One of the things I love about the first 2 weeks of school and the last two weeks of school is the freedom I feel to do fun and interesting things without feeling pressure to stick to curriculum or assess and document what happens all the time. I can focus on relationship building and connecting with my students.

One of the activities I had planned for this week is something that many of the kindergarten classes in my school have done. It doesn’t represent a whole lot of creativity on my part, but I’m so glad we’ve done it! We have been creating our own borders for the classroom bulletin boards!

A few more than half of my students are looping from grade 2 into grade 3 with me. I love this! Last year we completed a Context for Learning math unit called “Measuring for the Art Show.” In that unit we use cash register tape to measure things and create number lines. For this activity, I gave each group a roll of the paper and asked them to use it to create their borders. I assigned each group one bulletin board to work with. I asked them to measure properly, and decorate the paper with patterns. Those are all of the instructions I gave.

Three of the four groups actually measured. One group has decided to keep cutting pieces of paper, different lengths, and then piece them together like a puzzle. I was happy today when a child in that group told me exactly where to put one piece of paper. It fit exactly in a gap, and the child said she measured before she cut the paper to make sure it would fit. So this is a bit of a “guess and check” strategy, but I feel like it’s evolving into measuring. They still have a few big pieces to do, and I think they will use this strategy going forward to create bigger pieces.

Of the three groups that measured, two realized that they could measure the bottom, easy to reach edge and then cut two of that length. They didn’t have to reach up to measure the top because the top and bottom are the same. They also realized that the left and right are the same. The third group needed some prompting for this. I think if they could have reached the top they would have simply measured 4 times. Of the three groups that measured, only one used a tool (measuring tape) to measure instead of simply using the paper.

It has been very interesting to note that there has been very little actual patterning occurring. Some of the groups have drawn on the paper. We’ll have to work on that a bit. I want to make sure they understand the difference between patterns and designs.

There has been a lot of cooperative work happening. There has been some arguing. C’est la vie! That’s how a community of children often gets started in their work together.

I have already decided I will do this activity several more times throughout the year. I want to see how it evolves. I am going to keep the groups the same each time. I can’t wait to see how their thinking and group-work skills grow.