Thursday, May 31, 2012

Inquiry with artefacts

When we begin with a new unit of inquiry, the first thing we want to do is assess the prior knowledge of the students and then 'tune' them into the unit. 

When I began my teaching career, like many other teachers 'tuning in' was to merely build students' interest into the unit. I would show them movies, take them on field trips, call a guest speaker and then just move on to 'finding out' information, which is the next stage of inquiry. However, over the years, I have come to realise that this 'tuning in' stage is in fact one of the most important stages of any inquiry cycle. I say so because it is after this stage that the students frame their inquiry questions which in turn drive the entire unit!

Off late, in the PYP workshops I've attended, the workshop leaders have emphasized highly on the use of artefacts in teaching and learning. Artefacts are nothing but objects that signify something. For example, antiques and maps can be the artefacts that symbolise ancient civilizations. For light and sound, the artefacts can be torch lights, bulbs, speakers, glass, spectacles, prisms, musical instruments and the list can go on. 

For young learners, things that they can see, hold, touch, hear, feel and sometimes smell, take their imaginative thinking to a completely different level. The most abstract concepts become concrete. Artefacts open doors to new ideas and perspectives. They help them build their understanding of the world around them. For a bunch of six year olds, the concept of relationships is so hard to understand. But, if you give in their hands, pictures of families, tokens of friendship and gifts from loved ones, you will be taken by surprise! A tea strainer can help ten year olds understand filtration inside our bodies!

If you really think about it, anything around us can be used as an artefact for conceptual understanding or creativity. The glass in which we drink water can used for units on materials, water, light and quantity and measurements (in math). You may use it in language to come up with a descriptive essay or to just make up a story! You may also touch upon the essential elements of PYP with these simple objects.

Having made these observations, I ensure the increased usage of these in the different subject disciplines. It is also a great idea to have a display of them in the classroom. My current unit of inquiry is on traditions and rituals and the central idea is: Traditions, rituals and artefacts help us understand the beliefs and values of different cultures. I thought it was important for the student learn 'about' artefacts along with learning 'through' artefacts.

For tuning in, we did a bus stop activity. many artefacts were laid out on the tables and groups of students analysed each artefact in turns. They were asked to write what they see, what they think it is and what they wonder (Visible thinking tool, Harvard Project Zero). 

We spent two days looking at these interesting objects. On the third day, the groups were asked to come up with inquiry questions. By then they knew to differentiate between conceptual and factual questions (we call them fat and skinny questions). They took the help of the key concepts  come up with the questions and I must say, they were much better than I had anticipated! I also grouped them according to the lines of inquiry.

On the next day, the students also came up with the central idea. For the finding out stage, we watched the movie 'Around the world in 80 days' and constructed the meaning of culture using We have also set up a wiki  to exchange information about different cultures. Do visit is and add in info if you feel like.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

NEw Project: The Health Journal

We will start working on our next project "The Health Journal" from tomorrow. We will using for this. The link to the wiki page is:

Visit this link and join the wiki by clicking on 'join' (right hand top corner of the page). You can add information on the wiki only if you are member.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Creative + Critical thinking

This week was filled with a lot of group work. The students worked collaboratively to create colourful posters and shapes.

To better understand the interdepence of body systems, the students were divided into four groups and each group was asked to conduct research about two different body systems. The students then created posters to show the interdepence and also presented them to the class. This is what they look like:
 Tushita, Aliza and Ayaan
 Zia, Aman and Nabil
 Isha, Aahil, Alisha and Anik
 Armaan, Muskan and Riya

Followed by this, the students made connections between all the body systems using a sheet of paper and satin ribbons.

In Math, we were learning how to construct different shapes using geometic tools. Along with the drawing skills, students are also learning a lot of geometric vocabulary: types of angles, types of triangles, etc. Concepts like scaling, decimals and measurements are bein reiterated.

We worked on a project for applying the meaning of 2D shape and measurements. Students were divided into group based on mixed abilities and they were a list of different shapes to construct: circles with given radius/diameter, triangles (different types), square, rectangle, pentagon, hexagon and octaon. They were asked to construct these shapes on coloured paper and cut them. The students then created different things with these shapes.

I am really very proud of the efforts put in by all the students. What a wonderfully satisfying week!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ayaan's blog: Reflection on yesterday's activity on skeletal sys...

Ayaan's blog: Reflection on yesterday's activity on skeletal sys...:                           Skeletal system Yesterday, we did an activity which helped us to understand about how bones help us and forms...

No bones about it!!

The groups are trying to make a 'standing' model of the human body with play dough.
These couldn't realy stand!!
They were then given icecream sticks. The students started using them in different ways.

Finally, the students were given different cereals that represented different organs (white chick peas for brain, black chick peas for heart, small kidney beans for kidneys, etc.). These were to be inserted in the right places inside the figurine.

What we learnt was that our bones give us structure. They help to stand up straight - without them we would be floating like jelly! The joints help in moving our bones.
The bones also protest some internal organs.

Target setting - Writing - Class 5

Targets for writing


  1. Use of new and interesting words (including adjectives and adverbs)
  2. Can use or attempt grammatically complex structures, (e.g. expansion before and after the noun – ‘The little, old man who lived on the hill…; subordinating clauses – ‘I felt better when..; ‘who taught me the guitar.’)
  3. Use of famous quotes


  1. Apostrophe (Example: Archana’s) + Contractions
  2. Use of new and interesting words (including adjectives and adverbs)
  3. Varying sentence structure


  1. Spelling
  2. Punctuation: commas, Question mark
  3. Use of conjunctions in the right places


  1. Spelling
  2. Legibility (Handwriting)
  3. Maintain the interest level of the reader


  1. Apostrophe (Example: Archana’s) + Contractions
  2. Spelling
  3. Capitalization
  4. Maintain the interest level of the reader


  1. Tense of verbs
  2. Punctuation: commas, Question mark
  3. Use of conjunctions in the right places


  1. Spelling
  2. Legibility (Handwriting)
  3. Appropriateness to audience (Example: A letter to a friend must not sound like an essay)


  1. Maintain the interest level of the reader
  2. Use of new and interesting words (including adjectives and adverbs)
  3. Use of figures of speech (simile, metaphor, personification, alliteration)


  1. Use of new and interesting words (including adjectives and adverbs)
  2. Can use or attempt grammatically complex structures, (e.g. expansion before and after the noun – ‘The little, old man who lived on the hill…; subordinating clauses – ‘I felt better when..; ‘who taught me the guitar.’)
  3. Use of famous quotes


  1. Use of new and interesting words (including adjectives and adverbs)
  2. Varying sentence structure
  3. Use of figures of speech (simile, metaphor, personification, alliteration)


  1. Use of new and interesting words (including adjectives and adverbs)
  2. Use of direct and indirect speech
  3. Varying sentence structure


  1. Use of new and interesting words (including adjectives and adverbs)
  2. Varying sentence structure
  3. Apostrophe (Example: Archana’s)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

circulatory system

We are going to learn more about the circulatory system today.

First let's see how the heart and lungs work together in real time:

Another visual of what happens in our heart:

Let's look inside the heart:

Confused?? Read about it step by step:

Now, lets listen to what has to say:

Some reading wouldn't hurt:

Finally, Try the quiz:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Posters on Malfunctions of Digestive and Respiratory system

INDIGESTION - Tushita and Ayaan

Asthma - Isha and Armaan

Add caption

Bad breath and Cavity - Muskan, Riya and Anik

Constipation  - Alisha and Aman

Food poisoning - Zia and Aman

Vomiting - Aahil and Alisha

Tuesday, April 24, 2012



Thursday, March 29, 2012

Monster madness - Short story by Zia, Ayaan and Tushita

Once upon a time there lived a girl called Lucy. She lived in a small house and was very poor.
She was very generous and gentle. One day Lucy was snoring in her bed in a puffy dress. As she was sleeping she heard a noise- CRUSH! CRUSH! CRUSH! It was like an electric shock for her. Lucy opened the door and started walking in the moonlight. The trampling noise was coming nearer and nearer and her house was going farther and further. Then she saw someone coming - thud! thud! thud! The big man was crushing the daisies as he walked.

It was a monster! She wasted tonnes of kinetic energy screaming and yelling! The lizards squashed and the monster's eyes glittered. she tiptoed back upstairs - hushhhh... Lucy reached and back in the bed, snoring.... It was all but a dream! 

Story using new words - By Alisha and Isha

There are two men called Willi Wonka and Simon Puttok who were best friends. They lived in Paris. Simon always medelled with things around him. There was a BIG secret: they were actually brothers and they didn't know it. Mr. bucket and Mrs.bucket were Simon's duplicate parents and they were and furious people. They ruined all  the things around them. Mr and Mrs.Twit were the real parents of willi and Simon and Willy. Mr. and Mrs Twit also had one more son called Charlie Twit. The duplicate parants blackmailed Mr.and Mrs. Twit.

One day, Charlie got to know this secret. He told it to Willi and Simon. Then, They all went to search their parents. While searching they reached the mountains.They did skating but they tumbled down hill. They didn't have any money to eat , so they went in a show where they did somersaults and competed with many others. They won 500 rupees and they ate some food.

When they went to the Eiffel tower something amazing happened. They bumped into their real parents walking with their cat who was chewing his whiskers. Mrs Twit was looking very elegant in her blue dress. The whole family leaped and cheered with joy. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tushita's poem on Energy

Travel, entertainment, cooking and many more;
All require energy galore.
Sources of energy are many my friends;
Selection of the ones renewable is what makes sense.

Crackling coal,gushing oil splitting uranium;
Most commonly used, they don't last long and form in a millemiun.

Trickling water down the stream;
OH! Looks like a wonderful dream.
Whistling air, moving with a flair;
Plant and animal waste, giving gases bare.
Burning sun and heat of the earth;
Reminder of clean power without dearth.

Let us work towards using renewable over non - renewable energy;
Let us take a pledge to conserve energy. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

What a day!!!!

Today, we.......

I felt.....

May be, tomorrow I will......

That's it for now!!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 12th

Go to:

Watch the 'intro' first.

Then solve problems starting from 'Ratio 1'. Go up to how many ever levels you can.

Friday, March 2, 2012

March 2nd homework

UOI: Energy worksheet
English: Conduct research about the author of the book you chose for World Book Day. Write a biography of the author in your own words (word limit: 150 to 250 words). Write about the author's birth place, childhood, family, education, proffession and other challenges he/she faced. Include information about the author's writing style (what is special about his/her writing?).

Extension: Math - Solve the math quiz. Link given in the previous post.