Currently in Grade 1 we are learning about ourselves, each other and how we all connect. This is a part of creating a positive learning environment for Grade 1 as well as being directly linked to our Unit of Inquiry and the Transdiciplinary Theme “Who we are”.
In learning about ourselves we are exploring the way we make good choices and living a balanced life. We are exploring our learning environment and by doing this, the children are being creative, curious and engaged.
During one of our inquiry sessions a group of children wanted to build with the blocks, lego and connectors. They were given the challenge of…
“Build your structures BUT, as a group you must make sure each structure is connected in some way to the other structures.”
So, off they went….building, planning, creating, talking and learning.
When they were finished they explained the connection….water, a harbor, bay or river. They could name each structure and they were clear on how they were connected. They then took a photo of their “harbor” and they were asked to label each item using the app, Doodlebuddy. As a group they did this….but, due to the complexity of words they had chosen (lighthouse, crocodile) and space on the iPad screen, they showed initiative and wrote the first sound of each word instead; b for boat, c for crocodile etc. Once they were finished we printed this image with the addition of some vocabulary and the children wrote their own story or sentences.
They had an authentic and engaging reason to write, they had their own personal ideas and it was exciting to see children use the vocabulary collected and shared , to sound out words and to have a clear message to write. This experience further developed their phonics knowledge and allowed them to practice these skills.
These writing pieces have led to specific conferencing and small group target sessions in specific areas. The children have been able to begin editing their writing and developing skills in grammar and punctuation.
This particular task was an example of student interests leading to more…the children involved had great ideas for expanding their drawings and doing further research. If it was connected to our unit of study I would have offered the children the opportunity to research harbor/water life by presenting books and media information to them. But on this occasion they were easily motivated to explore some tasks more closely linked to the current unit of study.