Monday, 4 September 2017

What does culture really mean?

I don't have to participate in another culture's ceremonies in order to respect that culture. Sherman Alexie

Our Central idea is

Understanding the beliefs and values of different cultures may promote global -mindedness.

The words "beliefs" and "values" are not really that easy to define or distinguish. A quick glance at different definitions of these words does not give you a simple answer.

What strategy could best address this dilemma? How can the grade 6s begin to appreciate their beliefs and values?

So we started with the word "culture"  And their responses were, as I anticipated, pretty basic - Family, Flags, Food and Festivals.

I allowed them to place their post-its wherever they pleased.

Later, after everyone had a chance to express themselves, I moved most of them up to the tip of the iceberg, explaining that they were the outward expressions of culture.

...and asked them to think of other less obvious words related to culture.

And so we dove deeper ...

It was great to see them coming up with words such as "respect", "life style' and 'animals!"

I picked on the word "animals" and the next day, posted pictures of animals around the room:
The holy cow, the whale in the aquarium, the guide dog, roasted turkey...The intention was to give students a chance to tap into their beliefs and values when they thought of animals and how we use or abuse them.

After a great discussion one evening with our Librarian Ms Lea, we wondered how the students would react to the following statement:

Not only could we address the cultural beliefs and values of different groups of people behind this statement, we could also think about how we felt about it and we could introduce the language of debate: 

I respectfully agree or disagree...however, I would like to add...

Ms Lea pointed out that as students engage in debate, they may stumble upon the fact that they could actually change their minds about an idea; in other words, they would understand that beliefs and values can change!

On the way towards this understanding, our class faced a rather big hurdle.
We surfaced for a bit...

The quality of their responses towards the pictures did not reflect deep thinking. How could the students realise this without the teacher bringing it to their notice?

Harumi took on the lead role here and helped the class sort the students' responses into HOT and LOT questions (clink on link for more information on this).

This activity was a great way to see how we thought about things.

We have just began the year, and I hope with more probing activities, we can help encourage the students to think more deeply about issues and hopefully become great global citizens of this world.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

6B PE Last lesson before summer!

Head into the summer with a few useful tips:
1). Stay active! Get outside and move!
2). Rest and relax! 
3). Have fun!! 

Have a great summer everyone! 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Timely Conundrums

"I don't know what you could say about a day in which you have seen four beautiful sunsets."
 John Glenn

Scan the code to hear our greetings from 6B!

Chalk Talk
What do we know about Day and Night?

The girls started hesitantly. But the magic of chalk talk is compelling and so it grew and grew...

 Interesting information about jet lag from a student.

Well, the sun does set...but you have to wait for months to see that.

The students have began their research on various aspects of space: Lunar phases, Seasons, celestial bodies and space exploration.

They all seem to have nearly the same sizes in this project!
Rather than collecting facts about planets, we tried to sort them out according to their characteristics.

Why are some planets smaller than others?
Closer to the sun?
Spin faster than others?
Why do some planet have bright colours?
Why are the rings of Uranus so different from Saturn?
Why doesn't Jupiter have rings?

These questions prompted the students to set homework for themselves; it was fun learning about the planets the next day!

The moon phases, and the concepts of the equinox and solstice are still proving to be challenging.
Here's why...

How can we recognise a waning from a waxing moon?
What does the moon look at at various stages at the equator?
Does everyone experience the eclipse of the moon at the same time?

Did any of these questions make you think and want to find out the answer?

Assessment data begs for repeat lessons! Click on the images for a better view.

We used Goformative for this.

Our vocabulary wall is slowly growing...

Evolution of space technology:

Maths - Transdisciplinary learning
We made personal connections with time zones as we talked about our travel experiences.
Here was one problem that stumped my students for a while...

A plane left airport A at 8:30 pm on Tuesday and landed at airport B at 9:00 pm (local time) on the same day.

If airport B is 19 hours behind airport A, how long did the trip take?

This problem took the whole of our Maths lesson and I really enjoyed watching everyone working together trying to solve the problem.

Take a look.

Time can vary according to your relativity according to Neil deGrasse. Watch his video here.

Sunset in Tokyo today 18:50
in Toronto( Canada) : 20:51
In Winnipeg ( also in Canada) 21:27
In Kolkata(India) : 18:16
In new Delhi (also in India) 19:14

What do you make of this? What does long daylight hours imply? Are the sun's rays falling directly on the equator in Canada or on the tropic of Cancer if the sun sets at 21:27 pm?

Friday, 12 May 2017

Day 3 Nikko! Back safely to Tokyo!

Today we had a good start to the day with breakfast, room cleaning and room checks. The girls the had some time to do a ropes/obstacle course and a play disc golf for a couple of hours.  We ate our bento lunch amongst the beautiful scenery in the mountains and then departed back to Tokyo! We arrived safely back to Seisen and made some great memories on the Grade 6 class trip this year!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Day 2 in Nikko!!

The Grade 6 students and chaperones enjoyed a great 2nd day in Nikko! We started out the morning with a traditional Japanese breakfast, followed by a stroll to the Rinno-Ji Temple and Tosho-go Shrine. The tour guide showed us around explaining all the stories, history and facts about the sacred area. We saw the original See no Evil, Speak no Evil and Hear no Evil Monkey shrine as well as the Sleeping Cat shrine. We had a few light showers throughout the walk but otherwise the sun was out and great temperature! After our curry lunch at the hotel we headed to Edo Wonderland where we experienced what times were like in the Edo Era in a village setting. Dressing up in kimonos, peasant and samurai outfits. The girls enjoyed a traditional Edo school lesson and crafted a Japanese bean bag, otedama. Strolling around the Edo village was a great way to spend the afternoon before heading back to dinner. The talent show is kicking off soon and the girls are preparing! A great way to celebrate Day 2 of the Grade 6 trip! 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Day 1 Nikko!

We made it safely to Nikko and enjoyed a nice 3-hour hike through Senjiyogahara to the Yudaki Falls.  The boardwalk was a great way for the girls to enjoy nature, the cool weather, and learn facts about wildlife, trees, plants, etc from the tour guide.  We ended the hike at the Yudaki Falls and then headed back on the bus to check in the hotel.  We enjoyed an authentic meal together and ate Yuba, which is a famous dish from Nikko. We ended the night by learning how to do a wood carving on a mirror.  The girls showed creativity and artistic ability. It was a great way to end the day and winding down here in Nikko! 

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Grade Six End of Year Trip- Nikko here we come!

Grade Six have had such a busy year preparing for Middle School and completing their PYP Exhibition last week. It's time for some well deserved team bonding and celebrating in Nikko- Tochigi, Japan.

Over the coming days we will have many opportunities to live the Seisen Learner Profile together. Please check here for some daily updates!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Galaxies, Stars, Black Holes and all the other stuff that's out there...

"The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you. "
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Are the statements true or false?

From the above data, students seem to have a lot of misconceptions: 

There is water on Mercury.
The moon has no gravity.
Space has air.
The sun is a collection of many stars.
The sun is the largest star in the universe.
The moon takes 365 days to go around the earth...

(Of course you may say that some of the prompts are mere facts!
And all we need to do is look them up.)

We will start the unit by conducting experiments trying to understand the concepts of day and night, seasons, lunar phases, and hopefully address some of these misconceptions!

Quiz Time!

What are you looking at ?

Post your answers in the comment section below this post!