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

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

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,

Doris

Unit of Inquiry Update, Week 3

The Year 1 students have got off to a great start with the first Unit of Inquiry of the year, Who We Are. This is a wonderful unit to start the school year with as the focus is on relationships. The central idea of this unit is: Our relationships with others contribute to our well-being. The unit provides us with the opportunity to guide and support the students as they work on developing relationships with their new classmates and teachers. We will also spend time inquiring into the important relationships the students have outside of school.

Please see below some of the learning and teaching that has happened so far in Year 1.

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

The students have been put in teams with classmates to work collaboratively on group projects. For example, students were given a large piece of paper and asked to work in a small group to create a painting together. The task required them to cooperate with each other when doing the painting and when sharing the materials.

Language: Students will write their names with upper and lowercase letters

It is important at this stage in Year 1 that each student learns how to write their name clearly and neatly using an uppercase letter at the beginning and with all other letters written in lowercase. Each lowercase letter starts at the top. We have been practicing this daily in class, for example by asking students to write their name on each piece of work they produce and through more formal handwriting sessions.

Language : Using their own experience as a stimulus when drawing and “writing”

During writing time the students are working on an ‘All About Me Book’. They have included lots of information about themselves, their family members, favourite things and activities they enjoy. Next week we will publish these books and share them with classmates.

Mathematics: Data Handling – Understand that sets can be organised by different attributes

The students have been sorting and organizing a variety of Math manipulatives. For example, they worked in groups to sort 2 dimensional shapes. First they needed to decide how they wanted to sort them, for example by color or shape. Then they worked as a team to organize all of the shapes according to these attributes. They shared their work with their classmates, explaining how they had chosen to categorize the shapes.

Mathematics: Data Handling – Understand information about themselves and their surroundings can be obtained in different ways

The class has been working together to collect data about themselves and others. They have then created graphs to show the information they found. For example, they have created a birthday graph and a graph showing the eye color of everybody in the class.

Click here for photos from Week 3 in Y1.3!

Doris