3C Happenings – December 7

How We Organize Ourselves

The students have been inspired by the story of Iqbal Masih. After reading the story The Carpet Boy’s Gift with Mr. Dylan, we looked into the real-life story about Iqbal, who took a stand against child labor during his short life. The students have been able to make a lot of connections about this story with our current unit, especially with our line of inquiry: Our power as consumers to effect change. Our goal is to help the students see that they have a voice and the power to evoke change in our economic system.

Here is a short documentary and article the students have watched and read to learn more about Iqbal:

We are using these phrases to guide their research findings:

  • Things I know about Iqbal:
  • Things I think about child labor:
  • Things I feel about this issue:

Some other “heroes” like Iqbal who students can learn about and form connections throughout this unit are Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez. They both stood up for decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing. Maybe your children will find out about other individuals who also took a stand for what they believed in.

We have also started looking at the labels of products we buy and wear. You may find yourself discussing with your family why you purchase certain goods and services over others.

Paper Bag Experience

Today’s Paper Bag Experience was an extremely interactive roll play simulation that led the students to some very insightful conclusions. The students took on the roles of impoverished Kolkata families living in a cramped home and made their living making paper bags to sell to shopkeepers who use them to sell rice and spices. It really helped the students think deeply about our new UOI Central Idea:

Economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

Some of 3C’s parents joined us in the simulation:

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3C Happenings – 30 November

Things to discuss with your child

  • Our new UOI unit
  • Building empathy through our Rings of Responsibility
  • Math and Literacy – leading our own learning
  • Reflection Writing

New UOI Unit – How We Organize Ourselves

We delved into our new UOI unit this week by participating in an activity called Growing Bananas.

Central Idea – Economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment

Lines of Inquiry

  • Fairness and sustainability in growth and development
  • The effects of economic activities and globalization
  • Our power as consumers to effect change

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Open Classrooms 2017


Please read the whole message. At the bottom of the post, you will find the times you can come visit the classroom. I moved my schedule around a little bit to accommodate for parents who can only come in either the morning or the afternoon. This way you can see a UOI lesson too, if you choose to come.

Open Doors – Open Classrooms – Open Minds!

Dear Elementary Families,

We warmly invite you to our Elementary School Open Classrooms – next Thursday 30th November and Friday 1st December .  

What are Open Classrooms?

Have you ever wondered what inquiry-based learning is like for your child? Here is your chance! Open Classrooms showcase learning in action. For two days, at selected times, our classrooms are open for you to observe lessons that put the philosophy and pedagogy of the Primary Years Programme into practice.    

Purpose of Open Classrooms

Open Classrooms is for parents to get an insider’s view of what life is like inside the classrooms at UNIS.  By opening up our classroom doors we would like to give parents a glimpse of student-centered, constructivist teaching and learning in action. We aim to demonstrate our inquiry based teaching philosophy which is central to our identity as an IB school.

How does it work?

  • Classrooms will be designated as ‘open house’ events for certain lessons on Thursday 30th November and Friday 1st December 2017. Classes will be a reflection of our PYP programme: what you will see will be a snapshot of our regular lessons, routines and activities.  
  • Parents may attend any of their child’s open lessons – both homeroom classes and specialist lessons.  
  • Parents may only visit open lessons in classes that their child attends.

What might I see?

All lessons are different, though you may expect to see:

  • Lessons that have a clear learning objective which has been explained to the students
  • A variety of lessons and subject areas open for parents to observe (and in some cases, you may be invited to participate). Lessons that showcase students demonstrating the Learner Profile
  • Lessons that involve students using a variety of transdisciplinary skills (thinking research problem solving, social and self-management skills)
  • Lessons that are based on students’ understanding of broad concepts, in addition to specific content (e.g. the concept of “form” in addition to the content of balanced gymnastics movements in PE).

What is my responsibility as a visitor to an active learning environment?

  • Silence and put away all mobile devices.
  • Please enter classrooms quietly and be on time. We recommend you stay for at least 20 minutes to see the flow of the lesson.  
  • Please be aware of not interrupting the flow of a lesson/your child’s learning.  Interact with your children only when/if invited to do so.  Some classes will be ‘observe only’ while others may be more interactive.  
  • Please leave younger siblings at home with a caregiver, so that you may give you full attention to your child’s class.
  • All parents must wear their UNIS Parent ID badge.
  • Photographing students is not permitted.

We look forward to welcoming you on Thursday November 30th and Friday December 1st.  


Mr. Aaron

Class 3C   Homeroom Teacher – Mr Aaron Davis

How The World Works Final Project

The students have been working hard to complete their final project for our current Unit of Inquiry. After spending 5 weeks researching, building and discovering information about simple machines, forces and applying design thinking to create effective machines, the class is putting all their collective knowledge to build a complex (compound) machine that does something. We had a deeper discussion about what “doing something” means.

The key is to help them articulate and explain the simple machines and the forces behind their project. Below is the success criteria for the project:To help the students articulate, we have been journaling in our reflection journals and using FlipGrid to answer the following questions:

  • What does your machine do?
  • What are the simple machines and where are they?
  • What forces does your machine use? Which direction do the forces work?

Here is a link to see how the students are practicing their explanations. Keep in mind, they are practicing here. On Thursday, they will have finished their machine and use Explain Everything to answer the questions above, having practiced what they are saying many times before. Look for these explanations on their blogs.

Here are some pictures of your children in action:

Making Time for Oracy

Earlier in the school year, Elementary School Principal, Megan Brazil, shared an article with the staff about teaching oracy. I had never heard this word, but soon realized that teaching oracy is teaching speaking skills. I came to the realization that providing my students opportunities to share in front of the class or present their animal reports in front of small groups is not enough to give them the skills to project their voice, gain more confidence in themselves, and sharpen their ability to solve problems independently. With this in mind, on Friday, we began a new routine called “Lego Communication.”

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Building Challenges in 3C

Over the past 3 weeks, Grade 3 has been exploring the following in our current UOI of How the World Works:

Central Idea: Understanding forces helps humans to create effective machines.

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Simple machines in our everyday lives 
  • Types of forces 
  • Applying design thinking to create effective machines

Our current exploration of these topics has lead us to wonderful discoveries. We are striving to share and articulate our learning as well through EasyBlog posts too. So far, our building challenges have been creating effective gliderscreating a machine that hits a target, and creating a machine that moves from point A to Point B with its own force.

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Two Important Forms This Week

Two important forms have been sent home this week for events that will happen next week.

  1. Field Trip Information and Consent – we are able to fit in a trip to the Water Park on November 7 as part of our unit of inquiry into How the World Works. We will not be riding any of the amusement park rides. Please see the form for more information
  2. ES Walk-a-thon Sponsorship Pledge – This is our annual Elementary School fundraising event to support Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. For more information please visit https://www.bluedragon.org/

Thank you!

Measurement and How the World Works

This week we have begun to explore measurement both during Math and during our Unit of Inquiry. We are also building our skills with building ideas so we can use those skills later in the unit to build machines. The students are bringing in plastic bottle caps but if you can collect and bring in toilet paper tubes we will really appreciate it.

Here are the building ideas:

 Amelie, hard at work making a tube flange.

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