Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Captivated by the Winter Olympics

For the past two weeks, the children and teachers at our little yellow school have been caught up in the excitement of the 2018 Winter Olympics.  These Olympics brought joy to our days.

From Culture to Arithmetic to Language, interest in the Olympics permeated our classrooms.  It all began with the question "Where in the world is PyeongChang?"  We used our atlas along with the Puzzle Map of Asia to find South Korea.  The Asia map has been in constant use over the past two weeks with children labeling the names of the countries in Asia.

The Puzzle Map of Asia

Hard at Work

Many stories were written about the games and the medals Canada won.

Our favourite activity occurred each day at circle.  That is when we would track the progress of our Olympic team on a simple wall graph.  

Our Graph

The wall graph provided the children with the opportunity to collect data and organize it.  Through our graph, the children were able to:

~  collect information
~  count and sort
~  read graphs
~  make observations from a graph
~  ask questions about graph results

They spent much time counting and discussing the medals Canada won.

Discussing the Graph

While we learned a lot about South Korea and the different sports, it was the stories of the Olympians that taught us some very important life lessons.

Dedication - All of the Olympic athletes on our screens displayed dedication.  Most began their training as children and put in countless hours of practice to be among the best athletes in the world.  Our students were particularly interested in the story of Olympic darlings Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.  Our beloved Canadians began skating together in 1997.  Twenty years later, they leave these Olympics as the most decorated figure skaters in history with five Olympic medals each.

Perseverance - All of the athletes have persevered through good times and bad.  The story of Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris's comeback from near death resonated with our students.  With his accident occurring a mere 11 months before the Olympics, Mark refused to give up and landed on the podium with a bronze medal.  Very impressive!  Mark's perseverance was referenced by India's Prime Minister in a speech to young students. 

Teamwork - In the Olympics, there are individual sports and team sports.  It was inspiring to see veteran speed skaters Charles Hamelin and Marianne St-Gelais, medal winners at previous games, supporting and guiding the new young stars of the sport.  It was also great to see athletes from different sports coming out to cheer on their fellow Canadian athletes.  This also resonated with our students as this happens in our Montessori classrooms each and every day.  We are always here to support, guide and cheer one another on.

Good Sportsmanship -   In each Olympic sport, there are those who receive medals and those who do not.  As Canadians, there were some losses in key sports that we did not anticipate.  Despite this, our athletes always tried their best and were gracious in both victory and defeat.  They set a wonderful example.

At the end of these games, our wall graphs showed us that Canada won an impressive 29 medals - 11 gold, 8 silver and 10 bronze!  We placed third behind Norway and Germany for the most medals won.  This is our highest tally ever at a Winter Olympics!

Hooray, Canada!

Thank you to PyeongChang and the people of South Korea for being such gracious and elegant hosts.  A huge thank you to all of our Canadian Olympic athletes on a wonderful Winter Olympics!  We kept you in our hearts and in our thoughts.  You brought light into our wintry February days and made Canada proud!  Congratulations!

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