At the end of our unit on the life cycle of living things, the Preschool class visited the Itami Insectarium. The children had an opportunity to see many different insects at different stages of their life cycles.
For their final inquiry of the year, the Preschool students were on the go to learn about transportation systems. It was a busy few weeks as the students visited Kobe Airport, the Rokko Liner and the Sunflower Ferry.
On Wednesday, April 26 DESK held our first Learning Showcase. This was a chance for all of the students in the school from Early Years, up to to Middle Years to present different activities and projects from units throughout the school year to showcase all of the great learning that has been taking place. Each class had times to visit other classes, as well as times to present. The Preschool students enjoyed visiting other classes to see things that they might be doing in the next few years. They also showed a real interest in what the older classes, particularly Grade 5 and in Middle Years.
On Wednesday, April 12th the Preschool class went on an excursion to Rokko Farm so that we could see living things at different stages in their life cycle. It was a very chilly morning up on top of Mt. Rokko, but luckily the rain held off for the day and switched to nice warm sunshine just in time for our picnic lunch!
We hadn’t been so lucky in the morning at snack time and needed to take shelter from the cold wind under the roof right next to the entrance-way! Things were better once we started moving around to see (and chase) some of the different animals. Some of the animals we saw were a horse and foal, many sheep and lambs, ducks and ducklings, goats and their kids, rabbits, pigs, a cow, dogs and more! The children really enjoyed chasing the sheep around and singing, “Mary had a little lamb” to them!
After lunch, we had some time to play on the nice playground, and some of the sheep even came to play too, or maybe it was just to get some free hugs from our friendly Preschoolers!
Although the highlight of the annual Celebration of Books is always Character Day when we get to dress up as out favourite storybook characters, we also had a lot of fun celebrating earlier in the week as well.
This year, classes also took part performing, short Readers’ Theatre performances. The Preschool students did an excellent job of bringing Michael Rosen’s story, “This is Our House” to life for the Early Years students. As we donated one of the homes built during our Homes Unit to Early Years this was a great story to remind all of the students about the importance of sharing and to not be selfish.
The Preschool class was also treated to a special Readers’ Theater performance by the second grade students who not only worked hard to read and perform their story, but to make their own great costumes as well!
Over the last 6 weeks, Preschool has been inquiring into the Life Cycles of Living Things for our “How the World Works” unit.
We began the unit with a sorting activity. Each student was given a photo of a living thing at one stage of its life cycle. Next, they had to try to find classmates who had the same living thing as them, and then make a group of 4 or 5. In their groups, students then discussed their thoughts and ideas about how to organize and arrange the photos. To do this, we first discussed what it means to cooperate with others, and focused on communication skills. Finally, each group had the chance to demonstrate their presentation skills as they shared their thoughts and ideas with the rest of the class.
Students also had many opportunities to look at different life cycles, including their own and brought in photos, clothes, or toys for show and tell time to show how they have grown and changed over time. For another show and tell, students brought in something that shows 2 or more stages of something’s life cycle. Next, they then compared the life cycle of what they brought in to the life cycle of what their partner brought in, looking for similarities and differences between the two.
To see what “factors influence life cycles,” we did a couple experiments with seeds and plants so that we could view and record first hand what happens when living things such as plants don’t get what they need to live. The students also started to take some action by planting more plants around the school and enjoyed going outside to the Rokko Island Community Garden to sketch the tulips and other flowers growing there this spring.
On April 20th, the Preschool, Grade 1 and 2 classes had their annual sleepover at DESK.
Upon returning to school at 6pm, the students set up their bedding for the night before getting ready for dinner. On the menu this year was pizza and a green salad that the students helped prepare. The Preschool students took turns to carefully cut the carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers for the salad. While eating dinner we watched the movie Ratatouille!
After dinner came the highlight of the night, playing Flashlight Tag outside on the playground and then Hide and Seek in the dark inside the school!
Then it was time for bed. Everyone washed up, brushed their teeth and changed into their pajamas. Before lights out they had a bit of time to relax and read stories quietly. For many of the Preschoolers, this was their first time to sleep away from their parents so we had many risk takers in the class. Despite a few “I miss my mommy” and “I can’t sleep here, I need to go home,” all were able to fall asleep eventually and slept very peacefully through the night (even through Mr. Brabant’s loud snoring!)
In the morning, when Mr. Brabant woke up there were 5 or so students forming a semi-circle and staring down at him and warmly said “Good morning Mr. Brabant” with a few giggles mixed in. We managed to stay in our room quietly for another 45 minutes or so until 6:30. Once everyone was up we began packing up our bedding and got ready for breakfast. For breakfast we had some yogurt, cereal and orange juice and everyone was happy to sit together with their friends for the first meal of the day.
After getting tidied up and changed, we joined the Grade 1 and 2 students out on the playground for a bit of fun before the start of another school day. I think many of the students are already looking forward to next year’s sleepover!
For our unit on Sharing the Planet, the Preschool students were focused on how the local environment is used and valued. Students toured around Rokko Island and then looked around our local school environment for places that were undervalued and under used.
One area that they felt could be used better was the area around the new multipurpose and middle school building. As we began looking into ways that it could be made more valuable and usable by the school community, a design contest for a new playground on the land next door was announced. The Preschool students decided to use this chance to take action! After all, how often do kids get to design their own playground?
For the summative assessment, the students had to work cooperatively with others to build the model for the playground. We used research skills to collect data on what other students wanted. ICT skills to do a Google search on the school tablets to find images of “natural play spaces” for ideas of what types of playground equipment we would like to have. Then finally communication and conflict resolution skills when working with others to share our ideas and then to create the playground model.
Earlier this month, the as part of our inquiry into Celebrations, the Preschool students performed a play about how the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac got their order. The production was a big undertaking for the students as we began learning about the Chinese New Year celebrations in January as part of our inquiry into how New Years is celebrated in different places and cultures. After doing some research on it and watching a few animated YouTube videos about the story, we set about writing our own script for the story.
As part of our year-long inquiry into Celebrations, the Preschool students have been learning about how different cultures celebrate the …