Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Worms- The Project

After we investigated worms, the kids decided on a mural as the project to show what they had learned.  One thing they all helped with was painting the soil, then they worked in teams to make different parts of the mural.

One team cut some green paper for grass.  They studied what worm tunnels looked like and painted them onto the soil.

After each team worked on the part of the mural they signed up for, they wrote information that they wanted to share about their part of the project.
Another team used books to review what worms look like so they wouldn't miss any details! Then they made some worms and added them to the tunnels.

The top one says, "At night worms bring dead leaves into the soil."
 Another team worked on the cocoons which they learned held the eggs until they hatched.


One team wanted to paint flowers and make roots to show how worms help them.


Many kids were very interested in how the worms created castings that helped hide their tunnels from predators and also helped plants grow by providing food.

One big interest that surprised me was the predator/prey relationships! If we had another month of school, I think they would have loved to do an inquiry on the food chain.  After reading a book called "Feathers For Lunch," they made the connection through their own discussion that the worm eats the dirt, the bird eats the worm, the cat eats the bird! They thought that was so cool!

They used the same book to investigate which local birds were worm eaters to add to the mural.  They were also really starting to get into the different types of birds and what sounds they made!  Another possible inquiry had we more time!  They also found out other predators liked to eat worms such as moles, hedge hogs and snakes, so they had to add these to the mural also!  They also glued feathers to wooden clothespins after studying what robins, blue jays and house wrens looked liked.  They did such a great job making them accurate but I didn't get photos of them!

They also added some documentation from worm observations.

Here is the finished mural!


I now know, because of these little  researchers, more than I ever thought I would know about worms! They truly loved this inquiry and took ownership of it!  The more I have learned this year to let go and let the kids pick what to study based on their interests and experiences, the more I see with my own eyes the value in it! I am having more fun teaching than ever before! Of course, this big group of scientists and engineers that I have this year have made it extra enjoyable!

4 comments:

  1. I LOVE your blog. It is so inspiring. I am starting my own Reggio inspired Kindergarten program next year. I was wondering how you start your school year? What centers do you open? What activities do you do with the children? How do you establish classroom rules? Thanks!!

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    1. Hi Chrissy! Thank you so much for your kind words! I am so excited for your journey next year! You will LOVE it!! The whole first month is focused on building a community with and between the students. We focus on "bucket filling" and how to make our community a safe and happy place where they feel safe to take risks knowing they will be encouraged even if they fail! We have one special friend each day that we focus on. We make a web map about them that we display and use their name to learn letter sound correlation, syllables, rhyming, etc. Each student will make a "story" about our friend to put in a book that our friend will take home. I use this to model beginning writing skills such as how to draw, how to do our personal best, how to NOT give up (persistence), and that we can do hard things. Later they will add labels and sentences to the stories. I will take a letter from their name and we will focus on it. As we are learning letters, I point out that we need a tool to help us remember those letters and sounds, and a place to hang our friends name so we can remember how to spell it. We make one letter poster each day, hang it up and put our friends name under it. You can see these on the post about my room environment. Same with the numbers. We have three rules. Be kind, be safe, work hard. They make these rules to hang up and help us remember. We do not spend a lot of time on academics, but rather behavior to create a good community, and routines (lining up, listing skill, being safe, controlling our bodies, manners, how to treat others) and we provide a lot of opportunities to practice these!
      I set out centers that are very simple for them to explore so we can learn the appropriate ways to use and respect our materials including how to clean up our materials such as loose parts, math manipulatives, letter rocks and other letter manipulatives and friends names, painting at the easel, blocks, home living, scales with loose parts from nature and a color exploration table. All are purely being explored. I will stop the class and have children show how they used the materials. There is so much to write about the beginning of the year!!! I will try to do a good job of showing all of this in the coming year on the blog so hopefully it will all make more sense! I didn't start my blog last year until January. Stay tuned and I will make sure to address all of this in the fall! Good luck on starting your Reggio Inspired program! You will LOVE it!!!
      Darla

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  2. HI I am the same as above. Starting a Reggio inspired twist on my kindergarten classroom. I was looking for your email address but I will ask you these questions here: How do you do teach reading? I see you have math centers, how do these work? How long do you normally leave a provocation out? Is it always connected to their interest? How long is your play time? Do you have more than one? Do the kids drift or stay at their chosen place? I need to read some official Reggio books!!!

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    1. Hi Mary!
      I am so sorry it took me so long to reply!! I posted what my day looks like just a couple days ago. That might answer some of your questions. I teach reading through big books and poetry in short mini lessons whole group, but most reading instruction happens in small groups during our Thinking and Learning time. A lot of reading instruction also takes place during any shared or interactive writing experiences.
      During our Thinking and learning time, the kids will look at their data folders and see what they should be working on. They then make a choice on the choice board of what literacy or math skill they will work on, then they will find materials/experiences set up in the room to help them learn that skill. If they feel they worked on that skill enough, they may make another choice. At the beginning of the year, I will rotate them to one literacy experience and one math experience each day until I feel they are mature and responsible enough to take on the responsibility of using their data folders and choosing what they need to work on.
      I leave provocations out until they loose interest. Then I either move it to a smaller area if a few still use it consistently, or I will totally change it to something else. Sometimes I will set up a provocation to see if it generates interest in a subject. If the students love it, then I can expand on that and set up an inquiry! My play time this year will be 30-40 minutes. I am hoping for 40! You can see how that will work on my latest post! At the time, I have one indoor and one outdoor.
      I hope I answered your questions!!! Let me know if you have any more!
      Sincerely,
      Darla

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