Love to Learn

June 12, 2017
by saitod

Picnic Day at Tamagawa

Returning to the Tamagawa area for Picnic Day, the children knew exactly what to do to have fun. This time more confident than before, they just got on with it, sitting down only for a snack and lunch, and then off to explore, run, climb, build, chase butterflies-playing the entire time. In contrast, the adults had a very relaxing time with almost no issues, noticing how much more capable our soon-to-be-second graders, have become.
A big thank you to Jiyaa’s mum and EAL teacher Graham Liang for joining us and a big thank you to Connie for taking these wonderful photos.

Gr 1 Picnic Day

May 26, 2017
by saitod

A Huge Success

The sleepover was a huge success. The general consensus was that the children want to do it again. Thank you to Alex Thomas for being our extra chaperone and a big thank you to our 3 Grade 9 buddies for playing with us in the park. The sleepover is packed with academic and social learning opportunities. We wanted to share it with parents and wonder what else you would add from your perspective.

*Learning Experience

-Being away from home overnight and understanding the feelings this gives you.
-Organizing their own possessions
-Creating their own sleeping space
-Repacking their possessions
-Making their own snacks (onigiri and sandwiches)
-Working out supplies needed
-Making their own breakfast

Getting Ready for Sleep Over on PhotoPeach

Sleep Over Part 1 on PhotoPeach
Sleep Over Part 2 on PhotoPeach

A big thank you to Mrs. Weekes for making these slideshows.

May 8, 2017
by saitod

Getting Ready for the Grade One Sleepover?

The children are very excited about the sleepover and have waited very patiently to start the planning process. Today we started the planning process, and children are very excited to learn that we will be sleeping in the ICJC building (next to the gym). We used this last year and being in our own “house” was very exciting to the children.

Your child will need to pack

  • 1 stuffed toy
  • 1 book
  • Pyjamas
  • Sleeping bag
  • Small pillow
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Hair brush or comb
  • Face cloth
  • Wash bag to put wash things in
  • Full set of extra clothes
  • Clean underwear
  • Flashlight

The children are excited about managing their own belongings and routines. It will be easier for the children to look after their belongings if they are clearly labeled. The children should practice packing and unpacking their bags by themselves, several times, so that they know exactly what they have in their bags, where to find everything and how to fit it all in. (Sleeping bags can be particularly tricky.) This will help the children feel a sense of control and independence and will ease anxiety. We talked about how everything has to fit in one overnight bag and the importance of “packing light”. While we have discouraged the children from bringing big suitcases (for space and storage reasons), it is important that the bag is big enough for children to fit  ALL their belongings inside easily.

Sleepover unplugged

We proposed that the sleepover be ‘unplugged’, with no electronic devices, after much debate the children have agreed.

The children made their first lists in pairs. We came back together and one group read their list. The other groups ticked off  if they had the same item. This was a great tool for working together.

The skills we are developing during the sleepover

Research skills

Formulating questions


Collecting, recording and analyzing data

Thinking Skills

Dialectical thinking



Social skills

Accepting responsibility

Group decision making


Resolving conflict

Self-management skills


Time management

Code of behavior

Informed choices

Communication Skills





Respect, commitment, independence, confidence, cooperation

May 3, 2017
by saitod

Our Comittment to Keep the Frogs

The children were thrilled to find that some of the tadpoles/froglets had changed into frogs over the weekend.

This brought a lot of inquiries. How would we feed them? Our research shows that the frogs feed on very small insects. Can we find small aphids nearby?

We took a look and were happy to find what we thought would make suitable food. Gathering this food will require commitment, were we prepared to take on this responsibility?

We had a vote and the result was unanimous. We would keep and take care of them. This meant that the children will need to use some of their free inquiry time to find food and to research how to create and maintain a suitable environment for their class pets. They all seem committed.

Thank you to Jiyaa and Eliza for taking these photos.
Taking Care of Our Frogs on PhotoPeach

April 22, 2017
by saitod

Different Purposes for Measuring

The children continue to develop their measuring skills. This week the children inquired into measuring volume through making play doh. Using the tried-and -true Grade One recipe that Mrs Weekes and Ms Connie have perfected, the children measured flour, salt, boiling water, cream of tarter and food colouring to make perfectly soft and spongy play doh in vibrant colours. Children spend much of their Free Inquiry creating and playing with their self-made play doh.

Estimating and measuring height became necessary when Annemijn, our wonderful student teacher from Holland who spent the week with us, walked into the room. The first thing the students wanted to do was to find out how tall she was and they  impressed her with how closely they estimated her 174 cm height.

Children noticed stark changes in length with our living things this week. The students’ edamame bean plants grew considerably in height, requiring the need to plant them outside in soil. Another growth in length was the legs of the tadpoles that were first discovered on Monday. By Friday, the biggest tadpole’s legs were over 1cm long and seemed to be growing as our tadpoles continue to look more like frogs each day.

As the children chart the changes in these growing living things, they continue to developing understanding of life cycles and the process of change-while developing their understanding of different purposes of measurement.


April 9, 2017
by saitod

Students as Teachers

Thank you parents for your support with our Student Led Conferences and allowing your child to be the teacher. It was wonderful to watch the confidence the students displayed while leading their parents throughout the various learning engagements and wonderful to note mutual respect. The laughter that permeated was indication that all were having a great time.

April 1, 2017
by saitod

What Happened to Our Toad Eggs?

The children seemed very happy to be back at school after the Spring break, but were surprised to see that the fish tank was empty.

Why did the tadpoles in grade one not survive? Taito, on his first day in 1S, suggested that possibly the water was poisoned. What caused this? Did we have too many eggs for our small fish tank? We used pond water but that seemed not to be the correct choice.

Luckily Ms Czubak’s tadpoles in grade 2 were fine and she shared some of hers with us.

Committed to help these thrive, the students went back to the books and videos to research. We also went to Ms Csubak and asked what she thought. Ms Czubak said that she used tap water and suggested that the water choice may have been why her tadpoles survived throughout the Spring break. Some books suggested using half pond and half tap and all sources indicated that tap water is dangerous right out of the tap and needed to be set out for awhile before using.

Could the location in the room also be a factor?

We decided to do an experiment to see what conditions might be the best.

We gathered some pond water and placed one jar with tadpoles in half pond water and half tap water in a different place in the classroom. We put another jar with only tap water near the window, and left the other tadpoles in the original place with only tap water to see if the type of water and location has an effect on our tadpoles.

We are looking forward to seeing the results next week.



 We, also spent some time this week in the beautiful Yokohama Necklace Garden. The children loved seeing the displays and playing outside. This is a great time to explore the changes in nature, which fits in with our Unit of Inquiry about all living things going through a process of change.

Playing in the park on PhotoPeach

March 13, 2017
by saitod

Signs of Spring

Signs of early Spring is everywhere.

The children were thrilled to learn that the toads were spawning therefore with bucket in hand, off we went to our local pond.

The Journey Begins on PhotoPeach

Back in the classroom the questions started: When will they hatch? What do they eat? How do we take care of them?

When asked what resources they might use to do this research the children suggested: our newly introduced data base, ‘PebbleGo’, books about frogs, the library and the 1S children who had frogs in Kindergarten last year.
After utilising these resources for their research, the children felt confident that the eggs can be left in the small fish tank and that although they most likely will have hatched,  the jelly will provide their initial food. With this knowledge, the children headed off on their holidays without worry.

Here are some signs of Spring the children noticed and photographed around our playground, hopefully they will notice more while out and about during the Spring Holidays!

March 5, 2017
by saitod

Sharing The Planet

People have an impact on the environment.

When presented with a flat board and the challenge to create their own world on this limited space, 1S got to work.


Inspired by a book about people’s impact in changing the natural environment and their understanding of the differences between natural and man-made, many children started by creating natural items for their world. Some groups utilised classroom plants to create a jungle environment, others created a lakeside recreational area using clay as sand to play in and another group created mount Fuji. More trees and animals were also created however one group did something completely different by creating a man-made ballet studio.


All items except for the jungle easily fit in the space and all students seemed happy with how their world was shaping.


The following day, most students used their free inquiry time to continue working and were able to peacefully agree on how to add the jungle onto their world.

The problem started when a large hospital was created with lego. The children understood the importance of having a hospital yet it seemed too big.  Some children thought that they could get all the medicine they needed from the jungle.

Another problem, what would they eat? Could they get their food from the jungle? Lucas thought that they could. One group suggested that they would make a supermarket, but where would they get the food for it? This led to the agreement that they would replace the jungle with farmland to grow their food. Surprisingly, all the children agreed to this.

Up until now the children were able to resolve their conflicts quite easily until Jiyaa noticed that some people had larger areas than others and not everyone had a place to live.

The willingness to live in their shop/hospital/lakeside recreational area and to house-share, minimised the need to use much space for housing, and when Coco agreed that Jamil could live on the roof of her house, all students seemed happy with their living arrangement in their world.

By now most of the world was covered with lego but the children seemed happy with the changes and that it seemed to have everything they needed.

It will be interesting to note how the children feel about their world next week and the Skills and Approaches to Learning they are developing as a result of negotiating how to live their shared space.






February 24, 2017
by saitod

Over 370 Onigiri!

What did you do well today?

This was the question asked when the children reflected on today’s onigiri making event for the homeless. The children talked about how they did a good job of forming the onigiri, weighing, wrapping, cleaning up and showing their parents what to do. They also reflected on how happy they were to be able to contribute to possibly the only food some people would eat today.

The event was a great success. We made over 370 onigiri and the children showed great leadership skills, from the careful weighing of 100g of rice, to organizing parents and in putting everything in the canteen back in place.

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

Making Onigiri for the Homeless people on PhotoPeach

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