This year all our pre-elementary classes switched to positive reinforcement. We adopted a token economy in which pebbles are given individually but at the end of the day, the students empty their little buckets into the group bucket to contribute to a group reward that the students choose together.
This system allows us to focus on good choices and create group cohesion. Collective rewards varied since the beginning of the year: In K we had painting on the windows, eating in the classroom, having hot chocolate etc.This week our KA filled up their collective bucket and decided together that they wanted their teachers to organize an Alpha hunt.
Fairy tale and Robotics
Do you know The Three Little Pigs? Like most people you must have read the story or seen the cartoon. Our PK2 students created a new version of it, using tiny robots: the Ozobots. The principle is simple: the robot follows any traced line on paper, representing a drawing, an art piece or… a fairy tale character’s path. Children were able to place all the elements from The Three Little Pigs on a large sheet of paper (spatial orientation), to trace the wolf’s route (memorization and story segmentation), and to narrate the tale live, observing the robot-wolf literally moving along the story (oral skills). How exciting it was to create an animated RoboTale, moving in front of our eyes!
Anne Ferton, SDFAS PK2C teacher, is following a yearlong training with the Mission Laïque Française on body percussions. Body percussion is a brilliant way to create music in a group. It is also valuable for internalizing fundamental musical concepts including rhythm, beat and tempo. Through her personal music experience (Anne was the lead singer in a band) and this intense training, Anne will be stomping, clapping hands and clicking fingers, with her students to put in music stories created in the class. We are all waiting for their first performance!
After creating a repertoire of sound effects with their mouth and their body, Anne and her students associated each sound effect with an image. As with musical notes, students were able to create their own sound scores and play them with their bodies.
Our PK0 students investigated how some objects move when placed on an inclined plane, or ramp. They went to the auditorium to explore different kind of ramps, small and big.
They discovered that some objects roll down, some slide down, and some do not move at all. They definitively prefer the ones that roll!
And they even did the same experiment in class with paint…. So messy but so fun!
SDFAS PK2 classes went to our first Robotic class this week. They discovered Ozobot, a little toy robot that can identify lines, colors and codes on both digital surfaces, such as an iPad, and physical surfaces, such as paper.
François prepared a few large sheets of paper with lines of different colors. Our PK2 students turned on the Ozobots and observed: They realized that the robots were following the lines and changed colors according to the color of the lines they were riding on. GREAT JOB EVERYBODY! What are they going to discover next week?
For the last 2 months, Kindergarten students have counted, added and subtracted by programming little robots called “Beebot”. Meanwhile, the 4th graders were learning how to code polygons using “Probot”, an advanced version of the “Beebot”. In addition to the required Geometry skills, they acquired specific coding knowledge: loops, logic and debugging.
All this work led to a meeting between both classes so they could share their new skills during a cooperative lesson. The older students had to program their Probot to trace different polygons. Then, they asked the younger ones to name the figures in French and English, and to point to the correct word among others on a document. A great active pedagogical experience, full of kindness and cooperation to learn better.
Each year SDFAS Pre-Elementary section celebrates “la semaine du Goût” (Taste Week), with numerous activities revolving around food. During the 2018 Edition, our students trod grapes, cooked with chefs, and discovered food from India, Turkey, France, and Syria. They blinded tested, compared and contrasted fresh fruits and dry fruits. They organized a market with a lemonade stand, a salty cake stand and a coconut cake stand. What a week!
After a month of working on concepts, picking a vehicle, designing it, improving it, our students finally shared their creations today with SDFAS teachers, students, and parents. They were so proud and everybody had the opportunity to play with a red plane, a bus, a train, a spaceship, a balloon, a pink plane and some race cars.
Two constructions stations were also available to allow our visitors to create their own vehicle. It was a great celebration of our students creativity and imagination.
During quiet time, Kindergarten students engage in relaxation activities like yoga, meditation, and massages. These massages are done with slow and gentle movements. The gestures we choose are based on natural elements from the weather such as rain, sun, wind… In that way, a mental picture is created.
Massages help to reduce the chance of cumulative fatigue in the morning. They also build new interactions between classroom peers, as we reinforce what we know about Social Emotional Learning.
This quiet activity happens once or twice a week in French and in English. It’s a time that students appreciate a lot because they can relax and recharge their battery for the rest of the day!
San Diego French American School will celebrate creativity by providing an opportunity for its youngest students to play and learn by using simple materials to build the things they imagine. The theme this year is Transportation. Let’s encourage our children to explore their interests and passions and use this as a way to reinforce language and work on valuable “21st Century” skills such as critical thinking, resourcefulness, perseverance and teamwork.