Introduction to YIS Elementary Curriculum for NEW Parents

There will be an Introduction to the Elementary Curriculum workshop suitable for new parents to YIS and interested community members. This parent workshop is held twice a year in September and in January. This will be presented by the ES Principal, Ms Jacquie Pender, and  the ES Vice Principal / PYP Coordinator, Ms Shanel Catasti.


When: Monday 23 September, 2013 from 9:00 – 10:30 AM

Where: Loft

The Five Minute University – Father Guido Sarducci teaches what an average college graduate knows after five years from graduation in five minutes.  Does this type of education prepare our students for the 21st century?


IB Learner Profile – The IB learner profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century.

Elementary Back to School Night for Parents

YIS would like to invite you to our “Back To School Night” for our Kindergarten to Grade 5 classes, on Wednesday September 11th, starting at 6:45PM and finishing at 8:15PM.  The purpose of this evening is to provide you with information regarding your child’s class, and an overview of the exciting learning opportunities that lie ahead for this school year. During this evening you will have the opportunity to meet your child’s class teacher, and the other teachers who work in the grade level.

Our Single Subjects teachers for Japanese, Mother Tongue (Dutch), Physical Education, Music, Drama and Art, along with the Director of ICJC will also be available for you to meet and will provide a general overview of their subject area.  Also the Student Support teachers for Learning Support, EAL and Student Counseling will be available throughout the evening.

Parking and Refreshments: The playground will be open for parking from 6:15pm. Cafeteria will be open from 6:30pm for tea/coffee refreshments.


Grade K – 2

  • 6:45 – 7:20pm Grades K – 2 parents attend their child’s homeroom for a meeting with their class teacher.
  • 7:30 – 8:10pm Grades K-2 parents can visit Single Subject Teachers in their classrooms for short presentations about their subject and are invited to ask questions.

Grades 3 – 5

  • 6:45 – 7:20pm Grades 3-5 parents can visit Single Subject Teachers in their classrooms for short presentations about their subject and are invited to ask questions.
  • 7:30 – 8:10pm Grades 3-5 parents attend their child’s homeroom for a meeting with their class teacher.

For further details, please check your inbox for an elementary broadcaster sent home on Monday September 2, 2013.

Elementary Science at YIS

Throughout the year students at YIS have enjoyed many exciting experiences that relate to science including cooking, gardening, marble runs, building simple machines, creating inventions, trips to the zoo, stargazing, growing class pets, trips to the park, guest speakers, making crystals, and much more.

Science at YIS is not as simple as memorizing facts and formulas. It is about creating questions, inquiring into concepts, hands on experiences, understanding processes and drawing conclusions.

Science is all around us. If you are looking to support your child as a scientist it is actually quite simple and very enjoyable. Encourage them to ask questions then experiment to find the answer, take them outdoors and they will naturally talk about nature, involve them in some cooking, plan a weekend trip to a museum, read and discuss non fiction texts together. Most importantly learn together. If you are having conversations about daily life and encouraging your child to ask questions then you are helping them to think scientifically. When they ask ‘silly’ questions such as “dad, why do we have earthquakes?”, or “mum why does my face go red when I get hot?”, be sure to follow up with your child and find out some answers together. You never know where the inquiry will take you.

A wonderful resource for both starting conversations and for researching information is Please take a moment to take a look – it is updated with a new wonder each day.

Allow yourself to become swept up by your child’s enthusiasm for finding out more!

Geoff Geddes

ES Science Project Leader

Elementary Teachers

Culture of Thinking









“Can you imagine someone learning to dance, without watching other dancers?

Learning to paint, without looking at paintings?

Performing a surgery, without learning how others had done it first?”

In a compelling interview Ron Ritchhart, of Harvard’s Project Zero, asked something much like this. And he’s right. The problem with thinking is that by nature it’s often invisible. But learning tothink is not so different from learning to dance, paint or operate. The challenge to learn from others is to make it visible, so it can be modeled, unpacked and documented.

This idea is the seed of YIS’ Culture of Thinking project. Over the past year you may have heard your child talking about thinking routines, or seen displays of visible thinking practices around school. Maybe you’ve been in classes where you’ve noted big chart papers covered with colourful sticky notes, where students are documenting their thinking processes from various perspectives or over time. Perhaps you’ve overheard a teacher probing a student with the seemingly simple question: “What makes you say that?”.

The Culture of Thinking project has seen 18 teachers, from nearly every grade, complete Harvard’s Making Thinking Visible course over the past year. It has been an umbrella over learning and practices at staff meetings and professional development. It’s been shared through working group meetings, professional readings and numerous displays. Most importantly, its been a growing strand in the web of teaching and learning practices for students and teachers.

To take part, next time your child expresses an opinion or interpretation that could go deeper, try asking casually “What makes you say that?” and see where it takes you.

Jamie Raskin
Culture of Thinking Project Leader
Elementary Teacher

Parent Technology Coffee Morning: Gamification

This morning Mr. Pitter and I were lucky to have some working parents attending our session, thank you Golden Week:)

This session’s focus was on ‘Gamification’. We started the session with a discussion about our own experiences about Gaming, carried on with our kids are experiences. We followed up the conversation with a TED talk by Jane McGonigal where she explains how games like World of Warcraft players can save worlds, and learn the habits of heroes and solve the real world’s problems.

We have finished the sessions by making our learning visible by using the ‘I used to think’ – ‘Now I think’ routine by Harvard’s Project Zero.


Moving Learning Games Forward by the Education Arcade, MIT.

Reality is Broken:

Infographic about Gamification:

Gamification of Education

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

A big thank you goes out to the parents who came to our session today!

Ms. Raskin

Next Parent Tech Session: Summer Fun with Technology will be held on Wed, 5 June at 9:15 in the CafeteriaThis will be our last Parent Technology & Literacy Coffee Morning session for this school year. We’ll explore fun and collaborative tools like VoiceThread, GarageBand, blogging, and more to find ways to help your child continue to develop his or her technology skills this summer – and to share the fun you’re having with your family and friends.


1st Annual YIS Staff & Parent Art Exhibition 2012-13

We are happy to announce the 1st Annual YIS Staff & Parent Art Exhibition 2012-13.

As YIS parents, you are invited and welcome to make and exhibit your own artwork — any type of visual work that you have created yourself: drawing, painting, photography, graphic design, sculpture, digital media, illustration, video, craft, ceramics, fiber work, performance, printmaking, clothing/textile design, and more.  Please know that your artwork may be displayed For Sale (artist’s choice) with proceeds going to the YIS One Yen Drive charity.
Exhibition Dates
Friday April 26 – Friday May 3 in the YIS Library

Wine & Cheese & Live Music Opening Night
4-6pm – Friday April 26  –  All adults & children are welcome to attend
Information for participating artists: 
Hang/install your own artwork in the library between 8am Thursday April 25 – 4pm Friday April 26
  • Hung artwork should have a wire or hook on the back.
  • Work-on-paper and photographs should be matted, framed, or in some way mounted.
  • Wall-hanging space is limited, though there is adequate shelf-top space; we’ve got some small easels (bring your own if you have one).
  • Your flexibility appreciated: # of artworks per person limited to 2 or 3, depending on the size (if it’s a particularly large piece, then perhaps only 1).
  • Thank you for understanding — our goal is to include as many people as possible.
Please don’t hesitate to ask questions.
We are looking forward to a superb inaugural exhibition!
Best regards,
Aaron Reed – Art teacher –
Rita Kar – Head librarian –
Leanne Erickson – Head of Arts Department –

Book Swap for Parents!

Wednesday March 6th is World Read Aloud Day, and the kick-off for our book swap.



Take a look through your home libraries and bring in good quality books your child is no longer reading. Starting tomorrow and through March 19th, we will be collecting books in the library for a book swap on March 20th, during Student-Led Conferences.


Here’s all you need to do:

  • Find books your children are no longer reading, but are good quality that someone else might like.
  • Bring them to the library starting Wednesday, March 6th. You can bring them in until March 19th.
  • Sign your name and how many books your brought (all near the library counter)
  • Make a donation to Room to Read if you can. Please give the donation to Ms. Kar or Ms. Jalink in the library.
  • Come back to the library on March 20th, parent-teacher conference day, and find some books you and your child would like to have at home. They’re yours!
It’s a good way to give books to others and get some new ones. We are also hoping to raise money for Room to Read.
Thank you!
Ms Blum and Elementary Students
(image courtesy of

Supporting your child with Mathematics

Date: Monday – January 21, 2013

Time: 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM Location: Loft

Michael is a specialist mathematics consultant from Melbourne, Australia. He is involved in many professional development programs in schools across Australia and Asia.Michael is an enthusiastic and entertaining presenter who has a clear and practical approach to the challenges that confront schools and parents in mathematics. On this evening Michael will address the following issues:
What is my child learning in mathematics?
How can I help my child become an efficient problem solver?
How do children best learn mathematics?
How can parents promote quality thinking and learning?
How can I help my child in mathematics?
After the success of last year’s well attended, informative, and fun parent workshop, Michael Ymer is back again to help parents understand the role of Mathematics in our everyday lives. He will also focus on helping parents in understanding the way Mathematics is taught in schools. He will, with true Australian humor and poise, help us uncover what inquiry is, how inquiry can help us all become better mathematicians and how parents can help their children to be natural mathematical inquirers at home.

To register for this event please email our elementary Mathematics Coordinator, David Goddard to confirm your attendance.

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.