Grade 3 – IB Attitudes

The Grade 3 students are about to start their final unit of inquiry for this school year. Before they did that, they had an opportunity to build their vocabulary and knowledge of academic, learning-related vocabulary, while focusing on their communication, cooperation and research skills by inquiring into the IB Attitudes. The IBPYP Attitudes are a vital focus in the development of positive attitudes towards people, the environment, and learning. These are the day to day attitudes we use: appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect, and tolerance.

The students collaborated in pairs or small groups…

“We had a word. I think the words were mostly new. I did not know them before. Well, I had heard one but I did not know what it means.”

“We used an iPad to research what the word means. When I saw it in my language I really knew it and I could tell my partner and write down a… definition. I could give examples.”

“Our word was commitment. It means to keep going. Never give up. We explained it to the other groups and we told them it was important word for learning. You should not give up, even if it is hard for you!”

“Our word was empathy. It was hard to know it. I couldn’t find it. We had to ask another group to see what it means. They told us they know it in their language. After they told us I think we know it. I do not mean helping people. It more means like you know how they feel. Because you have felt that before.”

“For example if you see he is sad and you think “Oh, I know how you feel. I feel like that before. You could help them, but I don’t think that is what empathy means.”

“It was good to have a partner, to help you. To cooperate! That was our word! We cooperated to help each other. I did not know that is what we are doing but we are!”

“We had to research together, because we don’t know it. We don’t know what it means. Google translate help me. And also when I find the word I know a synonym. The word was curious and I said the synonym is wonder. That means I know what it means – when I can think of another word the same. Or say example of it. Like, I am curious about what we will do next week. I wonder what we will do…”

“We had to be communicators to talk to our partner and explain to the other groups.”

“We had to have commitment. To not give up and find what it means.”

“We had to be thinkers to think of the best way to tell it to the other group.”


Grade 2 Communication

Apologies, this post is from 2 weeks ago!

Grade are coming to the end of their unit of inquiry where they have been inquiring into different types of communication. Communication is always a focus in the EAL classroom (and everywhere else!). We have been playing some games to help us notice what is important about communicating and then reflecting on how we communicate and how we can be better communicators.

“We had to have three lego piece and one partner had to make something. Then they had to tell the other partner how to make the same thing.”

“You could not look at the lego. There was a book to hide it. Then you just had to speak. To tell all the words so that they could understand.”

“We had to tell instructions. In the right order, or it would be a different shape.”

“I thought it would be easy, but it was not because you had to be very… specific. You had to tell the exact detail of the colour and the part. Or it would be wrong.”

“It was fun, but not so easy. I thought it would be so easy. I had to be a thinker. To think of the words. I had to be caring, well careful about the right thing to say.”

“I had to be good at asking questions if I was the listener. I had to ask questions to, what is it again… clarify. It had to be clear or I would get it wrong.”

“It made me think about being a communicator – that I should say the exactly thing. Not just think the other persons knows what I think.”

“I had to be a clear communicator. Not just mumble. They had to hear me.”

“I had to be open-minded to listen to the other person idea.”

“I had to be commitment. To keep going and not give up. To think of the best way to tell them how to make it.”


Gr. 5 Unit 6: I Believe

Just like that, we are starting our final unit as Gr. 5 students!

This unit is about the students’ personal beliefs.

The Central Idea is :

  • A person’s identity is shaped by a range of factors.

So this week we are looking into what this Central Idea might mean to us. We will also look at the key concepts for this unit: Connection, Causation and Responsibility.

To help out at home, here are some of the key vocabulary words the students may come across in this unit:

Gr. 5 Exhibition Reflections

First of all, what a great job the EAL students did on their exhibition!  Everyone should be proud.

At the beginning of the unit, I challenged the students to be as independent in their research and presentations as possible. We discussed how the EAL class would be used to practice skills, such as finding key words and paraphrasing. The challenge was for the students to apply those skills to their own research topic.

And they did!

Here is a short list of all the skills we practiced and worked on developing in EAL class:


  • Paraphrasing
  • Describing key information in details
  • Using Key Words to search for information.
  • Sharing our knowledge with other people
  • Using persuasive language
  • Creating Key questions to help with research
  • Creating follow up questions to find the answers.
  • Choosing the right topic
  • Brainstorming topics together
  • Connecting back to key concepts
  • Extra research/work time
  • Lotus diagram (brainstorming)
  • Presentation bingo (practicing speaking and listening skills)


Please have a look at their personal reflections, which are on their Seesaw accounts and feel free to comment!

And as a final reflection, I asked the students to connect their final thoughts and feelings about Exhibition to a picture, using Kath Murdoch’s State of Mind reflection tool.

99% Connected with this photo: with most students stating “I’m tired!”

Building a Love of Reading

Thank you for those that were able to attend our presentation about building a love of reading at home.

Here are some of key points that came up during the discussion:

  • Find a support group! Talk to other families about what they do at home to make reading enjoyable. Or come and talk to your child’s teacher.
  • Use our library and ask our librarians or your child’s teacher for support if you are unsure of which books to check out.
  • Not every child enjoys reading initially, and that is okay. Even if reading is not enjoyable yet, it is important to encourage your child to keep reading as the skills they develop by reading at home will help them in school.
  • Please read in whatever language you are comfortable reading! That might be English, but it might not. Reading in a particular language is not the goal of reading. Just reading (and talking about books) is important. It doesn’t matter what language that may happen in, so long as the conversation about the book is rich and deep.
  • Reading in your Mother Tongue is a great way to bond with your child and to introduce your child to proper language models.
  • Talking about books is just as important as reading the words. Sometimes, even more so. If your child would rather chat about the book than read what is on the page, then let them!
  • Reading a book can look different at any level and with different books. Looking at and discussing the pictures, cover, title or characters are great ways of interacting with books and are helpful to developing reading skills.
  • Make reading time at home a positive, happy time!

We have attached the presentation slide show below, which will have some more information.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Jen Lemery
Graham Laing
Eliza Kumamoto


Grade 2 Update

This week, the Grade 2 EAL students have been inquiring into the language of their new unit of inquiry. They looked at the Central Idea and discussed the key words and together used collaboration and research skills to build an initial understanding.

“We know the word communication. It is one of the words on the wall… the learning profile!”

“Communication means sharing your ideas in different ways. It means talking and listening.”

“I think that communication means talking with people. Even in another language. Not just English.”

“We can communicate with hans signals or writing. It can help make friends.”

How you can help at home:

You could discuss our central idea for this new unit of inquiry and try to make connections about how and why people communicate. These questions may help your discussions: Do you communicate differently with different people? Are there times when communication is difficult – how do you solve those problems? Do you have any questions about how other people communicate?

“Communication connects communities and individuals.”

Grade 4: New Unit: Migration!

This week in EAL the students started working with their new unit, “People continue to migrate for many reasons.
They were introduced to week 1 vocabulary. The words are on Quizlet if you wanted to see them.

The students picked two words that were unfamiliar are created a modified Frayers model for the word. They had to translate the words into their own language, write a simple definition and draw a picture. By the end of the week, most of the students were either confident or semi-confident in the all words.

Key Concepts:
We also talked about Key Concepts, in general. We discussed what each Key Concept meant, and practiced writing questions about the key concepts using the topic of an apple. While some of the concepts were harder (perspective and reflection), all the students gave it a go and could probably tell you what each concept means (at the very least).
Resource: Key Concept cards from Sonya Terborg
Finally, we began looking at what is a Biography, Autobiography and Memoir today. We looked briefly, at some mentor texts and tried to figure out some of the differences between them. We basically figured out that all three types use past tense and are in chronological order. We will do more work with these writing ideas next week!
Week 2 Vocabulary Cards:

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?