27 September 2011

Science lab coats on.............

Today we put on our lab coats and began our new unit with a simple yet packed 'full of science' experiment. I reminded the students that scientists use all their senses to explore and explain the world around them. I placed a ball on the carpet and asked each student to draw and record what was happening. Students shared that the ball was:
  • not moving
  • there was no motion
  • it was at rest
  • nothing
  • still
  • undisturbed
I then rolled the ball and asked them to record again. This time students shared:
  • it's rolling
  • Ms Judy is using her arm
  • there's a force
  • Ms Judy pushed it
  • the force of the hand is making it move
  • there's motion
Finally the ball hit the folder I'd placed in the way. This time we saw the ball stop but keen eyes noticed it rolled back first. This depended on how hard I threw it. We wondered what the difference in 'roll back' would be depending on the throw. Someone mentioned maybe there was friction at work. Students discussed how maybe it was the folder that had stopped the ball moving. I left our thoughts hanging in the air. Can you explain what happened and why?

26 September 2011

Personal Connections (Homework) 26.9.11

This week complete the reflection sheet connected to our unit of inquiry. This will be placed in your portfolio, so please pay attention to presentation and spelling. Take time to reflect meaningfully.


Due date: Monday 3rd October

20 September 2011

Admiring Our Creativity!

Today all our learner profile pictures were completed! We took a moment to step back and admire our designs and messages. Each poster has such a different look while clearly showing the ten attributes. They are on view along our corridor at the moment, but they will be transferred downstairs suitably framed and ready to showcase the central role the learner profile has in our school. Great work all round!

19 September 2011

Monday Mornings

We're really getting into the swing of our Monday morning routines. Students start off the day with their '5Ws'. They record the 'who, what, where, when and why' about an event from the weekend ready to share. Then they create a headline that encapsulates the weekend. The aim of these two activities is to help students organise and recall an event with personal significance and interest, ready to share in an organised spoken retell.

What next? Onto our 'Do It Yourself' Writing with a personal target drawn from our writing. To round things off we read out our headline and then have about one and half minutes to share our weekend event. There is also the important social aspect to this activity as we find out about each others' lives outside of the classroom.

Here's a great snap from today. Two Dutch football supporters on opposing teams sharing a headline!

Here are a few shots of students at work on their final unit assessment. Students are busily working on the design for their learner profile poster, having collected lots of words connected to their attribute. Students really had to think about how they set out each word and that the lettering style was clear and bold.

At the end, students will reflect on the skills they have used throughout the task. They will choose from a selection of communication, social, self-management, research and  thinking skills (taken from the PYP five essential elements). We have begun to discuss how skills are the 'doing part' of any activity and are transferable across the curriculum and life.  We carry them around in our suitcase of 'skills for life' from one place to another!

Finally students will reflect on their successes and challenges throughout the process. I've been seeing some great collaboration, sometimes this has developed over time. There have also been, at times, some difficulties bringing two sets of ideas together! It's not always easy!

17 September 2011

Personal Connections (Homework) 19.9.11

Remember to prepare your materials for structure building. This task will will form part of your shape mathematics summative assessment. Your materials should be in school on Wednesday. Feel free to bring  extra resources to share.

  • Draw a sketch or sketches of what you would like your model/structure to look like. 

Due: Wednesday 21st September

Write Words/ Chunks spellings (for my groups)

13 September 2011

Getting Creative!

We are coming towards the end of our first unit about the learner profile. To see what the students have learned and understood we are working towards completing a series of final assessments. Today students were given the task of creating a picture using photographs and words to demonstrate the attribute they have been investigating in groups. Each group is required to create a photograph that shows their deeper understanding of the attribute. They planned this out today. Then students had to collect lots of words related to their attribute and think about how they could display these in their final piece. Here's a sneak preview of M and D working together to show balance. They think it's important to balance the time you spend with your family and friends.

Being in an artistic frame of mind we continued our 'Soul Portrait' inquiry in the afternoon. Yesterday we had looked at the work of Karen Goldsmith and were fascinated by all the details and clues she gives about herself in her portraits. Today we looked at a beautiful soul portrait created by a student at another school and explored the symbols she had used. We then took the list we created about all the things that makes us, us and began to sketch out ideas for symbols connected to our individuality. There was such a relaxed atmosphere as students sketched and chatted about their ideas. Here are some of the artists at work.

This morning we introduced another routine. We began our reading groups where the focus is on comprehension of the story. Students are grouped and share the reading. I come and visit groups to listen in and check their understanding. Each group has a series of questions to discuss and answer.

Miss Adele focuses on the individual reading book choices students make on Thursdays. We ask that students have a fiction and non-fiction book at all times going back and forth between home and school. Thank you for your help in this.

12 September 2011

Personal Connections (Homework)12.9.11

Today we watched a movie made by KIS, an international school located in Bangkok. We viewed the video with critical eyes, deciding if we liked it, if the message was clear, noting any positive and negative features and ideas we would take from it.

For your Personal Connection this week  I would like you to view the videos connected to your Learner Profile attribute on our wiki and record your reflection using the sheets sent home this evening. Some videos have been selected because they demonstrate the attribute. Remember to explain your ideas.

Due: Monday 19th September

Next week you will be making a 3D structure in class to demonstrate your understanding of shape in mathematics. Think about what you would like to build. Then collect together boxes and special bits you would like to use by Wednesday 21st September.

Weekly Routines:
Tracks spelling routines for my two groups

09 September 2011

Shape Trees and Shape Wanted Posters!

We have had yet another fantastic week of discovery and creativity.

In Maths, we have continued our exploration of 2D and 3D shapes, particularly the vocabulary used. Each child will have brought home a list of the vocabulary we have been using in class.

Creating shape trees:

Our classroom shape hunt:

Making our shape "Wanted" posters:
Those 3D nets could be very tricky.

Getting very excited about Maths on a Friday! 

To find out what got the Middis so excited about Maths on a Friday afternoon go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks2bitesize/maths/shape_space/3D_shapes/play.shtml

In language the Middis have been exploring recounts, drafting and refining their work to perfection. I have read wonderful stories about all the exciting things they got up to over the summer holidays. Next week, the Middis will be beginning their creative recount story about a character who chooses not to be one of the Learner Profile attributes. What will the consequences be......

06 September 2011

Inquiring into the Learner Profile

Today we immersed ourselves in the learner profile. Pairs worked together to look at the IB descriptors of the ten learner profile attributes in detail. The language used is complex so we took time to explore new words and discuss our ideas. I asked each group to think about e.g. What does a thinker think about? What is an open minded person open minded about? and so on for each attribute. From this each group presented their findings giving examples in student friendly terms. I was really impressed by each group's explanation. The aim of this activity was to go beyond the obvious examples of the learner profile and to deepen our understanding. We also identified the skills we had used today and found out there were a wide range of thinking, self management, research, social and communication skills we had needed to pull out of our 'skills for life suitcase'.

We have also begun our art unit connection by looking at the questions:

  • Who am I? (As this unit is connected to Who We Are.)
  • What makes me, me?
  • What makes me unique?

We began by looking at an interesting selection of self portraits by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol and Paul Gauguin and I simply asked:

  • What do you think? 
  • What do you see?
  • What makes you say that?

Our next step will be to brainstorm things that are important to us and create symbols connected to us. The process will build up to creating 'Soul Portraits'.

There are so many new routines at the beginning of a year and we added a new one today. We started writing in our D.I.Y. journals. Students write about anything they choose for fifteen minutes and set targets for their writing. I use this as a diagnostic task to identify spelling words for students to learn, so I do not correct errors in this journal. There are more routines to come..........................

05 September 2011

Personal Connections (Homework) 5.9.11

Thank you for all those fantastic photographs of the Learner Profile. The paragraphs were so well thought out and explained. We shared them as a class today.

This week we would like you to investigate prefixes, suffixes and base words through the learner profile.

For example:
For the word learner, learn is the base word.
From this, for example, you can make the following words by adding suffixes:
learned, learning, learnable, learnt, learns, learnedly

Take at least five of the learner profile attributes and create a page/s in your Learning Log to show how you can build each word. Remember the example we made in class. Think about where you can find word definitions and spellings to help your search.

One of the words should be an unfamiliar one.

For a challenge you can add, in brackets ( ), if the word is a noun, verb, adjective or adverb.


  • Reading from your fiction and non-fiction book
  • Revise the maths shape vocabulary

Date due: Monday 12th September

Some students will need the challenge of having more words to investigate, though for some five is just right. Please judge this together with your child. The task is deliberately offered on different levels.

02 September 2011

2D and 3D Shapes

Our Math topic throughout this unit will be Shapes, specifically 2D and 3D shapes and their interrelationships.

Our Central Idea for Maths: An understanding of the interrelationships of shape allows us to interpret, understand and appreciate our two-dimensional (2D) and three- dimensional (3D) world.

This is a follow on from last year, where the class were introduced to the topic.

This week we were specifically looking at how things can be the same in some ways and different in some ways, highlighting specific shape features and vocabulary. Following this we identified the various ways a shape may be classified and placed into a group.

Investigating 3D shapes

Creating our own "Guess my shape" games


Next week we will send home a vocabulary list for this Math unit, which the children have been using in class already.