Archive - 2017

How We Express Ourselves
Celebrating Unity & Diversity
What does Design Thinking look like in Kindergarten?
Grade 3 Student Post
Reading in G1 and 2
Learning Through Field Trips

How We Express Ourselves

Grade 1&2 is just about to dive in to a new unit titled “We express our ideas, imagination and emotion through our words and actions”. This unit will have a special focus on Language and is tied to a Reading/Writing unit from Teacher’s College called “From Scenes to Series”. 

Throughout this unit we will be looking a genre called Realistic Fiction, looking specifically at character traits. In Writing Workshop we will be writing our own realistic fiction stories, using our creativity and expression to create characters of our own!

what is realistic fiction

For today’s student blog, we will share our first experience tuning in to this unit by reflecting on the realistic fiction character Tacky from the book Tacky the Penguin. The following are reflections that were independently typed by students:

What are some things you learned about Tacky the Penguin?

Tacky is nais bkos he hawp he  farens. 

Tacky is sele and brav bcas he scard the wolf.

Some time Tacky is a nice odd penguin because he hulp all tha penguin. He use his own body to scare the hunters by prethanding he is not a  penguin.


New Vocabulary

As part of our tuning in process we introduced three new vocabulary words that will be referred to frequently throughout the unit:
Internal: About the inside of something
External: About the outside of something
Traits: Words that describe something (ie. character traits are words that describe a character)

We used these new key words to create an anchor chart about Tacky the Penguin. We wrote internal traits inside Tacky’s body and external traits all around him.


Celebrating Unity & Diversity

What are the best ways to create peace, unity and diversity in the world? – Mola

How do we convince people in the world to be more loving? – Rose

What does it take to get different people and cultures together to live in peace? 

How can we bring different cultures together to promote peace? – Notch

Can rules and systems help people to be united? – Archi

How can people stop fighting?  – JJ

How can we as students show peace and unity at school? – Tann

Does showing tolerance to others bring peace? – Rose

These are some of our wondering questions we had within our Grade 4-5 class community when we explored the meaning of unity and diversity this week. Our wonderings were then extended to developing our personal reflection on ‘What does peace, unity and diversity look like and feel like at home and at school?’.



It looks like staying in groups together. It feels like being caring to one another. We also will say nice things about each other. There will be no fighting. At home, I help my mom to do house chores and this makes a happy home.



At home, I enjoy having fun with my dad and mom, like making airplanes and cars. It also looks like being responsible. At school, unity looks like working together to do projects. And playing together when it is playground time.



It looks like having different people from all ages together at school and friendships are made to help to care for each other. It feels like working and playing together. It feels like more people accomplishing goals and everybody will get what they aim for. At home, it looks and feels like showing empathy with your family members.



It feels like having different individuals valuing each other regardless of skin colour, intellect, talent or age. At home, it feels like having more love than hate. At school, it looks like spreading love wherever it is needed.



It feels like having more love and quiet time at home. I show how much I love my mom through words and actions. At school, it looks like having respect and tolerance towards friends, teachers and school staff. Family is the best thing ever.



At school, it feels like we are sharing our class together. It looks like we believe in kindness and honesty. Peace at home is like having no one at home fighting and arguing. It feels like showing responsibility as a good son.



It looks like having students from different countries learning together. We also learn to cooperate and solve problems together. Another exciting thing to do is to make presentations at school. It feels like having support from our families every day at home. We also have diversity in our belief systems and all of these give us good family values.

What does Design Thinking look like in Kindergarten?

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients. A design mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user.

Design Thinking in Kindergarten

In Excellence, we just wrapped up our unit on Who We Are. Our main focus involved inquiring into ourselves and also, our peers. For our culminating unit activity,  students were paired up with a partner and were given the challenge of getting to know them better. Students interviewed their partner(s) to find out what they liked, disliked, and what their abilities were. As students collected details about their partner and sorted out their information, we began the “Empathize” phase of the Design Thinking process:

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Reading in G1 and 2

Our Grade 1 and 2 students launched their Reading Workshop this month with a focus on “Building Good Reading Habits”. Here are some of the elements of a Reading Workshop that we have been practicing –

Shopping for Books
Ashwin: “When you are shopping for books you take your basket to the book area. For the level books you need to ask your teacher what level you need to shop like A, B, C, D”

Akki: “When I am shopping for a look book I open the book to see if I want it. I look at the pictures.”

Independent Reading

We find a quiet, private space to read all of our leveled books and look books. Sometimes we sit back-to-back with our partners during independent reading time. We show that we are strong readers by having stamina and reading for the whole time. If we have already read our books we build good habits by re-reading the same book. We put a check on a post-it in the back of the book for every time we read it.

Partner Reading

At partner reading time we have a great time looking at our books with our partner. We sit hip-to-hip with our partners and put the book in the middle. We read leveled books together or “echo read” our books. We show our partners our favorite page or a page that gave us a strong feeling, and practice having conversations about our books. When we read together, our books come alive and we notice details that we normally wouldn’t.

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Learning Through Field Trips

In line with our current unit of inquiry, Grade 4-5 community went on a field trip to a nearby mosque and Buddhist temple on Monday, 11th September 2017. Through this field trip, we developed a stronger awareness of different belief systems, practices and identity within our local community.

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Notch (Grade 5)

“We felt that the trip was pretty interesting. I also saw their old holy books called ‘Quran’ and prayer mats in the mosque. I discovered from two Muslim religious leaders (also known as ‘Imam’) that Muslim believers are called to pray five times a day and they will hear a prayer song called ‘azan’. After listening to them, I felt that their God is pretty amazing.”

Archi (Grade 5)

“The trip was really fun. We learned about how different believers pray to their God. They offer food to God and monks. They also believe in chanting and meditation to get away from the evil spirits. I am thankful to be part of the field trip with my teachers and now I learn how to be more respectful.”