Lower School Principal’s Post #19

Dear Families,

It’s been another fun week of learning at SCIS-Pudong. 

Teachers reflecting on what it means to collaborate and belong.

This week during our Lower School professional development meeting, teachers spent time reflecting on challenges and learnings from 2019, while participating in a goal-setting exercise where they selected “one word” they will focus on as a means to inspire and transform their life and/or work in 2020.  As educational philosopher John Dewey states, “we do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.”  As educators, it is important that we take the time to share our challenges, work together to brainstorm solutions, and provide support to one another to ensure we continue to foster a nurturing and collaborative environment for teachers and students. 

Students in 2S collaborating on a reading project and uploading their work to Seesaw.

At this point in the school year, many grade levels are well on their way to finishing up their 3rd unit of inquiry and are getting ready to delve into their fourth unit.  Prior to the beginning of each unit, teachers and specialists participate in a PYP Kick-off meeting where they reflect on the overarching goals of the unit and determine the best learning path forward that will spark curiosity and enthusiasm with their current students.

Students in 2M work with Mrs. Lawrence.

As parents, we continue to encourage you to travel alongside your child in their learning journey by frequently visiting the class Seesaw journal and asking your child questions related to the pictures and postings you see.  Additionally, please take some time to provide a positive comment or feedback to your child related to the learning experiences.  Research shows that feedback is one of the most powerful influences on student learning and achievement.

Likewise, positive feedback that promotes a growth mindset has the power to motivate children to ensure they remain persistent, resilient and focused on the process of learning.  Below are some examples of feedback that promote the development of a growth mindset:

  • I’m so proud of the effort you put forth with _________.
  • I’m very proud of you for not giving up, and look what you have to show for it!
  • All that hard work and effort paid off!
  • What choices did you make that you think contributed to your success?
  • I can see you really enjoyed learning _________.

After School Activity Session #2

Julie and Liv showcase some of their Hula-Hoop skills at Thursday’s Assembly.

Please note, that next Monday, January 20th, Session #2 of our SCIS After School Activities program will begin.  Throughout this session, please remember that children will not be allowed to “skip” or miss their ASA, unless the school has received a direct email or phone call from a parent.   Once a student has signed up for an ASA they are making a commitment to attending all sessions of that ASA, unless the school has been notified otherwise by a parent.   While we want to encourage students to take risks and try a variety of After School Activities, we also want to help them understand the importance of following through with their commitment as a member of the ASAs they sign up for. 

Chinese New Year Assembly and Temple Fair

Students in Ms. Adika’s class learn how to write numbers 1-5 using Chinese characters.

Over the course of the next few weeks Mandarin Department will be very busy preparing for this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations.   Similar to past years, there will be a Chinese New Year Assembly for the whole school that will begin at 1:00pm in the Theater.   Additionally, similar to last year, the assembly will be followed by a Chinese Temple Fair for Lower School students.  The Temple fair will provide students with an opportunity to participate in a variety of fun Chinese cultural activities.  The temple fair, which will be located in and around the Black Box will take place from 1:40-2:40pm.  At 2:40pm students will return to their classrooms to prepare for dismissal.  In order for the Temple Fair to be a success we need parent volunteers to help assist running the sessions.  If you are interested in helping run a station for 30 or 60 minutes, please contact Ms. Yang Liu at yliu@scis-china.org or scan the below QR code to join the volunteer WeChat Group.

It’s COLD Outside

Grade 2 students get ready to play outside for morning recess.

While students across grade levels continue to enjoy outdoor recess and exploration, please remind your child(ren) to dress appropriately for the cold weather by sending them to school with warm coats, hats, mittens or gloves.  Also, please remember to label all your child’s personal belongings with their name to ensure their items can be returned in the event they are misplaced. 

Flu Season

With the ongoing cold weather, also comes the potential of student illness.  To help stop the spread and lessen the duration of student illnesses at school please be sure your child receives plenty of rest, is eating a balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water.  Sending your child to school if they are ill can be very frustrating to families, as well as teachers as we do our best to keep children, parents and teachers healthy.  Please remember one of the BEST ways to prevent the spread of illness is to wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap.  Please review the health and safety section of the parent-student handbook for more information on Student Illness Policies.

As a reminder, children should not attend school if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever (over 100F/37.2c)
  • Diarrhea or more than 2 loose bowel movements within 12 hours
  • Vomiting
  • Discharge from eyes or ears
  • Heavy nasal discharge
  • Persistent cough
  • Unidentified rash

Professional Development with Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams working with Grade 3-5 teachers and specialists on Friday morning.

This weekend 20 educators from around the Shanghai will be attending a workshop at SCIS-Pudong with international educational and communications consultant Jennifer Abrams.  Jennifer trains and coaches teachers and administrators on a variety of topics including being generationally savvy, having hard conversations and collaboration skills.  Jennifer has been recognized as one of “21 Women All K-12 Educators Need to Know” by Education Week’s ‘Finding Common Ground’ blog, and the International Academy of Educational Entrepreneurship. Jennifer considers herself a “voice coach,” helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague, and supervising an employee. For more information on Jennifer visit www.jenniferabrams.com

All Lower School faculty had an opportunity to work with Jennifer in the afternoon on the importance of Building Community.

On Friday, the entire SCIS-Pudong Lower School Faculty including Mandarin Assistants and Assistant Teachers had an opportunity to work with Jennifer Abrams to deepen our collective understanding of how to effectively engage in having “hard conversations” and develop our capacity to function as a progressive and collaborative professional learning community.   According to Michael Fullan, “Improving schools requires collaborative cultures . . . Without collaborative skills and relationships, it is not possible to learn and to continue to learn as much as you need to know to improve.”  Additionally, creating a collaborative cultures is the single most important factor for successful school improvement initiatives (Eastwood & Lewis).  As we move forward with the IB and WASC Self-Study Process it will be essential to ensure that all members of our community are provided with opportunities to have a voice as we continue our quest for continuous improvement and educational excellence.  

Parent Coffee Morning on the new SCIS Schoolwide Learner Outcomes

Fantastic ideas were generated and discussed surrounding the school’s strengths and areas for growth related to each of the new Schoolwide Learner Outcomes.

Tuesday morning’s parent coffee morning focused on the new SCIS Schoolwide Learner Outcomes (SLOs) was a tremendous success with over 30 parents in attendance representing ECE, Lower School, and Upper School.  During the meeting, parents were provided with an opportunity to learn more about the IB and WASC self-study process and the importance of developing a communal understanding of our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes and the role they play in students daily lives.   Parents worked in groups to unpack the SLOs by discussing what each SLO looks like, sounds like, and feels like in a school setting.  Afterwards, parents had an opportunity to provide feedback on the ways in which the school is currently development students who demonstrate the SLOs, as well as the ways in which we could improve.  It was a collaborative and inspiring meeting and we look forward to ongoing opportunities to involve parents both in the self-study process and the development of our Schoolwide Learner Outcomes.

Congratulations to 4R

4R introduces their assembly focused on Facing Challenges Together.

A BIG SHOUT OUT to all students in 4R for their informative and entertaining assembly performance focused on the importance of teamwork and the skills needed to work effectively as a collaborative group.  During the assembly students participated in a variety of group challenges and then sought feedback from the audience on what went well and the ways in which they could have improved.  Great Job 4R!

Semester 2 Parent Coffee Morning Topics:  COME AND LEARN WITH US!

Please mark your calendar for the following Parent Coffee Mornings where members of our Lower School Pedagogical Leadership Team will provide insight into various aspects of the curriculum including how and why of teaching and learning at SCIS-Pudong!

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