Fall Celebrations and Events!

Hello families,


As we inquire into our central idea (Machines help us solve problems in our community), students are taking their connections to simple machines further by noticing them everywhere in our community! In groups, we will be reflecting on the PYP attitudes and Learner Profile attributes that help us solve problems, whether in our classroom inquiries, while learning math or reading skills, at recess while playing, or at home!


Our central idea is Machines help us solve problems within our communities, and we will be inquiring into: 

  • simple machines and how they work (function)
  • how machines help us solve problems (causation)
  • how machines connect to our lives (connection)


Leading up to conferences this week, we are brainstorming student goals. Students are using metacognition thinking skills to think about their own learning, what their strengths are, and how they want to improve. They are looking forward to taking the responsibility to confer with you and me in our upcoming Student-Parent- Teacher Conferences.


Giving Tree Bags


Thank you to all the families who signed up to fill a Giving Tree bag.  We have had an amazing response!  Most of your bag(s) were sent home on Friday.  Everything you need to know about filling the bag is included.  The full bag is due back to school on November 6th.  If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Duchac, vduchac@scis-china.org .  Thank you for making a difference in children’s lives!


Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences: Action required


I have sent out a Sign-Up Genius form so that you may select a time for Thursday’s conference. Your child should be present at this conference. He/She will be prepared to discuss his/her learning and goals. I am happy to accommodate alternate date requests. Please just let me know soon.


Our Specialist teachers have asked that I share their Sign Up Genius links for your convenience:


Ms. Stacey, Music


Mr. Blalock, Art


Mr. Barrs, PE


Halloween: Parents invited!


I currently don’t have any volunteers to organize the party or run any activities. Please let me know if you can plan and lead a fun activity such as; spooky trivia, crafts, games, tell a spooky (age-appropriate) story or anything that would be fun for the kids.

We will have a Halloween parade and classroom party on Tuesday, October 31. The parade is at 1:45 around the field. Parents are invited to cheer, wave, and take photos. Please join us in the classroom directly after the parade for spooky trivia and Halloween treats! We will finish at 2:45 to prepare for dismissal (Please let me know in advance if your child’s transportation will be affected).


Costumes cannot be violent in nature, use excessive blood and gore or depict anything not suitable for our age level and school environment. Weapons of any kind cannot be brought to school. Masks may be worn during the parade only. 



  • October 26: Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences (half day: dismissal at 11:30am)
  • October 27: NWEA results available
  • October 27*: Assembly canceled due to UN Day rescheduling
  • October 27*: UN International day (*updated date) 8:15-10:00am
  • October 28*: International Food Festival (*updated date) 11:00am-3:00pm
  • October 31 – Halloween Parade (1:45) and Party (2:00)
  • November 17: Assembly
  • November 24: Faculty inservice, no school for students


October Break!

Hello SCIS Parents,

High School Student Enterprise Bazaar– Thursday, Sept. 28

SEB #5 promotion poster

The SCIS Upper School will host their 5th Student Enterprise Bazaar this Thursday (attached flyer). It will run like Market Day, but with the aim of giving students the opportunity to raise awareness of the organizations/projects they support/lead. It is also the only time in the month that students are allowed to sell food/items to raise money for their organization/project. Food items will be simple and relatively cheap.

Grade 2 will be allowed to question the high school students and purchase items during Lunch recess. If you would like to provide a modest allowance for your child, please do so with a reflection on making informed financial choices.

Thanks for helping us support our friends in the Upper School!


Student Council PAJAMA DAY

Pajama Day tomorrow! 

The Student Council will sponsor its first dress down day. Tuesday, September 26th students may wear pajamas to school! Some students have asked — They may bring a small stuffed animal if they choose. However, they may not take it out of the classroom. If your child chooses not to participate, they may wear their regularly scheduled uniform for Tuesday.


We will be finishing our first Unit of Inquiry this week. If you know you will be leaving for your holidays early and out of school (and you have not already), please send an email to me today so that I can arrange accordingly.



I have glued you child’s username and password inside their homework folder for your reference.

2B Class Update!

Dear Parents,

In the classroom, we continue to inquire into our Central Idea: Responsible choices contribute to our health and our community under the Transdisciplinary Theme: Who We Are

We have discussed and explored ideas and examples of responsible choices, physical health, social health, and mental health. Students compiled a toolbox of mental health strategies that were presented to the class by Ms. Berg. We will look at spiritual health this week, and make connections between all these types of well-being and the choices we make as individuals in our communities.

In Writers’ Workshop, we are working on zooming into Small Moments to craft narrative pieces across several pages. Many of the students are focusing on using descriptive adjectives in their writing.

In Math, students have completed a general pre-assessment which will guide our learning. Students will be inquiring into skip counting patterns, place value, and data/graphing.


Cycle Days next week:

Monday- Day 1- Art/Music

Tuesday- Day 2 PE

Wednesday-Day 3 Library/Music

Thursday-Day 4 PE (NWEA testing)

Friday- Day 5 Art/Music/Assembly 2:00

(PE is on even-numbered days, Library is on Day 3 and 7)


Home Learning

Congratulations to 2B students for taking responsibility for their first week of home learning! Home learning should be a stress-free way for students to extend and share their learning, and to practice reading every day. I will continually ask for student input, so that home learning can be engaging and relevant. Please assist students as they learn the routine and returning the home learning folder to school on Fridays. Included in home learning folders are: choice grid, notebook, 2-3 leveled home readers.


Below are several technology resources you are welcome to use at home:


SCIS homepage


Please use the Destiny sidebar to access SCIS learning tools and library catalogue

IXL math practice


username: I will be setting this up this week. It proved to be more complex than I remembered it being last year.

password: (It will be your child’s name)

Brainpop Jr.


Username: Hongqiao

Password: Shanghai

Encyclopedia Britannica

Username: scis2014

Password: dragons


Teacher username: jmarotto1

Username: (Student’s name)

Password: (Student’s first name capitalized) For now, everyone is set to level AA for their assignments. I will change this after everyone has been tested this Friday. Your child can still access any level book in the “Book Room” section.


Username: scischina

Password: books


NWEA Growth testing

This week, we will finish taking the NWEA MAP Growth tests. There is no need to prepare for these tests at home. As a class, we are practicing computer skills and testing behaviors: Students may not talk or receive help during the tests. The NWEA has accommodations built into the test. The questions that appear are responsive to the test-taker. As the test-taker advances, the difficulty of the skills tested adjusts according to previous responses. New English Learners take the MAP Tests. Even if they can only start and stop the test, the data points will provide us with valuable growth information. The data that comes with the results of the tests will be used to inform programs and practices at SCIS. My aim is to help students feel at ease during the tests so they can simply show their learning at this point in time.

At home, you can help by ensuring your child gets plenty of rest and healthy meals. You can discuss staying calm, choosing the best guess, and other test-taking strategies, but please help minimize pressure and stress. Here’s a simple, entertaining MAP tutorial video for students, if you would like to reinforce at home: http://warmup.nwea.org/warmup_start_educators_mpg.html


Thank you for your support, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Lower School Student Council- congratulations, Juliaan! He is our elected Student Council Representative. I was very pleased at all the interest in the job, and everyone gave wonderful and convincing speeches. All of our candidates should be proud!



Lower School Assemblies

Several students in our class plan to perform a song at the assembly this Friday!  They are singing the Verb Jingle we learned during Word Study. Please ask your child if they are in the assembly group. If they say “yes”, please plan on attending the assembly this Friday at 2:00, if you can! 

Tomorrow, the group will be finalized, and I will email the parents of the students that have chosen to perform. Some students still aren’t quite sure if they are ready to get on the stage, but they will make a decision tomorrow.


The Purpose of an assembly is to authentically showcase student learning for parents and other students. Assemblies also provide an opportunity for every SCIS lower school student to present, demonstrate or perform on stage in front of a live audience.


Assembly will take place every 3-4 weeks, and will be conducted as a Celebration of Learning. Students are required to participate in at least one assembly during the school year. We encourage students to take action on an element of their learning that they are enthusiastic about sharing (any subject area, PYP Attitudes, Transdisciplinary Skills, etc.) Teachers will support students as they inquire into their celebration of learning ideas! Talk to your child about what kind of sharing they might like to do!


The tentative dates are: Sept. 22, Oct. 13, Oct. 17, Nov. 17, Dec. 1, Dec. 14, Jan. 26, Feb 14, March 16, April 20, June 12. They take place at 2:00 in the theatre, and families are always welcome to attend.


Lower School Dancers Needed- Auditions Monday/Tuesday!

(This is almost exactly the same as the email I sent on Sunday, but I wanted to post it here as well.)

SCIS Upper School is putting on a the popular musical “Annie” and they are looking for Lower School dancers to perform in two scenes! They are looking for hard working, dedicated, coachable, and open-minded students.

If your child is interested, they have an opportunity to audition next Monday, Sept. 18 or Tuesday, Sept. 19 after-school from 3:10-4:10 pm. If your child cannot attend either audition due to ASA, please inform me and Mr. Roma (Gr. 5) who oversees the lower school performers, so we can find a time during the school day.

Musical requirements: students need to be available to practice every Friday after school. If they miss more than 3 rehearsals, they will be no longer able to be part of the musical as it is difficult to catch up on choreography.

The performance dates will be either November 3 and 4 or 10 and 11 (confirmation will come soon).


Friendly reminder: Transportation changes

Please talk to your child about transportation routines, so they will feel confident and self-reliant each day at dismissal. If a child is uncertain about whether or not to take the bus, I will send you an email just to be sure. When there is a change in normal transportation, please email all homeroom teachers involved and transportation (hq-transportation@scis-china.org) at least 1 day in advance, so we can ensure safe and stress-free dismissal for all students.




  • September 18: “Annie” Audition for dancers from Lower School  

          Time: 3:10pm to 4:10pm in Mr. Roma’s room C117 (Grade 5 hallway)

  • Sept. 19: “Annie” Audition for dancers from Lower School  who could not make Monday’s audition

          Time: 3:10pm to 4:10pm in Mr. Roma’s room C117 (Grade 5 hallway)

  • Sept  21 NWEA testing
  • Sept. 22: Assembly 2:00-3:00
  • Oct. 2-9: October Holiday
  • Oct. 9: Faculty Inservice, no school for students
  • Oct. 12: PAFA Market Day
  • Oct. 13: Assembly
  • Oct. 20: International Day (more information to come!)
  • Oct. 21: International Food Fair
  • Oct. 26: Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences (half day for students)
  • Oct. 27: Assembly


Dear Parents,

It was a pleasure to see many of you at Back to School Night last week! I look forward to working with all of you to help your children succeed.

In the classroom, we have begun our inquiry into our Central Idea: Responsible choices contribute to our health and our community under the Transdisciplinary Theme: Who We Are:

An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

We tuned in to physical health  and responsible choices last week. Students learned about how both certain foods and exercise help us grow and stay healthy. Making informed choices in the cafeteria and at recess have been a great way for us to apply this learning! This week we are adding social health to our discussions and activities. We will connect to Kelso’s Choices and the PYP Attitudes, especially Caring, Cooperation, Tolerance, Empathy, and Respect.


Cycle Days this week:

Monday- Day 7 (library) ASA starts

Tuesday- Day 8 PE Swim

Wednesday-Day 1 (Art)

Thursday-Day 2 PE Swim

Friday- Day 3 (library)

***The last day of swimming will be next Monday!***

ASA procedures

Transportation has been alerted about ASAs, but please continue to email both me and the transportation department in the event of any changes in normal routine (ex: absence, playdate, parent pickup). ASAs are released at 4:15, and parents must connect with the teacher at pickup in the lobby or designated area to ensure safe dismissal of students.

Home Learning

On Monday, Sept. 11, your child will bring home a Home Learning folder. Enclosed are a grid of student choices, a home learning notebook, and 2 leveled books. Students are expected to complete 4 grid choice items and read for a minimum of 10 minutes each night. Students must return the folder on Fridays.

Home learning is a way for students to demonstrate responsibility and to make a home to school connection by sharing their learning. Please support your child by asking them about their learning and helping them take responsibility for their folder.


Starting Monday, I began testing student’s reading levels using the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (the same A-Z leveling system used as the ECE). These tests take quite a bit of time to complete, but I expect to be finished by Sept. 22. 

Class Photo

On Sept. 12, we will take individual class photos that will be used in the yearbook and can be purchased at a later date. Students should wear the blue polo uniform.

Parent Volunteers

Many of you have expressed an interest in supporting the classroom, and I would love to provide many opportunities for this! I am currently looking for Mystery Readers and any health “experts” to connect to our Unit of Inquiry. Email me to arrange a time.


Scholastic order forms have been sent out. Students should submit their order forms to the office secretaries, Sarah and Lisa, before September 12.


Lower School Assemblies

Purpose and Audience:

The Purpose of an assembly is to authentically showcase student learning for parents and other students. Assemblies also provide an opportunity for every SCIS lower school student to present, demonstrate or perform on stage in front of a live audience.


Assembly will take place every 3-4 weeks, and will be conducted as a Celebration of Learning. Students are required to participate in at least one assembly during the school year. We encourage students to take action on an element of their learning that they are enthusiastic about sharing (any subject area, PYP Attitudes, Transdisciplinary Skills, etc.) Teachers will support students as they inquire into their celebration of learning ideas!

The tentative dates are: Sept. 22, Oct. 13, Oct. 17, Nov. 17, Dec. 1, Dec. 14, Jan. 26, Feb 14, March 16, April 20, June 12. They take place at 2:00 in the theatre, and families are always welcome to attend.



  • Sept. 4: ASA Session 1 began
  • Sept. 12: Class Photo Day (wear blue shirts)
  • Sept. 11: Last day of swim in PE (Sept 11th)
  • Sept. 14: Market Day
  • Sept 13, 14, 21: NWEA testing
  • Sept. 22: Assembly
  • Oct. 2-6: October Holiday (No school)


A Note From the P.E. Teacher

Dear Parents,

Swimming for Mr. Barrs’ PE Classes will start on Monday, August 28th and continue through Tuesday, September 12th.  The swimming classes will take place on their normally scheduled Physical Education days.  The lessons will focus on water safety and swimming stroke development.  This will be in a safe environment with three instructors per class and a dedicated lifeguard on duty at all times.

It is important that your child brings the following each PE day during the swimming unit:

  • swimsuit
  • goggles
  • swim cap
  • towel
  • flip-flops or sandals
  • plastic bag for wet suits
  • extra undergarments and socks in case they wet

If there is cold weather, students will wait in the indoor heated pool area before and after changing into their swimsuits.  They will only be exposed to the cold outside during transition between the aquatics center and the main building.

This will be our first of four swimming units for the year.

Go Dragons!

-Mr. Barrs


A Scientific Week

Hello Everyone,

I’ve been sending email updates instead of blog posts because of a few technical struggles. A lot has been going on…

We started our new unit “Scientists observe and manipulate matter”

Last week, we got to speak with a real scientist/professor that lives in Singapore. Andrew Quitmeyer is also the star of the tv show, Hacking the Wild. The kids had a blast learning from him and asking him questions.

This week, we spent a lot of time learning about lab safety, and today, we visited the middle school science lab. 6th graders took us through the process of doing an experiment. We’ve also done a few experiments in class.

For writing, we are focusing on procedural writing. This will help us write about our science experiments!

Tonight, ask your child what job they would like to have when they grow up. We will talk about it tomorrow, and I will tell them why I chose to be a teacher. Optional: Your child can dress up like their job if they want to tomorrow. For example: if your child wants to be professional soccer player, he/she can dress up in a soccer uniform.

Next week is Spring Break! I hope you all have a fun and safe time.

Upcoming Events

·         March 31:             Grade 3 Assembly
·         April 3-7:              No school, Spring Break
·         April 10-May 19:  Session 4 ASA
·         April 11:                Field Trip: Glass Museum
·         April 13:                PAFA Market Day
·         April 20:                Expression Sessions Talent Show
·         April 24:                Author Visit: Rob Schmitz

·         May 11                  PYP Grade 5 Exhibition
·         May 11                  PAFA Market Day
·         May 18                  Field Day Grades 2,4
·         May 23, 25           Music Concerts
·         June 8                  Grade 4 Market Day in gym
·         June 9                  Open Assembly
·         June 14               Lower School Farewell Assembly
·         June 16               Last Day of School, end Semester 2


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Chinese New Year


We are geared up for an interesting week of learning and celebrations!

*Thursday – Students will begin celebrating at 8:30 by rotating through several Chinese-themed stations/games. At 10:30, parents are invited to join us on the soccer field (weather permitting) for the lion and dragon dances. The dances should be finished by 11:00 and students will go back to classes.

*Dress code for Thursday – Students should wear red or Chinese attire.

*No school Friday

The Wednesday we return, Feb. 8th, we will have class photos taken. Everyone must wear the blue polo shirt on that day. It will be a day 1.

Coming up:

·         Jan. 26   Chinese New Year Celebration (Dragon dance on playground at 10:30 am)
·         Jan. 27-Feb. 5 Chinese New Year Holiday
·         Feb.  6  First Day Back after break
·         Feb. 8  Homeroom Photos
·         March 14/15 Student Led Conferences

The Art Expo

We had an amazing turnout. More than 100 students and parents visited our little room to see our work!


The Grade 2 Art Expo


Students from last year came to enjoy our art.


Harry’s project was about a special time his mom taught him how to make dumplings.


Sanne’s play was based on her feelings from her first day of school at SCIS. She didn’t know anyone and was very nervous. Zoe, Isis, and Julia helped her write the semi-improvised play.

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Jorge’s project was a sculpture about the pride he felt after scoring the game-winning goal at his soccer tournament in Malaysia.


Julia wrote about a time she felt sad and her teacher made her feel better.


Yi-Qing’s project was a sculpture about a Thailand vacation where she got to ride bikes with her mom and dad.


Ella’s painting is full of feelings of worry and sadness. It is based on an experience where her beloved puppy got very sick and had to go to the vet immediately.





Juliet wrote about an experience that made her feel great. She got a puppy for her birthday.


Jason’s roller coaster sculpture is meant to make you feel brave.


Marco’s sculpture represents pride. He was the MVP at a basketball game for scoring baskets.


Isis’ sculpture shows calm and happiness. It was inspired by her home in Holland.


Cathy’s painting is a celebration of her friend that moved to San Francisco.


Irene’s sculpture is about how difficult it is to learn English. Sometimes it feels “Impossible”


Zoe’s sculpture is meant to make you feel comfortable, happy and relaxed. It is based on a hotel she visited in Taiwan.


Angelina’s caterpillar sculpture is meant to be fun and happy.


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Mr. Zimmerman decided to read in Chinese for our library time this week! (He also translated it to English at the end of every page.)

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(I’m missing a few projects. I’ll take pictures of them and add them to this post soon.)

Happy New Year!

Hi Families,

I had a great trip back to the United States, but it was hard with 4 month old baby. James got to meet all of his family in New York and Texas, so it was definitely a success! I also learned that a jet-lagged baby keeps you jet-lagged longer. LOL

-In math this week, we are studying geometric solids (3d shapes).

-We are finishing up our How We Express Ourselves art unit this week! Thank you all for coming to the field trip last week. It was a beautiful park! The trip was a little more exciting than we anticipated for some of Ms. Gibson’s class. Their bus was bumped from behind by a taxi, so they were late getting to the park. Everybody was healthy and there were no injuries. The bus is fine, too.

-The passport club meeting has been rescheduled for January 24th. There will not be passport club on January 17th.

-We would like to invite you to the grade 2 art exhibit this Friday, January 20th from 2:15-2:45 pm starting in Room C201. Our unit of inquiry is How art reflects personal feelings and experiences and students have been learning a variety of styles of art over the last six weeks. Students will present and respond to a piece of art they have created. Parents and family members are welcome to join in the viewing.

Please meet in the lower school lobby and a student will lead you to the classroom at 2:15. We hope you can attend!

-NWEA MAP testing started this week. We will have 2 more tests on Wednesday and Thursday morning. If your child misses a test, I will figure out a way for that student to take the test at another time soon.

-I’d like to take a moment to embarrass Mr. Zimmerman:

-P.E. Class will begin a swimming unit after Chinese New Year.

Coming Events

Jan. 20   Grade 2 Art Gallery

Jan. 24   Passport Club

Jan. 26   Chinese New Year Celebration

Jan. 27-Feb. 5 Chinese New Year Holiday

Feb.  6th – First Day Back after break

March 14/15 Student Led Conferences



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