We were surrounded with media and art forms this week.

A big MERCI to Tessa, Miss Tawny, Gabrielle, Music Teacher David, Music Teacher Julie, Art teacher Melanie, Stéphanie & Véronique. Thanks to all we had two very fun days of art workshops; we would have loved to try them all but we had to choose only 3 from:

  • Landart
  • Painting on canvas
  • Paper bead making
  • Collage
  • Mosaic
  • Songwriting
  • Printing and bookbinding
  • A Story in Music
  • Junk Art

We also kept working on our other art projects in the classroom. Here are some pictures but it is a small representation of what went on this week.

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A story 6 months in the making, an alien main character, creative stories imagined, written, recorder and animated by students, a collaborative project that had the whole class engaged and vibrating, and an end results that we are all proud of.

So, sit back, relax, take a bowl of popcorn and enjoy this 20 minute tale called:

"Les aventures de Coukaco."

Les aventures de Coukaco from Laurence Le Mercier on Vimeo.


A few weeks ago we needed to figure out the total number of school days for our 1st grade year. Two of us found the answer but Laurence forgot to post a picture ( and was reminded of it MANY times!) so here it is:

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What a week!

It was time to show how creative we are.

For 4 weeks, we explored how our body can move with music. We used some objects, we danced alone or with a partner or even multiple partners.

Once we had done the exploration part, Laurence suggested that we work on a choreography with music. First we had to choose the music... Out of the 7 different pieces she had selected, we chose a techno-house music. It might not have been Laurence's choice but it turned out that the whole group had a lot of fun with the music.

We had two weeks to get our choreography ready and what you will see in the videos below is 100% OUR design. Laurence kept quiet. just helping us hear the different momentum in the music. In the end it is 6 different pieces that are VERY creative. Bravo les enfants!

Danse RaLo from Laurence Le Mercier on Vimeo.

Danse KiLoSo from Laurence Le Mercier on Vimeo.

Danse CoSe from Laurence Le Mercier on Vimeo.

Danse BeCaRa from Laurence Le Mercier on Vimeo.

Danse BaKee from Laurence Le Mercier on Vimeo.

Danse AmSoAm from Laurence Le Mercier on Vimeo.

We kept working with a variety of medium and hammering nails was the Most Wanted Activity!

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4 weeks ago when Laurence suggested ideas for expert hour, we listened politely but we chose none of her ideas and we all knew what we wanted to do. This Friday was the chance to put the last touch to our project and show it to others:

  • The elaborated trap

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  • The puppet show

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  • The town with its park

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  • The Dog and the dog house trap

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  • The ozobot challenge

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  • The doll house for the bunny rabbit and Coukaco

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  • The minecraft creeper

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It was time to introduce our 6th and last unit of inquiry for this school year:


But, what is an artist? We had a lot to say about that and out of all our suggestions, the common thread was that artists create. Although there was a lot of " they create weird things" " Sometimes what they create can make sense or cannot make any sense" .

To get a better understanding of media, Laurence had brought back a full crate of art books from the library and soon, after commenting a lot on what we saw, especially the weird and unusual pieces, but also anything that had to do with Landart, we were able to come up with a LONG list of possible media.

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We decided that we could all be artists and Laurence said that this unit was about exploring a lot of media and becoming artists ourselves indeed.

So to work we went. We began by 3 different projects:

  • Nail art - and yes, it includes using a hammer.
  • Watercolor pencils
  • Weaving with a variety of material

It's a work in progress and we will all get to try each project.

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Friday was special and we were quite excited about having so many visitors. We sung, we did a math activity and then we invited our visitors to play math games with us. It was a very good time.

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We are already wrapping up our unit on how organisms are interconnected in nature.

This is probably the inquiry that got us all taking the most and making our own connections outside of the classroom. And it is why, when Laurence told us that we needed to share with others how those connections were important, we jumped in with both feet.

Once we had divided into groups of our choice, it was time to learn how to best catch your audience's attention. We learned about slogan and how they help us remember something. So we tapped into the creative part of our brain and came up with catchy sentences. Some of them might not always make sense to our general audience, but to us, they say exactly what we learned and Laurence did not want to interfere too much in our action process.

Next, we began working on how to best present our slogan. Laurence and Tessa offered a little bit of guidance but they guided us based on our ideas.

In the end, each group produced a message that they are proud of. We could also have a video that also shows all the bloopers since we were handling the iPads ourselves! Some had Laurence laughing out loud but also had her so proud of how we can already work so well autonomously.

Please watch and we would love to read your comments!

Les pesticides se réveillent, c'est bête pour les abeilles!

Mettez les déchets dans la poubelle, la terre sera plus belle!


Enlever tous les poissons et ça enlève toutes les relations.

Plantez des jolies plantes et les organismes sourient.

Le plastique c'est pas fantastique, recycler c'est gagné!

We discovered the last line of inquiry for our unit: The impact of humans on the interconnectedness between organisms.

And it took only 5 minutes to fill in our white board with our ideas of how we do have an impact: both positive ways ( blue on the picture) , red for the negative ways.

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We then read so many interesting books to learn more about how if we remove one organism, it can damage the entire ecosystem.

We also looked at why our work on reducing waste had an impact on other organisms. Just take a look at the time it takes for waste to decompose if it ends up in the ocean or in the ground.


Sure it was sad when we got to see the documentary about all the plastic ending up on Midway Atoll, but we also watched how people are trying to solve all those problems. We also want to help!

So we went back to the forest to remove those nice but so invasive plants: again, we did a great job and even cleared an entire area, allowing us to see maple trees planted a few years ago that were hidden under a forest of weeds.

Bravo les CP!

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We had plenty of other projects going on but no time to take pictures so this conclude the entry for today


Although we just began working on interconnections between organisms and we barely explored human impact on those connections, we are already getting it and understanding that we can do a lot to help.
As we keep measuring our daily waste, we talk more and more about the possible options to reduce our waste. And SOOOOOOO MANY of us have hoped on this wagon and go home to suggest changes, and then come back to school really proud of having made those changes.
So, from getting our snacks in reusable bags, changing the type of snacks we eat to make no waste, having our full lunch bag being waste free, we were proud to get our picture taken to demonstrate!
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That was not it. We headed back to the forest where we had seen so many weeds taking over our beautiful native plants.
We were very hard workers and did a great job removing Herb Robert.
As we were working hard, Raphael exclaimed: "You are a nightmare Herb Robert. You have beautiful flowers but we don't want you here!"
Exactly! We removed a huge bag of those plants and there is still more to do.
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We were ready to learn even more about interconnections.
We watched two amazing documentaries: "Deep Sea" and "How the wolves changed the river." This helped us learned about the key concept of causation.
Then we worked on finding the connections between the organisms we studied during our work on cycles. Laurence said we hunted for connections and will keep doing so next week.
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Organisms are interconnected in nature: that is a mouthful to say but it is also our central idea for our unit on Sharing the planet.

Since we knew a lot about organisms, we dove into interconnections right away.

It started with a wonderful show from Spyglass Theater  : we heard so many connections between bugs.


Then we went to Tualatin River Refuge. A beautiful place where tons of organisms are connecting with one another. We could have stayed there all day so between the two workshops and the 1 hour walk, it went really fast.

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Back in the classroom we talked more about the type of relationships that could be found. We used the example of the Mason Bee to find symbiotic, commensal, parasitic and mutualistic relationships.


With all this new information, we went to the school's forest: our goal was to see if we could find the same organisms that we had found at the Tualatin Refuge. Then, we went out to learn even more information. We were in small groups thanks to Tessa and Jon ( Dash's dad) who also came in the forest with us.

One thing we learned is that there are quite a bit of invasive plants in our forest and Laurence said that we will soon help remove some!

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We also embarked on a lunch box mission: zero waste.

We started the week before the break and we are getting to understand better how to get to zero waste. Actually, it is mainly our snacks that come in wrappers that we cannot recycle but for the rest, some of us began taking action!

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" I have an apple sauce container you can recycle."  " We are reusing our plastic bags".

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" I had apple sauce containers that could not be recycled and now I asked my parents and they gave me containers you can recycle."  Instead of having individual bags for my crackers, I bought a big box and take a handful in a reusable container.

Bravo to all!

After seven weeks working on cycles, we can say that we know quite a bit about them. And to prove it, we presented our hard work on the cycle of our organisms.

We were very much inspired by the 5th graders who presented for their PYP exhibition. It gave us great example of what worked well when you speak in front of an audience.

Laurence guided our research a little bit but overall, it was our work, grammar and spelling errors included.

Here we are training for the presentation and below, 4 videos: each includes the work of two groups;

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Cycle de vie du champignon et Cycle de vie du loup

Cycle de vie du champignon et Cycle de vie du loup

Cycle de vie du hibou et Cycle de vie du Pommier

Cycle de vie du hibou et cycle de vie du pommier

Cycle de vie du Saumon et Cycle de vie de l'aigle

Cycle du saumon et cycle de l'aigle

Cycle de vie du Castor et Cycle de vie du Serpent Garter

Cycle de vie du Castor et Cycle de vie du serpent Garter


We certainly learned about cycles at Zenger farm but we also began hearing about connections between organisms. Laurence told us to keep that information ready to use for our next inquiry!

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They went full cycle! It was quite an exciting adventure this year: first, all 12 caterpillars transitioned to a cocoon phase and 12 beautiful butterflies emerged! 10 of them waited until we released them on Friday and they were sure excited about being finally FREE. Two of them had finished their cycle in the classroom.

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But, the most exciting part is that they mated ( we have pictures proving it!). Laurence dug some daisies out of the ground just in case the mating would results in eggs but we were not too sure.

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After releasing the butterflies, we went back to the classroom and began cleaning up the area where our guests had been. Suddenly, someone exclaimed: there is an egg, un oeuf! Laurence could not believe it at first ( and also her eyes are not that good!). So she put the daisy container under the projector, zoomed in and... yes! 4 eggs! ( look for small blue eggs)

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Update: April 23

The plant and the eggs went on vacation with Laurence. The eggs did quite well for a few days and then they were gone... but no caterpillars in site.

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But two days ago, a tiny tiny caterpillar was seen munching on the leaves!

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But there has been no caterpillar sighting since... maybe they did not like this particular flower petals or maybe they went exploring into the house... Either way, it looks like the cycle has ended.



They emerged, they emerged!

And of course they did it while we were gone or sometimes, even right under our watch when we were concentrating on our work! Those butterflies are fast once they decide to break out of the cocoon.

They are now enjoying a bigger habitat but we are still planning to release a few next week and try to see with others if we can have a full cycle with mating! Thanks to S. who researched at home, we even know how to make the difference between male and female painted lady butterflies!

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Thanks also to the time lapse camera, we were able to see our butterflies emerging from their cocoon.

Jolis papillons from Laurence Le Mercier on Vimeo.



While we learned a lot about the life cycles of insects, it was time for us to do the last piece of our inquiry: our own research.

Once we had established a listing of organisms ( animals [mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mollusques], plants, mushroom), it was time to choose the organism we wanted to work on and with a little guiding, we were able to pick from a variety of sub-families:

  • Le loup = Cameron + Beatrix
  • Le castor = Loïc+ Amelia
  • Le saumon = Kiyan + Sela
  • La chouette = Cosette + Amel
  • L'aigle royal = Sophie
  • Le serpent ( Garter) = Basile + Rafi
  • Le pommier = Keegan+ Sophia
  • Les champignons = Raphael+ Logan

And then, all week, we worked hard on gathering information, reading, synthesizing the information we found, using our own words to write down paragraphs and drawing scientific drawings of our cycle.  It also included a LOT of cooperation work... Let's say that not all groups had a smooth ride, but overall, it ended up being productive.

Next week, it will be time to finish putting it all together: some groups chose a poster, others chose a book, and some decided on a multimedia platform like Book Creator. Practicing to present in front of an audience will also be important and if we get a chance to see 5th graders present their exhibition projects, it will show us that our hard work in 1st grade will lead us to be great presenters later on.

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We also got to practice inquiry skills and presenting in front of an audience during our English time with Miss Tawny. We inquired about insects and found great information to present.

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After exploring all our simple machines, it was time to invent our own stories using what the physics of those simple machines had taught us to create chain reactions.

We watched a few before and were quite amazed by all we saw. But to work we went on our own creations.

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We have cocoons! 12 of them! Do you think that the caterpillars waited for us to watch them do their work? Of course not.

And based on our calculation, they should be emerging as butterflies... this week-end...of course.


Luckily, Laurence's husband set up a camera so that we can try to catch the butterflies emerging. It records every move 24 hours a day. Here is a pic taken this Saturday from the camera and sent to Laurence's email address; isn't technology cool!:



This is a special request from Sophie who wanted to have our song for others to listen too. So, here it is:


After reading Les 4 saisons de Loup de Philippe Jalbert, we decided to talk also about our favorite seasons. At the same time, we discovered verbs and their infinitive form.

Nos saisons préférées from Laurence Le Mercier on Vimeo.



We have one student who loves art and is very artistic: she decided to use her sewing skills to make a #D model of our Couckaco:
We were all VERY impressed! Bravo S.!

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After thinking on our own and discussing in small groups about what would happen if we suddenly only have nights or suddenly only have Winters.
It turned out that it was hard for us to figure out.
The main observations were:
- We will sleep all the time.
- We will stay inside because it will be too dark and cold.

After seeing that, well, we would still wake up and still could walk outside, we finally came up with ideas that showed that the cycle of night and day and seasons does affect us: no plants would grow = no food for animals or for us among the few things we discussed: although there were pretty creative ideas as to how to make it still work!

And soon it was time to hear about how we could put our inquiry on cycles to good use: Laurence told us that we had a to choose an organism and present it's life cycle and relation to other cycles.

GO, she said.

What? But... what is an organism? said Logan.
There you go, we are inquirers.
So first, we researched that and once we knew it was a living being, we had to figure out what makes a living being.
We discussed in groups and with our own words, we figured it out:
To be a living being, you need to:
- be born
- grow
- feed
- reproduce
- die.

Then Laurence took out a lot of books and we began researching organisms form the Pacific Northwest.

We began establishing a list and saw that you can do families of living beings.

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Remember how Coukaco wanted to go inside the house and had to remove the big boulder using a system with a pulley?

Well, now he found a message that told him that he needed to find a system in the backyard to get ejected back to his planet. Laurence showed us the material and before letting us work, she introduced us to the world of levers.

Soon, we had all the idea we needed to get going and very fast this time, we found a way to make it work. See for yourselves with the video and pictures.

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Machines simples: les leviers et les poulies from Laurence Le Mercier on Vimeo.