Taking our Learning Outdoors

I can finally say that I think not spring, but summer, has finally arrived!
With all of this nice weather that we have been enjoying, we take our students outside a lot for outdoor learning.
Why...you might ask?
Well, there is so much to learn from playing outdoors, students don't like being stuck inside the four walls of our classroom all day long, they need some fresh air, and just want to have plain old fun!
We load up our "Wonder Wagon" and head on out.
Sometimes we just stay in our own kindergarten playground and other times we venture to the big field.
We bring out our tree blocks donated by Mrs. P, one of our parents, since building outside leads to new creations and inspirations.
This student is using the blocks to start a tower.

More friends have joined her and they are being very careful to not let their tower fall!
Here's one student using the iPad to document the tower.
We often tell students that they can take a photo or sketch something that they have created to remember it and recreate it another time.

Mrs. C, our EA, is playing tag with a group of students.  She was fast...but the students were even faster!

We bring out lots of outdoor toys too...like skipping ropes and hoola hoops.

There is so much inspiration outdoors that the children love drawing nature around them!

There are only 3 tricycles in our yard so it's important that the students learn how to share and take turns.  To be fair, we show them how to line up and wait, go around once on the "road" and then give the trike to the next friend.

A few students thought it would be fun to make stop and go signs using the colours found in a stop light while riding around! 

For some reason, using the Lego outdoors to create is "much better than inside"!

Our students eat a "self-regulated snack" at our snack table indoors each day - which means that whenever they are hungry they can stop their play and grab a bite to eat.
Since we were outside, we invited them to choose a place to sit and enjoy snack.
I think that a large plastic tablecloth laid out on the floor would do the trick next time too!

We started an "outdoor garden" with the students...it's still small, but we have carrots, beans, cucumbers, tomato plants and some flowers growing.
There are some students that check to see if our things are growing on a daily basis, and water them, or just sit and watch them grow!
And, of course, we love being outside because you never know who will come to visit us in our yard!

Welcoming our new Junior Kindergarten friends

Every spring, we have a "First Impressions" day (orientation) for the new Junior Kindergarten students who will be entering school in September, and their parents. 
Ours was just over a week ago.
Over the past few weeks, we heard a lot of children in our classroom have conversations about their siblings starting school:
J.R.:  My brother is coming to school here next year!  I think he's going to be in this class!
S.C.:  Hey, my brother is coming too!
When I asked the children if they wanted to help us prepare for First Impressions, they got very excited!  Some students wanted to bake them a snack and have them eat it (my students really enjoy the snack table this year - such great conversations take place there!).
We searched for a "cookie" recipe online and found a Smarties Cookies one that everyone agreed looked the best!
After writing the recipe on chart paper for all to follow, and gathering our ingredients, the students worked with Mrs. C. (our E.A.) measuring, mixing and forming the cookies.
Each cookie called for exactly 5 Smarties...these students are working carefully to make each cookie perfect!
We noticed that the children were sorting our the leftover Smarties in the bowl once we finished prepping our cookies.
Mrs. Albanese:  What do you want to do with these leftover Smarties?
Everyone:  Eat them!
A couple of students, M.D. and J.R., worked on a graph to represent how many of each Smartie colours were left for the students to choose from.
They also wanted to make the new JK friends something to drink, so we Googled "juice" and here's what we found:
The students unanimously decided that the "pink" juice would be best and we found out that it was called "Hot Pink Lemonade".
So once again we wrote the recipe on chart paper for all to follow, got our ingredients, and had quite the number of students wanting to help us with this task!
We squeezed the lemons to get their juice.
S.Q.:  I've squeezed oranges before using this machine.
M.J.:  Can we keep the lemon seeds and then plant them too?

S.B.:  I want to write out the recipe so that I can take it home and make it with my mom.

 We put the finished juice in the fridge (it isn't pink just yet!) and one student wanted to write a "stop" sign so that no one would drink it -
Note: We use our "Please stop...we are still thinking" signs a lot in the classroom to show others that we are not quite done with the activity we are working on.
I love how this student used that connection when creating his sign.
Since it was decided that all of the students wanted a copy of the recipe, which we ended up photocopying and sending home, I asked the students to help me write a letter to the parents explaining what we did and the importance of the recipes.
Here we are typing up the letter on the Bright Links board.
Other students wanted to draw pictures for the new JK students of all the fun things they do at school and why school is fun.  This student asked to compile all of the work onto a large poster board so that we could display it next to the snack table.
A group of girls decided to make a large sign to show that everything was "Made by Kindergarten Students".
I love "kid-writing", don't you!?!
Here is our finished "Snack Table" in the library - I know that the new JK friends coming to school in September really enjoyed eating a snack made by our class!
I'm looking forward to seeing them again tomorrow night at our Welcome to Kindergarten event!
I think they will all be excited to see our classroom, this time, and the wonderful things that we do on a daily basis!

Invitation to Play - Create a Garden

We have been so busy these past few weeks enjoying the summer-like weather outside, getting ready for Mother's Day and continuing with our planting inquiry (blog post coming soon!).
The other day a teacher at my school told me about this amazing online contest from
I entered for a chance to win a $5000 classroom!
Wouldn't that be just incredible!?!
I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!
So here's how you can help (please, pretty please?)...
1.  Click {HERE}, or the above picture, to take you to the picture of my Invitation to Play (to create a garden using playdough and natural materials).
2.  Enter your e-mail address and click vote.
(I promise this company won't send any spam or junk e-mail)
3.   Click on the confirmation e-mail they will send you to make your vote active.
That's it!
You can click that link once each day to help me win!
(If the page says you already voted, you will have to restart your device and try again)
In return for your help, I promise to post something really fabulous for FREE once the contest in over.
The contest closes in just over 20 days so please, please, PLEASE click on the link or picture above and enter your e-mail address to vote once a day!
I am forever grateful (and so are my students!).  Thank you so much!  Happy weekend!