Group Learning Stories Part 5a

Salmon Pictures

We have been reading Salmon Forest during picnic time and learning a lot about salmon through it. The munchkins took one thing they learned about salmon and drew it in their nature journals. They added the date and some of them are working on putting the words in as well. It is one way to show something that they know and it works visual, written and oral communication as they share with us what they drew.

Group Learning Stories 5a-1

Orff Instruments

We have been so lucky this year in having parents and grandparents come in to our school and share some of their knowledge with us!!!
Sarah has been loading up and bringing in a truck full of Orff instruments to teach us about music. She is teaching us the different instruments (xylophone, metalophone, glockenspiel, and contrabass). We are learning how to play them, the difference between them all, and musical concepts such as resonance , volume, timber and pitch. We are also working on rhythm and learning different kinds of notes such as quarter notes, eighth notes and triplets.

Group Learning Stories 5a-2


Patterns are the foundation of how we understand and communicate about the world. Patterns can be found throughout nature and described or viewed through literacy, numeracy and art. So it’s important to develop our abilities to see, describe, extend and create patterns. We try to look for patterns in a variety of settings and we try to create and describe them in a variety of ways.

For example, we collected two different kinds of leaves and created patterns with these two elements. Most students could create at least one A/B pattern (big leaf, small leaf… or maple leaf, heart-shaped leaf). Some came up with A/A/B patterns as well (small, small, big… or maple, maple, heart-shaped). Each student created, described and then extended their pattern. At this age, we are helping them to understand that a pattern has to be predictable. It has a root that is repeated over and over and not deviated from. If they want to switch the root, then they should start a new pattern separate from the one they are working on.

On other occasions, we create a pattern and they try to define it (tell us what it is). Right now we’re playing with using the kids as our elements. (Tuque, tuque, no tuque… girl, boy,… blue coat, pink coat. )

Group Learning Stories 5a-3

Pile O’ Leaves

What is Fall without a giant pile of leaves to jump in? We worked together to gather up as many leaves as we could and placed them in a big pile. We took turns jumping into them, and when we are all done, we threw them up in the air. I’m sure we could tie this all in to physical development, building community, taking turns and all that, but let’s just call it plain old fun. ☺

Group Learning Stories 5a-4

Salmon Dissection

Observational study is one way to gain knowledge on a subject. As the salmon work their way upriver to spawn, many of them die. We take this gift and use it as an opportunity to understand the unique creature better. Since the salmon are already dead, we can observe them closely without removing them from their home or traumatizing them in any way. We observe their exteriors and their interiors through dissection. Studens work in multi-age groups to respectfully dissect and study dead salmon and create scientific (observational) diagrams. We look for things such as the stomach, the heart and the brain. We even get to see eggs that never got to be fertilized.

Group Learning Stories 5a-5