Asking Questions Continued

After practicing forming questions orally students have moved into making question books.

Based on their interests and set in the past, KB students chose pictures that interested them and wrote questions they had about the image.

This put them to the test as they had to form questions and use their writing skills at the same time. This task is setting them up for our upcoming research project where they will choose a topic from the past, form 3 questions about the topic, and then do research to find the answers.

Students have various writing skills, but the basic goals are similar: beginning sounds in words, finger spaces, and some words spelled correctly.


Most students are confident in asking “Why” questions, so they are being pushed outside their comfort zone to use different question words.

3 Way Conferences

On Wednesday you will join your child in reflecting on and setting goals for their learning. Here are details about what your child will share with you and how you can be involved in the conversation.  Conferences will be 20 minutes which means that each section of the conferences takes about 5 minutes. We will look over: our growth as a writer, how we can be a better friend/learner, what math skills we have worked on thus far, and a quick parent-teacher [only] debreif for quick questions or reflections.


Here is what you will see in each student involved piece:

  1. How we have grown as writers 

Student have prepared two reflection mats. The first shows your child’s writing at the beginning of the year + their most recent narrative writing. Students will identify ways they have grown as a writer. You can be involved in this part by asking questions/prompting like:

-What can you do now that you couldn’t do as a writer before?

-Tell me about all the pieces of your writing

-What do writers do to make their writing easier for others to read?

-What do you think is your next step as a writer?


2. How to grow as a friend/learner

On this page students have brainstormed ways they are already a good friend and ways they can become even better. As a class students identified good friends as people who: are helpful, share, play with more than one friend, and communicate using eye contact and body language. You can be involved in this part by asking/prompting like:

-What makes you a good friend?

-What is something you like about your friends?

-What is something you don’t do, but you think you should do as a friend?


3. How to grow as a leaner

Students are working on brainstorming what makes a good learner. This could be classroom safety things like: listening with your whole body and listening to others, but it also extends to the PYP Learner Profiles to include things such as: taking risks, communicating, thinking, inquiring, caring, being principled, and being knowledgeable to name a few.

You can be involved in this part by asking/prompting:

-Can you tell me about a time you were  [insert PYP learner profile word here]. For example, ” Can you tell me about a time you were a thinker?”

-What are some of the ways you keep yourself and others safe in class?

-How can you show respect as a learner?

-How do you think you can be a better learner?

4. Mathematical Thinking

Students are prepared to show you their math skills in a variety of ways. They will use manipulatives, their math notebooks, and other math tools to share you one skill. On the report card you may have seen a section based on mathematical practices. You can encourage your child to share their math thinking and get a view into their math practices by asking/prompting:

-Tell me more about how you know that is true

-How can you/have you documented that thinking?

-Can you show me that thinking in a different way?

-How do you know that is true?

5. Parent-Teacher Time

This will be a brief 5 minutes (max) at the end of the conferences given their is time within our scheduled times. Your child will play in the shared area and you can ask a question or two you have about your child’s growth moving forward.

Thinking Conceptually About Math Symbols

This week KB started to explore Symbols. As we approach the time of year where we begin to ask students to use mathematical symbols such as + and – , we first wanted to approach these symbols from a more broad perspective. Some objectives from this week’s inquiry has been to :

– figure out what symbols are

-identify symbols we already know and use in our environment

-learn about the history of mathematical symbols

-think critically about why certain symbols represent certain meanings

-identify the meaning of the + and = symbol and why they are the picture that they are

-use the + and = symbol correctly without numbers, but simply as: + means joining together, = means the same as

Exploring these ideas before writing equations with numbers or just solving them from memory allows students to understand the meaning of the symbols they are using so that when they come to challenging problems later on they have a deeper understanding of what they are doing and why and can apply this understanding to new problems.

We went through a process together to explore, learn, and create using mathematical symbols. On SeeSaw you will see your child has posted one of the creations they thought of using these two symbols. Below are photos of the whole class process. You can click this link to see the video we watched which gave us some understanding as to why mathematicians began using symbols (vpn required):  

Our class was particularly interested in learning about currency symbols from different countries

upside down 🙂

As a whole class we created this mystery problem that also showed our knowledge of what things need to grow. If you know the answer, dont tell your child!

Students went off to write their own combinations. “Baby plus mommy equals love”- I.P.

“Ice cream plus ice cream equals giant ice cream”

Asking Questions

As part of our upcoming unit about The Past students are learning the Research Skill of question asking. To do this students have a question word wall and we have started whole group question asking extravaganzas using the artifacts you sent in as provocations.

Although some students already know what the artifact is called and what it is used for, we only focused on asking questions about the objects in front of us.

As a whole class we first asked questions about an old style film projector. We famed our questions using the question words: do, who, what, when, where, how, can, are, is, and did. We recorded all of our questions without even seeking answers.

Then, each students got a partner and together they looked at an old style telephone. With their partner they used the question word wall to write the questions they had about that artifact. Students questions about the telephone included, “What’s the phone number?”, “What are the numbers for?”, “Why is there a bell sticker on it?”.

Using other artifacts students brought in we will continue to provoke our wonderings. We will then attempt to find some answers to understand the artifacts we have and make the connection to the past.

The old film projector replica used a provocation for our first round of question asking

All the questions students formulated about the film projector

Students wrote their questions about the old phone on a post it. Most students were excited to write more than one question!

R. with her question. As we practice question asking we will also practice sentence structure and how to properly form our questions

T. wants to know, “Why is it black?”

K. using the word wall to write his question



Today’s focus during writing workshop was asking questions about others’ writing. This allowed the audience to practice question formulation and for our authors to think deeply about the choices they made when writing and what they will do next.

Students questioned M. in the photo below and asked things like, “Why did you put Y. as a fairy?”, “What do the bad guys want?”, and “Do the bad guys want to take the magic?”.

This prompting allowed for a rich conversation in which we found out that M. actually modelled her writing on true events! Her and Y. love to play magic fairies during play time. M. pointed out that this was a connection- when reading her story it was connected to something that happened in real life!


Students questioning M. about her story. They were anxious to know, “What do they bad guys want?!”. We didnt let her answer and told them we’d have to find out when she writes the next page!


Last week we focused on 2 read alouds! Both read alouds focused on communication.

The first book is called The Recess Queen. This book is about a playground bully. We talked about her body languauge, the words she used, and her actions that made her “mean” or considered a “bully”. We also took note of the illustrations and how the other kids felt based on their facial expressions.

In the end, “Mean Jean” finds friends and enjoys being on the playground with others. This book served as a reminder of the type of communication we don’t want to have- controlling and unkind and how the positive spirit of the kind class mates transformed the atmosphere. This book is available in the SIS library.

The second book KB read on the topic of communication was “How and Why do animals Communicate?”

This book was fun to read as we looked into how animals use body language, sounds, and even smell to communicate to others. We mimiced their communication and compared the similarities animal communication has to human communication.

In the book it mentions that dolphins all have their own unique sound or voice. As a class we played a game where everyone closed their eyes and I chose one person to say a generic phrase. Then, as a class, we tried to guess who it was based on their voice. (We got really good at it!)

Into this week we continue to reference animal communication to reflect on how we communicate. Here are some questions to help with reflection of our communication:

-What is your body communicating?

-What is the way you’re speaking communicating? (sound, volume)

-Do you need to take a break before communicating in order to communicate more calmy and kindly?

The Stinky Pumpkin!

Over the past couple months a lot of interests have emerged from play! Here is a look into how we are extending our initial ideas to creating deeper meaning around the concepts KB students are interesed in.

Ms. Xiaoman with a small group observing the rotting pumpkin

As seen above we have different kinds of fruit and vegetables that are rotting and waiting to be put into the compost. This rotting pumpkin has served as the object of deepening our thinking skills to see, think, and wonder as described in our previous post. This week Ms. Xiaoman is meeting with small groups of students to fruther the thinking protocol of I see, I think, I wonder and to help build language at the level of each student. These students are also practicing documenting their own thinking through pictures.

Students who are hosting a performance in our classroom on Dec 11th

Our group of students who are interested in performing for others are creating invitations to invite their friends to view their performance. ALst week, sudetns had to choose a date, time, and decide what materials they need to put on their performance. Today we talked about what information needs to go on an invitation and then they set out to make them! We will have 2 performances which will be hosted by two different groups on Dec 11th and Dec14th. Students have decided to invite select classes or friends to view their short performances.

The block structure that is serving as the inspiration for stories.

Above is the block structure which has been evolving over the past couple weeks. There have been multiple iterations and excitingly the small animals added another layer to the story telling that has been happening during play. Yesterday during play J.Y. and I.P. began to draw the details fo their created block land and discussed what was happening on each peice of the block structure. Today, we encouraged others to draw and tell a story as inspired by the structure. Different groups brought different perspectives on what was happening.

S and E worked on their version of what was happening in the block land. They shared this about their story ,” The chicken wanted in the castle, but the dog said no no no no no no no no no”. This gave the whole class a good laugh!

All of the interests above have connections to curriculur areas and highlight approaches to learning such as: thinking skills, social skills, self management skills, and communication skills.

Giving is Better Than Getting

With holidays around the corner and KB fortunate enough to hve lots of things in our classroom we have begun talking about the idea of “Giving”. After watching a video about Clarence the fox who isn’t quite happy until he finds joy in giving, KB students talked about what they have to give.  (click the link to watch the video with your child)

Giving Is Better Than Getting Story

Co-created anchor chart where students broke down the idea of giving into: what it means, when/why we do it/ and later we will talk about how it feels to give.

Since everyday for the past couple months KB students have made juice for themselves, we decided it’s time to make juice for others. Students shared who they would like to make juice for, which ended up being the whole school! We narrowed it down to start with giving to the other KG classes and students set out on a mission to make juice for KC first. Next, we will make juice for KA, KD, and then for our siblings around the school. As pointed out in the co-created chart about, sometimes giving is just about being kind and we’ve also discussed that it doesn’t always have to be an object you give; sometimes you can give a hug or a smile and that’s just as important.

A lot of oranges were used in making juice for KC!