Reception Newsletter | Term 2 Week 8

Hello Reception Families,

We have had a fun filled fortnight here on campus! We’ve been enjoying our familiar routines and this week we celebrated a turn from May to June in our daily ‘calendar time’. Our discussions have highlighted the changing of seasons with many students commenting on how hot it has been! This means the end of our term is not far away and we are looking forward to fitting in a lot more learning. Read on to hear about what we have been working on.

Last week we began exploring using water colours in our artwork. With a provocation centered around sunflowers and van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ painting, we explored how we could use colour to represent real life. There was lots of conversation about the ‘magic’ of water colour painting, along with the process of cleaning the brush between each colour while watching the water changing colours too! Not only were students’ creative energies engaged and learning, but their scientific thinking was being challenged too.

To extend on this learning, once we had finished our paintings, we continued exploring sunflowers by deconstructing the ones we had here in class. We observed their stems, leaves, and petals. We tried hard to find the seeds! On the table we also had a selection of books about sunflowers and others about living things. As we took our sunflowers apart we compared them to the pictures in the books, learning more about how they grow and what each part of the sunflower is needed for. Student dispositions toward responding to an experience with curiosity and awe have been growing, as has their conversation with one another as they’ve made predictions, explored together and drawn conclusions.  With the aid of print and digital media, students have been researching sunflowers and adding new ideas to their thinking. We can’t wait to sew some sunflower seeds and test our working theories.

This week we added to our learning around construction by testing our magnetic marble run. Students had been enjoying our regular marble run and learning about concepts such as measurement, force, motion and gravity. To add to this complexity to this learning, the magnetic marble run moves the play to a more 2D surface and requires that students think about a more flat concept. This can be tricky to manage as the pieces are not at a fixed gradient; students need to adjust the gradient themselves. This supports further scientific learning as sometimes the marble goes flying as the gradient is too high! We’ve been adding concepts and words to our vocabulary as we’ve discussed how ‘steep’ the marble run is, how to make it ‘level’, and what a ‘slant’ is. So often in play we are able to reinforce vital learning dispositions and attitudes and this is no exception. During this experience, students are learning (among so many other things) that trial and error is a valid and important way to learn. Given time and space to work on their theories, students are able to practise over and over again in their ‘play’. Don’t be fooled – they are scientists and learners at work! 

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

We have so many opportunities for social learning everyday in our classroom. This term we added sand timers to our tables to support students to manage their time at an experience and to have agency in the ways that they negotiate whose turn is next. Our magnetic marble run has been very popular so as well as the sand timer, we have used a whiteboard to keep track of who is wanting to have a turn. This process encourages students to take responsibility for both expressing their desire to have a turn and ensuring that they finish their turn and allow the next person to have a go. It’s been great to see our students manage this process themselves and listen to each other when there has been a misunderstanding or disagreement. In addition this is a great example of a meaningful and purposeful way to encourage students to practise writing their names.

I hope you have enjoyed a rendition of ‘Five Little Monkeys’ at home sometime in the past fortnight?! If not, you might like to ask your child about this fun rhyme we have been saying at school. Our current language focus is around understanding and becoming familiar with the concept of rhyme. Hearing rhyming sounds is a foundational skill for phonological awareness, the basis of language learning. We have discussed the concept of rhyming words both as a whole group and in our small group rotations. We have been practising hearing words that rhyme and identifying them. Story books, songs and chants are a great way to introduce and revisit rhyming sounds. At home, you can support this learning for your child by pointing out rhyming words when you are reading a story or singing a song. It can be fun to make it into a game where someone says a word and each person adds on another word that rhymes with the first word. Make it more fun by making words up! At this stage it’s not about choosing words that are in fact ‘correct’ words, rather it is about being able to hear and mimic the sounds that are being said. Much like when we as adults use mimicking and imitation to reproduce sounds when learning a new language. We have had some very funny made up words shared in class. What’s better than both learning and having a great time!

“It’s a precious thing to be communicating to children, helping them discover the gift of language and thought.” – Richard Scarry

We are looking forward to continuing our learning together over the next few weeks. Our Year 6 buddies have visited us and we are looking forward to heading up to their classrooms and seeing what school is like for the ‘big kids’. It’s been great to have all our school community on campus full days and to grow our connectedness with our wider community. We will be wrapping up our focus on Community over the next two weeks, discussing how we can contribute to our communities and be valued participants. Let the learning continue!

Lauren Rosanowski (Reception AM/ Reception PM)

Primary Office: primaryoffice@aishk.edu.hk