Joined Mar 22, 2016
- Location: Weston, Massachusetts
- Organization: Country School
- Grade: K
- Environment: PreK-Grade 3 public elementary school read more...
Massachusetts Kindergarten teacher of 20 years, Grade Leader, Chief Wonderer in Room 1, place-based educator, vernal pool and inquiry enthusiast.
- Website/Blog: https://sites.google.com/a/my.weston.org/wyman-s-wonder/
My Kindergarten students and I are inspired daily by the natural beauty of the school grounds of our PreK-3rd Grade elementary school and adjacent town conservation trails. Not far along one of the walking trails sits a vernal pool -- the first in a series of them, in fact. We visit this particular spot every 6-8 weeks to observe the changing of the seasons, learn about communities and habitats, and the wildlife that make their home in this truly magical place. Some animals are seen; some leave signs of their presence; others remain elusive throughout the year. As the year progresses, our knowledge about vernal pools and their inhabitants grows. We use a schema chart with Post-its to record our thinking throughout the year, including our current and new learning, our misconceptions, and questions. Nature’s “cast of characters” inspired us in a new direction this year -- writing poetry about them and painting their portraits in watercolors. We began our poetry project by adopting a character. Each student researched their vernal pool community inhabitant and made a list of facts they had learned. After individually conferring about these facts, we gently -- ever so gently -- shaped them to take on a different form: poetry. Some Kindergarten poets chose to have their character do the talking, while others preferred to ask them questions. All are a lovely intermingling of science content knowledge and literacy learning. Our writing mentor, poet/author/writing teacher Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, graciously invited us to share our work on her inspiring website, The Poem Farm. (Post dated July 22, 2016, if direct link is lost.)
Are your students conducting an inquiry on a live animal in your classroom -- tadpoles, turtles, hermit crabs, butterflies, or other? If so, a class or grade level team blog is a great way to share information with other classes and families. Our district's Kindergarten Frog Blog is a repository of amazing information on the development of the Wood Frog tadpoles from our local vernal pool that we are heads-starting. The blog is not cleared from year to year, so current students can look back on developmental milestones from the previous years, as well as conditions that may have impacted them.