Developing Central Ideas and Lines of Inquiry


The students made their final selection for inquiries for the exhibition this week. Difficult!  But probably even more challenging; we developed lines of inquiry and key questions that will drive our research. In groups, we came up with central ideas. Now, this is a difficult challenge even for teachers, so well done kids!

For the next couple of weeks, we will be working really hard to research all that we might need to know to meet our big ideas. Gathering details, posing further questions and making connections.  This is the finding out, sorting out and going further stage of the inquiry cycle.  

Students will gather their information in various ways – personal research using books and the internet, podcasts, videos, songs and stories, images and art, etc.  A great way to get answers is to interview experts or people that are passionate or knowledgeable about our big ideas.  Many people are available here at school and can be done during school hours.


However, students may wish to access people or agencies outside of school and outside of school hours. Here’s where you can lend a hand by getting them to where they need to be or just supporting them in unknown situations.

Here they are… hard at work!


Digital Citizenship / Academic Honesty

Academic Honesty

Academic honesty is a ‘code of conduct’ that consists of six values:

  • Honesty
  • Trust
  • Fairness
  • Respect
  • Courage
  • Responsibility

We will be using computers as we research and to record our learning journey. At the beginning of the year we all signed and ICT use agreement.  We have revisited these ideas this week to ensure we all use our devices responsibly.  

In class, we defined academic honesty and what it means for us.

Some examples of student thinking…

What does this mean for you, Catherine? This means that I should make sure to follow this rule. How? I will act with integrity and make sure I’m staying on task. Make sure I’m being truthful about my learning. Not copying anything without giving them credit. Making sure that I am honest about where I got my information. Trusting myself, to be honest about my learning and if I’m not there will be consequences.

What does this mean for you Athul?  I will not “steal information” from sites without naming the site, I will not make someone else’s idea my own.

What does this mean for you, Julia? It means for me that when I am researching I will stay committed and tell the truth when I need to. I will be a responsible learner and stay on task. I will source my information to give credits and act with respect towards others and myself. I will be fair and responsible and I will always be a reliable, trustworthy person

What does this mean for you, Otto?  For me to work hard and not disrupt others. I will Not plagiarise and will not Disrupt my own learning.


Digital Citizenship

Mr Broughton chatted to the whole grade and also worked with each class on digital citizenship.   

Our ideas about digital citizenship

  • A person who responsibly uses the digital world
  • A member of the online community and acting with integrity (careful and responsible)
  • Is someone who uses online responsibly, respectfully and appropriately
  • Someone uses technology (online) responsibly and respectfully
  • A person that has skills and knowledge to use the internet responsibly
  • Responsible and respectful device user
  • Who develops their skills and knowledge to effectively use the internet
  • Responsible for yourself online
  • A person who follows all the rules of technology who uses it safely

Further points of conversation included:

  • How do we interact and socialise online?
  • How is this different from communicating / interacting with people face to face?

We used to record the communities we belong to such as sporting communities and online gaming community such as Minecraft.

Here’s what the students thought some of the expectations of being part of a community e.g. the YIS community, sporting communities?

  • No bullying
  • Have integrity
  • Be responsible
  • Follow instructions
  • Respect the teacher
  • Be quiet when another person is talking

Then we used a Venn Diagram and worked together to compare two communities… what can you achieve or accomplish in one community that you cannot in another?


Fractions Fun

This week we have been focussing on fractions.  As all students have been exposed to fractions and related concepts over the years, the program will be differentiated to meet differing needs. Through a pre-assessment challenge, the students could determine the areas they needed to focus on or further challenge themselves with.

We all worked on equivalent fractions to varying degrees.  Here are some kids that are ‘equivalent’. Well, in height anyway!

We played a game, sort of like bingo, to see who could fill in their sheet first.  When a fraction was called, let’s say 2/4, the students could colour the most obvious – 2/4 OR they could colour equivalent sections such as 1/2 or 4/8 or 6/12.  Some clever kids even used a combination of different fractions as a strategy e.g. 1/4 + 2/8.

We used the same idea but worked backwards removing equivalent fractions using manipulatives.  Some students used a ruler to help them SEE equivalent fractions. Now it’s time to move on to the ‘traditional’ way of finding equivalent fractions… dividing or multiplying the denominator and numerator… what we do the bottom we do to the top! I’m sure you’re all familiar with this!

Here’s a challenge… take these shapes and divide them to show 2/3.  The students took on this challenge in all sorts of ways. I found it easiest to cut out the shape and manipulate it… I did need to use a ruler to measure for accuracy.  here’s a couple of examples of how students recorded their learning.





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!