Each October we visit the “Farm” which is part of the Agricultural School in a nearby college. A component of this field trip is a visit to the “pumpkin patch.” This year we went earlier in the season and the children were able to see a field of pumpkins with leafy green foliage surrounding them.We had college students and teachers show us the chicken coop, horses in a coral, a pot bellied pig and alpaca who share a space, Angus cows, a donkey, sheep and their lambs and goats and their kids. Our Kinders were enchanted by the animals. The pumpkin patch is always a big favorite. After we had lunch, we went on a hayride (tractor pulling a big flatbed truck) around big stalks of sunflowers and corn. Then off to search for a pumpkin.
During our course of study they created farms, barns and enclosures for the animals. They worked on farm related puzzles and we did Math Talks: At The Farm. The children created scarecrows after we read books about them. We read fiction and non-fiction books related to farm life. Excitement permeated the room as they discussed the how’s, what’s and why’s about scarecrows. Both kindergarten classes collaborated on a Farm Bulletin Board. We had many discussions about farms and saw videos from Discovery Streaming, Wonderopolis and BrainpopJr. The children had many questions that we posted on our Wonder Wall. After our trip we talked about the questions and came up with some good answers. But these are five year olds eager to share what they know and as such these wonderful, delightful, inquisitive children when responding to a question about chocolate milk and where that comes from, were pretty sure that some cows give chocolate milk! After serious discussion the final consensus was cows only give regular milk and chocolate milk comes in many ways but not from cows.
As I reflect upon my teaching I started thinking in terms of my learning and for me identifying the purpose and intent of a unit of study along with my other teaching practices created challenges that I wanted to explore. In doing so, I feel the children’s learning can also demonstrate purpose and intent. I have been inspired by so many incredible people in my PLN. This summer I was fascinated by Dave Burgess @burgessdave and his book TLAP joining in many chats about what you bring to your students to capture their interests. My hope is that my passion, excitement and interest motivates my students to challenge themselves to ask questions, to experiment and take risks. I found the graphic below on Twitter and am trying to instill it my students and see the relevance to adult learners as well.
October is Connected Teacher Month and I have learned so much from chats on Twitter. Has social media influenced your teaching practices?