Grade 1 Sight Word Story Game

As always, we look for learning experiences that will challenge the students in the how  of learning – the skills and dispositions the help to build understanding – as well as the what – the content.

This week, the Grade 1 students were playing a game to help them recognise the sight words that they have been practising. This game also helps the students prove their understanding of the words, as they have to use the word in the context of the story.

The students reflected on how and what this game helped them learn:

“We had to be thinkers because you had to think about what the other person said. We had to listen to the other people. We had to practise speaking. and making stories. We had to make the story make sense and we had to know what the words mean!”

“If we didn’t listen, then we couldn’t know what to say next. We had to think how to make the story good and funny. You had to listen to all the story so you know what happen.”

Grade 2 – Learning About Leaning

This week, the Grade 2 students took some time to look at the learning wall that they have been building up in the EAL classroom.

They had time to notice and wonder about the posts that they had made and were asked the question “what does it show you about your learning?”

One student had the idea to focus on the colours and first made tally marks to calculate how many of each colour he had, before making a graph of the totals.

“I can see quickly how many of each I have. I have so many orange and not many of green. I think I am not so balanced. I could be more balanced and have the same number of each colour.”

Other students started to make graphs too. “I noticed that I have so many orange reflections. That is the Learner Profile skills. I use them everyday, that is why I have so many. But I mostly have Communicator and Thinker. I think I should be more balanced and try to use the ones I don’t have so many of.”

The students looked more closely at their posts and reflected on many elements of their learning, including how their hand writing had changed, how their focus changed with the units of inquiry, how their balance of skills was good or could improve and various other elements.

They were then asked to note some of these and make a goal for their upcoming learning based on what they had noticed.

“I want to be more balanced. I want to do different (reflections) each time so I get better at more things.”

“I still need to understand what some of the words are. I don’t use them because I don’t understand them. Like this one (principled) and this one (open-minded). I might use them more if I know what they are.”

“I want to get better at asking questions. I don’t have green ones (wonders).”

Please click on the images below to see a larger version.



Please talk with your child about how they learn. You can ask:

What skills help you learn? How do they help you learn?

How do you know if you have learned something?

Which of the Learner Profile skills and dispositions helped you today? How?


Parent Coffee Hour: Building a Love of Reading

The Elementary EAL Department is excited to be hosting our 2nd Parent Coffee Hour event this year titled, Building a Love of Reading.

We will hold the event on Tuesday, April 4th in the loft. Eliza Kumamoto will be available for some Japanese translation as well. 

This event is open for parents of children in ELC to Grade 5.

We will be discussing:

  • The importance of reading at home with your child,
  • How using your Mother Tongue can help in overall language development,
  • Tips and strategies to help make reading at home easier


Coffee and some small snacks will be available.

We look forward to seeing you there!

EAL Frequently Asked Questions

EAL Parent Information from YIS Academics on Vimeo.



  • Check your child’s Home Learning policy and updates – around 20 minutes per day.
  • Try to achieve a balance in your child’s day.
  • Encourage and model reading everyday.


  • Look for a balance in your child’s day.
  • Talk to your homeroom teacher about pedagogy and relevance.
  • Ask your child how they feel about it.


  • Use your home language!
  • Exposure to the language through discussion, books, television, contact with overseas family members.





  • Encourage and model reading everyday.
  • Read and or discuss books in Mother Tongue.
  • Listen to your child reading in any language and ask questions about the book in any language.
  • Ask your child’s homeroom teacher (or look at the link below) for helpful questions you could ask.
  • Please see this YIS blog post for more advice.


  • Use your home language!
  • Notice and talk about similarities and differences between grammar in your home language and English.
  • Come and talk to your child’s homeroom teacher or EAL teacher.


  • Help them understand that it is typical to feel this way.
  • Encourage use of whichever language helps them communicate most effectively.
  • Encourage your child to talk to their homeroom or EAL teacher about their feelings.


Colorin Colorado Website for educators and families of language learners.

Grade 2 EAL Weekly Update

This week, Grade 2 EAL students continued to build understanding of unit related vocabulary and make connections to books and their own lives. We also inquired into some reading strategies and reflected on what helps us understand best when we read.

“We know so many more words about health now. For example I know that hygiene means that you need to keep clean to stop germs from growing and that it is my responsibility to  keep myself clean.”

“We were reading with our partners and giving them feedback about how they can read better. Feedback means you tell them what you noticed about things they did well and things they can get better at. I told my partner that they should not miss the end of the word, like you have to say ‘your’ and not just ‘you’ or it doesn’t make sense.”

“We also read with our partners to ask question. We ask question so we can know if they understand the book.”

“This week I think i was a thinker, because I had to think about what the words mean.”

“I think I was a communicator because I had to talk and listen to my partner reading.”

“I was knowledgeable because I know what all those new words mean.”



  • Read to your child and listen to your child read.
  • Talk about your child’s book in your home language.
  • Talk about the new health related vocabulary that they have learned, for example: hygiene, nutrition, vitamins, lifestyle, health, germs, responsibility, leisure, relaxation, meditation.
  • Ask your child about which of the Learner Profile words they showed each day – thinker, communicator, knowledgeable, caring, balanced, principled , inquirer, risk-taker, open-minded, reflective. Talk about these in your home language.

Grade 3 EAL – Weekly Update

This week, the students were learning about writing about sequential events and using transition words and phrases to make their writing more interesting and informative.

“We went to the garbage and the recycling centre last week and we used a sequence brain frame to plan writing about what happens to our trash and recycling things.”

“Then we thought of different ways to say ‘and then’ between each part of the sequence. If you only use ‘and then’ lots of times, the writing will not be so interesting. You can also give more details when you use other transition words.”

“Transition means that you move from one part to another part, for example moving from grade 3 to grade 4. In our sequence, transition means moving from one part to another part.”

“When we did our writing, it was better because we didn’t just say ‘and then’ lots of times.”


  • Talk about what your child has been learning about at school in your home language.
  • Discuss differences in the way past tense works in your home language compared to English.
  • Talk about transition words/phrases and how they can improve sequences.

Grade 4: Building Our Vocabulary

How do you build vocabulary?
This week, we spent a lot of time building our understanding of the unit vocabulary words. We used the following words:
  • erosion
  • weathering
  • deposition
  • plates
  • plate tectonics
  • Earth
  • inner core/outer core
  • earthquakes
  • Pangaea
  • mantle
  • crust
The students had to become experts in at least two words. Their job as ‘experts’ was to teach that word to another student. Additionally, the students had to rate their knowledge of the words using a “Red/Green” system. Green meant that they understood the word and could explain its Form, Function and How it Changes the Earth. Red meant that they were still developing an understanding of that word/concept.
By the end of the week, you can see that we have more “Green” names than red, which also shows growth in understanding!
Beginning of the week.
Becoming Experts
End of the week.
We even had students explaining words in their Mother Tongue:

Grade 1: Weekly Update

Here are somethings that the Grade 1 EAL students said when they reflected about their learning this week:

“We learned about sounds. A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y are vowel. Every word has one vowel or more. Some words have 5 vowel!”

“We played a game called Quiz, Quiz, Trade. It helps us to practice speaking and listening. We learn about our friends.”

“We have to think about letters and sounds when we write them on the board. We think about the sounds of the letters to make a word.”

How you can help at home:

Please take time to read with your child! If you need more books or different books, please ask Mr Laing, Ms Zoe or Ms Donna. You can also visit this website to find some games that will help children to remember letter sounds. Have fun!

Grade 2: Weekly Update

“We learned about more words that are connected to our unit. They are all words that are connected to health.”

“We learned by finding out what the words mean. Sometimes you can ask people. Sometimes you can use google translate or just google. Sometimes you can look at the book to find what the word means.”

“We also learned what are synonyms. Synonym is a word that means the same but it is a different word. For example sad is a synonym for upset and angry is a synonym for mad. Synonym is a hard word to say!”

“We learned about that it is important to speak clear so that people can understand you. If you don’t then you are mumbling and that is not good because people can’t understand you. If you don’t open your mouth wide then you will mumble.”

“We were communicators because we had to talk about the words and practice speaking. We were also thinkers because we had to find out what the words mean.”

How you can help at home:

Please take time to talk about some of the words we have been learning about in your own language. You could also talk about :

Lifestyle, nutrition, relaxation, hygiene, balance, well-being, leisure,  diet, exercise.

Also, you could play a synonym game with your child! One of you says a word and the other says a word that means the same thing – a synonym. 



Grade 3: Weekly Update

“Waste, pollution, consume, compost, reduce, recycle, reuse and finite. We learned what these words mean. We learned it by reading books, for example finite. We researched on google translate and asked our friends.”

“We were inquirers because we needed to know how to save the world and what the words mean. We were caring because we want to know these words and learn how to help the world more.  We were thinkers because we had to figure out what the words mean.”

“We practiced speaking and listening because we had to explain what the words mean to other people.”

“We learned about open and closed questions more. Closed questions are when there is only one answer or it could be yes or no. Open questions are when you must think of how to answer the question – it is more challenging… for example: Do you think this makes or solves a problem for the earth and why? If you add why to the question it can make it an open question.”

How you can help at home:

Please take some time to talk about the following words at home and discuss whether they cause a problem or solve a problem for the word.

Waste, pollution, consume, compost, reduce, recycle, reuse, finite.