Lower School Principal’s Post #11

Dear Families,

This week students in 2R worked in collaborative groups to design an incline plane. Once the design was finished they tested the speed and distance of a toy car using their incline.

Another exciting week of fun and learning in the Lower School.  At this point, all grade levels are well into their second Unit of Inquiry and students have been engaged in a variety of learning experiences where they have had the opportunity to ask questions surrounding their inquiry topics and work with their peers to begin seeking answers to their queries. 

When planning, teachers begin by assessing students’ prior knowledge and providing experiences through the curriculum and learning environment that give students opportunities to:  test and revise their thinking, allow them to make connections between their previous and current perceptions, and allow them the freedom to construct their own meaning in a way that is significant, relevant and engaging. 

Below are the Central Ideas that serve as the focus for the current unit of inquiry in each grade level:

  • Nursery: We move from place to place in different ways.
  • Preschool / Prekindergarten: Artists create art to express themselves in different ways.
  • Kindergarten: People use their senses to help them learn.
  • Grade 1: Choices we make affect our health.
  • Grade 2: People have improved their daily lives by using simple machines.
  • Grade 3: The earth continually changes.
  • Grade 4: Heroes reveal values and beliefs.
  • Grade 3: Human migration is a response to challenges, risks and opportunities.
Grade 5 students sharing their informational writing pieces with grade 2 on Friday afternoon.

For more information on what and how your child is learning, please take some time to visit their student journal on Seesaw and talk with your child about the different learning experiences they are having at school.  Also, if you like what you see, be sure provide your child with some positive feedback on their work.

Please note, there will not be school next Monday and Tuesday, November 5th and 6th

Wishing all families, a wonderful and relaxing 4-day weekend! 


(Northwest Evaluation Association / Measurement of Academic Progress)

Today, the fall NWEA MAPs test results for students in Grades 2-5 will be sent home in an envelope with each child.  We recognize that interpreting the test results can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the MAPs test and therefore we will be hosting a Principal’s Coffee Morning on Wednesday, November 7th led by Dr. Volpe.  The session will begin at 10:00am in room 208.   During this session, parents will develop an understanding of how to interpret their child’s MAP results, have an opportunity to ask questions and learn how to use the data to support their child’s growth and development at home.   Please note, the NWEA MAPs test is one piece of the assessment mosaic teachers use at SCIS to measure student progress and determine a student’s areas of strength and areas for growth.  Additionally, it is very common for a child’s MAP score to dip during the fall testing window due to the summer holiday, a time in which children are not in school or actively engaged in academic learning.  Similarly, please note that at SCIS we do not prepare students or “teach to the test.”  Therefore, for students who are taking the MAPs test for the first time, their unfamiliarity with taking this test may be a likely factor in a result that may not necessarily be representative of their full capabilities.  Again, the NWEA MAPs test is one of many assessments that we use to help us understand more about each child as a learner and it is important to keep in mind that each type of assessment is like a tile in a mosaic and we don’t understand the whole picture just by looking at one tile.  

Professional Learning Continues this week in the Lower School

One of Monday’s TTT sessions, led by ECE Coordinator Ms. Stacey Poncia, focused on helping teachers understand the impact of body language and tone. During this session teachers practiced using the phrase “It bugs me when you________. Instead, I wish you would _______.”

Last week all Lower School Teachers formed collaborative PLCs based upon their individual professional growth and evaluation goals set for this school year.  Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year these groups will meet regularly to participate in rich conversations, analyze student work, design and evaluate learning experiences and share effective instructional practices.  This week all Lower School Teachers, Mandarin Assistants and Assistant Teachers were able to attend 2 out of 7 TTT (Teachers Teaching Teachers) sessions led by members of the Lower School faculty.  There was a fantastic range of session topics that included:  exploring the 8 mathematical practices, understanding shared reading, word study, growth-mindset, data collection, understanding the impact of body language and tone, and developing mathematical mindsets.  A huge thank you to all teacher presenters for providing this collective and differentiated professional development.

Mandarin Assistants and Assistant Teachers participating in a wonderful session led by Ms. Gina around the “Kind and Firm” Positive Discipline approach.

Additionally, all Mandarin Assistants and Assistant Teachers within the Early Childhood Program participated in a professional development workshop led by Ms. Gina Zhang on Tuesday where they formulated a deeper understanding of the Positive Discipline practice, “kind and firm.”  Teachers worked together in groups to role-play and problem-solve different scenarios.  If you’re interested in learning more about how you can implement the “Kind and Firm” parenting approach at home, please read this article:  https://www.positivediscipline.com/articles/kind-and-firm-parenting

Positive Discipline Parenting Workshop

Tomorrow will be the final session for the Positive Discipline Parenting Workshop for Mandarin-speaking parents.  A HUGE thank you to all parent participants!  We are still in the process of arranging a workshop for English-speaking parents that will hopefully be starting later this month.  More information will be forthcoming regarding the start date for this series of workshops.

More Photos from a GREAT WEEK!

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