Doug Goodkin visits YIS

Doug Goodkin came to YIS to run a workshop for music teachers in the region. While he was here he held a music workshop for our Grade 7 students. It was an exciting afternoon and the students loved participating in the workshop.

Below is a blog post from Annamaria Unflat in Grade 7.

About a week ago, on October 6th, we were pulled out of class for part of the day because a guest that was a close friend to one of my music teachers Ms. Bridgewater visited YIS. This special guest flew in from Chicago, USA, to come and work with us. The whole 7th grade went to the auditorium to meet him.

The special guest introduced himself, told where he was from, how long has he been studying/teaching music and what he loves about music. He had us make a big circle and created a beat for us to follow. At first I was a bit confused about what to do but then I caught on. We were doing body percussion he was talking about how it was easy since we did a basic beat with our bodies so he said he would try to make it harder. He added more and more ways to add to the beat. He stopped us for a bit and told parts or the circle what to play and had us walk around the room assigned with the beats he told us to do. He also made us move side to side and the purpose of it was not to bump into anyone.

Later on he sat us down and was talking about different sounds that our voices can make and sang us a song and told us to sing with him. Then he told us to pair up with the person right next to us and said to do the same beat but we had we to make a sound while doing body percussion. Later on in the session he picked about 9 people to play an instrument. I was one of them, to be honest I was so happy :). He made each person play a beat and have the other person follow. I was excited to hear how it would sound at the end and to be honest again it sounded pretty good.

It was soon time to go I was anxious to tell him that I knew one of his vocal exercises I think he made it. So I went up to him and sang to him he said he was impressed that I could sing so well and so all the 7th graders sang with us.

Middle School Examinations

Middle School exams take place next week, April 23rd to 27th. They begin at 9.10am and conclude at 10.40. Students will have a normal school day after their exams. Here is the exam schedule for the week.

The following exams will take place:

Grade 6 – English and Maths.

Grade 7 – English, Maths, Science and Language B (both Japanese and French/Spanish/Mandarin)

Grade 8 – English, Maths, Science and Language B (both Japanese and French/Spanish/Mandarin)

*EAL students will not have an exam.

The purpose of exams at YIS is to give students experience in studying, reviewing and communicating their knowledge and understanding. It provides students with an opportunity to develop effective study strategies and to work under timed conditions. Our exams in the Middle School focus on the last unit (s) taught and are not a test of all that has been studied over the year. Students are given a general study guide and subject-specific study guides, so they can have a clear expectation of what they will be doing in each exam.

Whilst we expect the very best of each student, we want this to be a positive and constructive experience for the students. As they are in middle school, they are able to practise and refine skills in low-stress situations to prepare for high school. We appreciate your support and patience with your child as they face the challenges of next week.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child’s teacher or myself.


Assessment in the Middle School

Have you noticed that the amount of homework your child does varies over the course of the year? As a parent of a MS student, it is sometimes hard to keep up with what is due and when.  Homework at YIS is an extension of the learning that takes place in the classroom, and is always set with a purpose and is relevant to the material currently being studied.

In the Middle School we teach units of work. At the beginning of the unit the teaching is quite specific and much of the work is completed in class, with some homework being set in preparation for the next lesson.  An assignment is often set and students will work on this in class and for homework. Assignments can vary in length and complexity. Often an assessment task comes at the end of a unit which students demonstrate their skills, understandings and knowledge.  Assessment tasks may also be set during a unit.

Units are about 6 weeks long, though can vary in length and most teachers will begin and end a unit at a similar point in the year. You can see how this means that there are very busy times for students, and quieter homework periods at the beginning of the unit when explicit teaching is taking place.

We have set up calendars on the teachers blogs so we can all see when assignments are due, and we work as best as we can to balance out students loads. There are peak times in the year, which is the nature of life. Students learn how to manage these and this is an important aspect of middle school as they prepare for high school and increased workloads.

It is natural for there to be an ebb and flow of homework, and there are times when your son or daughter may seem like they don’t have much, and times when they feel they have too much. Of course, factors like time management and organization play key roles in students completing work on time.

You can find out about major assignments by visiting the calendars that are on the teachers’ blogs.  Talking to your child about what they are doing and what homework is important, though sometimes information can be less forthcoming as students become more independent. You can also see a picture of your child’s learning through looking at their blog.

You are always welcome to contact your child’s subject teacher if you have any concerns or questions.