Like many of the children in our class, Sanjita has been VERY interested in this unit of inquiry. Two weeks ago she brought in some life cycle books for us to read. Today during our Morning Meeting she presented us with some work she did at home. Sanjita extended our thinking from class and made her own lists of living and non-living things. She also explained her developing understanding of the life cycles of frogs and butterflies, based the reading she has done and her observations of the tadpoles and caterpillars in our classroom. Well done Sanjita!
Today we Skyped the with Grade 1a class from the Tokyo International School. They are currently investigating the senses and found out that we had completed a unit of inquiry about the senses at the beginning of the year. Two weeks ago they sent us some some questions on Twitter:
We are always looking for opportunities to reflect on our learning and make revisions to our understandings, so we jumped at this opportunity. We discussed their questions and brainstormed a few answers. We loved our Skype chat and the kids at TIS said we did a good job of answering their questions. They taught us some new things about the senses too! We hope to see and speak to our new friends again soon!
Some reflections we had on Skype:
Last Friday we welcomed some new friends into our classroom. Tadpoles! After a Grade 4 student at our school found a puddle full of tadpoles behind Takashimaya, Ms. Jan went to investigate. She found that the puddle had formed from all the rain we had about a week ago. Normally we wouldn't take living things out of their natural habitat, but Ms. Jan could see that the puddle was going to dry up very quickly. She rescued some of the tadpoles and brought them to our classroom where we've been taking care of them ever since.
Some of our observations so far:
Some of our questions:
Have you ever been fishing? If you have, you know that there are certain rules about the fish that you can catch and keep. For example, you can't keep a baby fish. You can tell if a fish is a baby or a grown-up fish by measuring how long it is. When a fish is long enough to keep it's called a "keeper".
Before we started measuring fish, we read a story about a girl called Kim. She had been fishing and caught a perch. She was trying to measure the fish with inch tiles to see if it was long enough to keep. The problem was that she kept getting different measurements. The first time Kim measured the fish, she found that it was 6 tiles long. The second time she measured it, she found that it was 8 tiles long. The third time she measured it, she found that it was 5 tiles long. The fourth time she measured it, she found that it was 4 tiles long. Every time she tried to check her measurements she got a different answer! We tried to help Kim figure out what she was doing wrong.
1st Attempt: 6 tiles long
2nd Attempt: 8 tiles long
3rd Attempt: 5 tiles long
4th Attempt: 4 tiles long
We then tried to measure Kim's fish ourselves. Even we got some different answers! Using photographs of our measurements on the ipad, we compared our strategies. We decided on some important measuring techniques that can help us to always get an accurate answer:
Finally, we measured some of our own fish to decide if they were keepers or not.
On Wednesday, January 16, Grade 1 visited Acres, an animal concerns organization here in Singapore. We learned lots about what animals need to live, be healthy, and stay safe.
Before leaving for the trip, we read I Was Walking Down the Road by Sarah E. Barchas. The story is about a little girl who collects animals as she finds them and puts them in cages. At the end of the story she decides to let them all go free. We discussed the issue of putting wild animals in cages:
After the trip we discussed what we had learned about animal protection in relation to one of our lines of inquiry: "The things that can affect life cycles". Through the sharing of personal stories and experiences, we decided on a few key points:
We became so knowledgeable about living things that it was finally time to move our thinking forward. We had sketched and written about the living things around us, gathered information by reading books, observed animals on Africam, and shared personal experiences with living things.
To extend our thinking Ms. Alison gave us some photos to look at and respond to in groups using the Harvard Project Zero Thinking Routine 'See-Think-Wonder'. We then read the books Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson and Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too? by Eric Carle.
With the help of these activities and the CHANGE and CONNECTION concept keys we had an 'Ah-ha!' moment: "We have mums too just like all the animals!" "Our lives are connected to the lives of animals!"
With these ideas in mind, we had a conversation about our origins:
It turned out that we had lots of knowledge about our own beginnings as living things, but we still had more questions about growing and changing. So, we decided to invite some babies we knew to join us. Filippa, Jakob, and Scarlett's little brothers (complete with mums and dads!) kindly offered to join us for an afternoon of play and discovery. We observed the babies and asked several questions to their parents:
With the knowledge gained from this experience we extended our thinking into other animals and plants. We choose one animal or plant each and made predictions about their life cycles. As our inquiry continues we will be investigating these topics in more detail and reflecting on and revising our orignal theories. Stay tuned!
All year we've been working on building our writing skills with the "6 traits of Writing". Last semester we practiced Idea Development and Organization and this semester we've started learning about Voice.
So far we understand that our writing voices express our personalities. We also know that the words we choose can show readers who we are.
We started by reading each other's 'Dear Friends' letters and making guesses about whose voices we were reading. We also read Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor and made a list of all the words Nancy uses to express her personality:
B and D can be pretty tricky letters in reading and writing. We sometimes get them confused and this week the the blue word study group has a real challenge. Their sort contains words that end with 'ad', 'ed', 'ab' and 'ob'.
As you're reading, sorting, and spelling your words this week try this trick from Jakob to remember the difference between 'b' and 'd'.
This is a post that should have gone up a VERY long time ago, but the time somehow passed. We were reminded of this incredible project again last week when the class decided to give Quinn the PYP award for her work as an inquirer.
Last semester, Quinn came to us with a problem. She said that she noticed that the downstairs bathroom had been flooded by an overflowing toilet. Jack B, Jack D, and Jakob were intrigued and they quickly formed a team to investigate the problem. After one video message to Ms. Alden and a few emails back and forth with our maintenance people, the root of the problem was discovered . . . the children were putting too much paper in the toilets! The project didn't stop there though. The students decided to take more action by making an announcement in assembly. Here's what they said:
Jack B: This is Quinn, Jakob, and Jack D and I'm Jack B.
Jack D: We've been investigating a problem that Quinn says she saw in the girls' bathroom on the bottom story.
Quinn: The girls' toilet was all flooded and this is a problem because if it gets any bigger the whole bathroom might get flooded.
Jakob: We are scared that it can flood the whole school and even the ICT room.
Jack B: We talked to Ms. Alden and the maintenance people and they fixed the problem. They said it was because the children put too much paper in the toilet.
Quinn: Please stop putting too much toilet paper in the toilet.
All: Thank you for listening to us.
What a great example of thinking, commitment and inquiry! Thanks Quinn, Jack B, Jack D, and Jakob for this inspirational effort!
Currently Grade 1 is working on two different strands in math: Data Handling and Measurement. Each will be connected to our current unit of inquiry.
We have learned that "data" means the facts and information we collect about people and things in our world. Students have been busy sorting objects and information, posing questions, collecting data, and making representations of the data they collect. Last week we practiced sorting shapes and buttons by their attributes and conducted "Quick Surveys" about our likes and dislikes as individuals in the class.
Our focus is on linear measurement, but we will also discuss the concept of circular time. Student will measure with a variety of units, including cubes, tiles, paper clips, and feet. We will investigate the idea that different-sized units result in different measurements. Last week we talked about the patterns and cycles you find in calendars and time of day. We also discussed time zone differences. Children had fun applying their measuring skills and using different tools to record how long things were around our classroom.