Lower School Principal’s Post #4

Dear Families,

Ms. Peterson reading to students 2R to kick-off the grade 2 art unit focused on what students can learn from “Master Illustrators.” During this lesson, students inquired into details, textures and other techniques illustrators use to tell a story.

It’s been a wonderful week of learning throughout the Lower School as students across grade levels are well into their first unit of inquiry for the school year.  As you will see, based upon the chart below, many students are immersed in the transdisciplinary theme, Who We Are or How we Organize Ourselves.  These two units are ideal for the beginning of the school year as the overarching focus is on the nature of the self, as well as the importance of building relationships with, and appreciation for, those within your community. 

As part of their Unit of Inquiry into the community, Kindergarten students interviewed different members of the school community including Mr. Luebbe and Ms. Gale.

Similarly, students are formulating an understanding of how communities work together and structure themselves for success based upon societal decision-making processes.  As parents, we ask that you continue to actively be involved in your child’s inquiry journey by regularly checking their seesaw journal, providing positive and growth mind-set-oriented feedback and continuing the “learning conversation” at home.  The below image is an overview of the current unit of inquiry for all grade levels as well as the central ideas, lines of inquiry and questions that guide each of these units.

 

Positive Discipline Parenting Workshop in Mandarin

Students in Ms. Emily’s class explore how they are feeling using the Positive Discipline Feelings Faces Poster. Helping children acknowledge, understand and put a name to the different emotions they experience sends the message that you value their feelings.

As a result of feedback received from Lower School parents, we will be altering the dates and times of the Positive Discipline Parent Workshops in Mandarin to accommodate additional interested parents.  Our hope is to make these workshops very accessible to all parents to encourage and support maximum attendance.  Therefore, the new dates and times for the Positive Discipline Parent Workshop are as follows: 

  • Session 1:  Saturday, October 13th from 8:30am-11:30am
  • Session 2:  Saturday, October 20th from 8:30am-11:30am
  • Session 3:  Saturday, October 27th from 8:30am-11:30am
  • Session 4:  Saturday, November 3rd from 8:30am-11:30am

As you see, this series of 4 workshops will take place from 8:30-11:30 am on Saturdays.  We hope that hosting the workshop on the weekend will result in significantly more parent participation.  If you are interested in attending this workshop that will be delivered in Mandarin, please contact Ms. Gale at egale@scis-china.org no later than Friday, September 21st

 

Lower School Assemblies

Grade 3-5 students who were recognized by their Homeroom Teacher for demonstrating one of the Learner Profile Attributes were called up to the front of the stage on Thursday to receive their recognition.

This past Thursday, students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 participated in the second Lower School Assembly of the school year.   The purpose of a Lower School Assembly at SCIS-Pudong is to:

  • provide a venue for students to practice their speaking and presentation skills, and share authentic aspects of their learning to a broader audience.
  • communicate schoolwide information to students surrounding policies, procedures and special events.
  • bring the LS community (students, teachers and parents) together in order to celebrate various aspects of student learning and growth.
  • recognize specific students for continuously demonstrating one or more of the IB Learner Profile Attributes.
Students in 5P were the Dragon Spotlight Feature for Thursday’s Assembly. Students worked together on composing and performing a percussion piece led by Music Teacher DeVeor Rainey.

Additionally, throughout the course of the year, each homeroom class or grade level will be responsible for preparing and performing an assembly presentation based upon an aspect of their learning.  Parents always have an open invitation to Lower School Assemblies which take place on select Thursdays starting at 8:15am in the Black Box.  Below is a list of dates for the 2018-2019 Lower School Assemblies.

Indoor Recess

Students demonstrating their strength and agility on the newly installed rock climbing wall.

At SCIS-Pudong we are very fortunate to have plenty of indoor learning spaces for students to utilize during rainy days when the weather does not allow outdoor play or on days in which the AQI is over 200.   As part of our facility enhancement improvements that occurred over the summer a lower school rock climbing wall and a large block building area were added to the basement floor near the ball room.   Additionally, the lego creation space continues to evolve as more legos are added and students continue to explore, create and build in this fun and interactive learning space. 

The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) MAPS

Starting next week, the NWEA MAPS (Measurement of Academic Progress) test will be administered to students in Grades 2-5.  During this online assessment, students will be tested in the areas of Reading, Language Usage, and Mathematics. The MAPs test is not a traditional test that students can or should study for.  Rather it will provide a snapshot of the students’ abilities within these curricular areas at this point in time.  The best thing you can do to support your child is make sure they are well rested, and eat a good breakfast, as we hope they do for every school day.   Teachers receive immediate results with MAP that show what students know and what they are ready to learn.  For more information on NWEA MAP visit www.nwea.org

After School Activities Session 1:  Off to a Great Start!

It has been a successful first week of after school activities and students have enjoyed the range of ASAs that have been provided this session.  At the beginning of each ASA, the teacher or provider responsible for the ASA reviews the expectations and agreements that students are required to adhere to, to ensure success and full participation within the ASA.  Please note, that it is a privilege for students to have the opportunity to participate in the After School Activities program and in the event a child demonstrates their behavior is not in line with the expectations of the ASA provider, they will be dismissed from that ASA.  If you have any questions surrounding your child’s ASAs please contact Coach Vic Caban (vcaban@scis-china.org) or Ms. Vicki Xu (vxu@scis-china.org).

Birthday Celebrations

At SCIS-Pudong we want to help students celebrate their birthdays.  However, please be mindful that class birthday celebrations are restricted to no more than 30 minutes and should be in conjunction with snack, lunch or the end of the school day.  Additionally, the giving of gifts is prohibited including goodie-bags or party favors.  Food options need to be considerate of allergies and preferably include healthy choices.  Parents are asked to keep celebrations simple and clear all plans with the classroom teacher well in advance. 

Here are a few more pictures from a wonderful week of learning and fun!

Lower School Principal’s Post #3

Dear Families,

Parents of children in 1M and 1S listen attentively as Dr. Myers and Mr. Schultz share information related to the Grade 1 Curriculum

It was wonderful to see so many of you at Back to School Night.  I whole-heartedly believe that strong school-family partnerships are key to student success and motivation as a learner. Current research on school-community partnerships states, “the most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status but the extent to which the student’s family is able to: 

  1. Create a home environment that encourages learning.
  2. Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers.
  3. Become involved in their children’s education at school and in the community.

There are so many ways that you can be involved, and I encourage you in whatever capacity you are able, to stay connected and excited about your child’s learning.  Whether it is through attending one of your child’s fantastic learning celebrations that will occur at varying points throughout the year or simply asking them to share some of the learning experiences from their school day around the dinner table; the research on the positive and long-term impact of parent involvement on schooling cannot go unnoticed. 

Parents of Preschool and Prekindergarten students learning about our wonderful multi-age, inquiry-based early childhood program. In early childhood classrooms children are encouraged to explore and experiment with materials in the environment while learning important social-emotional skills that lay the foundation for the development of strong collaborators and communicators.

Benefits for children whose parents are involved include:  achievement of grade level academic expectations, higher standardized test scores and consistent school attendance.  Additionally, children whose parents who are involved in their education tend to have higher levels of self-esteem, more self-discipline and greater levels of motivation. 

Clearly, you are a vital part of what makes our learning community a success and I look forward to working together with all of you this year and continuing our quest to ensure every child’s educational journey is the best it can possibly be.  

I wish all families a wonderful weekend!

Fire Drill Success

All students and teachers in Nursery through Grade 12 participating in a practice Fire Drill on Wednesday.

This week students and teachers across the school participated in two Fire Drills.  The first announced drill took place on Wednesday at 9:00am.  In preparation for this drill teachers reviewed exit routes, safety protocols and behavior expectations to ensure all students were well prepared to exit the building safely and quietly.  On Friday at 9:00am there was an announced drill and all students were able to exit the building quickly and quietly prior to lining up on the soccer field. 

After School Activities Session 1

Next Monday, September 3rd, Session 1 of After School Activities (ASAs) will begin.  Please take note of the days your child will be participating in an after school activity and prepare them accordingly.  If you have any questions surrounding your child’s ASAs please contact Coach Vic Caban (vcaban@scis-china.org) or Ms. Vicki Xu (vxu@scis-china.org).

The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) MAPS

The NWEA MAPS (Measurement of Academic Progress) test will be administered to students in Grades 2-5 between September 10th through 14th.  During this online assessment, students will be tested in the areas of Reading, Language Usage, and Mathematics. The MAPs test is not a traditional test that students can or should study for.  Rather it will provide a snapshot of the students’ abilities within these curricular areas at this point in time.  The best thing you can do to support your child is make sure they are well rested, and eat a good breakfast, as we hope they do for every school day.   Teachers receive immediate results with MAP that show what students know and what they are ready to learn.  For more information on NWEA MAP visit www.nwea.org

Birthday Celebrations

At SCIS-Pudong we want to help students celebrate their birthdays.  However, please be mindful that class birthday celebrations are restricted to no more than 30 minutes and should be in conjunction with snack, lunch or the end of the school day.  Additionally, the giving of gifts is prohibited including goodie-bags or party favors.  Food options need to be considerate of allergies and preferably include healthy choices.  Parents are asked to keep celebrations simple and clear all plans with the classroom teacher well in advance. 

Seesaw Privacy Policy

Seesaw’s mission is to create an environment where students can be their best.  To accomplish this goal, it’s essential that Seesaw is a safe place for students to document their learning, and that parents and teachers are in complete control over how that information is shared. 

To guide our development of Seesaw, and our privacy commitment to you, we’ve developed the following Privacy Principles.

  • We don’t own the content you provide – students and their schools do.
  • Student work is private to the classroom by default. Teachers control what is shared and with whom.
  • We will never advertise to students, create student profiles or sell any user data.
  • We use security industry best practices and routinely monitor our systems to protect you.
  • We are transparent about our practices and will notify you if things change.
  • We are COPPA and FERPA compliant.

You can read more about our Privacy Principles and our commitment to privacy here:  https://web.seesaw.me/privacy-policy

If you have any questions surrounding Seesaw and its use within the Lower School please contact Barry Johnson at bjohnson@scis-china.org

More Photos from a Wonderful Week!

Lower School Principal’s Post #2

Dear Families, 

We are so looking forward to welcoming you to Back to School Night next Thursday, August 30th.  This wonderful and informative event will begin at 6:00pm in the Theater, followed by three 30-minute sessions with Lower School Teachers.  Throughout the evening you will have an opportunity to meet your child’s Homeroom and Specialist Teacher(s) while being provided with valuable information surrounding the grade level curriculum and the ways in which you can support your child’s learning at home. 

First graders, Duda, Aria and Mike enjoying recess while trying on some fun hats.

Please keep in mind that Back to School Night is not a time to have an individual conference with your child’s teacher(s), rather it is meant to provide you with a big picture overview of how and what your child will be learning this year.  However, you are more than welcome to arrange for a one-on-one meeting with your child’s teacher at a later date prior to Parent Teacher Conferences which will take place on October 25th. 

Lastly, please take a moment to read through the below information related to After School Activities, Positive Discipline and creating a stress-free school year.  Additionally, make sure you check out the new Counselor’s Connection on the right side of this page for a special message from our Lower School Counselor, Mrs. Luebbe.  I look forward to seeing many families at the Back to School BBQ on Saturday!

After School Activities 

As a reminder, the Session 1 After School Activities (ASA) Guide including information on how to sign your child up for an ASA was sent home to parents this past Monday via scis-parent emails.  Please note, ASA sign-ups will close next Monday, August 27th at 9:00am.  As mentioned in the ASA Guide, ASAs take place from 3:00pm until 4:00pm each day.  If students are signed up for an ASA they will need to attend.  Students will not be allowed to miss or skip their ASA unless a valid reason has be communicated to the school from the child’s parent.  ASA Session 1 will begin on Monday, September 3rd and conclude on Friday, November 2nd.  ASAs will not be held on Monday, September 24th and Thursday, October 25th due to the fact there will not be school for students on these days.  If you have any questions surrounding the Lower School After School Activity Program please contact Coach Vic Caban at                vcaban@scis-china.og

Positive Discipline

Students in 2V are participating in a Class Meeting. In schools that implement the Positive Discipline approach, class meetings provide opportunities to teach positive discipline concepts and skills that support students with problem-solving, exploring conflict resolution strategies, as well as encouraging and appreciating various individuals within the class.

As mentioned in the previous Principal’s Post, this year all Lower School Teachers will be implementing a Positive Discipline approach to teaching students important social-emotional life skills and strategies in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults.  Positive Discipline is a program that consists of methods that involve students in focusing on solutions instead of being the recipients of punishments and rewards. 

During Back-to-School Night there will be a Positive Discipline table set up in the library where a representative from the Positive Discipline Association in Shanghai will be available to answer questions and provide information and resources to parents.  Additionally, we are working on finalizing the offering of a six-session Positive Discipline Parent Workshop for Mandarin-speaking parents to begin in September.  More information will be shared during Back-to-School Night on this workshop.  In the meantime, parents are encouraged to visit the parent section of the Positive Discipline website to find out more information:  www.positivediscipline.com

Tips for Kicking Off a Stress Free School Year

Some interesting inquiries happening in our ECE outdoor learning environment. Students investigating tree bark and what lives underneath.

For many Lower School students, the first few weeks of school means getting to know new teachers, new friends, new environments and new routines.  This may serve as a source of anxiety, particularly for those who have not had a structured schedule during the course of the summer.  Below are a few back-to-school tips to help ease your child back into the school year and back into their school routines.  By following these tips, you will help inspire a love of learning as you transition back into the new school year and minimize academic and social-emotional stress for your child.

  • Get back in the routine.  Work with your child to re-establish bedtime, mealtime, reading and homework routines.  Discuss the importance of routines and how they help ensure a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
  • Set educational goals.   Review information sent home from school or posted on Seesaw and help your child set goals at the very beginning of the year. This will get them excited about school and learning, as well as help them start the year on a positive note.
  • Develop a relationship with your child’s teacher(s).  Take time to meet your child’s teachers at the beginning of the school year.   Teachers are a great source of information and developing a relationship early in the year will benefit both you and your child tremendously.
  • Emphasize organization.  All children benefit from being organized.  Work with your child to determine the best method for them to use (i.e. getting ready for school, locating their personal belongings, etc.)
  • Model and encourage learning at home.  Promoting learning outside of school helps children perform better in school.  Model what it means to be a life-long learner and talk with your children about new and interesting things you have learned related to your passions and interests. 

 

 

 

Lower School Principal’s Post #1

A warm dragon welcome to all new and returning SCIS families.   One of my professional goals this year is to more effectively utilize online communication platforms to share information surrounding lower school happenings, educational research, as well as the ways in which parents can support their child(ren)’s growth and development at home.  As such, I am extremely excited to be posting my first ever Principal’s Blog Post and I look forward to connecting with you through this online venue on a weekly basis throughout the year.

Welcome to school! We are so happy you’re here! Giving students high fives as they arrive at school is a daily practice at SCIS-Pudong!

We have had a fantastic start to the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year as students at all grade levels have participated in a variety of fun learning experiences focused on building strong relationships with their new classmates and teachers.  Similarly, students have also been part of developing the procedures, routines and essential agreements that will govern their classroom community throughout the school year. 

 

Grade 5 students working together to form important Essential Agreements for the school year.

Fostering a positive classroom culture where students feel safe, happy and confident taking risks with their learning is an essential part of the beginning of a new school year.  Involving children in discussions about how they will work and learn together and valuing their contributions, allows students to have both a voice, as well as choice regarding the establishment of a learning environment that meets their needs. 

 

Students in 4C learning about their classmates likes and dislikes during a fun “get to know” you activity.

At SCIS we strive to honor students’ ideas, opinions and learning styles.  We believe every child is unique, capable and has something valuable to contribute.  Giving students voice and choice in how their learning community will function leads to a long-term commitment to ensuring the learning environment is one in which all members feel a part of.

 

 

 

This year our Lower School Teachers will be implementing the Positive Discipline approach to support students with their social-emotional development.   In a school that uses Positive Discipline practices teachers

create classrooms where children are treated with respect, have the courage and excitement to love learning, and have the opportunity to learn the skills they need for a successful life.  The Positive Discipline vision is about schools where children never experience humiliation when they fail but instead feel empowered by the opportunity to learn from their mistakes in a safe environment,” (Nelson, Lott, & Glenn, 2013, p.4).

I will be sharing more information on Positive Discipline in upcoming posts and will also include strategies you can use at home to support your children in continuing to use their personal power to make choices that positively influence their environment.

Lastly, we are always looking for ways to improve your child’s experience and therefore, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns or comments you have!  At SCIS we are community of learners made up of students, parents, teachers and staff.  I am confident that by working together and maintaining ongoing and open communication we will be able to ensure that all children are safe, happy and learning each day.

Warm Regards, 

Liz Gale

Lower School Principal