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March 6, 2017
Grade 3 Students Are Masters of Communication
The Grade 3 Spotlight Assembly began in silence—13 girls lined up facing the audience one at a time holding the letters using sign language: C – O – M – M – U – N – I – C- A – T – I – O – N. As the audience watched, the letters went up on the Smartboard so they could understand what was happening.

This was part of the Grade 3's unit on Communication, led by teachers Carol Dugas and Samantha Cohen. They created the unit based on the IB's central idea that communication choices can influence the way you interpret a message. One of these ways is through sign language.

The Grade 3 students showed the audience an example of a "call and response" and presented an excerpt from the picture book, Nappy Hair.

"This was very powerful form of communication, especially since the unit was partially studied during Black History Month," said Ms Dugas.

Students also connected communications to their understanding of quilting from the class' pioneer unit. When they studied communication of that time period, they looked at quilt patterns as a form of communication during slavery. After studying the quilts, the girls created their own quilts and embedded messages onto them.

Another way the girls learned about communication was from reading the book, This is the Rope. They then wrote and illustrated their own stories in picture book form based on a family object that was special to their own families.

"We read a picture book to the students called, This is the Rope," said Ms Dugas. "In the book, the rope travels from one part of the USA to another part, with the reader learning the story of the rope's journey and all of the family members involved in sharing it."

"The students then based their own stories on this theme and learned how to use a repetitive line, "This is the…" as an effective form of communication," said Ms Dugas.

The girls' stories told of different objects that represent their families' journeys. One student spoke about a set of chopsticks passed down from her great-grandmother, while another told of a watch that has been given as a gift to different women in her family.

"They also wrote dedication pages in their books that were very touching."

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