Tuning in to our Exhibition

We have been extremely busy this week ‘tuning into’ the exhibition Transdisciplinary Theme and possibilities for inquiry.

So many learning engagements that occurred over the week to assist our tuning in…

Groups brainstormed what are issues for:

  • Me / us (personally)
  • Family / friends
  • Local – Yokohama
  • Country – Japan
  • Global – the world

We created a logo to represent our Trans Theme – Here’s what Phebe came up with.

We explored a big global issue and discussed why it matters. Here is Julia’s.


We have used a five-stage process to help us make our big and important decision…

  1. We used a lotus diagram to explore big global issues and smaller issues that could be tackled. Here is an example by Kaira.
  2. We then went on to explore big ideas of interest and how we might reduce the possibilities to just a few relevant and meaningful ideas.  Here is Kazumi’s example.
  3. Next, we looked at our top three ideas. Through the use of a Google Doc, others collaborated with us to share their thinking and add ideas to our own.
  4. With our two top choices, we used the sphere of influence to check that we could look through.
  5. And finally, we selected just ONE IDEA. we worked through a checklist (which required elaboration) to see is it was a viable and realistic choice.  Here is what Otto is thinking.


It has been a week of thinking, conversations and decision making.  Please take the time to talk to your child about their choice.  Have them explain why they have chosen it. Maybe you have ideas.


Last week we culminated our fourth unit How We Express Ourselves and this week, as we’re sure the students have informed you, we launched into many Grade 5 meetings and discussions to lead us into our fifth unit How We Organise Ourselves. OUR EXHIBITION UNIT.

On Monday we kicked off with an introduction to exhibition with photos from the previous year – ‘starting with the end in mind’

On Tuesday we looked at the Transdisciplinary Theme: How We Organise Ourselves and what this entails. We also had a visit from the grade 6 students who worked through the exhibition process last year. Our question session with grade 6 students focussed on:

  • HOW you chose what you wanted to inquire into?
  • WHY you chose it?
  • WHAT you did as part of your Exhibition – where you went, what resources you used, who you spoke to etc.

Some further conversation had us reflecting on when we viewed the Grade 10 ‘Personal Project’ Exhibition. Our conversation focussed on

  • What impressed us? What topics or projects most interested us?
  • WHY? What did the student DO to help us to understand their issue?
  • What resources did the student use? Think about people they talked to, places they went, online resources, library resources and others
  • What did we think could have been done better?

As the students were so engrossed listening to the grade 6 students we followed up on this on Wednesday. We talked about what ‘stuck with us’, what we could use to help us in our own inquiries in the coming weeks.

On Thursday we looked at the ‘Sphere of Influence’.  A Circle of Influence encompasses those concerns that we can do something about. They are concerns that we have some control over. As opposed to A Circle of Concern, the wide range of concerns we have, such as our health, our children, problems at work, the amount of government borrowing, or the threat of war. 

And finally Friday.  Today we started thinking about the possibilities. Students had the opportunity to collect great ideas by looking at ideas generated through class Padlets 2016.  

In relation to making decisions regarding making a decision, we are encouraging the students to ‘keep it in mind, and keep open minded to all possibilities!’ We have all next week to explore before making a final decision.

Phew… what a productive week!


Capacity Challenge

This week in Mathematics we’ve been focusing on CAPACITY.

Learning outcomes: We can…

  • Estimate capacity
  • Measure capacity – milliliters – liters
  • Order items by capacity
  • Convert imperial to metric (or vice-versa) – use decimal notation


One of the learning engagements was to make our own measuring container

The equipment we used…

  • 500 ml plastic bottles
  • Standard containers to test
  • coloured water
  • tape, markers, funnels

Check out some photos of us at work – clip 

We also watched two great clips about capacity and displacement

  • TedEd Archimedes principle (video 3 min)
  • TedEd The Real Story of Archimedes


Persuasive Writing

We have been working on persuasive writing.  This may be a text type that the students might choose to use for their presentation during the exhibition for more serious topics.  

An argument usually consists of the following:

INTRODUCTION – a statement of position at the beginning


  • a logical sequence of arguments – a series of
  • A logical sequence of arguments – a series of points  backed up with evidence
  • a good argument shows cause and effect. This is the connection between an action and what leads to it, eg. The fish died as a result of pollution in the water.

CONCLUSION – a summing up or restating of position at the end

Some of the students have selected their favourite piece and posted it below as a comment. You can see how they went.  Some are serious, some are quite entertaining.

Mindful Awareness

In a week of ISA testing, it was good to be mindful about how we respond when things get difficult.

Let’s say… what you’re learning about is really hard, almost too hard… you might experience one of these… Is your response (or reaction) fight, flight or freeze?

  • Fight – irritability, loss of temper or defensiveness
  • Flight – avoidance, anxiety or fear
  • Freeze – numbing, detachment or giving up easily


AND What happens in your brain?

SENSORY INPUT (hard work) –> amygdala prefrontal cortex =  fight, flight, freeze!

SENSORY INPUT (hard work) –> amygdala –> prefrontal cortex = conscious response


Mindful or Unmindful? what do you think?  

We talked about some everyday situations – mindful or unmindful??? (of course, some might see both sides!

  1. Paying such close attention to what someone is saying that you can repeat or explain it to someone else
  2. Deciding not to speak to someone because he or she has not spoken to you
  3. Choosing a style of shirt you don’t like because your friend says you should wear it
  4. Practising a new skill during sports practice or music lesson until you feel your body improving
  5. Listening to a friends favourite new song all the way through before making a judgement on it
  6. Being willing to try a new food that you’ve never tasted before, even though it looks different from anything you’ve eaten
  7. Rejecting a new food because it’s unfamiliar to you
  8. Daydreaming or ‘tuning out’ what is happening around you without really noticing and hearing what is going on
  9. Intentionally ignoring a classmate who seems eager to join your game or group
  10. Helping someone in need, someone with physical challenges, someone whose needs are different from your own
  11. Listening attentively when someone is speaking and not reacting until the person is finished


Thanks Google for the images

History of Japan

History of Japan

Yesterday we began inquiring into the periods of Japanese history.  We have selected one period the look at thoroughly.  We decided that the things we might research include:

  • Relevant dates
  • How and why it transitioned from the previous period (causation)
  • What changed? (connection)
  • Significant events – what happened?
  • Leader(s)
  • Lifestyle

It will be interesting to see the connections to the units’ key concepts – causation, connection and perspective AND to the Line of Inquiry – How a culture’s historical events contribute to its aesthetic expression


Elementary School Art Exhibition

Many of our Elementary School students will have their artwork exhibited in the annual Yamate Art Show from February 11-19 at The British House here on the bluff. This venue is the large gated house across the street from the main entrance to YIS (formerly the British Ambassador’s residence).

This art show is part of the Yokohama Yamate Art Festival (which showcases the artwork of students from several schools in houses in the Yamate area). The exhibition hours are 9:30-17:00 daily.

Please come visit the YIS art gallery and see the energy, efforts, and two- & three-dimensional creativity of our Kindergarten through Grade 5 artists!

The Mathematics of Paper Planes

Check us out… LINK TO VIDEO 

Learning outcomes…

  • Select appropriate tools and units of measurements to determine length mm, cm, m, km
  • Measure length using decimal notation
  • Carry out unit conversions – metric to imperial

Before beginning the lesson, we brainstormed the learning we thought might take place, which led us to possibilities for further inquiry.

As we began the investigation – testing and measuring we realised that we had had questions and had to consider other factors…

  • Which direction the wind was blowing?
  • If the weather app reads wind: N 5m/s does that mean it’s coming from the north or blowing towards the north?
  • We used a compass to find out where north is in relation to where we are, therefore, which direction will we aim our planes?
  • We applied our learning about the Scientific process (from our unit How the World Works)

Possibilities for further inquiry

Aerodynamic design

  • airplane that has balance of lift, thrust, gravity, and drag will fly longer whereas a plane that with little or no balance will have shorter flights or may possibly nose dive straight to the floor (planes which are longer and balanced will fly longer, but those that are shorter and heavier in the front will barely fly at all).

Various forces can easily affect the distance and length of the flight

Exploring countries that use metric / imperial units of measure

Week 20 Semester 2

What a busy week!


Tuning into beauty.  We used these photos to categorise (freestyle to begin with) into three categories – 1. What is beauty 2. what is not 3. where we were unsure.

(photo right)


Grade 10 Personal Project – grade 5 went along (with an exhibition headset) to check out what the senior students had achieved and how it might help them for their own presentations in the future.  It was outstanding.

Kathryn Claire ran a songwriting workshop.  The only problem was… the time went too quickly!


We started thinking about persuasive writing.  Our lead in read aloud was a book called ‘I Wanna Iguana’. We then went on to discuss the for and against reasons for having a monkey as a pet!



An outing to visit the house of  Shoichi and Colleen.  What amazing things these two artists have done with gomi.  We also had a walk to take photographs of what we could find in nature that appealed to us as ‘beautiful’.




Tech Day – I wish I had more photos to share.  Here’s a few from the ‘truss bridge’ building in the auditorium.


Christopher Blasdel visits

On Friday we were fortunate to have visiting artist Christopher Blasdel talk to us about aesthetics in music.

He introduced us to Shakuhachi.



The shakuhachi is a Japanese end-blown flute.The shakuhachi, originally introduced from China into Japan is traditionally made of bamboo.  Chris Sensai, played flutes from various countries to demonstrate the difference between what is aesthetically pleasing to our ear (harmony – wa) and chaos.


  • A very creative arrangement using Koto.
  • Oliver uses his voice to calm the chaos.
  • Taiyo using a double reed flute from Hungary.
  • The flute group show the difference between orderly and disorderly.








Semester 2, Week 2

What a fun time we had at the Cup Noodle Museum.  

Thank you so you mush for the offers of help and for those who could come along with us today. It made supervision much easier and allowed moments for some wonderful chats as well.  Thank you especially to Sean’s mum for being my translator and to Athul’s mum for a wonderful surprise of a birthday cake and gift at the end of today.  Oishi!

Check out some photos here on a slideshow (you might need to double click to start the photos)

A Wish Web

During morning meeting earlier this week we created a wish web by rolling a ball of string to each other.  When the string was rolled your way you had your chance to make a wish for the day.

It was so great to hear students wishing for the well-being of the group or for the success of the Summative assessment task.


Kath Murdoch visits 5H – A teacher who teaches teachers about teaching 

Kath came to 5H to model inquiry practice to the grade 5 teachers and work with the students reflect on the unit. We talked about the happenings throughout the unit and what was of value (or not) to us. The students used creative thinking to evaluate the unit’s work

Throughout the unit about energy, we learnt in many different ways… What has helped us learn about energy? 

  • Reading books
  • Accessing websites
  • Listening to the teacher
  • Visible thinking routines such as I See, I Think, I Wonder
  • Team experiments
  • Compiling a Google Doc to record our research
  • Watching videos
  • Making a video
  • Visiting the Cup Museum

How can we use our thinking to evaluate experiences? The students chose all sorts of methods to document their evaluation…

  • Catherine developed a T-chart showing what helpful and what was not
  • Elsie created a timeline rating tasks using negative or positive numbers
  • Maya designed a helpful/unhelpful thermometer
  • Julia did it in pictorial form
  • Phebe did a cut and paste of her work in order of value with an explanation for each
  • Harumi used a ‘Telling’ brain frame
  • Line graphing depicting each task and their value
  • A few students drew up lists and charts
  • Google Slides
  • Billy and Kenzo used a PowerPoint