Head of School’s Message

Dear Parents   PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES As usual it was great to see so many parents at Parent Teacher Conferences over the last two days. We are looking at a new model for the next round though, so that all Middle School parents will be able to meet with the Middle School teachers. With 78 students and some teachers teaching two subjects, it has been a challenge to fully accommodate all factors to make the meetings worthwhile with the minimum of disruption to learning.   HOSPITAL VISIT On Thursday, Primary School students went over to Furukawabashi Hospital, in their Halloween costumes, to cheer up the elderly. Some grade levels also had cards for them. Thank you to Tom and Yoshiko Fukushima for organising this community service. Beforehand, we had a costume competition, as you can see from the cover this week and the students paraded around the track before going across the road. This was an event organised by the Kids 4 Kids group and proceeds will go towards our TIS Cambodia fundraising efforts. Thank you to the students and Jared J. for organizing this event for the students.   SPORTS DAY This will be next Friday, 6th November, so we hope that the weather will be in our favour. Students will come to school as usual. K1 – G4 plus G8 leave school at 8:30 and return to school at 1:25 for normal class activities G5 – 7 leave for sports grounds at 10:40 Events for G5 – 8 start at 12:10 G5 – 8 return to school at 4:15 and BUS STUDENTS WILL NEED TO CATCH THE LATE BUS at 4:30 THE PSA is generously providing coffee and cookies free of charge. These will be served in the lunchroom but will have to be consumed there, or up on the stands, as we cannot eat within the stadium area. Thank you PSA!! Please refer to more details later in the TIS TIMES.   MATH UPDATE Leadership Team and teachers are currently training to carry out the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) tests in math. These assessments are aligned to our curriculum and students will be trialling these in just over two weeks time. This is a new system for students and teachers and these assessments are conducted online so, the validity of data gained from the first round of assessment is not expected to be high. We will continue to carry these out again in the spring and in future years three times a year. Joey Kaufhold has been selected to undertake the Math Specialists in International Schools Certificate Program designed for K-G8 classrooms. This is a two year program consisting of five institutes being held in Japan. This course is based around the Common Core State Standards for Math which we have adopted from this school year. Joey will then mentor and support the professional development in math within TIS.   UPCOMING EVENTS Thurs, 5th Nov 8:30 Parent Education – Literacy Fri, 6th Nov: Sports Day Mon, 9th Nov: Professional Learning for Teachers (NO STUDENTS DAY) Tues, 10th Nov: Professional Learning for Teachers (NO STUDENTS DAY) Fri, 18th Nov: Makeup Sports Day if necessary (Please note that this had to be changed from Nov 13th) 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. Best wishes Lorraine Izzard Head of...

read more

Primary School Principal’s Message

Parents As Partners One of the characteristics of a really great school is an involved set of parents. I continue to be very impressed by how interested and enthusiastic our TIS mums and dads are.   Parent Teacher Conferences We had another great turnout for parent teacher conferences on Friday. Parent teacher conferences are one of several face-to-face reporting structures we have at TIS. Another example is the Hopes & Dreams conference which takes place at the start of the academic year. In this parent led session, mums and dads share their hopes and dreams, for their children, with their homeroom teacher. Later in the school year, we will have student led conferences which is a time when students describe and explain their learning to their parents.   Parent Workshops Parents’ workshops are another way to get involved and to support your child’s learning. This week we had a PYP Japanese program workshop led by one of our Japanese teachers: Miho. In the MYP we had another successful workshop led by Melina. Bonnie and Amy are two parents on the Parents Support Association Board. Bonnie and Amy go to great lengths coordinating these events and publicizing them to the TIS Community – thank you both! Judging by Bonnie’s response, the Japanese workshops were very successful and I would like to thank the Japanese Team and in particular Miho and Melina for all their hard work. “On behalf of the parents and the PSA, you did a tremendous and outstanding job in your presentation today. I realize that I could only follow about half of the discussion, given it was in Japanese, but what I could follow and then reading the positive comments in the feedback forms, solidified what I thought during the workshop. It was interesting to me to see how the Japanese teachers incorporate the UOIs and the overall IB program in the Japanese classes. I found this quite impressive.” Bonnie   Unit of Inquiry Celebrations A third way to get involved is through unit of inquiry celebrations. Prior to the holiday Grade 2 had a unit of inquiry celebration about their unit all about significant events in their lives and writing small moments. Each week we showcase learning on the TV in the Foyer and this week we are showcasing that unit including the celebration at the end. I urge parents to please take time to watch these videos which – for those of you who can’t watch them in the foyer – I will post here in the TIS TIMES.   Check Out The Improved Website Finally, we have been working hard to update the website in recent weeks which is why you may have seen me holding a camera! The website is extremely important in international schools as it helps us to attract the very best teachers to TIS from all over the globe. The recruiting season gets underway in November so we have been very active recently, taking photos, shooting and editing videos for this very reason. It has been wonderful for me to take time capturing the teaching and learning and interviewing the students about how they learn and how their teachers teach. The students’s narrated perspectives on teaching and learning at TIS will appear on new videos. Perhaps you can hear your child’s voice on the new video on the employment page: here The process has itself been very insightful and I am genuinely extremely impressed by the quality of teaching at TIS and the learning dispositions, behaviour and enthusiasm of your children! We are making final edits to the text and...

read more

Middle School & MYP Coordinator’s Message

TIS – A Learning Focused School Not all schools have students’ learning at the forefront of their mind. This may sound strange, even ironic, since schools are for students and students are in schools to learn. However, many schools are only concerned with what the students should know and understand, the what, and the assessments of that learning, the how. Although these two components are essential to learning and need to be thought about carefully, there is another piece to the puzzle that needs to be in place as well and that is the what then piece. When teachers and learning leaders are focused on the learning of all students, they have focused and structured conversations about the action they can take if a student is not reaching a learning target, as well as what they can do if a student is exceeding a target; this is the what then piece, and it is of significant importance in order to ensure continued growth of students’ learning. At TIS we pay the utmost attention to that third piece. We do this by providing opportunities for professional learning for teachers during the school year; opportunities to work collaboratively in teams to build shared knowledge on the best way to achieve goals and meet the needs of students. This, in turn, results in increased student learning and achievement. One way to provide such structure for team collaboration is through the work of a Professional Learning Community (PLC). Tokyo International School is in its third year as a PLC. The model of a PLC promotes collaborative dialogue and action among teacher teams around student learning. The three big concepts of a PLC are: A focus on learning Promoting a culture of collaboration A focus on student learning results The PLC is seen by leading educators as one of the most powerful ways to sustain and nurture student growth and teacher professional learning. The very essence of a learning community is a focus on and commitment to the learning of all students. It develops a results oriented culture, provides consistency of practice, and for Tokyo International School provides a means to realize our mission and vision of high levels of student achievement. On Tuesday and Thursday this week, teacher teams and the leadership team presented their goals for their PLCs for this school year. Throughout the year the teams will meet and engage in ongoing professional dialogue around student learning, and how they can best support their students in reaching a set goal. At the end of the year, the teams will present and celebrate the result of the work and actions of the PLC; the growth of the team and the students. Student learning is at the forefront at Tokyo International School; it is our fundamental purpose as a school, and it promotes lifelong learning for all: students, teachers, and leadership. If you would like to learn more about Professional Learning Communities All Things PLC would be a great site to explore. Kind regards, Kristine Adelsboell MS & MYP...

read more

Learning in the PYP

What’s been happening in the PYP classrooms this week? This week the lens of looking for learning is on K2 and their current unit of inquiry “Who we are”. In this unit the students are investigating the related concept of relationships and their central idea focuses on “Relationship can differ depending on the connections with others” A big focus at the beginning of the unit was exploring and unpacking the key concept of connection. The students identified things in their environment that they make connections with as well as finding out different connections we have with others. The students have also started to explore the relationships they have with their family, their friends and the different relationships they have at school. They have also been engaged in reading picture books together and discussing the different types of relationships in the story. With this ongoing focus on connections and relationships some of the students are now making links to other curriculum areas. Finn, in Alex’s class made the observation when asked in writer’s workshop time to develop his writing beyond a page he replied “So what you are saying is we need to make connections between the pages” In the next few weeks the students will investigate the roles they have when they are in different relationships and will compare these to see how they are similar and different. Greg Parker PYP...

read more

Learning in the MYP

TIS CLOTHES DRIVE Students from the Middle School have been truly living the TIS mission this year in all aspects of school life, particularly being globally responsible. After learning about the plight of Syrian Refugees attempting to seek asylum in the European Union our students were spurred into action to make a positive change to the lives of those escaping Syria. “You can’t just take your whole closet with you when you are escaping a war zone so we took action to make sure that people who arrive in Europe will have what they need and be comfortable and safe. We organized a charity drive for families to bring in clothes for men women and children that will need them when they arrive in Europe to begin their new lives” Aisyah Shah Nizam – Grade 7 Student who began the TIS Clothes Drive. The response to the TIS Clothes Drive was overwhelming. After one week the front lobby of school was flooded with clothes to send to a relief charity in Europe. The students were now faced with the problem of how to get all of these clothes to those who are in need of them, they did the math and it looked like it would be a very expensive shipment. To add to this the charity that they thought they would be able to donate the clothes to posted on their website that they could no longer accept physical donations! Some creative thinking and flexibility was required. The class had take a risk, we sent another email out to the TIS Community asking if there were any possibilities that we could get assistance shipping the donated items to where they are needed most. Again we were totally amazed by the brilliant response of the TIS community. Families made individual donations, Kids4Kids offered to help out with the situation and finally one of our new families to the school who happens to work for a German-Japanese Cargo shipping company replied with the answer we were dreaming of! DB Schenker-Seino offered complete sponsorship of the shipping costs to get the donations to a charity in the city of Essen, Germany! This meant that the students action could be completed. As I type this the TIS Clothes Drive donations are in the air on their way to Germany to be distributed to newly arrived Syrian Refugees in temporary housing. This was a huge collaborative effort from the students, the TIS families – particularly Richard and the Van Schie family and DB Schenker-Seino to make this global action happen. As a teacher I could not be more proud of the initiative, self-motivation, commitment and international mindedness shown by our students to make the lives of strangers escaping horrific circumstances on the other side of the world a little bit easier. TIS Clothes Drive, by the numbers 3 Students: Who sparked the idea of the TIS Clothes Drive. 7 Boxes: Filled with donated clothes. 16 Students: Who counted and categorized clothes. 21 Emails: Sent between TIS and DB Schenker-Seino organizing the logistics to ship the clothes to Germany. 48 TIS families: Who donated clothes . 131 Kilograms: Total weight of clothes donated. 647 items: Number of Individual pieces of clothes donated. 3000 Kilometers: The distance between Syria and Germany 9157 Kilometers: The distance the clothes will travel from TIS to Essen in Germany. Dan Last MYP Drama and IS...

read more

Learning in the MYP

Steps for Syria – a walk-a-thon to raise money for Syrian child refugees Dear Students, Teachers, Parents and Carers, The men, women, young and old people of Syria are taking an approximately 3,000 kilometre journey between Syria and Germany, and/or other nations in Europe. This made me think about how bad their lives must be if they feel it is necessary to leave their homes under such terrible conditions. I was amazed at how long their journey was and how much walking the people of Syria were doing. I came up with the idea of a walk-a-thon, where children could be sponsored to raise money for Children of Syria, Save the Children’s program for the Syrian refugee crisis (learn about it at www.savethechildren.org.). It would be wonderful if you could support your child(ren) by accompanying them on the walk-a-thon. Or letting them participate if they are old enough to do so on their own. If you can’t make it, then please give generously to someone who is doing the walk, or maybe a few people… Here is everything you need to know When: 10:30-12:00pm (approx.), Saturday November 7th, 2015 Where: Tokyo Midtown Park, Roppongi *Meet at the playground slides at Hinokicho Park – look for the peace balloon – the walkers will depart at 10:40am SHARP This is the proposed route – it may change if necessary To receive a sponsorship form to raise money and take part in this event please email Hank. Please return your completed form with all the sponsorship money to the Steps for Syria box at TIS Reception by Friday the 13th of November. We will then collect all the money for a consolidated donation to Save the Children and hopefully it will help Syrian refugee kids in some way on their journey to peace and safety. Please e-mail me if you have any questions. I hope to see you all at the walk-a-thon, and thanks for helping Steps for Syria. Yours sincerely, Hank (Grade 7...

read more