A Visit to the ICJC to Learn about the Importance of Nonverbal Communication

The students visited with a communications expert, Marie Asaoka, to inquire into non-verbal communication as well as culture and communication. Our communication expert works with customer service for Japan Airlines. She coaches employees on how to use their non-verbal communication to show respect and welcome others.

The students made connections to their interactions with others and reflected on how they can use eye contact to show others that they are listening and care about what they are saying.

Marie-san taught us about about bowing. We learned that their are three different types of bowing and had a chance to practice them. She also taught us how to hold our hands, when we bow.

We also made the connection that we can use what we learned about bowing and eye contact when we meet with the seniors to show that even though speaking is often difficult, we can show respect and show that we care by bowing appropriately and by “speaking with our eyes”. We decided to practice this before we visited the seniors. When we first arrived at the senior home and saw some of the seniors, we made sure that we greeted them first and then bowed.

I thought it was interesting how to say, “Hello” with our eyes.
I wonder…does eye contact connect to something else?

During our visit with Marie-san, the children were asked to use their non-verbal communication skills to organize themselves by their birthdates. Some children automatically took the lead by using hand signals and facial gestures to communicate the the month and day of their birthday. The others followed. During the experience, the children modelled good eye contact, cooperation, respect and perseverance. In the end, the they recognized how important it is to use and understand a variety of non-verbal skills.

We decided to reflect on our learning and how we might use nonverbal communication to help us communicate with others.

To reflect we thought about the following questions and used the I USED TO THINK/NOW I THINK Making Thinking Visible routine. What did you used to think about nonverbal communication such as: eye contact and bowing, and hand signals before we went to the ICJC? What do you think about these now that we learned more about nonverbal communication?

Comics as a Means of Communication

This week, Miss Srishti visited the Grade 2s to help us inquire into Comics. Miss Srishti told us that she has always loved comic strips. We talked about comics that we were familiar with or had read before and later looked at many different samples of comic strips.

Next, we made a list of all the things that we noticed about comic strips.

The most important thing we noticed and realized was that comics send messages. Their main purpose is to entertain, and many of them teach us lessons about life.

To help us learn about how to get ideas for comic strips, we watched a video.

From the video, we learned that comic strip writers get a lot of their ideas from things and events around them…problems we have at school, our love for tomatoes, friendship, pranks, and more.

Finally, we got a chance to create our own comics!

At the end of the period, Kei shared a comic that she made with the class. It was about a student, who was a bully.

On Thursday afternoon, our Grade 9 Buddies (Kenryo, Elena, Grace, Chloe, Kelly, James, Hana, Max, Pheobe, An, Jan, Toma) visited us. We shared the comics that we made the other day with them. Then we had the chance to make another comic strip. Some of the groups worked together to make one comic and some students worked individually. The Grade 9s helped us to think of ideas and gave us advice about how to draw. It was a lot of fun to share this time with them!

Here are some reflections from the Grade 9s about their experience.

It was a really good experience. Everyone is cute and kind. I really enjoyed the time with 2nd Grade. They were cute!

It was fun playing around with the kids. I was glad that they were enjoying the time. They think differently comparing to us and it was a good opportunity.

They were a very enthusiastic group of people…easy to work with and drawing better than me.

Working with the 2nd Graders is really interesting to me because I don’t get to interact with kids younger than me that often and it’s nice to bond with them. It teaches me to be a bit more carefree like them.

The children were engaging and were focused on the task. They were humorous and co-operative when deciding on what we should make. I enjoyed doing this. It was fun and stimulating for all.

It was great working with them. They were really all excited to make a comic and had great ideas and knew a lot about some techniques about comics like perspective.

Click on the photo below to see a Grade 9/Grade 2 Buddies slideshow in Flickr.


Here are some reflections from students in 2C…

I thought that the Grade 9s…they gave us good advice.  For example, they showed us how to make people shout.

It was really fun because our buddy was telling us to put more illustrations in our picture.

I felt happy because it was the first time that I was with a Grade 9 student that I don’t know. We made a funny comic.

It was really nice to have an experience working with Grade 9 because we don’t often do this, and it was really fun how we share our ideas and we mix them and create a great comic.

Making Our Thinking Visible Through the SEE, THINK, WONDER Routine

For the past couple of weeks, the children have been building their observation, thinking and wondering skills. During one of our workshops the children were asked to SEE, THINK, or WONDER about art. Many pictures of paintings were placed around the room and the children were invited to choose to choose some and write their comments. Instead of writing SEE, THINK, WONDER for each picture, the children were asked to do just one of these parts. This way they were able to view more pictures and have a go at focusing on just one part of the routine.

For this particular visible thinking routine, we write down all the details that we see in the piece of art. Then we think about what we see. Next, we wonder or pose questions about what we saw or thought about. All the parts of the visible thinking routine should connect.
When we write down our observations, thoughts and wonderings, others can see them as well, and when we share them aloud as a class, we can build a deeper understanding. This is a simple routine that the children are very familiar with and can do with you at home or on family trips.

The Scream, Edvard Munch

  • I see an alien crying and screaming for help and there is a person in the back of the people saying, “What is he doing.”
  • I wonder why the artist wrote a person crying or shouting for help.
  • I wonder why the alien is crying in the night.
  • I see a strange type of person being really surprised.

Salvador Dali, Persistence of Memory

  • I wonder why the artist made the things close up stretchy, but the background isn’t.
  • I see that everything is melting.
  • I think that those are not useful.
  • I see a lot of soggy-looking clocks. There is one lying on a twig, one ant clock, and more.

Rene Magritte

  • I see the sky in an eye.
  • I think the artist chose this because eyes can see anything.
  • I see someone’s eye with clouds in it.
  • I think the artist is trying to communicate that he or she really wants to fly.
  • I see the reflection of the sky in someone’s eye.

Paul Klee

  • I see the orange sun and the vines covering the sun in the great jungle.
  • I wonder why they put an animal upside down on the top of the image.
  • I see the sun but there is a star shadow.
  • I think they are in the forest.
  • I wonder why is the bird upside down.
  • I wonder what are those strange shapes.

Both this week and last week, the children did a thinking routine about a piece of artwork as their Home Learning. In class, we shared our routines with several partners. We also had an enlightening class discussion to share our observations. During our conversation, the children began to think about more ideas. They were asked to explain their thinking. For instance, some of the children thought that the black thing in the foreground on the left was a mountain or a castle. After some discussion, some children thought that the black thing was perhaps a burned tree. Below are some examples of their Home Learning SEE, THINK, WONDER.

Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night

  • I see mountains, church, sky, moon, houses, trees wind, starts and words, stone, light, red stones, and hills.
  • I think it is night and everyone is sleeping in their houses and before they sleep they saw a mountain and stars and trees.
  • I wonder what are the people dreaming and when is the stars goign to shine. I wonder when the sun is going to shine.
  • I see swirly wind in the sky. I see a city. I see lot of lights.
  • I think this picture is about aurora in a city or reflection from the sky.
  • I wonder if it is aurora or UFO in the sky or a dust storm or is it night.
  • I see the town is really windy and it is night.
  • I think no one is walking because it is a story day.
  • I wonder if people are in the town?
  • I see a little village. I see the wind howling. I also see the beautiful stars and moon.
  • I think the black thing is a mountain. I also think it’s night because I see stars and the moon shining bright.
  • I wonder how the artist feels and why does he/she feel that way. I also wonder where it is.
  • I see a castle and a fireworks. It is night.
  • I think the castle is for the king.
  • I wonder what is this city’s name.
  • I see some whirly clouds and the moon.
  • I think that this painting is a little confusing because I know that it is night and is going to rain soon.
  • Why isn’t the clouds blocking the moon? I wonder what the whirly cornered black thing is? Is it a castle?


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

Learning about Communication Through the Grade 5 Art Exhibition

Gr2 Exhibition and Communication

On Thursday, the Grade 2s visited the Grade 5 Art Exhibition. Since we have been learning about communication, we decided to learn more from our visit.

The children had guiding questions related to communication to help them in their learning.

Here is what they found out:

The Grade 5s used the following types of communication: music, speaking, writing, signs, computer sites, typing, posters, charts, signals, hand movements, art and more.

Some of the tools the Grade 5s used were: computers, iPad, paper, pencil, books, Internet, Youtube, charts, posters, websites, phone, art, pictures, quizzes, pen, Britannica School, fake food, Tips for…, and more.

Some of the skills that they needed were: reading, how to communicate with blind people, speaking, how to add details, speaking out loud, using hand signals, using body language, using e-mail, using a computers, taking notes, and more.

The Grade 5s researched their questions and wonderings by using the following resources: Internet, reading books, looking on websites and videos, interviewing people, looking at documents and pictures, visiting places, going to learning centers, researching on the computer, as well as asking experts, friends, teachers and parents.

They organized their learning by first researching, then sorting out, then doing more research, and then making posters.
They wrote their learning in a folder.
They categorized their questions.
They organized their presentations by putting up posters and remembering what details and topics they are talking about.
There were not a lot of words, they had an attractive look, and they organized the posters and pictures.

2C had some opinions about the exhibits and also told a bit about what they learned.

Albin and Kai – We liked the Healthy Diet and the Music because the food quiz was so fun. We learned more facts about nutrition.

Lavanya – I liked Karthik’s and Lisa’s because they both explained a lot of things.

Mika – I liked Julia’s exhibition because I wanted to learn about stress.

Troy – I liked the solar panel the best. I learned that solar panels are big.

Yellana – I learned that cats sleep more than humans.

Chanu – I liked the earthquake thing because we need to be safe/learn to be safe.

Daniel – I liked the Minecraft thing because Minecraft creates ideas.

Taka – Minecraft in school is fun because it is Minecraft. I taught a 5th Grader how to make a dragon head move, and I learned to communicate well with other people.

Shunye – My favorite exhibit is the games but I learned not to do(play) too much.

Chan Seo – I liked the Earthquake because we have to be safe.

Lindsey – I learned that you use electronics.

Takafumi and Mari – We learned that we only should use 1 hour of electronics, including iPad and game and iPhone. We also learned when we are using the computer, we should be careful with our eyes.

Carolina and Chaeeun – We liked the quiz because it was fun and cool and interesting.

Nina – I enjoyed Sleeping Tips because now I can sleep comfortably.

Himari – I liked Sleep Tips for a Good Sleep because I learned about other kind of thing.

Damia – I liked Sleep because I didn’t know there was different kinds of beds like soft and fluffy.