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I've incorporated STEM stations many times throughout the year, but today I chose to set out exclusively STEM activities with my Wonder Wednesday kiddos. THIS WAS MY BEST IDEA YET!!! I was truly amazed at all of the learning going on! I could practically see the wheels turning!
I set up the STEM activities, introduced the 'challenge' for each station and then sat back (hovered actually!) and watched the magic happen.
On my word, they hurried to the stations as they were eager to complete the challenges. As I watched them work, I offered praise and encouragement but held back on my 'leading questions' and 'prompting'.
The determination, focus and perseverance they exhibited was like nothing I've seen from them thus far. They all encountered 'obstacles' as they attempted to complete their tasks, but to my wonderment they did not become discouraged. In fact, they altered their approach, they collaborated with their peers, and offered each other words of encouragement and support!!!
The STEM Stations
Build a square from triangles.
Stack ALL the items without them falling over.
Hang EVERY item in the bowl on the line.
Without using hands, move all the balls from one bin to the other using only the items provided (2 popsicle sticks and a tp roll).
Build a bridge that will hold the cat, from one bin to the other, with only the items provided (scrap paper, circle stickers, straws and pipe cleaners).
Completing the Tasks
Add a little STEAM
We finished of the day making paper airplanes. Instead of teaching them how to throw them, I had them experiment so that they would discover the best way to make them GO!!! A fun ending to a FUN day!!!
Happy kids (just look at their smiles!) who didn't even realize they were learning! And one VERY happy teacher!!
From now on, every last Wednesday of the month is STEM DAY!!!
I CAN"T WAIT!!!
Did you know that in Ontario you do not have to send your child to school until they are 6 years of age. More and more parents are opting to hold their children back from Kindergarten.
If you are second thinking sending your child to Kindergarten, Evergreen Academy in Port Colborne has the perfect program for your child!! Our Stepping Stones Programs are designed for children ages 2 1/2 to 5 years.
With a MAXIMUM OF 5 CHILDREN in a class, you child will receive more individualized attenttion, and will develop positive, lasting relationships with their peers. It's a great "Stepping Stone" for children who may feel anxious about a the higher number of children in traditional Kindergarten classes, or who are unable to cope with the hustle and bustle that accompanies 20 to 30 4 year olds.
Perhaps your child isn't ready for a full week and you want to ease them into full time. Or perhaps, like many moms, you aren't ready to give them up for a full week! Send your child to Evergreen one day a week, or send them everyday. YOU DECIDE the schedule that is best for your child.
Many parents are concerned with the full day being too much for their child. We have optional nap time in the afternoon (with quiet individual activities provided as an alternative) for those parents that feel their little ones could still use that downtime.
Not sure about the Kindergarten curriculum? As a parent, YOU DECIDE the learning path for your child. Some may still be working on pencil grip and scissor skills, others learning to print their names and learn the letters of the alphabet, while some are learning to read and spell. Evergreen hands-on learning stations allow each child to engage in activities suited to meet their individual learning goals, as well as their individual interests and strengths. There also is plenty of time for free play, singing and dancing, crafting and exploring art, exploring the community, and lots of fun!
Each day focuses on a different area of learning:
Looking for more info?
The Evergreen website has a information on the programs, registration, recommendations from parents, fees, and more.
The Evergreen Facebook page has a ton of photos of the Stepping Stones programs in action!
learn@ evergreenacademy.ca or (289) 273-2283
Is where you can get your questions answered, or to book a time to come out and see us.
What a fabulous day we had!!
We started out with a visit to the Market. Buying from local farmers means that less energy is wasted shipping the food. We are also supporting the local economy!!
Then on to a local thrift shop and garage sale. We donated some items and purchased ourselves some books and toys! Buying second-hand significantly reduces the carbon footprint (opposed to purchasing new). It eliminates the consumption of Earth's resources used to produce new items, as well as those used to create the packaging. There is no pollution created during production nor during transportation from factory to stores (except for the short drive to the local depot...but we walked). It is also environmentally friendly because it keeps used items and packaging out of landfills!
After that we pit-stopped for a muffin at the local cafe.
We played "Where did it come from?" and "What would happen if?" and then we read my favourite book, The Lorax, under our favourite tree! This was followed by a little fun in Mother Nature!
We chalked the sidewalk to spread the message of Earth Day.
The kiddos created puppet skits about being kind to our planet in our new puppet theatre graciously donated to our school by Allison Gyetko-DesRoches!! (Thank you Allison...they LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!)
We completed a super awesome HEART EARTH wall art project with items that were headed for the trash or recycle bin.
And we ended the day with some dancing and singing!!
Some of our other Earth Week activities included cleaning up garbage (oh, and a little fun at the park while we were there)...
a recycled carnival...
experiments about organics and composting....
making paint from dried out markers...
"Please Don't be a Litterbug" art from litter...
and art made from old magazines and boxes.
What a great Earth Week!!!
We recently started up a Fabulous Friday Program at Evergreen, where the theme of the day centres on a book. Our latest book was Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman.
The little ones had SO MUCH FUN making crazy hats like the one in the story!!
I'm sure you have a ton of stuff around your house that you can use to make your own crazy hats too!!
Take a look at some of the activities we did with the book....
Fabulous Friday is part of our Stepping Stones Program for children ages 30mths to 5yrs. We will be starting up a similar program on Mondays in January with a focus on letters and phonics. There is one space still available. If anyone is interested check out the information on our Stepping Stones program at http://www.evergreenacademy.ca/the-programs.html
I've been itching to teach 'fall' to the kids...luckily today was letter 'D' for Deciduous!! We enjoyed a nice walk to see the different trees and to collect some fallen leaves, we wondered why some trees have leaves that don't fall off or change colour. We had a good discussion about seasons, read some books, sang some songs. We did a bit of sorting by type, colour, size, etc. We got creative and made some leaf creatures. But most of all, we had FUN!!!
LOVIN' Wonder Wednesdays!!!
The other 'D' stations were lots of fun too!!
This blog post is meant to give you a sneak peek at our Wonder Wednesday and Thursday's Word Day Programs for Ages 2-5 in Port Colborne, and introduce you to some new programs we would like to get up and running.
YOUR KIDS CAN BE PART OF THE FUN TOO!!
*Please excuse the quality of the pictures…I use my phone to grab quick pics, often while I’m on the move :)
The little ones have very short attention spans (don’t we all!) and so I tend to do a LOT of quick little activities with them.
We kick off the day with a “Question of the Day” that leads to an introduction of the letter and themes of the day. We get to do a little math (early graphing) and a bit of literacy, as I introduce the letter of the day.
I do quick little demos with them…
What do you think would happen if?
This gets them interested in the topics!!
We take a walk around to the different stations and talk about them. The kids are often eager to dive right in!!
Each station has a ‘word’ or theme that starts with the letter of the day. For example, our letter A stations were an Absorption investigation, Apple seed planting, Air blowing, Animal sorting, Ants, etc. For the letter B; Balance the Balls, Build as tall as the Bird Book, Buoyancy with Boats at the Beach, Blue Bubbles, etc.
Many of the stations are designed to be ‘fun’ so that the kids enjoy playing with stuff, and aren’t stressed about learning. It is my belief that the learning will just seep right in to those amazing little brains!
I also try to make the stations very similar from week to week so that, for example, although it might be a new ‘thing' you are sorting, you are still sorting. Familiarizing the kids with the stations enables me to have more time to work with each one individually when they need assistance, or to talk with them about what they are doing. That’s one of the reasons why small class sizes are so beneficial!
After snack we go outside and I usually start them off with a few quick activities to get them wondering, and then set them off for free play with friends. I find that many of them independently choose to return to the activities, or set out on their own discoveries. My favourite part is watching them share their discoveries with each other!!
After some free time outside, we meet again and have story time. We talk about the reading, our experiments, our discoveries and then we head back to try some of the stations they hadn't tried yet...or their favourite ones! When they've had enough, we head outside for an investigation or game.
Lunch is followed by some fitness activities and free time outside.
During quiet time I am able to spend a bit of time with those that aren't napping. They get some free time after that.
Our afternoon meeting begins with a quick review of the day. Next up is the arts, which is started with a song or a video. The letter of the day is incorporated into our art activities. For example for A we did air (blowing) art. That was 2 A's!!
Throughout the day we check on our experiments and investigations.
We fill the rest of the day with impromptu activities and lessons that are derived from our ‘wondering’! They are so curious and want to know more and more!! I love little minds!!
Thursday's Words Day
We start off with graphing...Who has a “ “ in their name?
Then we talk about the letter (Capital, Lower Case, sound, tricky parts, etc). Next up is a sound bin where kids pick out various objects that begin with the letter. We sound out the word. Since we are all antsy at this point, we get a chance to try tracing the letter.
Before we head out for our station tour, we sing a jolly phonics song and practice our alphabet song. They LOVE to sing and act out the songs!!
The stations are designed to take about 3-5 minutes to complete. There are extra stations so the kids are not constrained by the speed of their peers. There are also many options available at each station for the kiddos to choose from. I have several tasks available which cover a range of abilities and needs. For example at the manipulative table I may have a bin of buttons they use to cover a letter b, or some pictures on a magnet board with letters to spell out the words. I even find that some of the younger students try out the ‘harder’ tasks..even if they are just playing with the magnets!! And the older ones have fun playing with buttons too!!
The activities at the stations are meant to keep their attention (painting, using bingo dobbers, play dough, salt trays, using glue and magnets, etc.). They get to play, but meanwhile they are interacting with letters and sounds.
There is plenty of time for outdoor play. I like to get them started with a few quick activities and then let them wonder and discover. Although it's free time, and often they choose to play, as we expect kids to do, many times I find them searching and wondering and experimenting!!
And of course there is always story time and some art!!
My plan is to surround them with knowledge and they will discover it!!
We have space for your child in our programs!!
If you are interested in any of the above, visit
our website at www.evergreenacademy.ca
our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/evergreenacademy.ca
write to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (289)273-2283
And please share with anyone you may think would be interested. Thanks for your time! Laura
How is your child's current education? Most will say it's just fine. I agree! I believe that most students attending schools in Ontario are getting a pretty good education. Some parents will rate their child's education as excellent. I agree! There are a great number of fabulous teachers out there, and many schools that are blessed with administrators who go above and beyond, to make their school a great place to learn. Other parents are disappointed, and advocate for change. Yes, you guessed it...I agree! There truly are things that need to change. But that's not what I want to talk about.
What I want to talk about are the 'square peg' children. The ones that are bored. The ones that are frustrated. The ones that act out. The ones that aren’t working to their full potential. The ones that could do so much more provided a different learning environment. The ones that just don't fit in the pre-drilled holes. I know them. I've seen them. Actually, I've been some of them. Do you know any of these children? I'll introduce them to you, and perhaps you will recognize them.
Sally: She's bored because she mastered multiplication when she was 6. She hands in a messy and rushed assignment, though still passable, and quickly proceeds to bury her nose in her favourite book. She could possibly solve world hunger, but she doesn’t really feel like it.
Sam: He simply can't sit still in his seat. He spends most of the lesson wondering what time the bell will be ringing so he can go out and play. Since he doesn't really pay attention, he doesn't fare too well on the assignment.
Stacey: She doesn't quite understand the lesson. Everyone else puts their thumb up when the teacher asks if they understand, so Stacey does too. Stacey needs help with the assignment but the teacher is working with other students. She's a good kid and doesn't want trouble from the teacher, so she puts some answers down and hands it in. She doesn't do well, but then again, she hasn't done well on many of her assignments, so her below average assignment is nothing to note. She still receives passing grades on her report card, although just barely.
Stewart: Oh, Stewart! He hates math. During the lesson he's busy poking Stacey and creaking his chair. He takes a bathroom break and a water break. Then he has to blow his nose. Twice! He trips over his shoelace on his way back to his seat. He loses 2 pencils and is upset because someone took his eraser. He notices that it's raining and makes sure everyone else knows it. Assignment...what assignment?
Sandro: He doesn't say much and keeps to himself. When the teacher asks him if he understands he just looks at his feet. He doesn't complete the assignment. He didn’t feel like it. He did, however, draw some super awesome doodles on it.
Steven: He really didn't need 5 examples because he got it after the first one. He just wants the assignment so he can get it done. He's talking to Sarah because he really doesn't need to listen...unfortunately she does. Sarah doesn't do too well on the assignment. Steven does well...but he lacks the drive and passion for learning that could take his learning to new levels.
Sonny: A bright little boy who struggles with reading. He understands the lesson as it’s being taught. The teacher hands out the assignment, and after about 10 minutes he realizes that he doesn’t really know what to so. He waits in line behind 5 other students who are waiting for help. When it’s his turn the teacher reads the question to him and he quickly goes back to his seat and completes the first part. Now, he’s not really sure what the second question is asking and after stressing about it for 10 minutes he decides to go get some help. The teacher is working with several other students. She tells him to ask a friend for help. By the time he finds someone to read the question to him the class is over. Assignment…Incomplete!
Sonya: She enjoyed the lesson. She could sing you a song about it. She could draw you a picture. Write the answers on the assignment…not her cup of tea. Results, of course, are below expectations.
There are other students too, but I hope by now you get my point.
These are the underachievers. The ones that could DO so much more! That could BE so much more! The ones that could KNOW so much more!!
They are the ’square pegs’ that just don’t fit into the round holes of the traditional classroom.
At Evergreen Academy our holes are not one size fits all. Our small class sizes and individualized programming allow us to fit those square pegs, and the round ones too. We fit flat pegs and bendy pegs, short pegs and long pegs, and even pegs that aren’t really pegs, and are just pretending to be pegs to make the other pegs happy. That’s what we do…we take your peg and find it’s fit!