Reflections In The Kindergarten Classroom

This has been an interesting week in my kindergarten classroom. October heralds in our Farm Unit which culminates later in the month with a visit to a farm and the pumpkin patch. We learn about farms, the animals, produce and harvest. We read books, both fiction and non fiction, and then have many opportunities to ask questions that we post on our Wonder Wall. Mornings find the kinders working on farm puzzles, sorting small farm animal counters, using a farm mat to delve deeper into the workings of a farm and constructing farms with blocks. One of the books we read, The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown has an entry that shows the moon

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reflected in a bucket of water. Looking to see who understood what the picture represented, I saw that many knew it was the moon’s reflection. Language development being what it is, some were able to say that it looked like the moon was looking at it self like in a mirror and others quickly said, “Oh it’s the moon’s reflection.” And we are also learning other definitions of “reflections.” After a new Daily 5 rotation (literacy block) I asked the children to reflect on the rotations: what they understood, what was new, easy or difficult. I didn’t explain the word, but saw they knew what was meant by listening to their discussions. The teachers’ then gave their perspective, their reflections. Later in the week I knew it was time to read Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson; a time to get a better perspective of the impact of words and actions.

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We read the book and had a powerful talk about the story. I asked them to reflect, to think about different ways the children could have responded to Chloe, the new girl in the class! Of course, the children, as always, were fascinated when a character’s name is familiar; shouting out oh we have a Chloe, a Maya, a Sophie and so on. But then they asked incredible questions and made some insightful comments about exclusion, unkindness and saying mean things. We turned it around to the positive: inclusion, kindness, thoughtfulness. What I hope they took from the story, (as I wrote in my last post), that words said, often can’t be taken back and words not said, at times, are gone forever, unsaid. Next week we continue our farm discussions; assemble our bulletin board, ask more questions, and explore together our learning.

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I often interrupt lessons to respond to the “teachable moments” and I wonder about your responses to situations that “drive the learning?”

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