PSA Events for Parents

Dirty Dish tour, Thursday June 2nd Visit the famous Dirty Dishes shop for some great bargain shopping. The real name of the shop is Okuno Shokai, and it’s a cheap and cheerful warehouse for a huge variety of Japanese china and pottery, all at 40% off marked prices. Thursday June 2nd 8:45 am -12.30 pm. We meet at TIS at 8:45 am. We are taking TIS school bus there so we have a limited number of spaces. The dishes are not dirty, but “dirt cheap”! RSVP to Meg...

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Primary School Principal’s Message

MAP Testing As an IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) School we follow the IB’s Standards and Practices. These are guidelines of good teaching practice which all IB schools follow. One of these practices is as follows: ‘The school analyses assessment data to inform teaching and learning.’ At TIS we have always analyzed our assessments to decide what we need to teach our students, however we are always looking at ways to make this process easier and more efficient. As part of this initiative, this week we had our first trial of a system called MAP. MAP stands for Measures of Academic Progress. MAP is a computerized maths test which uses the same mathematics curriculum we began to implement this academic year: The Common Core. The testing system is very clever. Unlike a normal test which everyone is asked the same questions, a MAP test adjusts the question it poses depending on the child’s previous response. If a child answered their previous question correctly, MAP will pose a harder question. If a child answered the last question incorrectly then MAP poses an easier question. The psychology of this testing system is very interesting: let’s think about this. If you consider yourself to be ‘bad at maths’ then you most likely find maths tests difficult. However in the MAP system children who get a question wrong are given easier next questions. So the experience is much less stressful for these sorts of students. That sounds wonderful, but think about the other side of the coin. If you consider yourself to be good at maths. then you most likely usually find maths tests easy. However the MAP system provides children who get answers right with harder questions. So a child who is a very competent mathematician may come away feeling that the test they took was more difficult (and perhaps more stressful) than testing they are used to. In actual fact all children only answer 50% of the questions right! I took the test and it was a very odd feeling as it was difficult even for me! Partly because of this it takes a few attempts at doing a MAP testing before a child gets used to it. It takes a while to get used to how it feels and how to use the computer system. The makers say that the test requires practice before children start producing valid data. For a school using the MAP system is quite complex in terms of technology, signing students up to the right version of the test (e.g. test with sound and pictures for new English learners). We had a few glitches as expected. Some of the questions included American (imperial measures) not the metric system. This trial has helped us to sort out these ‘teething problems’. We are committed to MAP, and now we will meet as a staff and decide how and when we will trial the MAP tests again. We will use the data we did get, pretend it was valid/reliable and practice interpreting the data. Most likely we will have another go at MAP next term. Down the road MAP is going to be a useful additional tool for assessing maths at TIS and will help teachers decide what each individual student needs support with.   Jan Reynolds We had a very exciting afternoon this Friday. We had a visiting author called Jan Reynolds. Jan Reynolds is an American author and adventurer. She has circumnavigated Mount Everest in a hot air balloon, been with rare tribes in the Amazon, held the record for high altitude...

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Learning in the PYP

What’s been happening in the PYP classrooms this week? In my TIS times articles this term, I have tried to highlight some of the specific learning that has taken place both within and outside the classrooms across the different grade levels. This week I would like to share an example of learning that highlights the assessment question that both students and teachers are constantly addressing: How might we know what we have learned? As the grade 3 students are nearing the end of their How we express ourselves unit, they have been working on and preparing their summative assessment to show their understanding of the central idea of “The Arts enable humans to communicate their feelings and ideas that invites a response from an audience” The students in small groups chose an appropriate art form to share their feelings and ideas on their own chosen topic and to share this with a new audience. In this case it was their parents in the gymnasium. Some groups presented a dance to a musical background, some presented a play of stories they had written and some played instruments to create the background music to a dance. A key part of their assessment was to see how well they could express their ideas, engage the audience and invite a positive response. To help the students assess this, their parents filled out a reflection sheet about their presentations. These will be reviewed back in the class for the students to reflect on. The photos below give an example of some of the performances the grade 3 students presented today. It is great to see their confidence and enthusiasm as communicators. Greg Parker PYP...

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Learning in the MYP

What is Community and Service in the MYP at TIS? Community and Service (C&S) or Service Learning is an integral part of the IB and the MYP curriculum and “MYP schools are responsible for planning opportunities for students’ involvement in service with the community.” (MYP: From Principles into Practice) Students are expected to develop skills in collaboration, perseverance, global engagement, and intercultural understanding. This is a high expectation placed on middle school students, but as we have recently witnessed, many of our students are rising to the challenge. However, there is still more to do. Taking action can be difficult for some students and just as we have differentiated learning in academic classes, we differentiate in C&S. We are using a point system to help students meet their own learning goals. This system also helps students and teachers keep track of achievement within the school. Last year C&S projects were decided by the school for example, the grade sixes made rice balls for distribution to homeless people on Friday mornings. We are trying a new program this year, which allows students to have more ownership over their projects and become active in issues that truly matter to them. Some recent examples of student projects are the clothes drive for Syria, Steps for Syria, Toiletry Run, the used book swap for the library, the Scratch contest, helping a teacher out with an afterschool club, and reading to grade one students. Other students have joined existing service groups at school such as Kids4Kids or are doing various short time activities such as teaching computer skills to a teacher or making posters about the importance of hand washing. There are many opportunities for students in and outside of school. How can parents help students achieve their C&S goals? First of all, listen to your child’s ideas and then help them in creating a realistic and doable project. Secondly, remind them that C&S is not limited to fund-raising. Students can help others by teaching someone or by making something; these projects are just as worthwhile as raising money. Finally, if you know of any projects or have ideas for our students, please contact me, the more people working together, the stronger our program.   Here is the Point Chart for your reference: Stacey Isomura Community and Service Coordinator, MS...

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Steps for Syria

Steps for Syria …….a walk-a-thon to raise money for Syrian child refugees Dear TIS community, Thank you so much for participating in Steps for Syria. I know everyone had lots of fun and the turnout was great! I am proud to announce that we have managed to raise a grand total of 187,470 yen, which is 1,529 American dollars. Next weekend I will be taking this money to the ‘Save the Children’ office in Tokyo. The money will go directly to Syrian refugee children in need. I hope this money will really make a change for the lives of Syrian children. I would like to thank Dan Last for his help making this project a reality, if it wasn’t for him I could never have done this. I would also like to congratulate Louis Rafizadeh-Kabe for raising the most money out of all the participating students. I would also like to thank Josie for her help collecting money at sports day. But really, I want to thank everybody for all their help and support and doing the walk with me, it really means a ton! Check out how TIS has supported Syrian Refugees this year in this short video. Thank you everybody, Hank Harris /...

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TIS Men of Moustaches

MOVEMBER What is Movember? Movember IS A MOUSTACHE GROWING CHARITY EVENT HELD DURING NOVEMBER EACH YEAR THAT RAISES FUNDS AND AWARENESS FOR MEN’S HEALTH. How is TIS involved? Many male staff members have grown moustaches this month to support cancer research for men’s health. How can you help? In the Lobby, from November 20-27, you can find jars of all the men who are participating in Movember. Vote for the person who you thing has the best/worst moustache by putting money in their jar. Who ever has the most money on November 27 will be Mr. Movember for TIS. All money will be donated to prostate cancer research. Jared Johnson Grade 3...

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