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 them. 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, friendship, pranks, and more.

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

On Thursday afternoon, our Grade 9 Buddies (Kenryo, Elena, Grace, Chloe, Kelly, James, Hana, Max, Pheobe, An, Jan, and 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 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!

G2 HS BuddiesBelow are some of the reflections from our Grade 2 and HS buddies:

Something that worked well was:

  • We had fun sharing our comics!
  • Together, we made great stories.
  • We worked well together.  We listened to each other’s ideas and laughed together.
  • We worked together to improve our drawings.
  • We learned how to make bigger comics that are easier to see.
  • We learned that it is harder to make a comic on our own.  It is easier with friends.

Something we would like to try next time is:

  • We could add even more details to our drawings.
  • Maybe we could finish all the illustrations.
  • We know each other better now, so next time it will be easier to share our ideas together.

Please click on the albums below to see other highlights from our week:

International Flag Signals and Ancient Languages Workshops

G2 Workshop #3

Sharing our Writing

Sharing our Writing in 2M

Community Reading

Community Reading 2M


Looking for Messages in Art

The children have been building their communication and thinking skills. During one of our workshops the children were asked to share what they SEE, THINK, or WONDER about a selection of paintings. They were asked to choose from a variety of pictures and write their comments. When we write down our observations, thoughts and wonderings, others can see them as well, and as a class, we build a deeper understanding.

2M see, think, wonder

When the students reflected on their learning here, these were some of their ideas:

What we did… This was important for our learning because…. What we learned was… My next steps are…
  • Looked closely at the details in the paintings
  • Thought about the artists’ message
  • Shared our thinking
  • Listened to other people’s ideas
  • Enjoyed the art
  • We are learning when we share our ideas with other people and listen to other people
  • Sometimes you have a different idea about the message
  • Painting can share a message
  • Art can share feelings
  • I can send a message with art
  • We can tell a story with art
  • I wonder if all paintings have a message?
  • I can try to communicate by making a painting
  • I can ask other people what they think about art

Please click on the albums below to see other photo highlights from our week!

Our Visit to the Yokohama Communications Library

2M Yokohama Communication Library

Creating Criteria for our Book Reviews

Creating criteria for our book reivews

Working With Number

Working with Number

Building our Understanding of our Unit of Inquiry Vocabulary

Building our understanding of the UOI Vocabualry

Student- Led Conferences

For the past few weeks of school, the Grade 2s have been preparing for their Student-Led Conferences. As a class, the children brainstormed a variety of learning experiences that they wanted to share with their parents during their conference time. They came up with a big list of ideas for Unit of Inquiry, Mathematics, and Language and then narrowed it down to the ones they would teach their parents about during our Student-Led Conferences.

Student-Led Conferences 2017

During the conferences the children taught their parents what they learned and let the parents have a go. They explained their current understandings, answered questions and led them through the conference, even completing a reflection and Seesaw post for their Learning Journals.  They spoke in English as well as their mother tongue to explain to the best of their ability. The children did a wonderful job leading their parents through their conference with confidence and independence.


We are Communicators

This week, the students began a 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 – but this all had to be done without speaking!

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 felt like I was going to explode.  I just wanted to speak but no one understood me. I felt sorry because sometimes we didn’t take time to communicate, we just started playing and some people were confused.

– I felt like I was going to burst out with words.

– It felt very funny because whenever people started to speak it looked like they were very frustrated.

– I was trying to move my mouth so they can read my lips and know what I was going to say. It was really easy when I drew a pictures, then people knew exactly what I meant.

– It felt weird because I couldn’t speak and I thought I wouldn’t be able to speak anymore.

– It felt weird because when there is no talking I didn’t know what people meant. It was harder in a bigger group.

– It was funny because I wanted to know why did we not talk and it was strange.

– It was hard to explain what I was going to say.

– It was peaceful.

– My mouth felt weird when I wasn’t supposed to talk.

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 they way we communicate, and how to use different types of communication. Please click on the album below to see photos of the students in action.

G2 Workshop

Here is some of what the students said they would like to do next:

– Try and do all these things and show our moms and dads and friends. We can try and talk to our friends using this type of communication.

– Maybe now I can communicate with people who are deaf and write a letter to someone who is blind.

– I wonder if we can communicate with shapes.

– Now I want to make my own communication and teach it to friends so I can talk in different ways. I want to know more about how people communicated a long time ago.

– Now I know tools that I did not know before.


Grade 2 Communicates their Learning

This week, Grade 2 prepared to teach each other what they learned during their personal inquiries into how the lifestyle choices we make affect our health. Before sharing what they had learned, the students prepared themselves by thinking about the question: How can we communicate our learning?

We asked the student to share their ideas and this about the following:

What do we want to do? What communication skills will we need to achieve our purpose?
  • Teach others what we have learned
  • Help others be healthy
  • Getting information from others to help us stay healthy
  • Be knowledgeable
  • Speak clearly and loudly
  • Don’t be shy
  • Be prepared -Think about what you are going to say.
  • Concentrate on what you are saying – Don’t get distracted
  • Be a little bit nervous so that you really try to do a good job
  • Have a calm body
  • Listen with our whole body
  • Use expression and hand gestures to explain

The students were very interested in hearing what their classmates had learned.  They enjoyed teaching each other as well.

Teaching others about our inquiries in to how the choices we make can affect our health

As a reflection, we asked the students to share their ideas :

What was our purpose? How did we effectively use our communication skills? What Learner Profile attitudes and attributes did we display? How?
  • Share our learning
  • To learn from other people
  • To make people healthier and stronger
  • To listen to others
  • To concentrate on what the people who are teaching are saying
  • We were teachings each other what we learned
  • We talked with expression
  • We were respectful because we listend and cared about what the others were saying
  • I focused on what I wanted to teach
  • I thought about teaching everything that I found out
  • I was always looking at the person who was teaching me
  • We were communicators because we were using expression
  • We are inquirers because we are learning about new things
  • We are inquirers because we were trying to find out how to be healthy



Personal Inquiries…

The students in Grade 2 have been inquiring into a topic related to health that they are personally interested in. They began their inquiry by documenting what they already know about their topic. Then they wrote down questions and wonderings about the topic as well as where they will look to find answers as well as what materials or tools they might need along the way.

The students are going to teach each other what they have learned during their personal inquiries. To plan for their inquiries, we asked the students to decide a) what they would like to teach others about and, b) what they want others to learn.  Here are some of their ideas:

I want to teach others about…..


Hygiene and germs

Good bacteria

Bad bacteria


Sugar and Nutrition





I want others to learn…..

What food has good bacteria.

More about hygiene.

What good bacteria does.

How germs make us sick.

Where germs come from.

What bacteria does to our body.

What you can do to avoid bad germs.

What you should and shouldn’t eat.

How we get cavities.

How sugar causes cavities.

How we can fight bad bacteria.

How germs grow.

What foods help our body grow.

How vitamins help the body fight germs.

How does good food help us fight germs.

Why sugar is bad for our body.

That relaxation makes the body strong.

How we can stay clean.

What we can do to relax.

The children reflect on their research sessions by thinking about the following:


As the children work through the inquiry cycle, they are devising new questions, thinking about their thinking, looking for and conducting experiments to collect data, asking experts (i.e. nurse, teacher, kitchen staff) for advice and help, taking notes, drawing diagrams, making observations, taking photos to document their progress and more.
The students are also using this new information to create a video of a perfectly healthy morning as part of our learning about telling time to the hour, half hour and quarter hour.  See the albums below for photos of the students in action this week.

Looking for Answers to Our Personal Inquiries

Personal inquiries

Creating our Perfectly Healthy Morning Videos

Making a video of a perfectly healthy morning

Looking for information…..

We are inquiring into how different sources of information help people make healthy choices.  This week, the students practiced gathering information from experts, parent surveys, and recipes, as well as collecting their own data to help them make informed choices that affect their health and the way they feel.

Our visit from the dental experts was an opportunity for students to learn more about how we care for our teeth. We learned from the dentists that not only is brushing and flossing our teeth important for good oral hygiene, but that what we eat and drink also has an effect on our teeth and gums.


2M dentist visitWe had a visit with a nutritionist who helped us think about the minerals and vitamins and nutrients in the foods we choose for our snacks.


2M visit with the nutritionist


In preparation for our visit with the nutritionist, we had been reading about vitamins, minerals and nutrients. When looking at a number of food and nutrition guidelines and thinking about what a balanced meal looks like, some students suggested that we create a pretend “Healthy Restaurant” in our classroom so that we can play and teach others about healthy eating. Although we have yet to decide who we are going to invite to play in our “Healthy Restaurant”, we have started to write our breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and specials menus.  We looked at a number of menus to determine the criteria for our menu writing.


2M creating criteria for writing menus

To learn more about the foods we would like to include in our menus, the students looked up recipes online to find healthy and delicious options.

2M looking at recipes

When reflecting on how reading recipes helps us to make informed choices, some of the students ideas included:

What did we do?

We searched for information about the food in recipes.

Why did we do this?

So we can make a restaurant. Because then we can know how to make food taste delicious.

We can make healthy foods.

We can learn about new foods and if they are healthy or not.

What did we learn?

Researching is good because you know what ingredients are in there because there might be healthy or not healthy food.

If we read more recipes and ask more questions then we will know what we can make.

What next?

I wonder how many healthy foods are in restaurants.

We can make more healthy food (by choosing recipes with healthy ingredients).

This week, the students were asked to record data about how much they move at recess and how it made them feel.  Some students chose to run around the playground during their play times and proudly reported that they had run around the playground 20 times during one recess!  We then wondered how far they had run and set out a plan to determine what the distance was. We have decided to find out how far one lap around the playground is and later we can use that information to determine how far 20 laps around the playground is.

First, we had to think about the most appropriate standard unit of measurement to use and so, we started  with a discussion about millimeters, centimeters, meters, and kilometers. After deciding that we would be most likely to run a number of meters, we went outside to begin to measure.


2M measuring


Our thoughtful Grade 2s

This week, the children learned about meditation as part of our unit relating to “Lifestyle choices that people make can affect their health.” We had the chance to practice meditation with Miss Ethel who is a meditation teacher.  She taught us that meditation can “Make you happy, calm your heart and your mind, and help you to be more healthy.”


Some of the ideas the students had about how meditation can affect our body were:

“We can feel calm so we can think.”

“We can relax when we feel bad.”

“Our feelings change when we think about good things.”

“We don’t get really stressed if we meditate.”

“It can help you be happy.”

We practiced three types of meditation.  In the first one, the students sat quietly and repeated the phrases:

“I am a beautiful person.

I am a lovely person.

I love myself exactly as I am.”

In the same meditation, we then repeated to ourselves:

“My toes are smiling.

My ankles are smiling.

My tummy is smiling.

My hair is smiling.

My forehead is smiling.”

We imagined that our whole body was smiling with the idea in mind that if we are smiling in our body, our mood can change for the positive.

The next meditation exercise was to repeat the following phase:

“Peace begins with me.”  For each word, we touched a different finger to our thumb, similar to as if we were counting the words (Peace: index finger to thumb, begins: middle finger to thumb, with: ring finger to thumb, me: pinky finger to thumb.)

IMG_5020Next, we listened to music while sitting quietly with our eyes closed for 5 minutes.  Afterwards we asked the children to tell us what they saw, heard and felt.

I saw…

“My ancestors”

“A blue dragon”

I felt…

“Calm like I was flying in the air.”



I heard…

“The music”

“Different instruments”

“A dragon in the instruments”

Next, each of the students shared a positive affirmation and reflected on how this affects our mood:

IMG_5024“When we think about good things, we can stop thinking about something that is bothering us, even if we don’t forget about the bad things, it is good not to think about them too much.”

Finally, we went outdoors to sit quietly in the sun so that we could listen to the environment around us.

IMG_5030Coming back to our line of inquiry, How the choices people make affect their health, the students had this to say:


IMG_5034“We can do meditation to clear our mind if we have a bad day.”

“In Kyudo (Japanese archery) they said they did that because it helps them relax.  This meditation is also for relaxing.”

“You can find a quiet spot and say happy words without moving your lips.”

“I makes me think that we never need to change who we are, even when we are jealous (of other people).”

“We can always think good things and forget about sad things.”

“I don’t forget about the sad things but it helps me a little.”

“The seniors might like to meditate with us so that we can help them think of good things and feel better.”

“We could choose some music for the seniors to listen to while they relax.”

Observing Growing Germs!

In the HS lab, we were able to observe the gems we collected over the past few weeks to see if they had grown at all.  It was interesting to see which surfaces had the most germs.  Some germs had grown into colonies, but some had not quite done so yet.  Next week, we will take another look and hopefully see more!  Mr. Lorimer and the lab assistant, Harumi-san, have been helping us all along the way in our investigation.

The children first predicted where the most germs would have been collected from.

“I think that the germs that will be the biggest are the ones that were from the bottom of my shoe because that is really dirty.”

“I think that the germs we collected from the washroom are the strongest germs so they will grow the biggest”.

“The germs are going to grow a lot because we put them in the jelly and the jelly has sugar in it.  And germs like sugar.”

Please click on the album below to see photos of the students in action!

2M germ observation

They were excited to see so much growth and keen to draw what they saw as well as take notes. We continue to build our skills as scientists. This means being safe in the lab as well. We are making sure that we don’t walk around with our petri dishes and keep them in the middle of our table.

Afterwards, the students reflected:

What did we do?

“Collected germs from different places and put them in the jelly, then kept them warm for two weeks.”

“We observed the germs to see if they are growing.”

“We saw that there are different kinds of germs because they all look different.  Some are fuzzy and colourful.”

Why did we do this?

“So we can see where the germs are.”

“It is fun to look at the germs.”

“We are inquiring.”

What did we learn?

“Sometimes you can see germs. But you can’t see them before they grow.”

“You have to be careful when you are in the science lab.  You don’t want to spill the germs.”

“The shelf had a lot of germs on it.”

“Some jelly didn’t have any germs growing yet.”

“We have to take notes and draw what we saw.”

What next?

“We can go back to see if the germs have grown more.”

“We should remember to wash our hands before we eat.”

“I wonder if all of those germs are bad for our health?”