I was working out one morning at the ReHab Gym when 1 of the Physical Trainers shared a photograph he had taken of a Luna Moth that was just outside on the window. I asked him to email to me via his iPhone so I could share with my students. He did and this is what happened….
This is the end of school and my students have only a day left of Kindergarten. I share the photograph of the Luna Moth on my SMART board with my students. I pose a question, “What do you notice?’ We take some private think time to think about our observations and then we turn and talk to a friend about what we notice. These are some of the comments that the children shared; “it looks furry, I think it is symmetrical because what is on the left side is the same as the right side, it has 2 sets of wings, the antennae look like small feathers like a bird, it has green, black and yellow, the body is hiding under the wings, I think it is an insect because it has 3 body parts.” Wow! Through this brief encounter with this photograph you can see how much information the children not only have from prior learning experiences, but how they are able to connect and use their prior knowledge to make observations about something they have never seen before.
Then we were about to locate a site that gave us some specific information about Luna Moths. http://www.bugfacts.net/luna-moth.php Again this is another way to be transparent about how I am going to get information about a topic of interest that will help us develop a deeper understanding about an authentic learning opportunity.
As a teacher this is the best possible way to observe how children are sharing what they understand through applying prior knowledge to make sense of a new experience. I was able to see and listen to the in-depth thinking that the children had as well as how they were synthesizing information through an observation. The SMART board was really wonderful because the children were then able to come to the board and interact using the tools to highlight their scientific observations.
I am very transparent about what I do with my students. This experience was a nice way to share how a technological tool can be used to capture something of interest, how the technology is used in a safe, kind and responsible way, and how we all benefited from learning about something that was observed in nature by someone outside of Kindergarten.
The children then created a piece of writing about what they noticed as well as scientific drawings of the Luna Moth. As you can see from a few of the examples I have listed in this post that these Kindergarten children are really amazing scientific thinkers who use technology to help enhance and engage their understanding of the natural world.