Who We Are

Who We Are

Central Idea: Our cultural backgrounds shape our beliefs, values and actions.

Lines of Inquiry:

Students will inquire into…

~The relationship between culture and identity.
~The beliefs and values influence each other and shape our actions.
~What defines the cultures students identify with.

Key Concepts:

Connection, Change, Perspective

Related Concepts:

Personal Communities, Beliefs, Culture, Responsibilities

Learner profile:

Communicators, Principled, Caring

Key Vocabulary:

Community, Responsibility, Success, Citizen, Contribute, Contribution, Values, Community, Identity, Traditions


To start the year, our first unit is about community building. Students will be inquiring into how people’s roles affect the community they are in. We will be defining “community” as we pull examples from students’ lives. Also, we will analyze how each member contributes to their own community in order for it to be successful. Through exploring this unit, students will apply their understanding in their own classroom community by creating their own classroom agreements, explaining their responsibilities as a learner, and describing how contributions of each member make a learning community successful. Furthermore, students will be choosing a community they are involved in (within or outside of school) and will explain the connections and responsibilities of it in the form of a visual representation.

Literacy Integration:

The key concept of responsibility ties in nicely as we start unpacking reader’s and writer’s workshop. We will be focusing on building good habits and stamina for both areas. Students will be working on personal narratives during writing. This unit emphasizes how to retell a story using descriptive language. In reading, students will learn to identify the internal and external features of a character and to use more sophisticated language to describe character traits. They will reflect upon character motivations and identify how the character changes through a text. As a whole class they will be reading the text, “The Tiger Rising” by Kate DeCamillo, which is rich with diverse and complex characters. In this text, students will begin to realize that characters are complicated and do not often fall into clear categories of “hero” or “villain”. Finally, students will be developing reading and writing strategies that provide a platform for growth and goal-setting throughout the year.


The focus of Math Unit 1 is exploring the meaning and patterns in the place value chart. For example, the concept that a shift one position to the left indicates that the number is 10 times more, and a shift one position to the right represents a value that is ten times less. Students will also practice a variety of ways to express numbers, such as standard form, expanded form, word form, and Base Ten unit form. These number expressions will be compared to the standard algorithms for adding and subtracting large numbers to foster a deeper understanding of regrouping. Students will compare large numbers using greater than (>), less than (<), and equal to (=) symbols. They will develop several strategies for estimating and rounding large numbers in order to add and subtract using flexible thinking. These skills and strategies will be applied to multi-step and multi-operational word problems. Key words and vocabulary will include: sum, difference, estimating, rounding, place value, expanded form, word form.

Please see the “I can” statements below:

How you can help at home:

  • Describe your community at work. Who are the members? What are their roles and responsibilities?
  • Discuss and breakdown the important vocabulary terms we will be exploring in this unit like culture, beliefs, values, traditions/customs, identity, and perspective in your home language.
  • Use a graphic organizer to compare/contrast responsibilities between family members (Venn Diagram, T-chart, and/or checklist).
  • Be an active listener when your child reads their stories. Add an encouraging note in their writing journal.
  • Select 1-2 photos of the summer and email your teacher. We will use this for inspiration for writing.
  • Review basic math facts up to 10 (e.g. 3+4= 7). Aim for 3 seconds.
  • Translate place value names in your home language (ones, tens, hundreds).