Hello Vermont, Mexico, Hong Kong and Indonesia we are KP.

Our Unit of Inquiry: Personal journeys show the way that people change and can lead to new opportunities.

One way to map change overtime is to record our thoughts onto a Voice Thread. The best thing about a voice Thread, Kyle discovered, is that we can share it on the blog. The really cool thing about Voice Thread is that anyone can add to our discussion.

We are excited to share our thoughts with other schools. We soon realised we had a problem,

  • They can come to us… umm no, who will leave their grown ups.
  • We will Skype… ummm no, America is asleep when we are at school.

We can use the blog and we can share our Voice Thread… umm YES!

This fits perfectly into our Unit of Inquiry, no extra work. The children are learning how to express themselves thoughtfully and articulate clearly (speaking and listening skills, Language Arts curriculum).  The added value is the audience. The children are mindful that their words are being shared around the world.

A huge thank you to our ICT facilitator Elif Raskin for helping the children. Next time they will work in small groups to support each other master the tool. Voice Thread is a focus tool for us this year. We feel it is a valuable technological tool for children build metacognitive skills (think about their thinking0 and support language growth.


Helping children get better at reading by building vocabulary.

“Think of reading as a two-lock box, requiring two keys to open. The first key is decoding skills. The second key is vocabulary sufficient to understand what is being decoded.”

E.D. Hirsch, Jr. and Robert Pondiscio in “There’s No Such Thing as a Reading Test” in

American Educator, Winter 2010-2011 (Vol. 34, #4, p. 3-11, 53)

Ask your child and they will tell you… if you don’t understand the words you are not reading.

Decoding = using sounds to help you (phonics), breaking words down to pieces you can read.

Understanding = getting meaning from the words.

So what do you do at school to develop vocabulary and understanding?

We read lots of high quality literature with very challenging vocabulary.  We may spend days rereading books, finding the parts we love the most. We have conversations about what the author means. It is like having a long lovely bath in books.

On the walls you will have seen photocopies of the pages of books the children loved the most. They picked out their favorite words that help you see the story in your mind.

Here is an example ‘a child’s garden, a story of hope’ Michael Foreman.

You can get many of these books from the library. The sakura nominated books for 2011 are all wonderful.


Can you show an example of my child using descriptive language?

Here is a voicethread the children made. They picked some of their favorite illustrations and described the pictures. Listen to their words.

How can you do all this technology teaching? How can you find the time?

How well is my child doing learning about technology?

IMG_1004Today we created expert badges. Every child picked their area of  technological expertise and we made them a sticky label. They can now help other adults or children. Needless to say they are very proud. PLEASE ask them about their badge.

The children have had the laptops for two weeks now. I have watched them develop a learning community. One person learns something and shares their expertise. This has really made the children consider what they are good at and has made them verbalise their skills.  Sometimes I explicitly teach something to one child and they become the expert and share it with others.

I generally do not teach something twice. Voicethread has been the exception to this, but now I have a little ‘how to’ comment at the beginning of the presentation (I made this as I was teaching the class) and left another one with feedback. The children checked it out and changed their recordings.

This voice thread is the result of a field trip exploring limited space in Yokohama. It is part of our unit of inquiry. The Japanese department took us for a walking tour. The children took the photographs.

NOTE: The children worked out how to do video recording by themselves. I did not teach them this. My ‘how to’ and feedback comments are on the first slide.

Yokohama to Outback Australia. Learning around the world.

With advances in technology the world is your child’s classroom. Our classroom stretches around the world.
The school was approached by a teacher in a remote rural school in Australia who wanted to involve us in their class project. Although KP students are much younger than than these higher elementary school students we were able to take part in the project because we can utilise technology to communicate our ideas.

To begin
We looked at our school using Goggle earth and found our school. The children were excited to see the school and Yokohama. They commented on all the buildings. Next we looked at Oombulgurri. We zoomed closer and closer and the children were very suprised that there were no buildings.

Yokohama Oombie Goggle Earth

How will we talk to them?
(Children of the 21st century know you can use technology to communicate in many ways)
We talked about how we were going to communicate with the children, we made a list:

  • Go there. We will need our grown ups. How will we pay for the tickets? School will pay, Ms Zoe will pay. We don’t want to go without our mummy. Umm… we need another way.
  • Phone them, we don’t have a phone… we don’t know their number
  • On the phone write (text)
  • Email them on the computer.
  • Talk to them on the computer like I do to my granddad, Skype.
  • Send the letter in the printer (fax?) (scan?)


How will we share information about ourselves?

How will we tell them about us?
We wrote lists of all the things we thought people needed to see see in our school and outside.

We used a programme called voicethread that enables children to record their voices. We had a self-portrait to show who we were and the children talked about themselves. Ms. Maira spoke in Japanese.

How will we show our school and local area?
IMG_0438The children love taking photographs, digital cameras enables children to take as many pictures as they like. We went for a walk around school and down the road. The children thought about what they wanted to show and what would be of interest to others (classroom, playground, turf,vending machine, Japanese writing and the garage truck). We added pictures of the earthquake drill.

We used a simple programme called Photopeach which let’s children pick 20 pictures and add music.  It makes a photo story that can be shared. I typed what they wanted written under each slide.

About Japan with pictures and words by KP. on PhotoPeach

And the world has started to reply…

Hello Oombie
We made a short video for asking the children of Oombie some questions about their profiles.