Snow in April?! No problem!

Our Junior Kindergarten students surprise us every single day. When I woke up on a snowy April morning, I arrived to school with a gloomy grin and looked at my teaching partner with rolling eyes. “Are you kidding me?” we said to each other. But rather than projecting our disappointment, we simply asked the students in our morning message how they felt about the snow. To our surprise every single one of them could not be more excited. “It makes me feel happy”, “I want to play in it”, “I’m so, so, so, so, excited”; were some of the many messages we heard. The Outdoor Classroom was snowy, but let’s not forget it was still April and the weather was somewhat warmer; the result: a snowy, wet, muddy sandy surprise! “Ew” you might be thinking? “What a mess” perhaps? “WONDERFUL” thought the JKs. The imaginative play, collaboration, creative thinking, and utter joy each child displayed surprised us more than usual.

PAINT INQUIRY
How can you use water colour paints without water or paper? The JKs figured it out! Bringing out only paint pallets and brushes we asked the students how they can use the materials to paint in the Outdoor Classroom. They shared their ideas, tested their theories, and certainly tried their best. They became problem solvers as they dipped their brushes into puddles to wash it before changing colours. Talk about creative problem solvers! As they swished their brushes in melting snow, ice, and water, they began transforming large chunks of ice into colourful works of art.

MARBLE RUN or WATER RUN?
The rainy, snowy weather left for an interesting discovery at the marble run. One student wondered if the water would move the same way the tennis balls did. To figure it out, he went into the sand box to get a shovel small enough to collect the water from the bottom and bring it to the top. He discovered it did move along but it stopped early. He learned the wood absorbed the water. The student shared his learning with the class thereby inspiring others to explore the marble run in new ways.

MUD AND MUCK
In the sand box the students used scoops and shovels of all sizes to make their own mud! They collected water from little puddles all around and mixed it with the sand turning it into dough as they began making fresh pies. The students were collaborating as they took on various roles, and engaged in meaningful conversations. The shovels turned into serving platters, and rakes became forks, as they shared their homemade pies with one another.

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In just one hour of play the students hit on multiple areas of the Full Day Kindergarten Curriculum. The big idea stating “Children are curious and connect prior knowledge to new contexts in order to understand the world around them” was demonstrated on this snowy April day. The students experimented with new materials on a familiar marble run, used a familiar paint pallet in a creative new way, and transferred their learning from home as they recreated a kitchen at school.

After one hour in the Outdoor Classroom the students so clearly demonstrated how much they embrace learning, we were reminded of What Really Matters in Life! When you give children the time they need to play and explore their environment they will amaze you! And you know what Albert Einstein said…”Play is the highest form of research.”

Elissa Meleca
Junior Kindergarten Teacher

Our mission, should we choose to accept it

The KCS mission is “To be the defining force in developing lifelong learners by stewarding an environment that prepares us for the next challenge.”

QuestioningAt our first class meeting of the school year, the grade 7s looked at some pretty interesting and mindboggling questions. Was it algebra? Physics? No, they were questions about themselves, like the following:

  1. Five years from now, your local paper does a story about you and they want to interview three people about you. What would you want them to say about you?
  2. If you could spend an hour with any person who ever lived, who would it be? Why? What would you ask?
  3. Describe a time when you were deeply inspired.

These questions come from an activity called The Great Discovery, from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. You can read them (and try to answer them!) for yourself here: http://www.emporia.edu/dotAsset/f1d87806-07e0-48e8-919d-92637f6e028e.pdf

As a teacher, I was taking a responsible risk. I didn’t know if my students were ready to tackle these questions. They really impressed me with their thoughtful answers. Thanks to all the wonderful teachers they’ve had at KCS, they were prepared and they were able to take on the challenge.

After considering the questions, we came up with personal mission statements. I know, 12 year olds making mission statements sounds like a stretch! It turns out they have a wonderful grasp of what they would like to get out of life.

  • To make a difference in the world
  • To always be a good sport and to work hard
  • To be a leader and excel at my job and hobbies
  • Be positive and do not worry
  • Never give up no matter what tries to stop you
  • Live life to the fullest
  • To challenge myself to do new and harder things
  • Don’t give up. Keep trying
  • Have fun and work hard
  • Always strive for perfection
  • You can’t like it if you don’t try it
  • Always be happy and positive
  • Always try and never give up until you achieve your goals in life
  • To make a positive difference in the world
  • Don’t give up
  • You only live once
  • When you’re down, get back up
  • Be a good sport, it’s just a game
  • Your past decides your future
  • Be happy and positive
  • To be a leader in the world

The mission statements are displayed in our classroom for the year so that we remember our missions. We’ve chosen our missions. What’s yours?

Ms. Gaudet
Citizenship Coordinator, Grade 7 History & Geography