Created In His Own Image

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Meet Blastoids!  He is the newest addition to our class! What would you say if I told you that Blastoids is the result of integrating Academic Content Objectives (ACOs) in multiple subjects in a fun, creative, student-led, teacher-facilitated environment? Blastoids is an example of project-based learning (or PBL).

For more information on PBL, check out this short video.

Blastoids is a product of the Kinders’ collective work.  Let me share with you the process we took to create him.

In math, the Kinders spent a little over a week learning about 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes.  To help them connect shapes to the world around them, we went on a shape hunt around the school and collected objects in a variety of shapes.  The Kinders even saved some of the disposable containers from their snacks!  The Kinders quickly discovered that shapes are EVERYWHERE!  We couldn’t take everything we found with us (because that would be called stealing), so we took photos of them on my phone and printed them out later on.  After our shape hunt, we found ourselves with a pile of random items in the middle of our classroom.  The Kinders needed to address the driving question: “How can we display the 2D and 3D objects collected during our shape hunt?”

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After some collaboration and communication, the Kinders decided to take it to a vote.  They came up with all kinds of ideas and finally narrowed it down to building a robot together.  “But how do we do that?” one Kinder asked.  This question sparked a conversation about a recent Bible lesson about God’s creation of man.  Genesis 1:27 says,

So God created mankind in His own image,
in the image of God He created them;
male and female He created them.

We were reminded through this verse in Scripture that we were created in the likeness of God. And all that He had created prior to this verse was so masterfully done with varying shapes and functions.

The Kinders were given a brief exercise to imagine God’s created world with everything made only of squares.  Then they attempted to draw self portraits using only squares (as pictured above).  Though we all thought each drawing was quite adorable, we concluded that God’s artful design of us and everything else He created is so much more beautiful with all of its varying lines and shapes.

“God is so creative!” a Kinder joyfully exclaimed.

“So, if WE are created in His own image and God is creative, that must mean that we are creative, too! How can we use our creativity to build this robot?” I asked.

The Kinders proceeded to share their ideas, established different jobs and roles (with teacher assistance), gathered supplies, and got to work. This project did not address a real world problem like most project-based learning does, but the students had to problem-solve and learn to work together peacefully when they hit snags in their creating and building approach. It was a rough process for them to work through since most of them were concerned about what THEY wanted to do. However, each time they were reminded of their purpose and goal, those key social skills (of turn-taking, showing patience, sharing ideas, listening to others’ ideas, and working together in a peaceful manner) would resurface. They were able to move forward and create a final product.

So in the midst of covering content in the subjects of Math, Bible, and Art, the Kinders were developing some of the social skills necessary to be successful now and in the future!

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Here are a list of other things the Kinders are learning and developing in school:

  • Building reading stamina during Read to Self and Read to Someone (pictured below) for Daily 5.
  • Adding details to their drawings to share an idea or tell a story during Writer’s Workshop.  They will be adding words to their pictures next week.
  • Applying lessons from Adam and Eve; Hannah and Samuel; and Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac in the Bible.
  • Logging on online to IXL independently (for additional math content practice) in the Media Center.
  • Learning number sense, days of the week, months of the year, patterns, shapes, addition, and tallying during calendar time.
  • Identifying, writing, and counting numbers 1-20.
  • Studying the five food groups and the importance of each in our daily food intake.
  • Exploring a variety of lines and shapes in Art.
  • Using loud vs. soft and fast vs. slow through song in Music.

The Kinders are excited about using Kindles next week in Language Arts and Math!  I, however, am excited about watching their “likeness of God” continue to unfold this year in the Peace Fruit Stand!

 

In the Beginning…

IMG_2937What a GREAT first week of the school year! I prepared some Jitter Juice (Sprite and punch) to help make those first day of school jitters disappear, but apparently I was the only one with the jitters!  Each of the Kinder saints were excited about being in Kindergarten! (We still had a few sips of the yummy juice to make any hidden jitters go away!)

One of the first questions I asked the Kinders this week was “What is peace?” Some of their responses were: “Peace is…relaxing, chillin’, going to the beach, being nice.”  We will seek to answer that question throughout the school year in our study of God’s Word, our interactions with others, and through our classroom learning.

Here are a few things we have learned so far as we opened up the Bible this week.  The Scriptures tells us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…God saw all that He had made, and it was very good (Genesis 1:1, 31).” There was peace and perfection in His creation. Peace existed in the beginning. Peace comes from God.

We discussed what Peacemakers and Peacebreakers look like, sound like, and how they affect others. We already see how peacemaking is important in all aspects of our day:  the way we use our crayons and pencils, eat our snack and lunch, open and close the door, walk in the hallway,  and talk to our friends and teachers, to name a few.

Check out these photos to see how we are learning and practicing how to infuse peace into our school day!

READ TO SELF

Read to Self is the first of the Daily 5 exercises in Reader’s Workshop to build independent readers and writers.  The Kinders learned three ways to read a book:

  1. Read the pictures.
  2. Read the words.
  3. Retell the story.

Most of them are reading the pictures for now, but as they do, they are making meaning of the story and are working on building reading stamina.  We have been practicing Read to Self in 3-minute increments and will  work on increasing our stamina in the coming weeks.

The Kinders also shared their “All About Me” bags with their classmates.  This was a great opportunity for them to use their peacemaking abilities and listen quietly while one classmate shared the items he/she brought from home.

We also discussed the proper and improper ways to handle math manipulatives.  They worked together in small groups to collaborate, share, and create in a peaceable manner.

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Peacemakers keep each other safe and follow classroom and playground expectations. When we do so, peace is also fun!

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The Kinder saints have graduated to the big school playground!

We ended our week with our first chapel of the year.  This is one of my favorite times of the week because we get to gather together as a school and worship God through song and Bible teaching from Mrs. Stephens (and occasional guests).

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Chapel on Fridays

These saints are a bright, creative, loving bunch!  I am so thankful to be their teacher!

Don’t forget to check out your Kinders’ self portraits hanging on the wall by our classroom!