ES Student Learning in ACTION!

From Monday 29 Nov – Friday 3 Dec,  you are invited to see your child participating in Elementary lesson for Music, Art, PE, Drama.  At YIS, we refer to these opportunities as Action Portfolio Action Portfolios!

You are invited to observe typical lessons in these subject areas and gain a “snapshot” of student learning in action.

Please take the time to enjoy having a closer look through the window of your child’s day in school.

For details, refer to a recent broadcaster sent out on Wednesday 24 Nov or check the YIS Calendar 2010/11.

Take action and join us!

Teenagers! Some suggested reading.

In our discussions yesterday, a few books were discussed and some websites recommended. Raising boys offers advice for raising confident, happy and well-balanced men. Queen Bees and Wannabees looks at helping your daughter survive cliques, gossip and the realities of adolescence. The Princess Bitchface Syndrome is another book about adolescent girls and the challenges they face.


Recommended Reading


How do we manage our time?

Organisation for Teens

Organisational Skills

Yesterday, we held a session to discuss how we can help our children become more organised. It was a lively and interesting discussion about strategies, skills and techniques we do use, or could use, to guide our children in the middle school years.  Many points were discussed:

* Organisational skills do need to be taught, practised and developed.

* Children do go through developmental phases as their brain develops and changes during this time.

* Talking with your child, and empowering them to find solutions and practise effective organisation techniques is important.

* Being positive, patient and encouraging is essential.

* Developing organisational skills can help in all areas of schooling, and in life.

There were many great ideas:

Organisational strategies at school

  • Lockers – take time to tidy and organize (before school might be best – allocate a day a week).
  • Diary – write, read, check, pack.
  • Use a weekly timetable.
  • Organise materials before school, at recess, lunch. Don’t go to lockers between lessons – there isn’t time.
  • Use alarm clocks / google calendars / set reminders for self. (e.g. Have an alarm that goes at 4pm each day to remember to check you have everything you need for homework)
  • Don’t carry around everything to each class. Only take what you need.
  • Put belongings in designated areas.
  • Make a plan before you start a task / assignment.
  • Write down homework in your planner, in class.
  • Communicate with teachers if unsure about something – either in class, at break time or via email.
  • Discuss homework / tasks with friends – what is due and when?

Organisational strategies at home

  • Bags – pack bags the night before / as soon as homework is done.
  • Create a working area at home.
  • Set aside time to organize folders – have the appropriate equipment.
  • Put a calendar in a noticeable place for assignments and commitments (colour code activities).
  • Include breaks in homework time / healthy snacks / water.
  • Negotiate time for social networking – turn off during homework?
  • Put a list up of what needs to be done each morning to prepare for school.
  • Clean out bag each night, or as soon as your child comes home.
  • Write a ‘to-do’ list the night before for the next day.
  • Get rid of old papers and things no longer current. If you don’t want to throw them out, have a box to put them in so they are out of the way of learning space. (Personal filing system).
  • Read  /  Read books together.
  • Be aware of times for trains/ buses.
  • Use alarm clocks / google calendars / set reminders for self. (e.g. Have an alarm that goes at 4pm each day to remember to check you have everything you need for homework).
  • Use a notebook / whiteboard.
  • Schedule time for when homework will be complete, let your child identify when they will complete work – particularly for weekends or long-term projects.
  • Plan free time and schedules, and evening time.
  • Put belongings in designated areas (especially valuables).
  • Manage environmental distractions.
  • Make a plan before you start a task.
  • Double check you have everything before you leave the house.
  • Establish consistent routines.

Working together

  • Reflect on past practises – are there things that you are constantly losing or misplacing. Create a set space for these things.
  • Discuss strategies – how does your son/daughter like to study?
  • Be positive – acknowledge when they have been organized, or have improved.
  • Don’t do it for them, guide / facilitate / support.
  • Establish what the organizational needs are.
  • Discuss procrastination and avoidance techniques openly.
  • Discuss what makes an ‘organised student’.
  • Check homework and diaries thoroughly and regularly.
  • Limit times for games.
  • Acknowledge good practise / be positive and encouraging.
  • Give students control of finding solutions.
  • Assess where the time goes / how your child is using their time (click here to go to an website about time management).
  • Reflect on eating / drinking / sleeping behaviours.
  • Ask your child to do one thing at a time, rather than a long list, and give them time to do the task.
  • Let them help you with things at home so they can see effective organizational techniques.
  • Work together on setting goals and identifying how your child will benefit.
  • Exchange ideas and choose the best way forward.

How to help your child at home with Maths

How to help your child at home

Here are some general tips to ensure your child feels comfortable when using the language of mathematics:

Try to make maths as much fun as possible – games, puzzles and jigsaws are a great way to start. It’s also important to show how we use maths skills in our everyday lives and to involve your child in this.

Identifying problems and solving them can also help your child develop maths skills. If you see him or her puzzling over something, talk about the problem and try to work out the solution together.

Don’t shy away from maths if you didn’t like it at school. Try to find new ways to enjoy the subject with your child.

Specific tips for helping your child to enjoy maths:

* Point out the different shapes to be found around your home.
* Take your child shopping and talk about the quantities of anything you buy.
* Let your child handle money and work out how much things cost.
* Look together for numbers on street signs and car registration plates.
* Play games involving numbers and/or logic, such as card games, dominoes, darts, draughts, chess etc.;
* Stimulate your child’s thinking at times of boredom, (such as when travelling), with mental activities;

What do you do at home?
At the recent mathematics workshops we asked how you help your children at home. An original and extensive and list was generated, showing that we have a well-informed, active and knowledgeable parent body.

  • Cooking

Measuring, converting, following procedures, accuracy.

Setting the table for guests.

  • Money

Planning budgets, prices and change during shopping trips. (You could also compare and measure clothes sizes)

Giving pocket money and developing the idea of saving for something.

Converting money using real exchange rates.

  • Time

Using train timetables to make decisions about when to leave the house and when you will arrive.

Using the clock to ask about time

Record exercises (times, reps etc…)

  • Online websites

Kindergarten Favourites

Math Rice Fun Lessons

King of Math


ICT Games

Top Marks

Cool Math 4 Kids

Maths is Fun

A Plus Maths

A Maths Dictionary for Kids

  • Games –

Monopoly (Bank manager is a great chance to give responsibility to your child)

Card games




Computer games like Tetris

Rubik’s cube

Building blocks/LEGO – This develops spatial awareness in 3 dimensions.



It was also pointed out that in order to succeed in helping your child, you should:

  • Stay calm
  • Use humour and find relaxed situations in which to talk about mathematical concepts
  • Use a range of tactile/visual media….not just memorisation or writing traditional “sums”
  • Act like a peer instead of a teacher/expert….pretend that you are learning something new from your child
  • If you are making your child memorise or practice “traditional” sums (multiplication tables, or worksheets) try to make them meaningful by providing concrete/hands-on experiences to accompany them or real life situations in which to construct meaning for this highly abstract concept.

Thank-you to everyone who contributed ideas. If you have anything else that you can share please add to this blog as a comment.

David Goddard

Middle School Sessions

Dear Parents,

We had a very informative question and answer session last Wednesday. The conversation about education was interesting and inspiring. We would like to continue developing the dialogue between the school and parents, and will be running more sessions this month.

Organisational Strategies in the Middle School

Wednesday, November 17th – 9am

YIS cafeteria

Assessment and Reporting in Grade 6

Wednesday, November 24th – 7pm

YIS Loft

Assessment and Reporting in Grade 7 and 8

Wednesday, November 30th – 7pm

YIS Loft

Please mark these dates in your diary and join us for these sessions. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

John Snowball and Susie Clifford

Frequently Asked Questions

A big “Thank you!” to everyone who attended the “Grade 3-5 MathematMathics Workshop” on Tuesday 16th and “Grade K-2 Mathematics Workshop” on Thursday 18th November.

The workshop was a valuable opportunity for us to communicate our beliefs and practices to the school community and for us to introduce the exchange of ideas and understanding that the Learning Hub will engender. We were once again impressed with the level of participation and understanding shown by our parent body…deep down, everybody loves Maths!

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment box below.

Best wishes,

David Goddard

Elementary Mathematics Coordinator

New: Parent Technology and Literacy Coffee Mornings!

We are pleased to announce a new community learning opportunity for parents of YIS students!

Kim Cofino, our Technology and Learning Coach, and Brian Farrell, our Head Librarian, will be hosting a regular Parent Technology and Literacy Coffee Morning once a month, beginning in December.

These Parent Technology and Literacy Coffee Mornings are designed to introduce parents to new developments in technology and how they impact education. Each month we will share a new idea, or show a thought-provoking video, then discuss the ideas presented, while weaving in examples of what’s happening here at YIS.

We will keep the meetings informal and casual and you are welcome to attend any session (don’t worry if you can’t attend them all). Coffee and small snacks will be provided.

The sessions will be held from 9:15 – 10:15 in the Library on the following dates (usually on the first Wed of the month, with just a few exceptions):

Dec 8
Jan 12
Feb 2
March 2
April 6
May 4

We’ll also post a re-cap of each session on our new Community Learning blog: so even if you miss a session, you can catch up at your leisure!

Hope to see you there!