On our last day of Term 1, we celebrated the fantastic diversity of ISS today during our annual International Day event. As a school, ISS aims to foster global citizenship, curiosity, tolerance and empathy towards other cultures.
This open-mindedness and mutual respect is present every day but during International Day we are really able to enjoy the vast array of different flags, food, national dress, music, dance, games and languages. The children learn new things about their friends and countries around the world. At the same time, they begin to recognise similarities and things they have in common with others.
During the parade we sat in our nationality groups. We had two students from Grade 2.1 represent their countries on stage. We also sang together as a whole school and enjoyed dances from Scotland, China, Bangladesh, India, Japan and Korea.
It is also a lovely time for the Elementary, Middle and High school students to come together as a whole school. We had two groups of Grade 11 students come and visit us in our classroom. They were representing Myanmar and Spain and did a great job of telling the Grade 2 children about the countries and their traditions.
During the Myanmar workshop we learnt more about the various styles of traditional dress of the seven main ethnic groups and the children played a matching game. They also designed their own masks after learning about the tradition of facial tattoos.
During our Spanish workshop, we learnt about the diverse landscape of Spain and some of the traditions and landmarks.
The children then chose pictures of famous Spanish images to colour in and played a game that combined the famous Spanish bull and the Tomatina Festival. They threw paper tomatoes through holes in a bull to score points and win prizes.
The children interviewed the visiting teachers from KKS, in Cambodia. They were really interested to learn more about their school and the surrounding villages. We made some notes and then watched some videos about their school.
From the children's questions we learnt that the school is an NGO which is in the countryside near Phnom Penh. There are currently 82 students. At the moment, the school caters for Kindergarten to Grade 4 but from next year they won't be enrolling Kindergarten students as there is not enough space and instead it will be Grade 1 -5. We also learnt that the students learn English, play soccer, have some I-pads that they can use, and have a library and a playground- just like we do.
We found out that there is no school bus, that the students either walk or cycle to school and school runs from 8am to 4pm. We also heard that the school visits applicants and only accepts children from the most needy families.
Our children also wondered if they had pets, what their houses were made of and who was looking after Grades 1 and 2 while their teachers were in Singapore.
It has been a fantastic opportunity for us and we will keep in touch with Ms. Dany and Ms. Sreymom and hopefully make more connections with the students in Cambodia.
If you are interested you can find out more about the school by searching for Green Umbrella Cambodia on youtube. Here is a link to start with. www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-8jvn9qNZ4
This week we have been Tuning In to our new Unit of Inquiry. We began by visiting a Grade 6 Science lesson where Ms. Jeremiah demonstrated the scientific concepts of Density and Diffusion.
The Grade 2 children helped by acting as particles in a solid, liquid and gas and by observing the effect of diffusion in a gas and liquid.
We drew our observations when we returned to our class and will build on vocabulary and ideas from the visit throughout the unit.
Some children have been inspired to conduct some investigations of their own, involving water and coloured paper. They want to see the effect of the coloured dye from the paper in water and also to see if it will eventually turn into paint if they leave it and let the water evaporate.
We also read some books related to the concept of change and water, which the children then summarised into a sentence or two.. This developed their skill of listening and then selecting the main idea from what they have heard.
We ended the week by creating some change in states of matter ourselves. The children worked in small groups to change cream into butter through movement. They then devoured this during snack when it was spread on bread.
We have also poured orange juice into moulds and will enjoy these once the change through temperature has fully worked (not quite ready by today).
The children really enjoyed making the butter and we had lots of ideas for making pizza, bread, more butter to sell at the school Fun Fair! If the children do manage to rope you into some "changes" in the kitchen, please let me know and if possible take a photo.
Despite the weather not co-operating for a while and the intense heat towards the end, most of the sporting events went ahead as planned.
Grade 2 competed in Javelin, Shot-Put and Track and looked very athletic while doing so. This is their first year competing in the Track and Field events rather than the K1-G1 rotational games and they did a great job.
We had two students share slideshows they had created during their lunchtimes in order to raise awareness of plastic pollution. This has been in collaboration with the S.A.L.T. ECA group.
This was in advance of Sports Day to remind the children to bring their own water bottles rather than use disposable ones.
This week, we have been practising our communication skills. We highlighted listening carefully and speaking clearly as a focus and had a rotational sharing session.
In small groups, half the class visited the other half's presentations. They then made brief notes on what they had heard.
We reflected on how the process went- the excitement of moving around the classroom with clipboards made it quite noisy but most children were able to share something they had enjoyed or learnt from their peers and also think about how they could improve next time.
On Monday, the children will share to the whole class and Tuesday will be our final reflections for this unit.
A message from Ms. Jasinska who is organising this year's event.
International Day is on the 6th of October and it is quickly approaching! We are excited to share our cultures and celebrate together on that day. We would love to have as much parent involvement as possible and besides sharing the day with your children, here are some ways you can participate:
Country Display: We will be making the Elementary School hallway's display boards available to parents to decorate. Each board will be assigned a country and you are welcome to come by and decorate during the week of 2nd October - 5th October. If you are interested, please let Ms. Jasinska know by email which country you are representing so she can try to connect you together email@example.com
Food: One of the highlights of International Day is the food! Please feel free to share your national dish with us that day. You can bring it in the morning for it to be kept in a safe place while you participate in the fun. Later, each country will have a table where you can place your food and we can celebrate the wonderful cuisines of the world together.
We are all looking forward to International Day, and hope you can join us for a morning of fun!
This week, as part of Unit of Inquiry, the children have been working either independently, in pairs or in groups to research and prepare their presentations for next week.
We began by making a research plan. We followed this with a visit to the Library, where Mrs. Grant led an information book session.
This included how to find a particular topic and then how to use the features of non-fiction books to help decide if it is the right book for what you want to find out.
We have begun to practise putting what we read in books into our own words. This summarising skill is a useful way to gauge how well children have understood what they have read. It also begins their understanding of research not being copying straight from a book.
We consolidated our work with inserting images and the children began making connections with how they use different forms of communications to help relationships in their own lives.
For example: "talking with mum every day about school"; "emailing grandparents to tell them what I do in school" and "skyping to find out what is happening on the farm and to arrange holidays with my cousins".
We also discussed times when it has been challenging for the students to communicate with people who speak a different language and thought about how that can make us feel.
We watched a clip of Postman Pat in Danish and some comments were:
I felt... "weird", "confused", "nothing" and "happy because I still liked the pictures and music". Our one Danish speaker felt "great".
We will continue to watch little clips in our class languages during lunch.
In Maths, the children practised regrouping in addition with hands-on games. We also explored how we break a word problem apart and explain our thinking and solution in words.
This week the children have continued to develop their computer skills.
We have been learning how to make a copy of a document, add it to drives and then type or insert images. This has been supporting our Unit of Inquiry and our thinking about forms of communication and when we use them.
The children have also chosen people to interview as part of the collecting data and finding out stage of our inquiry cycle.
We are developing our skill in formulating questions and these vary from personal questions to more research driven questions.
Some children may bring home their interview questions if they have chosen to interview someone from their family. Others are interviewing teachers or friends and this will be done at school.
We have also had some good sharing sessions; a rather addictive game from Bangladesh, a special photo from Australia and an interactive learning pad from Japan which the class got a chance to try for themselves in Japanese.