“Questions are at the heart of Inquiry” & “The last Time”

Dear all,

“Questions are at the heart of inquiry. Questions give voice to your passions, our uncertainties and our curiosity. When we bravely release a question into the air, we are vulnerable, open and ready to learn. Where once, question asking was the teacher’s territory, in an inquiry classroom, student’s questions are as important as teacher’s.….

Effective learners ask questions. They tend to be people who remain curious and who approach life with “wonderment and awe”.…

Questions help us discover and uncover new meaning. They are the bridge that takes us from the known to the new.”

This is a short section from the book “The Power of Inquiry” by Kate Murdoch.

As the year comes to a close, I reflected on how much our students grew in height, in confidence in their level of English comprehension, vocabulary and ability to communicate. Their strengthened social and emotional abilities are worthy of an applause and their growth in understanding the world around them and their emerging academic skills are impressive steps into the right direction.

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Count the cubes and find out how much each child grew in height. And together we grew nearly as many centimeters to match Luo Laoshi’s height.

We as teachers and as parents alike, always strive to prepare our kids for what lies ahead and one of our goals this year, was to encourage our students to see the miracles around them, to observe, to wonder and to ask questions. Questions are at the heart of Inquiry and as you have chosen an Inquiry based School, this skill of wondering and asking questions is essential for their future academic carries.

Here are a few ways in which you can support your child:

  • Provoke and model a curious disposition by asking questions yourself and model ways to find answers.
  • Be curious and show and share your wondering about the world around you.
  • Value and work with your child’s questions by acknowledging their willingness to learn about the things they see and guide them to find the answers by themselves or with you together. Try to avoid giving them the answers as this would deprive them of the success of finding out with you or by themselves.
  • Have thoughtful dialogues filled with questions.
  • Have learning experiences around their questions that fuel their thinking for a deeper understanding. If they want to learn about cars for example, then check out all the features of your cars, go to a car dealer, find out things online,…..If they want to learn about where the rice came from, then show them rice paddies, let them experience the task of planting rice, cleaning the grain from the shells…

The possibilities are endless.

As we are counting down the days to the summer holidays I see excitement in your children’s eyes for the things that their future might hold for them in Preschool 4. Their eyes sparkle when they tell me that they will go to Butterfly, or Panda or Tiger Class after the holidays and my heart feels just a little pain seeing these wonderful personalities move on to their new classes.

I could not resist in provoking their thoughts once more before they are heading into Preschool 4. I am currently celebrating with them their achievements of all the things they learned in the past year, their expanding independence and their growth in height.

“We are less curious about things that we know nothing about. As soon as we know even a small bit of information or as soon as we have seen a part of something we often become eager to find out more.” ( Kath Murdoch – The Power of Inquiry)

It is a fact that you have to have a glimpse of the future and the opportunities that it might hold, to set ourselves targets and goals.

Questions that you child is being asked and that she or he might ponder over these days are:

 

  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • How much money will you make?
  • Are you going to get married?
  • How many children are you going to have?
  • Where will you live?
  • What kind of car will you drive?
  • What was the best thing about school?
  • What was the worst thing about school?
  • How much did you grow in height in the past year?

 

To ensure that no eye stays dry, kindly take a moment and read this:

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before, 
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don’t forget …
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.

One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them
and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.

-Author Unknown-

 

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Have a wonderful evening and see you tomorrow.

 

Christina

 

 

 

If you love something…let it go. & The Power of Inquiry

Two butterflies have hatched in front of our eyes. Their cocoons crystalized, the butterflies slowly moved out of their cocoon and sat on little branches to carefully unfold their beautiful wings.

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Once their wings were straightened and dried, they started to open their wings and we released them outside to watch them as they spread their wings and flew away. These moments were magical. The kids were sitting patiently around the butterfly until they finally flew away.

 

Jayden proudly brought in a container with several living tadpoles on Monday morning. We welcomed these amazing creatures into our classroom and made space for them in our animal observation center. A little chart of the life cycle of a frog has been placed in front of the container so our students are encouraged to look for the changes in the tadpoles. Some of the tadpoles have already developed their back  and front legs. We were able to see them in a wide range of their developmental stages.

Our investigation into the life cycle of frogs was driven further through our daily observation  and we got a chance to see the wonder of their metamorphosis from tadpole to tiny frogs.

The students were encouraged to wonder and ask questions.

This is what we discussed:

What we Know

Jindong: “The black little things are called Tadpoles.”

Jimmy & Emily: “They eat mosquitos, ants, bees,…. And flies.”

Lucy & Emily: “They will become frogs.”

Lillian: ”They can jump.”

Frederick: “Our Tadpoles have grown legs and arms.”

Emily: “They can eat butterflies.”

Lillian: “They need food.”

Jayden: “Croak. They say Croak, croak.”

Kylin: “They say ribbit.”

 

What we want to know?

Sophie: “Can they swim?”

Sophie: “Can they eat a fish?”

Jimmy: “Can they eat a mouse?”

Lillian: “Can they eat a flower?”

Athena: “Can a frog eat small leaves?”

Emily: “Can a frog eat big leaves?”

What we learned:

Frogs can swim – we watched some YouTube videos and realized they are very good swimmers.

We learned that they can eat fish and insects, cockroaches and even small mice.

Christina did not like the video of the Australian Bullfrog, but the kids just loved how hungry he was.

Further research will follow…. 🙂

 

Please take the time to hear Kath Murdoch talk about the Power of Wonder and Inquiry to have a deeper understanding why asking questions and wondering is the most powerful tool that you can install in your child in regards to empowering and inspiring them to learn.

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Follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFt15Ig64Yg

We started preparing for the Mother’s Day Celebration and the children thought about the things we have to prepare.

Emily suggested: “We sing the fish song to start our Mother’s Day breakfast.”

Frederick: “I want the Frog-Song”.

Araylia: “I want the Butterfly song.”

We took a vote what song we would sing to the mums during the Morning Circle. The Butterfly song won the race with 9:7 votes.

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Damen: “I want dragons.”

Athena: “Damen loves dragon. My mum will not come. She does not like dragons.”

Christina:” Maybe we could make invitation cards, and everyone can decorate them with something that their mum likes. Araylia, what does your mum like?”

Araylia: “My mum likes flowers.”

Lucy: “My mum also likes flowers.”

After agreeing to work on an invitation card and a present, we sang and danced the butterfly song to prepare for Mother’s Day.

Let’s see what happens next….   :-)))

 

Have a great weekend

Luo Laoshi & Christina

Jayden brought in Tadpoles: From Tadpole to Frog

Today, Jayden brought tadpoles to class. Some have been newly hatched, some had the back legs and others had back legs and front legs.

During lunchtime Christina spared some lettuce, boiled them and prepared them for the tadpoles to eat. Let’s hope they grow bigger until Wednesday.

“Children are made readers in the laps of their parents.” – Emilie Buchwald

Dear all,

We had another fun-filled day with our Teddy Bear Students. We welcomed many of our students dressed up as book characters, we attended the Literacy Assembly, went for a Book-Door-Hunt and had a reading Drill.

Reading is highly promoted throughout AISG as it holds so many benefits. Please read bellow  some sections of an article that is posted on  http://www.cameverlands.org.uk/10-benefits-of-reading/.

Benefits of Reading to your child include:

  • Boostes School Readiness – Reading is one of the easiest ways to increase school readiness. When you read to your child, you’re building their vocabulary, language and literacy skills, while improving concentration, curiosity and memory. Watch the video below to learn more about how reading builds comprehension and critical thinking skills.
  • Success in School – Studies show that children who grow up with lots of books in the home tend to go farther in school.
  • A Love of Books – Reading together builds strong family relationships. By cuddling up together with a good book, you teach your child that reading is fun—even for adults.
  • Teaching Coping Skills – Books are a great way to teach children how to handle new experiences and stressful situations. Stories can help children understand, talk about and deal with everything from starting a new school to the loss of a pet.
  • Reading exercises our brain. –Reading is a much more complex task for the human brain rather than watching TV, for example. Reading strengthens brains connections and builds NEW connections.
  • Reading improves concentration. – Children have to sit still and quietly so that they can focus on the story when they are reading. If the read often, they will develop the skill to do this for longer.
  •  Reading teaches children about the world around them. –Through reading a variety of books children learn about people, places, and events outside of their own experience.
  • Reading improves vocabulary and language skills. – Children learn new words as they read. Subconsciously, they absorb information on how to structure sentences and how to use words and other language features effectively in their writing and speaking.
  • Reading develops a child’s imagination. – As we read our brains translate the descriptions we read of people, places and things into pictures. While we are engaged in a story we are also imagining how a character is feeling. Young children then bring this knowledge into their everyday play.
  • Reading helps children to develop empathy. – As children develop they begin to imagine how they would feel in that situation.
  • Reading is a fun. – You can never be bored if you have a book in your bag.
  • Reading is a great way to spend time together. –Reading together on the sofa, bedtimes stories and visiting the library are just some ways of spending time together.
  • Children who read achieve better in school. – Reading promotes achievement in all subjects, not just English. Children who are good readers tend to achieve better across the curriculum.

Download pictures here.

“A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.” – Anonymous

Dear parents

We started our Literacy Week with our first VIP Reader on Monday morning. Mr. FitzGerald shared one of his favorite books for young readers which told the stories of best friends pretending to be Pirates and Princesses.

Download pictures here.

Visiting Mrs. Olsens’ Grade 1 kicked the Literacy Week into high gear. There were smiles and giggles when our students heard that we are going to visit Year 1 again. They felt so happy when their buddies picked them up and found a nice spot to read books to them.

Our Teddy Bears repaid the big kids with their full attention and their heartwarming smiles.
Download pictures here.
Download pictures here.

Library Class was held in our classroom today due to some preparations that are taking place in the Library. The Tiger Class joined our students to listen to books about animals we might spot on a Safari. They made animals sound, danced, sang and listened carefully during story-time.

I am so proud of them.

Our students have made such a tremendous development over the past 9 months. We are proudly observing how peaceful, independent, concentrated and self-directed they play during open playtime. Giving children the time and space to explore and experiment is essential to growing creative minds.

Too often children are told what to do, when and how. At the beginning of the year some of our students relied heavily on us, as teachers to tell them what to do and what opportunities the classroom provides for them. Some children had difficulties to self-initiate interest and did not know how to entertain themselves.

Children need to be given the opportunity to practice thinking about what they can do on their own and learn how to see the potential all around them.

If we can leave children to it, to tinker, explore and experiment, it will help them learn how to think for themselves and solve problems. Allowing them to have those experiences will help children grow to be curious, resilient, confident and more self-reliant.

With kind regards

Christina

Underwear, a funeral, a field-trip to year 1 and the Miracle of Silkworms’ Cocoon

This week we had the entire week filled with amazing activities. We started the week with talking about our holidays, then we learned about the visiting author Mrs. Helaine Becker and we decorated the Underwear Template. We proudly paraded our unique designs over to the Library and Mrs. FitzGerald was truly impressed.

Download the pictures here.

On Wednesday Jimmy brought in a fish and Araylia brought in tadpoles and we have started to inquire into our UOI much deeper and faster than we expected. Jimmy’s fish was put into a bigger bowl and when we realized that he is not feeling so well we kept observing him carefully. He then stopped moving and he did not eat and he seamed to be sleeping. The children took a vote and agreed with a majority that he was only taking a long nap.

We had an extended discussion about why he might not feel so well and the kids came up with following answers:

  • To little water
  • to much water
  • to much food
  • to noisy
  • he did not like it when we touched him

We researched on the internet and watched a small clipa about how we could take care of a fish and we learned from the video, that:

  • We have to have another tank with a pump for oxigen
  • The water needs to be filtered for 7 days before the fish can be in the water
  • We have to gradually adjust the temperature of the fishes water by placing him in a plastic bag and with his water in the water of the tank

Well, we realized we had made quit a few mistakes.

We agreed on following facts:

  • We need to order a fish tank
  • we have the water run for 7 days and then Jimmy will bring us another fish
  • We should not touch the fish and also not the tadpoles to ensure that the germs that might be on our hands do not cause them to get sick or even die.

On Friday morning, the fish had:

  • not moved for 20 hours
  • he had not eaten anything
  • he seamed not to breath
  • his eyes had turned grey
  • and his tummy floated on top of the water
  • and there was an unpleasant smell

We took another vote.

44 voters agreed that the fish had passed away and 4 voters believed that he was sleeping. Due to the smell I went with the majority vote and a funeral for the fish was arranged.

We gently put him in a box, dug a grave and buried him. Jindong, Athena and Andrea added some flowers to the grave and we sang him a goodbye song.

Download pictures here.

On Thursday we went on “In school Field-trip” to Mrs. Olsen’s Year 1 Class. We are currently sharing the same Unit of Inquire and we both are learning about Living things. Grade One has planted a lot of seeds watched them grow, measured, researched, documented and painted. They shared with us their Science Folders, their posts on their blogs, their displays and they showed us around their classroom and explained all the plants that they were growing.

Each Year 1 student got one or two buddies and off they went and explained what they had learned and were happy to answer our students questions.

Download pictures here.

The Experience of learning from friends in Year 1 was so wonderful that we already set up the next appointment for a Reading Session where Year 1 students will read books to their buddies from Teddy Bear Class.

Silkworms

Our Silkworms have surprised us in the past 2 days by gently starting to build cocoons. On Friday morning we could see 3 cocoons. We were very impressed that they were of yellow color and Whale and his mum told us that they were labelled as Rainbow color spinning Silkworms. So let’s see if we get more yellow cocoons or even other colors.

With excitement, the kids start to sing along our latest song, the Butterly Ballade, as they can think about the stages of the life of a Silkworm and act them out as we sing the song.

Due to the fact that they observe the Silkworms on a daily basis they are understanding better and better the miracle of the Silkworms Life-Cycle.screen-shot-2018-04-13-at-5-07-31-pm

Download pictures here.

The last slideshow is dedicated to our Open Playtime that we treasure so much and where children join their friends, communicate, inquire, make math, learn to write, learn to share, establish stronger friendships, are creative, dream,…..

The room is always filled with excitement, happy voices, smiles everywhere and surprises wherever I look. Please be aware that we have a new photographer in our class. Chloe has taken over some of our duties and goes around taking photos of anyone and anything she finds interesting. :-)))

Download the pictures here.

Have a great weekend.

Luo Laoshi and Christina

Play is the highest form of research – Albert Einstein

Dear parents

Please find enclosed a short overview of the things we did this week and find the pictures attached below in a Slide-Show.

  • We shared the notes the parents wrote for their children during the Student Lead Conference. The kids were so proud to hear what their parents wrote to them.
  •  We caught a frog outside and some children were courages enough to hold him in their hands.
  • We selected our favourite books and choose our favorite book to be displayed on our door.
  • We had a counselor session and Mr.s Hiromi introduced the feeling “frustrated”. When we sang her the song of the shark that eats some fishes and emphasized that the shark shows of his feelings as we sing, Emily impressed us all with the feeling, “uncomfortable”. Well done Emily.
  • We got new puzzles for the kids which are even harder then the once they made during the learning celebration. Many of our students show so much endurance and dedication getting the puzzles back together again. – and when they finally are finished they flip it over and start all over again.These puzzles have 43 and 47 pieces.
  • Students started a new routine of signing in when they arrive in the morning. This will be the first thing to do every day when they arrive from now on.
  • The ground floor of our loft has transformed into a pet clinic where pets are getting treatment, care and food supplies. Doctors take care of sick animals and give injections or medicine.
  • New math stations with patterns are enriching our math shelves and students are recreating patterns with math manipulatives that are also being used in the upper grades of our Elementary school.
  • My daughter Angelina has kindly borrowed her Pet-Shop animals to our class and the students love to play with them pretend play in big groups.
  • Dental hygiene has been the main focus point of our Circle time discussions. We talked about food that makes teeth happy and food that makes teeth sad. And we talked about germs that have a party when we eat sweet food. We also talked about brushing our teeth and how we can get  ride of germs by doing so.
  • We learned a song about brushing the teeth and talked about the toothbrushes that we use at home.
  • We read books about dentist and brushing teeth and even books about wobbly teeth.
  • The weather is currently so beautiful that we spend a lot of our time outside and Araylia suggested today that we should have our Snack outside. – So we moved our Snack-time to outside and had a little Picnic.
  • Our Afternoon students watched a section of the musical during their music class.
  • During our 45 minutes of “Open Friday” our kids happily moved to other classes and explored what the other classrooms had to offer.

Sorry about the pictures that are upside down.  – and please keep on reading for news about the visit of a dentist.

Download pictures here.

 

Dear parents
In the past 2 weeks we have spoken a lot about dental hygiene and what kind of foods are good and what kind of treats are not so good for our teeth. We have learned a brush your teeth song and we discussed that we all should brush our teeth twice a day at least.
To end the mini project and to deepen the students understanding of the topic I took the liberty to invite my children’s dentist Dr. Sum to our school.
He has an extremely kind manner and explains children every step of the treatment. Reassuring them and taking their fears serious but calming them down at the same time as well.
Dr. Sum agreed to hold a talk to our students about dental hygiene and how to keep the teeth healthy. Join us to welcome Dr. Sum to our Preschool classes. He will hold the talk in room 201 on Tuesday.
We are excited to invite Dr. Sum from Euram Medical Center to visit AISG Preschool next Tuesday on March 27th. Our Session with Dr. Sum will be at 9:30 am
Kindly consider attending the session as the dentist would like to share some helpful tips on how to encourage your kids to keep their teeth healthy.
Please send in your kids toothbrush for the event – the dentist requested it.

 

Have a nice weekend. Hope to see you at the Musical performance tonight.

 

With kind regards

Christina

Student Lead Conference Day 1

We have spent some time preparing for your visit to the Student Led Conferences.

All of your children were awaiting their Conference with you with happy anticipation. We really love our class and our classroom and all the things we do every week.  Thank you for your enthusiasm  and your encouraging words to your child during your child’s conference.

The Student Led Conference is perfect occasion for your child to have an opportunity to express her/himself.

I was soooo proud of all of them.  I hope you enjoyed it as well.

A big thank you, that each and everyone managed to arrange time for this wonderful event of the school year. I know that all your scheduled are busy and it takes an effort to arrange your schedule around these school events. 

I would like to express my appreciation that you take your child’s education and their “moment to shine” and show you what we do, so serious. It is an important day of the year for them.

Thursday 15th of March 2018

Download the pictures here.

How to foster success and a growth mindset – Carol Dweck

I would like to share following Ted talk with you, that will help you to positively reinforce your child’s efforts.
Carol Dweck is a pioneering researcher in the field of motivation, why people succeed (or don’t) and how to foster success.

Mrs. Dweck is a professor at Stanford and the author of Mindset, a classic work on motivation and “growth mindset.” Her work is influential among educators and increasingly among business leaders as well.

Please enjoy.