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?”
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!
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!