engineers, I set out an invitation to build a bridge that would get the characters to the other side of the river to try to catch the gingerbread man!  This also lead to some story telling as they acted out the story!  They came up with many different designs.  Some worked in teams and others worked independently.

I also set up an area for small world play where the kids could create a setting and retell the gingerbread story, or make up their own!

One day, we came in to find this on our Morning Message board!

The kids were so surprised!  We brainstormed what we could do to get him back!  They decided to make a large "LOST" poster.  We used interactive writing to create this one and hung it where it would be seen by everyone.  They also decided to create their own to hang all over the school.  They wanted to make sure that if anyone saw him, they would bring him to us.

We had a lot of students from other classes that were very concerned and kept asking us if we had found him yet.  We were so glad that our posters were working and being read!

When he still didn't show up, we decided to write letters to see if we could persuade him to come back.  I have to say that this is the best writing I have ever seen from them.  I told them that if Gingy couldn't read the letters, they wouldn't work.  I told them that they needed to spell sight words correctly, use spaces, write every sound they hear in "hard" words and write as neatly as they could.  Their writing blew me away.  It is amazing how well they can do if it is meaningful and authentic to them.

One morning, I told them that the people who watch the security footage sent me some pictures!  I showed them each one separately. The collective gasp was awesome!  They were so excited!

The next day I showed them this picture of him reading their letters!

Since he still hadn't come back, they decided to build traps.  We created a list as a class of different kind of traps they could create and how each worked.  Then each signed up to make a certain kind of trap!

They worked in teams to come up with plans to create their traps.

It was then time to find materials and get to work! This was a great experience for them.  Some teams had to work through team members not listening or taking over the whole project.  A lot of problem solving went on here, not only in creating a trap that works, but in working together respectfully.  In the end, it all worked out and it was great for them to see the problems that can arise when working with a team and how to deal with it appropriately.

Here are some of the traps!

They also had to test them out!  This was a very crazy part of the day, but they were all on task and so excited when they finally were able to get their traps to work!

We left them overnight and...finally, we caught Gingy! He was caught in the net trap!

We also caught his friends that we saw in the "security pictures!"

Gingy let us know that he just wanted to explore the school with his friends and he was so glad to be back.  The kids kept a close eye on him until it was time to leave for winter break.  Now Gingy is back up north until next year! It is so fun to do this each year.  The excitement in their eyes as they go through this never gets old.  I love that this age still believes in magic and I get to believe right with them!

We celebrated by decorating and eating our own gingerbread person cookies!  Most of the kids loved them but they all loved decorating them!

We then made gifts for their families.  Each child created a one of a kind ornament designed by them!  I love how colorful these turned out.  Many used patterns around their ornaments, some drew pictures, while others covered the whole ball with color!  Each one totally unique!

We also made ornaments with their jar rings, pictures and jewels.

They made handprint reindeer cards and wrote messages to their families in them.

I hope everyone enjoyed their gifts and  had a happy and magical holiday season!  See you in January!