Friday, March 24, 2017

Focusing on Friendship

In honour of Anti-Bullying Week, we spent time throughout our week talking about friendship; what it is and what it isn't and how to keep our relationships healthy.

We began our week with a class meeting, as we do each week. The question of the day was, "A real friend is someone who..." We each gave feedback on what constitutes a 'real friend'. Our thoughts included:

  • is willing to resolve conflict when we have one
  • appreciates our differences
  • doesn't care how you look but about who you are
  • will protect you 
  • cares
  • is helpful
  • protects the real you 
  • tries to cheer you up when you're sad
  • respects your ideas
  • is always on your side
  • is there when you need them
  • keeps your secrets
  • includes you
  • doesn't judge if you're right or wrong
  • doesn't leave you lonely
  • doesn't put limits on your friendship
  • notices when you're upset and does something about it

We then read the book Each Kindness by Jacqueline Wilson.

We felt the most important lessons we could learn from this book were: 

  • each kindness counts
  • don't wait until it's too late to reach out to someone who might need you
  • kindness spreads like ripples in the water
We also read the book Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

We enjoyed that we could tie this book into friendship and our unit of inquiry. This book is based on the teachings and stories of Zen Buddhism. We reflected that in friendship:

  •  it is important to let the small things go 
  • all things that happen, happen for a reason
  • even when you have very little, it is important to give to others
Finally, we spent a bit of time talking about different lunchroom scenarios and practiced identifying whether the behaviours were mean, rude or bullying behaviours. Many of us were surprised to learn that using our friendship-or taking it away- as a way to hurt others is called relational aggression and is, in fact, a bullying behaviour. 

In Unit this week, we completed a bit more research and then began to synthesise our learning. 

As part of our research, we learned about Hinduism from Ms.Pooja. We learned that eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism are related, just like Christianity, Islam and Judaism. We were curious about the Hinduism creation story, so we found a video that helped us understand a bit more. We shared our big learning, added to our notes to make connections and note how our thinking might have changed and then discussed our thinking as a group. 

Ms.Pooja shares about Hinduism

Antanas looks through his written notes, while Aleksandras refers to notes he's taken on his phone during their conversation with Ms.Pooja to add to their independent inquiry findings

4L watches the Hindu creation story about Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu

Whole group share- what was our biggest takeaway from learning about Hinduism

We then took what we had learned throughout our research during the unit, and began to synthesise our learning. We began by reflecting on Line of Inquiry 1: Similarities and differences between major world religions. We used Venn diagrams and chose two religions to compare and contrast. 

Rojus and Aleksandras complete Venn diagrams

Migle looks through her research notes to add thinking to her Venn diagram

Next, we summarised what we had learned about Line of Inquiry 2: The relationship between religion and people's expression. We began by brainstorming what we had noticed during visits to different religious places of worship and what we had discovered through research. Together we made a list of all the forms of religious expression we observed. 

4L brainspill about different forms of religious expression

We each created a tic-tac-toe. In the middle, we wrote "religious expression" and in each box around the centre, we chose any forms of expression we felt we knew about based on our research. We drew a line to connect 3 in a row (just like tic-tac-toe) and wrote statements about those chosen forms of expression to answer the questions:
  • Why do people do this?
  • How is this expression connected to their religion? 

Finally, we reflected on Line of Inquiry 3: How religion impacts society. We did a quick 'rocket write' where we independently wrote all of our ideas/thinking in a list for 2 minutes. We  then chose one item from our list to elaborate upon. We then shared our thoughts in a whole group discussion. 

Rocket writing as a mind map

Rocket writing turns into a paragraph

In writing this week, we continued to look at good habits of poets. We spent a bit more time working on 'embracing' interesting words and unique phrases in poetry we read. 

Benas and Liza explore poetry books to collect noticings

Steven and Domantas look through different poetry books for pieces of inspiration

We also looked at habit 3 which was 'Don't Lose Your Ideas'. Luckily, we already had a method for that, so we decided to create a new writing territory list in our writing notebooks just for poetry. We've begun collecting thoughts, inspiration, phrases, etc. in this territory. 

We did some shared reading of poems this week. We began to highlight and annotate thinking, noticings and favourite phrases/words to keep as inspiration. 

Our shared poems this week were:
  • "Poems" by Kate Coombs
  • from "American Address" by Thanhha Lai
  • "Library" by Valerie Worth
Class thoughts on T. Lai's poem

Class annotation and thoughts on V. Worth's poem "Library"

We then spent time sharing our poems with peers and creating new poems. 

Modelled annotations on student's inspiring poem

Finding inspiration in another student's poem

In math, we began our study of division. We had our first division number talk where we shared many of the strategies we already use or know. This sparked a discussion about how some strategies would be fine with small digits but we questioned how they would work once we got into problems with 3-digit dividends. 

Our first division number talk strategies- Yigit's strategy of repeated subtraction has got us curious so we try to prove it by completing two more problems using the works!

We began our work with division by solving number stories. This has been helpful for us because we are able to visualise what the process of division is really about. We also learned to use the multiplication/division number story table as a tool to organise our thinking. 

Yigit works to fill in our story problem table

We also learned a new division strategy called Number Towers. We found it very handy for those of us who are more comfortable with multiplication than division. 

We worked to solve division and multiplication number stories, as well as practiced our division skills playing the game "Division Dash" with partners. 

Domantas and Aleksandras play 'Division Dash'

Sofia shares a division strategy with Gerda, while Yelyzaveta walks through a story problem with Sofija

Once again, we evaluated our own abilities to decide whether to work independently, with check-ins or with guidance. We found it helpful to work with peer teachers as they were able to explain the process from new perspectives and help some of us see problems in a more friendly way. 

We enjoyed a wet day together with 4A in the park. From discovering the wonders of life that spring is bringing, to playing with the cutest collie we know, to finding treasures that the snow had hidden all winter, to creating a grade 4 was a wonderful time! 

Upon returning from the park, we each reflected on what our time at the park has taught us about friendship. We have learned:

-how to resolve conflicts with friends
-it's important to be friends with everyone, not just a select few
-how to create our own exciting games 
-how to recognise when someone is being a good friend, and when they're not
-how to be a better friend to others
-to leave certain people alone when we see they are not interested in playing with us
-how to make rules so everyone has fun in the game
-the importance of keeping a secret

Genius Hour remains one of our favourite times of the week! We enjoyed celebrating more finished Passion Projects this week. 

Eva shares her gymnastics routine to music that she created

Yigit shares his Lego stop-motion movie about helping a homeless person

The rest of us continued to make progress on our current projects. 

Yelyzaveta works on the creation of her fashion website
Migle and Antanas practice and prepare for their magic show performance for the Dolphins class 

Aleksandras (aka Ms.Lezlie's assistant for today) helps Basel figure out how to use 'Scratch'

Sofia celebrates the fruits of her labour - all of her cat interviews for her new book!

Rojus researches different game platforms 

Shourya begins his solar system model made of recycled materials

Nora researches different software she could use to create a video of her learning process this cycle

We also enjoyed 'PJ Day' on Tuesday! We were snuggled in our pyjamas all day long, but we found them especially cozy during reading time when we got to share some animal cracker snacks provided by our friends from Student Council! 

Finally, it was our pleasure to celebrate our friend, Aleksandras' birthday on Monday with PIZZA! We wish him a wonderful 10th year ahead. 

Surprise! It's PIZZA instead of cake!

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