30 May 2010

What's happening in maths and language?

Here's an update to let you know what we're learning about in maths and language.

We have returned to number but this time the focus is on multiplication and division. So far we have brainstormed what knowledge we have brought to the classroom. From assessments I could see we had a good understanding of some basic multiplication calculations, but the conceptual understanding behind the operations was needed. So that is where we started. We have been exploring what multiplication is and actually discovering why we learn about it! We realised we needed to understand key words such as arrays, equal, groups, sets, lots of, operation and multiplication. We went array crazy in class, finding arrays everywhere! I think we'll be finding post it notes for some time to come.

The key area to explore over the next two weeks is:

Multiplying numbers is useful when we:
·         Repeat equal quantities
·         Use ratio
·         Make ratio comparison or changes, e.g. scales
·         Make arrays and combinations
      ·         Need products of measures.

What can you do at home?
  • Spot arrays at home
  • Take opportunities for calculations while out shopping
  • Visit these websites:

Our language lessons are closely connected to our unit of inquiry. We are focusing on Writing to Describe. A big goal here is being able to describe pictures and objects verbally, before we put our ideas to paper. Adjectives are clearly important to understand and use creatively. Encourage your children to describe events and objects in detail, encouraging clear and precise sentences. Try this game:

Keep it Going!
1. Name an object.
2. In turn say something about the object.
3. Can you make a collection of eight or more ideas?

Horse: It's an animal; it has four long legs; it has a mane and tail; it can be black, brown, grey or dappled; you can ride on it; it can run fast; it can jump; it can pull carts; it can run races; it can bite and kick when annoyed; it may live on a farm; it's a bit like a donkey.

Tip: If your child runs out of ideas, use questions such as: 'What sort of thing is it?' (category) 'What can you do with it? (use), and so on.

26 May 2010

A Pond Ecosystem Learning Log

Today we found out about how an ecosystem can change in a real life context. G told us all about the pond in his garden that is being filled in. He explained to us how different creatures were going to be impacted in different ways. It was really interesting to see G putting his learning into action.

21 May 2010

Learning Logs

Have a look at the latest logs presented in class. This is turning into a phenomenal success!

19 May 2010

Verbier Reflections

Here is S's Learning Log. S really enjoyed her experience on the ropes course on our recent trip to Verbier. We found out all about the safety features of the course. Look at how even the lake reflects the colour of water we saw in the area. There is such an attention to detail in this model.

18 May 2010


Dear All,

After a very successful field week for all the Seniors we are looking forward to the students bringing in their Learning Logs and sharing their ideas and connections with us about the week's experiences. Here's a quick picture of the first log which arrived in our classroom on Monday:

H described what he had seen and talked about how he had particularly enjoyed the farm visit.  He discovered new facts about the animals. H made an inspired choice of creating a model. As we've been discussing key vocabulary for our latest unit, H also identified whether the animals were carnivores, herbivores or omnivores.

Our new unit of inquiry is all about ecosystems and it's related to Sharing the Planet transdisciplinary theme. The big idea or the central idea in PYP language we are exploring is:

Life within an ecosystem is interdependent.
As well as understanding the key words we will be using on our unit, we have visited the woods and recorded all the living and non livings there. We've been identifying, drawing and researching the things we saw there and the things we think live there maybe under the ground or in the trees. Our giant ecosystem is under construction- watch this space! So far we have discovered:

  • An ecosystem is a community of living and nonliving things. 
  • The members of this community depend on one another. 
  • Each one has its own role in the ecosystem.
  • The balance of an ecosystem can change if you take one bit away.
  • The sun, air, water, rocks and soil are all vital parts of an ecosystem
  • There are special words we use to describe living things when talking about their diet and way they collect food e.g. prey, top predator.
  • Decomposers are essential parts of an ecosystem.
  • A food chain is a part of an ecosystem.
To build our understanding of natural systems we're starting with food chains. We discovered the vital role of the sun again as it starts off a food chain. It's all about the transfer of energy as food. The students were really delighted to make the connection to our energy unit and commented you couldn't do this unit without the energy unit. Next we will make food webs which will then lead us to the bigger picture of ecosystems.

Remember to check our netvibes site for interesting links about ecosystems: