What do you see? What do you wonder? What do you think? These are the questions we ask children as we encourage them to express their theories about their world. (They’re also the questions we ask ourselves as we examine samples of documentation, but that’s another post.) Considering the environment as the third teacher, we decided to use our windows more effectively. On a visit to the Bishop Strachan School last year, I had seen wonderful writing samples based on the children’s observations from their classroom window. Back in the early spring, we decided to put the windows to better use and introduced the Wonder Window. Transparencies, permanent black markers and of course, the window, made for a perfect provocation to entice the children. There was a lot to see on a rainy day and they made some interesting observations.
O: When the rain comes from the clouds you don’t see when it’s falling. When it’s on the ground you see it. On the ground there are some circle things and it goes from small circles to big circles. I wonder why the trees are moving so hard?
P: I wonder why there’s big puddles because I never saw puddles like that. It looks like a big flood!…I see tiny raindrops and I see some circles around puddles…I wonder how does rain make mud?
As the weather changed, so did the materials. Permanent coloured markers were added and the children were encouraged to record their thinking with pictures and writing. They wrote about flowers blooming, trees “opening,” the sun shining and snails crawling.
I love this time of year. Not only do we see new blooms and growth outside, we also see it within each of the children. Their writing has gone from a line, to scribbles, to letters, to words. Each of them are coming into bloom in their own time.