Thinking about Our Learning - Mid-Pacific Institute

Kindergarten Matsumoto

Thinking about Our Learning

Posted on December 2, 2017

by Ms. Matsumoto on December 2, 2017

In my November 19 blog, I shared that the children had been identifying Learner Profile traits in their different learning experiences. During these past two weeks, we have been assembling the children's portfolios, and they reflected on several different artifacts of learning - Free Choice or Reflection Journal writing piece, counting or sorting math work, Just-Right reading book, taking relationship photos, and drawing their relationship ideas. In addition, specialists have chosen an artifact that highlights one of the Learner Profile Traits.

While we have been engaging in deliberate reflection on our learning as we prepare our portfolios, I realized that we are demonstrating all of the Learner Profile Traits throughout our day, even as we are thinking about our learning.

Something that struck me these past two weeks was hearing children say, "I forget." Now, it's not that I haven't heard this before or that I think it's an invalid response. What I realized was that "I forget" was being said when the answer wasn't readily accessible to the child. I also realized that if given strategies and time, the children would be able to figure out AN answer. Notice that I didn't say THE answer, although that does happen. What's most important is that they are able to figure out AN answer; THE answer will come, maybe after many other answers.

I began to respond to "I forget" with That's okay. This is not something for you to remember; this is something you can figure out. And then we would identify strategies and resources to utilize to come to a solution. I'm going to share a few examples of the thinking and reasoning the Kindergartners go through every day.

You may have seen the monthly calendars on the wall in our classroom. July 2017 is the first month on the left and June 2018 is the last month on the right. The current month's calendar is posted separately on the board, and we refer to it daily. When we read the calendar, we often refer back to past months or ahead to the coming months.

This week, we were working on our calendar gift (Shhh! It's a surprise.). Rather than tell the children what month we would be working on, I asked them 1) What month do you think we're doing next? and 2) How do you know? A few children responded right away with guesses of the months they knew or with the current month, and of course by doing so, they could not say HOW they came up with their answer. Remember, you might not know this right away, but you can figure it out.

Then one child said, "Well, I remember we just did September, and we did the heart (for Labor Day)." Great, I responded. How do we know what month is next? Again, a few children shouted out guesses, but another few began to crane their necks to see the months on the wall. I see you're looking at September, here. How do you know which way to go to find the next month? "That way (motioning left) is what we already did, and that way (motioning right) is the ones we didn't do, yet." Yes! How do you know that? "Because those months (on the right) don't have anything on them." Yellow post-its mark how many days we've been in school. Right! So what is the month after September? O... And I sounded out the beginning sound to prompt the children. "October!"

Visual reminders are often put up on the board for the children to refer to throughout the day or work period.

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The first item is the following math activity:

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After explaining the directions, I asked the children, Let's say you forget what the directions are. What could you do? "We could ask someone." "We could ask the teacher." Yes, but how could you figure it out yourself? "You can look at the shapes." Great, but how will you know what color to color the square? "It's blue, because you see the b." Yes, and how do you know what to color the triangle? "Red, because there's r." Right! Now I'm going to put it up here on the board for you. What do you see here? "A blue square and a red triangle."

The second activity was our calendar gift. The children easily read the symbols to remind them of the task. They were allowed four or five stars, and they had to draw about four community helpers for their Labor Day art. Then they could begin their Halloween scene for the next month. Third, the children were able to begin a Free Choice journal.

I hope these examples illustrate the rigorous learning the children are experiencing each and every day. Not only are they developing as critical thinkers, but they are also developing as independent and capable learners. These examples also describe a growth mindset, which we try to encourage in the children. To learn more about developing a growth mindset, read the following book:

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** No new Family Learning Activities are posted, but please feel free to go back to previously posted activities. These optional activities are provided 1) to inform families of classroom learning, 2) as an opportunity for students to reinforce learned concepts, and 3) as a means for families to share in their child's learning. As the children complete these activities, they may bring them in to the classroom at any time to share with the class. There is no due date, so families may complete the activities as they are able. **

Upcoming events:
Monday, 12/4 - Christmas party for Mānoa Senior Care back house (GY, CY, TC, VM, DL, and EK's families). Please meet at the upper auto line at 5:50, if you would like to walk over together.
Tuesday, 12/5 - Christmas party for Mānoa Senior Care front house (AG, SY, CL, AS, JY, KK, and NC's families). Please meet at the upper auto line at 5:50, if you would like to walk over together.
Thursday-Friday, 12/7-12/8 - Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences (Please sign up for December Conferences. E-mail me if you like Ms. Jordan to also attend. Remember that your child attends the conference, as well.)
Tuesday, 12/19 - Christmas assembly
- visit to Mānoa Senior Care
Thursday, 12/21 - Christmas Program, 1/2 day of school
12/22-1/7 - Winter Break