Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Community of Learners

We are a community of learners. 

It is our responsibility to support and respect the work that the classroom and our peers are committed to completing.  

As learners in this Kindergarten and also school community, we must problem solve and consider the obstacles faced by our peers daily. 

How can we scaffold their learning as our teachers sometimes do for us? 

How can we create an environment that promotes risk-taking....for it is through our mistakes that we find our answers.

These tenets of our classroom are put to the test during Project Circle, a conversation before Investigative Research. We do not always achieve our sometimes lofty goals. As we transition, there are jokes, a few small indiscretions, a hand stepped on or a chair that tips. Sometimes we are off topic or need to share a story before we can really listen to the work that is being shared. 
But is pure magic.

Lorenzo, Emerson, Lukas and Reese shared their recent work in the woodshop with Pippin during our project circle. This is what happens when there is an interesting provocation, the adults stay quiet and the children are asked to tell us what you notice (that golden word...notice).

Sydney: Hey, this is not just a pizza. There is a piece of wood on the bottom.

Poppy: Is that going to be the stand for the Ferris wheel. It looks like a stand.

Lukas: We made a pizza with our spokes and then put the struts on the outside. It is not a stand.

Poppy: Ok, so its not a stand. Is it where the seats are going?

Reese: Poppy, we are going to put the other peices on it and then put the seats on it.

Kaiya: I notice you need to put wood around the edge and you need eight pieces.

Oliver: No, you need sixteen pieces for each one.

Fiona: You need to put on fifteen because there is one piece there.

Tom: I noticed that the wheel is not round. It’s like an octagon shape.

Ol: A hexagon has six sides but an octagon has eight spokes and eight struts. We counted them just to make sure.

Isabel: But there is not a stand. This is not going to work.

Tom: We need an axle first.

I suggested that we have a human axle.

Lukas volunteered.

What do YOU notice?


  1. I just realised that my child doesn't know what a ferris wheel is! I guess I'd better take her to a fair!

    1. Mary, she is calling it a pizza because that is how we referred to it at this stage.

  2. The fact that you are blogging warms my heart. Your post is an excellent model for other teachers. Keep up the great work and please, continue sharing.

    1. Lee, thanks so much for your reply. I am very excited about the prospect of blogging. How did you hear about my blog?

  3. The thing that stands out most to me about this post is that it brings to light the idea that we can know something on so many different levels. It is one thing to know what a ferris wheel is and quite another to know all of the physics behind how it works. It is so nice to be in a school where we value the second enough to slow down and hand over sufficient time and experience to let them build the detailed knoweldge. It is impressive that these young children have taken on such a challenge.

    1. We have been wondering about "knowing" and defining something through the senses. A functional definition of a Ferris wheel is different from the understanding of the wheel through experience and an emotional connection. How does a sensory understanding impact a functional understanding?