Like all of Toronto right now, the Kindergarten students in Room 109 at Island Public School have a full on case of "Blue Jays fever". Since the playoffs began, students came to school every day buzzing to talk about last night's game, which players were their favourites (some students even claim they play on the Blue Jays themselves!), and were prone to chanting "Let's go, Blue Jays, let's go!" throughout the day. This emerging interest was so relevant in our classroom the students decided to create our own area in the classroom where we could "play Blue Jays".
Today was our grand opening - and the energy was electric. What I found most special about this project however, was the process itself, and that students really took the lead and delved into a hands on learning experience that really brought us together as a classroom community. Here are some photos of the students at work. We began with research, using books and videos to build our knowledge of what the Rogers Centre looked like and contained, and also what we would need to build our own. In documented discussions, the word "engineer" emerged, which led us to read "Rosie Revere, Engineer" and also make our own blueprints.
Using donated materials, the students began to build the structure (roof, grass, dirt, bases, walls, screen, gates) and equipment (bat, tickets, a costume for Ace the mascot, drinks to sell) - all ideas that came from them.
It really is fitting that the Jays have been using the motto "Come Together". As a Kindergarten teacher, I know our classroom is filled with a variety of developmental levels. However, by using student interest to spark inquiry, and employing a project approach, students at all levels are able to take part. From students who are writing to students who are exploring their fine motor control, everyone could find a job. Working towards a common goal as a class also allows such real authentic social learning and bonding to take place. This is what community is all about! Seeing their pride in the finished product was really moving. Today we invited the school to visit - handing out tickets, swinging rally towels and leading cheers, and even took to the class made field for some innings of our own.
While these photos give you a peek into our process, I wish I could bottle the sheer joy and excitement shown by students today. The Toronto Blue Jays are captivating our city, including these young and skilled learners, and our hearts absolutely soared as we watched them engage in dramatic play today in our newly created Rogers Centre. As a class - we really came together and I couldn't be more proud.