This Thursday was yet another busy day in Division 4. This week we were doing stations for Chinese New Year and a read aloud on the topic. I started the lesson by introducing the topic for the day with a short 45 second video of a dragon dance and followed it with a story ” Chin Chaing and The Dragon’s Dance”. The story provided several opportunities for my students to think and talk about things like getting nervous , being afraid and having courage. They seemed to really enjoy the story and read it for them selves later at one of the stations. Our morning was spent in station rotations, I was a little ambitions and chose 6 stations for my students, hoping to provide a variety of experiences and ideas for them to explore, Next time I do a station activity I am going to do fewer stations as it took longer than I had planned for the students to get through each station. I was really happy with how engaged the students were with each station, they seemed to really want to try everything at each station and explore the ideas and information presented at the stations. The 6 stations were:
- Types of Calendars –> I used a resource from one of our fall term LLED courses that looks at three different types of calendar and explains their similarities and differences. At this station my students did a KWL for calendars and came up with some great wonders I would like them to explore in a blog post.
- What animal are you? –> At this station the students looked at a blog post I had created for them to read in our kid blog space and commented on it after reading about the animal for the year in which they were born. The students were to tell the class how the are like and not like their animal and have made some interesting connections, few of my roosters like getting up early but most called them selves reliable.
- Ram Activity –> 2015 is the year of the ram, so at this station each student got the oppertunity to make a ram from a template and a paper plate. They turned out to be cuter than I expected.
- Tangrams –> At this station we looked at one of the many math skills we are working on this year, making a 2D shape out of other 2D shapes. Tangram puzzles were a great way to explore this skill and they connected to the theme of the day. I really enjoyed seeing how engaged each of my students was in this activity and the different problem solving strategies that they used to solve the problem. The hands on aspect of having the physical peices to work with and manipulate seemed to be a positive for many of the students as it helped them to visualize the solutions and they were able to connect with the material in a multi modal way.
- Dancing Dragons –> Here we made dancing dragons to connect with our story from the read aloud. The dragon dance is also one of the better known Chinese New Year traditions, that many of us recognize from parades.
- Books, books, and more books –> For this station I gathered as many books both fiction and non-fiction, and news paper clippings as I could for the students to read. The students selected a variety of both fiction and non fiction books with several going back and re-reading the story from the morning’s read aloud.
Over all the stations were a success, it was great to see all of my students engaged and trying new or different things. I think that knowing that they each only had a few minutes at a station helped them to engage in it right away and stay engaged because they knew they had a limited amount of time to do each activity. I will defiantly do station rotations again soon.
Our day also included Jump Rope for Heart. We spent about 45 minutes in the gym jumping rope and having fun with our neighbours in division 3. We had the opportunity to do double Dutch, see how many students we could get jumping on the same rope and how long we could jump for. My favourite part of this was being able to jump rope and play with my students, it was a great time to build communities and relationships.