Treaty Education in Kindergarten

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Today I am sharing a UBD plan, that was co-created with a friend && former colleague of mine, Kayla Schaefer.  At the time she was teaching Kindergarten and I was teaching Grade 1-2 and we developed this plan to be multi-grade and multidisciplinary introduction to an Indigenous worldview and Treaty Education for our young learners.

As we co-taught this unit we noticed our K-2 students were very engaged, learning cooperatively, and able to represent their learning and insights in a variety of ways. Interest from teachers from within our school division led to the modelling of lessons and sharing of this resource.  As a treaty catalyst, and an educator who is passionate about incorporating Indigenous content and contexts into our classrooms I am very excited to share with you our UBD Plan K-2TreatyEdUnit which also includes examples of student learning && instructional resources.  AND here is the link to the OTC Treaty Teacher Wikispace SMARTboard Activities, which includes technological resources relevant to the unit.

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This year, I chose to revisit this unit in my Kindergarten class.  This unit is a great starting point for Treaty Education in primary classrooms, and I was able to use it as a guide then adapt it to more specifically address the Kindergarten Treaty Education outcomes and indicators;; particularly

SIK2: Express personal connectedness to nature and one another (e.g., Circle of Life, seasons, elements, weather, families, and relatives).

HCK3: Explore the connection all people have to the land as expressed through stories, traditions, and ceremonies.

TPPK4: Examine the intent of different kinds of promises.

These are some of the highlights of our learning, shared on my Twitter (@mstinyteacher)– follow me && stay tuned as we continue to learn about PROMISES!

 

@mstinyteacher

Setting Up My Kindergarten Classroom [Trapezoid Tables]

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My classroom comes with 8 trapezoid tables.

My goal was to have 2 tables to use at chair height for small group instruction, and then 6 tables to seat 30+ students at floor/kneeling level for whole group “table” activities && eating [snacks and lunch].

  1.  I initially put 3 tables in 2 rows on each side of the SMARTboard.
  2. A large trapezoid with a diamond in the middle.
  3. 2 large triangles.
  4. Now we have 3 small hexagons.

 

With the lower half of the table legs removed and tennis balls on the remaining table leg, the floors are protected && it is very easy to move the tables when needed.  We slide them apart when we need more seating space and can slide them together for more floor space and for ease of cleaning.  The lower tables enable students to quickly & easily collaborate at table activities and have also provided a platform for block play.  Sometimes we use small step-stools at the floor tables, but many students are comfortable sitting or kneeling around these tables.

When students feel like sitting at chair height, we have a small group/teacher table with chairs.  && There is a table with chairs at the art centre as well.

There is a growing body of research that reflects the important benefits of alternative seating in classrooms.  Giving the students choice to move, lay down, sit or stand when playing and learning creates a comfortable space for all students.

If you have any thoughts or ideas on setting up tables/desks/seating please feel welcome to share in the comments section!

@mstinyteacher

Long Range Planning in Play-Based Kindergarten

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This is my first time long range planning for Kindergarten and it has been a learning process!

There is a challenge in maintaining the integrity of a child-centred, play-based classroom while exploring authentic “inquiries” && staying accountable to planning responsibilities and the curricular outcomes.

Teachers in effective Kindergarten classrooms regularly observe, document, and interpret. Through this process, teachers gather information to guide scaffolding and to plan inquiries.

Saskatchewan Kindergarten Curriculum

I began by going through my curriculum outcomes across all subject areas.

From there I grouped outcomes by potential topics or inquiry questions.

For example, the following Health, Science, Social Studies and Arts Education outcomes could be combined to develop an inquiry about Plants or Animals; it can involve but is not limited to – how Indigenous artists represent plants and/or animals, outdoor classroom, stewardship, recycling, gardening, farmers markets, farming, habitats, flowers, trees, life cycles, composting, Mother Nature…  If students demonstrate an interest in any of these topics; then we could start to ask questions to address these outcomes, such as, How can we take care of Mother Earth?  How does a seed become a plant? Why do dogs have fur?

USCK.1 Develop basic habits to establish healthy relationships with self, others, and the environment.
LTK.1 Examine observable characteristics of plants, animals, and people in their local environment.
RWK.2 Develop and demonstrate stewardship of the environment in daily actions, in an effort to promote balance and harmony.
CHK.2 Recognize a wide variety of arts expressions as creations of First Nations and Métis peoples. 

Once exploring and organizing outcomes into potential topics; I searched for read alouds and looked for other resources- like printable mini books && ideas for invitations that compliment these topics.  Then I also created a sample inquiry plan for each topic containing these resources.  These inquiry plans can be easily adapted as needed and will be a great starting point for planning throughout the year.

Here is a sample inquiry plan I created for the mentioned outcomes.

photomothernature-inquiry

mother-nature-plantsanimals_investigation

I put the inquiry topics into a tentative order; however, these long range plans are meant to be a “living” arrangement that reflect the students interests, interpretations and curiosities – so although I see the topic of “traditions and celebrations” fitting well in December when we discuss a variety of winter celebrations, if my students are drawn to study Thanksgiving and Halloween celebrations in October, if they are pretending “birthday parties” in the home centre, or if they are sharing experiences about Powwows in the summer – then I may need to demonstrate flexibility and creativity!  However, if they aren’t yet asking those questions or sharing their insights about “traditions and celebrations” then I will be prepared to guide them into those areas of learning in December as outlined.

@mstinyteacher

 

 

 

CHANGE;; a timely topic

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I have been enthusiastically reflecting  on CHANGE- the newest topic of the #saskedchat Summer Blogging Challenge.

When I think of change I equate it with opportunity.

This has been a year of great opportunity for me. I entered this year as a grade 1-2 teacher in a local community school, which wasn’t a different assignment for me, but I believe one of the many things I appreciate about our profession is that there is always opportunity and change with each new class of students, and really each new day.  We create routines, consistency, structure && safety in our classrooms yet encounter infinite possibilities for choice, change, and of course learning.

As role models of life long learning we must continue to stretch ourselves in our personal lives, and in our practice and pedagogy.

This year, I made a shift, or change, as I decided to focus more on inquiry and extending play-based learning from Kindergarten to Grades 1 && 2.  Implementing “Discovery Time”- scheduling large blocks of time for student-centred investigations, cooperative play and projects, && community excursions- meant changes for my classroom environment, planning && in some ways my perspective on learning and assessment.

From very early in the year my students were able to demonstrate interdependence in their play-based learning, which allowed me to focus on small group instruction- an area of balanced instruction that I was able to develop.

This year I was also presented the opportunity to become our schools Math Coach && to participate in different mentoring roles within my school division.  In turn, the majority of my professional growth has been in the area of math instruction and assessment && as a collaborator and catalyst.

Then enormous changes happened for me at the end of this school year…

I applied for a Kindergarten position!

At a new school!

&& I got it!

So it has been a summer of changing schools & classrooms, exploring a new curriculum, and all the other experiences that come with;
And these changes will mean an autumn of acquainting myself with a new staff, new school community, new students, and all the other experiences that come with…

I am excited.

Change can mean many things- mixed emotions, stress, work, challenges, experiences, it can mean altering roles and relationships, and it impacts all areas of life-
It can be different, a shift, it can lead to learning and growth- && opportunity.

@mstinyteacher

BuiLD YouR WiLD SeLf

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This morning I created my own avatar for this blog using Build Your Wild Self from New York Zoos and Aquarium & the Wildlife Conservation Society.

It is a website where you can create your own character using different human/animal body parts.  Then you can send these creations in an email or print them.

mstinyteacher-buildyourwildself

The website also provides a name and description of the Wild-You you just created, telling facts about the animals parts you selected.

I am thinking that this would be a fun activity to use when learning All About Me to create unique digital self portraits.  Also, when studying animals, there is the opportunity for generating great questions about various adaptations. 

Let me know if you have used this before with your students, or if you have any other ideas for how you might use this in the classroom.

@mstinyteacher

#saskedchat Blogging Challenge

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This challenge couldn’t have come at a better time.
I created this blog about a month ago and have yet to write my first post.

BUT now.  I present to you:

Week One (Why I Blog) && Week Two (Support)

I am very excited to share ideas and experiences. I want to connect with others && honour my learning as a professional.  I feel that blogging will increase my interdependence – building && contributing to a professional learning network.

@mstinyteacher