Getting to Know Your Learners

So many of us repeat over and over again, relationships first! We know and recognize that building relationships with our learners is the the foundation for our classroom. To build a community that oozes empathy, weaves in interest and passion, and overall is personalized to the learners in our room, I feel we MUST take time to get to know our learners, FIRST.

I focus on building relationships, getting to know my learners and their families for a large portion of the beginning of the year. Not only does it help my build trust and compassion in our community, but it also allows me to get to know my learners. In an inquiry based classroom, my role as the Inquiry Teacher is to know my students. Without knowing what makes them tick, what excites them and about their strengths, it makes tailoring our learning to their interests challenging.

Here are a couple of my favourite ways go GET TO KNOW MY LEARNERS in a classroom setting.

1. I spend time working on, provoking and having my learners consider what it means to be passionate. This provokes conversation and a focus surrounding OUR PASSIONS, and what we LOVE. Find more books for working on passion with your learners here.   A book I love to use to begin this discussion is ‘I Like Myself’ by Karen Beaumontis.   We read through this book, and then brainstorm things we like about ourselves, this then leads us into discussions about things we LOVE to do. This is a great beginning way to dive into ourselves and our likes and dislikes. Once we’ve read, discussed and brainstormed I usually scribe our passions and put it up in the room. These stay up there all year, they may be added to.. there are a ton of possible extensions here! I feel that is important for them to be plastered up on the wall, so that visitors immediately see who we are and what we’re about! It’s also a great way begin to co-create and design our learning environment.


2. Our DNA (Dreams, Needs + Abilities) is an activity that I added in this year to getting to know my learners. The DNA focus came from Mrs. Mac’s Kindergarten blog. I loved her idea so much, I just had to implement it with my learners. We read a picture book as a provocation for each focus and then brainstormed and shared out our connection to each section. These were three different lessons. We used ‘Be Brave Little One’ by Marianne R. Richmond to focus on our DREAMS. We had ‘Have you Filled a Bucket Today?’ by Carol McCloud, to guide our thinking on what others need and what we need to be successful and feel positive in our days, for the NEEDS focus. Then we used ‘What’s my Superpower?’ by Aviaq Johnston to focus on our abilities.

After these lessons and reflections, we created some art to represent our DNA. We did a watercolour choice background, a YELLING photograph and then I typed up their DNA on three separate lines. Some children also spent time reflecting on words that represent them or words they like or have connections to, and we found them in the dictionary and added them to their backgrounds. They loved this art activity!


These activities have really helped me get to know my learners and also for them to begin to reflect on who they are. Once our learners are in touch with who they are, we can begin to build on their knowledge, weave in their passions, and have them share about what’s important to them. We do a lot of storytelling and story studio in our classroom, and getting to know ourselves is a great spring board into sharing our stories.

I would love to hear some of your favourite getting to know you activities, and how you incorporate them into your classroom. Please share with us below or share to our #InquiryMindset online community.

Stay curious, 


Picture Books on PASSION!

We LOVE tapping into our learners’ passions and interests. At times, the feeling and concept of being passionate comes naturally to our learners. Other times we find ourselves seeking resources and activities that we can use to EXPLICITLY TEACH, PROVOKE AND INSPIRE our learners to begin to understand what being passionate looks like, feels like and where it can lead them.

We have curated a list of books that can support you and your learners in this process. We hope you enjoy them! Some I have purchased and others I found in our school library or local libraries. Check it out here! 


What books and resources do you use to inspire and provoke your learners to consider what they are passionate about? We would love for you to share about them to our #InquiryMindset community on Twitter and Instagram. We can’t wait to see what you share!

Stay curious, 


The Inquiry Cycle

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Wondering how to roll out a full Inquiry Cycle in your practice? Curious as to where to begin and where to go next? In Inquiry Mindset, Trevor and I propose a clear and accessible cycle to use when planning and rolling out Inquiry with your Littles.

The idea behind the cycle is that it can be used in any type of inquiry. Whether you are planning a structured 3 week cycle or a series of lessons in guided inquiry, the cycle allows you to feel supported, planned and empowers you to look forward to where you are headed.

To help plan out your inquiry cycle, please keep three things in mind: your learners, your curriculum and your assessment. Reflecting on what’s going on for your learners, how the inquiry cycle will connect to your curriculum and how you will provide your learners to share how their thinking has changed is crucial and will help to create a much more fluid cycle.

We created this sketch to help you understand the ten phases of the inquiry cycle. In chapter 3, of Inquiry Mindset, we have broken down each phase and included a case study example to illustrate what this could look like in your classroom. Keep in mind that this sketch is powerful to use for your self with colleagues when collaborating and planning for inquiry but also with your learners. It helps to bring the process to life and to scaffold when you are moving towards the deeper end of the pool.

Please share and tag us on the #InquiryMindset community with your thoughts and ideas surrounding this chapter and sketch! Remember, in inquiry we are more powerful together. We can’t wait to hear what you think and roll out with your learners.

Stay curious, 

Wonder Wednesday: Where to Begin With Provocations!

Hi friends! This week I am going to walk you through a couple of provocations I have set up in our room and my goals of using provocations right in the beginning of the year. Where do I start? How do I start? What should I work on first? Are questions I often receive. What a better time to take a closer look at them!

What is a provocation? 
Provocations are anything from a video, an experience, a set up, a photo, a GIF, to a picture book. They are experiences that are truly going to challenge the thinking of the viewer to think, notice, wonder, explore and create their own connections. Provocations take learning deeper, ignite inquiries and empower learners to WANT to go further with their learning and ask questions.The Power of a Provocation .PNG

Trevor and I share about the POWER behind provocations in Inquiry Mindset, and together we created this sketch to illuminate our love for provocations!

Where do I start?
Beginning with choosing your focus, whether it is tied to a current interest, passion or connection to your curriculum, you need to have a starting point. Then, you know what you are hoping to provoke your learners about!

Next, look at what you are most resourced to create or do as a provocation. Do you have a lot of non-fiction or picture books about this topic? What about creating a small world with loose parts to explore? Maybe look for a video, an interesting image or even a GIF. I find researching for provocation inspiration to be a great way to get ideas, think Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Plan with the end in mind! What is the goal of your provocation? Is it to stir up curiosity about a specific topic, is it to heat up prior knowledge or tap into passions and interests? In September, these are all things I am hoping to do, but my most important goal is to practice our ‘thinking and noticing’ routines. These routines lead us into sharing wonders and help us to begin to develop beginner researcher skills. Part of this goal is to make our noticing and thinking visible, so I try to tie that in as much as possible too!

Here is how we have been exploring, noticing and sharing in our Kindergarten class over the past week… 

With a light focus on seasonal changes with Autumn upon us, I have been curating and setting up ‘Fall’ type provocations. Seasonal changes is tied to our curriculum which works well, and is a nice vehicle to practice our noticing, observing and thinking skills. I have two provocation examples to share here, one that is a whole group activity and the other is a set up for children to explore during our ‘free exploration playtime’.

Let’s start with the whole class provocation…
Last week a colleague kindly brought all kindergarten teachers a long corn stalk! I kept it in the corner of my room until I realized what a great provocation it would be. We brought it down one afternoon and I placed it in the middle of our carpet. We immediately became ‘les scientifiques’ (scientists!). We quietly and calmly walked around the ‘corn stalk’ (at the time I did not announce what it was) with pretend magnify glasses in our hands. We were practicing ‘noticing’. I led with the question: What do you see? They responded using the stem: I see…/Je vois…

IMG_7711We stopped a few times to share what we saw, and while they shared I quickly recorded on a Padlet I had created. I created this Padlet using the ‘shelf’ mode, which allows you to make columns. I find it easy to use, once I have it set up and ready to go. I also enjoy having it up on my screen as we go, so kiddos can see their name and their words (remember part of my goal is to make our noticing and thinking visible, and this also celebrates that every voice is important!!
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Organically the conversation switched to questions we had, so we created a ‘I wonder…/Je me demande…’ tab as well. This was not my initial plan, we were solely going to be working on sharing what we noticed and saw, but since the questions started to arise, I rolled with it.

To follow up with this activity, we did some measurement of us compared to the corn stalk and I searched some different time lapses of corn growing, which the kiddos really enjoyed!! More noticing and questions began to flow.

The small group ‘Provocation Invitation’…
This provocation table was set up as an invitation to explore and to document their observations during our free exploration play time. Yesterday there was a lot of interest and kids observing and interacting with the materials using magnify glasses and mini clipboards. I can’t wait to see what comes of this over the next couple of days!!

My role in this is, as the inquiry teacher, to guide some of the observations, but overall to step back and allow their observing and documentation to unfold. I enjoy listening, taking mental notes of interests and knowledge and I will most likely do a documentation day as well. Stay tuned!

What types of thinking routines and provocations are you weaving into your start up? I would love to hear.

Stay curious, 


Wonder Wednesday: Story Workshop

WELCOME BACK TO SCHOOL! This Wonder Wednesday is a bit of a long and different post. At the bottom I have linked in a bunch of books that I use as the provocation read for each week of Story Workshop.

I have had a lot of questions on how I run our ‘Story Workshop’ sessions in our French Immersion Kindergarten class. So I thought I would break it down and share how I roll it out. I think it is more of a mix between retelling and story workshop, but it works really well and is such a powerful process. We celebrate retelling, oral language, creativity, imagination and collaboration. I just LOVE it. It evolves with time, as does our oral language and ability to create and invent our own stories.

I get a lot of inspiration from my friends over at AnnieVille Kinders, they are incredible and you will want to check them out on Twitter. Prepared to be mind blown from their beautiful pictures of how they run their Story Workshops. They are incredible educators!!

SO, here we go!

Each week I choose a different story that is appropriate for the language ability of my learners, remember French Immersion Kindergarten. I pick a book that is short and has a few characters. I also have tried to focus on stories that focus on a connection to the land we live on. I feel it is such an important topic to learn, share and focus on, and find that Story Workshop is a great place to introduce the concept.


Here is what the week looks like:

Monday: I read the story to the whole class on the carpet, I pause and we do predictions and practice inferring skills. We make connections to the story and the characters through various prompts and questions. Then, together on the carpet I (but we all) practice retelling the story. I typically pick specific parts of the story that I know we will be capable of retelling in French and together we practice those. I use the characters and model how I might use the different props to set up a scene and then begin modeling how I would go about retelling the story with a partner. Together we retell the story and practice out loud certain sentences and key vocab words. This process is CRUCIAL. The modelling and scaffolding that goes on the first day is SO important, it sets my learners up for success for the rest of the week.

Tuesday:  Tuesday morning, before school starts, I set up Story Workshop areas at our tables. I put out a mat, the materials needed (that I modeled with yesterday) and the specific characters. We use a lot of wooden characters, extra puzzle pieces, characters from a matching game, popsicle sticks with printouts and sometimes we improvise and wolves become bears, if needs be! We are flexible and we talk about how we can use our imagination to create our characters.


Then when we begin, we all meet on the carpet and read the story again. This time without prompts, pauses and questions. Just read through. After, I model some of the key phrases and words again, and together we practice saying them. I quickly partner or triad kids up and then they move to the tables and get going on retelling the story, using the words and phrases we practiced. I circle around encouraging, sometimes I stop everyone and we practice words and phrases again, and I celebrate the oral language and retelling that is going on. It is wonderful! A trick I started using to encourage French and oral language is by giving out gems (from the dollarstore). The gems are such a beautiful addition to our story set ups and creations, they love using them as rivers and food and more! As soon as I hear kids speaking and retelling, they receive a handful of gems. Very quickly each group will have a handful of gems, works like a charm!

Wednesday: Wednesday we quickly meet on the carpet and read through the story TOGETHER. Their participation today is KEY. I sometimes read half of a sentence and encourage them to finish it, or they are a character and I am the narrator, I switch it up! Reading the book the third time through may seem repetitive but remember our goal is retelling, oral language and creativity. The more they know the story, the better they are set up for creating, retelling and enjoying!

Then, after being put into partners or triads they gather their supplies for today, a little more choice than yesterday. They settle in and they begin. TODAY they know that they can retell OR they can create their own stories using the characters from the book. At the beginning of the year, I model creating my own story after we quickly read the book together, but as the year progresses they understand how this works. Today we often pause put our hands on our heads and listen to each others’ stories. They are usually quite funny and creative, lots of giggles and inspiration for the other kids. We then get back to creating and use some of the ideas they just witnessed. I love when kids feel confident to share out and we always do a silent cheer, silent clap or a BRAVO for the group that shared. Sharing out also creates community and celebrating each other, I love it!

Thursday: Thursdays are a day where their ideas, creativity and imagination get to shine. They also have more choice in how they story tell on Thursdays, I think it is their favourite day. Remember, every day before Thursdays is modelling and scaffolding storytelling and retelling, it is a process that works well because of how repetitive it is.

Depending on the time of year and the type of story, sometimes we don’t always re-read the story, and other times we do a quick read through. Then the children get to choose if they would like to create or retell using the props OR draw their story on paper using sharpies. It is very neat to see who chooses what! The building with props is MUCH more free than the other days, they have access to the entire shelf and can build anywhere in the room in small groups or partners. There aren’t really restrictions. The children use trays to transport props to where they would like to work. The children who choose to use sharpies and paper take a piece of card stock (half a page), a clipboard and a black sharpie and decide where they would like to draw. Lots will lie on the floor and create their stories. Depending on time, I usually have watercolour paints out to add to their sharpie stories. Some get to painting, others never do. Again, painting and finishing is not the point, it is the process. img_9071.jpg

IMG_1337.JPGDepending on time we sometimes share out our stories, they really do love presenting (especially if they spent a long time building and practicing). The sharpie drawings are a hit too and are often shared back at the carpet at clean up time.
Friday: We didn’t do Fridays last year, as we had a special activity Friday mornings, but in the past the final day was to document their story. If they hadn’t drawn something yet, they could or they could choose to build again and use an iPad to document their story. We did use Adobe Spark to capture the beginning, middle and end and then record our voices. We also used Pic Collage Edu to take pictures throughout our story and put them all together for a collage the gave readers/viewers snapshots of their story. Fridays are great! It is also a great time to post on Fresh Grade or your portfolio platform, if you haven’t yet this week. Have your learners try to do it themselves!

As the year progressed and our routines became much quicker, we added in Journals in the last 15 minutes. We wove in emerging writing practices such as drawing a picture, labeling with initial sounds, writing character names. It was a quick journal, with a focus on beginner writing practices, sometimes we didn’t get to colour… but again that wasn’t our main focus. I believe we added this in mid November, some kiddos really excelled with the challenge and extension of our Story Workshop routine.

Here are some of the books I used last fall, in no particular order:  
*Even if the books are in English this activity is solely done in French, I ad lib the book and use very simple language to tell a similar story as close to the English version as possible.

Good Morning World & Good Night World: SO great for beginner language learners to learn good morning and goodnight! They love it. Both of these books are by Native Northwest. 

One Piece of String : Great for adding in twine and wool to add to our stories, by Marthe Jocelyn
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Lost Little Owl: Such a great story! by Chris Haughton

Foxy and Friends 
Renardo et ses amis: THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE RECOMMENDATION for a series of books for Story Workshop in Kindergarten, especially if you are just starting out. It is a beautiful set of stories that build on each other, with the same characters throughout. The set is wonderful and it is available in English and FRENCH (at a GREAT level for Kinder). I cannot say enough about this set. Click here to see the website where you can order the books. 


Mama do you Love me?: 
Beautiful story! Great for adding in people. I use little wooden people from Lee Valley! 


The Raven Series: From Strong Nations is another awesome set for Kindergarten!! They have big books and a small set of books as well. They cover great concepts that are tied to the curriculum and are a very easy place to start!! Check them out here. 



I hope this post has helped to paint a picture of of how our Story Workshop works. I would love to see and hear how you run yours, and if you have any book titles to share, please do!

Stay curious, 


Empowered Inquiry Spaces

Gone are the days of a shhh, quiet and isolating learning spaces. Whether we are referring to our classrooms, our learning commons or our small group work rooms, we believe that our learning spaces need to be designed with inquiry in mind.  We elaborate on this belief throughout Chapter 8 in Inquiry Mindset. Trevor MacKenzie and I speak to the idea of shifting our traditional learning spaces towards becoming more collaborative learning environments that are designed with intention and flexibility to support our learners working in inquiry. 

The design of our space is crucial to creating a culture of inquiry.  We spend time demonstrating and explicitly teaching our learners the benefit and purpose of each step. We model how to use various tools and spaces in our room to be successful and feel supported in our learning environments. We are inspired by David Thornburg’s work and his book Campfires in Cyberspace. Thornburg proposes learning spaces that empower our learners with choice and flexible seating to best meet their needs and allow them to learn in a way that supports them. We feel these spaces lend well to creating an empowered inquiry space. The Cave, the Watering hole, the Campfire and Life are four spaces that resonate with us and inspired us to write about in Inquiry Mindset.

Here is a sketchnote and brief explanation of each space. For more details please see Chapter 8 of Inquiry Mindset. 

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Trevor and I are eager to implement these four learning spaces with our learners this upcoming school year. We will be introducing the learning spaces using this sketchnote. In addition, we have designed individual visuals for each space. We believe that the individual visuals support the explicit teaching and modeling of how and when to appropriately choose a space. We propose using the visuals around your room and perhaps on your front board to give space choices during specific learning blocks.

I have printed and laminated the larger set of the visuals and have them up on my front board ready to implement with my learners and I cannot wait to share with you how it goes. If you are feeling just as excited as we are about creating an Empowered Inquiry Space, click here to download the visuals and use them in your learning environment. 

We are sure you will have many more ideas and ways to use these visuals and we can’t wait to see what you do with them. Remember, in inquiry we are more powerful together, please do share to our online community how you use this resource in your classroom using our #InquiryMindset tag.

Stay curious, 

Picture Books for the School Year

Hi everyone, happy summer! I have been curating and collecting beautiful picture books as one of my hobbies this summer. I recently created stories on Instagram to share some of the books I am most excited about.

Lots were curated from the wonderful Adrienne Gear‘s workshop and from various superstar Instagram and Facebook colleagues. If you don’t follow Adrienne Gear’s Facebook page, I suggest you do.I had a lot of requests for the list to be posted, so here it is.

I have linked them to Amazon and I also encourage you to check out your local bookshops before ordering them online. If you are wanting a little bit about each book, check out my Instagram highlights (Picture Books) or the Facebook video in Project Learn.  

   Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

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Be a Friend by Salina Yoon 



The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates 



Comment etre gentil by Rana DiOrio 


Je suis le meilleur by Lucy Cousins 


Draw the Line by Katheryn Otoshi 


Be Brave Little One by Marianne Richmond 51mcZBdXWFL._SX491_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Any Question by Marie-Louise Gay 


Sarabella’s Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner 


Je m’ennuie by Michael Ian Black 

I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black 


Why I am Me? by Paige Britt, Selina Alko & Sean Qualls


Lili entre deux nids by Jonna Lund Sorenson


Once in a Blue Moon by Danielle Daniel 


I am a Story by Dan Yaccarino


We are All Dots by Giancarlo Macri and Carolina Zanotti


I am Dreaming by Native Northwest 


Tap the Magic Tree by Christie 


Play by Jez Alborough


Alma and How She got her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal



Now by Antoinette Portis 


Stolen Words by Melanie Florence 



Shh! We have a Plan by Chris Haughton 

Chut! On a un plan! by Chris Haughton 


Thanks for checking out this list. I would love to hear your go-to’s for back to school and any of your learning units.

Stay curious, 

Wonder Wednesday: The Honey Bee

Welcome back to #WonderWednesday! Unfortunately we skipped last week as I was battling a stomach bug, but I am back and feeling much better. This week we have been exploring using ‘The Honey Bee’ by Kirsten Hall as a provocation tool. We were fortunate to have a visit and talk put on by one of the wonderful Mum’s in our room about her bee keeping passion, as our original provocation and then this book fit so nicely, we continued on. Both of these provocation activities have provoked a lot of questions, connections and stories around honey bees, the importance of bees and helping the environment.
Book Description: This beautiful stories brings to life the journey and exploration time of a honey bee. Flying from flower to flower in search of pollen and nectar. Onomatopoeia and LOUD words make this book super fun to read. The illustrations are gorgeous and are wonderful provocations and pictures to use for thinking and writing routines. At the end of this book, the author writes a letter to the readers. The letter focuses on the importance of honey bees and things we can do to help save them, as they are slowly dying. This book is an inspiring and wonderful read. We thoroughly enjoyed it.


Context: This book came right after a wonderful provocation we had brought by a mother in our room. She came in to share about her bee keeping passion. She brought in many items that provoked our thinking and brought out a lot of our questions, stories and connections. We are quite knowledgeable and curious about bees. Her bee keeping suit and mask was super neat to see. Along with her hive box, the honey screens, a dead bee, honey to try and peppermint spray to smell (to calm the bees) we were beyond excited to listen and most importantly.. share! 



Connections: We loved the letter, that the author of ‘The Honey Bee’ wrote to the readers, at the end of the book! It was about how bees are in danger of not surviving, and suggested five different ways we can help out bees and pollinators. As I read it out loud a lot of sad and worried faces appeared on my littles. They were demonstrating compassion and appeared to want to do something. I immediately decided we should do some further thinking on this. We did some thinking and sharing with a partner on the carpet and then followed this up by sharing our idea and plan of how we were going to help the honey bees in our journals. We loved this and wrote/illustrated for almost 40 minutes!! That is a long time in Kinderland.

During our afternoon exploration time, I suggested creating a Honey shop and lots of friends were immediately on board. We had a group of littles who were interested in making signs for the shop whilst others set up ‘honey jars’, tea cups and little plates for the honey shop’s cafe. I also brought out the cash register and some play money, hopefully to spark some interest in money and will lead us into financial literacy. This dramatic play provocation area is a hit and a hot spot in our room!


Wonder Prompts:
-What sound do honey bees make? 
-Where would you find a honey bee? 
-What do honey bees do? 
-Do honey bees live alone or in a group? 
-How do honey bees help our environment? 
-Why do you think honey beers are in danger? 
-What can you do to help honey bees? 
-What do you notice with the LOUD words in this book?

Stay tuned for more Honey Bee inquiry learning, as we are just getting started! Follow me on Instagram for daily highlights on my stories of our learning: @InquiryTeacher .

Have you read ‘The Honey Bee’? How did it provoke your learners? What connections to honey, bees, local products, environment? How did you extend their learning and inquiry journey? Please share below. In inquiry we are more powerful together.

Stay curious, 

Wonder Wednesday: Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

Welcome back to #WonderWednesday! This week I will be sharing about how I used ‘Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt’ by Kate Messner as a provocation tool. It has been a great tool at this time of year. In Victoria, it almost feels like we skipped spring, and have jumped straight into summer. We have been spending lots of time outdoors and in the local community garden. This book was a timely fit and a familiar one for our friends, as we used the winter version of this story quite a bit early on second term. It has been a great way to provoke questions, thinking and curiosity around planting and what is beneath the soil.
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Book Description: Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt has us exploring what grows above and beneath the soil. It takes us on a journey throughout the seasons to discover what we might find down in the soil, beneath a leaf, under a bush and more. The words are written in an almost poetic form. The illustrations are incredible and really leave you wanting more! This book depicts many different areas in the garden and also has a child and a grandma for our littles to relate to.

Connections: This book could not have come in a more timely way. We had focused a lot on the winter version of this book in term 2, click here.  So when I was visiting our local book store, and saw the spring version I knew it would be a hit with my littles! We had just planted beans in our room and were super curious about how they were growing and how they were staying connected to the soil. This book prompted a lot of discussion about roots and what is happening below the soil that we do not see. It provoked curiosity and questions as we visited our local garden every couple of days. Lots of insights and thoughts around what was happening beneath the garden beds came up. 

Context: As we had been wondering about what plants need to grow, I decided to do some ‘I see, I notice, I wonder’ thinking routines with some of the illustrations in this book. These routines allowed us to go a bit deeper with our questions and understandings in relation to how plants grow. I use Google Slides to do these with the picture book as the background. I find the image online and then put it as the background on the slide, or as a picture, depending on the size. Then I use the text tool to add the children’s’ vocab and statements. We started to learn vocabulary about plants in French and noticed that we already knew quite a bit.


As we spent more and more time looking at the illustrations and noticing different aspects of the garden scenes, some discussion around the artwork came up from my littles. I asked them if they wanted to do some type of artwork related to the book, they were eager. We did a little class Pinterest session, a regular research tool of ours, to find something that might inspire us as artists. We came across Darla Myers’ beautiful mural and were hooked! We started planning and creating.

Wonder Prompts:
-What do imagine underneath the soil? 
-How does a plant grow upwards? 
-Why do some vegetables grow underground and others above? 
-What do plants need to grow? 
-How do earthworms make tunnels? 
-How do insects survive? 
-Why are bees important? 
-How far down do you think roots go? 

Extensions: We took our thinking and learning a bit further by bringing measurement into the mix. We have been wondering about the difference between length and height and I thought measuring in the garden. We walked to the garden and read Length from the series Math Counts by Henry Pluckrose. We then explored the difference between height and length by measuring with our hands, our feet and some unfix blocks. Lots of excitement around measurement!

I love how they have so much space to explore and investigate in the garden. It is such a different vibe than being in the classroom. The learning is deeper and the investigation and connection making goes much further. Questions started to arise about different types of plants, flowers and trees. We are a curious bunch, who LOVE to explore!

Read Aloud: Click here to see this book as a read aloud!  This read aloud is very clear and the illustrations are easy to see. It is a great version. Enjoy!

Have you read ‘Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt’? How did it provoke your learners? What connections to planting, growing, spring, insects and animals did they make? How did you extend their learning and inquiry journey? Please share below. In inquiry we are more powerful together.

Stay curious, 

Wonder Wednesday: The Word Collector

Welcome back to #WonderWednesday. This week I will be sharing about The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds.  This book has been a great provocation tool for third term in Kindergarten and I think would be for any age level. The ideas shared throughout the story have provoked an interest about words, writing, making lists and collecting words. The focus on literacy and specifically writing has been intriguing and very timely for my eager term 3 kinder littles. wordcollector.jpg

Book Description: The Word Collector is about a young boy, Jerome, who is fascinated by words. He collects words and classifies them into various categories: juicy words, two syllable words, sweet words, and the list goes on. Jerome discovers the magic of words and plays with words that connect, inspire and empower!

Connections: Term two and three has had us interested in writing and working on forming sentences using known vocabulary and our word wall. We love making silly sentences and playing around with punctuation. Term 3 has us focusing on sight words and beginning to read, so this book fits beautifully with where we are at. It has prompted a lot of discussion and questions surrounding words. ‘What is a word?’ and ‘How do we know that something is a word’. This has been great review of spaces (something we are always working on). This book sparked curiosity around words and how we see them every day all over the place. My littles suggested they could be word detectives and notice new words all of the time. PERFECT! 

Context: We decided that as detectives or word collectors we would need little scrapbooks, just like Jerome has in the book! We used fancy paper to create our own scrapbooks and this created some hype and excitement around using the books. I modeled how to use them, but lots of the kiddos spent entire exploration times writing in their books. Here is the template so you can make your own books! 

Furthermore, we were inspired by the hanging our words on a clothesline, as Jerome does in the book and have started a clothesline in our classroom full of words we can recognize and write.
Wonder Prompts:
-What makes a word a word? 
-Where do you see words at school? 
-Where do you see words at home? 
-What words are you curious about? 
-What is a syllable?
-Do you see words when you’re outside? 
-Why are there spaces in sentences?

Extensions: This book could really take you in many directions with literacy. It has empowered us on a word finding and writing spree, we are just so excited and enthusiastic about words!
-Sorting types of words that are found would be something that the book could lead into: types of words, sorting by syllable, sorting by theme, sorting by length, sorting and ordering in alphabetic order
-Looking at how words are similar or different in various languages
-Class wide bulletin board or individual books with a different template than mine: click here. 

Read Aloud: I love how this read aloud is read by the author himself in his studio. Have a listen here. 

Have you read ‘The Word Collector’? How did it provoke your learners? What connections to words, reading and writing did they share? How did you extend their learning and inquiry journey? Please share below. In inquiry we are more powerful together.

Stay curious,