Friday, August 29, 2014

September Dates

All important September dates have now been added to the monthly calendar tab, which can be found in the menu bar at the top of this blog.

Exciting News!

Greater Essex County Teacher Deanna Pecaski Wins 
ETFO Writer’s Award
How a bird feeder inspired self-initiated learning in 
Kindergarten students. 
August 12, 2014

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has presented Greater Essex County 
teacher Deanna Pecaski McLennan with its 2014 Writer’s Award - Women’s Program for her 
published work on stimulating the imaginations of our youngest students.

The award is presented to an active ETFO female member or a group of female members to 
recognize published or unpublished works. Deanna’s article, Bird Feeding: Giving Flight to the 
Imaginations of 4-and 5-Year-Olds appeared in Young Children and the book Developmentally 
appropriate practice: Focus on Kindergarteners published by the U.S. National Association for 
the Education of Young Children.

A teacher in the full-day early learning program at Amherstburg Public School, Deanna recounts 
how the placement of a bird feeder outside her Kindergarten classroom inspired child-led inquiry, 
discussion and research. Her own interest in bird-watching unwittingly sparked the imaginations 
of her students, many of whom live in cooperative, subsidized housing or apartment buildings 
with no access to yards or trees.

The arrival of a variety of birds week after week fascinated students, who increasingly incorporated
their observations into language activities, creative writing, the arts, mathematics and science. 
They self-initiated discussions, research and investigations of the birds’ habits which led to 
meaningful, collaborative learning, which is core to the play-based philosophy of Ontario’s 
Kindergarten curriculum.

Deanna, who holds a Ph.D in educational studies from University of Windsor, has published 
numerous scholarly articles on early years learning. She was the 2013 recipient of the ETFO 
Writer’s Award.

“Not only does Deanna continue to innovate in her instructional practice; she models that practice 
to other educators by publishing her findings in leading professional development publications,” 
said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “An engaging and thoughtful writer, she inspires educators to 
transform their learning environments to help students be the best that they can be.” 
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education 
professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fun Day

We had a great afternoon fun day participating in organized games outdoors! What a great way to end the year and start the summer. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Special Visitors

We were so fortunate to have Constable Chapman and Constable Chapman in today to share with us the role of a police officer and help us learn tips for staying safe and healthy.

We learned about an officer's special equipment...

...and even got to try on Constable Chapman's hat!

We had a chance to go outside and see the cruiser!  We were able to sit in it and call out over the loud speaker!

What a great experience! Thank you for sharing your expertise with us! If you are a parent or family member of one of our children with a unique job or talent, we'd love to have you in! Your knowledge will enhance our program!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Story of our Painted Lady Butterflies

At the end of the month of May we received our Painted Lady Caterpillars. The children were so excited and engrossed in the experience of raising these caterpillars. At this time we were also experimenting with using iMovie as a method of sharing our documentation in a digital format. We think it's important to expose children to a variety of technologies and implement them in ways that are meaningful and enhance our inquiries.

In this video you will see the story of our butterfly experience, told with words from the children themselves. We created a class book describing our experience which will be housed in our science centre for future reference by children when they want to reflect upon this experience or use the information to support another inquiry. The book was created by the children - they wrote the words and drew the illustrations. A QR code will be attached so they can scan and find this video online if needed. For the purposes of this iMovie we digitalized the photos and separated them by inserting other relevant artifacts of learning (e.g., photos, videos, art samples) in order to tell the complete story of our experience.

It is our intent that this iMovie will help others see the amazing experience the children had raising the caterpillars to butterflies, and the joy they felt when finally seeing that journey to completion and releasing the butterflies into the world. We hope you enjoy the movie as much as we did making it!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Paper Sculptures

We read the book "Lines" at circle time. 

This book explores how lines can be different - curvy, straight, zigzag - and how artists use different lines in their work. 

We thought it would be fun to put various strips of paper at the art center and see what the children created. 

Children explain their sculptures!

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