Posts Tagged ‘IB’

Blue + Yellow = Green

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

In the IB Primary Years Programme, one of the most important elements of learning is that students are presented with opportunities to make connections. Connections between math, language, music, and art for example. By experiencing the same concepts in different subjects and manners, students can better internalize what they are learning and then connect that learning into their own lives. What they are learning becomes much more powerful and relatable to everyday life.

The previous blog post introduced our Gr 1 students learning about measurements. To make the connection between their Unit of Inquiry and art, their art teacher led a discussion of how measurements will impact the mixing of primary colors to create secondary colors. For example, a paint-brush full of yellow mixed with a paint-brush full of blue creates one color of green. On the other hand, paint-brush full of yellow with a dab of blue will create a different hue of green. The students experimented with different primary colors and different measurements throughout art class.

According to Jay Nelson, our Elementary art teacher, by connecting their general classroom conversations to the art classroom, “The students think about what they are doing much differently. They understand the impact on mixing of colors faster because they see how it is connected to the concept of measurement they’ve had with respect to other things like height, weight, time, pressure, distance, etc. Plus, they are having a lot of fun experimenting which is the best way to learn!”

The Six Pound Sunflower

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Reposted from Tina Morgan’s Gr 1 blog:

The first graders have officially started their Measurement Unit of Inquiry. One of our students brought in a giant sunflower from home which gave us the perfect opportunity to front load the unit. We weighed “C” solo and then weighed “C” holding the sunflower. With assistance the first graders were able to write a representative number model and then solve for the unknown (50 + ? = 56). They found that the sunflower weight 6 pounds. Following this, the first graders each made an estimate of the number of sunflower seeds in the flower. The estimates ranged from 5 to 10,000. Sometime during the unit we will remove the seeds and count them. We will keep you posted on the other fun sunflower measurement activities that will follow.

We also did a measurement pre-assessment activity to help me understand the knowledge that the children have going into the unit. This helps me plan engagements according to the interests and needs of our group. This pre-assessment showed me that at this point the first graders are all thinking of “measurement” as a term that refers to linear calculations only. I am really looking forward to opening their minds to the idea that “measurement” applies to almost every aspect of their lives everyday! During this unit the children will be learning about linear measurements, area, volume, capacity, time, temperature, and monetary value. They will have many fun measuring activities to do at home as well as in the classroom.

Please keep track of measurement-related things your child says or does throughout this “How We Organize Ourselves” Unit of Inquiry. I would like to post these student-initiated inquiries, statements, and actions on our PYP Parking Lot. These questions and actions help guide me as I plan measurement units for future first graders.

I hope you share the enthusiasm that your child is already demonstrating for our new Unit of Inquiry. Let me know if you have questions or concerns, or if you would like to share your expertise in an area associated with measurement!

Photos include the day the students started counting all the seeds!

Cooperation Comes in Many Forms

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Reposted from Mrs. Sterling’s Preschool Class Blog:

“This week, as we’ve continued our discussions on friendship, ‘working together, otherwise known as cooperating, has been our focus. Over the past couple weeks I’ve concluded that active participation seems to make the greatest impression on these young minds so we stuck with this learning model and I capitalized on every opportunity to point out when members of our preschool team were in cooperation mode. Fortunately, I’ve had lots of great examples: when the kids go through their morning routine; when they participate in circle each morning; when they discover ways to work together in free play time; as we clean up our room; when the kids responsibly complete their daily duties and/or respect each other in the process; when they respond to a call for help and provide assistance throughout the day; and how they generally interact with each other in positive and helpful ways. Many of these cooperative efforts have allowed us to revisit past lessons on being a responsible member of a community, using helping hands, and sharing.

To really emphasize the concept of cooperation and give the kids additional examples we could explore, we read and discussed a variety of relevant stories: Swimmy, Rainbow Fish and Rainbow Fish to the Rescue, David’s Drawings, Stone Soup, Burgoo Stew, and Fandango Stew. Next came the creative explorations. We made paper-bag rainbow fish complete with flashing scales. We painted other fish shapes and added glitter to represent the community of fishy friends that developed after Rainbow Fish shared his scales. We worked together to create a colorful and super-sized Rainbow Fish who, in the second story, encouraged the other fish to join forces to rescue a fellow fish in danger. We replicated the giant fish created by Swimmy and friends when they all swam in formation. When working together, they found courage to face predators and swim in the open sea. Inspired by David and his classmates, we created a cooperative drawing, each member of our preschool team offering their individual contributions to one paper. Most of these creative efforts are incorporated in the hallway bulletin board display just outside our classroom. The projects were intended to reinforce the power of cooperation present in the stories but also to allow the kids to directly experience the value and success of combined effort.

The reinforcement didn’t end there. After reading the variations of Stone Soup, we branched out from art into food. On Tuesday the kids helped to prepare our own chicken noodle Stone Soup. Our proverbial ‘watched pot’ did take a long time to cook but excitement remained high. Before the day was out, we’d not only enjoyed it ourselves, but we’d shared the bounty of our cooperative efforts with various members of our Riverstone community. Then Wednesday, each child contributed to our Friendship Fruit Salad. By combining our efforts, we enjoyed a delicious and varied snack. (PS Thanks Parents for making it possible!) We’re also discovering that sharing and working together is so much more fun than not.

Also during the week, unrelated to any literature, we found fun ways to be cooperative. We formed an impromptu band, making music together, focusing on playing together with coordinated stop and go rhythms. Self control is a pretty hard thing to master at such a young age but they all tried. We also banded together to build a tall block tower. The tower did topple several times but we were laughing together, rebuilding it together, and having fun … together! We focused on working as a group, invested in a common goal. Every afternoon before going home, we’ve been playing a round or two of Memory. In some other games the kids have been vying to be the “winner” but in this game, they’ve been celebrating each match that is made, regardless of who makes it. The kids worked on patience, taking turns, and finishing the game together. We’ve continued to play our balloon games – keeping the balloon aloft for as long as possible. Maybe I imagine it but the mayhem in this game seems to have diminished a bit as the kids become accustomed to playing it together, trusting they will get a turn.

Encouraging each other and letting go of individual preferences to embrace a group effort is a long process. Not every activity noted above went off without a hitch. Reminders were needed, encouragement was given, hurt feelings were soothed. As with all skill development, the more we practice it, the easier it will become. Here’s to a year of productive practice by Team Preschool!”

Mary McDevitt liked this post

Sports Unites Us

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Grade Seven’s final piece of literature for the semester was Michael William’s “Now Is the Time for Running.” It is the story of two brothers who flee the massacre of their small village in Zimbabwe for the “safety” of South Africa. Soccer is a way the boys are connected to their vanished home, each other and the people they meet during their journey to safety. There are many scenes and vignettes in the book that describe how they use their homemade soccer ball to play the game they love with the people they meet.

Kids love soccer. They play it on manicured fields, debris strewn lots in cities, open dirt patches and, as in Ben Stiller’s “Mitty” at the top of the world in the Hindu Kush. Unfortunately, not every kid owns a soccer ball. Like kids everywhere, our Grade Seven students discovered what it is like to work together to make a ball for the game they love.

Their ball was made from 100+ Winco shopping bags and duct tape (thanks Ben!). They played happily with the ball for an hour – just like kids across the developing world. Sport, particularly soccer, does unite us.

Riverstone Elementary School Science Fair

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Fifteen Elementary School science enthusiasts shared their passion for science at the first Riverstone Elementary School Science Fair, sponsored by the Academic Excellence Student Council members.

Students completed projects and experiments at home, as well as created displays explaining their experiments or inventions. On Friday morning, other Elementary School students and parents toured the exhibit to meet the scientists. Our scientists taught everyone about acids and bases, centrifugal force, and many other concepts. There was even a homemade Galilean telescope!

Thanks to the Student Council and our scientists for a great event!

Cell Analogies

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

You probably can remember learning about the cell: its functions and various components with words like vacuoles, endoplasmic reticullum, mitochondria. But imaging having not only to learn the cell and its functions in the language of biology, but teaching someone else who has a completely different background from you. Finding common ground that you can both can connect to becomes incredibly important — and challenging.

Middle School Science teacher, John Pedersen, gave his Gr 7 students this exact challenge: apply their knowledge of the cell and its functions and their creativity to develop cell models and displays that will allow them to connect with someone who meets the following descriptions:

Coral Shores
Age 22
Coral grew up in a tiny beach town in Hawaii. She spent most of hers days surfing, collecting seashells and spending time on the beach.

Harvey Swashbuckle
Age 20
Harvey grew up just about everywhere. His parents were archaelogists who studied shipwrecks and were constantly on the go traveling. Harvey grew a strong interest in all things pirate.

Brittany Cinema
Age: 21
Brittany grew up in the Hollywood Hills. Brittany is a rich girl who is quite detached from anything not dealing with fame. Brittany’s mother is a famous movie producer, and her mother’s love for movies can be found with Brittany.

Charlie Barndoor
Age 19
Charlie grew up on a farm in Indiana. Charlie spends almost all his free time tending to his parents farm. Charlie’s main interests are riding his tractor and tending to his animals on the farm.

Cindy R. Ella
Age 20
Cindy grew up in Anaheim California where she had a season pass for Disneyland every year of her life. She visited the park on most every weekend basking in the wonder of the magic castle waiting to meet her Price Charming. She attends Walt Disney University where her favorite class is “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Shaniqa Sanger
Age 21
Shaniqa grew up watching reality shows like American Idol, The X-Factor and the Voice where she dreams of the day when she will be a contestant on the Voice where she hopes to be picked by Lusher.

The following are photos of our students and their cell displays. Well done Grade 6!

Gaining Personal Perspectives on Migration

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Gr 4′s current unit of inquiry is based on migration and how throughout time, people have migrated causing change to themselves and indigenous populations. They learn about the factors that cause people to migrate, the many migration routes that have developed throughout history, and affects of migration on the emigrants and the indigenous population.

In order to learn about personal experience with migration, the classes met with and interviewed students at the Learning Lab on the 4th floor of the Boise Public Library. Children and adults new to the United States come to the Learning Lab (LL) for a variety of reasons. Some want to hone their English skills. Other want to learn how to read or complete their GEDs.

Lila Cabrera, a former Riverstone Spanish teacher, who now works at the LL, introduced us to her students when we first arrived. The groups were split into teams, and then the 4th graders traveled to “stations” to interview the Learning Lab students from a variety of countries: Mexico, Afghanistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Russian, Somalia, and Nigeria. The questions covered a gamut of topics. “Why did you leave your country?” Do you miss your friends and family? “Do you have any special wedding traditions, and if so, what are they?” “What are some of the things that you first thought were strange about life in Boise?” Some of our 4th graders learned how to write their numbers and alphabet in Farsi, or how to say hello in Yuruba, a Nigerian language.

The time flew. Students on both sides benefited, having had the chance to share over two hours together. A woman from Mexico remarked, “I haven’t spoken this much English since coming to the Lab!”  Another person commented, “I can’t believe how bright these kids are! Are they really only in 4th grade? They are so perceptive and adept at asking good questions!” What a great time we had!

In the afternoon, after a lunch at Julia Davis Park, Gr 4 went on a walking tour of the downtown area. The students began their journey at the Rediscovered Bookstore (where they picked up another copy of their guide book, Ethnic Landmarks: Ten Historic Places that Define the City of Trees). They visited the old Chinese quarter, the Basque Block and the Star Hotel, the German Turnverein building, the Assay Building, the Spanish Village, and the O’Farrell Building on Fort Street. Students took notes and learned a great deal more about their city.

Thanks to Ms. Fitz and Mrs. Clayton for organizing this great field trip!


Photography Contest Winners

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The Elementary School Student Council Outdoor Education Committee is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Spring Break Photo Contest!

Students in every division, parents and teachers submitted over 100 pictures. Judged categories included: Scenery, Wildlife, People, Black and White; in conjunction with the Big Break Birding “Contest” there was also a Birds category.

Students on the Outdoor Education Committee as well as Riverstone Art teachers judged pictures with composition, focus, and story in mind; photographs can be viewed in the Elementary School. Thanks to everyone who participated and made this such a fun, community oriented event!!

1. Water Source (Peru) – Natalie P (Gr 10)
2. African Sun – Liebich Family
3. Tree in Central Park – Sophie B (Gr 5)

1. Soccer at Sunset (California) – Andy Johnson
2. Flys (Tanzania) – Carly L (Gr 10)
3. Peruvian Vendor – Natalie P (Gr 10)

1. Iguana (Mexico) – Susan Cole
2. Vicuna (Peru) – Natalie P (Gr 10)
3. Cheetah (Tanzania) – Liebich Family

Black and White
1. Child (Peru) – Natalie P (Gr 10)
2. Leaf (Hawaii) – Laura F (Gr 2)
3. Migration (Tanzania) – Liebich Family

1. Heron (Mexico) – Susan Cole
2. Secretary Bird (Tanzania) – Liebich Family
3. Parrot (Peru) – Natalie P (Gr 10)

**Best in Show was Natalie P’s Child in Black in White.

The Intoxicating Realm of the Mystery Novel

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The following post appeared on Ms. Fitzharris’ Grade 4 blog this morning:

Over the past month, our class has been delving into the mystery genre. Each child has chosen and read at least one mystery since we began the mini-unit after Spring Break. We’ve talked about alibis, red herrings, suspects, and how a mystery’s plot tends to evolve. After mapping out an elaborate plan for them to write an essay explaining all of this, I realized (by the look on their faces) that what each and every one of them wanted to do was to write their own mystery and have their classmates solve their crimes or problems. So that’s what they’ve been working on over the last week or so. Last Friday, I brought in old fedoras, trench coats and a few other props and had each student pose for a picture. When they complete their mystery, they’ll type it up and we’ll post them outside the classroom along with the photo of them wearing their detective garb. We’ll keep you posted!

Not One Unclaimed Sock, Glove, or Hat after 3 Day Yurt Trip!

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

The following blog entry is a letter that Ben Brock, our Director of Outdoor Education, wrote to Grade 8 parents last week.

“I didn’t want to wait too much longer to let you all know what a great time I had working with the Grade 8 class last week. From pre-trip responsibilities, to on-the-fly decision making, to trip wrap-up and gear return, this group of students proved that, even with a wide range of outdoor backgrounds, they are up for whatever challenges I throw at them. We enjoyed a wonderfully mild and sunny Wednesday, made the most of soggy conditions on Thursday, and tromped out victoriously on Friday. I’m always happy when, even though it’s not expected, a few hardy souls sleep in a snowcave. I’m even happier when we clean the yurt after all is said and done and have (GASP!!) not one unclaimed sock, glove, hat, etc! Very impressive!

Next stop: 5 days in Hell’s Canyon!!

Some lessons learned along the way (from student activity booklets, which will serve as preparation aids for this group of students when they go winter camping in Grade 10 as well as for next year’s Grade 8 class.)

  • “My base layers are my favorite piece of outdoor gear.”
  • “People will help you when you need it but you need to be willing to help as well.”
  • “I’d bring another water bottle next time.”
  • “Don’t overpack and don’t underpack!”
  • “Snowcaves can keep you warm.”
  • “Drink water!”

As always, thank you for entrusting us with your children’s safety.”

A special thank you to our two Grade 10 Outdoor Leadership students, Mikayla and Quinn, for their help and guidance during the trip!