An Taste of Different Types of Communication

This week, the students began their new Unit of Inquiry, How We Organize Ourselves.

Our central idea is: Communication connects communities and individuals.

It is an inquiry into:
-Forms of communication
-Tools used for communication
-How individuals access information and connect to each other
-How current technology changes the way people communicate

The Grade 2s began with a provocation to help them understand how important it is to communicate respectfully as well as how difficult it can be to communicate when you can’t speak or don’t know the language. The children played a card game in four small groups – without speaking or using written words. The leaders of the group were responsible for reading the rules of the game ahead of time and then teaching the game to their group.

Prior to playing we made a list of what makes a good leader, but also talked about how we should act when working in collaborative groups. The children had some practice time to ensure they understood how to play the game, and then we played the game without talking and without the printed directions. You can imagine what a great learning experience this was for the children.

After playing a round, the student with the most cards moved to the next group clockwise and the student with the least cards moved to the next group counter-clockwise. Then they began playing again. What the children didn’t know was that each group had a slightly different set of rules. You can imagine what happened next.

Click on the photo below to see a slideshow in Flickr.

G2 Jarnga

After playing 3-4 more rounds, we stopped and talked about our experiences, problems and how we felt while playing the game.
-I liked that it is easy to remember the rules.
-I didn’t know that I was so lucky because I kept on winning. I won two times.
-A lot of people said that eight was the wild card but the five was the wild card.
-I felt confused because whenever I got the five I thought the five was the winner, but the ace was the winner.
-We were doing rock paper scissors, and I got mad and my head went back and I hit the calculator box.
-They just fight and they just pulled the cards from each others’ hands.
-I was at that table. I really got angry because a student didn’t agree with me. -Inside I was really frustrated and angry, and outside I really didn’t want to have a fight, so I just made a face.
-I didn’t know why everyone was saying different things. Eight are biggest (wild). Twos are biggest (wild).
-I felt mostly confused and a little bit devastated, and then once I realized that there was one (ace) and two and then I got even more devastated and confused.
-When I was on that table we didn’t have the same amount of cards, and then they were all mad and were making mad faces. All our turn we didn’t do anything.
-If you have a problem and you want to yell or scream, it makes it worse.
-If 2 countries have a disagreement, and they get really mad, they might have a war.

Later in the week, the children attended special communication workshops to learn about and try out different forms of communication that people use everyday for different purposes. Miss Czubak shared her knowledge about secret codes and ciphers as well as symbols. Ms. McCreath prepared workshops on sign language and reading maps, and Mr. Laing taught the children about Braille. During these workshops, the Grade 2s learned about a variety of tools that are used to communicate, how different kinds of communication are organized, how current technology changes the way we communicate, and how to use different types of communication.


Here is some of things that the children  want to do next:

-I want to try to read a real map.
-I want to learn more about compass rose.
-I want to learn about all Japan and learn other countries too.
-I want to find out if there are any type of ancient maps.
-I want to learn about the map scale.
-I want to find out if there are codes on maps.
-I want to create a code and learn tricky codes and crack Miss Czubak’s code.
-I’d like to learn about very ancient codes.
-I want to learn about the Every Second code.
-I want to write all five codes that we learned and create a code too!
-I want to learn a lot about the cipher wheel and write secret messages to my friends.
-I want to learn more about the Pigpen code.

-I want to learn more about symbols around the world.
-I want to learn about more hand symbols or sign language…like my name is …
-I wanna learn about hand signals not just names…words.
-I really want to learn about ancient, ancient ancient symbols because I really want to -know how they used to communicate with symbols that are not very similar to the symbols we use right now.
-I wanna learn about symbols all over the world because I want to know what they mean and what they represent.
-I want to learn more about Egyptian symbols.
-I want to learn more about sign language because I want to learn it and then after that speak with my friends with it people will not know what I am saying Its going to be a secret thing.
-I want to learn more into ancient stuff
-I want to learn about more symbols that are cool like technology symbols.

Click on the photo below to see a slideshow in Flickr.
G2 Workshop

Here are some of our very interesting wonderings…

I wonder that the things I learned today are they gonna help our life.

Why in war time they use cipher wheel?

I wonder if in the future we are going to invent more symbols and alphabets and more words.

I wonder if when we grow up there will be thousands of symbols.

If in the whole wide world are their some people who don’t know how to use symbol in their whole life.

Links for Symbol Games

What is Healthy?

This week, we began our new Who We Are Unit of Inquiry by asking the students: What is Healthy?

Some of their ideas included:

  • I think healthy is something great for your life.
  • If you eat so much junk food you will get sick. If you keep doing that your whole life you gonna keep getting sick. Eat a lot of veggies and fruit.
  • Healthy is stuff that is good for your body…broccoli, peppers, and spinach.
  • You will get healthier if you drink lots of water.
  • Healthy means you exercise a lot.
  • I think healthy means don’t play too much video games or otherwise you will get sick. Or maybe your eye won’t get to see anything. Only a little bit is okay.
  • Swimming or play soccer is exercise. If you exercise everyday is good for you.
  • Wear a jacket if it is winter because if you don’t wear a jacket when you go outside you will get sick.
  • Healthy means drink some milk.
  • To be healthy you can go outside for some fresh air. If you stay inside the air might be a bit dirty.
  • Don’t play in the rain a lot. We can get sick.
  • Don’t spread germs by coughing at other people.

We wondered, “How do we get sick?”

I got chicken pox because my sister have a chicken pox too.
I was outside, and I was playing, and it was chilly, and I got a cold. I was wearing a coat.
We get sick from other people’s germs that they spread around.

Some of the students then began to wonder about where germs come from and where they can be found. They shared their thinking with the class.

  • nose…like if you pick your nose
  • in your hair
  • mud or dirt or worms
  • Your eyes or mouth and nose are the places that have most of the germs.
  • Insects have germs.
  • under your feet
  • inside your shoe
  • Inside your body
  • in the air
  • on trash
  • in toilets
  • sink is a little bit dirt around it
  • on the ground
  • on the tap

Some additional ideas in particular led us onto an interesting inquiry into germs and more about where they come from.

When you cough, it creates the germs. If you cough in your arm, you already have those bad stuff. If you cough somewhere else you create the germ in someone else’s body.

You can get germs from other people. If you don’t cover your mouth when you are sneezing or coughing other people can catch the germs.

When you touch the dirty thing and there is lots of germs.

Some germs are good!

We decided to find out more about germs and where they are in our school. To further our inquiry we asked the science lab for help. They prepared petri dishes for us so that we could collect samples of germs from around the school. We are allowing them to grow, and hopefully, we will get to see them under a microscope in a few weeks!


Click on the photo above to see more photos in Flickr.

We are looking forward to finding out more about germs and how the choices we make help our body to fight them!

Please click on the album below to see other photo highlights from our week…

2C Sharing Stories with our Buddies and Learning about Safety in PSE

Thinking About Inquiry…

This week, an expert inquiry teacher, Kathy Murdoch, visited YIS to work with the staff to help build our skills as teachers of inquiry. In preparation for her visit, we collected data to determine what the students think about learning through inquiry. We asked the student the following questions:

What does “learn through inquiry” mean?
Do you learn through inquiry? Why or why not?
When do you inquire?
Where do you inquire?
What do GOOD inquirers do?
How do you inquire?

Here are some of the students’ ideas….

What does “learn through inquiry” mean?

  • Try again and again
  • When you play and create
  • To learn something else
  • To learn through inquiry we create
  • To learn through inquiry we predict and experiment
  • To learn through inquiry we write and reflect then we change
  • When you do an activity
  • We do not give up to learn
  • We are changing
  • Creativity
  • Learn from mistakes
  • To learn through inquiry we look close or carefully
  • To learn things
  • To learn through we observe and look for details
  • To be good at thing
  • To get better
  • Learn about story and making sequencing Brainframes

Do you learn through inquiry? Why or why not?

  • Yes, because we do stuff to inquire
  • Yes, because I want to learn.
  • Yes, because I like it.
  • It makes me say this because I like it.
  • Yes, because I learned how to draw some things
  • Yes, because I love Free Inquiry and I love creating.
  • Yes, because you try to say anything.
  • Yes, because we want to learn about Math and create things.
  • Yes, because we get to learn about stories.
  • Yes, because we get to make a story.
  • Yes, we learn the best we can.
  • When I think about something I figure it out.
  • Create things
  • expression
  • Experiments and gardening

When and where do you inquire?

  • I inquire at Art.
  • I inquire at class.
  • We inquire in anyplace.
  • In the home
  • In Drama
  • In Math in Free Inquiry
  • I inquire about Unit of Inquiry
  • I inquire about Free Unit of Inquiry
  • We inquire when we do Free Inquiry
  • In the park
  • Make stories
  • We do learning about many things.
  • On our Learning Wall
  • At the weather center
  • Japanese class
  • EAL class.
  • At home
  • Science Lab
  • You inquire in the class.

What do GOOD inquirers do?

  • Work as good pairs
  • Work as a partner
  • Think about what you’re doing at first
  • In Art, to be a good artist we concentrate.
  • We make things.
  • Scientists experiment, look at weather, try again experiments.
  • Work hard
  • Be kind
  • Build
  • They describe.
  • They reflect.
  • They create.
  • We talk.
  • We do many things and learn.

How do you inquire? What does it involve?

  • It involves free inquiry.
  • It involves learning.
  • If you play, you do it.
  • To learn
  • In Free Inquiry we can do everything we want.
  • We try again.
  • Reflect.
  • We keep trying and trying.
  • We try sometimes, and we never give up.
  • In Free Unit of Inquiry we inquire.
  • Do something.

After sharing our results and thinking about the children’s’ ideas, we realized that our students know what it means to inquire and identify themselves as inquirers, as well as understand the ways that they learn through inquiry.

To reinforce this, the children were asked to describe how the characters in the book they read during Book Club are inquirers, or how THEY are inquirers when they are read and talk about what the stories during Book Club. Below is what some of them had to say.


I think the Little Red Hen is a thinker because the Little Red Hen is fair.

One of the fish was an inquirer because he thought about “what if everybody dies”, so he went to meet the Judge Rabbit so he could save them (Judge Rabbit Helps the Fish).

I am an inquirer because I read Little Red Hen. When I’m reading, I think.

I’m an inquirer because I thought about how the Emperor’s voice sounded like, and I read like that (The Emperor’s New Clothes).

We also thought about how we are inquirers when we write. Here are some of the children’s ideas.

We are questioning ourselves when we write and if it is not right we try again.

First, you do a story and then you say, “Hmmm…that part doesn’t make sense”, and you change it.

We use creativity when we are creating a story because we think when we write.

Be sure to check out the photos in the links below to see some other learning from our school week.

Writing and Reflecting

Subtracting Using 100 Charts

An Inquiry into Non-Fiction Books

For the next few weeks, the Grade 2s will be working with Miss Katy and Mrs. Karr to investigate non-fiction texts and their features. To get us started, the children were asked to get into pairs and come up with one question related to our central idea, “Human activities can challenge plant and animal survival.” Within a few minutes, the pairs began putting their questions up on the wall.

Here are some of the children’s wonderings…

-How can we save the world? Takafumi and Kai
-What if water runs out? Carolina and Chanu
-How do humans survive deadly animals like snakes, big centipedes, alligators, tigers, bears, etc. Ali
-How can we stop us from littering? Lavanya and Nina
-What is there life cycle? Troy and Shunye
-Why do people kill animals? Yellana and Mika
-How do dolphins jump very high? Himari and Damia
-How does pollution affect animals? How can we stop pollution? Sam
-How do people pollute? Daniel and Chaeeun
-What should we do to save our planet’s animals? Seonyul
-How do humans affect animals? What shouldn’t we do? Ophelia
How do we care for animals and plants? Jingyi
How do we save plants? Mary
-How do humans affect how animals act to each other? Johnny
–How can we save animals and plants? Seonyul
-How do we save the trees animals and other nature stuff? Ryu
-Why do you get a lot of money for shark fin soup? Albin
-Why do people attack rhinos? Mari and Lindsey
-Human and animals which is important? Kane
-I want to learn more about wolves. Hamish
– How do we save nature? Saneyuki
-What do centipedes eat? Valmik


Last week, Mrs. Karr read a non-fiction book to the children. During our session, we looked at the different features that make up non-fiction books such as: table of contents, photos, captions, diagrams, graphs, subtitles, bold-faced words, glossary and index.


This week, the children looked at various non-fiction books with their partners. Most of the children had books that they had found to research their chosen animal or plant. They were asked to work together to find a fact of some sort about their animal or plant. Then they had to think about what non-fiction feature helped them to find this fact. To show their thinking, the children wrote their facts on sticky notes and placed them underneath the feature that helped them.