27 September 2010

Personal Connections (Homework): Voicethreads

Here's the task for Wednesday.

1. Go to the Voicethreads on Ms Baxter's Class Site at ZIS.
2. View the Threads.

3. Then view the following Voicethread in detail:
H: Voicethread 2
G: Voicethread 3
A: Voicethread 4
C: Voicethread 5
DZ: Voicethread 6
DB: Voicethread 7
N: Voicethread 8
T: Voicethread 9
3. Draft a short response to the system shown in your Thread. Your response can include what you think of the idea and why, ideas we've had like it and/or how you could use/adapt this system in our class. Be thoughtful in your response.

4. Bring in your draft for Wednesday. We will log on and add your comments in school. We have password access in school- that's why you can't see what we've written about Voicethread 1.

5. Continue to read for an average of 10 minutes per night.

6. Please start collecting and bringing in interesting pictures that could be used as writing ideas. Also bring in magazines that we can use to cut out. We'll be using these after the break.

23 September 2010

All Systems Go!

There has been a lot happening connected to systems in our classroom. Today we completed our new home/school organisation systems. Each student will bring home their system tonight to try out. They should start using the system for tomorrow (Friday). Students have created flowcharts, lists, films, tables and pocket charts to help them remember all those essential things for school every day. Please encourage your child to pack independently for each day to really see if the system is useful. I helped them to varying degrees in the final stages but the ideas are all their own. The systems should be returned to school next Thursday when we'll review each system's effectiveness.

Another system we introduced this week is a way of helping students select books. It is called 'The Five Finger Test'. When a student selects a new book, they read a page and put a finger up for every word they don't know or don't understand. (I sent home a sheet with this procedure.) The scale is this:
  • 0 fingers: Easy to read, have fun but remember to try other books too.
  • 1-2:        Just right, enjoy!
  • 3:           Challenging but try it if you like it.
  • 4:           Very challenging, try reading with a partner or parent.
  • 5:           Too hard, save it for later or have someone read it to you.

The two Ds have been busy setting up a labelling system to identify different areas and resources in our classroom. Their signs are bright and clear. Well done for their action.

On a final note we have been discussing the individual's role as a member of our classroom community. We discussed our personal duty in thinking about the effect our actions may have on others. We read a book 'The Golden Rule' and liked the rule 'Do unto others only as you would have done unto you' or in our words 'Treat others in the way you would like to be treated'. As a follow up we have looked at our school system of consequences if an action is unsafe, excludes others or is disrespectful. There will be a new flowchart in our class to show the process. We also discussed the idea of making a good choice and a bad choice. We'll strive to make the right ones! Thank you to H's family for the donation of the book we read together.

 Hand image: burning-ver.com  Book cover  at amazon.ca

20 September 2010

Sun Dial Success

We have successfully made our school sundial! We made the most of the beautiful weather today. The only problem was the mist off the lake at 9am, so our clock works from 10 until 4. The question then emerged, what was moving the sun or the earth?

We are coming to the end of our Systems unit of inquiry, so that means we are putting together all the elements we have learned. In class we are designing a system to use at home. In order for us to become more independent and organised (self management skills have been a focus too), each student is designing a system to help them organise all the things they need each school day. The system will be tried out at home and each student will assess its success. Today we looked at our weekly timetable to see what we need everyday and looked at the task process using a flowchart. We have also been looking at 'Writing to Explain' and flowcharts are one example. We are hoping careful planning will lead to a successful system! 

Our unit of inquiry has been carefully organised learning with components from maths, language, personal and social education, IT, German intertwining. At the end of the day I am hoping for students to ultimately feel responsibility towards creating our classroom community. I hope we have developed the tools to do this actively. 

15 September 2010

Cham's Church Clock

Yesterday H showed us a video of the clock in Cham. He explained the different ring tones used to tell the time using a diagram and a video. We discovered that when the Cham church clock rings there is a system. One ring marks the quarter past hour, two rings the half past, three the quarter to and four the o'clock. The clock then rings the o'clock in one tone, then using a lower tone the number of hours. Then it rings the hours again. Why does it do this? Can someone listen at 7 o'clock in the morning? Does it do it twice then?

14 September 2010

Personal Connections (Homework)

Please read through this carefully.

General Tasks For Everyone
Part One:
Read for an average of 10 minutes per school night.

Part Two:
Visit the systems page on our online library. Revisit some of the films and activities we have viewed and try the ones we haven't.

Choice Time Telling Tasks
We are all at different stages of time telling, so choose the activity/activities below that are best for you.

Choose from:
Part Three:
Ask someone to help you practice telling the time using the online clock. Practice o'clocks, half pasts, quarter to and quarter past. Practice both reading and setting the time.

Part Four:
If you are ready to go further try five minute interval time telling. Practice both reading and setting the time.

Part Five:
Train Timetables
My train leaves Zurich at 14.15. It arrives in Lugano at 16.35. I wait for the next train to Milan. This leaves at 17.15. The journey takes 2 1/4 hours.

1. How long is the journey from Zurich to Lugano?
2. At what time do I arrive in Milan?
3. How long do I wait in Lugano for?
4. How long is my total travelling time?

Part Six:
Visit www.sbb.ch and try out some train journeys locally and around Switzerland. How long do they take?

Be ready to explain and share what you have been doing. You can demonstrate, write or explain. 

Due date: Thursday 23rd September

Clip Art: Originally published by Discovery.com, Inc. Clip art images Copyright © 1998 Mark A. Hicks

13 September 2010

Learning Logs

Our first learning logs about time and measurement certainly did not disappoint. T kicked off the year with telling us about how rings in a trunk record the age of a tree and all about lunar months. We remembered that N's calendar had the phases of the moon recorded too so we had a look. We found out how time was a very important factor when baking, followed by an opportunity to find out what perfectly timed cakes taste like! D instructed us in how to make a sundial which we are building when the weather cooperates! G shared his measurement movie with a very well chosen backing track. We are all looking forward to more tomorrow.


We are also busy discovering the artist within us all while focussing on portraiture. We spent a very pleasant afternoon sketching each other using the contour drawing technique. We learned that to make a contour drawing you use a continuous line without the pencil leaving the paper. There is no shading involved. We also discussed how important it was to use your eye to follow the contours of the face as you draw. I even had a go drawing G to demonstrate and discovered I really enjoyed the experience too. (It was the first time I had tried this technique.) We also discussed how we all start at the beginning when learning something new as some students had felt they wouldn't be able to do this and 'it wouldn't look any good'. However, I think they all surprised themselves.

Check out the contour line demonstration at:

09 September 2010

Resource Update

Here are some of the ICT resources we are using in class at the moment. All of these are easily accessible to your family via your computer.

We began to explore portraits today as we are going to make covers for our portfolios and a design feature for our class blog. Have a look at the Create and Express tab above and scroll down to watch the continuous line contour drawing lesson. We also looked at some portraits from last year's Self Expression unit. Go to:

Check out our unit resources at our school's Netvibes site. There are some great films connected to time and interactive clocks & games to practice telling the time.

We've also blogged again with ZIS. Go to the An inquiry into....... tab above and see how we are organising our classroom.

07 September 2010

Connecting our unit to the learner profile

This week we are exploring why we have the learner profile in our school and classroom. We talked about how all students, teachers and supporters in International Baccalaureate schools strive to 'be' the ten learner profile attributes. We liked the idea that we all have a part to play in building a peaceful world. We looked at the official IB video to help us become familiar with the words. Check out the link here:

We also made book covers for our unit journals using the learner profile and a program called Wordle. You might like to try it at home.

Following on from this general discussion we looked at what it means to be caring and principled. These two attributes connect to the idea that in order for systems in our classroom community to work well, we really need to try to be these two things. We read a beautiful book The Tree Huggers, which is based on a true story, to try to understand what these two words mean.

From there we thought about times when we had been caring or principled. In the photo we are sharing our experiences. We then planned and wrote about our individual examples. Our final step today was to share our explanations with the class using an 'Author's Chair'. That's when you sit in front of the class and read aloud your writing. Please come and visit to share our writing. They are great examples of our class writing talent.
Images from Wordle and Amazon.co.uk

03 September 2010

We're blogging!

Just to let you know about an exciting new development in our classroom. We've begun blogging with a couple of Grade Three classes at Zurich International School. We discovered both schools have similar units of inquiry running at the moment. So we have set up a blog to share our learning. The new blog is called 'An inquiry into.........'. Check out the new link tab at the top of our blog page.

01 September 2010

Measurement - getting the conversation started

I think I've worked out how to measure with this!

Tuesday was a big mathematics day in our class. We are learning about systems in mathematics with a focus on time. Without time our classroom systems would not run smoothly.

However, before we look at time in detail, we first explored the bigger concept of measurement. I asked the question:
What is measurement? 
Students shared their ideas including:
`It's something so you know how big, small, long or short things are. You can weigh things in grams.`
`I think measure is something that you can balance.`
`When you go on holiday you have to pack your suitcase and measure it. It can't be too heavy.`
`It's looking at how something is mathematically. It`s how much of something.`
`You measure things like a wall, how big a bottle is. If you need to make a cake you need to weigh the sugar.`
`I know capacity is how much is in a bottle. Height is how tall something is. Weight is how heavy something is.`
`When we bake a cake we get a measure thing......weights. We find out how much there is. We put in how much we need.`

We identified these key words and phrases:
How much?
What's the amount?
What's the unit of measurement?

These initial conversations are so important in identifying understanding and confusions early on, as well as challenging children to think about why we learn about measurement in the first place.

Then we got to hands on measuring and thinking about how many ways we could measure my dinner time pumpkin! For some students it was revisiting the idea of attributes, for others this was new language. We had great fun trying out a variety of measuring instruments and recording our questions and measurements. The measuring instruments are in the class for the students to experiment independently with too.

So, where is the circumference??!!