Thank you to all of the educators who came out to PDSB’s annual Kindergarten Conference (Inspirations and Contexts, Kindergarten Play and Inquiry) last week. It was wonderful to have a chance to meet and chat with many of you. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share some of the documentation my students have been involved in. I thought I would post some of their documentation as well as a few discoveries they made about the worms and the composter.
The children were provided with several pictures of different stages of the construction of the worm composter. They chose the ones they thought were important or ones they found particularly interesting. I was thrilled that so many of the boys were keen to write about their experiences. Even though we have a Communication Centre as part of our classroom, the truth is that children communicate through reading, writing, speaking and representing at ALL of the learning centres. I was very intentional with some of the vocabulary I had available for the children such as worm, bin, drill. A meeting to choose and write about a picture quickly became an engaging and meaningful guided reading and writing lesson.
The children found what they theorized to be eggs and they quickly referred to some books to see if their theories were correct. It was important for them to represent their findings, so they became interested in drawing the worms and the eggs. They also began to make connections to the pictures in the books. They learned that worms have five hearts. One student discovered a diagram and counted the hearts to verify that what he learned was correct. He then became very interested in making his own diagram.
When I asked a couple of the students how they could share with others what they learned about worms, one student pointed to some documentation panels that were in our classroom and said, “We can make something like that.” And so, I handed over the iPad and they decided what pictures they needed to include in their documentation. Once they had taken all of their pictures, I printed them for the children. It’s interesting that a few days after they had taken their pictures, the focus of their documentation changed.
After manipulating the pictures in several different positions, they finally decided on how they wanted their panel to look. Once again, what I had anticipated they might do was completely different from what they actually did. One student decided to post a list of things she wondered about.
The Worm Composter
Do the worms like water?
Do the worms like soil?
Do the worms like porridge?
Do the worms like bugs?
Another student simply stated her observations:
The worm is wet but the worm is still dirty.
What matters is not what they decided to write or where they decided to place their pictures, but the process by which they came to their final decision. They had to problem-solve until they were satisfied that their message was delivered they way they had intended.
We are just about ready to harvest our first batch of castings, so there are many more discoveries to be made and much more to document!