How have we expressed ourselves?

Dear Prep 3.1 parents,

For the past 7 weeks we have been inquiring into the many ways we can express our feelings and ideas. The children have been demonstrating their understanding through conversations, creations, responses to events and experiences and through action, which happens as part of students learning processes (i.e. critical thinking and problem-solving).

At the beginning of the unit of inquiry one of the ways we used to assess students prior-knowledge was to ask them: how do you express yourself/ideas? At that point in time very few children were aware of this concept but following a succession of learning provocations such as: The mask; ballet shoes; basket weaving; and workshops led by Ms. Betsy and Ms. Jasmine, students assimilated the knowledge and built on the skills that were necessary to reach a comprehensive level of understanding about how we can Express Ourselves. Read below the recent comments made by the students.

We can express ourselves…

by walking (Djasmin)

swinging my arms (Isabel)

dancing (Isabella)

when we play football and paint (Tomás)

by running outside (Aydan)

when you sing (Joao)

playing with playdough (Devansh)

 

 

Djasmin and Aydan singing a song they created for the beetles

The girls sharing their song during our music & movement session

During outdoor play Djasmin and Aydan created a song entitled ‘We like beetles’. They then used technology to support their objective as a response to Ms. Betsy’s (Music Teacher) visit.

Check out the recording.

From myself and Ms. Joana,

We wish you a fabulous weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you!

A big thank you to the parents who were able to join us for the class luncheon on Thursday. The children appreciating having your company and showing you what it’s like to learn in our classroom.

We look forward to another gathering next term.

   !

Important Messages

  • Mr. Antonio has asked me to remind parents to ensure their child comes to school wearing sports clothes on P.E days (Thursdays). Appropriate clothing and footwear is essential for students to perform the tasks required during this specialist lesson. Your cooperation is appreciated.

 

  • Kindly note that the Prep 3 team has reviewed the use of our cubby spaces and spare clothes should no longer be placed in the cubbies found in our entrance area. Please keep any spare sets of clothes in your child’s backpack and don’t forget to send an extra bag (plastic or cloth) where soiled clothes can be kept.

Thank you.

Expanding our Understanding of Expression

Dear Prep 3.1 parents,

Our LIS community is filled with skillful individuals who are happy to contribute to the learning experiences of our students. This week Ms. Jasmine Obaseki offered our ELC students a session about African Dance. She described how this medium is often used to celebrate occasions such as childbirth and weddings. Given our immediate context, one of the messages Ms. Jasmine transmitted was that there is a great number of Angolan children who do not have access to many of the perks we are fortunate to have in our homes; for example a Television. Ms. Jasmine explained that many Angolan children gather at the end of each day to dance with their friends, as this is a way of keeping entertained (particularly in rural areas) and passing over cultural traditions. All ELC students had the opportunity to learn particular african dance moves during this large group experience, and there was a particular emphasis on how african dance often involves the collaboration and participation of other individuals.

Throughout the week our learning experiences tended to focus on the kind of materials that can be used to create art. After an eventful past few weeks in which key factual information and the development of generalisations contributed to students enduring understanding of our unit, students confidence was palpable as they shared with great enthusiasm their very own interpretations of what artists do. Read below some of the students comments:

  • “Artists make masks.” (Aydan)
  • “They make baskets.” (Mia)
  • “Paintings.” (Djasmin)
  • “Artist play!” (Bella Lhamo)
  • “Gymnastics.” (Francesco)
  • “My mum makes cakes and I help her. I think she’s an artist…” (João)
  • “They make stuff.” (Molly)

When the students were presented with the question of: “Are you artist?”, they responded in unison – “Yes!”

The rationale for their response lays in their belief that artists make something. Students perspectives are a true reflection of the power their prior knowledge, coupled up with relevant learning encounters, and effective listening from the adults involved, can lead them to their zone of proximal development (what students are able to learn in a socially-constructive environment).

Our week drew to a close with a significant wondering…

Are musicians artists?

Ms. Betsy’s (PYP music teacher) visit certainly steered our learning journey in what seems to be a new direction, as we continue to inquire into different art forms.

From myself and Ms. Joana,

enjoy a fun-loving weekend!

Ms. Jasmine addressing the Prep 3 & 4 students in our Great Room

Creating a circle of ‘trust’ to get us started

Some students opted to dance in pairs as well as independently

 

I think this is metal! – Isabella

Students scouring through the tuff spot in search for objects made from wood, metal, paper and plastic.

Mia and Francisco inquiring into materials

João and Tomás listening attentively to the melody being played by Ms. Betsy

Isabel and Isabella said that the melody made them feel “funny”.

The children having a go at playing the violin.

Francisco was able to identify the instrument and new it was a violin because “It’s like a small guitar”.

Some of the high-pitched sounds played by Ms. Betsy evoked interesting responses on some of the students

Some students chose to dance to the rhythm of the music whilst others chose to just move their body as they pleased

Building Bridges with our Local Community

To end our school week we had the great pleasure of welcoming local Angolan artisans who agreed to come and share their craft with our little people in the ELC. The children showed curiosity and awe when Mrs. Rita explained the process of getting the material (sisal leaves) she uses to create baskets and place mats. All of our students had a go at attempting to weave their very own baskets, and thoroughly enjoyed this one-of-a-kind learning experience!

Who made the mask?

Dear Prep 3.1 parents,

For the past couple of weeks students have been determined to find out who made the mask that had mysteriously appeared in our classroom. The students have been debating as to whether the mask was made of glass or not and they also revealed that they new the mask was a “real mask” because it had “hair and a face” (Tenoch); “ears, nose and a mouth” (Aydan); “you put it on your face” (Bella Lhamo). Responses that have clear connections to what was explored and learned during the Who We Are unit.

The students decided the trace the following plan to find the answer to their question:

Step 1: Ask Mr. Antonio

Step 2: Ask Mr. Paulo (“If Mr. Antonio says it wasn’t him we ask Mr. Paulo” – Tomás)

Step 3: Ask Ms. Nina (“We can ask Nina! – Tenoch)

After learning that neither Mr. Antonio nor Mr. Paulo had created the mask we decided it was time to invite Nina (Tenoch’s nanny) to our classroom. Nina happily came to talk to the children this week and confirmed that she hadn’t made the mask but that she thought an artist must have made it. This new revelation opened up the door to new and exciting discoveries within our unit of How We Express Ourselves!

Students have started to list things that they think artists do such as, “paint” and “make things”. This week there were plenty of opportunities for the children to create things, including their own masks! Next week we will be continue to dive into our recent inquiries of:

What is an artist?

What is art?

What materials can we use to create art? 

Nina (Tenoch’s nanny)

Animal masks!?

Molly took ACTION by bringing her own mask to school to share with her peers.

Francesco, Tomás and Devansh creating their masks

Marvelous Mother Nature

The prep 3.1 students have been planting seeds in our garden since the beginning of the school year. However some students had begun to question the reason why none of the seeds they had planted were sprouting. In conversation with the students we tried to find possible causes for this matter and the children came up to the conclusion that once seeds are planted they need: “sun and lots of water!”, but they realised that they hadn’t been “taking good care of them”. So for the past two weeks many of our students have made it their daily goal to water our flowerbeds, and voilá, this week the children couldn’t contain their excitement when they noticed that the watermelon and sunflower seeds they had planted were finally growing.

We cannot wait to witness the different stages of our seeds life cycle!

Mystery Readers Wanted!

Dear Prep 3.1 parents,

Would you fancy paying a little surprise to our students by taking on the Mystery Reader challenge? If so, please feel free to drop-in to our classroom on a Monday, Tuesday or Friday between 8:00 and 8:15! This initiative will take place for the next four weeks to give enough opportunity for parents to participate in our class’s current unit of inquiry.

Myself and Ms. Joana look forward to see you here (and so will the students)!

Provocations, Provocations, Provocations!

Dear Prep 3.1 parents,

Despite the fact that this week has been shorter what we are used to, there have been many opportunities for shared experiences and subsequently learning.

Every week ELC teachers take it in turns to plan for outdoor provocations with different purposes in mind, in order to elicit thinking and the development of particular skills. This week Ms. Che’te placed floats with varied shapes and colours for the children to play with and interestingly the children organised them into trampolines. Children experimented with different motions such as hopping, jumping and skipping from one float to the other. While some students made connections between how the floats felt (i.e. ‘it’s wobbly’; EAL learners were seen squatting and uttering ‘rabbit’ to express their experience and understanding) other students made links to the colours and shapes of the floats (i.e. ‘they look like rainbows’ or ‘they are triangles’). All in all, this provocation promoted the development of students self-management skills such as gross-motor and spatial awareness – invaluable skills for the growth and development of our students in early childhood.

Furthermore, in our classroom we have begun to unpack our unit of inquiry of How We Express Ourselves. One of the essential questions I asked the students this week was about the ways we can express ourselves and although that appeared to be too broad of a question, it gave us the was perfect window to explore other aspects that would ultimately takes us back to the transdisciplinary theme and its overarching concepts of form, function and reflection. Having known that so many of the students enjoy our music and movement sessions, I decided to play a segment of a ballet video to invite further discussion. Many of the students were able to come to the conclusion that the ballerina was dancing because there were different steps to the way she was expressing herself that they were familiar with like: hopping, being on tip-toes and doing the splits. Although the majority of the students embraced this provocation and tried and replicate the dance steps, Bella Lhamo took the ‘risk’ to put on ballerina shoes and demonstrate to her peers how ballerinas performed. The students also agreed that the ballerina was happy because she never stopped smiling!

Another provocation that was set in the classroom this week, was an African mask that was purposely placed in one of our classroom’s shared spaced. On Wednesday some students noticed the mask and quickly became curious about this particular object. During our morning meeting the students took it in turns to look closely at the mask, and many of them tried it on. The students were encouraged to notice what they noticed and how the mask made the feel. Many were intrigued by the ‘hair’, its colour and material, until Devansh put forward the thought-provoking question of: ‘Who made it?’. This wondering elevated the experience to another level, as students tried to reason with who could have possible made the mask. The students were quick to ask if either myself or Ms. Joana had made the mask, but once they found out we hadn’t the were ‘thirsty’ for the answer! So Molly suggested we asked the teachers in ELC if they had made the mask, and whilst our small research of going around the ELC and asking teachers if they had created the mask yield no definite answers, it made the children more determined to find the answer to this pressing question. Sarah went further to suggest we ask Mr. Antonio, clearly extending her connections to other adults in our immediate context. Throughout this experience students displayed high levels of motivation and they were free to make their own connections which in turn kept them engaged and using a language of collaboration. Next week we will set on our research expedition to seeking the answer to this very exciting riddle! However, this investigation is also the perfect opportunity to involve you as parents in our learning, so I’d like to take this opportunity to get you to ask your child about their wonderings and how we might set to research who made the mask. Do you have any ideas you’d like to share that can add to this inquiry? If so feel free to email me your suggestions based on the discussion you may chose to have with your child about this particular investigation. Do you have a book at home or know of a video that can trigger further thinking and deepen students understanding about this question? Remember, we don’t want to give students the answer, but lead them possible answers. The idea is to model thinking and research skills to promote agentic learning and making students learning visible as they strive to become autonomous learner. The focus is all about the process and the dialogue inherent to it – not the final product!

From myself and Ms. Joana,

Enjoy a ‘creative’ weekend!

 

 

 

Bits and Bobs

Dear Prep 3.1 parents,

I’d like to thank those of you who are able to attend the parent-teacher conferences this week. Both myself and Ms. Joana appreciated the opportunity to share with you the learning progress each of our student has made, and discuss the goals that will be put in place to enable our students to reach their full potential. We understand that it can be a daunting experience to entrust your most precious beings to the care of unfamiliar adults, and we appreciate the trust you have placed on us (and our school) – thank you for all the positive feedback.

Personal belongings 

On swimming days and during outdoor play students tend to switch/misplace their personal belongings, i.e. swimwear, hats, socks, etc. and at times we aren’t able to locate these items. Kindly ensure that your child’s personal belongings are labelled with their names as this makes it more evident to other teachers or parents when the items are found; and please know that we will always try our best to track any lost/misplaced clothing!

Class parent

I apologise in advance for the class parent announcement made a while ago. There was an mix-up with the set up arrangements. Our class parent is Mrs. Humpries (Isabella’s mother) and she will be in touch soon with information about an upcoming family shared snack.

From myself and Ms. Joana,

Enjoy a restful  weekend.