Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Geology in Kindergarten: An Exploration of Rocks

It all started when a little friend brought in a beautiful geode to show the class. 

They were absolutely enthralled with the crystals growing inside! She set up a station where friends could come and look closer. The next day, another friend brought in a beautiful geode that looked a little different. They started wondering all kinds of things about the geodes which lead to discussions about if other rocks can be geodes and have crystals inside. I asked if they wanted to explore further to find out and they most definitely did!

Here is my planning web.

I set up one area for them to look closer and use their writing and drawing skills to document what they noticed. This area also was a perfect opportunity to sort objects based on their properties and attributes, then use writing and pictures to record how they sorted them.

This was a favorite area to visit! I mixed science with art in our art area! I set out some polished agate that the kids thought were so beautiful! 

They used the digital microscope to look closer and notice the crystals and rings. Then they used water color to create the beautiful, colorful rings. That last step was to add salt to their wet watercolor to create the crystals and see how the salt grabbed the water color!

I also set up an area with magnets for them to explore.

I put some rocks in our sensory table with the sand and some photos of transient nature art for inspiration. 

Below, some friends worked to show feelings using the rocks.

Some loved creating animals.

Unfortunately, we were only a week into exploring the rocks and learning about the different types of rocks, crystals and jewels made from them when the schools were all ordered to close so we were not able to finish this exploration. This group really loved looking at these rocks and I hope it sparked an interest in geology for them. Some had big rock collections already and some started collecting during this study. I hope they continue to collect, observe and sort their collections by attributes. Egg cartons are a great way to keep their rock collections organized. 

Here are a few pictures to show some things they created in other areas of our room at the time. 

It has been over a week without seeing them and I miss these little friends of mine so very much! I am working on what my virtual/digital class will look like. I will work hard to help parents continue the discovery based learning that their kids love so much through our life experiences at home. The environment of our classroom was considered a teacher on its own in the way it was set up, but they also learn from their natural environment at home! Hopefully my next blog post can help with that! Until then, stay home and stay healthy!

Monday, March 23, 2020

A Study of Chihuly and His Art: How We Covered Academic Standards and More Through Interest Based Learning

It all started when I showed the kids pictures of my trip to Columbus to see the Chihuly Exhibit! 

They oooo’d and awed after every picture and started asking questions right away! When they found out he made everything out of glass they were amazed and had even more questions! I also showed them a picture of this famous artist.

Here are some of their wonders:

Then I planned. What standards could I cover through this interest? I usually use a web map to figure it out.

A Lesson in Perseverance: 
We went to YouTube to watch Dale Chihuly explain what’s glass is made of and how he creates his sculptures and paintings. We learned how he hurt his eye in an accident and then his arm surfing so that he could no longer lift the heavy pipes and blow the molten hot glass without being a danger to himself and others. Here is where the most important lesson came from and the kids really took this in...Rather than giving up what he loved to do most, Chihuly problem solved. He went to his friends and created a team that could create his designs for him. Creating a team from their friends is something these kids have learned to do in our class when they can’t solve a problem themselves so they really could relate with him over this!

A Lesson in Seeing the Bright Side:
Chihuly used to sketch his designs but after his accidents started painting designs creating beautiful abstract paintings! He may have never started painting if he hadn’t hurt his eye or his arm. The kids watched him and saw how much fun he had squirting paint and what freedom he had with his art! They loved creating abstracts at our easel! 

They loved his Macchia sculptures! Macchia means “spot” in Italian! They created their own Macchia decorating coffee filters with Crayola markers, putting over a cup and spraying them with starch. The starch made the colors blend and helped it hold their shape. They turned out beautiful!

They were also interested in Chihuly’s Rotolos! Rotolo means “coil” in Italian.

This little friend started the trend then others decided to make one too!

Math was incorporated through the 3D shapes Chihuly used in his art. We discussed the difference between sculptures which are 3D and solid and paintings which are 2D and flat.  They found both 3D and 2D shapes in his sculptures and paintings. Chihuly made these beautiful cylinders out of glass that inspired some friends to create their own using cardboard tubes paint, glitter and colored cellophane!

For literacy, the kids wrote an opinion piece about which Chihuly sculpture they thought was the best. 

They also learned what a biography was and wrote one about Chihuly by writing something they now knew about him that was a fact.

In Science we learned about the properties of objects and sorted by those properties. 

They created transparent and translucent art inspired by Chihuly’s paintings that we hung in the window to see how the light shown through and explored transparency, translucency and opaqueness on our overhead projector that we also use as a light table. 

Here is our display documenting what we learned! 

It is amazing how much of the standards can be taught and practiced through following the students interests! Because they are interested it doesn’t even feel like work to them! But they also worked on those important life skills they need to be successful: Critical and creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration/teamwork, perseverance when things get hard or don’t work as planned. During this study, they used every single one of these life skills! Now to see what they choose to dive into next!