Olivia’s Story

The children love to take turns at reading stories to the rest of the class. This is a wonderful opportunity to develop a sense of audience and to practice skills such as pause, voice pace and inflection. Recently, Olivia read a book that she had particularly enjoyed. We videoed the story session and showed the video to the children. I was keen to try out a new reflection tool that I had learned from Mr Geddes which involved speeding up a video clip. I tested this new technique on the clip of Olivia’s story time The children loved the speeded-up version and asked for both videos to be posted on the blog.

Poor Sandy.

A couple of days ago, the children noticed that one of our goldfish, Sandy was bent double and was lying on the bottom of the fish tank. Lego, the other goldfish was also looking a bit sick. We observed the fish carefully for the next two days. Lego seemed to get little better. However, Sandy was bent double and was not moving. But the children noticed that he was still breathing. We did some internet research and found out that Sandy had bacteria in his stomach which was making him bend in the middle. We found out that there was no way to help Sandy because the bacteria was already in his stomach, and that Sandy was going to die.

We talked about what we should do about Sandy. After much discussion, the children decided to take Sandy out of the fish tank so that he would die quickly, and so that he wouldn’t infect the other fish.

The children wondered where to bury Sandy. They remembered burying Madeline and were able to transfer knowledge and understanding from that experience.

Where can we bury Sandy?
We can’t bury him with Madeline because the children planted seeds and we might dig up the seeds.
Yeah, because now it’s a garden with things growing.
Before it was nothing growing.
So maybe we can put him in another garden?
But we don’t have another garden.
How about if we went to the park to bury it?
Yes. I agree with Jenny’s idea.
No, we can’t bury in homes. I think he don’t understand.
It’s okay.
It’s because we buyed the fish at Homes, that’s why he think that.
Yeah, he’s good at remembering.
No space in the park.
No way to dig.
Like moles.
We are not moles.
We can’t put in the desert because it’s too far away and there might be sandstorms.
Anyway there are no deserts in Japan.
Egypt maybe?
It’s too far away. We have to go in a airplane but we can’t do that.
So where?
I have an idea. Maybe we can bury the Sandy outside of the school? We can put it in a zip bag and we can bury him.
Yeah! Good idea.
We need somewhere.
How about the ocean?
But how can we get there?
It’s too far.
No, we can go on the train.
Nihon Odori. It’s the next stop.
Yes, it’s only one stop.
It’s not too far.
But not in the ocean.
No, not the ocean, only in the sand
Or we can bury him in Yamashita Koen?

The discussion bounced from child to child with very little adult intervention. It is interesting to see how much the children’s speaking and listening skills have developed since the beginning of the year. The children are listening to each other and are building on and developing each other’s ideas; every child contributed; all of the contributions are relevant and logical; the children are supportive of each other and everyone’s ideas are respected.

It was time for lunch and we still had not reached a consensus on where to bury the body. So for now, Sandy is literally sitting on ice, in the freezing compartment of our fridge, while we decide what to do. To be continued …

Uh oh! Carl just noticed that now Lego is bending in the middle.

KC and KF exploring 3D shapes

Today KC and KF joined together to play a game to help them learn about 3D shapes. Jenny and Aina showed the rest of the children how to play.


Jenny and Aina sat back to back, so that they could not see each other.
Aina went first. She chose a shape. She did not tell Jenny what shape she had chosen. Instead, she gave Jenny a clue. Jenny asked questions to help her find out what 3D shape Aina had chosen.

Aina: It has a circle and one point and it rolls
Jenny: Does it have 2 faces?
Aina: It has one face
Jenny: It it a cone?
Aina: Yes!
Jenny: At first I thought it was a cylinder because it has a circle and it rolls. And that could be a cylinder. But a cylinder has two faces. So it has to be a cone.


Then it was Jenny’s turn to choose a shape. Jenny started with a clue and then Aina asked Jenny questions about the shape.


Jenny It doesn’t have any faces
Aina: Does it roll?
Jenny: Yes
Aina: I need some more information.
Jenny: It doesn’t have any edges.
Aina: So no corners.
Aina: Is it a sphere?
Jenny: Yes!
Aina: The best clue was it had no corners.

Then all the other children worked with a partner from the other class, and had a go and giving clues and guessing each other’s’ shapes. The children had to think carefully about the number of faces, edges and vertexes the shapes had. Many children were able to identify several different kinds of trapeziums and pyramids as well as more simple 3D shapes.