Growing Patterns

Sharing Stories through ‘Writing Workshop’

We have been using drawing and writing to share stories during ‘Writing Workshop’. We use a checklist to plan, create and improve our writing. 

  • Oliver “This is people are sad because they think NIS school they already played 10 years and they think it’s a bit boring and they want a new school. She wants to go to a new school but she don’t know where is a new school and a new country.”
  • Morning “It is a bunny, it is flying in the sky. And he is going in the tree house.”

  • Eunbyul “People shoot the ball fast and goal. I shoot and goalie is Beomjun. At NIS soccer. It is a Saturday, it is a sunny day.”
  • Oxford “One day, people want to play but no one to play. And the people play outside, he wants to play slide. People is there and feeling is not good.”
  • Eli “My story, this is I and daddy and a monster and we say ‘ah’ and the monster is so loud and other people say ‘ah’ too. The Monster is so loud it roars and the building in NIS is shake.”

  • Motong “This is one day I kick ball in the goal. I playing soccer at NIS with friends in Grade 1 and PreK.”
  • Lydia “I draw about today. Today is raining and have two people. Them to the outside and one is mummy and one is me. We go to outside and play.”

  • Jeongyoon “I am going to my soccer game and my team is waiting. I am playing with Beomjun outside in the playground.”
  • Wyatt “Monday I am grandma got outside play and I see the grass and I climbing the tree and I sit on the carpet and eat the fruits and I see the tadpole.”
  • Liz “A bird, is flying and bird is fall down and died. It is a sunny day.”

  • Beomjun “I am swimming on Tuesday after school. I am swimming with Oxford, Eli and Liz and Oliver and Oxford.”
  • Hana “I am drawing grass.”
  • Yui “A little girl playing football. She feels a little bit tired, then she rests and then plays football again. Then she goes home to change her clothes. Then, she has lunch. And then she goes shopping to buy some tomatoes, milk. Then she goes home. Then she takes a nap (In Mandarin).”

The Group’s Expression of Beauty

The group were ready to create their final expression of beauty. They began with a blank canvas. They decided to make a beautiful picture on the large canvas based on their initial plans for their final artwork. First, they discussed the plan together and agreed to divide up the work.

Liz was responsible for making the grass, Lydia was in charge of the large flowers, and Yui handled the small flowers. After completing the initial picture draft, the group returned to the classroom and presented it to the whole class for feedback.

The children Loved the beautiful colours used for the flowers. The green grass and the shiny paper created a fascinating effect. They suggested including the sky, the sun and more flowers.

Incorporating the feedback they received, the group went back to work. They added a rainbow, more big and tall flowers, a sun, clouds, and other elements to beautify their artwork further.

When adding the rainbow, the group meticulously measured the curve and precisely cut it out to achieve the desired shape and proportions. Throughout the creative process, they provided each other with constructive feedback and helpful suggestions to refine the artwork.

The group went back to the class to share their artwork.

The children were excited to see that the team had included a rainbow more flowers and grass, all suggestions they had made to improve the creation. They explained that there was room for more improvement, perhaps including some clouds, birds, unicorns and butterflies would make the artwork even more beautiful.

The team’s final creation shares a collective expression of what is beautiful in the eyes of children. 

All Kinds of Boots


What do you notice? What do you wonder?

We documented the children’s observations and questions.


  • Morning “Some shoes are small and some shoes are big.”
  • Motong “There are many different colour shoes and some are tall and some are short. I see 10 pairs of shoes.”
  • Wyatt “Many colours on the shoes.”
  • Oliver “Some shoes are fat and some shoes thin.”
  • Jeongyoon “There are 20 shoes.”
  • Eli “Some boots are for rain and some boots are for walking and some are for winter.”
  • Oxford “One is green. Some are made out of feathers and some are not. Some boots are in the ice. Some boots have no stickers in the front.”
  • Beomjun “3 little shoes and big shoes is 3.”
  • Eunbyul “Big, medium and small boots.


  • Jeongyoon “Whare there have the shoes and the boots?”
  • Wyatt “Why has many coloured boots and shoes?”
  • Motong “Why are there black shoes?”
  • Oliver “I know that the boots are used for walking or snowing for but what else are they for?”
  • Eli “Why do some have a name on the front and some don’t?”
  • Oxford “Why do we need the stickers?”

We counted our shoes to see how many pairs we had all together.

We had 11 pairs!


– Create your own 2’s collection using objects in the classroom.

– Count in 2’s using your objects.

Challenge: Use collections to share more ways to skip count!

The children develop an understanding:

– that the operations of addition and subtraction are related to each other and are used to process information to solve problems

– of how number operations can be modeled in a variety of ways

– that there are many mental methods that can be applied for exact and approximate computations

The Egg Carton Problem

We began by asking the children what they see, think and wonder about the image. We documented their observations using words, numbers and symbols.


  • Eunbyul “I see eggs.”
  • Wyatt “Egg box and eggs.”
  • Eli “Six eggs in the box.”
  • Oliver “I see words on the box. There are holes on the box. 6+6 is 12.”
  • Motong “There are six eggs and there are no six eggs. There were 12 eggs and it only 6 eggs.”
  • Jeongyoon “I see a table.”


  • Wyatt “I think this is a bird’s egg.”
  • Liz “I think its chicken eggs because birds’ eggs are not big.”
  • Oxford “I don’t think this is not a bird’s eggs, this is eating eggs.”
  • Lydia “The chicken egg is for the people to eat.”


  • Wyatt “Why there have eggs?”
  • Motong “Why there are only 6 eggs but 12 spaces?”

We modelled another way to arrange the 6 eggs in the box. We used manipulatives and drawings to share many ways to represent our thinking.

Then, the children were invited to share multiple solutions to a problem.

If you had 6 eggs left in your egg carton, how would you place them?

Share your sorts using pictures, numbers and symbols.

Egg Problem Template

The children develop an understanding:

– that the operations of addition and subtraction are related to each other and are used to process information to solve problems

– of how number operations can be modeled in a variety of ways

– that there are many mental methods that can be applied for exact and approximate computations

The Mint Tea Shop

Oliver has been growing mint in the Early Years Garden. The mint is ready to harvest. Oliver decided to make mint tea for the community. He approached Ms. Hannah as he recalled making mint tea with her the year before. He hoped to recruit Ms. Hannah as she knew how to make ‘great tea’!


The Plan

Oliver began by planning his tea shop. He decided to make a sample cup of tea to ask his friends what they thought.

Then, he would be ready to offer the tea to others in the community.


Preparing the Sample Tea:

Taste and Flavour Test

Oliver was ready to make mint tea with Ms. Hannah. They sat together to talk about his plan, then moved to the kitchen to prepare and test the tea.

They made 5 different samples to test the strength of the tea. Oliver chose the strongest mint tea to share with his friends as he loved the strong mint flavour.

The mint tea was left to brew overnight. Oliver wrote a message to let others know the tea belongs to K2A.


How do we promote the tea shop?

Oliver shared his process with the class.

He wondered how to inform the Early Years community about the tea testing. The teachers shared a sample community coffee shop promotional video to explore possible ideas.

Oliver was inspired to create his promotional poster, inviting the community to test his tea.

He also made a short video to invite his friends and teachers. Oliver set up his tea shop, preparing the cups and getting ready for his customers. 

He gathered some customer data to determine if they liked his mint tea.

  • Wyatt “The smell of the mint leaves was good.”
  • Lydia “And the drink is yummy.”
  • Eli “I think Oliver should put more leaves in there because if you leave the leaves I think the tea will be stronger.”

Children from the different classes in the Early Years and teachers who passed by the space were invited to try the tea.

As Oliver had a few cups left over at the end of the day, He decided to continue with his tea shop during lunch playtime the following day.

The children gathered to try out his tea again. He was excited to hear some of the children say, “I love this tea it makes me feel so calm.”

Inquiring about Silkworms

  • How long is a silkworm?
  • How does he eat the leaves?
  • What is in his stomach? 

The children continue their inquiry to learn more about the silkworm.

Ms. Jo brought in a silkworm to help us answer some of their questions. We used a microscope to take a closer look at the silkworm, to see how it moves and eats.


We measured the silkworm, it was about 7 centimetres long!

The children were curious about the shedding skim. We watched a video to see how the silkworm ‘moults’.  

We watched a second video to see how the silkworm spins its cocoon. 

We continue to add to our research, documenting new and interesting information we uncover about the silkworms. 

Non-Fiction Books: Learning Through Books

Learning about Worms and Silkworms

The children have been exploring and playing with worms and other living things in the earliest playground.

In the last week, we have documented their questions and observations about silkworms.

Considering the children’s ongoing interest in living things, we read a nonfiction book about earthworms. The children were amazed to read and learn facts about earthworms, how they survived and how they help us. While reading the text, we identified the different features of nonfiction books:  

  • The cover of the book has a title that tells us the topic. It could have a picture which helps the reader understand what the contents of the book might be about.
  • A blurb at the back of the book gives us a brief indication about the content of the nonfiction book.
  • There is a contents page which helps the reader find specific information.
  • The pages are numbered to help the reader find the information quickly.
  • Photographs, drawings and diagrams are included on pages.
  • Information is shared about a topic.
  • Labels and descriptions help the reader understand information about images.

Next, we noted all the information the children knew about worms and silkworms. We decided to organise the information into two columns, similarities and differences between worms and silkworms.

Key ideas and observations that the children shared offer opportunities for an in-depth study into worms and silkworms. In the coming days, we will reach out to experts who can give us more information about these living things.

Creating Bird’s Nests

Over the last few weeks, the children have been observing the birds in the Early Years garden (nature). They have been concerned about the mother and baby birds after noticing the broken eggshells scattered on the playground equipment (causation, survival). The children have been discussing ways to help the birds in the playground (safety).

They decided to make nests that they could position around the playground for nesting birds (action). They discussed using a variety of materials including wood, plastic, grass and sticks to create the nests (materials). They began drawing their ideas on paper, using marks, words and pictures to share their ideas with others (organising ideas, making plans).

We wonder how the birds might react to the homes the children create through their project work.

The Display Stand

@Y began to envision her craftwork display where she would showcase her handmade creations. She started by sketching a design.

Ms. Eileen had collected several boxes from the IT office for the children’s project work. @Y decided to use some of them for her structure. @Ybegan to arrange the boxes according to her plan.

While playing with ideas, @Y noticed that the boxes were relatively narrow and not very suitable for placing her items.

She decided to tape two boxes together to crate a wider surface area for her creative display. @Y moved the boxes around and then arranged them in the desired manner.

As her stand was made up of recycled boxes, the print and colour on the boxes were dull and unattractive. Ms. Eileen invited @Y to think of alternatives. @Y experimented with different ideas and coloured fabrics for the base of her display.

After careful consideration, @Y settled for the red fabric.

She was drawn to the softness of the material and the shade of red. She believed that her artwork would be more visible with this background effect.

@Y was actively engaged in all stages of learning including thinking about and planning her display stand, then testing ideas and modifying to construct her final creation. As an artist, @Y’s process shows her developing understanding of how colour, shape and texture interact with each other in unique ways, and that this can have a profound effect on the observer’s experience of art.   

Where do we go from here?

The team conducted their research, then collected, analysed and presented their findings to the class. Their presentation showed how they have uncovered a broader definition of ‘beauty’. It was time to plan the next steps in their project.

How can we share OUR expressions of ‘Beauty’?

Lydia was excited to find a piece of tinsel paper. The children explained that it was ‘beautiful’. They were attracted to the texture, colour and feel of the paper. They wondered what they could make with coloured tinsel paper. Lydia, Liz and Yui decided to draw pictures to document their ideas. They wanted to create a collaborative piece of art using all of their ideas.

Morning noticed the beautiful pictures and asked to join the team to create the art. She used several colours to draw peacocks.

Morning explained that peacocks were ‘pretty’ because they had colourful feathers that had diamond shapes. As Morning tapped into her prior experiences, she recalled memories of seeing beautiful peacocks on her travels with her family.

Creating the Maze

The team looked at the games the Grade 4 have made for the Early Years students. Oxford and Jeongyoon decided to make a maze board game together.

Jeongyoon suggested visiting Ms. Jo’s design room to look for some materials. They first cut two pieces of cardboard that were the exact size. Then, they taped them together to make a large base.

The team worked closely together and talked to each other about how they wanted to make the game board look more beautiful, which shows their ability to collaborate on tasks.

Oxford used a pencil to mark and draw the size of the paper they needed to cover the base. Then, the team cut out the paper and pasted it on the cardboard. When they finished, they realised that the edges of the paper didn’t paste well enough, so they decided to put more tape on the edges to improve their base.

As they drew the maze, they thought of creative ways to design the different features and mechanisms of the maze.

After carefully considering the different materials they could use for the build, they decided to use corrugated paper. However, Oxford discovered that the corrugated paper boundary wall was not strong enough and decided to use cardboard to reinforce the wall.

As they continue with their build, we look forward to seeing the creative, innovative and complex engineering required to complete their board game.

It took a long time to glue all the individual walls on the maze. The team decided to invite other children to help them in the process.

  • Oliver “I was thinking this was going to take many days to finish because it’s so big and it had so many lines.”
  • Liz “I think people make the games for long time.”
  • Motong “We used cardboard and paper to stick on the cardboard because the paper was not so strong.”
  • Eunbyul “Me and Eli stick it with the glue. I helped three times. I used paper and cardboard and tape.”
  • Eli “I used hot glue one time and then I stopped and then cut cardboard and I give it to Eunbyul and he glued all. We worked together, because if you don’t work together then it will be slower. When we work together its faster. When we used the glue gun we put gloves on.”
  • Eunbyul “And work gently because no gloves then it is hot it will be burned.”
  • Oxford “We need to make something where people get stuck in the maze. We already drawing a ‘start’ and ‘finish’ sign. Next, we need to make things to stick in the maze.”
  • Jeongyoon “We need to put ‘start flag’ and ‘finish flag’.”
  • Motong “We have to make decorations.”
  • Oliver “Making it look more cooler, details.”
  • Oxford “We can use bottle caps in the game. Red is a horse and the horse can jump over.”
  • Oliver “We need instructions, what you need to do. Maybe one rule is ‘who goes first in the finish line wins the game.”

Through their collaborative project, the children identified a need that led to the generation of a design project. Their interest in creating a game for the community propelled them forward in choosing tools and materials to make a product. They made changes and solved problems through trial and error, negotiating ideas and using feedback to improve their final creation. Several times during the process, the team shared their developments to tell a story and explain how their product contributes towards the well-being of the community. The team retained friends to help them complete the project, teaching others about the safe and purposeful use of tools and materials. The success of their design process was evident in the way they demonstrated how they developed and learned new skills through their play, experimentation and collaborative work.


Ms. Hannah shared a sign she had made for the mulberry tree in the Early Years garden as she noticed that some of the tender fruits were on the floor.

While having a meeting to discuss the poster, the children shared some of their wonderings about the silkworms that PreK-K1B have been caring for in the classroom.

  • Motong “Why the silkworm don’t like to eat the wet leaves?”
    • Lydia “Because they can touch the water and die.”
    • Oliver “Because they don’t like drinking water and eating at the same time, they have a small mouth not like our mouth.”
    • Eli “Because if they eat wet things or get wet in the rain they will not because the water gets their body sick. Because they are very lazy.”
    • Liz “because leaves have wet and silkworms drink lots of water and they get sick.”
    • Lydia “Why is the silkworm eats the leaves and grow up?”
  • Liz “Why is it yellow on the side, why is it not white?”
  • Oxford “How can the silkworm take the food when he is stuck on the box?”
  • Wyatt “Why does the silkworm eat the leaf?”
    • Eunbyul “Because worms like leaves.”
  • Lydia “Why does he have little circles on his body? Why does he have more colours like white and yellow (on the body)?”
  • Eunbyul “Why are there lines on the yellow (strings)? Why does the silkworm eat the leaf and then become in the yellow?”
    • Lydia “Because them is broken and they look like a butterfly.”
    • Eli “Its because Ms. Hannah put the yellow ball there because the silkworms can play with it. That is like a, first silkworm and turns into a cocoon and then a butterfly. It’s a cocoon.”
    • Jeongyoon “They get big and then they come yellow.”
  • Liz “What is inside his tummy?”
  • Oliver “How do silkworms peel their skin up to grow?”
  • Eli “Why when it’s a baby it’s black and when its not baby its white. How can it turn black to white?”
  • Oxford “Where did Ms. Hannah find the silkworms?”
  • Jeongyoon “Why is the worms so long?
    • Wyatt “Because he eats the leaves for a really long time.”
    • Oliver “Its because the worm seat more leaves the longer they become.”
    • Oxford “When he is small he eats and go big big big and then get long.”
  • Lydia “Why the silkworms has legs and worms have no legs?”
  • Oxford “What is black on the end?”
    • Oliver “The black is poop.”
    • Lydia “I think there is a baby silkworm there.”
    • Eli “I think it’s because their mouth is black.”
  • Eli “How does the silkworm survive every day?”
  • Lydia “Why does the silkworm have no ears? Can they hear something?”

We gathered to build on our knowledge of silkworms. The children had wondered about the different coloured cocoons and the silk moth.

We watched a time-lapse we had taken a few years ago to see how the silk moth comes out of the cocoon and the different cocoons Ms. Karen had collected over the years.  

We will continue our inquiry to learn more about these interesting creatures by inviting Ms. Hannah and PreK-K1B to answer some of our questions.

The Eggshells

We noticed some changes in the play area and decided to take a look at the slide where the bird was sitting on the nest.

  • Oliver “Broken egg.”
  • Lydia “And so many people play and have so many noise and the birds nest will fall and the egg is all broken.”
  • Eli “I think it’s because when someone goes into that and they take a shovel and it hits the bird egg and it falls on the floor and it broke.”
  • Lydia “And the people take the shovel and play and the people don’t know and people throw the shovel and the bird nest is fall off.
  • Liz “I think mummy bird think people is so loud and egg can’t listen to the noise and the bird’s mummy thinks throw the egg on the floor.”
  • Lydia “I think the bird nest is on the tree and people catch the tree and the bird’s nest fall out and she is so sad and she wanted to go to another space. And she flies away.”
  • Oliver “If she fly away she accidentally pushed down one of the eggs.”
  • Liz “We cannot use the shovels because the birds mum think shovel will hurt the baby egg. We don’t be loud and mummy is don’t throw the egg down.”
  • Wyatt “We use outside words when we are loud the baby fall out of the tree, the bird mum is sad to the bird.”
  • Lydia “Birds mummy see the egg is fall down and the mummy is so sad, and the people is too silly with the shovel. Don’t use the shovel silly. We can tell the people not to be silly, it means play and don’t throw on the bird’s nest.”

We wonder what we might do to help the birds in the Early Years garden.

Creating an Expression of Beauty

A team of children have been conducting their research to learn more about ‘beauty. They have been interviewing the school community to listen to different perspectives.

During Student-led Conferences, families were invited to share what they thought was beautiful on a white canvas. We wondered how we might create a piece of art including all the different circular canvases that have been painted with expressions of beauty.

We invited the children to think of creative ways to exhibit the piece. The children quickly decided that they wanted all five circles to be included in one piece of art.

The children used paper and markers to make their thinking visible.

They used shapes, symbols and words to explain their design to others. While considering the draft designs, it became evident that we needed help to create the structures the children were visualising.

Ideas presented required a strong material that could hold the weight of the different circular canvases.


The ‘Beautiful’ Paintings Display Stand

We wondered how to put the circular canvas paintings themed ‘beautiful’ together. We shared the challenge with the class to see if they had any ideas. We knew we wanted the circles to rotate, but how would we mount them together? 

“Put a screw on it in the middle”, suggested Oliver.

Eli was excited to share how his dad does woodworking projects at home, he uses tools and materials to make things. We decided to speak to Eli’s daddy to see if they would take on the project, to help us build the final display stand.

Eli’s Daddy agreed!

Eli and his dad worked to create a prototype.

They began by planning. Then, they used scraps of wood they had at home to make two prototypes.

Eli presented the prototypes and his process to the class. 

We look forward to seeing their final design!

A Bird in a Nest

  • Wyatt “Oxford tell me a bird is here and we looked at it.”
  • Oxford “I wanted them. Eli think it’s not real.”
  • Lydia “This bird, her eyes are red. And Ms. Hannah said she is sitting on the nest waiting till the eggs come out.”
  • Liz “I see bird, at first it was not on the nest and then the bird is going on the nest.”
  • Eli “I see the bird I think he was laying the eggs because he was sitting there for a long, long time on the nest.”
  • Wyatt “I see the bird not moving.”
  • Oxford “Why no people can not go in there?”

  • Liz “I think the bird is see the people and it fly away.”
  • Jeongyoon “He is flying away and then eggs will crash to the floor and then break. And then the baby bird will be dead.”
  • Oliver “If there is no tape then people will just go in and scare the birds away while making the loud noises, then the baby birds will not have their mummy they will be very scared. The mummy bird might do a battle and might get distracted and the eggs in the nest might hatch and the baby birds might fall down and get hurt. And people might accidentally step on the nest and they might get more hurt.”
  • Liz “I think no have the mummy bird then the inside bird gets cold.”
  • Lydia “The people are so loud and the bird don’t want to be here and then she will go away. And then egg fall off and then the mummy bird don’t want the bird that falls out.”
  • Motong “If we go there and the bird will go crazy and will kick the baby down. If you go in there with a shovel the baby bird will get scared.”
  • Oxford “The mum bird he will think we are bad people and he will take his eggs and go away.”
  • Jeongyoon “Some people get the shovel and hit the nest then the bird will fall and be dead. The nest will fall and the nest will break.
  • Lydia “The tape Ms. Hannah used was broken so the security used the red one.” (in Mandarin)

  • Oxford “I think outside there is paper and it is raining and then the paper will break.”
  • Wyatt “I think outside the people can help the birds and the baby birds not die.”
  • Lydia “It is hatching the eggs.” (in Mandarin)
  • Yui “The bird protecting the eggs.” (in Mandarin)
  • Oliver “Not letting anything happen to the eggs.”
  • Oxford “She has lines on her neck and her beak is so long.”
  • Eli “I think protecting means she keeps her eggs safe. She sits by it and keeps the eggs under her bottom. Because she is in the tree the rain will not get through the tree.”

  • Liz “I think the bird has red eyes.”
  • Lydia “The bird needs to keep the eggs warm to hatch them. Or they will die if it’s cold.” (in Mandarin)
  • Oliver “My Chinese grandpa and grandma house they have real birds and one looks like a peacock.”

We wonder how we might observe the bird over time to see how it cares for the eggs and the baby birds (needs).

We wonder what decisions the children will make about their environment because of their developing understanding of the needs of living things in our playground (nature)

Earth Week

Does trash last forever?

We began our day by talking about Earth Week and the different activities that we might be engaged in to bring awareness to our role in keeping the environment safe and clean.

During snack time, the children noticed the amount of garbage we were producing. The children shared their observations and began to suggest how we could solve some of the problems we have with trash. 

One suggestion was to reduce the amount of packaged food we purchase and bring to school. Another way is to avoid using plastic or disposable cutlery.

To learn more about trash, we watched a Mystery Science video on the question ‘Does trash last forever?’.

The children were surprised to see the mountains of trash that humans had collected.

They were sad to see what plastic in the ocean can do to the different creatures and plants that live in the water.

As part of our ongoing research into what happens to the trash and garbage we collect at NIS and Nanjing,  Ms. Nicole gathered some videos and photographs of garbage being collected around the city in Nanjing.

The children quickly recognised the workers in orange uniforms. We talked about the important service they provide to keep the city clean, safe and beautiful. How could we be more mindful of the waste we generate each day and how this affects our environment? 

Finally, we invited the children to bring in all the recycled materials they could find at home to see how we can sort, organise, re-purpose or create with these materials.

The children brought in recycled materials and then thought about the different ways they could recycle, create or re-use the items.

  • Wyatt “I am making an airplane fighting robot.”
  • Oxford “I am making a robot.”
  • Oliver “I am making a new flowerpot for new flowers.”
  • Motong “I am making trash boxes.”
  • Lydia “I am making a unicorn.”
  • Eli “I am making a rocket with a fire engine at the end.”
  • Liz “I made a bird and a bird’s nest.”
  • Beomjun “This is a little home.”
  • Jeongyoon “I am making a drum with a big cup.” 
  • Yui “I made a person with blue hair.”
  • Hana “I made a turtle.”


 ACTION: Taking Responsibility


  • Eli “I see Oxford cleaning up so many of the toys.”
  • Liz “I see some of the other children are not cleaning up.”
  • Lydia “I see some children are playing with the water and Oxford is cleaning up so many things.”
  • Motong “Oxford is NOT counting things.”
  • Jeongyoon “I see some people drink water when its tidy up time.”
  • Eli “I see the people are not cleaning up the shovels and Oxford had to clean all of the shovels up.”
  • Morning “I see people throwing toys in the Shed when its clean-up time and it’s very messy.”


  • Liz “I think other children are not cleaning up and are running around. I think play the things and not clean up.”
  • Oliver “I think some people just don’t want to clean up, they just count and clean up only 3.”
  • Lydia “I think them is play together and teacher ring the bell and them not clean up, just play.”
  • Eunbyul “I think some people do not clean up and drink water.”
  • Motong “I think Oxford did not play.”
  • Wyatt “When the bell gone, just play and not clean up it’s not ok.

You don’t get the toys and you don’t play.

  • Jeongyoon “I think only some are cleaning up.”
  • Liz “I think the teacher is done and the people are looking and Oxford just cleaned up. The playground is not clean up its not nice because its then so messy.”
  • Lydia “I think play is over and them play and go to drink water and teacher say take 2 gongs and then they go to class and not clean up, Oxford is cleaning up.”


  • MotongClean up all the toys and don’t count the toys. We hear one bell we need to clean up, and we hear two bells we can drink water.”
  • Lydia “We can tell people. We can take a paper writing and use the glue stick and tell everybody play and everybody needs to clean up.” Make a poster.
  • Eunbyul “We can drink water after we clean up.”
  • Eli “We can say to people ‘You HAVE to clean up even if you don’t play anything because this is everyone’s playground’.”
  • Wyatt “You hear the gong, you need to clean up.”
  • Morning “Put the trucks on the shelf and the shovels on the hooks.”



Caring for Living Things

We have noticed the child’s continued interest in living things in the Early Years playground. We decided to share some of the documentation the teachers have collected of the children’s play.

  • Liz “We found worms and roly-polys in the soil.”
  • Lydia “We are in the outside and we used the shovel to find the worms and the roly-polys and put them in the water. They were swimming. It looked like people swimming. We gave them to Eli and they are making a house for them.”

  • Eli “I hide them where the wood things are and I put the cap on so the roly-poly won’t come out and I can play with it next time. I put some leaves so they can eat.”
  • Oliver “It’s a baby beetle. They dig in the wood.”

  • Eli “They live in the wood.”
  • Oliver “They love the playground, they want to live there every day. They have lots of fun things to do. They are playing hide and seek under the soil.”
  • Liz “We put worms in the water. It was like water on my hand.”
  • Eli “I think you can’t keep them forever or they will die because you keep them every day in that pot and he eats all of the fruits and then they will have nothing to eat and they will die.
  • Oxford “There we have so much creatures.”
  • Oliver “You can just take a picture of anything you want to keep or the creatures you keep them for many days they won’t have anything to live.”
  • Wyatt “I and Eli play with the roly-poly and then put it in a cup and we just play there. And then finish playing.”
  • Liz “When we look at the worm they are moving, she wants to go to the soil because worm don’t like you holding it. Put it in the soil quickly.”
  • Motong “When we hold the insects we need to put some wet wood because they like it.”
  • Morning “I am looking at the roly-poly because it’s coming in the cup and then we put it back because they like the wood.”

We noticed that the children have a deep appreciation for the living creatures in nature. Their theories about the different insects reveal how they observe, form generalizations and develop understandings of nature. The children’s discussion about their play outdoors shows their sensitivity and growing awareness of how to care for living things and what they need to survive in their natural habitats.

  • We wonder how the children might document what they see, hear and know about the world around them.
  • We wonder how we might continue to develop their curiosities about the different creatures in our environment.  


Important messages to our community…

A New App

The teachers noticed that the movie makers were having trouble telling their stories using the app ‘Stop Motion’ as they were unable to see the movements they were making as they took the photographs. Therefore, the team were introduced to the app ‘I Can ANIMATE’ to help them create their Lego movies.

After a quick introduction, the team were ready to start again. They learned more about the app through trial and error. The movie makers revisited the stories to ensure they were telling the stories in sequence. Because previous photographs were visible as a watermark on the app it was easier for the moviemakers to position their characters and objects to take the next photograph.

The task required the team to stay focused, to manage multiple jobs, the iPad and the objects while thinking of the different events that occur in their story. They needed to be flexible and open to make changes during their tasks. At times, they had to go back and redo some of the images to make sure they were telling their story in sequence. This required persistence and a willingness to learn as they engaged in the project.

After making the movie, they decided on sound effects and background music and then included their storyboard to complete their Lego story.



by Beomjun

“I am making a snowman. I go to home. I make the snowman and people. I am looking at my home window. I am a Pokemon monster.”


by Eunbyul

“The Pikachu is in the water and give to Pikachu. Pikachu, oh No! Pikachu is small. Abook many lightning fighting. New lightening. Oh no, lightning is little. Pikachu play the phone. The fun. He play the Minecraft.”


Fighting Car

by Eli

First, Pikachu is on the boat. Second, Pikachu go to the wheel and then turned left. The boat turned and then the boat go too fast turning so it go in the water and Pikachu swim, swim, swim, swim, swim, swim, swim, and then go to the sand.”


Green People

by Oxford

“One boat fall. The boat will fall in the house. One green people come. The green people come and take the boat and then he goes somewhere he loves.”



by Jeongyoon

“I go to boat and boat go fast and boat is on the water. The boat is going to a house. The boat going in water and I fell down and I say ‘HELP!’ because I can’t go out. And one people come and he help. And I go to train and train go to house.”

The team have created a journal cover for their process booklet.

We look forward to sharing our learning journey and videos with the community! 

Understanding data

The team sat with the data they had collected through their survey, to sort and understand what their friends and teachers in the Early Years thought about the concept of ‘beauty’.

Looking at the information before them helped the team decide on a rule for sorting. They began to notice that they each had similar ideas that could be grouped.

They created several different groups based on the criteria they had decided on.  

The team decided to include labels to help others understand the groupings they had created.

The team confidently presented their data to the class, naming all the different elements the Early Years community thought were ‘beautiful’.

Zones of the Ocean

Morning and her team gathered resources to conduct their research. While drawing pictures to share what she learned about ‘food chains’, Morning pointed to her drawings and said,These are ocean rabbits!”. Morning loved drawing and telling stories about rabbits. However, the team hadn’t heard about ‘ocean rabbits’ before. What creatures was Morning referring to? 
Considering the words Morning used to describe the sea creature (direct translation from Mandarin   to English), the team read books and watched videos to learn more about sea slugs. Morning and the team were excited to learn that there were such creatures in the sea, and they did look like rabbits in the ocean!  

Wyatt and Morning revisited their learning about the different zones in the ocean. They watched a video and discussed their observations, talking about the shades of blue they could see and the different living things that survived in the different zones.

Next, the team had to decide how they were going to present the different food webs they had created. After looking at different options such as creating trioramas dioramas and posters, the team decided that they wanted to create a poster to include their food webs. They visited the atelier to look for the creative art material they needed to create the posters. At first, Wyatt and Morning were unsure of how they were going to create the background to include the different shades of water they had seen in the video.

Through trial and error and feedback from their friends, the team worked together to create their posters.

When the paint had dried up, the team were ready to add the different elements to their posters. This required thinking about the different zones and deciding where those living things survived in the ocean.

The team went back to the books they had read to revisit the information and make their decisions.

The team referred to the book to write labels for the different living things. The drawings, arrows and labels provide clarity about the information they want to share about ‘food webs’ and zones in the ocean.

Talking about the colourful images presented in the nonfiction books helped the children talk about the creatures they had drawn. We noticed that their vocabulary, understanding and interest had developed through their research. They elaborated on their observations of the different habitats, sharing important characteristics and adaptations the creatures needed to help them survive in the different zones of the ocean.

Wyatt and Morning shared their posters to present what they had learned about the different blues in the ocean. During their presentation, they talked about the creatures that live in the different zones and what they like to eat.

The team have created a journal cover for their process booklet.

They look forward to sharing their posters and learning journey with the community! 

How can we change the way the balls travel on the ramps?

The children have been wondering about the ‘speed’ and ‘direction’ the balls might travel if they made changes to the ramps. They have been recording their theories and making changes to their ramps using a range of materials around the classroom.



What did they observe and learn from their experiments?

What is a Student-Led Conference?

Student-led conferences are a celebration of learning that involves the student and the family. On this day, students take ownership of their learning and share their learning journeys and progress with their families. The SLC’s encourage students to think and talk about their learning with knowledge and confidence. Students use a Student-Led Conference Passport, to help them navigate through the day.

The Shape Test

A paper cube that Oliver made after the paper experiment led to a discussion about 3-dimensional shapes.

The team wondered about the strength of paper shapes and decided to test their theories.

The team wondered:

  • if some paper shapes were stronger than others.
  • which shapes they could make to test their theories.

The team recalled a previous learning experience of going on a shape hunt and decided to refer back to the activity to choose the 3-dimensional shapes they wanted to make and test. When choosing the shapes Oliver stated, “Sphere is impossible for me cause how can you fold the paper round. I want to make a cylinder!”

Eli pointed at the pentagonal prism, “I want to make that one.”

Having thought about their options for paper, they decided to choose card stock instead of paper for their test as they believed it would be stronger than the A4 paper.

Oliver made his first paper cylinder by rolling up the paper and fastening it with tape. However, he quickly noticed that the edges weren’t flat and realised that this would impact the test. He decided to make a second cylinder, taking care to keep the edges of the shape levelled. During testing, Oliver discovered that the top and bottom edges of his first cylinder were not stable enough, so he decided to make a new cylinder.


Having looked at the pentagonal shape, Eli realised that to fold a pentagon, he needed to divide the paper into five equal parts. Eli initially used a ruler to draw lines but found that the width of one ruler was too narrow, which resulted in a lot of extra space at one end.

Then, decided to use the width of two rulers, but each section was too wide and there wasn’t enough space on the card for 5 equal sections.

Eli shared this challenge with the teacher, explaining that he wanted to divide the long edge of the paper into five equal parts.

Having heard Eli’s challenge, the teacher decided to bring Eli’s attention to the concept of measurement to think about what he already knows about the function of hash marks and numbers on a measuring tool.

Ms. Eileen “How long is that edge? How did you measure it?”

  • Eli thought about this and then pointed to the ruler and said, “Use ruler.”

Eli used the ruler to solve his measurement challenge, learning that the length of the paper was about 30 centimetres.

Ms. Eileen “How can we divide 30 into 5 equal parts?”

Eli found the unit cubes and counted out 30 unit cubes to represent the 30cms. Then, he divided them into 5 equal parts, with each part being 6cm.

Finally, Eli drew out the lines and folded his paper pentagonal shape for the test. The researchers were now ready to test their shapes!

The team decided to choose books that were of a similar size for their test. As they placed one book at a time on the shapes, they began to see that although the shapes were made with paper, they were extremely strong.

The team had enough books to reach a total of 19 books for each shape. Then, they ran out of books!

As they didn’t have enough of the same books in the classroom to support the progression of the experiment, they decided to test their shapes in the library.

The team’s paper and shape experiments have allowed them to think about the function of shapes and materials in design and engineering and the impact of forces like compression and tension that act on structures. Through their experimentation, they continue to explore how the design can impact the strength and stability of structures.




Changing the Ramps

We noticed that the children were using two different ramps to create their structures in the block play area. The children’s conversations revealed that they were exploring the concepts ‘speed’ and ‘direction’ as they shared ‘how’ the balls travel on the ramps.

We decided to gather the children to talk about what they noticed about the ramps.


  • Jeongyoon “You can slide balls on both.”
  • Eli “They can both be used for building.”
  • Oxford “The brown one the ball can go zig zag the white it can’t because the brown is big (wider).”


  • Oxford “One is big and one is small. The colour is different one is brown and other is white.”
  • Oliver “One is made out of wood and one is made with plastic.”
  • Liz “One is long and one is short.”
  • Eli “The brown is not narrow and the white is narrow. Because when I tried to put a big ball on it is got stuck on it.”
  • Oxford “The brown is think and white is smaller (thinner).”
  • Lydia “The small ball can go on the white and the big balls on the brown.”

We noticed that the children used descriptive words to categorise the ramps. We decided to build on this knowledge to see how they stretch their thinking and vocabulary by exploring new textures and materials in their scientific inquiry. 

Teacher “What would we change if we want the balls to travel on the ramps differently?”

  • Lydia “Use the pencil to colour it.”
  • Oliver “The white glue, we can add glue on a zig zag line, the ball when you roll it, it will go bouncy.”
  • Eli “We can put tape here and if you roll the ball too fast it might roll and go away from the ramp.”
  • Oxford “We can put string on it and use tape and then make lines.”
  • Wyatt “We can put water on it and the ball will go really fast.”
  • Eli “You can put wood (chips) inside the ramp and then the ball might go up.”
  • Oliver “We dig some holes on the two sides and get the circles made out of plastic and stick them on the sides so when the balls go down, the circles will spin.”
  • Oxford “Maybe we can put another stick on the brown ramp.”
  • Eli “You can stick some paper on the brown ramp and make it higher and higher.”

As the children shared how the ramps could be modified, they began to hypothesise about what might happen with their experiment.  

  • We wonder what the children might notice about the ‘speed’ and ‘direction’ the balls travel because of the ‘changes’ they have made to the ramps (causation).
  • We wonder how the children might record the theories and observations of their experiments.  

Rocks, Crystals and Minerals

Groups of children have finding, exploring and wondering about the different rocks and stones they found in the Early Years garden. They often share their ideas and questions to learn about them; what the rocks are used for how they are made and where they come from.

  • Oliver “We want to find lots of crystals and we want to be good at finding sapphires. I want to be a crystal hunter.”
  • Eli “I was telling Mr. Seth which ones can draw different colours.”

What we know and think…

  • Eunbyul “I think this crystal inside have a diamond.”
  • Lydia “MY mummy home have diamonds. I like the diamonds.”
  • Oliver “Diamonds is a crystal that can break through glass. Its like super strong nails, if you scratch it on the glass then it will break.”
  • Oxford “I think that (diamond) is not real.”
  • Oliver “In games I see there are crystals. The name of the crystals one is diamond and gold.”
  • Liz “I think school is not have crystals. I think inside the stone there is nothing.”
  • Oxford “I think we don’t know why Eli can draw with it.”
  • Wyatt “I think diamonds is not in the school because school outside there is diamonds are not there.”
  • Jeongyoon “I think diamond is not real and not in the whole world.”

We wonder…

  • Oxford “Where did you find them?”
  • Eli “In the sand and some of them I cracked them.”
  • Oliver “I found them in the ground make out of bricks.”
  • Oxford “What is in the rocks? Why can he use the rocks to write? What makes it gold inside the rocks?”
  • Jeongyoon “Are crystals real or not real? What is a crystal?”
  • Oliver “I only know 4 names of crystals. I want to know the names of other crystals?”
  • Eli “Which one is a rock and which one is a crystal?”
  • Lydia “Why are some crystals are blue or green? Why are crystals so beautiful?”
  • Morning “Where are the crystals from?”

Having noticed this ongoing interest in rocks, crystals and minerals, the teachers have organised a field trip to the Nanjing Geological Museum.

We wonder what the children might uncover from their investigations and observations at the museum.

A Table for Lego

Sungjune, a Grade 9 student reached out to K2A to ask if he could build something for us as he was engaged in a product design exploration. As the children would often struggle to sit around the rectangular table that we have in the classroom, the teachers suggested a table for Lego projects.

After a few days, Sungjune shared 3 draft plans for the table. The drafts were presented to the children for feedback and questions.

As the children discussed the designs, we noticed that they were considering the shape, space and purpose of the table. Finally, they voted for the table they preferred the most.

The children’s preferences have now been shared with Sungjune. As we know that the children are always curious about building and making, we wonder what they might learn from observing Sungjune’s process of building the table.

What do they eat?

Conversations about living things in the ocean revealed wonderings about the food living things need to survive in the ocean. The teachers discussed Morning’s statement about ocean rabbits. Considering the words Morning used to describe the sea creature, we wondered if she was making a direct translation from Mandarin to English. Perhaps she was referring to a particular sea slug. We wondered if Morning would find a picture of the ocean rabbits she referred to in the picture books.

We invited the team to explore the picture books about the ocean, to see what they could learn about what ocean creatures need to survive.

Wyatt was puzzled about some of the sea creatures, “I don’t know what turtles like to eat”, he exclaimed. As he turned the pages and read the information in the pictures, he began to make connections by sharing what he noticed. “Seals like to eat this one!”, he said, pointing to kelp.

As the researchers documented their learning and observations on paper, we noticed that their drawings showed their growing understanding of ‘survival’ and the ‘interdependence’ of living things. However, it was hard to interpret the information in their drawings as they were their first notes and quick sketches that illustrated their process of meaning-making.

While the researchers flipped through the pages of the picture book, they paused and discussed the sea otter.


We decided to take this opportunity to help them tune into their research through the inquiry of one specific animal.

As they watched a short video on the sea otter, they learned that it loves to eat fish, octopus and crabs, and documented this new information in their research paper.

As the researchers dig deeper into the concepts of survival’ and ‘interdependence’, we wonder how they might share what they learn through different medium.

The First Stories

The moviemakers have been creating their stories using the Stop Motion app. Eunbyul was the first to finish his first movie.

We noticed that Eunbyul had taken over 400 photographs to create his 30-second movie. We wondered about the sequence of the story and the positioning of the objects in the photographs. We decided to invite him to present his written story plan and his first movie to the class, hoping that Eunbyul’s peers would be able to give him feedback that could improve his creation.

  • What did they notice in the images?
  • What elements would Eunbuyl need to work on to improve his movie?

The audience was captivated by Eunbyul’s movie. They loved his Pikachoo characters and were excited to see how he brought his characters to life.

Eunbyul explained that he was still unsure of how to show a snowfall. The audience gave him specific feedback to improve his story.

  • Follow the story plan.
  • Make sure pictures don’t include parts of the moviemaker’s body.
  • Take multiple photographs to show the slow movement of the objects

The teachers decided to use two objects to demonstrate what the audience meant by slow intentional movements.

Eunbyul thought about the feedback and went on to make his second movie. This time, he followed his story plan, mindful of the sequence of events that the photographs needed to show.

Excitement about the movies rippled across the class, with Oxford, Oliver and Eli deciding to create their own stories using the app. The team sat with paper and writing tools to create a story plan.

Oxford picked up an iPad and reached out to his friends to learn how to use the app Stop Motion.

  • Oxford “Eunbyul taught me a little bit how to use the Stop Motion app. He showed me where to touch and not touch and he explained how to do it. I go and make it. I first touched the Stop Motion movie app, then I took photos. I took 76 photos for the movie.”

How might we capture beauty?

An unexpected observation presented an opportunity for the children to explore ‘beauty’ when Lydia paused while walking across the playground and said, “…a beautiful cherry blossom tree”.

The children collected the soft, shaded flowers that had fallen under the tree. We realised that the flowers would soon wilt and fall from the tree. We wondered how the children might capture the memory of the tree.

Teacher “How can we remember what the tree looks like?”

  • Lydia “We can take a photo!”
  • Motong “We can draw a picture!”

Having agreed to Motong’s suggestion, the artists went to the atelier to find the mark-making tools they needed.

Then, they positioned themselves in front of the tree to create a memory of the beautiful cherry blossom tree.

The artists captured details in their drawings, sharing their ability to use art to express their creativity.

Yui decided to include the resting lions by the side of the tree, Lydia included the artists in her drawing, Liz the elements of nature and Motong’s drawing of the cherry blossom tree showed how he considered, shape, texture and perspective in his artwork.

When Lydia was ready to colour in her tree, she explained that the bark and flowers hadmany different colours”, which is why it was ‘beautiful’.

Dividing the Garden Plot

Following on from the Garden Project meeting, Oliver and Liz, the two K2A Garden Project representatives picked up their clipboards, paper and pens and went back to the garden plot, to see how they could solve the problem.

We wondered what suggestions they had to divide the space equally.

Oliver walked around the plot thoughtfully. Liz drew the square plot on her paper. The first suggestion was to give each child one space in the plot to plant a seed. This posed a problem as we would not be able to see where the seeds have been planted and who they belong to. They walked around the plot thoughtfully.

The teacher decided to help the team think about sharing by asking “If you had a cookie and you needed to share it equally, how would you do that?

Oliver drew the cookie on his paper, to show how he would cut it equally first in half, then in quarters and then into eighths. He spent more time in thought and then made a connection. “Give each person a line.” Explained Oliver, drawing horizontal lines across the plot on his paper. However, he quickly decided that this was the solution he was looking for.

Finally, Liz and Oliver decided that the plot should be divided exactly in half.

They documented their ideas on paper, using marks, words, symbols and signs to make their thinking visible to others. They included signs that read, ‘K2A’ and ‘K2B’, on each side of the plot.

Finally, Liz and Oliver presented their process to the class.

We wonder how the gardeners will work out equal shares and what tools they will choose to use to solve the problem.

Lydia joined Oliver to measure the plots. The gardeners recalled using the long measuring tape and twine to measure distance when working on their paper airplane project and decided to use the same tools to measure and divide the plot in half.

We noticed the team working together to read the measurement on the tape. They were wondering what ‘half‘ would be. They tried to read and understand what the numbers on the tape represented. The large column that was in the plot added to the challenge, as although the column appeared to be in the centre of the plot, it was not!

The team worked together, using chopsticks and twine to mark one side and then the other. They ran the twine across the plot to show the division. But was the twine in the middle? How could we be sure it is divided into equal parts?  

Lydia and Oliver used Base 10 Blocks to find the half mark.

  • Oliver “We measured it with a measuring tape and we used the Base 10 Blocks. That’s how we used to measure it. Then we measured how much K2A and K2B space can get. K2A get 90 and K2B get 90. That is the exact half!”

Another task was to decide which plants needed to be taken out of the plot. Oliver carefully observed the plants. Then, he used an iPad to mark the ones that needed to be taken out in ‘red‘ and the ones that needed to remain in ‘green‘. 

The team were ready to share their decisions with the Gardening Project Group at their next meeting. 

An update from Oliver:

  • Oliver “Ms. Hannah told the group the metal shelf is for putting the gardening things like digging shovels, seeds and watering cans. Everyone who was in the group they drew the shelf where we put the things so they will remember where to put the gardening tools.”


The students were invited to use Pattern Blocks to create designs. Each pattern block shape had a value. The complete design needed to have a total value of 24, 40 and 60.

Next, the students completed a bar graph using the information in their Pattern Block design.


  1. Use Pattern Blocks to create 3 shape designs that have a value of 24, 40 and 60.
  2. Take a picture of your designs.
  3. Upload your pictures to Seesaw.
  4. Complete the graph to show how many shapes you used in your design.

Creating the designs involved a lot of problem-solving, thinking, calculations and conversations.

What designs might YOU create?

What is the SUM of YOUR design?

The Garden Plots – Making Decisions 

The gardening group (composed of student representatives from each class) gathered to discuss their project. Their task for the day was to document what was still growing in the garden and how they might organise the garden plots.

Thirteen gardeners joined the meeting with Ms. Hannah. They began by revisiting their agreements. The gardeners reflected on what it means to be a respectful listener “We talk one at a time and listen to others as they share their ideas.”

Then, they reflected on what they did during the previous session.

  • Emma “We don’t have many plants.”
  • Oliver “Some plants survive when it was snowing, it means when it’s snowing they are not very scared of the cold. The big plant is dead because it’s not cold protection.”

The team wondered about the ‘temperature’ and what plants ‘need’ to ‘survive’ and thrive.

Which plants might grow in the different seasons?

Which ones will survive?

  • Jacob “Because that big plants got too much water and it would die and too much worm pee pee it will die too.”
  • Logan “Earthworm poo, could it help?”
  • Jenny “Not too much water, not too dry (in Mandarin)”
  • Adelyn “Not too much sun”
  • Oliver “If you get a dragon fruit then dig a whole and then a plant will grow and the flower will grow and it is actually a dragon fruit. If you use the outside part of the strawberry seed and put it in the dirt it will grow strawberries. I know how to grow a watermelon to a shape that you want. If you get a square shape cube and dig a hole and then open it and then close it and then it will be the shape.”
  • Albert “If you grow watermelon then you will get a watermelon tree.
  • Keira: “In my home, there are orange trees.”
  • Jacob “Watermelon black and watermelon white seeds. People can eat the white seeds and plant the black seeds.”
  • Emma: “At my home, I have a paprika tree.
  • Albert: “At my home, I have a bamboo tree.”

Teacher “This is a shared space. We have 5 classes. Which means we need to find a way to share the plots. How might we do this?”

The gardeners gathered their clipboards with paper and writing tools. They looked at the plants in the plot and began to draw to share their observations and thinking.

Teacher” How do you know something is still alive?”

  • Emma “Because the seeds were still in the mud. And it didn’t fall out. Some was out but some not.”

We noticed that the team considered the size and shape of the plots when documenting their thinking. The gardeners were encouraged to think about and explain how they knew the plants were still alive. They used their senses to observe carefully, sharing their theories about the growth of plants and the weather. As they visualised the space, they began to share suggestions on how the plots may be allocated to the different classes in the Early Years.

The gardeners gathered to share what they had learned and to decide on what they would do next.

  • Oliver “One is a bigger plot and one is smaller.”
  • Sophia “Prek-K1 has more children so they use the bigger plot and K2 use the smaller plot.” (in Mandarin)
  • Emma “Also we need to plant so many new plants because only in some places there are plants.”

The gardeners agreed with Sophia’s suggestion.

  • Emma “PreK-K1 has 3 classes and K2 has 2 classes.”
  • Albert “The bigger one to PreK K1 and the smaller one to K2.”
  • George “One class has one space.”

The children took a vote and agreed with George’s idea.

The team’s suggestions were based on the number of classes in each grade level and the number of students in each of them. The teachers wondered how they might encourage the gardeners to show the division of a space.

The Octopus House: A Collaborative Design Project

A group of children have been working together to create a house, which they named ‘The Octopus House‘. They used their imagination and experiences to inform their art-making.

While building the house, we observed the group sharing and listening to ideas presented, then using a range of materials to improve the different elements in their creation.

Working on one creation can be challenging, problems require solutions and disagreements need to be worked out.

We saw the team work through these different challenges, persevering and then celebrating their final design. Finally, they presented their creation to the class. The architects were invited to keep a record of their design using their visual arts skills.

We noticed how they thought about and used shapes, colours and mark-making to record their creation on paper. These creative experiences allow the children to collaborate, persevere, listen, learn and have fun together. 


The teachers noticed that a group of children had been interested in making their games during inquiry playtime. They often used recycled paper and cards to design and create their games.

Recently, the Grade 4 students visited K2, to ask the children about the arcade games. This was connected to their Unit of Inquiry ‘How We Organise Ourselves’.

First, the Grade 4 students conducted a survey, to learn more about the younger children’s interests in games. Then, they returned to create a list and gather feedback to learn “What might make the game fun?”.

  • Jeongyoon “Rules and tag.”
  • Motong “If we don’t have rules and we don’t know how to play.”
  • Oxford “”

We noticed that the children continued to refer to the ‘rules’ in a game. We wondered if the children were making connections with the games they play in their P.E. class, as conversations at the end of the lesson highlight important behaviours that make games fun and engaging. The teachers decided to dig deeper, to learn more about the children’s thinking. The teachers decided to ‘use the discussion to generate new ideas and investigations’.

Why do we need rules in the game?

  • Jeongyoon “If the game has no rules, it’s not a game, because it’s not fun.”
  • Motong “Because we don’t know how to play if we don’t have rules.”
  • Oxford “Rules let us know what we can do and what we can’t do.”

The children highlighted the ‘function’ of rules in the ‘organisation’ of a game. Then, the children drew the games they liked on large chart paper. We noticed that many of the games had mazes. Was this something that interested the team?

We discussed the kinds of games the team would like to make for the other children in the EY. We wondered…

  • How might we gather information to learn about the games that the EY children like to play?
  • What does a game need to have to make it exciting and fun?

The team gathered to discuss their next steps. Could we use a survey or draw some graphs to show our findings?

Oxford chose to create a survey that included three games. He planned to ask the children in the EY to choose their favourite game, to help him decide which game he was going to finally make. The three games to choose from were ‘Whack-a-Mole’, ‘Maze’ or ‘Treasure Hunt’.

Motong chose to create a survey with three choices of games for children in the Early Years. His games were ‘Car Race’, ‘Solider Game’, ‘Code Guessing.

Jeongyoon chose to use the maze game and decided to write some questions that would help him find out how he could make his game fun for the children in the EY.

  • Question 1: Do you like water in the maze game?
  • Question 2: Do you like easy games or hard games?

The Story of Paper

Over the last few months, the children have been borrowing books from the library to learn how to make and test paper airplanes.

Having observed this passion and continued interest in paper crafts and origami, the teachers decided to gather a group of children to talk about what they like to make.

  • Oliver “I like to make gifts and paper airplanes.”
  • Eli “Paper airplanes and TV.”
  • Motong “Paper airplanes.” 

What can we use origami for?

  • Eli “For playing and you can make games.”
  • Motong “You can use origami to fold things and you can test.”
  • Oliver “We can use it for using, like making a box and use it to put something you need in it. We can use a super big paper to fold a bookshelf and put books on it.”

  • Eli “If you just put the paper, the paper will smash and the books will fall down.”
  • Oliver “We can fold it many layers, fold them together.”
  • Motong “You can put some boxes under the paper to make it strong. We can make animals and play with them.”
  • Eli “We make paper airplanes to see which one goes the farthest.”

The team drew their origami creations on chart paper and put samples next to them, to let others know what the designs looked like.

We noticed that the team were wondering about the ‘properties’ of paper, particularly its ‘strength’ and ‘versatility’. We decided to gather the team, to see if they could create experiments to test the strength of paper.

  • We wonder how much weight paper can hold.
  • We wonder how we can make the paper stronger.


Lydia was excited to share a photograph her mum had taken during a thunderstorm.

  • Lydia “Me mummy took the picture, mummy said ‘WOW, this is so cool’. This everywhere purple colour. The lighting was white. Lightning have the water and small things. Lightning not so good, the people will die. There is a little blue. Lightning comes from the clouds. Daddy said when the weather is very hot there will be a lot of lightning.”

Lydia presented her photograph to her friends.

  • Lydia “On the window we can see lightning.”
  • Jeongyoon “I think the light bulb is using the thunderbolt.”
  • Oliver “The clouds are made out of gas and the gas gets hot. Because in the morning one day it was very hot day and many days later it was still very hot and then there was lightning.”
  • Oxford “I think this is real because there are too many lights.”
  • Eli “This one looks like its from the Thor’s hammer. He is a superhero. You see this at the nighttime, I see it, hear boom, boom!”
  • Motong “It’s in the night because of the lightning we can see in the night. There is no lightning in the day.”
  • Oliver “At home when I was eating supper, then I finished then mummy was waiting to go to sleep and then I looked at the window and I see 10 maybe 20 lightning.”
  • Oxford and Motong “This have like fireworks.”
  • Eli “We can get hurt, when you stand by a tree, you will be hit with lightning, my mummy said.”
  • Oliver “The lightning comes and it goes across and goes like this (like zig zag). The clouds have a gas, it’s a kind of smoke that is made out of water.”
  • Eli “I feel Scared.”
  • Oliver “I think it looks cool.” Wyatt and Motong agreed.
  • Eileen “I think it’s beautiful, the shapes and the colours. We can only see this in some kinds of weather.”

The children began to share how they felt about lightning. Lydia disagreed with some of the statements. The teachers suggested that she think of a way to find out how different people feel about lightning so she can learn why they feel that way. We were curious about the connection Jeongyoon made between the light bulb and lightning. We decided to dig deeper, to hear what the other children thought about the connection he made. Teacher “How does the lightning make the lightbulb work?”

  • Eli “This light has light. It is made out of power not of lightning. When thunder crashed into the tree and the pipe is in the tree and then it goes through the pipe into the electricity thing and then into the light.”
  • Motong “I think the sun will rip and then the lightning will come down.”
  • Eli “The sunlight can go in a pipe and then the sunlight goes into the power and then the many sunlight comes in and then the light works.”
  • Oliver “Some people get a big box and it also has a roof on top of it and the sun shines into it and then it turns it into electricity and then the lights work.”
  • Wyatt “The light go off when the rain will come.”
  • Oxford “I think in the pipe there is electricity. The electricity comes from the sun. A pipe is in the sun.”

Eli “This is lightning and it crashed to the tree and this is pipes, and the lightning goes inside the pipes and it goes inside the house. And this is light, and the light works. And then other lightning comes and other lightning comes and gets light to here. We don’t want to waste power so we want to use the light during lightning to do power. And these this picture of lightning, when the lightning goes in very slow and then when it’s a rainy day sometimes lightning comes out the black clouds because it’s a rainy day. When they are black they can make lightning really big.”

Oliver “This is inside the computer, and there was some cables connected to the lights. One lightning was blue colour and one was green and one was pink. And then I see in the floor there was fire. On top of my house there is something that makes it. If lightning comes here then the light becomes more bright.”

We noticed that the children were discussing the concepts of ‘power’ ‘safety‘ and ‘energy’ and how we use them in our daily lives. 

Our inquiry continues…

The Language of Lego

The Lego table is a popular space in the classroom. The children gather to use Lego to recreate familiar structures and objects from their experiences. Often they use these objects to engaging storytelling.

A group of three children enjoy creating swords and other objects to tell stories about superheroes. Noticing their continued interest in storytelling and Lego, the teachers wondered how they might stretch the children’s ideas to help them explore a range of tools and materials that they could use to tell their stories.

The team began to put their ideas down on paper, drawing favourite characters and sharing stories that they might want to create.

After a few suggestions, the team were stuck for ideas. We decided to ask the rest of the class if they had suggestions for building with Lego.

  • Jeongyoon – boat, a bike and a house
  • Oliver – a big box to put the Lego

The team had more ideas to work with. They drew their ideas on paper. Then, they used Lego to make the different objects and characters.

How might we use Lego to tell our stories?

The team watched a short animated Lego movie. The creator used a stop-motion app to create it. The team wondered if they could use the same tools to tell their own stories.

What more do we need to tell a story?

We read a familiar story and revisited the elements that help us create and tell stories. Characters, a setting, problems, solutions and events in a story can make it more interesting.

How might we use what we know about storytelling to create new stories?

The children used a story planner to think about the different events that will take place in their Lego stories. They discussed their ideas with each other, adding more details as they received feedback from their friends.

One child tapped into his prior knowledge, connecting with the different craft moves authors and illustrators use to tell their stories. He decided to include speech bubbles (voice) and movement (short strokes to show actions) in his drawings.


What makes something ‘beautiful’?

The children frequently gather at the writing table to draw, colour, write and create using a range of different materials available at this centre.

Intricate designs, drawings, ideas and props for stories often emerge as a result of their inquiry. As the semester progressed, we noticed that the paper creations were becoming more complex.

The children made computers, puppets with moving parts and 3-dimensional art.

We decided to speak to a group of children to explore some of their wonderings about paper crafts.

  • Liz “Make computers is so happy. I like to play with computers.”
  • Lydia explains, “I want to make things beautiful.”
  • Teacher “What is beautiful? What makes something beautiful?”
  • Lydia “Flowers are beautiful because there are so many beautiful things on it.”

  • Lydia points to her fingers, she has a sparkling sticker on one fingernail. “Stickers are beautiful. Coloured pencils are beautiful. We ‘like’ things that are beautiful.”
  • Yui thought about what Lydia and Liz shared and explained that insects like butterflies are beautiful because they have many colours, and leaves are beautiful because there are many different shapes.

The team continued to wonder what makes something ‘beautiful’. Are they things we ‘like’?

We decided to invite them to take photographs of what they considered beautiful around the EY space. The children spread out across the space, capturing images of beautiful things. Each of them had taken pictures of colourful flowers, fish, pots of markers and glittering fabric. 

Two of the photographs the children had taken were different to the others. One was a younger child’s drawing with black tip markers, and another was a ball of twigs that was a neutral colour. We wondered why they chose to capture these images. What made them beautiful?

We printed the photographs to present them to the children to see what they thought about the images they had taken.

The Ocean Project

We have noticed the children playing and telling stories using the miniature plastic animals. Through their storytelling, the children transport the animals to different places, exploring actions that help them survive in their natural habitats. 

What colour is the ocean?

One morning Wyatt said, “My favourite colour is blue because the ocean is blue only one blue.

Wyatt is intrigued by the ocean. His drawings and storytelling often revolve around the creatures on the beach and at the shoreline. His books hold his memories and explorations with crabs, dolphins and other sea creatures.

The teachers decided to gather a group of children to talk about Wyatt’s theory about the colour of the ocean.

  • Wyatt began by repeating his theory about the colour of the ocean. He pointed to the shade of blue in the pack of markers.
  • To this Lydia responded, “No 2 blues.”. She chose a second shade of blue to add to Wyatt’s idea. She thought for a while and then added, “The second blue is in K1.”
  • Morning “This blue looks a little like green.”

The team went off to K1 to look for the shade of green Lydia was referring to. Although they found different shades of blue, they were not completely convinced that the ocean matched the shades they had found in the classroom.

We invited the team to the Atelier to explore with paints, to create the ocean. They gathered the materials they needed and sat with large pieces of paper to paint their pictures. At first, the team chose 2 shades of blue from the colour tablets and painted the ocean waves. As the children discussed their ideas, they decided to add a green colour tablet. They dipped their paintbrushes into the tablet, experimenting and creating a new colour. The children continued their conversation in Mandarin. They began to tell stories about the creatures that live in the ocean.

Wyatt “Crab is here because I go to the beach I looking at crabs in the beach. I really like crab. This ocean has many legs. Whale lives in the ocean. And it’s many beautiful colours.

Ocean and crab. Not the same blue. I used two blues. Crab is different blue because this crab is eating things. Octopus eat the crab. And whale eating octopus and the whale go away. That crab is so not feeling good because that cram is eating things and a long time water is put to the water. When the sea crashes on the shore, everybody can see the water is blue. I like to see in Hainan the best. The sea there is part of the Pacific Ocean. All the seas are the same blue.”

Lydia “This blue I see is in the ocean have something in the ocean. I am drawing the whale. He has the water here and he is jumping up and go to the water. This whale is quiet she is not feeling good. His mummy is not give she to play, she jump in the water and crying.”

After completing her painting,

Lydia reflected on what she had done. “We make the sea have so many animals in the sea. And the water have fish and whale. We use yellow, blue, red and green. Ocean is more than one blue.”

Morning “I have two blues. I have five blues. The dolphin is one red and one blue. I used five blues for the ocean” states Morning, pointing to different areas of her drawing.

“One is dark one is a little bit black. This one has other colours in there. Maybe green is in there. Dolphins live in the not dark blue because if they live in the dark blue, he can’t see to eat what.”

We noticed that the group were sharing their observations about the different shades of colour in the ocean. They also discussed their theories about the creatures in the ocean and how they find their food. We wondered what they knew about food chains and the different zones of the ocean

The teachers discussed possibilities for research and the next steps. We wondered how we could help the children explore the different shades, and colours of the ocean. We decided to share two photographs of the ocean that the teachers had taken on their trip, to stretch the children’s thinking.

We revisited the children’s initial theories about the different ‘blues’ in the ocean. Wyatt insisted that there were two blues. The crab was one blue and the ocean a second. The children were excited to see the photos and began to share their theories.

Morning pointed to the crashing waves and said, “The water is going up and the sunlight is coming and this will be white.”

Wyatt thought about what Morning was sharing and added, “The ocean is many colours because the water is many blue and white, the ocean has many colours.”

  • Morning “But the ocean does not have purple.”
  • Wyatt “The shark likes to live far in the ocean.”

We began to number the different colours we noticed in the photograph of the ocean. The children shared their theories on why the colours were different.

  • Morning “The shark needs water.”
  • Wyatt “The shark needs many water.”
  • Morning “If the shark goes out of the water then the shark will die.”
  • Wyatt “Because water has foods in the ocean. And the shark going up in the water then he won’t have foods in the beach. The crabs live on the beach because they go inside the sand. Crabs don’t go in the big water.”
  • Morning “The water near the beach is very small so they (sharks) need to live far.”

New theories about the ‘needs’ of living things in the ocean began to emerge. To help the children unpack the concept ‘causation’, we decided to explore this further by asking “What living things live in the ocean? Why do they choose to live there?”

How to make Banana Cookies!

One child was excited about bringing his Nana to school one morning. She lives in Australia but visited him during the Chinese New Year holiday. Over the holidays he planned an activity that he could do with Nana in school. They decided to show the children how to make banana cookies.

He bought the ingredients with Nana and then tested his recipe at home. Then, he made a video to share his process with his friends. When school reopened after the holidays, the child invited Nana and his Aunty to school as they were the cookie experts.

Next, we had to work out how many cookies we needed.

  • Motong “We counted how many cookies we need to make.”

  • Jeongyoon “We needed 29 because 4+5=9 and 1+1=2 so we need 29. 15+15=30 so 15+14=29.”

Through their conversations, we noticed that the children were thinking about the operations of addition and subtraction and how they are related to each other.

  • Liz “We made banana cookies.”
  • Motong “We make cookies and Eli’s Nana helped us to make.”

  • Eli “We are putting coconut oil in the bowl and it is good for the cookies because it’s very yummy.”
  • Lydia “We mix the things to make the banana cookie.”
  • Oliver “The cookie was almost finished so I put one little drop of the dough on the paper and then I put it in the oven.”
  • Motong “We put the banana cookies in the oven because it will change the cookies when it is hot.”
  • Oliver “It turns browner.”

The children were exploring the impact of temperature and how it could change textures and substances.

  • Wyatt “We made cookies to take to K2B and ate it.”
  • Motong “We draw how we make the banana cookies.”
  • Eli “We used numbers and words.”
  • Motong “We used spaces (lines and squares) because we know that is 1 thing.”

We observed the children using several ideas to share their ideas on paper. They used a combination of drawing and writing to narrate and tell about the events in the order in which they occurred.

We paused to talk about the K2 writers’ drawings. The children noted that some writers used numbers to show the steps needed to complete a task while others used spaces or drew around a picture to share the same idea (procedures/steps). Some writers used arrows to show ‘the next steps’ in the process. The children noted that including labels with the drawings helps others ‘read’ the information.

Some children used sentences to share their ideas and others used lots of details in their drawings, all important crafts that good writers use to share messages and information with others.


Hot and Cold!

We watched the video of the fish in the pond. The children were happy to see the fish swimming around again.

We know that we can ask questions about things in the natural world and can do something to find answers that help explain what is happening. ​

We read a non-fiction book with colourful photographs of different places around the world. The book talked about the choices we make as a result of the weather and the temperature.

We discussed the temperature in Nanjing, China and in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

We began to create a list of the things we would like to measure.

  • Oliver “We want to measure how hot it is. I want to measure cotton, it feels very warm.”
  • Eli “How hot is fire?”

One child talked about lava. We watched a short video to learn more about this word.

  • Jeongyoon “I want to measure how cold the snow.”
  • Eli “Ice.”
  • Jeongyoon “I know how cold ice is. It is 0.9. I want to measure cold water.”
  • Motong “How hot is a hotdog?”
  • Lydia “Ice cream is so cold. If you are so hot you can eat ice cream.”
  • Shemo “How cold is ice cream?”
  • Yui “I tasted ice cream before, when I put it in my mouth it was very cold.” (in Mandarin)
  • Eunbyul “Ice water.”
  • Wyatt “lava in the ice it gets cold. It’s a cold day you will get sick because its so cold and you not eating the ice cream.”
  • Oxford “The fridge.”
  • Morning “Why is the ice so cold? Measure ice in the ground.”
What can we measure?
We began to brainstorm the different reasons and tools we use to measure. 
We decided to explore temperature.  
The children went off to see if they could measure the temperature of different items and liquids. 


Approaches to Learning (ATL’s)
We are learning how to:  
• observe carefully
• seek information
• ask or express through play questions that can be researched
• gather information from a variety of sources 
• analyse and interpret information
• understand symbols
• document information and observations in a variety of ways
• choose and complete tasks independently

A Closer Look at Soil and Compost

Oliver “Oxford and I put the food waste in the compost bin and then we can make dirt with it. We can turn it to soil. It’s because the wormies are eating all of the fruit inside this and poop out the food and the poop and the pee is good for the plants.”

Oxford “I put dirt in the box. Because no people eat so much fruit.”

What can we learn from Authors and Illustrators?

We read a book about growing and plants. We noted that the illustrator showed close-ups of different pictures to help us notice more details.

What helps us take a closer look at things around us?

  • Oliver “We can look at it close by. We can use a telescope.”
  • Eli “We can use a magnify. We can also use our eyes.”
  • Oliver “I want to look at a worm closely and see what patterns it has. I mean stripes.”

What might be in the soil and dirt? If we look closely, what do you think we might see?

  • Wyatt “We can see a caterpillar.”
  • Motong “Ants. Ants eating food.”
  • Morning “We can see a mouse.”
  • Oxford “We can see a spider.”
  • Lydia “Worms.”
  • Oliver “When I was outside I actually see this big beetle and it also was inside the dirt. It was so big. He was always sleeping on the dirt and he wakes up.”
  • Eli “We can use glasses. The thing that has the list at the front.”

The children found a magnifying glass. They thought it could be used to look at the soil. Yui was very excited to use the new tool and used it to explore the classroom.

We wonder what she discovered!

One child volunteered to get some soil from the garden plots that we could put under the microscope.

He took a second sample of soil from under the wood bark. As he dug into the ground he said “This is so hard.”

He made labels to let the children know what the samples were.

Ms. Eileen used the microscopes and the iPads to help us look closely at the soil.

(Garden Plot Soil, Under Wood Soil)

The children were fascinated with the images. We wonder what they might see as they look closely at the soil.


The class leader and was in charge of taking all the fruit waste and peels to the compost bin.

Each day we will add to the compost bin to help us make new soil for the plants.

Approaches to Learning (ATL’s)

  • observe carefully
  • seek information
  • ask or express through play questions that can be researched
  • gather information from a variety of sources (people, places, materials, literature)
  • listen actively and respectfully to others’ ideas and listen to information
  • participate in conversations
  • use mark-marking to convey meaning
  • document information and observations in a variety of ways
  • share responsibility for decision-making

Documenting Food Waste

During Assembly, the Grade 4 students shared what they had learned about waste at NIS. They shared the data they had gathered about food and power waste.

The teachers decided to ask the children what they thought about the Grade 4 presentation.

  • Eli “Don’t waste any food. Because if you waste food then the people who make the food work very hard to make the food so that is bad.”
  • Teacher “What is waste?”
  • Oliver “Wasting water, if I throw the water that is in my bottle that is wasting money.”
  • Children “No wasting food!”

We shared a photograph of the EY lunch.

  • Eli “We should eat all of the food in your plate.”
  • Oxford “Why we can’t eat vegetable pizza?”
  • Eli “Drink the milk after eating all of your food because if you drink milk first it will just make a soup in your tummy and your tummy will not be comfortable.”
  • Oxford “We can just eat the vegetables.”

We decided to gather our own data on food waste as the Grade 4 students said that food waste in the Primary was higher than in the Secondary!

Observations and reflections from the children:

  • Oliver “Liz eat all of the lunch.”
  • Motong “Eli ate every food.”
  • Eli “The food was yummy because the sausage was very yummy.”
  • Oliver “We wanted to see if we are not wasting food. I think 4 people eat a little bit of lunch but I was not right.”
  • Oxford “I think people eat 3 things, egg and sausage and rice.”
  • Lydia “One child eat the food.”
  • Eunbyul “Some people is not eating food and sausage. Some people are hungry eat the lunch. People no eat lunch people is more hungry and people is sad.”
  • Wyatt “I think 2 people eat all the food. It is a good thing because 2 people eat vegetables.”

  • Jeongyoon “I think some people drink milk first then they don’t eat vegetables.”
  • Eli “I see somebody eat the sausage and rice but not eat the egg and vegetables, this is not a good thing because vegetables are healthy. It is good for your body. You get a little bit sick because if you don’t eat vegetables every day it will not be healthy. The vegetables are waste. Then people take lunch away and they can pour it away.”
  • Oliver “It actually goes into the kitchen trash. The kitchen trash. I don’t know what they do.
  • Oxford “Will they recycle the food?”
  • Morning “Maybe some people just drink the soup and not eat the lunch. Because the soup is yummy. People need to eat of the lunch because lunch is helpful.”
  • Yui “I didn’t finish all the food because I don’t like vegetables. Bit it’s not good. We need to eat vegetables. Vegetables are good for your health, if we don’t eat vegetables we will get sick (in Mandarin).


What happens to the kitchen trash?  

  • Oliver “Lots of people waste so much food. This is the bin in the kitchen. I found out that the people put the trash in the bin and someone will come and then they will put it outside somewhere there are no houses and no people and also no plants. And also there are no internet and it’s also no river. The water have all dried away.”

  • Teacher “What is this place called? Have you seen a place like this before?”
  • Oliver “I saw it on a video. I don’t know.”
  • Lydia “It’s a place where there is no cars and no grass and flowers. Only for the trash. And the car will come and dump all the trash there.” (in Mandarin)
  • Oxford “Like Ms. Hannah has. There is a place behind a car park area to decompose the food.” (in Mandarin)
  • Wyatt “It’s in the bin, you can’t eat what is in the bin. Animals eat it. Many food is there and polar bears eat it.”
  • Oxford “Polar bears don’t eat it.”
  • Eli “I think not the polar bear eats because the polar bear is in a place where there is lots of snow and if the polar bear is there it will feel very, very hot. Maybe a bear eats it.”
  • Morning “I think a zebra.”

We wonder what happens to the food waste after the cafeteria puts it outside the building.

We wonder if animals eat it.

Our inquiry continues…

What can we grow in the garden plots?

Many of the children worked to maintain the garden plots in K1. The children noticed that some plants had died, and others needed to be pruned.

The children began to make suggestions on what they could grow next. We decided to gather this information using pictures and words.

The children were invited to share 2 suggestions. Then, we sorted and organised the information.

The children quickly noticed that some suggestions such as flowers (8) and trees were very popular. Other suggestions were mint plants (3) orange plants (1) grass (1) trees (5) strawberry plants (5) apple trees (3).

We wonder what we need to know about these flowers and plants to be able to grow them in our EY garden. We wonder what resources will help us learn more about the needs of these plants.

Our inquiry continues…

Learning Outcomes: We are learning that we can…

  • gather information by asking questions
  • record data on simple graphs
  • present information using pictographs where one picture equals 1
  • explain data using simple comparative language

The Gift – Coming together to build and create. 

Ms. Eileen had placed an order for new crayons and markers. We were surprised to learn that the supplier also sent us a gift! The gift was a new easel. However, the easel needed to be assembled. We placed the materials and tools in the classroom for the children to decide what they wanted to do.

  • Wyatt “What is this?”
  • Oliver “It is for us. We have to fix it.”

The next day, we left the materials on the floor and invited the children to problem-solve.

3 children offered their expertise. They gathered the materials and began to look at the instructions. The team of furniture assemblers began their work, taking turns, sharing ideas and tools and working to assemble the new easel.

The bell rang for break time play, but one child decided that he wanted to continue his work. He worked on the task throughout playtime.

The rest of the team came in after play and continued their work.

They persevered, looking through the instructions to learn about the different parts and tools to know how the easel was put together. In the end, they were excited to test it out.

The other children celebrated their accomplishments and thanked them for their hard work and dedication to the task.

We noticed the interest the children had in assembling and building. We noticed how they paid close attention to the instructions, and skilfully worked to assemble the piece of furniture.

We wonder how they might use these skills in new situations.

Approaches to Learning (ATL’s) 

  • observe carefully
  • analyse and interpret information
  • listen actively and respectfully to others’ ideas and listen to information
  • negotiate ideas and knowledge with peers and teachers
  • play cooperatively in a group: sharing, taking turns, helping
  • be aware of own and others’ impact as a member of a learning group
  • choose and complete tasks independently
  • follow the directions of others
  • share responsibility for decision-making
  • demonstrate persistence in tasks
  • use strategies to problem-solve

Causation & Change – Temperature

Sharing observations and theories…

  • Oliver “This is ice. I found it in the water, and I throw it but it didn’t break. I turned it into little pieces by punching it. There was because it was a cold day, it’s because it’s going to be snowing I think, because there is ice. I feel it’s very cold without my gloves on. In my country Germany, it’s now very very cold. It’s snowing.”
  • Teacher “But in my country Sri Lanka, now its warm. What do you think about that?”
  • Oliver “I don’t know.”
  • Eli “I think it’s because the sun is there and the moon is there and the planet is turning slowly. Because the planet is turning so places, some are cold and some are how.”
  • Teacher “What about in Australia?”
  • Eli “In Australia it is hot too. Because when I was on the trip it was hot. I go outside and I see the sun is up and it’s very warm.”
  • Oliver “But Thailand was near Australia so it was hot. But the first day in Thailand I was sweating. I think it’s also closer to the sun. But if the moon is gone then there would be not so much waves. On a video, I saw that. The moon is just blowing the waves.”

What happens to the fish when the water freezes?

  • Eunbyul “If the outside is cold, the outside is ice and fish water is freezing. I can help him.”
  • Motong “The fish are very cold.”
  • Liz “I think fish died because its so cold. Fish in the water is so cold and fish in the water not moving.”
  • Morning “The fish are too cold and they are hiding in their home in the rock.”
  • Wyatt “It’s cold, fish not moving to the water.”
  • Yui “The fish are not moving (in Mandarin).”
  • Oxford “I think ice in the water. Fish can’t move in the ice.”
  • Jeongyoon “I think fish will die.”
  • Oliver “At home when its not snowing Oskar just catches some frogs and puts them in the water and then its cold and icy and the frogs freeze and I can see lines coming out of the frogs and then they are not moving. They freeze. I think the fish are also frozen.”
  • Eli “I think fish are not moving and then fish are died. One time I find water and it was all ice in it and I hit and it comes out a flower shape and one time I find ice and I tried to walk on it. It was frozen.”
  • Motong “The fish will frozen and cold. They fish are not moving.”
  • Lydia “Fish in there is not moving.”
  • Oxford “The fish is too small and ice is too big. He can’t break the ice because he is too small. He can move in the water. He can’t break the ice.”
  • Oliver “I melt the ice one layer and then I can see some water and I put one ice on top of it and wait for 20 seconds and it connected when I put it upside down. And then it freeze together.”
  • Motong “When the water cold and the water will be ice the fish was very cold.”
  • Eli “I think if we get a shovel and smash the water and the water will break.”
  • Oliver “If you take a shovel and break the ice you might break the fish. Just make the ice very hot and the ice will melt and the it will turn the ice to water and the fish will be happy again. I think the water is -4. Its because my mummy said its -4 cold so I think the ice is also -4 cold. Just take the gloves out and check it to see.”

Ms. Elieen showed the children the digital thermometer.

  • Oliver “That one but its for the ears.”

We decided to see if we could use it to check the temperature at the pond.


A group of researchers went to see what more they could learn about the pond.

At first, they were sad to see the motionless fish. But then, they noticed some fish swimming in the pond! They began to share their theories, tested the temperature of the ice and looked for ways to help the fish. They shared their ideas about the impact of the temperature on the water and the living things in the pond.

They listened to each other, sharing their prior knowledge and making new connections as a result of what they experienced.

On their return to class, the team documented their ideas on paper.

They shared their learning story with their friends, presenting the chart paper and the video story.

Non-Fiction Texts

We have begun to explore nonfiction texts during read-aloud sessions. To figure out what a book is mostly about, it is helpful to pay attention to the word or words we see repeated.

  • What repeats on each page in the words?
  • What repeats on each page in the pictures?
  • What is this mostly about?​

As we read the book ‘Sleeping Baby Animals’, the children looked for what was the same on each page. We noted words that were the same on different pages and wrote them down on a whiteboard.

The children joined in with the reading as the text was repetitive. We looked for familiar high-frequency words in the sentences.

Snow is a beautiful sight, but sometimes it can get in the way. We read a non-fiction text to explore the many ways snow can be removed in ‘Goodbye Snow’. We discussed the engaging photographs to learn about the different tools used to remove snow. While reading the simple sentences, we explored initial consonant blends (sn, br, tr) and digraphs (th, sh).


Next, the children were invited to create their own non-fiction page. They decided on the theme or topic they wanted to write about. Then they drew a picture and finally included letters, words and sentences to talk about the drawings.


Ella & Luna What should we do with waste?”

Two students in Grade 4 had a question for the NIS community.

  • Oliver “What is waste?”
  • Jeongyoon “Is it like erasing?”
  • Oliver “I think waste is like wasting money.”
  • Oliver “Wasting new paper. The teachers use the new paper but I think some people take the new paper. People will make an airplane and then when you open it is broken. We use recycled paper, we don’t want to waste the new paper.”

What is recycling?

  • Oliver “The paper has lines on it and the new one does not.”

Where does all the paper you use go?

What happens the paper that you use in the washroom?

  • Oxford “We can use the paper in the bin to make.
  • Oliver “The Ayi takes the garbage. When we put it in the garbage bin they will turn it to paper.”
  • Liz “It goes into the river.”
  • Lydia “They will put them in the garbage truck and take them away.”

Ms. Eileen reminded Oliver about a picture he shared of his holiday.

  • Oliver “We drink lots of plastic bottles and we put it in the garbage and then it goes to the recycled and people bring it to build it.”
  • Motong “If you take 2 papers then the new paper in the garbage bin. So the new paper is broken. Then the paper is waste.”
  • Liz “We use it again.”
  • Morning “We don’t waste the water because if you waste the water then we won’t have any more water. We can not wash the hands. We eat apples at home and throw the peel in the trash. I don’t know what happens to the trash.”

We decided to document the waste we collected at snack time.

  • Oxford “The banana peel in because the bin has all a picture of food. The box and the plastic in the other bin.”
  • Lydia “I put it in the bin.”
  • The Children “We have 2 different bins. One is the food garbage and the other is plastic, paper and wood bin.”

  • Oxford “I have trash at home. I don’t put it in the bin. But I can use it to make things. Grandma uses to make compost.”
  • Teacher “What does she do with the compost?”
  • Oliver “The things that look very cool then I want to keep it and make something with it. I can make something with the wood spike. I put the garbage in the bin at home. I have a recycled bin but its outside. I don’t use it because its cold outside. My mummy will take the bin and take the recycled all in the recycled bin. She puts plastic recycle. I don’t know what will happen to the food. I think they will make squishies.”
  • Teacher “I wonder what you can learn about the garbage and recycled waste at your home.”
  • Eunbyul “We have garbage at home. I go outside and find the rubbish bin.”

We decided to answer one of the questions on the Grade 4 survey.

We wonder what we can learn about garbage and waste.


Computers – What are they for?

Lydia and Liz have been creating and sharing ‘computers’.

  • Eli “Can we make one? Can I give my daddy one? Because it is a toy and he can play with the computer. I will draw on the screen and he can hit the letters and then play it.”
  • Oxford “I made it at home. I just draw circle and used a pen and drawing. Circles for drawing ABC.”
  • Oliver “I made a computer because it looks fun because you were playing on the computer its looks very fun. Ms. Shemo was using the words to play and make the computer work what you want it to do. The letters make it on the screen.”
  • Howie “Why computers can watch a movie on it?”
  • Eli “Because the computer screen, if you have some buttons it can turn and you can ask things and when you watch a movie you just write the word ‘movie’ and then they will give you to choose a movie and then you can choose and watch. It is better to first watch the add and then watch the movie!”
  • Lydia “I want to make a computer, I go home and give it to daddy. Daddy will play with it.”
  • Liz “I made the computer because I make the computer is fun. First, write the name. Then, draw and write ABC. And then colour the top.”
  • Wyatt “It’s so fun because it is so funny. Because friends like this. They play on the computer.”
  • Morning “Why can we use the computer to look at the movie?”
  • Eli “I watch Avenger.”
  • Oliver “On the computer I have to print out something. I just look what I want to draw and then it has no colours and then I can print it out. I push the button and it printed out. And then the robot is drawing the picture. The printer draws it and then the paper comes out.”
  • Oxford “Why computer inside can do so much things?”
  • Oliver “Inside the computer have lamps and electrics. Lamps make the screen work.”
  • Eunbyul “Have a batteries. No batteries no screen and no power.”

We wonder what stories they might create as a result of their design work.

Watch this space!

Math Talk – Tens & Ones

What do you see?

What do you know?

When we look for patterns, we notice what changes and what stays the same from one picture to the next.

Drawing or building the pattern helps us think about what comes next!

The children used mathematical vocabulary to share their observations about the image.

We documented these ideas using symbols, words and numbers.

Then, we played a game of ‘Trash and Treasure’.

This game helps the children learn about place value and how to use the Base10 Blocks to find the biggest and smallest numbers.

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