2018-2019

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November 2018: Tuning Into Our Second Unit of Inquiry
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October 2018: Extending Our Learning Through A Guest Speaker Session
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September 2018: Interviewing Our Teachers
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August 2018: Lifelong Learning Begins Here!
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Will They Be Able to Guess the Central Idea?
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Power of Words
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Guest Speakers at The Foundation for Child Development
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Design Thinking Challenge
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Food is Necessary (and yummy) For Life!
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End of Unit Celebration!

November 2018: Tuning Into Our Second Unit of Inquiry

Our class community welcomes a brand new month, November with lots of questions about WHO WE ARE… especially about our names! Mmm, building upon students’ curiosity and inquiring minds, I have decided to further add some teacher-fairy dust by reading few stories about NAMES, as listed below.

Lalo Wants a Real Name by Julia Mercedes-Castilla and Stephanie Harlow

My Name is Aviva by Leslea Newman

My Name is Elizabeth! by Annika Dunklee and Matthew Forsythe

… some other fictional stories that set out different names to the story characters. 

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Subsequently, we compiled a huge bank of wondering questions just like the following! I am positive that we will have even more wondering questions as we venture deeper into this self-inquiry.

Is there a book for all names?

How does each colour get its name like orange, red, and purple?

Does everyone like their name?

Why each road has its name?

Why my mummy named me Zen?

Why my mummy choose Wingo for me, and not another name?

Can my name be changed?

Why don’t my parents call me Matt? It is shorter!

How does each country get its name?

Why does my family has the letter N, except for my little brother, Sky?

Why do my parents call/name me Frieda? Is there a story about it?

Where do our names come from?

How does Magic Years got its name?

The kind of questions we ask is determined by purpose. In an inquiry classroom, questions have a range of purposes, such as to engage students’ interest/intrigue/curiosity, to help students make connections between ideas, as well as to help students ‘dig deeper’ and take an idea further (Kath Murdoch, 2017). Having these in mind, a new interest to create our own name books has started brewing in our classroom atmosphere. While the kids are engaged in writing their name books, they will soon have a surprise from me, and their parents soon in our names party this coming week!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • NO SCHOOL for kids on Monday, 12th November 2018 *Teacher In-Service
  • Weekly rotation of library books on Wednesdays
  • Loy Krathong Assembly on Thursday, 22nd November 2018 
  • Check Seesaw for other class announcements

October 2018: Extending Our Learning Through A Guest Speaker Session

After weeks of diving into our unit through collaborative tasks and classroom discussions, we have had a special guest speaker session conducted by Mr. Roshan, Ray’s dad. It was definitely a great learning experience to hear new thoughts and ideas about our central idea. The session revolved around our big ideas on communication, sharing and feelings under the transdisciplinary theme of How We Express Ourselves. On top of that, we also invited the Creativity & Service class (Ms. Zana’s class) community to join our guest speaker session, knowing that it offers significant, relevant and engaging learning experience for them too.

Guest speakers have become an important part of the educational experience for students. They expose students to real-world life experiences from the position of someone who has been there. One important benefit that is derived from having a guest speaker is the enhancement of the students’ educational experience. 

(Janelle Cox, TEACHHUB, 2017)

Altogether, here are some highlights of the guest speaker session:

Communication is when you talk to someone, and you look at them. 

Communication is also saying your friends’ names!

Communication is about sharing ideas. 

Green light means go! Red light means stop! Yellow/amber light means it is time to slow down and be careful. 

Non-verbal communication is just… not speaking at all, but we need to use our eyes to understand. Like the toilet sign, and wet, slippery floor sign. Some signs also give warnings for us. 

Communication is also about feelings – happy, sad, tired, bored, excited, shocked, etc.

We can communicate with our hands… like counting numbers, and pointing to a direction. 

We must use proper voice, use kind voice… like not too loud, and not too soft. 

When we communicate, we have less problems. We can play together!

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ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Positive Parenting Workshop on Learner Agency by Ms. Cassie on Tuesday, 16th October 2018
  • OCTOBER BREAK (20th to 28th October 2018) – NO SCHOOL
  • Weekly rotation of library books on Wednesdays

September 2018: Interviewing Our Teachers

Children who are taught to think about things at an early age through open-ended questions are better equipped to understand the world around them, and relate this new information to past or present experiences.

Open-ended questions have no right or wrong answers, but help to broaden children’s thinking processes, to develop their speech and language skills, and to build confidence in their ability to express themselves using words.

In our next stage of inquiry, our class community went on an inquiry adventure to interview teachers within our school community on some of our wondering questions. We worked in small groups to demonstrate our communication skills when asking these questions and listening to the replies or answers from the teachers.

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Question 1: Why is it important to make good choices?
Answers:
• So that we can make new friends, stay strong & healthy and we can learn!
• We want to be part of our school community.
• We think carefully so that we can stay safe.
• So that we can be the best version of ourselves.

Question 2: What happens if we don’t listen to our friends?
Answers:
• We might miss something special from them.
• We cannot play together, and we will be sad.
• We will be alone and we cannot share our ideas.
• They might feel upset with us.

Question 3: How do we make friends at school?
Answers:
• We talk to them, we call their names and we keep a good eye contact with them.
• We communicate with them, and we listen to them.
• We play together and help each other.
• Be kind and happy.

Question 4: How can I share my feelings?
Answers:
• We can use our facial expressions.
• We can use simple words so that people can understand us.
• We use kind words and our biggest smile.
• We say it nicely, and no shouting please.

Question 5: Why is it not okay to hurt others?
Answers:
• We don’t want others to feel sad.
• We don’t want them to get hurt.
• If we hurt others, we don’t feel good deep down inside our hearts.
• We want a happy classroom, together.

Oh boy, these are some amazing answers or replies that we have received from our school community. Be sure to communicate further with your child at home, and it would be awesome to talk about some powerful magic words like I AM SORRY, THANK YOU, PLEASE, EXCUSE ME, and many more!

On top of that, our class community also enjoyed making some artwork related to unit of inquiry about feelings with the integration of language component (Readers Workshop, Writers Workshop & Phonics). A for ANGRY, S for SAD, and N for NERVOUS. Definitely a great way to make new learning connections together!

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ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • NO SCHOOL for kids on 20th & 21st September 2018 (Thursday & Friday)
  • Weekly rotation of library books on Wednesdays
  • Looking for parent volunteer(s) to be our unit’s guest speaker to share new, inspiring insights with our class community – please contact Ms. Cally

 

August 2018: Lifelong Learning Begins Here!

Taking an inquiry approach to learning means drawing on one’s capacity as a researcher, a thinker, a self-manager, a communicator and a collaborator. Teachers who use an inquiry based approach understand that the power lies in the process. They work hard to privilege the process of learning.

(Kath Murdoch, 2017)

The power truly lies in the process. How exciting! Our class community has been spending time together to inquire into our classroom essential agreements, routines, and expectations in different situations and specialist lessons throughout this month of August. By doing this, we begin to make authentic learning connections to our first unit of inquiry that we will continue to explore for about 6 weeks.

Transdisciplinary Theme: How We Express Ourselves

Central Idea: Sharing our feelings and ideas drives us to develop effective ways to communicate.

Lines of Inquiry:

  1. Ways in which we express our feelings and ideas
  2. Sharing our feelings and ideas
  3. Communicating our thoughts successfully

Key Concepts: Form, Connection & Perspective

One of our first provocation activities was to build a birdhouse. This took us by surprise, and on a really spontaneous note. We were listening to an online story titled “The Birdhouse That Jack Built” during our story time, and few of us saw a bird watching us from the window next to our circle time! We then agreed to plan and create a birdhouse for the bird, how fascinating when inquiry happens as such!

In small groups, students have learned how to effectively communicate their ideas in designing their birdhouse at our planning stage before moving forward to build their prototype model using soft foam and toothpicks in our STEM class. We definitely have more to come, and having our students engaged in collaborative activities like these gives them the opportunity to share and communicate with one another (in line with our central idea).

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We are now two weeks into our inquiry, and these are our wonderings that we look forward to unfold together. It is just the beginning, and we are excited for more!

  • How do we share ideas with our friends?
  • What happens if we don’t listen to our friends?
  • Is it good to listen before talking?
  • How do we share our ideas with our brothers and sisters?
  • Why is it important to make good choices?
  • How can I share my feelings?
  • How do we make our class a happy place?
  • How do we make friends at school?
  • How can we grow and be kind?
  • Why is it not okay to hurt others?
  • How can we understand our teachers and friends?
  • Can I sing to share my feelings?
  • How do we protect our friends’ feelings?
  • Why do we say thank you?

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Check out our updated class schedule (last updated on 31st August 2018)
  • Reminders on our daily footwear and PE indoor gym shoes on Mondays
  • Back to School Night event for parents and teachers on Wednesday, 5th September 2018 (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm)

Will They Be Able to Guess the Central Idea?

  • Chilling down the classroom to create the perfect chilly temperatureChilling down the classroom to create the perfect chilly temperature
  • "What on earth is happening?""What on earth is happening?"

This week the Excellence and CS classroom turned into a cold winter wonderland! Thankfully, we found a nice camp fire, blankets and hot chocolate in CS class 😉

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::5 Whys Thinking Routine::
Students shared many problems they saw with today’s provocation:
“The door was locked!”
“We could not go inside!”
And then…. finally, someone said…
When I came to the room, I was cold!”
 Why?
“We were camping. It was a surprise!”
Why?
“Because all the air conditioners were on!”
Why?
“We need blankets because it is cold!”
Why?
“We need fire because it’s so cold!”
Why?
“If you don’t have a fire. You’re not going to get warm. You will die.”

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Power of Words

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Words are like a tube of toothpaste. To really drive this home, students were asked to squeeze out an entire tube of toothpaste together and then, challenged to put all the toothpaste back inside. Students were puzzled as they knew that would not be possible.

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Guest Speakers at The Foundation for Child Development

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Excellence was very excited to be invited as guest speakers on Design Thinking this past week! The Foundation for Child Development had seen our assembly photos online and they had invited our class to come in to be a part of their “Play-Based Exhibition.” We packed up our Design Thinking projects and off we went!

 

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Design Thinking Challenge

Our Design Thinking projects are underway! 

Students had the challenge of creating something for our February assembly that would teach and showcase to others what they are learning in Excellence class. They had to empathize with their audience and understand that not only would Trust and Caring class (ages 1 to 2) be watching but also, our upper primary classes would be watching as well. Their creation (Prototype) had to be simple yet complex enough to reach their wide audience. 

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End of Unit Celebration!

Put a fork in it! We’re done! This week, we finally finished out our first unit on Who We Are. 

For these past 8 weeks, students have inquired into what they know best: Themselves! 

We further extended our knowledge of “self” to learn more about “others” as well. 

Design Thinking

Students were paired up with a buddy and given the challenge of getting to know them better. They interviewed their buddy to find out what they liked, disliked, abilities and so forth. From there, we introduced to students a little something called “Design Thinking.” 

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