PYP & Readers Writers Workshop: Are They Compatible?

PYP and Columbia Teachers’ College (NY) Readers Writers Workshop Approach: Are They Compatible?

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Head of School’s Message

Dear Parents READING WRITING WORKSHOP TRAINING: We have had a wonderful, but very intense, week at school with Christine and Katie from Columbia Teachers College. Chris will speak more at length about this valuable time, later in the newsletter. While teachers met with the trainers, I had a wonderful time in Grade 2 working with students on the classification of minibeasts and listening to their reflections on all they have learned in this unit of inquiry. Seven/eight year olds certainly go more in depth and employ much higher level thinking skills than they did a few decades ago – another significant outcome of having an IBPYP curriculum framework well consolidated in our school. Katie and Christine ran a very stimulating workshop for parents yesterday after school.   SAFETY REMINDER: If your child rides a bike to school, please have a conversation to remind them of road/cycle safety. We are following up on this at school. We have been recently notified that there has been a significant increase in cycle accidents in the last three months and we certainly do not want to be contributing to those statistics. All student cyclists need to wear a helmet – a TIS school rule!   FLASH MOB: We have had a wonderful, but very intense, week at school wit Yesterday at morning recess, after their successful Poetry Cafe, Grade 3 entertained us by leading a Flash Mob dance and they were certainly dressed for the occasion. A Flash Mob is a term coined back in 2003 where a planned dance is performed as a surprise in a public place. Every year as part of their unit of inquiry on How We Express Ourselves, Grade 3 treat us to a performance.   MAKE UP DAYS: Please note the following timetable/day changes to make up for lost days in certain subjects for particular classes in the Middle School as we have lost four Fridays and two Mondays this term. These changes will take place across the whole school. Wednesday the 18th Nov. becomes a Monday Thursday the 26th Nov. becomes a Friday Wednesday the 2nd Dec. becomes a Friday   UPDATES over COFFEE MORNINGS: Starting next term, I will be holding Q&A sessions over a coffee morning each term, for any parents who are able to attend. These will commence with updates on the direction of TIS and highlights from me, followed by questions. More information on these will be published straight after the Winter break.   UPCOMING EVENTS: Fri., Nov 20th 8:30: Grade 3 Assembly Fri., Nov 27th 8:30: K1 A&B Assembly Fri., Dec 4th 8:30: G1 A&B Assembly Fri., Dec 11th 8:30: G4 A&B Assembly Fri., Dec 18th 8:45 – 9:20: Winter Assembly – students return to class for Period 2. Fri, Dec 18th School finishes at 12:00 noon; Primary Report Cards go home. Fri, Dec 18th: School finishes at 12:00 noon; Primary Report Cards go home. Best wishes Lorraine Izzard Head of...

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Primary School Principal’s Message

Spread The Word! I’m sure most parents already realize that TIS is accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Most of you are also most probably aware that we are authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization. This itself sets us apart from many schools. These organizations hold us accountable: they help us to assure a high quality education for your child.   The Reading & Writing Project But did you know that TIS is also an official Columbia University Teachers College (NY) Reading and Writing Project school? Columbia University is one of eight ivy league US universities. The Reading & Writing project (sometimes called ‘reading and writing workshop approach’) is one of the world’s leading literacy programmes. Everyone is talking about it and for good reason – research has proven it greatly improves literacy! Our status as a ‘project’ school is nothing new: Lorraine set the school on this path back in 2010 and we were recognized by Columbia University in 2013. Only a very select number of international schools (twelve) worldwide are officially recognized by Columbia University Teachers College and are registered as project schools: TIS is one of them. The other Asian project schools are: United World College Singapore Chinese International School Hong Kong Shanghai American School Taipei American School Concordia International School Shanghai Due to its reputation, lots of international schools claim to have a reading and writing workshop approach. Indeed several have gone one step further and invested in the college’s published, teaching materials. These schools follow the programme to a degree. Several schools advertise this on their websites. Some of these same schools also send a few teachers to Columbia University in New York for training each summer. All this is a very good idea, but all this doesn’t make a school a ‘project school’.   What Makes TIS Special? To become a project school like TIS means that the school has truly embraced this approach. They are committed to it. They have embraced the teaching methodologies, the assessment systems, and the unit plans. A project school has a close relationship with Columbia University. Such schools are assigned Columbia University literacy trainers who liaise with the school to provide advice and support. These trainers also provide annual and extensive professional development for teachers. These schools also send teachers to Columbia University on a regular basis. TIS sent me this summer, so I too was prepared for my new role here.   Professional Development This Week! This week has been our annual intensive week of Columbia Teachers College (NY) professional development. We have been very lucky to host two outstanding trainers from Columbia: Katie and Christine. When your children were on holiday on Monday and Tuesday, all of our reading and writing teachers and teaching assistants were enjoying the very best professional development. Then on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the training continued this time with your children. These days Katie and Christine modeled lessons, planned workshop lessons with teachers and watched our teachers teaching, coaching and giving them feedback.   So what is a Reading & Writing workshop? In a nutshell the workshop approach provides the students with a very rich repertoire of reading and writing strategies. They learn to be competent independent readers and writers. This is achieved through a structured approach to teaching and learning where there is a mini lesson, clear learning objectives, personal targets to stretch each individual and guided group work, partner work, and individual reading and writing conferences.   But I thought we are an IB school? We are! This...

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TIS Board Message

Recruitment invitation Those who wish to apply and who would be available to attend the next board meeting at 1300 on Tuesday, December 1st, should send a letter of interest with a relevant cv to the Board Chair Ikuko Newell-Tsuboya by Friday November 27th. For more information please contact Ikuko...

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Learning in the PYP

What’s been happening in the PYP classrooms this week? Usually in my article for the TIS TIMES I have tended to focus on the learning of a whole grade level. However, this week I would like to share an individual student’s connection and learning to a recent unit of inquiry. The lens of looking for learning is on Chaerin (from Tom’s class in Grade 2) taking action. In the Primary Years Program, taking action is one of the five essential elements of the program. As a result of the student’s learning in a unit of inquiry, they reflect on what they have learnt, transfer this to situations beyond the classroom and may at some point take some form of action. This could be direct or indirect action or simply raising awareness. In Chaerin’s case, she showed how knowledgeable she is about bees and chose to take action based on what she had learnt in her current Sharing the Planet unit of inquiry. She decided that she wanted to make a video to inform others and raise awareness about how bees help us and why we rely on them. She also explained what our responsibilities as humans are in terms of ensuring bees survive for the future. Please use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IujEN7Q4U_k to check out Chaerin’s video and if you see Chaerin around the school please ask her questions about bees and her video. Greg Parker PYP...

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Learning in the MYP

MYP Instrumental Classes An important part of being a middle school student at TIS, is learning to play a classical instrument and developing as singers. In the first unit of the year, the Grade 6 students chose which instrument they wanted to play: strings or wind instrument, and throughout the unit they are learning instrumental playing techniques and playing alone and with others. They are also learning elements of music theory such as note reading. Through the exploration of the statement of inquiry: Playing technique is connected to the production of instrumental tone and the delivery of a musical idea, students are learning about their instrument and strategies necessary to play it successfully. The Grade 7 and 8 students are inquiring and reflecting into how music is structured and how most musical compositions are connected around something; this could be a story, an event, or an experience. The goal is that by the end of the unit, the students will understand that most musical compositions have a purpose and a connection to something. Throughout the unit, students are developing their playing skills, focusing especially on articulation, phrasing, dynamics, and tone. This morning the whole middle school was gathered in B2 for short musical performances. First we enjoyed a Grade 6 strings and clarinet performance of “Jingle Bells”. Second, we had the pleasure of hearing the Grade 8 students perform a song called “Locked Away” which was arranged by the students themselves. The next musical performance is next Friday the 20th, which will showcase a Grade 6 choir performance called “Like the Beat of a Drum”, followed by the Grade 7 and Grade 8 orchestra performance of the three “chorales” and the “Second Storm”. Parents are encouraged to attend the performances – please see the message wall on Manabi Mon for more details from Brandon and Jamison. Kind regards, Kristine...

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