Jack-o-Lantern fun!

With Halloween about a week away, we decided to get into the Halloween spirit throughout our classroom.
 This was a felt board activity I made years ago but it seems to be a hit year after year!
Our students designed different faces for the pumpkin.
You can read all about this felt board activity, and another fun Halloween one, here.
We set out this provocation asking the students if they could design a face for our pumpkin.
We plan on carving it next week and it would be great if we could take a vote after all the entries are in.
The adorable printable comes from the Club Chica Circle blog and you can find it as a free download by clicking here.
We have been discussing emotions quite a bit since the beginning of school so we thought this free download was perfect!
I also discovered this great song, all about the 5 Little Pumpkins, and how they each show an emotion.  Our students love singing along on our Bright Links board!
If you are looking for a free download for a cute and easy Halloween song, click the picture above to see my post from a couple of years ago.
Happy Halloween!

Making Applesauce

After our field trip to the apple orchard a couple of weeks ago, we noticed that our students still had such an interest in apples!
Each day, the conversations around the snack centre (or "Bistro") included comparing the apples many students brought for a snack, trying different ways to get the seeds out, counting the apples seeds, and listening for the loudest crunch.
We had a big bag full of apples and asked the children what they thought we could make with them.
M.R.:  We can make apple pie!
M.P.:  Apple cake!
J.M.:  We can make applesauce!
We decided that applesauce was probably the easiest thing to make inside our classroom since we already had a few ingredients handy.
We showed the students how to peel the apples carefully using a peeler.
Everyone wanted a turn to try!
S.S.:  This is a lot of work!  You have to be careful when peeling the apples!
These children were trying to pick up all of the seeds to keep them as part of our Seed Inquiry happening in the classroom.
One of the ingredients in our recipe was cinnamon.  We passed it around for students to smell.
Jo.F.:  I like it!  It smells so nice!
Ju.F.:  This reminds me of a Beaver Tail that I had in Mont Tremblant!
L.G.:  It smells like a cappuccino!
And then for the best part....after waiting about 3 hours for it to cook in the slow cooker, it was finally ready to EAT!
I love when our students have hands-on opportunities to create various food to eat!
Many of the Senior Kindergarten students remembered the vegetable soup we made last fall!
So much learning (and fun!) happening at the same time!

Come take a closer look at our classroom...

With the first month of school already done, our students are finally starting to feel like our classroom is their "home away from home".
Here's a little peek into our classroom...
Since our Dramatic Centre is so popular, we decided to leave it in the centre of our classroom, with lots of room for the children to move around and play.
It's easily accessible to all the centres in the room which provides for a rich learning experience:  we often find students bring materials they find at another centre nearby (for example, our math area) and use those in the Dramatic Centre.  We have seen students use blocks, beads, and clay as well to enhance their learning!
This centre often turns into many different things, including a hospital, grocery store, ice cream shoppe, etc.  We can easily move the furniture around to accommodate for whatever is "cooking" at this centre!
We don't have a lot of corners in our classroom with useable space, and I really wanted to set up an atelier (or art studio) in one space near a window, so we placed it here.  All of the containers hold our materials that we have collected over the years from our Beautiful Junk projects, donations, etc. 
We often hang paintings and art work from the clothespins you see hanging.
The canvas colours were made last year as part of our Colour Inquiry.
I think it's so important to preserve and display work from years past as it shows we value student work.
The tank you see sits empty for now, but there have been discussions this week amongst the students about a possible classroom pet to put inside!
Last year we had a fish...and I loved how the children drew him, fed him, and read to him all of the time!
I wonder what will be the newest addition to our classroom this year?
This is the other part of the atelier.
We have a paint easel and drying rack as well as a large shelf which holds a variety of materials students may need for creating artistic pieces, including old magazines, paint brushes, tissue paper, foam pieces, stickers, beads, buttons, etc.
Our "Wonder Window" is also nearby to provide inspiration for painting.
Here is our Science/Discovery Table.  One of the first things I left out at the beginning of this school year was a bird nest I found in my backyard, along with magnifying glasses, paper and book about nests.
I added a small shelf on the wall behind the table where we have displayed other interesting items the children have brought in, books about nature, and seashells from our inquiry last year!
Our Math Centre holds lots of open-ended materials for the beginning of the school year, including dice, Unifix cubes, coloured bears, plastic straws in various colours (for sorting, tallying, etc.), double-sided counters, and large wooden numbers.  I love to see how the children explore and experiment with the different materials before introducing more.
This Learning Carpet is a must!
I was fortunate to have it funded through My Class Needs last fall.
Last year I had a large carpet off to the side of the classroom that housed all building materials.  Since I've made the atelier larger, I had to move the building area to the gathering area at the front of our classroom.
We use two large shelves that hold different sizes and shapes of wooden blocks, as well as tin cans and tubes of various sizes.
We will continue to add pinecones, sticks, etc. as our students notice them on our nature walks.
The light table is always a favourite in the classroom as well.
I found that by making it accessible on all sides more students can create.
The large shelf holds open-ended materials for the light table, but we encourage our students to take materials and use them in various parts of the classroom as well.
There are a couple of tables that I like to set out provocations, or invitations to play.
We put out a simple provocation for the first week of school, picking up magnetic letters using tongs and matching them to the mat.
I find that there are always some students who enjoy a quiet place in the classroom to read, use our iPad, or create projects using loose parts so we placed our class library in one corner.
There is a large amount of low counter space near the smaller sink.  It makes for a perfect area to set up playdough, clay, art projects, etc.
There are 2 sensory bins in our classroom - the one on the left changes periodically and holds anything from rice and water to leaves and soil.  The larger bin on the right holds sand; however, we offer students a variety of materials to engage with while there including rocks, jewels, a Lazy Susan, sifters, etc.
I use two very large rectangular tables as our Writing Centre each year.  I find that since we model and ask that our students write on a daily basis, we find that this centre is always full of hard working children!
So many materials are made available:  a variety of paper, markers, crayons, pencil crayons, scissors, glue, dictionaries, stencils, sticky notes, etc.  All of these tools encourage students to write!
And finally our bistro area...or snack centre.
We are using three round tables this year to encourage conversations amongst friends while enjoying a snack.  Since our students have self-regulated snack, this centre is always buzzing!
You can read more about our Snack Centre here.
Our classroom is always changing.  We listen to the needs, wants, interests, and wonders of our students and invite them to help us create a space that will reflect that.
I am so excited to see how our classroom will continue to change and revolve around our students this year!