The children lead the making of over 370 onigiri to feed the homeless people in Yokohama.

The room was filled with grade 1 students, their parents, high school students and teachers. Today the children organized and lead the making of over 370 onigiri to feed the homeless of Yokohama. They raised all the money needed through an arcade they made. They went to the shops and brought all the ingredients. They researched how much rice was needed through a meeting with Chef Darren.

Thank you to everyone who help make this possible.

We are leaders not bosses. Organizing onigiri making for the homeless.

The children started to discuss their role as the organizers for the onigiri making for the homeless. They started to talk about ‘boss’ and ‘leader’. The conversation is recorded below. In summary the children equate ‘boss’ with ‘bossy’, someone who tells others what to do. They see themselves as leaders. These are people who do the work, ask questions to see how people are doing and are kind to others. We discussed that when organizing others you can decide the style you use. The children thought they were leaders today as they worked with others and were kind when they told people what needed to be done.

Finally we pointed out that leaders often take the time to say thank you to people. We also discussed that it is good to say why you are thanking people. The children decided to say thank you to Ms Connie for washing up by talking to her. They sent an email to the high school students thanking them for helping and coming to school early. They made a card and origami for Chef Darren for making the rice at 6.00am. They will thank their parents in person for taking the time to come and help.

We made 370 onigiri today and the children showed great leadership skills, from the careful weighing of 100g of rice, to organizing parents and cleaning up the area.

OUR SINCERE thanks for taking part today and most importantly standing back and letting the children lead.

Photo’s by Connie

“Being leader is difficult… it is trying hard with other people… then it is easier in the whole world.” Aoi

The Mathematics of Helping Others.

The children asked to meet with Chef Darren to research  how much rice would be needed to make the onigiri for the homeless. As the leaders of this session the children have raised money to buy the ingredients. Each onigiri needs to weigh 100g. The children have been practicing estimating and weighing 100g of plastercene as practice. They have been using digital scales.  Measurement should be a very practical area of Maths and be used to solve real-world problems.

What we did

  1. Spend time holding different items, one heavy, one light. We asked parents to discuss this in their home language.
  2. Children learned how to use the scales.
  3. They collected and weighed items.
  4. Children put together a collection of items that came to 100g
  5. They practiced adding and taking away amounts from the scale to make 100g

These learning engagements can be found on your child’s Seesaw learning Journal. Here is one example

Here is an example of making 100g of plastercene by estimating first, to “get the feel” of the weight.

You can clearly tell the children understand what they are doing and why.

The children took the money they raised from their cardboard arcade and made a trip to the supermarket to buy the rice and other ingredients. They learned that a 5kg bag of rice is heavy to carry back to school!

Thank you for the pictures Connie

What learning outdoors teaches us.

We spent a day immersed in the outdoors. The children climbed concrete embankments  and trees. They engaged in observations of worms. They ran and ran, waved sticks and defined their own social relationships.

The Tamagawa river excursion gave us a day to observe the children in a  different learning environment. Our sincerest thanks go to our parent volunteers who respected the children’s ability to learn as we watched them climb and explore.

Observations on learning. The natural and man-made environment as a provocateur of thinking and learning.

Children will always find a way to learn through play. Even sitting on a train to the river the children were swinging their legs as they explored motion. They played their own version of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Children are keen observers and quickly act upon their observations, using their own value system. The children wondered about the homeless peoples houses. the children asked whether they could go to the Chiku Centre.

Children work within their boundaries of comfort and risk. Every space provides an opportunity to play and learn. The children walked past a concrete embankment and spent twenty minutes climbing the structure. Someone  noted this was, “scary, but fun!”. We made careful observations of the children. We noted that children climbed as high as they were comfortable and only then carefully pushed their boundaries. This is the embodiment of education in an atmosphere of wise freedom.

Children can concentrate for extended periods of time. The children decided to make a tree house, they applied all their collective skills to the task. Other groups made shops and birds nests.

All this occurred before 12.00, the learning went on and on.

Reflections from the adults

Parents: The children can do so much.

Teachers: Children should not have their time over-planned, they are capable of self-directed learning. Children are able to sustain peaceful play for hours in a natural environment. They can concentrate and focus for extended periods of time.

Article Children focused through free play

Photographs by Ms Connie


Author of the month, Oliver Jeffers.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.47.26 PMThe author of the month  is Oliver Jeffers. We have chosen him because he creates beautiful stories from simple text, but very challenging ideas. The stories are poignant and convey emotion through words and illustrations. He is a great mentor author as his books offers us the opportunity to deconstruct fictional texts.

One of the areas of writing we will be focusing on will be creating fictional texts. We have begun to have discussions about elements of a fictional texts. The children are focused on character and Jeffers books will help us explore the narrative devise and problem and solution. The books will also help the children develop the vocabulary needed to convey emotion.

A wonderful video about the day in the life of an artist. How he captures ideas and creates books.

Oliver Jeffers Author Film 2013 from Oliver Jeffers on Vimeo.

We have begun discussing how people are inspired to entertain people and show their creativity.

Oliver Jeffers created a video for a U2 song.

K-2 Technology Challenge

Whilst we engage with design and technology on a daily basis at school, we wanted an opportunity to highlight all the forms this can take. Thank you to Mr Broughton for organizing this.

Here are some of things the children took part in


Boat making

Design electronics

Lego Technics

Tower building

TV program making

And more…

Thank you to Ms Connie for the photos.

Mathematics, being challenged at your level… or “This is so much fun!”

Each day we present some Maths challenge to the children, they also have lots of opportunities to develop and solve their own problems. Our class Maths challenges can be accessed on many levels. The children like to return to old favourites… as the children’s skill develop their strategies change and become increasingly complex. One favourite is how can you make 10.

“Make a donation, that means the money is not for us.” Making an arcade to help feed the homeless.

The children spent along time deciding how to raise the money needed to make onigiri for the homeless. As leaders they decided upon a cardboard arcade. After lots of thinking, designing and redesigning it is ready. The children invited their parents to come and play. There were donation boxes outside the room explaining what the money will be used for. As the children noted, we need to use the word donation because then people know it is not for us. The money is to make food for the homeless people. The chidlren are very committed to helping others.

To all who came to play the arcade, thank you! We raised…. 32,178 yen! THANK YOU


The arcade. You can aslos hear your child talking about their game on their Learning Journal (Seesaw)

Thank you Ms Connie for the pictures

The Making of The Arcade on PhotoPeach

An Arcade For A Cause on PhotoPeach

Why We Are Teaching Coding In Grade One.

We constantly read about the need for programmers and the advantages this gives. Coding is challenging but fun, just like grade1!

The children are learning how to develop sets of logical instructions to program into our toy robot. We discussed this as a form of writing. The children are developing their understanding that the robot only does what they program. This has proved challenging… especially if they forget to program the “clear” command and get the last person instructions!

Why is this Maths?

We have five areas of Maths we cover (Number, data handling, measurement, shape and space and patterning). Shape and space encompasses the language of direction. As with all good Mathematical thinking this affords an opportunity to be creative in our thinking and application.

Check out your child’s Seesaw account for personal examples!