Sunday, 24 September 2017

New Home for Seisen Blogs

Seisen Elementary School blogs have moved to our school website.

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See you over at our new location.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

5B PE Last lesson!

Head into the summer with a few useful tips:
1). Stay active! Get outside and move!
2). Rest and relax! 
3). Have fun!! 

Have a great summer everyone and great job this year! 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Bring Your Own Device in Grade Six

This week we are hosting two information sessions on the Bring Your Own Device initiative we run in Grade Six.  We encourage all parents to attend to discuss and explore:
  • What is BYOD? 
  • Pros and Cons 
  • ICT At Seisen: Communicate | Organize | Collaborate | Create | Investigate 
  • Becoming responsible digital citizens 
  • Care of Devices 
  • Q&A Session
Session 1 was held on Monday 29th May in the morning.  Tonight (Wednesday 31st May) we will hold the second session at 6.30pm in Ms. Naini's 6B classroom.

Below is the slideshow we will be using during the meetings and you can download a copy of our Phase 4 (Grade 5 and 6) ICT curriculum outcomes by clicking here. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Grade 5 and 6 Writer's Workshop Celebration

On Tuesday, May 23, Grade 5 celebrated their writing learning and skills growth at the Grade 5 and 6 Writer's Workshop Celebration Day Assembly here at Seisen. Students chose two of their best paragraphs from their past written pieces to showcase their progress as writers to parents, Seisen staff, and Seisen students.

Friday, 19 May 2017

St. Raphaela's Day

Grade 5 spent the day volunteering in Futakotamagawa park. We cleared weeds and prepared the soil for planting flowers. The park hosts several events for small children to learn about nature.  As you can see, students were working hard (and having fun) on this day of service in honor of St. Raphaela.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Media and Advertisement - Analyzing Techniques

Grade 5 have entered into a new month and a final unit! We are amazed how the time passed. Over the coming weeks, students will be inquiring into their new central idea:  people can create or manipulate messages to target specific audience.  Students displayed great interest and excitement to observe and analyze printed and video advertisements during the first and second week.

Unit of Inquiry 6 - How We Express Ourselves (Media and Advertisement)

Central Idea:  People can create or manipulate messages to target specific audience.

Getting Started Activities

The gallery walk activity hooked the students' interest into the unit. With their art analyst thinking caps on, each student viewed each printed advertisement in detail and wrote a response to what was seen, thought, felt and wondered. 

Line of Inquiry #1:  How images, text and sounds and used to influence behaviour of target audiences.

Learning Intention:  To identify and describe multiple techniques used in advertising or commercials.

During the second week of the unit, students learned about various techniques used in advertisements. Groups then collaborated to apply what they learned to analyze and identify multiple techniques used in a printed advertisement; each group successfully identified three or more techniques within the print and described how each technique was used. 

This led students to wonder:

"How do video commercials advertisements use these techniques?"

After getting a better understanding of how techniques are used, each student commenced to explore a variety of video commercials and focus on one to analyze. Students first used Google Docs to note the techniques they observed to help organize their work. With confidence in their understanding of techniques, they began using iMovie. iMovie can be used to upload their chosen video commercial to insert text to label when a technique is used.

Videos Coming Soon!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

ES Choral Festival

On May 3rd, the 5th and 6th-grade choir attended a choral festival at the International School of the Sacred Heart. This was the culmination of several months work and rehearsals. Congratulations to the students and Ms Handel-Johnson on a very successful performance.

Here is a clip of the choir singing Estrella Brillante and the beginning part of Haida.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Past Civilization Legacy

Unit of Inquiry #5 - Where We Are In Place and Time (Past Civilization)

On Friday, April 28, Grade 5 celebrated their past civilization learning with two activities:  Grade 8 & 5 Engaging with Japanese History and creating a Slideshow documentary with audio. Students learned about past civilization’s legacy and developed skills as a researcher and thinker.

Central Idea: Evidence of the past civilization can be used to make connections to present-day societies.

Lines of Inquiry:
  • Characteristics of civilizations and societies.
  • Connections between past and present societies.
  • Processes involved in collecting, analyzing and validating evidence.

Grade 5 and 8 Japanese History

Learning Intention #1:  To understand the Japanese historical periods’ (Jomon~Edo) significant important events.

Grade 5 would like to offer Grade 8 for designing and sharing their Primary-level books about Japanese historical periods from Jomon Era to Edo era. We were excited to learn about historical events that occurred during each period and stress the importance of those events. Grade 5 students also had an opportunity to share their findings of past civilizations.

Grade 8 presenting their books to grade 5

Past Civilization Legacy Documentary Presentation

We are researchers.  We are thinkers.  We are historians.

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Characteristics of civilizations and societies.
  • Connections between past and present societies.
  • Processes involved in collecting, analyzing and validating evidence.

During our final week of Past Civilizations unit, Grade 5 students chose a past civilization's legacy and describe its connection to modern day civilization. Through dedication and heavy researching, students built their knowledge of the characteristics of a legacy and reflected on its historical importance to past and present day societies. Each student designed a documentary using Google Slides and recorded their voice.

Many students demonstrated life-long learning as they expressed their interest to either continue learning more about their past civilization of focus or investigate another past civilization.

Sarah Hwang 5A, " I think Ancient Rom aqueduct is the best thing about my learning. Next time, I want to search about Ancient Egypt."

Judy Yamamuro 5A, "The best thing I learned is the lives of different ancient civilizations and the features. I didn't know much about ancient civilizations and that I like to research on the Internet more. I can research about civilizations with books."

Where do we go next in our learning destination for the final weeks of grade 5's Unit of Inquiry?

How We Express Ourselves (Media and Advertisement)

Central Idea:
Different forms of media can be used to influence the behavior of people.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

5B Explores Badminton in PE!

Central idea: Learning the fundamental skills and techniques of badminton such as movement, striking the shuttle/birdie, game sense and strategies. 

The 5B class has spent the last few weeks learning the basic skills to badminton and introduced to the game! The first skill they learned was how to properly serve. 

Success criteria to serve a shuttle/birdie:
1). Opposite leg slight ahead of the other
2). Hold the birdie at my waist 
3). Hold the racquet like a handshake hold and swing it back
4). Step with opposite foot while bringing racquet forward
5). Don't throw the birdie and make contact with the racquet! 

They have also been introduced to the different types of strokes: forehand, backhand, overhead clear and smash. The girls have really enjoyed the round robin single tournament and playing against their classmates! 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Where We Are in Place and Time- Analysing Evidence

Students in grade 5 have been busy investigating ancient civilisations and plotting major events on a timeline.  Through research, students discovered that the Egyptian pyramids were built about 4,500 years ago, farming in the fertile crescent began around 12,000 years ago, and pottery has been around at least 20,000 years.  This led students to wonder:
 “If the first written languages didn’t arise until 5,000 years ago, how do we know the age of things older than that?”

This was the perfect time to dive deeper into our 3rd line of inquiry: Processes involved in collecting, analysing and validating evidence.

Students were led through a series of activities to explore how scientist date artefacts.
The first step involved students recalling what they learned from a previous inquiry into properties of matter. Students recalled some basic information about the periodic chart and the structure of atoms. 

In the first activity, students learned about carbon-14 dating.  As a class, we watched a segment of the documentary, Hunting the Elements (link here, 22:30) in which scientists explain how they use the radioactive isotope of carbon-14 to help find the age of fossils and artefacts.  Students then broke into groups to watch a brain pop video and define some key terms. 
Students watch videos and define key vocabulary
After getting a better understanding of how carbon-14 dating works, students set out to explore the concept of a half-life. Students used M&Ms to help with this.  On an M&M, there is a small ‘M’ on one side of the candy.  This was used to show a carbon-14 atom. After starting with a known number of M&Ms (Carbon-14 atoms) students shook them up and dumped them onto a plate, some of the M&Ms would appear with ‘M’ side up others with the ‘M’ side down.  If the ‘M’ was not showing, this would indicate that the radioactive carbon-14 atom had decayed and turned into something else.  

Here is Rosa explaining how Carbon-14 dating works.

Students carried this out for 5 rounds. Afterwards, we found the average of all the groups.  We knew that about half should decay each round, but also knew that not every group would have exactly half each round.  Here we explored the idea of sample size- that with enough trials we would move closer and closer to the statistical result of exactly half. 
Exploring half-life with M&Ms
Firmly secure in their understanding of half-life, students began creating a graph of carbon-14’s half-life.  The graph can then be used to find the age of a fossil or artefact.  The only information needed to construct the graph is the starting number of carbon-14 atoms  in the artefact (at age 0), the remaining number of carbon-14 atom in the artefact, and the half-life of carbon-14 (5,700 years). 
In this example, the sample contained 48 Carbon-14 atoms (M side up) at the start. After a certain amount of time, some have decayed and no longer have an M. 27 atoms have decayed and only 21 Carbon-14 atoms remain.
Using this Carbon-14 half-life graph, students can plot the data along the curve. If 21 Carbon-14 atoms are remaining, that means the sample is 7,500 years old.

With all this knowledge, students were ready to take the next step and apply these skills to actually dating a fossil. 

Very simply, students were given a fossil of a bone and asked to find out how old it was.

An elaborate story was told of finding a small pyramid in the park, exploring it, uncovering an ancient burial ground inside, removing the bones, and bringing them to school for students to analyse.  More or less, nobody believed this story and quickly realised that the 'bones' were actually baked dough with grains of rice inside.  In this case, the rice represented carbon-14 atoms.  

To find out the age of the bone, students meticulously picked through the sample to find out how many Carbon-14 atoms were remaining. By finding out how many were remaining, they were able to determine how many had decayed from the original sample. They were then able to plot this information on a half-life graph and determine the age of the fossil.

Here are the young archaeologists hard at work.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Systems, Tools and Technology of Past Civilizations

Unit of Inquiry #5 - Where We Are In Place and Time (Past Civilisation)
Grade 5 continued their learning of past civilisations during the fourth week of the unit! Students are inquiring into their central idea: Evidence of the past civilisation can be used to make connections to present-day societies. We see evidence of students making connections of systems, tools and technology between past civilisations to present-day. Students are displaying excitement with their research and discovery, and demonstrating independence and cooperation with their groups to post their learnings on the hallway bulletin boards.

Central Idea: Evidence of the past civilisation can be used to make connections to present-day societies.
Lines of Inquiry: Characteristics of civilisations and societies.
Connections between past and present societies.

Learning Intention #1: To identify and explain important aspects of a civilization/society.
Investigation Activities

As a getting started an activity, individuals synthesise information from various online video sources to further develop an understanding of the key characteristics of civilization. Students viewed what life was like before civilization to life during civilization.

Learning Intention #2: To identify and describe a system, tool or technology that benefitted a past civilization.
“What have the Romans done for us?” - Monty Python
The next day, each student browsed through a variety of online encyclopaedias, informative websites, and videos on Ancient Roman civilization. Students listed Roman systems, tools and technology and described how each used. Each student demonstrated being a researcher by recording the information gathered in the efficient and effective way, and reflecting the quality of information using success criteria.

On Thursday, Grade 5 students were able to list systems, tools and technology from a past civilization. Each student chose a past civilization to focus on her investigation for the remainder of the unit. The investigation focused on listing and describing systems, tools and technology that benefited a civilization's growth and development. Students sought and selected the best sources of information for the task.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Reading as Writers, Writing as Readers

Writing as Readers

Students in grade 5 have been using what they know about reading to improve their writing, and using writing as a way to dig deeper into reading. 

In writer’s workshop, students recently finished a piece of memoir writing. In this, students were asked to write a piece that shows, “This is who I am.”  After several rounds of brainstorming and flash drafting, students were asked to think of themselves as a character in a book.  Students then analysed themselves much as we do a character in a book. Here are a few guiding questions that were used:

“What makes this character special and unique?” “What struggles does this character face?” “How does this character deal with adversity?” “What has the character learned through their ups and downs in life?” “What does this character want us to know about her?” “How is this character complex?” 

Students use a thought prompt to help analyse themselves in their memoirs
Through this exercise, students were better able to structure their memoirs around a theme or big idea that they wanted to share with the world. 

Reading as Writers

In reader’s workshop, students spent time analysing novels through the lens of a writer. While reading, and in discussions with partners, students asked themselves and each other questions to probe the thoughts of the author. Students used the following questions to help them:

“Why did the author include this detail, is there some greater significance to it?” “What aspect of the setting is unusual and how will that impact the novel?” “What is unique about this main character, what is the author trying to tell us about her?”  “What has the author included or left out? Where is the author trying to lead us?”  “Which supporting characters will the author use to help the main character evolve?” 

These and other questions helped guide students as they explored the theme and character development of various novels. In addition, it helps focus their own memoirs writing by employing some of the techniques used by expert writers.
Students used the question prompts to explore possible themes while they read
Student writing will be on display at our next parent session. Keep an eye out for upcoming information about that.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Where We Are Place and Time (Past Civilizations)

Unit of Inquiry #5 - Where We Are In Place and Time (Past Civilization)

Grade 5 continued their learning of past civilizations during the second week of the unit! Over the coming weeks, students will be inquiring into their new central idea: Evidence of the past civilization can be used to make connections to present-day societies. Students displayed great independence and cooperation with their groups to research and post their learning on the hallway bulletin boards.

Central Idea: Evidence of the past civilization can be used to make connections to present-day societies.

Lines of Inquiry:
  • Characteristics of civilizations and societies.
  • Connections between past and present societies.

Investigation Activities

Learning Intention #1:  To organize dates and multiple past civilizations on a timeline in chronological order.            

As a getting started activity, each student viewed and organized dates on a timeline in chronological order. In small groups, students transferred their timeline draft onto sentence strips to post on the bulletin board.

Learning Intention #2:  To locate a past civilization on maps.  

The next day, each student browsed through a variety of books on past civilizations and took notes of civilization location and its beginning of recorded time period. Small groups collaborated to locate and plot multiple past civilizations on a word map and a timeline.  

Learning Intention #3:  To describe the local features that aided the civilizations growth.

On Friday, students continued compared physical feature maps to plotted location of past civilizations on maps to note surrounding land forms and bodies of water. They used their research skills by seeking and selecting best sources of information how people used their surroundings that helped their daily lives and civilization growth. Throughout the week groups used efficient collaborative skills with by sharing ideas respectfully, recording and retelling findings, and doing fair share of work.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Getting Started in Where We Are in Place and Time

Students in grade 5 started their new unit under the theme of Where We Are in Place in Time.

As a getting started activity, students browsed through a variety of books on ancient civilisations and made a note of any questions or wonderings.  In small groups we sorted our questions into 3 categories: inquiry questions, thin questions, or somewhere in between the two.  Students brainstormed characteristics of each type of question.

We decided that inquiry questions are:
Debatable, have many possible answers, are good topics for discussions, and you must synthesize a lot of information when answering them.

Here is a preliminary list of sorted questions.

After browsing more books and watching a short video on the rise of civilisations, students added to their list of questions and looked at the questions from the lens of our key concepts and lines of inquiry. Students decided which concept best matched their question and which line of inquiry it would help to explore.

Among other things, students began to investigate the local features that aided a civilisation's growth.
In conjunction with our earlier book browse, students also made note of important places they uncovered and added them to a class list. Using Google Earth, we took a virtual tour (first stopping at our own houses) of a variety of ancient ruins and locations.

Students ended the week with a field trip to the Yokohama History Museum.  This site was being developed for residential housing in the 1980s when scientists discovered the remains of a community dating back over 2000 years. This marks the transition in Japanese history to a more sedentary and agriculturally based society.  It was a great opportunity for students to see replica dwellings and actual tools that were used during this time. Students also got to witness the huge change in lifestyle that came with the advent of agriculture.

Here are a few photos from the day.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Science Day

How the World Works: Does it Matter
Grade 5 and 6   Science Fair

Central Idea: People use their knowledge of properties of matter to suit specific needs.

Lines of Inquiry:
  • How scientists investigate properties of matter.
  • Conditions that cause reversible and irreversible changes in matter.
  • How societies take advantage of the properties of matter

Learning Intention:
To present scientific investigation findings to an audience.

On Friday, March 10, Grade 5 celebrated their science learning at the Grade 5 and 6 Science Day Assembly here at Seisen. Through dedication and hard work, students were able to present their scientific investigation findings to parents, Seisen staff, and Seisen students. They also shared how their findings can benefit society.

Investigation stage by testing hypothesizes.

Prepping for Science Day

Grade 5 and 6 Science Day!

Check Out Our Science Day Videos 

Thank you parents for attending!

Where do we go next in our learning destination for Unit of Inquiry?

Where We Are In Place And Time -  The Rise of Civilizations

Central Idea:
Evidence of past civilizations can be used to make connections to present-day societies.
Inca Empire

Sunday, 5 March 2017


Friday, March 10 is Big Science Day here at Seisen. Students across the school-from kindergarten to high school- will participate in demonstrations, activities, and present their independent science investigations. The culminating event will be a presentation by Akiko Nakamura from Kobe University. Ms Nakamura is a well know scientist in Japan who studies the formation and evolution of planetary bodies. There is even an asteroid named after her!

Grade 5 will host its own Big Science Day for parents and elementary students on Friday morning.

Here they are getting ready.

Students will focus their independent investigations on testing the properties of matter.

Students will:
Formulate a testable question
Make a prediction using scientific language and concepts studied
Decide what variable will be tested
Decide what will be measured and recorded
Draw conclusions based on the evidence gathered
Make a connection between the experiment and real world applications

You won't want to miss this.  Doors open at 9:00. Admission is free!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

5B Getting Fit In Health Related Fitness

Central Idea: Exploring four different fitness components while participating in heath related exercises and fitness tests, which benefits health and well-being. 

Key Concepts: Responsibility, Change, Form 

Learning objectives:

-Students will learn the short term and long term effects exercise has on the body
-Students will be able to recognize exercises and which fitness component group they are a part of 
-Students created a fitness station with various exercises and had to put classmates through their fitness circuit station
-Students participated in a variety of fitness tests and were able to learn more about the importance of goal setting and reaching their fitness potential 

This was a great way to lead into the past week of Health Week at Seisen and recognize the importance of mental health, sleep, time management, proper nutrition and regular exercise! 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Particle Energy

How the World Works: Does it Matter

Central Idea: People use their knowledge of properties of matter to suit specific needs.

Line of Inquiry: Conditions that cause reversible and irreversible changes in matter.

Learning Intention: 
To describe the structure of particles in a solid, liquid and gas. 

Students commenced by first formulating a testable question: does the temperature of water affect the food dye powder?

Groups then planned for an investigation, showing awareness of variables with guidance from the teacher. They determined that the temperature of the water (hot, room temperature, and cold) will be the variable that is changeable whereas the amount of food dye powder and the amount of water will be the controlled variables. Students were able to make a simple prediction about the outcome of the experiment. 

After completing the planning process, students carefully measured the temperature of water in each beaker. One group measured the temperatures to be 15 degrees Celsius, 20 degrees Celsius, and 48 degrees Celsius. In excitement, they added the food dye powder to each water-filled beaker and observed the changes. One member of the group was responsible for measuring the time it takes the powder dissolves.

Groups essentially agreed to repeat the experiment as they reflected to use less amount of powder to allow faster dissolving time.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Semester Two Learning Outcomes

Below you will find the Semester Two intended learning outcomes for all subject areas.  Click on the links to view and download the documents.  If you have any questions about these learning outcomes, please contact your child's homeroom teacher, our PYP Coordinator (Michael Hughes), or our Elementary Principal (Sandra Mulligan).

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Dancing Like Professionals

Grade Five students spend part of their year studying dance and the other part studying drama.

In Dance class students have been analyzing still poses of professional dancers.  Professional dancers display great confidence in their ability to create balancing and expressive poses.  By using these dancers as role models, students can be risk-takers to create their own dance piece based on their poses and go further using additional dance concepts.

Students analyzed the poses based on their level, namely the distance from the floor.  Low level poses are on the floor or in that region, while high level poses are reaching toward the ceiling.  Poses can be low, middle, or high.

Students chose three poses, one from each level, and connected them together.

Students practice their sequence of three poses inspired by professional dancers.
Dancers perform alone and with one another.  Students explored the various ways in which they can dance together.
Here are some the relationship poses they used:
     In front/ in back
     Above/ below

Students danced with three different partners (one for each color) using their original pose sequence and then in the above relationship poses with a partner.

Here are just a few photos of their beautiful work.

Low level poses in a supported relationship
Supported pose with two different levels

High and Low levels in a "near" relationship

 By putting these elements together, students are beginning to create their own choreography.  As we progress through spring semester, watch for their growing confidence to express their ideas through dance.

Monday, 13 February 2017

A New Way Of Learning Subject-Verb Agreement in the EAL Class

A New Way Of Learning Subject-Verb Agreement in the EAL Class

Numerous EAL students have struggled over the years to understand the rules of subject-verb agreement. In the EAL class they are exposed to the “S Rule” early on. The “S” stands for the s which is on the verb when it is used with a singular subject, for example, “She likes dogs.” and no “s” on the verb if the subject is more than one ( person / object/ living thing), for example, “They like dogs.” 

This week, grade 5 EAL students have been shown a visual way to represent these rules by using colored Unifix Cubes. First, the students were shown the cubes on the paper below.

It was explained to them that the single red block stands for a singular subject. If the subject is more than one person, two or more red blocks can be used. The single yellow block represents the verb with an s at the end, for example, likes. The two yellow blocks represent the verb without an s at the end, for example, like. The blue blocks represent the rule breakers or odd balls. Two blue blocks show that the subject is greater than one, but it takes a verb that goes with a singular subject. For instance, I is a single subject, but it takes a verb that goes with a subject that is greater than one, in the case of presents verbs. “You” can be a singular subject and it also takes a verb that goes with a subject that is greater than one. 

Once the students were able to follow the pattern they were given a set of subjects to match the blocks with to show that they understood the rules.

After that, the students were asked to write down the rules that go with the blocks.

Finally, the students made posters to show the rule.

Hopefully now that they have a better understanding of the rules for subject-verb agreement, they will apply them when they write.