Wednesday, 29 February 2012

brain storming

Our first ‘new unit’ activity involved a bit of brainstorming.  We asked two questions.

What is a story?


Why do people tell stories?

Here is what we thought of in answer to the first question…..


  • ‘a story is when you read a book’
  • ‘the author writes the book ‘
  • ‘some books don’t have words’
  • ‘a story has pictures’
  • ‘the author invents the story’
  • ‘people can copy stories’
  • ‘some people write fiction stories and some people write non-fiction stories’
  • ‘stories are what people write about’

and here are our ideas in answer to the second…..


  • ‘to make peace’
  • ‘for people to understand more things’
  • ‘for people to learn different languages’
  • ‘to help people remember what they saw’
  • ‘to help children grow and read and learn more things’
  • ‘for people to enjoy’
  • ‘so children can laugh’

Finally we each drew and wrote about the different ways in which people can tell stories.  As well as the more obvious reading from a book…..

IMG_2223     IMG_2226

which almost everybody thought of, one person told us her dad’s grandpa told her dad stories when he was little.

You can tell stories with puppets…..


and see stories on a TV.

You can write a short story on one piece of paper…..


make up a story or even copy a story.

People read stories on the smartboard…..


and act out stories.

People tell stories using actions…..


and by singing.

What a LOT ways of telling stories we thought of between us; I wonder if we will discover any more.

how not to lose your mittens

Nicki pestered and pestered his grandmother until she made him a pair of white woollen mittens.


‘You’ll lose them,’ she warned him.  ‘If you go out to play and drop one, you won’t see it against the white of the snow.’

And guess what.  She was right.


Did you spot the dropped mitten?  Nicki didn’t!

Well we decided we wouldn’t lose our mittens.  Because we would design some nice bright patterned ones!

First we needed to trace a mitten shape.  Just a little bit bigger than a friend’s hand.


Next, choose the brightest markers you can and begin your design.


Zig-zags and spots…..


triangles and squares…..


loops and squiggles.


Many colours…..


or just two.


Just so long as they are brightly coloured – and not plain lost-in-the-snow white!

Next, get out the scissors – and snippety snip…..


cut out your mitten.


There – what do you think?



year 1 blog1

overview for 4th unit of inquiry–a note for parents

Unit of Inquiry Everyone’s a Storyteller

Transdisciplinary Theme: How we Express Ourselves

(An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic)

Central Idea: ‘We can express and communicate ideas and experiences through stories’

Lines of Inquiry:

· The elements of a story

· Different ways of telling stories

Sample questions which will drive these inquiries:

What is a story and why do people tell them?

What are some of the ways in which people can tell stories?

What are some of the elements needed to make a story?

Sample activities:

* listen to and talk about many different stories

* investigate and experience different ways of telling stories

* create our own stories

Duration of unit: 6 weeks

Summative Assessments:

· define the elements of a story

· tell the same story in different ways

Transdisciplinary skills to be emphasised:

Social skills will include listening to others, discussing ideas and working together

Research skills will involve planning

Thinking skills will involve applying knowledge in new ways

Communication skills will include non-verbal communication

Self-management skills will include using time effectively

Elements of student profile/attitudes to be emphasised:

Communicating, showing creativity, taking risks and through doing so, becoming more confident

Examples of cross-curricular links:

Exploring number concepts through storytelling; drafting and editing our own stories

Thursday, 23 February 2012

buddying up - with a difference

As you know, we each have a reading buddy from year two.  And by now, we have got to know them quite well.  I mean, some of us even know our buddy’s name!

Well, ‘Buddy Day’ is Tuesday and it just so happened that last Tuesday morning we had invited our parents in for an end-of-unit celebration of learning.

You might imagine that after all that sharing and celebrating, all we’d want to do with our buddies would be to sit quietly and enjoy a story or two.

Well, you imagined wrong!

It just so happened that the children in year two had invited their parents in the following week.   And they wanted to practise with us pretending to be their parents!  How could we refuse?  After all, by now we were experts, albeit from a perspective other than that of parent.

And of course, after they had had their turn sharing their work with us, we felt it only right that we share our work with them.







And pretty impressed they were too!


blurred boundaries

We read a book the other day. 

As we tend to do from time to time.

This one was called ‘Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten’ and it was written by Bob Graham.

Helga popped in just as we were about to start reading – and she told us that in her language, German, Wintergarten means winter garden.  In fact we had already guessed as much.

This is how.


Rose (full name Rose Summers) was moving in.  And I bet you can guess which is her new house.  And which belongs to Mr Wintergarten.  One looks summery, the other decidedly wintery.

Anyway, the morning the Summers moved in, their new house immediately felt like home.


Rose and her sister stuck their posters on the walls of their bedroom - and in the garden…..


Mummy and Daddy planted bushes and flowers.

But there were terrible stories about the man who lived next door.   Her new friends told Rose that he was ‘mean’ and ‘horrible’; that he had a dog like a wolf and even a crocodile!

‘I don’t believe you,’ said Rose.  ‘And don’t frighten the baby!’


‘If your ball ever goes over the fence…..forget it!’

And of course, just as Naomi said that, what do you think happened?  Yes, Rose’s ball sailed right over the fence…..


and into Mr Wintergarden’s garten.  Or should that be the other way round?

Rose went to tell her mum.  Who told Rose she should just go and get it!

‘But he’s mean,’ said Rose.  ‘And horrible.’

‘Well,’ suggested Mum, ‘take him some hot cakes then.’  So that’s what she did.


They put the cakes into a basket, picked some flowers from the garden and off they went.  The gate was very hard to open!


Then Rose went up to the front door and knocked.


She went inside Mr Wintergarten’s house.


‘Who the devil is that?’ someone asked, grumpily.

‘I’ve brought you some cakes,’ said Rose.  She put them on the table with the flowers.


She was scared.  She rubbed her hands together…..


‘Can I have my ball back?’ she asked.

‘No!’ shouted Mr Wintergarten.

And so Rose left. 

After which we got talking.  I mean, can you imagine having to pay a visit to someone so mean and horrible?  I would be scared, wouldn’t you?  We decided it meant that Rose was a risk taker.  She was a risk taker when she opened the door.


She was a risk taker when she gave Mr Wintergarten the cakes.


She was a risk taker when she asked for her ball back.


And by being so open-minded (do you remember the bit where she told her friends that she didn’t believe anyone could be quite so mean and horrid?) and caring she had a profound effect on Mr Wintergarten.  After Rose had left, he did something he hadn’t done in a LONG while.  He opened the curtains.


After which he went out into the garden, flipped up his coat tails and kicked Rose’s ball (plus his own slipper!)…..


back over the fence.

To cut a long story short, this…..


is how it all ended.

And before this post ends, how about looking back at the very first picture from the story…..


and see how many differences you can spot.

running like clockwork

It was an aside really.  A picture of an old-fashioned toy with what looked like a key poking out provoked the question why.  After all, as we know, keys are for locking (and unlocking) things.  But there we had a metal soldier with a key sticking out of his tummy.  Why?

A discussion ensued the essence of which being that while our toys move with the aid of batteries, through the mysteries of ‘electronics’ and by ‘remote control’, our grandparents’ toys could mostly only move if they were pushed.  Or perhaps with the aid of a key.  A key which was turned and which did something rather mysterious inside, but which meant that the toy would then roll, or walk a little way.  Until it needed winding up once more.

Confused expressions began to appear (but perhaps no more confused that that which might appear on my face should I ever really try to understand quite how my blog posts reach you all) until a light bulb moment for Bianca.

‘I have something that you wind up…..’ she started.

I wonder – can you maybe bring it to show us?

And she did.  And here it is.


A pretty little pony; a tiny little plastic pony.  But look.  Can you see a winder sticking out of its side?  Wind it up and the pony hops and leaps and gallops!

Not quite a key, but it does the same job.  No batteries.  No ‘electronics’.  No ‘remote control’.  Just a winder to turn.  And a mystery within.

And look here.  BĂ©atrix brought in a treasured family possession to show us. 


Her older brother’s toy train from when he was a little boy.  A metal ‘steam’ train.  Complete with key.  Wind it up and the train trundles along towing its carriages behind it.  And a bell rings (ding-a-ling).  No batteries.  No ‘electronics’.  No ‘remote control’.  Just a key to turn. 

And a mystery within.

what am I?

Remember this stretchy post?  Remember those ‘What am I?’ riddles I told you about?

Well, if you haven’t yet had a chance to look for yourself, here is something to whet your appetite.

I am round, light and floaty

I sound like an elephant trumpeting, a police siren

Watch me whizzing, squeaking, spitting

You find me at birthdays

What am I?


I am bouncy, yellow and round

I sound like a baby crying, someone screaming

Watch me bouncing, bursting, rolling

You find me at parties

What am I?


I am round, bouncy and floaty

I sound like an elephant trumpeting

Watch me popping, squeaking, flying

You find me at parties

What am I?


Thursday, 9 February 2012

lost - and found again

Before I began reading this book…..


we looked together at the cover.  ‘What,’ I asked, ‘do you think the story might be about?’

Alexis suggested that the little girl might end up losing her teddy.  Let’s see if he is right, shall we?

Sara and her mummy had to go out to feed the sheep.  Daddy was unwell, you see.  Of course, Teddy would come too.



the rooks were calling and a wind was starting to blow.  As Mummy and Sara climbed up the steep path, the sky turned greyer and the air grew colder.  The dogs raced on ahead.


The farmhouse behind them seemed very small.

‘That’s because when you are near something it looks big and when you are away from it it looks small,’ explained Melchior.

They stopped when they reached the top of the hill.

“Look, look!”  Sara laughed.  She watched as a snowflake fell on her mitten.


‘Look, look!’ we echoed, pointing to the foot of the lone pine tree.  ‘She’s left her teddy!’

Sara and her mummy spread out the hay for the hungry sheep. 

The snow continued swirling, falling faster and faster.  The air grew thick and white.


“Come on,” said Mummy, “we must go home before the snow gets too deep.” 

They started off down the hill.

Suddenly, “Oh no, where’s Teddy?” cried Sara.


“We can’t look for Teddy now,” said Mummy.  “It is snowing too hard.”

Sara sat down in the snow.


‘She looks sad,’ said Ella.

Suddenly, out of all that whiteness appeared one of the dogs.  She was carrying something in her mouth.


“Oh Teddy,” cried Sara.

‘Oh she’s got her teddy back,’ we echoed.

Another happily ever after story.  A bit like that other lost toy story we’ve read.

‘Knuffle Bunny!’ remembered Tanisha.

The same (two small children lose - and then find -  a soft toy) and yet somehow different.  What differences can you remember between the two tales?

Emily remembered that in Knuffle Bunny the little girl was with her dad but in this story she was with her mummy.

And then Ella reminded us that in Knuffle Bunny the mum at home was OK but the daddy at home in this book was sick.

Melchior recalled that the girl in Knuffle Bunny was angry but in this story she was just sad.

Yanis pointed out that the dad was doing the work in Knuffle Bunny (visiting the launderette if you remember) whereas in this story the mummy was doing the work of feeding the sheep.

Finally, Hiromi told us that in this story a dog found the bear and Knuffle Bunny was (eventually!) found by the dad.

Goodness, what a LOT of differences we spotted!  

Do you know any other lost toy stories?  How are they the same as (and yet somehow different from) these two stories?