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Author: Richland

Richland Academy / Articles posted by Richland (Page 28)

Capturing Curiosity ~ Making Sense of the Leaf blower in JK

Inquiring Minds is excited to share this wonderful learning moment, as captured first by our Head of School, Mrs. Oliveira, and extended further with Mrs. Black in Junior Kindergarten.  Here is their story.

In the Image of the Child as capable, competent and full of inquiry, curiosity and wonderment….It takes a village……

What a way to begin my day…a true blessing  and one which pulls at an educator’s heart strings and fills it with joy.

At ‘Kiss and Ride’ this morning, W.S. from our JK class arrived in his usual happy fashion, ready to embrace another day at school in his JK classroom.  However, one thing was slightly different this morning as he disembarked from his Mom’s car…..he decided not to enter the school doors and instead began to wander off to the side of the school building, to see the bright orange and white grass blower that lay on the pavement. I followed W.S. as I was ensuring he was safe, but to also allow him to explore his interest and curiosity, about this white and orange device that lay idle on the ground.W.S. had noted that the landscapers were cutting the grass and he associated the ‘device’ to the men cutting the grass. However, I could sense that he was not quite sure what this device was nor how it worked.  He asked me what it was used for and I proceeded to explain that it blew the grass clippings away.  W.S. did not respond, instead he bent down and began to examine the ‘device’ more carefully, noting the straps and the long nozzle.  He associated the straps on the blower to those of a ‘backpack’ and informed me that this was called a wind pack.  “Clever name,” I exclaimed!!  He understood that the blower is strapped to a person’s back, so that they could carry it while blowing the clippings.  Keenly examining the blower, W.S. shared his theory of how he believed the blower worked. He explained that the “wind entered the back of the blower, turned inside and then blew out of the end.” (pointing to the nozzle).  It was clearly evident to me that WS’s theory required further exploration and that he had a deep interest into the mechanics of the blower.

It was time to proceed to class, but I could feel W’s hesitation to enter the school, as his mind was still on the blower and how it worked. Since my curiosity had been ignited by W.’s inquisitiveness, I wanted to better understand where his theory of how the blower worked would unfold.Upon entering the JK classroom I shared W.S.’s  excitement of having discovered the blower with his teachers, Mrs. Black and Ms. Sherry.  I asked W.S. if he would like to take a closer look at the blower, as the school had the same one.  His smile from ear to ear said everything. With the support of the custodian, Mr. Rafael, we retrieved the blower so that W.S. could continue his investigation more closely.

Saving Baby Ducks – A Parent’s Engaging Learning Story

Inquiring Minds is delighted to share this wonderful story from one of our families of how they came to rescue a family of ducks – and the learning that unfolded.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Last year we noticed ducks swimming in the murky, nutrient-rich water above the pool cover. Once the pool was treated and opened, they disappeared.  This year has been a different story!We’d been seeing a male and female duck swimming in our pool over the last month.  On Sunday of the long weekend Y. said, ‘Look Mommy, duckies!’  Well, there was the mama duck and 10 baby ducklings swimming in our pool! The nest must have been nearby but we still can’t find it. The babies were likely just a day old.  Excited comments from Y. included: ‘I’m going to go swim with the ducks’; ‘They’re so cute!’; ‘I’m going to show S. the baby ducks.’ The duck family had to return to their natural habitat – but how?

While the rest of us stayed far back (in case mama duck attacked), Y.’s papa and our neighbour used the pool skimmer to collect the 10 ducklings and put them in a box. H. documented the whole undertaking on video.We headed up the road to the Mill pond ensuring the mama duck was following us (poor things, she and ducklings were so stressed). It was critical she stay near her babies and not get scared and abandon them. We placed them near the pond. There were lots of people around and we had to hold them off so mama duck could be reunited with the ducklings. And then the poor mama was being bothered by the mallards, mating season apparently.

Throughout this adventure, I waited for Y. to make a connection with her ‘Baby Chicks’ exploration at school.   As we related the story to her cousins who were visiting that weekend, I was delighted to hear Y. share with lots of giggles:  ‘I hold the baby chicks at school!’ ‘J. blowed on the baby chick.’ ‘The baby chicks are so cute!’  That night we were very concerned. Would the baby ducks survive at the main pond? Perhaps we should have left them at the river across the street where it’s quieter. We couldn’t wait for morning to come!  The next day we went to visit and saw mama duck with 7 babies swimming at the far end of the pond. It was a bittersweet ending but we were happy to see them in their natural habitat.  H. shared philosophical thoughts about ‘the circle of life’. 

This past Sunday we visited again. The weather was beautiful and the Mill Pond was very busy, tonnes of people around and many feeding the ducks. We found the mama and baby ducks, swimming happily where we saw them last. We saw only 6 ducklings this time.

The baby ducks had grown considerably, chubby little things.  Again, lots of excitement. Y.:  ‘Happy Birthday duckies, where’s your mommy?’ ‘Oh, they’re so cute!’ ‘Baby ducks are sparkly.’ Indeed, the water made their feathers glistening in the sun. 

Learning and Technology: Connecting with Educators through Professional Development

Mrs. Oliveira and Mrs. Murgatroyd recently participated in Canada Connects: Canada’s Learning and Technology Conference. With over 1000 participants, the Niagara Falls Conference Centre was teeming with notable educators from across the country – all sharing the same commitment to developing their understanding of technology and education for the betterment of their classroom, school, or Board. As educators, we recognize the importance of life-long learning, and maintain a commitment to learning throughout our professional careers.  We strive to better our own knowledge and skills with the intent that, ultimately, we are enriching the learning experiences of our students.

We are provided many opportunities at Richland for professional development, and felt a conference on learning and technology would help us gain a deeper understanding about the use of social media in an educational setting and meet one of our strategic objectives:  connecting our community digitally, and providing Richland students with skills necessary to thrive in a digital landscape.  Our progressive thinking ensures we recognize the 21st Century skills and dispositions our students will require for success, such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.  At the onset, we thought the conference would inform us on the latest technology – the best tablet for the classroom, or the best apps for integrating technology into the curriculum.  In fact, our learning was profoundly different.

We had the opportunity to meet and speak with leaders in the field of education and technology.  Many who we follow and respect from a distance, including Alec Couros, George Couros, Kathy Cassidy, Dave Cormier, and Chris Kennedy.  Although we were part of numerous presentations by leaders from across Canada, and around the world (from as far as Australia), there was a consistency to the message:  do not focus on the devices, but on what the devices enable us to do.