Comedy - Tragedy - Reality (taking action)
G3 really enjoyed using the visible thinking routine 'Beauty and the Truth' when looking at provocative, yet visually striking photos about sustainability.
This, however, did not seem an appropriate visible thinking routine to use when looking at comic and cartoon images that poked fun or satirised some key issues to do with the preservation of finite resources. So, we created an original routine that we labelled 'Comedy, Tragedy, Reality'. This was a really fascinating routine that first encouraged the children to highlight the comedy of each image, before then reflecting on whay there were elements of tragedy in the image too. Finally, they looked at the reality within the image and what the actual problem was and what possible solutions there were. This was a great lead in to our work on our own personal role and responsibilities.
3C have been looking at the impact that we can each make to help sustain finite resources. We are learning that small decisions and choices can make a large difference. So, we have all made choices that we can make going forwards. Hopefully this will inspire members of our families and friends to make their own sustainable choices.
Junk to Value (reusing waste products)
As part of our work on looking at ways to preserve finite objects we have been thinking of innovative ways that we can reuse unwanted materials. Luckily we have many metals and plastic parts left over from our 'How the World Works' inquiry.
The class studied each unwanted part closely and tried to find ways to give it a purpose and a real function again. They then thought of the person they wished to give each gift to and what the needs would be of their audience. We then spent many hours tinkering and revising our designs. We aim to give the gifts to each person on the last day of term, alongside a persuasive letter highlighting how the object functions and why it is a positive sustainable product.
The last few weeks we have been developing the skill of giving useful and helpful feedback. We have been learning how to make our comments more constructive, useful and to offer information that will help progress someone's project. The video (above) was an interesting starting point - as it really highlights how feedback should be specific and as detailed as possible.
This feedback work came in very handy when we were trying to give constructive feedback to each other about how we could improve our innovation projects.
The last two weeks or so we have been inquiring into ways to calculate the volume of various 3D shapes. In terms of measurement we have become very familiar this year with working out the perimeter and finding the area of 2D shapes such as rectangles and triangles. Volume, though was a trickier concept and one that needed lots of manipulative to really allow us to see and check the 'length X width X height' rule by actually counting the number of CM3s (cubes) there are too.
We then created challenging problems whereby we created large cuboids shape and the removed some of the cubes. What strategies were effective for calculating the volume now? Some children split the parts of the cuboid into smaller parts, whilst other groups calculated what would have been the whole cuboid (using our new formula) and then subtracted the missing parts.
G3 have been spending some time really thinking about what we admire and appreciate about each other. We have then synthesised this down to just one sentence or comment about each person which we recorded on each child's 'You are' forms.
Hopefully, these forms will take pride of place on your child's bedroom wall or on the fridge perhaps. They really are good for the children to occassionally read, especially if they are having a bad day as it can be very motivating for them to see all the positive views that their classmates have written about them.
Over the last few weeks we have been looking at 2 websites that have really caught the children's imagination. Many of the children have requested that I send the link so they can continue the routine of using these sites over the summer.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround This is a website all about news from around the world. The website, though, looks to promote mainly very positive stories and is aimed at younger children. It is certainly full of very exciting and age relevant news stories. The class in particular like a regular feature on the site called 'Strange, Stranger, Strangest.'
https://storycorps.org/animation/ This is a US based website that simply put allows people to share important stories or ideas from their lives. There are some very powerful stories (many of which are age appropriate). I would definitely recommend looking at each story first before sharing with your child though. It would be a nice activity to talk through some of the stories with your child over the summer and explore the different perspectives and views being offered.
A huge thank you to all of you for your help and positivity this year. It makes my job sooooo much easier when I have supporting and enthusiastic parents.
I will be moving to Grade 5 from August, but I hope to see you all around and you can be sure that I will be keeping an eye on the Grade 3 kids as they proceed on their journey to Grade 4.
Have an amazing and safe summer,
Matt : )
Our new 'Sharing the Planet' U.O.I
G3 have been busy unpacking, pondering and thinking about our new 'Sharing the Planet' unit of inquiry. Our central idea is 'We can make choices to support the sustainability of Earth's finite resources.' This unit connects closely to our last 'How the World Works' unit, but allows the inquiry to extend to all finite resources on Earth (not just minerals) and let's us think about solutions from a global perspective.
Our personal focus within will be on sustainability and what choices we can make - as individual, families and communities - to make a positive impact.
Beauty and the TRUTH - Visible Thinking (Provocations)
'Beauty and the Truth' is a new visible thinking idea brought to us by visiting speaker March Church earlier this year. The routine is designed to make children search for the beauty (often in ugly situations), before then looking deeper for the truth and the big ideas behind the picture. What does each picture reveal? What does each picture conceal? What is the main driving forces conceptually in each image? Why?
This video (below) was also a good provocation. It is set in the future apologising for what has not happened yet, but looks likely to happen if we continue on the same pathway. This was powerful as it pushed to the forefront the idea of human control. Which of these things can we control, fix and/or ammend? With finite resources, we can't produce more, but we certainly do have the control to use them in a wiser way, to look for substitute resources or to innovate alternative ideas.
Character Profiles - 'Saya Rimbo, Saya Jack'
Since October G3 have been collaborating together to create a class story. Our story is called 'Saya Rimbo, Saya Jack'. The story follows the adventures of 13 year old Jack in the aftermath of his mother's death. Jack's father, as a way of coping with his grief, takes Jack out of school and decides to take him on a once in a lifetime sailing trip around the world. Our adventure properly starts when they dock at the seemingly deserted island to the west of Sumatra (Indonesia).
Each week I have been writing a section. I then get feedback, requests and modification ideas from the class. So, the project gradually grows over the year. We have reached an exciting part of the story, but with no obvious resolution. So, the class have gone back to create more detailed character descriptions and to work out news ways that the characters may interact and work together to solve their perilous problems.
Ask your child for more information about our story. Also, ask them what Bahasa words they have picked up during this project?
Sports Day was an incredible success and a triumph for the TIS PE team and the wide range of exciting activities they offer throughout the year. All the children had a great time and took part with energy, commitment and good sportsmanship throughout.
Growth Mindset of the Week
This picture is a great reminder for all adults. Children are naturally inquisitive and curious, we need to do all that we can to cultivate and encourage this side of their development. For those of you on twitter, the #innovatorsmindset is a great hashtag to look through.
Have a great weekend,
G3 embraced our second of line of inquiry to the full and took great pleasure out of taking apart and dismantling unwanted pieces of technology. It was incredible to see how many types of metal were needed to make each machine function. Often, the role of each metal was closely connected to the metal's unique properties, so only certain metals could be used to perform key tasks.
After our 2 days of inquiry (destruction) we had accumulated lots and lots of metals and a very interesting selection of plastics and leftover parts from the technology. (Hopefully we will revisit these items in our final 'Sharing the Planet' unit).
So, by the end of this line of inquiry the children clearly understood the importance of metals in all technologies. This then led excellently into our third line of inquiry (below) where we were investigating where the metals were mined and which people carried out this job.
One of our important related concepts in this unit has been economics. So, we have each been issued a set number of Matt-dollars from the central bank (me). Our aim has been to increase this money by understanding which mathematical games represent the best value and provide a greater opportunity of winning. For example, a dice game was created whereby the children had to pay 200 Matt-dollars to play. If their throw landed on an 'even' number they would get their money back, plus an extra 100 Matt-dollars. Discuss with your child if this is good or bad economics for them as customers? Why? (It is bad economics, as there is a half chance of success, so for the game to be fair the prize would have to be 200 Matt-Dollars (plus the original 200 back).
Using some examples to guide them, the children then created their own games and companies. The aim to make people want to play, but for the mathematics and the economics to be in their favour.
There has been lots of excitement and drama, as some children became rich and others spent all their money. Many children have experienced many adult type problems such as being in debt, taking out loans, repaying interest on loans and negotiating solutions when the debt became impossible to control. Hopefully, this mini unit has started to make the children a little more aware about the value of money and to always be very careful about spending money until you have considered the economics behind every deal!
Children Mining Metals
Our third line of inquiry really connected the children to many of the ethical issues connected with the mining of minerals. The children saw many videos and read many articles about child labour and the life that many children had to endure so that we can all get our smart phones and modern comforts.
This line made us reflect on our own level of integrity and how principled we all are (including myself) if we are happily purchasing products made with metals mined by children.
We tried to see the issue of child mining through many different perspectives when we carried out the visible thinking routine of 'Step in, Step Out'. Also, this helped us to empathise with these children and to start to acknowledge just how lucky we all are!
G3 have been looking at the issue of mining through many eyes and through many different nations around the world. However, the most powerful connection came from a young boy in the DRC called Dequ. Below are extracts from 3C's diary accounts after they had imagined that they were living his life for one day.
G3 UN Conference
As the culmination for this unit we gathered as a whole grade level for a UN Conference on Child Labour. Each child was given the role that they had to represent in the conference. Each child was either a:
The children aimed to see the problem from each others perspective and to understand where each group was coming from. They looked to see where there may be room for compromise, change or modifications within the whole chain from child miner to consumers.
The children took the process very seriously and argued from the perspective of their group with passion and purpose. At the end of the Conference the children were able to then give their own views about what stood out for them and what chances there might be to make a difference.
WG3 have been thinking about what we can actually do about the problem of child labour around the world. Statistics that we have found online suggest as many as 1 in 7 children are connected to some form of child labour. This figure increases to as much as 1 in 3 children involved in child labour from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The video below shows the very human initial reaction when we see unfairness in the world. However, it is important that we set ourselves realistic and achievable goals. We can not (necessarily) save the world between break and lunchtime, but we can take small steps towards making a difference.
Most children were very moved by the plight of other children who do not have their opportunities and chances in life. 3C's first reaction was to 'ban' child mining immediately as it is not 'fair'. This is a very natural reaction, it is only when we start to dig a little deeper that we see that those families often rely on this income and without it would be in an even more perilous position, especially if no other work or opportunities are available to them. It is then that we start to look at what real differences and action can we do. That is where the class are at right now - wondering what changes (if any) we can actually make from our classroom in Tashkent. There are whispers from some children of putting pressure on some manufacturers (proven to be involved) via a twitter account. Other children have been exploring whether an ethical mining logo could be introduced for electronic products which meet the criteria that allows for child miners to have some education, health care and a standard wage. Lots to think about... To be continued I hope, as the children move their ideas forwards....
Next week we begin our final unit of inquiry for the year. Our inquiry is around the transdisciplinary theme of 'Sharing the Planet' and will focus on sustainability of finite resources. More information will be given on the next blog.
So, only 6 weeks to go.... It is, though, really important that we use every last day and really work together to keep the children motivated, stimulated and challenged right up until the end of the year. The end part of the year is often where the most creative and exciting pieces of work and inquiries can happen. Thus there will be no switching off until June 8th in 3C.
Have a great weekend.
G3's 'How the World Works' inquiry has really started to gather great pace and momentum. We have been exploring the geology below TIS. To do this, we took samples of the soil and then inspected it very thoroughly, both with our hands and our digital microscopes.
We also looked at some historic geology taken by some TIS Secondary students. We learnt from their data that there is water, air, silt, peat, graphite, potassium, clay, humus and some other very small traces of rarer minerals within the TIS soil.
We have also taken some soil assays of the land where the new Elementary building will be built on. This is just to see what is below the ground before construction begins, we need to get more data about if there are any valuable minerals in this part of the campus. Our assays will be tested over the holidays....
Visible Thinking - Diamond Ranking (of metals)
As a starting activity to see the children's prior knowledge of valuable metals, we used the Visible Thinking routine of 'Diamond Ranking' to see 2 things. What metals the children ranked as the most and least expensive. Also, which metals they ranked as the most and least useful. Of course, as with many of these routines, the most important part is WHY the children rank each metal where they do. It is their reasoning and explanations of their thinking that is critical. This gives lots of information and helps to make sure that the inquiry moves forward in the most appropriate and exciting way possible.
$10,000 Stock Market Challenge - Economics
Our first line of inquiry is 'How we use and value minerals'. So, as a way for the children to see how the world markets buys and sells metals (largely online) we have set up some virtual trading accounts for the children. The money they are using is pretend, but they are using live prices from the stock market as they try and turn their $10,000 into a healthy profit.
The mathematics value in such an activity is huge. Not only are the children calculating their trade accounts accurately using large numbers (with decimals), but they are also looking at finding trends and patterns within the data available to them in tables and online graphs. They are also starting to gain an understanding of why prices might go up or down and how supply and demand determines the price that the market will pay. This project will continue to run throughout the unit. After one week, team MMM seems to be building a significant lead. (Ask your child who is in MMM).
The related concept that we have been focusing on over the last few days is 'economics'. To explore this further, every child has been issued with $600 of 'Matt Money'. They then have been trying to consider a series of deals and challenges to try and find out if they are good or bad value. They have been thinking about the risks involved with each challenge and whether the reward is mathematically acceptable. Ultimately, we have been focusing on looking deeper into problems and to try and find the maths within each deal.
Problem Solving with Manipulatives and Matches
G3 have been spending time trying to solve tricky multi step problems. To do this they have been focusing on how they organise and set out their work during a mathematical investigation. The emphasis has been on pausing and really considering which strategies are appropriate for each problem. We have been aiming to be logical and have been trying to verbalise our reasons for each strategy and to justify all of our steps.
Below are some logical (video) problems for you to try and solve as a family.
Geology Holiday Padlet
Over the upcoming holiday G3 can keep in contact with each other by recording interesting geology that they discover on this class padlet page. Please help / assist your child to upload photos and videos of any exciting rocks or minerals that they may come across. Also, please encourage them to include a description with what they think it might be, what it's function could be and what it's value might be.
Our next line of inquiry is 'Geology driving technology'. So, to really understand what geology (and minerals in particular) are used in technology we want to take apart old electronic equipment to see what is inside. If you have an old phone, computer or hairdryer (or anything like this) that you no longer use (and don't want back) it would be wonderful if you could donate this to G3.
We will start experimenting / disassembling the old technology after the holidays, so please send in anything you have on the first Monday back (9th April).
Happy Navruz (belated)
Growth Mindset of the Week
Click to set custom HTML
Thank you for all your support and help over the last term. The weeks are flying by, I cannot believe that we only have 9 weeks left together after the holidays.
Have a wonderful holiday and safe travels if you are leaving Tashkent over the break.
Our final line of inquiry in 'How We Express Ourselves' focused on the reasons why artists create and the function that art plays in our wider society and culture.
We spent time thinking about what drives an artist and came up with many ideas such as emotion, money, politics, religion and fame. It was an interesting debate which widened our understanding of what could inspire artists to create. We also had the opportunity to explore the kind of culture we have established in 3C and what we need to do to cultivate an even more inspiring and fun class culture.
G3 have been busy creating critiques of famous works of art. We have been trying to ignore other views and the reputation of the art, and instead focus on what we see and what we believe is being expressed in each piece. We have been trying to identify the elements of art in each picture, state the parts that we like and then try to interpret what message or story each artist was trying to communicate.
If you have some free time and would like to read all the 3C critiques, they are on display outside the G3 classrooms.
Preparing for the Exhibition...
All the children worked incredibly hard preparing for our big 'Art Exhibition'. They synthesised all their ideas and attempted to bring them all together to share a true account of their memory in art, drama and music.
The children have worked very hard and, even though this was a solo project, they have been excellent at offering help, advice and support to each other as the projects evolved.
As we near the end of G3 we will be aiming to give the children more opportunities to work on larger projects where they have to take responsibility for their time management, organisation and presenting skills. These are essentials skills that will help the students flourish and be successful when they progress up to G4.
Art Gallery (Exhibition part 1)
The art gallery looked wonderful and was possibly my personal highlight of our three part exhibition. Each stand was very well set out and was very appealing to the eye. They all had headlines for each memory, the conceptual ideas behind the art and the blurb explaining more about each piece of work.
What was even more impressive than the visual, was the confidence and the passion that the children had when engaging with the audience and explaining the ideas, emotions and process behind their work. A big thank you to Ms Asa for inspiring the children to create so many exciting and interesting pieces of art.
Drama Performances (Exhibition part 2)
Performing in the black box was a very exciting second part of our exhibition which allowed us to express the same memories, but through a different art form. All the children who performed showed that they were risk takers and the performances were gratefully received by the audience. A big thank you to Mr Durin for helping G3 develop these performance pieces.
Music Performances (Exhibition part 3)
The final part of the exhibition was sharing our memory through music. Each child created an original piece using a whole variety of instruments and techniques. This was a wonderful part of the exhibition and showed another layer of the emotions that came from each child's memory. Thank you to Ms Alicia for assisting G3 and encouraging the children to create such exciting pieces of music.
Our new 'How the World Works' Unit
Our new 'How The World Works' unit is underway. We have been looking at this transdisciplinary theme descriptor and working out which part of the descriptor G3 will be connecting with over the next 6 weeks or so. We have also unjumbled our new central idea and have been looking at which skills we will need to successfully navigate ourselves through this unit.
Lots has happened in this unit already and some parts of TIS have even been dug up as we ponder what is underneath the ground. More from this exciting geology based unit in the next blog.
Growth Mindset of the Week
A huge thank you to thos who came to the Art Exhibition earlier this week. It really did mean a lot to the children and they loved sharing their work with you. It was particular nice to see so many parents engaging with, not just their own child, but with other members of the class too.
Remember, there is no school on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
Have a great weekend,
Compass Points / Step Inside - Visible Thinking Routines
G3 have been developing their observing and analytical skills through visible thinking routines. The first one we tried was called 'Compass Points'. This routine prompts the children to express their own views about something (in this case a provocative image) and to consider the perspective of the artist and the bigger conceptual idea behind the image.
We have also been using the visible thinking routine of 'Step Inside' to really put ourselves in the place of an artist and to really learn to appreciate what they are trying to express to their audience. This routine is very fun, as we literally have to step into the picture (see video below).
Within G3 we are using lots of engaging visible thinking and we are building up a healthy repetoire of different routines. These then become a common way to share our views, ideas and thinking. More information about different visible thinking strategies can be found by clicking the link below.
A huge thank you to all the parents and teachers who took part in our creativity week. The children got lots of opportunities to understand, try and ask questions about many different art forms. Thank you for being so brave and setting such a good example for your children.
The adult workshops have also inspired the children to bring in their own passions and to share them with the class in a similar way.
Hastimam Madrassa Trip
This week Grade 3 were very lucky to visit the Hastimam Madrassa in Tashkent. We were treated to five fascinating local workshops about wood carving, lacquered painting, straw art, embroidery and minature painting.
It was wonderful to observe the accuracy and precision by these craftsmen/women. It was great for the kids to see the dedication, patience and enthusiasm by the artists for their work. We also got to 'have a go' at some of the arts. Hopefully, some of these experiences will inspire and influence the class when they start creating work for the G3 Art Exhibition at the end of our current 'How We Express Ourselves' unit.
Emotional Doodling - Expression
Emotional doodling is when you let your drawings be influenced by other factors, in this case music. You allow the ideas, the colours and outline of a piece to be driven by the emotions you feel from each piece of music. We had four very diverse pieces. A scary piece of music from a horror movie, the calm of William Orbit, the Teletubbies theme and finally ending on Dr Dre. It is fascinating to see how each child reacted differently (through their art) to each style of music. This was a great lead in to our second line of inquiry 'Audiences can interpret the arts differently' and our focus on the related concept of 'subjectivity'.
As part of our word study lessons we inquired into pangrams. A pangram is a sentence (that makes sense) that has every letter of the alphabet used at least one time. The shortest pangram in the English language is 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.' 9 words and 35 letters. The challenge was to beat this total. Sadly, we did not manage this almost impossible feat (modern computers have failed to create a shorter panagram), but we did come up with some very fun sentences and we really took time to consider our choice of words and letters.
The last few weeks Grade 3 have been focusing on fractions in mathematics. The central idea has been 'We explore fractions to understand how the world around is shared / divided'. We followed the following lines of inquiry and concepts.
Creativity Videos of the Week
Below are some very inspirational and provocative videos that we have been watching about creativity and the arts. If you have time over the weekend, I would definitely recommend that you watch these together as a family and talk about how each video makes you feel and why. What do you take away from the videos?
As the culmination of our 'How We Express Ourselves' G3 will be hosting an Art Exhibition on Monday 12th March. Parents will be invited to come to the exhibition from 1.10pm and then children from other classes will start attending from 1.30pm. Please mark this date in your diaries / calendars.
Have an amazing and creative weekend,
Our New 'How We Express Ourselves' Unit
G3 have been very busy unpacking lots of the key elements in our new 'How We Express Ourselves' unit of inquiry. We have been un-jumbling our central idea and considering what directions the inquiry might possibly go in. We have also looked at which skills we will be focusing on and trying to improve over the course of the unit. We start with looking at the skill of observing, then we synthesis our ideas before presenting them in many wonderful pieces of art!
As a provocation to get the children really thinking about their own views and ideas about art, we gave them 12 different paintings to observe and consider. These painting ranged dramatically in value (and fame) from the most expensive painting ever sold by Leonard Di Vinci ($450.3M) all the way down to a painting by a boy named James aged 5 from South London (James does not sell his paintings).
The children were not told the name of the artists or the valuations initially. Instead they were given the task of ranking the paintings (in groups) in order based upon the following criteria. 1) Preference 2) Value 3) The ability of the artist. Of course, so much of this is very subjective and there is no actual correct answer. This kind of activity is an excellent starting point for the children to debate and exchange different views.
Interesting enough, most children were drawn to two paintings that had very low valuations. They expressed why and could give reasons for their views and why they were each ranked above the other paintings. It was very interesting when the real valuations were displayed. Did the children still feel the same or did they change their minds? Was value important or was it the beauty that they saw before they knew the price? Some very interesting debates and conversations....
Our 'How We Express Ourselves' central idea is 'The arts are a unique way to communicate a message or a story'. So, an important part of the unit is for the children to work out what message or story they want to tell and explore.
We started this process by getting the children to lay down and listen to relaxing music. They were then asked to start to try and visualise important memories from their lives. They were encouraged to considered all memories that perhaps involved lots of different emotions. Once the children had been given lots of time they each chose 4 key memories to focus on and to document in their scrolls.
For each memory the children recorded a sketch of the memory, why it was powerful to them, what emotions were linked to them, the senses they connect to it and a headline that summed it up in 2-8 words.
Now they have completed their scrolls, these will form the platform for their inquiries in to how they express and tell their stories through a wide variety of arts. Also, the children will start to consider whether they can share the same memory using different forms of art. Are some memories easier to share through certain art forms? Why?
Passion Projects 2018
3C have been thinking about their passion projects from 2017. Which parts were successful and why? Also, they were considering if they wanted to continue their old projects or start a new project.
Some have continued to explore the same areas, whilst others have changed their ideas. We have lots of intriguing new projects in many exciting areas such as:
- How to draw better
- The history of bookmarks
- An exploration into the discipline of the pole vault
- The ultimate Marvel fighter
- Photographing nature
G3 practiced their presenting skills at the Winter Concert last night. The night provided lots of connections to our current unit and a great chance for the children to express themselves in front of a very big audience. There are some photos / videos below from both the dress rehearsal and the concert.
PARENTS - We Need You!
Dear Grade 3 Parents,
G3's current 'How We Express Ourselves' unit is underway. Our central idea is 'The arts are a unique way to communicate a message or a story'. At this stage of the unit we are looking at the different forms of art and how they can be used to express feelings and stories. This is where we would like your help to introduce the children to as many different forms of the arts as possible.
Please sign up to the following google doc if you are willing to offer a small workshop next week to share an art / hobby that you are passionate about that involves creativity. The workshop might only be for 5 minutes or perhaps a lot longer if you have lots to share. Last year we had lots of brave parents who offered a wide range of small demonstrations. Examples included origami, dancing, embroidery, instrument solos, poetry, story telling, showing art and talks about photography.
Thanks for being risk-takers and getting involved in G3's learning. Once you have signed up to a slot one of the G3 teachers will be in touch to see how we can assist you to prepare.
The Grade 3 Team
Creative Street Art
Many of the children really enjoyed this video and the idea that the street artists used the environment as the inspiration for their art work. It is really great to keep pausing the video and to consider what was the starting point that inspired each piece of art and to try and consider what each artist is trying to express and why. Enjoy.
Growth Mindset of the Week
I hope to see some of you next week joining in our week of creativity and expression. If you can not access the google doc to sign up for a workshop, please just email me and we will work out a time.
Have an amazing weekend,
We have been exploring our third line of inquiry (above) and looking at how the past can influence the present / future and why. The concept we have been looking at is causation and we have especially been focusing on how ideas can evolve naturally or be innovated by others.
We then looked at what influences us in our own lives. What people, books, music and arts etc inspire us and make us want to strive to be better. We also considered who we each influence at the moment and what kind of role models we want to be.
Mirzo Ulugbek Visits G3
G3 were very lucky to have an actor come in who played the part of Mirzo Ulugbek for us. He answered our questions and queries about the life and legacy of this great astronomer. It really helped the children to see this great explorer as a real person, and not just as someone we read about in books etc. This connected really well to our work on empathy.
Explorer Day was an amazing success. It was so fun to dress up in costumes and to become the famous explorers that we have been so busy researching and analysing. It also took our work on empathy to the next level.
The children made some wonderful emotional connections to the explorers and were very thoughtful in how they presented to the audience. The children were also able to demonstrate why their chosen person was important, what their legacy was and what were the major influences in their lives.
What was most exciting about this mini project, was that the children have completed all the work independently and have taken ownership in terms of how they manage their time and how they got fully prepared for the presentations.
I hope you enjoy the photos and video below.
World / 3C Battleships Championship
A huge tournament has been occuring in 3C the last few days as the children use all their strategic skills and knowledge of coordinates to try and become World / 3C Battleship Champion. Congratulations to Stan who, after stepping in as a late replacement for Zafar, was able to edge his way to victory against Valeria in the final. The real winner though, of course, was our collective knowledge of coordinates. The tournament has really helped us to understand the value of finding and documenting coordinates correctly to achieve a goal.
Goodbye to STAN
3C were very sad to say goodbye to a wonderful member of our class family today. Stan is moving on to a new exciting adventure in Malaysia. We will miss his calm, friendly and principled ways. He has been an excellent influence on all of us in 3C and we have all learnt lots from him. I hope one day he achieves his ambition of creating the largest shark made out of lego in the world!
Growth Mindset of the Week
Next week G3 start our exciting new unit. It is 'How we Express Ourselves' and will be a real opportunity to explore and express ourselves in many creative and artistic ways. More information about this unit will be in the next blog.
As part of this unit, we would love for some brave parents to come into our classroom and share an art form that you are passionate about. This could be a song, a poem, a craft, a hobby or anything else that involves creativity. Last year we had parents demonstrate a wide variety of art forms - from origami, to sewing to reading original stories. The purpose is to introduce the children to a wide variety of art forms, so please send me an email and get involved in our learning.
Have a great weekend,
Grade 3 have been focusing on our second line of inquiry over the last two weeks - 'Meaningful discoveries and contributions.' We have been looking at the 'legacy' of many explorers and what 'change' they brought to the world through their travels and discoveries.
State Museum of History Trip
G3 had a very successful and interesting trip to the State Museum of the History of Uzbekistan. We were able to examine many different artifacts from the local area and other parts of Central Asia too. There was lots of opportunities to ask questions and record our findings in our own special journals (just like Jack in the Magic Treehouse).
During our trip we only got to really explore a small part of the museum. If you have time one weekend or over the holidays I really urge you to go as a family and to spend time making a connection with the very rich history from this region. The museum is at 3 Buyuk Turon Street and is open from 9-5 most days.
Biographies of famous Explorers
One of our language inquiries has been into biographies. We have been identifying the features and then analysing different biographies of explorers. This has helped us really think about the legacy and impact that each explorer had.
Then, we 'had a go' at doing some very imaginative writing by creating our own biographies (as if we were someone writing about ourselves after our lives were over). This was actually a very uplifting exercise that allowed us all the opportunity to reflect on the impact that we want to make in our lives and the type of positive legacy we want to leave.
Empathy with Explorers - Diaries
We have also been exploring the attitude of 'empathy'. We have done this by each choosing an explorer to research. Then, after researching their lives, we have been trying to find the most interesting day or time that really defined their legacy.
Once we had established this, we tried to really empathise about how it would have felt to be there and what emotions would be going through the explorer's mind. We recorded our work in diary form. Then, with a little help from some coffee, tried to age our documentation a little bit. Ask your child about who they chose and what day defined their legacy!
Throughout December 3C have been trying to follow a kindness calendar - an alternative version to the traditional advent calendar. We didn't follow the calendar day by day, as some of the activities were difficult to do at school. So, instead we chose the ones that we thought we could do at TIS. So far we have attempted Day 3, Day 5, Day 18, Day 25, Day 29 and Day 30.
I would recommend as a family trying to complete a few more of these tasks.
If you would like to know more about the organisation, please go to http://www.actionforhappiness.org/
They are a wonderfully positive and inspirational group who are trying to change the way indivduals, groups and communities see the world, and their role within the world.
Below are some photos from our day 30 challenge - 'Take a walk and focus on nature's beauty.'
Book Club - Who is 'M'?
Grade 3 have started our own book club recently to search for clues as to who the mysterious M was in the Magic Treehouse books. We read books 1-3 as a class, but still only had a small amount of evidence as to M's identity. So, we sourced the next 8 books and split into teams (each in charge of reading one of the 8 books together). Each group then documented:
- Where Jack and Annie travelled to in their book and why.
- What they learnt about M.
- What insights the book gave to that period of history.
The book club is an excellent opportunity for children to work there way through a book independently, but with the aim to find specific information.
Thank you to everyone who donated money to this amazing charity. Also, thank you to the brave students who used the beard trimmers to remove my moustache with care and precision!
Many of the children will miss being apart over the next 3 weeks or so. So, I have created an optional padlet page where the children can share their adventures with each other over the holiday period. The focus of the padlet, as with the unit, will be exploration and discovery. Where have you explored over the holidays? What will you discover? Thank you in advance for helping your children to upload photos, videos and comments to this padlet page. The link to the page is below.
Wow - so there are lots and lots of festive things going on this Friday. Please see information about the cookie swap and pajama party (or pyjama in my case) below.
As it is the cookie swap we probably won't need too much extra food and drink for our class party (which starts at 2.15PM). If you wanted to send in some healthy drinks or food though, that would be wonderful.
Before the party we will be sharing our passion projects (at about 1.30PM). If you are around and want to pop in that would be great, but it will be very informal. There will be times in 2018 when we will really urge you to attend big activities and presentations, but this is just an optional extra if you are free.
Growth Mindset Video of the Week
This seasonal video perhaps shows us that maybe we can all be a little too enthusiastic sometimes. I am sure the last words her teacher said before she went on stage were, "Be loud and confident!" So, I am sure she was just following instructions!
Have a wonderful and relaxing holiday, wherever in the world you may be for the break. I look forward to seeing you all in 2018 for more exciting inquiries and learning.
New - 'Where We Are in Place and Time' unit
The class have been very busy unpacking and exploring our new excting unit of inquiry. The children have been learning about the 'Where We Are in Place and Time' descriptor, the unit's central idea and the transdisciplinary skills that we will be exploring over the next few weeks.
It is really important that each component of the unit (such as the skills) are introduced in a fun and interesting ways so that the children make a real connection with them. This is why our unit of inquiry board starts off empty and only gets added to as we learn or discover new information together as a class. So, our unit board starts to tell the journey of our unit and, more importantly, our understanding.
A provocation is designed to engage children at (usually) the start of a unit. It should be, as the name suggests, provoking and really make children think about how they feel about a subject area. The provocations are often fictious, but we always ask parents not to reveal that as it would change how the children respond to the unit.
For our 'Where We Are in Place and Time' provocation we found a video interview involving Ms Jan (below) and a local TV channel. The TV interview was about an artifact found under the new gym site. The TV channel suggested that the artifact may be linked to Uzbek astronomer and mathematician, Ulugbek.
The children's response then dictates how the unit proceeds. What questions will the video create? What direction will the unit go in? The aim is that the students take the lead and decide how to move the inquiry forwards.
Our class padlet (below) was a way we could put all our data and research about Ulugbek in one place. We could then use our analysis skills to try and look for ways to connect Ulugbek to the Tashkent area and to see if there was any logical reason why a time device would turn up in our school and why it would be taken away by the government. The inquiry continues... Perhaps next week's trip to the State Museum of History might reveal more information...
Inquiring into Artifacts
Our first unit of inquiry looks at 'how atifacts document human progress'. The conceptual understanding that goes with this is connection and our related concept that will drive the inquiry is evidence.
So, with that in mind, the children have been looking through a variety of different artifacts from across history. They have been trying to sort, organise, age and value the various artifacts. They have also been looking for evidence that would support their ideas and looking to see how early artifacts connect to more modern human inventions. Also, the children have been learning what a hypothesis is. They have been practicing making hypotheses based upon their research and analysis.
Grade 3 have been learning about 3D shapes this week, and specifically looking at identifying how many edges, faces and vertices we can find on different shapes. Once we had a good basic knowledge about identifying these features, we then attempted to apply these skills in a futuristic robotic game. www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/maths/shape_space/3d_shapes/play/
Warning - the last level can get a little scary if you can't find a good hiding place!
3C have finally finished our fabulous non chronological reports about our favourite animals. The end results were so impressive, that we decided to create a huge book with all the reports to be put into our class library.
The reports showed that all the class understood the features of this type of report writing and also showed how their research skills were developing and becoming more focused. It was also excellent to see all the class sourcing their work and providing links to the website and books where they found their information.
Indian Dancing at TIS
Earlier this week we had a wonderful cultural treat when a dance group from India performed at the school. The children really enjoyed seeing the colour, the energy and the passion from the dancers as they told many exciting narratives through dance.
Growth Mindset Video
3C watched this video a few days ago. It is primarily a beautifully made video. What makes this extra interesting though is that it is based on the children's game 'Rock, Paper, Scissors'.
The first time we watched this nobody immediately made this connection (I didn't let them see the title). After reflecting and thinking of the characters, the theme of the story was slowly discovered. Then, when we watched it again we had a completely different experience and saw it from a very different perspective.
If you have time, I recommend watching this as a family.
A belated Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate this holiday!
Have a great weekend,
Welcome to the G3 blog.