Thursday, December 8, 2016

How We Organise Ourselves - Rights and Responsibilities

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 4 - How We Organise Ourselves Learning Intentions (Central Idea - The rules, rights and responsibilities within social structures can either support or deny human rights.) 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Human Body Transitions to Rights, Responsibilities and Rules

Last Gasps of the Human Body Unit (Who We Are)

Fourth graders in both classes shared their learning within the last week or two about the human body with a presentation. During that time, 4A students completed a model of the respiratory system using a balloon, a rubber glove and the top of a two litre, plastic bottle.

Most groups created a working model within about twenty minutes. However, understanding how the model shows the function of the system requires careful analysis.

Please ask your daughter what part of the system the balloon (lungs), the rubber glove (diaphragm) and the plastic bottle (trachea and chest cavity) represent. They should be able to explain what the model looks like when it represents inhaling and what it looks like when it represents exhaling.

Getting Started with Rights, Responsibilities, and Rules
(How We Organise Ourselves)

One way fourth graders got started this week with Rights, Responsibilities and Rules (RRR) was by sorting rules and discussing what made them good or bad.

4A students are almost finished reading Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan, so we used the story for a structured discussion about RRR. The story is a fictionalised account of a real life. Charlotte Parkhurst lived in the United States during the mid-1800s. She became a legendary stagecoach driver and the first woman in the state of California to vote, despite the fact that both activities were prohibited to women at that time. Charlotte broke the rules by pretending to be a man. Most people did not know "Charley" was a woman until after her death.

Since all students had read most of the book and were familiar with the story of Charlotte Parkhurst, most students had plenty to say about her life and how it connects to rights, responsibilities, and rules. Here is a sample:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Picking Mikan and Making New Friends

This week 4th graders had the opportunity to travel to Miura Nature House of Seisen Kamakura to meet fourth graders from Seisen Kamakura. The clouds gave way and the sun came out creating a beautiful rainbow that greeted us as we arrived at the nature center.

Seisen Kamakura fourth graders greeted us and we paired off into groups. We walked with our new friends to enjoy some mikan picking. 


After eating lunch and our freshly picked mikan, the Seisen Kamakura fourth graders led us in some tradition Japanese dances and games. 

What was your favorite part about our field trip?
Urielle- Picking mikan with our groups.
Sono- I liked playing the game "Let's Go Hunting" "Mouju Gari."
Seorin- I liked the the traditional dance (bonn odori) best.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Human Body Unit Update

The theme of our current unit of inquiry is Who We Are. In fourth grade, the Who We Are unit is about the human body. The central idea and the lines of inquiry focus our inquiry. So do the concepts.

Although there are eight concepts (causation, change, connection, form, function, perspective, reflection, responsibility), we generally emphasise only three during a unit.

For example, during the explorer unit, we focused on causation, perspective and reflection. Causation and perspective were clear choices. See if your daughter remembers why!

Here are the main concepts we are using for the human body unit:

function, connection, and responsibility

Although it is difficult to explain the function of a human body system without some knowledge of form, we are more interested in how the systems work than on memorizing lots of parts.

Students should know the purpose (function) of many of the systems. As students learn more about how the systems work (function), they will notice links (connection) between them. Finally, they will use function and connection knowledge of the body systems to explain ways of taking care of ourselves (responsibility). 

This week fourth graders created a model of the circulatory system using both classes. One class formed the structure of the system while the other class moved through the system as blood. The learning intention was to understand the function of the circulatory system.

You will know that your daughter was successful if she is able to explain the flow of blood through the heart, to the lungs, back to the heart, through blood vessels and around the body and back to the heart. She should be able to identify significant points in the circulation such as where red blood cells picks up oxygen and where they exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide.

Other systems we are focusing on include the nervous system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the skeletal system, the muscular system and the immune system.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Exploration Through Dance

Explorers can be found in many walks of life.  In dance we find many dancers who have pushed the limits of the current thinking to create a new way of thinking about dance. 

Learning Objectives:
The goal of this unit was to view the work of "dance explorers" and in turn create something new and unique through a dance exploration.

Explanation of Learning Engagement: Students learned about the life of Martha Graham and her ballet collaboration with Aaron Copland and Isamu Noguchi.  Her ballet  "Appalachian Spring" was a revolutionary piece that's still being performed today. Students watched the original performance and responded by exploring some of the dance concepts. 

By exploring and connecting two different elements, such as relationships and levels, students discovered ways to create something new.  Students also learned to read and write about their dances using dance symbols called "labanotation" created by Rudolf Laban.

In this video, you can see their work after receiving peer feedback.

They will spend a little more time polishing their work, adding more expression, body extension, and opportunities for group formations.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Refugees International Japan Concert

Last night, fourth graders participated in a benefit concert at St. Mary's International School for the nonprofit, Refugees International Japan. In addition to our fourth graders, Seisen students from third grade, fifth grade and the high school participated. Other performers included groups from the British School and from St. Mary's International School.

A few weeks prior to the concert, representatives from Refugees International Japan gave a presentation to the fourth graders about the mission of their organization. Taking action by raising funds for their projects is a great way for students to start tuning into the big ideas present in our third unit of inquiry: Rules, Rights and Responsibilities.

During the Rules, Rights and Responsibilities unit, fourth graders will inquire more into human rights, including children's rights.

Video of the concert will also be available here:

Friday, November 4, 2016

Publishing Party!

    Fourth graders developed their skills as writers during our first Narrative writing unit this year. After working vigorously through the writing process, collecting ideas and drafting; fourth graders picked their favorite draft to develop, edit and publish.

    The fourth graders got into groups where they celebrated each other's writing. They listened to each other's stories and gave compliments about the techniques used such as dialogue, "show don't tell" and powerful leads. They also asked questions related to how they pushed through the challenging parts of the writing process. 


Everyone was very excited to share their stories and celebrate the effort and creativity that went into writing some excellent narratives.