Where We Are in Place and Time

Hello Grade 3 Families and Fans,

It has been yet another exciting, busy week at BIS! Students have been inquiring into the related concept of plate tectonics, to develop their own understanding of how the Earth continues to change over time. We built models of tectonic plates out of paper, and out of peanut butter and biscuits! We also started using different digital tools and websites to collect information for our upcoming research project.

The Earth’s crust is broken into several tectonic plates. These plates float on thick, molten rock called the mantle.
When plates push together, a lot of pressure builds. Sometimes this causes earthquakes and tsunamis.
When plates spread apart, magma bubbles up from the mantle, forming mountains or underwater ridges.

When plates are pushed together, mountain ranges can form from the crashed plates and the hardened lava from the mantle.
This is how the Himalayas were made about 80 million years ago!

Next week, we will look into how weathering and erosion impact our landscapes over time!

Vocabulary Word Clouds

Each Unit of Inquiry is supported through the Daily 5  via the center Word Work. Students have a list of unit-specific vocabulary words and a variety of activities to encourage choice and independence. One new activity is using Word Clouds – a digital tool to visualize thinking. The largest word in the center is the vocabulary word, and the others are related. Check out some of our Where We Are in Place and Time word clouds!

Seo Yeon
Area and Perimeter

Our new math unit is integrated into our unit of inquiry, as it supports our understanding of how landforms impact where people live. We started by applying our numeracy skills to calculate area and perimeter (of rectangular spaces). The students particularly enjoyed finding the area and perimeter of our classroom!

Measuring the carpet
The surface area and perimeter of the door is tricky to measure!
Measuring the sides of the cupboard helps us calculate the surface area and perimeter.

Working together to measure the dimensions of the classroom
Breaking the room into two rectangles helped us calculate the surface area and perimeter of G3!

Unity in Diversity

Good morning Grade 3 Fans,

A full update on our transdisciplinary and stand-alone inquiries is coming later this week, but in the meantime, I wanted to share photos of and information on Unity in Diversity Day.

Students started the day with the entire school, parading around campus with countries that represent their cultures. Then we formed groups from EC3-G2 and G3-G5, and rotated through different activities. For lunch, the parent community prepared an incredible display of food that represented our different cultures! We all stuffed ourselves silly, before sharing our understanding of the day during a special assembly.

It was a lovely day of celebrating our uniqueness and learning how diversity unites us!

We are IndONEsia!
Our United Kingdom families
We learned the difference between “equity” and “equality” with Ms. Drezgic.


With Ms. Katie, we made “diversity flowers,” and read a story about a woman who’s diverse ideas helped change her community.



We learned how to play Continuous Cricket and Rob the Nest with Mr. Markey and Mr. Lane.


At the end of the day, we shared our understanding of different activities with the PYP during a special assembly.

Onward and Upward!

Hello Grade 3 Families and Fans,

Happy Book Week! Students had several activities this week to celebrate our love of literacy. The “Book Pirates” visited the classrooms, warning students they needed to read every day. We wore our pajamas for Snuggle Up and Read Day, and enjoyed some hot cocoa and Grade 4 friends during a special double-period of Daily 5. We learned how to “bind” our own books, and we dressed up as our favorite characters for the Book Character Parade. We had so much fun celebrating literature!

Mr. Toomer stopped by to hang out and read!
Combining with G4 was extra fun!


Little Red Riding Hood
Our very own Harry Potter and his feathery pal Hedwig 🙂
Ms Elena read some lovely stories to us, reminding us of how minding our manners is a sign of respect.
Happy Book Week!

We also ended our Unit of Inquiry this week, and led the Book Week Fabulous Friday. Students showed great commitment and enthusiasm with writing their own fiction stories, and shared them with the school community. Please find copies of our students’ stories below.

Ethan    Joshua    Keanu    Seo Yeon    Texas    Oliver    Andrew

Next week, we will start to unpack our next inquiry into Where We Are in Place and Time. Students will investigate how landforms impact the development of settlements. We will look into science concepts such as plate tectonics, weathering, and erosion, and we will take a field trip to see for ourselves how these forces create different landforms. Students will apply their new understandings of multiplication to read, understand, and design their own to-scale maps, and calculate the area and perimeter of different landscapes. And they will write a 5-paragraph research paper, using Writing to Describe to communicate how a landform of their choice could impact a settlement of their own design. More details of the inquiry can be found below.

G3 Where We Are in Place and Time Unit Overview

Next week, we also have Unity in Diversity Day. We hope to see you there as we celebrate the diversity of our school community!

How We Express Ourselves

Hello Grade 3 Fans,

We have had a busy few weeks inquiring into How We Express Ourselves! To further our understanding of how a writer’s voice can communicate cultures, ideas, emotions and values, we spent a few days completing an author study of celebrated author Mem Fox. Students explored several of her books before reflecting on how she exemplifies the central idea. They completed several activities connected to her writer’s voice, identifying local and global connections, central themes of books, and even researching biographical information on Ms. Fox. To conclude the author study, students created either a book cover or bookmarks that represent her stories and her voice as a writer.


We have also been creating our own stories. Using Writing to Entertain, students have been developing characters, mapping out their plot, and using descriptive language to “show” instead of “tell” the reader what it is their voice is trying to convey. Since this unit is language-focused, we will be developing our understanding of using simple present and past tenses appropriately, as well as using proper punctuation in sentences. In Visual Arts, students have been creating separate stories, and investigating the role that the illustrator plays in voicing cultures, values, ideas, and emotions. Hopefully, all of these stories will be ready to publish and share with the school community by Book Week as we lead Fabulous Friday – more details coming soon!

Moving to Multiplication

Our stand-alone math inquiry successfully helped us to develop different addition and subtraction strategies. In our “math tool box,” we now can use strategies like open number lines, and breaking apart large numbers by their place values. To check our answers, we can use addition to help us with subtraction (and vice versa). We can apply our understanding of odd and even numbers to help us verify our answers, too. To visualize our thinking, we created addition/subtraction strategy posters – come and see them hung up outside!

We have starting to shift to developing our understanding of multiplication. Students already understand how multiplication is a simplified way of adding large equal groups, so our next step is to get more comfortable with our multiplication facts. In addition to practicing in the classroom, flashcards will be sent home targeting the readiness of each student. Practicing at home is a great homework activity! Once they memorize one set of facts (like x3’s), they can take home more difficult cards. The goal is for these multiplication facts to build on each other, so students can use this knowledge to solve more complex equations later. For example, our third Unit of Inquiry will task students with applying multiplication to calculate the area of a map, its scale, and create their own to-scale maps!

Progress reports go home today, and conferences will be held on Friday. I look forward to seeing you all then!

One Unit Ends, Another Begins

Hello Grade 3 Fans,

Thank you to all who were able to attend last week’s Fabulous Friday! The students successfully led the elementary school through a celebration of the International Day of Peace. Please enjoy some photos and a short clip of the hilarious Adventures of Captain Andrew Pants.

Link to Video

We have since begun unpacking our new inquiry into how a writer’s voice can communicate cultures, ideas, feelings, and values. Students began with reading/listening to “The Jabberwocky” as a provocation into how language can tell a story, even with nonsense words. Then, we explored several stories and poems that portray different cultures. We had to investigate each one, looking for clues that the authors give to tell the reader what culture(s) should be represented.

At the same time, we have begun the process of writing our own stories! We brainstormed what all “good” books have, and explored the organizational features of story exemplars. After looking into different character traits and plot “story mountains,” students have begun independently drafting. We hope to have our stories published by the end of the UOI.

We have begun our second stand-alone math inquiry into how by understanding the properties of numbers, we can choose suitable strategies to solve problems.  We began this unit by investigating odd and even numbers, with the question below. After wrestling through several possibilities, they came to the conclusion that it was impossible – but why? This started a week-long inquiry into odd/even numbers, rules surrounding them, and new “hypotheses” around adding, subtracting, and multiplying with odd and even numbers. Understanding these properties will help us with checking our answers, and for recognizing other patterns in numbers.


For the next few weeks, students will continue to make connections between the different operations, with the hope of developing more strategies to test the effectiveness of their answers. For more details on our Unit of Inquiry and our stand-alone math inquiries, please review our unit overview: How We Express Ourselves G3 Overview.

That’s all for now! As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, and I hope you all have a lovely weekend.


Wrapping Up Who We Are

Hello Grade 3 Fans,

We are wrapping up our first Unit of Inquiry into Who We Are. Students have successfully investigated cultural and religious traditions, and made connections to their identity and communities around the world (including Bandung). They also started to develop their own understandings of what it means to be internationally minded, and continue to initiate discussions on our responsibility to be open-minded. They wrote their own short skit to demonstrate what it means to be open-minded to different religions, and in one day! I am quite impressed with these young empathetic global citizens!

Putting our ideas together to make a script

Now it’s time to practice!

As closure for this inquiry, students will use their understanding of international-mindedness to lead all of elementary in activities that celebrate the International Day of Peace. We will be doing this for Fabulous Friday next week, but the time is changing. Please continue to check your emails to learn more details on the new time/place. We look forward to seeing you there!

Writing to Recount

To support our inquiry and develop our literacy skills, we wrote recounts for our first writing products of the year. Students chose a cultural or religious holiday that they celebrated in the past, and they used the writing process to create their own recounts. First, we brainstormed examples of holidays that we could recount in detail. After making their choices, they started to flesh out their drafts. I led mini-lessons on past tense, adding details, the importance of transition words, and how to self- and peer edit effectively. After several drafts, the students were finally ready to publish!

Please find copies of their final products below. It’s important to note that I did not fix every mistake they made, but encouraged them to try and recognize their own errors. Some were pointed out and some were left in, so we have an authentic product by the students. Please enjoy!

Joshua        Keanu        Oliver        Seo Yeon        Texas         Ethan        Andrew

Spelling Program

On Monday, we incorporated spelling into our G3 literacy program. After combing through their recount drafts, I noted spelling errors that students are making consistently. Then I added a few more examples of words that follow a similar spelling pattern, and asked students to complete the list following that pattern. For example, if a student was consistently struggling with the -ure ending, their list is full of words with -ure, including the word they misspelled. This means each student’s spelling list is different, aimed at individual spelling needs. I will keep track of the students’ lists and their progress, and hopefully we will see those common errors become a thing of the past!

Students will build new lists every two weeks or so, depending on the school schedule and their progress. During the Daily 5 Literacy Hour, students will visit Word Work to practice their spelling words through a series of activity choices. They will also complete activities for homework. Below is a list of their spelling activities for your information.

Place Value Wrap-Up

We have also wrapped up our first stand-alone math unit on Place Value. Students created their own assessment tasks by creating “testing games.” In small groups, they used the learning outcomes we are assessing and created question cards for board games. The questions had to ask students to demonstrate different levels of understanding for each outcome. For example, one group made a game where students had to model large numbers and decimals. One of their outcomes was to “model numbers to thousands or beyond,” so they wrote cards to challenge students at different levels, modeling numbers from hundreds to ten-thousands. That way, each student built in differentiation into their games – and more importantly, showed me what questions they are capable of creating.

While students “tested” their friends, I had several opportunities to observe what students know and still need to improve. And we all had so much fun!

Working hard to make their games


Peer assessing is valuable and fun!




We even got to share our games with the accreditation team!


In our next blog, I will share information on our next math, literacy, and unit of inquiry expectations, so stay tuned. I hope you all have a lovely 4-day weekend!

Who We Are: Sorting Out and Going Further

Hello Grade 3 Fans,

We have been busy in class, working towards understanding how cultural and religious traditions contribute to society and our identity. We visited a Hindu temple, a Catholic cathedral, and a Javanese Christian church to extend our understanding of religious symbolism, beliefs, and values. The students were surprised to see flares of the local culture at the Christian church, since the church uses Javanese instruments like the gamelan. It was such an authentic way to show how culture and religion are often intertwined!


Students have also been using a new website Epic Books to research different cultural and religious celebrations. They are developing their note-taking skills, and sharing interesting facts about different traditions. Their research continues to help them develop deeper questions, too! Next week, students will choose to research a religion and a culture that they have yet to study, and try to make connections between other religions/cultures.

Indonesian Studies by Ms Tina
In the Who We Are unit, G3 students have been learning about religious and Indonesian cultural traditions. Because Eid al-Adha is this week, the students learned about the Muslim Day of Sacrifice, and how many Muslims go for a pilgrimage at this time. The students created cards and sheep as the symbol of sacrifice.
Math: Place Value Inquiries

For the last four weeks, we have been conducting a stand-alone inquiry into numeracy. Students are investigating how the base 10 number system extends infinitely to help us solve problems. We started by looking at different ways numbers can be represented. Students started with standard, expanded, and word form, and eventually created pictorial representations, graphs, and even other languages to represent a single number!

We also used our understanding of place value to order and compare large numbers. That led us to rounding numbers to different place values, which then led to estimating sums and differences. We have used rounding and estimating to check the validity of our answers – an essential numeracy skill!

Next, we will investigate how to build and break apart numbers using the base 10 number system. We will see how both large numbers and decimals use the same pattern. Please find the learning outcomes for our place value unit listed below, and let me know if you have any further questions or concerns. I hope you all enjoy the long holiday weekend!

Conceptual Understandings

The base 10 place value system can be extended to represent magnitude

Learning Outcomes

When constructing meaning learners:

recognize, model and represent numbers to thousands or beyond.

using the base 10 place value system

model numbers to millions or beyond.

using the base 10 place value system

model integers in appropriate contexts.

recognise, represent and order numbers to at least tens of thousands.

model decimal fractions to hundredths.

When transferring meaning into symbols learners:

read, write, compare & order numbers to at least 10,000.

apply place value to partition, rearrange and regroup numbers with manipulatives to at least tens of thousands to assist calculations and solve problems.

use estimation and rounding to check the reasonableness of answers to calculations.

recognise that the place value system can be extended to tenths and hundredths

When applying with understanding learners:

use whole numbers up to 10,000 in real-life situations.

use strategies to evaluate the reasonableness of answers

A Full Start to Who We Are

Hello Grade 3 Families and Fans,

We have only been in school for two weeks, but what a busy start we have had! Grade 3 has already begun taking learning trips to support their understanding of how cultural and religious traditions impact society and our identity. Before we visited a Buddhist temple in Lembang and a mosque in Padalarang, we started collecting information on those religions. We used books and digital resources to gain a foundational understanding of each religion, which helped us develop questions and wonderings. For example, one student read that Muslims pray five times a day at specific times. His questions, then, were what times do they pray, why is it five times, and is each prayer different? We brought our freshly-acquired knowledge and questions to our trips to deepen our overall understanding.

Next week, we will continue to research about Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, and Hinduism – with visits to places of worship of all three!

Viewing the story of Buddha
Enjoying the view 🙂

What a beautiful mosque!

We were also fortunate to celebrate an important cultural celebration – Indonesian Independence Day! In our Indonesian Studies and Indonesian Language classes, we learned about different ways people celebrate this holiday. And during Fabulous Friday this week, we had the chance to participate in some of these activities.  What a perfect connection to our current Unit of Inquiry!

Singing traditional Indonesian songs
Nice teamwork, G3!

The eel is escaping!


For details on our current Unit of Inquiry, please read the attached Who We Are G3 Overview.

Daily 5

We have started working on our independent reading and writing skills by using the Daily 5 routines. Starting with Read to Self, students learned how to choose a “good fit book,” and borrowed a few books that fit their interests and abilities. Work on Writing came next, where we brainstormed a HUGE list of topics we could choose from to write. And they continue to demonstrate behaviors that show independence and commitment: working the whole time, working quietly, staying in one spot, and checking for understanding. Given the freedom to choose what they read/write has boosted their motivation for building their literacy skills, and they are so eager to continue with the Daily 5 each day. I am so lucky to teach such enthusiastic learners!

We love Read to Self!

Work on Writing is fun, too!

Next week, I will post photos of our upcoming field trips, as well as an update on our inquiry into the place values of numbers. It will be another busy week – starting with the Parent Information Session on Monday. I hope to see you there!

Welcome to Grade 3!

Hello everyone, and welcome to Grade 3! This will be a busy and exciting year, full of critical thinking and deep inquiries. We are looking forward to getting to know you all over the course of the year.

I will be updating the blog a few times each month. Here, I will include updates on our curriculum, copies of student work, and photos of our learning journeys. I will respect the confidentiality of students, and only use photos of students who have given permission to do so.

Please find the G3 Schedule below. More updates are coming soon!