Signs and Symbols Unit of Inquiry: Week 1

Welcome to my new unit of inquiry, Signs and Symbols. Throughout this unit my students will be exploring the typical normal signs and symbols that are littered throughout a community, such as road signs. The central idea for this unit is for the students to understand that signs and symbols convey meaning and that we use these to communicate. We will be exploring how we communicate through a variety of signs and symbols, such as electronically, artistically, non-verbally, visually, etc..

During the winter holiday break my students sent me photographs or videos of signs and symbols that they found while on their holidays. I received many photos of different road signs with explanations as to what the meaning was, however I also received photos of signs in different languages with guesses as to what the meaning was based on visual cues such as shape and color of the sign.

To begin this unit, I had my students write down what they thought signs and symbols were based on their previous knowledge. We use a lot of post its in my class, so each student wrote down their thoughts or drew a picture to illustrate what they thought, then we shared them out.

I then showed them a presentation about identifying signs and symbols using different methods.

We discussed how shape and color can help us figure out what a sign means.
We discussed how the symbols or pictures on a sign can help us determine meaning.
We also discussed how looking for similar words can help us figure it out too!
The students set about searching the school for different signs that convey meaning.
Following this the students set about making community maps (tie in from last unit) to which they needed to add the appropriate road signs.

One other thing that we are undertaking is using a new tool to work on communication. In order to make connections to the fact that nowadays people mainly communicate with each other through an electronic platform, I decided that we would pilot the Miitomo by Nintendo app. This app is designed for "friends" online to message each other and answer questions through a platform that is game based. It is free so do check it out. My students set up their "Mii" character and began to friend each other. The nice thing about this is that even though it is online, they are not allowed to access anyone outside of our classroom. I helped with the initial set up of each iPad and stopped them from linking a Nintendo account from home, which prevents the students from trying to speak to anyone that they may normally talk to through Nintendo outside of school. Anyway once we got the Mii's created and became friends, the students were quick to pick up that they could message each other, visit each other's little rooms, answer the questions and read what their friends had answered, and earn coins which they could exchange for different clothing items. This is now the highlight of the day, since our unit is so deeply based around communication. I give them 5-10 minutes every day to login and check their messages or send new messages, and answer the daily question. Once they have got into the routine a bit better, we will review the answers to the daily question and begin to make data graphs showing the answers people gave. It also helps them to connect with each other in terms of similar interests. Once you read the answers each student has given to the same question, they visually start to see how they might be similar to someone else in class.

Anyway, that's all for now, but be sure to check back each week for new updates and resources for this unit!


  1. Hello, would you be able to send me your presentation about signs and symbols? It would be great for the first week of our unit. Thanks!


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