Monday, April 15, 2019

Pâques en maternelle: Math & Literacy Activities for Kindergarten

Oh mon dieu! Easter already? This one kind of snuck up on me! I can't believe that we're already in the month of April and that Easter and Spring are upon us! It's possible that the reason I'm not really prepared for it is that we still have snow!! We have had the longest winter with a ton of snow. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and the rain is now helping to melt away the snow.

This week and next, we will take a break from our space inquiry to start to learn about Earth Day, spring, Easter and Passover, which all happen at almost exactly the same time this year! Most of what I have prepared for our kinder kiddos is math related as my English teaching partner and I have decided to trade off month-to-month with math and literacy centers and this month I am preparing the math centers in our classes. However, read on until the end for some fun Easter word games and writing templates that I have used in the past.

Easter / Spring Addition with Loose Parts

While we typically focus on one strand for every week or two in our classrooms, we always include numeracy centers as well, as we feel that it is crucial to continue to hone these basic skills as there is an undercurrent of number sense in all of the math strands. This activity uses our students' love of loose parts and works on basic addition to 10. I've also put out white boards and dry erase markers with this activity so that they can write out their equations and their answers. This is something they love to do!

Easter Shape Sorting

I came across this adorable chick and bunny shape clipart  while I was buying my (don't tell my husband!) millionth clipart set this month, and I made this sorting activity simply because I thought the clipart was the cutest! I then put out the shape cards, as well as real objects and tangrams and let our kinders go to town with sorting by shape.

Easter Egg Patterning Activity

There are about a million things you can do math-wise with plastic Easter eggs. Maybe two million. This is just one of the ways we will be using them this week. Students can create their own patterns, copy/translate the patterns from the pattern cards, and fill in the blanks on the pattern cards.

Crack, Count & Cover Easter Egg Math

This one is super fun but I've learned that it is a bit difficult to manage. We simply filled 14 plastic Easter eggs with small loose parts (such as small erasers, foam bunny stickers, tiny chicks, beads, etc) and the students crack an egg, count the number of objects, and cover (or colour) the egg with the corresponding number. The struggle we ran into was that kids were not putting the items back into the right eggs and things were getting confusing. If I were to do it again, I would colour code the items and also include the numeral within the egg (possibly taped to the inside of the egg). 

Spin and Make a Pattern

Another patterning activity we're trying is a Spin and Make a Pattern. The students simply spin the spinner and create a pattern with loose parts, shapes, etc. and then transcribe their pattern onto their sheets. 

You can find all of these Easter Math Activities here:

Activités de maths - AVRIL

Easter Guided Reading - An Emergent Reader 

In terms of literacy, I have been doing a lot of whole group vocabulary instruction and small group instruction such as guided reading and guided writing. For guided reading this week, I will be working with some of my readers and pre-readers with this simple emergent reader:

And you can find all of the resources featured in this post here: 

Happy Easter teacher friends!


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Space Inquiry in Kindergarten: L’espace en maternelle

One of my favourite inquiries in maternelle so far has been our latest endeavour- learning about space! It seems that every time we ask the students what they are interested in, they mention space, the moon, astronauts, and Star Wars! So we jumped right in to all things space!

Dramatic play turned into a space shuttle and we worked with the students to co-create the space scene. 
My favourite dramatic play centers are those that we co-create with our students. While I love the beautiful *Pinterest Perfect* dramatic play areas as much as the next person, I totally believe in the fact that the children will be more engaged and invested in their play if they help create the materials they use and the area where they play.

We found lots of space-themed books at our school library, a lab coat and tubing from a hardware store to act as our space suits. Not pictured is the huge box we brought in and turned into a space shuttle together!

At our discovery center, we learned about the phases of the moon. We used this 'Les phases de la lune' playdough mat from my L'espace: Literacy and Science Activities for Kindergarten unit. After reading a book about the phases of the moon, we used playdough and a circular cookie cutter to create the various moon phases. 

This resource isn't part of my space unit but was tons of fun. One of our ECEs found cute, star-shaped beads at Michael's and used black pipe cleaners to create different constellations.

This idea was pretty basic but the kids loved it! Our kinders coloured the planets and cut them out. They then glued them on black construction paper and made Solar System Crowns! This idea is all over Pinterest in English but you can find it in French in my space unit.

I always like to set up our discovery center with a variety of books, vocabulary terms, and items to provoke deeper inquiry into our current area of interest.

A popular center during this inquiry was the sensory table. (Side note: I created this sensory table but using a jigsaw to cut out a hole in the top of a small, kids' IKEA table and inserted a large, clear plastic bin. I'm super happy with it and would eventually like to get a second table to go beside it for when our sensory play gets bigger than the space available. Read: all the time.)  This sensory play experience was created by one of our ECEs, who filled it with dry black beans and a variety of space-themed objects, such as stars, rockets, planets, etc. We also added the upper and lower case letter rocket ship puzzles from my space unit. The table that I currently have directly next to our sensory bin is a great place for the kids to be able to take the letter puzzles out and put them together.

Another popular center was our small world play / loose parts area. This area changes depending on what we are learning about and this week we put down a black felt board as a base and left out baskets of planets, words for labelling, story rocks (flat, black rocks that I painted with white circles and then coloured with Sharpies to look like the planets of our solar system), astronauts, and small stars. The students played with this area in many different ways and we were able to scaffold and extend their play throughout the week.

In all, this was an awesome inquiry and one that we extended and delved deeper into for several weeks. Unlike some inquiries we have explored, it was relatively easy to find materials in French, however, it is often difficult to find books and materials that are developmentally appropriate  for our French Immersion kiddos. I created my space unit in order to have a starting point and some fun centers that would be just at the right level. If you like to purchase the unit, click on the link below:

I hope I was able to spark some ideas for you if you are about to begin a space inquiry with your little ones soon.

xo Jess