Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Japanese Advance class 2A 大きなさつまいも

To celebrate their learning in Storytelling Unit, Grade 2 students in Advanced Japanese class performed their own version of ”O-kina Kabu” (The big turnip).

Thursday, December 8, 2016

How We Organise Ourselves - Transportation Systems

We have now finished the 'Getting Started' phase of our current unit of inquiry and will continue to investigate, make connections and go further after the Christmas holidays. You can click on the link, below, to see the evidence of student understanding we will be looking for at each stage of the unit of inquiry.
The Inquiry process students engage with at Seisen Elementary School during their units of inquiry
Click here for the Grade 2 - How We Organise Ourselves Learning Intentions (Central Idea - Communities make efforts to create transportation systems to meet their needs.) 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Getting Ready To Travel Around The World On Carol Night

Elementary students are busily preparing to share their music and dance performances at Carol Night.  This year's focus on global-mindedness will take parents and students on a journey around the globe.

One of the celebrations that Grade Two has been focusing on is Hanukkah.  Students have learned a few songs about Hanukkah. Students in 2B watched various dances linked to Hanukkah and created their own dance ideas.  Small groups created dances, then we gathered these ideas into a group dance. Here's a sneak peak of the Hanukkah dance.  If you watch carefully, you can see that there are two different dances happening simultaneously.

Students in 2A have been preparing the music for this piece.

Students are also collaborating to create a magical performance for the Japanese song "Yuki." You'll see students playing instruments, students creating small group dances, and a large group on stage moving like snowflakes.
We're ready to dance "Yuki."  Look how we're in our ready position.

Students working on Yuki dance

We know that making mistakes is an important part of learning.  Most students are now feeling confident with their learning and ready to be expressive on stage.

How can I help my child prepare for the performance?

*Ask your child to sing the songs and dances at home.
*Be an audience member and applaud!
*Ask your child how she should act on stage.
*Make sure that your child knows what she needs to prepare for Friday's performance.

Carol Night is on Friday, Dec. 9th from 6:30 p.m. in our Seisen Gym.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Writing Workshop - To Write Like a Scientist

This week in grade two we were writing and thinking like scientists: asking questions, posing hypotheses, testing our ideas, and recording our findings. The last two weeks during Writers' Workshop, the girls were introduced to a lab report format. This week we continued to use mentor texts, lab reports written by other children, as models along with success criteria to help us write like real scientists.

"Modeling is the pathway to excellence." Tony Robbins Unlimited Power 

To Write Like a Scientist, We ...
(Success criteria for writing a lab report)

1. Ask a question about how the world works.
2. Record a hypothesis, a guess.
3. How will you test it? Record your procedure.
4. Conduct multiple trials, and record your results.
5. Analyze your results, and write a conclusion.

"Just as children need to participate in the writing process, they need to participate in the scientific method, working as professional scientists do." Lucy Calkins Lab Reports and Science Books

This morning Class 2A wrote step-by-step procedures before conducting their experiments. 2A scientists wanted to find out whether a ping pong ball or a yarn ball (hand-crafted by Ms. Mai) would go farther when catapulted. We made catapults out of plastic spoons, rubberbands, and rulers.

In Procedures... 
(Success criteria)
  • Make a "You will need" section.
  • Draw pictures that teach with labels, details.
  • Number the steps.
  • Include detailed measurements (2 1/2 in)
  • Tell not only what to do, but how to do it.
Here are some examples of 2A's lab reports:

page 1: scientific question and hypothesis

page 2: procedure

2A scientists wrote their procedures with a parter

Thinking, Talking, Exploring

As we began to tackle our new unit, the grade two girls tuned-in with a pre-assessment task. This activity directed their background knowledge and to began to challenge their understanding of what exactly is the form and function of a transportation system. Working in their table groups, each group had several cards with various objects on them. The students were asked to decide if each card was part of transportation system or not. Some were quite obvious, but others were more difficult to discern. As they discussed in their groups, conversations developed about the nature of transportation systems. 

 What is a transportation system? What is not?
Some girls speculated a transportation system had wheels, others disagreed. Some said that transportation systems carried objects, while others stated that transportation systems are things that move. If they were unsure of a card, they were encouraged to post their questions on the wonder wall.

Next Steps
Students enjoyed taking part in a silent debate. The question was, "Is this part of a transportation system?" They could ask questions, agree, disagree with comments and add their own thoughts to the examples around the room. They had to do this without talking to that all the conversations were "captured" on paper. Where there were disagreements, Ms. Ciara asked, "How can we find out?" Students had several answers! 2B is currently investigating further to come with with criteria for what defines a transportation system.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Subtraction Strategies

Lesson Introduction:
As a whole class, students counted by 2s, 5s and 10s. First, they counted forwards from a given number. Next, they counted backwards from a given number.

Why is it important to know skip counting facts? How can the backward skip-counting strategy help us with subtraction questions?

Students were split into 3 groups. Each group was given success criteria for their given strategy. At the end of the lesson and activity, students shared the strategy they used with the rest of the class.

Group 1
We are learning to:
Use the near-doubles subtraction strategy

I know I am successful if I can:
-Use near-doubles to subtract one number from another
-Use doubles mental math skills before writing the number sentence
-Describe the near-doubles strategy I have used

Group 2:
We are learning to:
Use the split subtraction strategy

I know I am successful if I can:
-Use the split strategy to separate the 2nd number in the subtraction number sentence
-Subtract the remaining numbers in the number sentence
-Describe the split strategy I have used

Group 3:
We are learning to:
Use the jump subtraction strategy

I know I am successful if I can:
-Use the number line to jump in tens and in units (ones)
-Count back in tens and ones on a number line to help me subtract
-Describe the jump strategy I have used

"Bow wow wow" Rhythm Work

Rhythm Unit

Grade 2 has been working in a Rhythm Unit in Music.    They learned several chants and songs and sang, played and wrote the rhythms from those songs on a white board using quarter and eighth notes and quarter rests.

Several students served as coaches for others.
Students collaborated while they worked through their writing and arranging tasks.

Look for videos as each class works through the end of this Music unit.
Bow Wow Wow Grade 2

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Being Courageous

Every other week grades one through three participate in Mass. We come together as a Seisen community to listen and learn about how to have courage, improve our friendships, and share love with one another. 

For our Masses, each class takes a turn leading it. On Thursday, November 18th, the second graders from the multi-faith class had their turn. Using the theme of courage, they read the Introduction, Penitential Rite, First Reading, Responsorial Psalm, and the Prayers of the Faithful. The girls were able to practice skills such as public speaking and learning to work together as a team. Here are some photos of the grade two class reading the Introduction, Penitential Rite, and First Reading. Great work girls!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

What a Great Performance!

St. Mary's Carnival took place today on a rainy day, just like our Seisen Festival of Nations. This is a blog post that we wrote right after the festival.  Enjoy looking back on where your daughters were at in the fall!

In Music class students focused on "Rhythms All Around Us."  They explored greeting words in different languages--Hola, Hello, Kalimera, Hi, Anyoung haseyo, Konnichi wa, Ni Hao, Oi, and Namaste.  You could hear their various body percussion sounds with the rhythms of the words.  They even sang this song in a three-part canon!

Students sang about "Good Friends."  The students sang a medley of songs celebrating friendship.  This medley included songs about food. They learned two songs in Spanish, one called "Bate, Bate" and one called "Chocolate."  They explored making their own rhythm claps.  They also had fun singing some traditional songs, including "Don't Put Your Junk In My Back Yard," "One Bottle of Pop," and "Fish and Chips and Vinegar."

Ms. Handel-Johnson and I were so proud of the way the students said their lines so clearly and with expression.

What a Great Performance!

We would like to share the performances from the Festival of Nations with you. Despite the rainy weather at the Festival of Nations, the Grade Two students gave a fantastic performance!

In Music class students have been focusing on "Rhythms All Around Us."  They explored greeting words in different languages--Hola, Hello, Kalimera, Hi, Anyoung haseyo, Konnichi wa, Ni Hao, Oi, and Namaste.  You could hear their various body percussion sounds with the rhythms of the words.  They even sang this song in a three-part canon!

At the beginning of the year, new friendships are forming.  Grade Twos sang about "Good Friends."  The students sang a medley of songs celebrating friendship.  This medley included songs about food. They learned two songs in Spanish, one called "Bate, Bate" and one called "Chocolate."  They explored making their own rhythm claps.  They also had fun singing some traditional songs, including "Don't Put Your Junk In My Back Yard," "One Bottle of Pop," and "Fish and Chips and Vinegar."

Ms. Handel-Johnson and I were so proud of the way the students said their lines so clearly and with expression.

Dancing About Me!

What makes me unique?  What can I do?  How can I improve what I'm doing?  
Grade Two students have been exploring creative movement to express these ideas.

Learning Objectives:
In this unit students used their knowledge of Fantastic Shapes, Axiel Movements, Locomotor Movements, and Pathways to create their own dance sequence.  They worked with a partner to share feedback to improve their dances.  

Learning Engagements:

Students explored each of these creative movement concepts to express ideas about themselves. 

What's a Fantastic Shape? 

-Move your feet.
-Move your arms.
-Move your torso.
-Move your head, and change your expression.

What are Axiel Movements?
These are movements done in one place.  Here are some examples.

Turn/ spin

What are Locomotor Movements?
These are movements done from one place to another.  Here are some examples.


What are Pathways?
We can create pathways in the air by moving our arms and torso, or on the floor by moving from one place to another. We use these three pathways.


Here are some examples of student work.  Students created a dance using the following form--ABCBA.
A (Fantastic Shape), B (Axiel Movement), C (Locomotor movement with pathway).

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Stop Motion Animation

In our unit of inquiry grade two students are learning that stories can engage their audience, communicate meaning, and express values. In addition to enjoying stories created by others, we are also learning how to express ourselves in creative ways by using our imagination. To kids, this comes naturally.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."- Albert Einstein

2A and 2B have been working with their computer teacher, Mr. Towse, and art teacher, Ms. Diane, to learn how to share stories by making stop motion videos. The girls have been retelling traditional folktales and illustrating the stories by drawing pictures during art class. Using iPads, they take pictures and turned their artwork into stop motion animations with the app, Stop Motion Studio. The students are learning to make incremental changes between frames so in the final product the illusion of movement is created. Besides the technical know-how, this art form gives the kids an opportunity to learn patience and commitment. Mr. Towse taught 2A students that the Wallace and Gromit clay-mation movies take one man over a year to make!

The girls were practicing using Stop Motion Studio today. Here a few examples of what they made. This is a free app if your daughter would like to make her own animation at home.

It's bonus content Friday!!! :-) Today's "Feed and Read" guest, Ms. Mai, read the story 'Katy and the Big Snow' to 2A in English and Japanese AT THE SAME TIME! She was a role model for the girls by showing how she can express herself in two languages.

Throughout the school year, we will give the girls further opportunities to learn 'global-mindedness' as part our PYP curriculum. Global-minded citizens can communicate in more than one language and value all languages as a tool for sharing ideas. Ms. Mai is thinking about starting her own Youtube channel to share her favorite stories in English and in Japanese. What do you think? Is it a good idea? (-;
Please leave her a comment!!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Story tellers

As a part of Story telling Unit of Inquiry, Ohanashi-kai, a story telling group visited Grade 2 Japanese class on Friday.  They read four stories showing us a variety of story telling strategies.  We are hoping that our students apply these strategies to their writers' workshop and their unit of inquiry.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It's Sakura season ... but it's winter?

The Sakura Medal program brings together students from the international schools across Japan each year to vote for their favourite books. Each year, librarians from various international schools meet and select 10-20 books in each of the Sakura Medal categories. Only students are eligible to vote for this prestigious award, but they need to read the minimum number of books to vote.


Our aim is not only to encourage students to read a variety of high quality books but to give a real life opportunity to set a meaningful goal.  The program will run from November to April. Students will decide how many books they realistically hope to read. This forms the basis of their Sakura reading goal.  An important part of goal setting is to think about how to achieve a goal. Students are required to write down two things that they can do to achieve this goal. They had some good ideas:

"Try not to buy new books." --Student in 4B

"I will stop by the library every morning before class and look for Sakura Medal books." --Student in 4A

Equally important is considering what 'road blocks' might get in the way of success. Students had many idea:

"I forget to take the books home to read."
" I don't check out Sakura books."
"I don't have time with all my other homework."
"Other people have the books I want to read."

Both homeroom teacher and parents must sign the goal setting sheet. Please look out for this over the next few days. Forms are already being returned. Once the form has been returned they will be able to start the exciting process of checking out the books and reading them to achieve their goal.

Here are some of the girls in Grade 4 setting their goals for this year. They have reflected on last years experience and are setting realistic and achievable goals.

2A learn about cooperation through play in PE

In PE, class 2A have been participating in a range of activities and games to learn about the various aspects of cooperation. When questioned about cooperation during class discussions, the students responded confidently with words such as 'teamwork', 'communication', 'helping others' and 'caring for your friends'. Here's one of the many activities the girls enjoyed in the cooperative games unit:

2A working together to 'pop the corn' with a parachute
Another aspect of the unit the students have been learning about is the concept of resilience. They are learning to recognize situations that may arise in PE and the appropriate level of response to that situation. One student exclaimed "if we fall over when we're running and we're not hurt, we can just get back up and go!" While another commented "If someone says something mean to me, I should just ask them to stop and tell the teacher if they are mean again". We will continue to work on developing resilience in PE throughout the year and empower our girls to be strong, smart and sensible.

Mr Hawkins

Monday, October 24, 2016

Writing Celebration

Grade 1 and 2 had a successful first Writing Celebration! The students learned useful writing strategies from one another. It was wonderful to have so many parents attend to give compliments to their daughters' writing. Thank you!

Friday, October 21, 2016

House Day

House Activity: October 20th

At the end of the day on Thursday, the elementary students got together with their house teams for some games and activities at the end of the day. This was a chance for the girls to spend time in their houses before House Day. Here are some pictures of girls in 2A after some outdoor play time after their house activities.

House Day Photos: Fun with our friends at Kinuta Park (Students in the morning session.)

Can you guess who is wearing this shirt????

Welcome to the newest member of 2A!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Children's Author + A Writing Celebration = Expressive Storytelling!

Grade 2 students read the story, Little Rockin' Roger and the Magic Glass Guitar this week. It was written by children's author and teacher, Benjamin Moores.  It is a highly engaging story about a boy who moves into a new house and finds a magic guitar. 2B's favourite part of the story was the audio clip of the song that Roger played on his guitar. Students asked Mr. Moores some questions about storytelling and he responded through video. Students listened attentively to his advice about what makes a great story. They used this to prepare for their first Writing Celebration!

Compliments given by 6A students.

Students were thankful for the wonderful compliments!

Sayako awaits positive feedback.

Grade 2 students were proud to share their stories.

Hanna reads her Small Moment story about her day at Disney Sea.

Students noticed that 'Little Rockin' Roger' used "Show Not Tell" (...grin painted across his face)