Friday, October 21, 2016

Naming clouds...

As we were berry picking the other day, a little boy stood quite still in the middle of the field, looking up to the sky. I asked him what he was looking at. He said he could see a funny cloud shape in the sky. I looked up and asked him what it was shaped as. He simply said it looked like a big marshmallow!! Other children joined in when they saw us and we all had a game of "guess what my cloud looks like"! We saw dogs, circles, superheroes etc...Imagination had no limit. The following day, at circle time, I showed the following video to the children. It is based on a book called "it looks like spilt milk" by Charles G. Shaw. The children loved it as it was an extension of what we had done the day before. 

 The following day, as we played our name game at circle time again, I explained the children that clouds do have names too. They thought it was a funny idea. Clouds? really? with names? I showed them some pictures of different clouds I had downloaded, printed and laminated beforehand. I asked them to identify the difference between each cloud:

"well, this one is like a cotton wool in the sky".. "and we can see the blue sky too".

This is a CUMULUS cloud

"the sky is all grey"... "it's like a grey blanket in the sky".. "it makes the sky sad"

These are called STRATUS clouds

"it looks like a fluffy string"... "or like a spider web" 

These are CIRRUS clouds

"I don't like this cloud, it's scary"... "the rain is coming"... "it's all dark"

These are NIMBOSTRATUS clouds

I left the children describe each  child and just gave them the name at the end of each description. I think it works better that way as the children make their own observations and retain the information better. They were creating their own learning that day. And it worked: the following day, I asked them to have another look at the cards. The description they had given the day  before was printed on their mind and they repeated them without too much hesitation. As for the names of the clouds, they now remember every single one of them, by the end of the week! Recognising clouds is now part of our daily routine when we talk about the weather at circle time.
To further extend  the children's learning, I presented the children with a little experience called  "rain cloud demonstration".

I use an the eyedropper to drop a bit of water onto a cotton ball "cloud."

After a few drops, it began to "rain" from the "cloud." Can you see it? There is a rain drop about to fall at the bottom of the cotton ball "cloud" ? I kept adding water to the cotton ball until it "rained". I Loved this activity. You could hear the birds outside: the children were so quiet, waiting for the 1st rain drop to fall!!! This was a very simple way to explain to the children how clouds work. I didn't go too much in details as they are still very young but it was enough for them to grasp the concept through this hand-on activity.

Finally, I prepared a provocation for the children. I set up the picture cards of clouds beside paper, glue and cotton wool. The children simply chose their favourite cloud and tried to represent it using cotton wool. It was a popular activity on our shelf this week. they loved modelling the cotton wool to their needs and using plenty of glue too!!!!

Learning Goals

Exploring & Thinking
The children learnt about the natural environment and its features : the clouds.

The children interacted with one another and with their teachers, taking turns at circle while describing the different clouds, using language with confidence and competence. The little ones still struggling with speech at times did share their ideas with only a few words. But all the children participated in sharing their ideas during our group discussions. 

Identity & Belonging:
The children showed themselves as great learners as they directed their own learning this week. The whole activity was based on personal interests and was linked to their environment.