Posts Tagged “metacognition”

How Can We Achieve Our Potential As Mathematicians?

We are currently working on the last part of our Unit 5 math unit, Landmarks and Large Numbers. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working hard on challenging ourselves as mathematicians and showing everything we know. We’ve used the five states of mind, craftsmanship, flexibility, interdependence, efficacy and consciousness, to push our thinking and help us grow as learners.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you be more aware of how you’re doing as a learner (Consciousness):

*How can I use the ‘I can’ statements to improve my learning?

*How can I use assessments to build on my learning?

*Am I aware of what I need to learn?

*How can I make my strategies more efficient?

*What are my strengths and areas of need?


Remember, Good Mathematicians:

(Craftsmanship, Flexibility, Efficacy)

*Estimate before they solve a problem

*Use the problem solving process

*Use multiple strategies

*Use efficient strategies

*Use words, numbers and pictures to explain their thinking

*Check their solution is reasonable

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on adding to our addition and subtraction strategies. We’re developing our strategies so that we can use at least two efficient strategies for both addition and subtraction. The short algorithm can be used, but only as an additional strategy (after using two other strategies) or as a strategy for checking our work.

Here are some charts to help you review the big ideas of the unit, as well as strategies for addition and subtraction:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Tomorrow we will send home the Unit 5 pre-assessment and ‘I can’ statements to help you review at home. We’ll be continuing to work on these problems and ideas at school, so please bring the papers back to school each day.

Leave a comment to show:

*How you used your assessments to build on your learning

*Your strengths and what you’re working on to challenge yourself and improve

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Student Led Conferences

Grade 4 will be soon be holding our student-led conferences for the second semester on March 20th /21st. Your child has already started preparing for the conferences and will reflect on themselves as a learner in different content areas. Please sign up for for an 45-minute-block-appointment time using the Pick-A Time scheduling system. You’ll find details and instructions in the Friday Folder this week.


Student-led conferences are an empowering tool for students to take charge of their learning. Leading their own conference enables them to be honest about their work and explain what they have found challenging and what they have improved on. By verbalizing this,the students develop a picture of themselves as a learner and become more self aware or metacognitive.  As students will be leading the conference, this means that your child will be doing most of the talking.

Your child will be talking about their strengths and areas for improvements as well as their goals.  They will be sharing some key pieces of work and demonstrate some of the skills, content knowledge or concepts  on which they have been working. The students will guide you through various stations to share their work and goals with you. A student led conference is an opportunity for you to support and encourage your child’s efforts, and to hear the plans they have made for their continued progress. I will be in the classroom during your conference, but your child will run the show. Remember, this is their turn to shine, so do not bring siblings to the conference.

There may be more than one family in the classroom at the same time for this student-led conference. Up to 3 families will be guided through their conference by their child at the same time. I will join you for a short time during your student-led conference to review and set goals for the remainder of the school year. Since other families are likely to be present in the classroom, this will not be the time to address concerns you have about your child’s school performance, or put your child on the spot about a school issue. If you have concerns or questions about your child’s progress, we can arrange a private time to meet.

Sometimes your child may get ”stuck” when explaining or sharing their work. It happens to even the best of presenters so please help them out.

Here are some questions stems that may help. Please don’t ask every single one of them- only use them to encourage your child to talk if they get stuck.

Questions to Ask at Conferences                   

  • Why did you choose this piece of work to share?
  •  What can you tell me about this piece of work?
  • What did you learn when you were working on this piece of work?
  • What did you find most difficult?
  • Which piece of work are you most proud of?
  • Which piece of work shows how you’ve improved in your learning?
  • What could you improve on this piece of work? (Always after a couple of compliments about it)
  • What would you like to learn that you do not already know?
  • I really like…. What did you learn?
  • Which is your favorite subject?  Why?
  • Which subject is difficult for you?  Why?
  • What makes you happiest at school?
  • What frustrates you at school?
  • How are you doing with listening/following directions/ using time wisely/ respecting others?
  • Do you enjoy working in groups?  Why?  Why not?  What makes it easy/difficult for you?
  • Do you work well on your own?  Why? Why do you like to work with someone else?
  • Do you keep to deadlines? (Do you complete your work on time?)
  • Do you remember all of your things? (Do you take care of your materials?)
  • Do you think that you have improved your organization this year?
  • What are two things you hope to change to help your learning?
  • What are your goals for this semester?
  • What are you going to work on next?
  • What are some things you cannot do now but hope to achieve soon?
  • How can we help you achieve your goals?
  • How can I help you get better at that?
  • What will you work on in the next few weeks to reach your goal?

Questions to ask your child at conferences

I look forward to joining you for a small part of the conference to help your child reflect on their learning and set goals for the remainder of the year. See you on March 20th /21st!


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Celebrating Our Amazing Growth!

Some rights reserved by isbes

What an amazing year we’ve had in 4 Terry! With only a little over a week to go in 4th grade, I’d like you to think back over the year and reflect on the highlights, challenges and growth that has happened this year.

Take a look at the 4 Terry survey shared with you in your Google docs, and let me know how you feel about your year in 4th Grade.

I’ve loved teaching you all this year. It’s been incredible to see your growth and watch you blossom as learners. We’ve worked hard, but we’ve had a lot of fun along the way. I’ve really enjoyed our projects, like ‘City of Ember’, ‘Who Am I?’, ‘Influences in my Life’, ‘Water Inquiry’ and ‘My Journey as a Scientist’.  Our assemblies, Grade 4 celebrations and grade level and parent shares have been fantastic. You’ve constantly amazed me and stepped up to the challenge.

You all have a lot to be proud of!


ISB would also like to hear your feedback. They would like you, along with all Grade 3- 12 students, to take this survey. They want to hear what you really think, so be as honest as you can.

Final Goal Setting

Now take a look at your goal and reflect on how you’ve been working towards your goal over the last 3 weeks. Be honest and try to use as much evidence as you can to show what you’ve been doing to help your learning. Make a plan for the next week, in the ‘Over the next 3 weeks’ section. What can you do to work towards achieving your goal during the final week of school?

Your homework tonight will be to make a blog post about your final goal and how you’ve worked towards achieving your goal. I’d also like you to reflect on your year in 4th grade. Tell us your highlights, challenges and what you feel proud of achieving or improving in.

You’ve worked towards becoming a self-directed learner this year, so take charge of your learning and be the best you can be!

I wish you all the best in 5th Grade!

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Dear Parents,

We would like to invite you to join us to celebrate our growth as scientists and our learning throughout the Water Science unit.


Date: Thursday May 9

Time: 1.10pm- 2pm

Place: Room 222


We’d love to share our ‘Journey as a Scientist’ digital stories and our independent Science investigations with you. We’ll be sharing these with our Grade 4 classmates next Tuesday, but as we’d like more time to share our learning with you, we are arranging a special presentation for parents and special guests next Thursday. We’re sure you’ll enjoy seeing our growth as scientists and our skills in communicating our learning through technology.


We hope to see you there!

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What Factors Have Influenced Your Life & Who You Are?

In our recent Influence unit in Social Studies, the students in 4 Terry tried their hand at creating mash-ups to describe the influences in their life. What was impressive, is that our Grade 4 students were able to create clear, often high-quality videos, which weave together a variety of media and described how they became who they are today. The majority of students met the standards, and some even raised the bar. In fact, a number of students exceeded the grade level expectations.

The successes: Using a variety of media (photos, text, video and music), understanding copyright laws and making attributions.

What we need to work on: Ensuring that music plays on the video (technical issues), giving full attributions, creating effective transitions and elaborating ideas.

What the students in our class proved is that Grade 4 students are able to mash-up their ideas and can produce videos fairly quickly and simply. The videos below give you an example of how students included specific details to describe the influences in their lives and the skill they demonstrated in weaving together their ideas or media.

This video showed considerable skill in introducing the theme and weaving ideas together:

This video uses good transitions and the main ideas are clear:


This is an example of an effective mash-up of media:


This video has a clear theme, uses a variety of media and makes clear attributions:


More information on our mash-up project can be found in the Let’s Mash It Up blog post.

Thank you to all the students in 4 Terry who gave permission to publish their videos on this blog.

So, what do you think?

Did we effectively mash-up our ideas?

Leave us your comments on how we did in our Influence mash-ups.

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As we all know, we function better with a good night’s sleep.

Research into sleep, for humans of all ages, has found that kids aged 9 and 10 need 9-10 hours of sleep each night for their brains to function at their optimum capacity. Research demonstrates that children who are sleep deprived have poorer memory skills, learn new information at a slower rate, exhibit weaker verbal problem-solving and often have significant difficulties focusing and maintaining their attention. Listed below are recommendations for the amount of sleep needed at different age levels. These recommendations are based on neuropsychological and medical research studies. If your children are not regularly getting the appropriate amount of sleep, they are likely not working up to their potential.

Recommended amount of sleep:

You can be your best when you get enough good sleep!

Kids ages 5 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night.

When you get enough sleep you can:

  • Pay attention better in school
  • Be creative and think of new ideas
  • Fight sickness so you stay healthy
  • Be in a good mood
  • Get along with friends and family
  • Solve problems better

Without enough sleep you can:

  • Forget what you learned
  • Have trouble making good choices
  • Be grumpy and in a bad mood
  • Have trouble playing games and sports
  • Be less patient with brothers, sisters, and friends
  • Have trouble listening to parents and teachers

These are some of the major findings in the 2004 Sleep in Americapoll, the first nationwide survey on the sleep habits of children and their parents.

Sleep For Kids Website

Research on Sleep: From Taipei American School

More Sleep Research

Sleep Information for Parents (Chinese)

Sleep Information for Parents (Japanese)

Sleep Information for Parents (Korean)

Thanks to Michael Grande, School Psychologist and Robert Kowalec, Grade 2 teacher, Taipei American School, Taiwan.

How much sleep do you get a night?

Do you think you’re getting enough sleep to reach your potential?


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 What Factors Have Influenced Your Life & Who You Are?

There are many factors which influence each of us; our personalities, values, talents and interests.

Your Task:

Use imovie to tell the story of the main influences in your life.

Describe who or what has influenced you to become who you are:

  • Clearly describe your values and beliefs.
  • Identify the main influences in your life.
  • Describe who or what influenced your hobbies, interests, sports or talents.
  • Describe who or what has influenced your personality and values.
  • Describe factors that cause you to act the way you do (your personality & choices).

Standards and Criteria for Success

‘Mash up’ your ideas by using a variety of media.

Use visuals and key words to clearly explain the main influences in your life.

Your video should include:

  • Photos
  • Video
  • Music
  • Text
  • A title slide
  • Transitions
  • A concluding statement
  • Attributions (for any media used)
  • An understanding of copyright laws

Here’s a video which helps you understand fair use and copyright laws:


Influence Presentation Outline & Rubric

Influence Student Self Reflection

Rubric for Influence ‘Mash-up’ Video


Explanation of influences


Use of Media


Theme is very clear to audience.  Ideas are connected and transitions between ideas are smooth.

Very clear explanation of influences in life.  Gives a detailed story of influences throughout life.

Includes specific examples of influences on personality & interests/talents. Includes people, places and events.

Very creative.

Uses a variety of media.

Gives clear attributions & follows copyright laws.


Clear theme. Ideas are connected.

Includes transitions.

Clear explanation of influences in life.  Tells the story of influences throughout life.

Includes examples of influences on personality & interests/talents. 

Uses a variety of media.

Gives some attributions. Shows an awareness of copyright.


Theme can be worked out. Some ideas are connected.

Few transitions are used.

Some explanation of influences in life but sometimes unclear.  Attempts to tell a story.

Includes some examples of influences on personality & interests/talents.  Could be more detailed or clear.

Uses some media.

Attempts to give attributions, but not in sufficient detail.


Unclear theme. Ideas seem unconnected. No transitions between ideas.

No or very little explanation of influences in life. 

General ideas. Specific examples not given.

One medium used.

No attributions given.

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Dear Parents,

You’ll find an outline of our new Word Study program in 4 Terry below. Over the next two weeks, we will be practicing the activities in class by using reasonably simple word sorts. The students will also be practicing the homework activities on Tuesday and Thursday nights, as indicated in the homework contract. We will be starting fairly simply to help to learn the routines of the program, and to help confirm the needs of each student. Over the next month, there may be some changes in your child’s Word Study group and their sorts, depending on their needs.

Please return the Word Study pre-assessment to school, if you haven’t already, so that your child can make a great start to the program by analyzing their successes and errors. In this way they will have a greater understanding of the grade level expectations for Word Study and will be able to set goals for themselves.

(The Word Study outline can be printed by clicking on this link: Weekly Word Sorts)


(1)  Monday/Tuesday (in class): 

  • Cut out words
  • Word Sort– Sort the words into categories (use the next page in the ‘Words Their Way’ activity book as a guide)

Record the sort in your yellow notebook.

(2) Tuesday (homework): 

  • Word Sort– Sort the words into categories like we did in class (use the next page in the ‘Words Their Way’ activity book as a guide)

Record the sort in your yellow notebook.

  • Parents: You could ask your child to explain why the words are sorted in a particular way.

Optional: Ask your child to sort them a second time as fast as they can. You may want to time them if they enjoy the challenge of beating their time. 

(3) Wednesday/Thursday (in class): 

  • Blind Sort– Lay a word down from each category as a header (or use headings cut out from word sort).
  • Your partner should read the words in your sort aloud.  You should point where the word goes without seeing the word.
  • Your partner will lay the word down. You may then move the word if you think it is wrong. Your partner should let you know if they think the word is in the wrong place.

Record the sort in your yellow notebook.

(4) Thursday (homework):

  • Draw and Label words– Draw a picture (sketch) of each of your words to illustrate their meaning. Label the words under each picture.

Record in your yellow notebook


(5) Monday/Tuesday (in class): 

  • Word Hunt practice– With your Word Study group, find as many words as you can that fit the categories in your sort (see the page after your sort for category titles).

You can find words in books, add words you know or look around the classroom.

Record in your yellow notebook

(6) Tuesday (homework): 

  • Word Hunt– At home, find as many words as you can that fit the categories in your sort (see the page after your sort for category titles).

You can find words in books, add words you know or look around your house. You can even work with your brothers & sisters or parents to find other words that fit your word sort.

Record in your yellow notebook

(7) Wednesday/Thursday (in class): 

  • Sentences– With a partner, write sentences for each of your words. Make sure the sentences clearly show the meaning of the words.

Record the sort in your yellow notebook.

(8) Thursday (Homework):

  • Written Blind Sort– Lay a word down from each category as a header (or use headings cut out from your word sort).
  • Your partner (an older brother or sister or parent) should read the words in your sort aloud.  You should point where the word goes without seeing the word.
  • Your partner will lay the word down. You may then move the word if you think it is wrong.
  • Repeat the sort if you make more than one error.
  • Record the sort in your yellow notebook.

(9) Friday (in class):

  • Word Study Assessment


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A big thank you to the parents who joined us last night for Open House!

It was great to meet you all and talk about the fun and learning we’ll have this year in 4 Terry. I’m looking forward to helping your child reach their potential this year and be the best they can be. By encouraging the students to be self-directed learners, and with close ties between home and school, we can all work towards helping your child feel happy at school and achieve success.

You’ll find the Key Note with all the big ideas from the Open House below:
Open House- 4 Terry

We’re looking forward to a great year together!
Let me know what you enjoyed most about Open House by leaving a comment.
For students in 4 Terry, what are you looking forward to in 4th grade this year?

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Our class has been inspired by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and her uplifting videos. Amy not only loves to spread joy but is a great teacher of the ways we can become more conscious of ourselves and others. Our ‘What Rings My Bell?’ presentations were inspired by Amy and provided us with a fun way to explore what makes us tick.

Look out for our individual ‘What Rings My Bell?’ presentations on our student blogs soon!

For now, here’s a preview into what makes Ms. Terry tick.

In 4 Terry, we are becoming more aware of ourselves as learners. As a result of my recent course in Cognitive Coaching, we are focusing on the five states of mind which help us to become self-directed learners. We’re looking forward to becoming more aware of the ways we can become more responsible for our own learning. This project helps us to to focus on ‘Consciousness’, as does our recent wave of spirit in the Elementary School inspired by Amy’s video: ‘Life is a Marathon’.

We’re looking forward to many more fun and thought-provoking activities which will help us focus on the other states of mind: craftsmanship, efficacy, flexibility and interdependence.

And of course we’re looking for Amy’s visit to ISB in April!

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