Week 11 in Year 1.3

Dear Parents,

It’s been a short but busy week. We have continued tuning in to our new ‘Sharing The Planet’ unit of inquiry. The students have thought more about the meaning of the word ‘environment,’ particularly the environments they know well such as their home environment and the school environment.

The children thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of dressing up today and it was great to see so many of them enthusiastically participating in this event.

Wishing you all a lovely long weekend!

Ms Doris

Week 10 in Year 1.3

Dear Parents,

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me at your child’s conference. It was great to get the opportunity to share your child’s learning with you and to set new goals for future learning.

This week in class we began work on our new unit of inquiry. The central idea for this unit is: Our actions can make a difference to the environment we share. We began by discussing what this central idea means. ‘Environment’ was a new word for many of the students and so we spent time thinking about what ‘environment’ means. Someone knew that an environment is ‘what is around us’. We looked around us and talked about our school and home environments. It would be great if you could have further conversations with your child at home about what an environment is.

In Math we started work on the ‘Shape and Space’ strand of our Math programme and we explored different 2D and 3D shapes. The students also made their own 2D and 3D solids out of playdoh and we started comparing them. For example, some children noticed that a cube looks ‘a little bit like a square but the cube isn’t flat like the square’. They also noticed that a circle is like ‘a squished sphere’. 

During writing time we are now working on writing ‘Teaching Books’. The students think about something they know a lot about and then write a book to teach others about it too. Some of their ideas included teaching others about painting, going swimming or different parts of a car. We have also been focusing on the letter s and brainstormed lots of words that start with ‘s’. 

We had lots of fun with our Buddies this week making Halloween crafts. 

Athletics Day was a great success and a lot of fun despite the rain. Thank you to those of you who were able to come along and support the children. A big thank you also goes to the PE Department for planning such a well organized event.

Please enjoy these photos from the week.

Kind regards,

Ms. Doris

Who We Are Unit Update (Week 9)

Dear Parents,

Time sure flies when you are having fun – it’s hard to believe that we have already reached the first school holiday of the year!

Over the past few weeks in Year 1 we have been working hard to complete our learning connected to the ‘Who We Are’ unit of inquiry. Much of our recent work has been aimed at helping the students to strengthen their understanding of the following:

● Identifying themselves in relation to others (family, peers, school class, etc.)

● Identifying their feelings and emotions and explain possible causes

The students have written books which explain how they make the people they have relationships with feel at different times. For example, “When I pack away my things, my mom feels happy.” They have also made concept maps showing how others can make them feel in different situations. For instance, “I feel sad when my sister doesn’t play with me.”

We have completed our summative assessment for this UOI. The students have been exploring different social situations with two puppets called Moe and Zippy. For the final assessment each student was presented with the problem that Moe and Zippy are arguing about who will get to dress up in a space suit and helmet. They were asked how the problem could be solved. The students came up with many ideas such as, taking turns with the costume or sharing the costume so that one character wears the helmet and the other the clothes.

After the October break we will begin our new UOI, Sharing the Planet. Please click here for an overview of this unit.

During the first few weeks after the break, the Year 1 teachers will carry out a thorough reading assessment with each student in their class. These assessments will help us to know what each child has learned already and how best to support them with the next stage on their journey towards becoming fluent readers. These assessments will be the teacher’s main focus during reading lessons. The teaching assistants will support the students during independent reading sessions. Consequently, we will not have a chance to write comments in your child’s reading log during this time.

Wishing you all a wonderful well-deserved October break! Safe travels to those of you leaving Luanda.

Kind regards,

Ms. Doris

Week 8 in Year 1.3

Dear Parents,

Here are a few highlights from our week:

On Tuesday, all students participated in Olympics Day. The children had a fantastic time and it was wonderful to see them working together with the older students to complete the games and challenges. These included moving around a course with their legs tied to other student’s legs, getting the entire team across the field without stepping on the grass when using only three mats to help and transporting water from one bucket to another using cups while some team members were blindfolded.
These activities provided the students with a great opportunity to apply what they have learned in class about how to collaborate well with others and work as a team.

In Writing this week we have focused on adding labels to the sketches we draw when making books. For example, the students have been writing their own names or ‘me’ above pictures of themselves. They have also been encouraged to label the other objects and characters in their stories, such as ‘mum,’ ‘dad’, the names of their friends or ‘bed’ and ‘toy’.

Our writing program is differentiated so that all students are supported and feel successful at whatever stage of writing they are at. For example, some students are taking a guess at how to write words using random letters they know, some are writing only the first letter of words (such as ‘h’ for house), some are writing all the sounds they can hear (such as ‘str’ for sister), and a few are aiming for sentences and more accurate spelling.

We also spent time this week reviewing all of the letters and sounds that we have studied so far this school year. For example, the children had to match items to their correct initial sound. During reading lessons we have focused on one-to-one correspondence (one spoken word for each written word) and initial sounds to check words. It really helps if the children point at each word as they say it as this makes their reading more thoughtful and accurate.

In Math we have been exploring the order of numbers within the number system. For example, students have been putting number cards in order from the smallest to the largest. They have been playing a game called ‘Top It’ where the partner who draws the highest number card gets to keep both cards and the player with the most cards at the end is the winner. We have also been practicing how to write the numeral 8. It’s a tricky one and you might like to practice this a little more with your child at home.

Our UOI sessions have focused on how the people we have relationships with can make us feel different things depending on the situation. For example, the children said they sometimes feel sad when their mom doesn’t let them go outside to play and they feel happy when she lets them watch their favorite show. They said how they feel excited when their mums or dads take them somewhere fun.

Click here for some photos of this week.

Enjoy the weekend!

Kind regards,
Ms. Doris

Who We Are Unit Update 3 (Week 7)

Dear Parents,

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been thinking more about the different relationships we have and how these relationships can make us feel. The students thought about all the people that they have relationships with. Their ideas included parents, siblings, friends, teachers and grandparents. They then thought about how important each of these relationships is to them and how close they are to the different people. The students used a graphic organizer with concentric circles to record their ideas. They drew themselves in the center and then drew the people they are closest to next to them, and worked outwards to include the people they have less important relationships with.

We will now begin to focus more on how relationships can make us feel different emotions. For example, when our mother hugs us we feel safe and when our mother tells we can do it we feel brave. We will also explore how our actions can impact how others feel. For example, when we play nicely with our friends they feel happy, when we don’t share with our friends they feel angry and when we look after our hurt friends they feel cared for.


Student Initiated Action

One of the essential elements in the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is Action: How do we want the students to act as a result of their learning?

‘An explicit expectation of the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is that successful inquiry will lead to responsible action, initiated by the student as a result of the learning process… Action as a result of learning may not be witnessed by the teacher and often happens beyond the classroom.’ (Making the PYP happen, 2009)

As we head towards the end of our ‘Who We Are’ unit, we are beginning to see the students take some meaningful action as a result of their new learning. For example, some students are now beginning to independently show responsibility and care for our learning environment and want to keep the classroom tidy and organized. Other students have really understood how important it is to collaborate and work as a team at clean-up time or when putting together puzzles.

As PYP educators we understand that action can happen anywhere, anytime; this may be in the classroom or at home. For that reason, we would like to request all parents to be active participants in our quest to notice action revealed by your child at home. This may be in the form of questions/comments that your child makes about an inquiry they have been pursuing at school; it may be a drawing; or wanting/taking action triggered by school inquiries.

If you identify any action that your child has revealed, please write us an email, pop in to share it or ask your child to come and share it with the class. However, remember that it is very important to understand that the action must be student initiated.

Thank you in advance for your support with this.

Please enjoy some photos from this week at school.

Kind regards,

Ms. Doris

List of Songs from Ms. Betsy

Dear Y1 Parents,

Posted here are the songs we have been singing in music class. Some are in the form of an audio file and some are in the form of a youtube video.
Please have fun at home singing these songs and any more you may know with our year 1 singers!
Also, I will be updating this post periodically as we add songs throughout the year.
Happy Singing!

Kind Regards,
Ms. Betsy
PYP Music Teacher


Make New Friends- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMAxP-95yn4

The Sharing Song- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu2C4xylXwY

Shalom Chaverim- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRZaop5ZoJA (we sing only the English Version)

I Will Be Your Friend- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3dBeHCQFZ8

The Wheels on the Bus- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki_R_4FcFK0

Shake my Sillies Out- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb_2CQmfqoA

Kye Kye Kule-See attached

Hey Yo- See Attached

What a Wonderful World- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddLd0QRf7Vg


Kye, Kye Kule


Hey Yo

Week 6 in Year 1.3

Dear Parents,

We’ve had a short but very busy week in Year 1, culminating in a wonderful Peace Day today. We began Peace Day in the homeroom by engaging in a variety of art and craft activities all devoted to the concept of peace. The students used watercolors to paint plates with the peace sign, they decorated doves doing fingerprints and stuck them onto a sky blue background and they made peace flags. We thought about what peace means to each of us and what makes us feel peaceful. All of Year 1 had a special singing class with Ms. Betsy where we sang songs about peace and danced. In the afternoon we marched in the Peace Parade around the school and we attended the Peace Assembly.

In Math this week we have continued working on recognizing and writing numerals and one to one correspondence when counting out objects. The students are working hard to form the numerals correctly when they write them, making sure that they start each number at the top.

In Language this week we have continued thinking about the letters and the sounds they make. We focused in particular on the letter P. The children practiced writing this letter correctly and they brainstormed items starting with this letter.

We had lots of fun with our Year 4 Buddies on Wednesday afternoon. They came to our classroom and we really enjoyed drawing, creating, building blocks and making puzzles with them.

Please enjoy these photos from the week.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Ms. Doris

Who We Are Unit Update 2

One of the Key Concepts that we are focusing on during our current Unit of Inquiry is ‘Connection.’ In class we have started encouraging the students to think about the people they are connected to. We have introduced the word ‘relationship’ to the children and started talking about what this word means. You could support your child with this at home by talking with them about the various relationships they have, such as with family members, friends, teachers, etc. In the coming weeks the children will record all of the people they are connected to and talk about the different relationships they have.

Please see below for examples of some of the learning and teaching that has taken place over the past two weeks in Year 1.

Identify their feelings and emotions and explain possible causes

We have started to discuss different feelings and emotions. The students have been prompted to think about how our actions can make others feel. We read a book called ‘F is for Feelings’ a while ago which allowed us to explore many different emotions. We will look at the book again in the coming weeks.

Social skills: Accepting responsibility, respecting others, cooperating, resolving conflict

The students have continued developing their social skills through different collaborative tasks. For example, they built another Lego house according to specific criteria in small groups. The students had to cooperate with each other when deciding what the house would look like and also when building it. Afterwards, they reflected on how successfully they had worked together compared to last week. Some conflicts arose during this process when there were disagreements about how the house should look. The children had to try to resolve these conflicts through talking, listening respectfully and coming to an agreement about what to do.

Language: Teachers model shared writing

During writing sessions, the Year 1 teachers have been modeling how to write short true stories using blank three page books. For example, in Y1.3 I have written a story about the day we had the Fire Drill and a story about my move to Angola. The teachers have modelled the process of thinking what to write about, planning the story by touching the pages and telling what they will write, sketching the pictures and then adding the words. The students have then been writing their own three page books following the same process.

We also met our Buddy Class again this week. Inspired by Todd Parr’s “The Peace Book” Year 1.3 and Year 4.1 shared what their ideas of peace were.  Then together they wrote it down, with the Year 4s helping the Year 1s to scribe their thoughts. For Peace Day next week, the artwork from last week and the peace day thoughts from this week are being combined to make a display.

Please enjoy the photos of this week in Y1.3.

Have a great long weekend!

Kind regards,


Week 4 in Year 1.3

Dear Parents,

Thank you so much to those of you who came to the Back To School Night presentation on Thursday evening. We really appreciated your time and hope that you found the session informative. For those of you who were not able to attend, please click on this link to see the slideshow the Year 1 team presented.

We’ve had a busy week in Year 1.3!

On Wednesday we had our first Buddy Session with Ms. Arishana’s Year 4 (Y4.1) class. The students started working on a collaborative Peace Day project. 

We have started work learning the letter sounds and names in Year 1. So far we have focused on the ‘m’ and ‘t’ sounds. We have brainstormed items that begin with these letters, hunted for these letters during shared reading sessions and enjoyed craft activities connected to them. For example, some students made tree collages in the shape of a ’T’. Next week we will begin work on the letter ‘a.’ We are working hard to reinforce how important a correct pencil grip is and would appreciate your support with this at home.

Our Math work this week has focused on one to one correspondence with numbers. Students have been counting carefully to match up the correct number of objects with given numerals. They have also been playing a game called ‘Grab and Count’ where they grab a handful of math manipulatives, count them and then record what they grabbed. 

We have continued thinking about how we can collaborate when working in groups. We practiced team work through different collaborative activities. For example, the students built a lego house in groups and had to follow specific instructions. We also did a spider web activity as a whole class and realized that we need everybody in order to hold it together – when someone let go of the string the spider web collapsed. 

Mr. Dylan came to read the class a story today about a tiger who lost his smile. He spoke with the students about how they should always help anyone around the school if they seem sad or worried.

Click here to see some photos from this week!

Have a great weekend!
Kind regards,

Ms Doris