This has been a sad week for us all, and we would like to thank the support that the community has been giving to the family of Hugo Jamieson. This has touched of our younger ISD family members too, who may have known him through siblings.
In our schooling over the last few weeks, teachers have been completing report cards, and students are preparing to share their progress through the student-led conferences. We look forward to seeing you next week on Thursday and Friday. I have inserted a video of what some of the conferences will look like in Gr 2, 4 & 5 below. I have also mentioned a little more about the 6-day rotation we will be adopting in the Elementary School next year.
1. ES Parent Coffee: Thank you if you made it to the meeting yesterday. For those who could not come, the presentation centered around two changes that we are making. One relating to our piloting a different format of Student Led Conferences in some grades this year, and the other to introduce the 6-day rotation that the Elementary School will be adopting next year (not MS or HS):
- Student-Led Conferences: We would like our students at ISD to be self-directed and responsible learners. To facilitate this we are looking at how we use goal-setting, ongoing reflection, and the sharing of portfolios showing academic growth at student-led conferences. This year, teachers in Grades 2, 4 & 5 are piloting 40-minute student-led conferences. These will allow their class parents to spend more time discussing the work with them, and the sessions are already outlined for the children and being refined in class.
We also watched a two-minute movie of a student-led conference in progress, you can view it HERE
There will be 4 conferences running in in parallel, and the teacher will be managing the time in the room. We would like to adopt this model K-5 next year, and appreciate feedback. Parents having this form of conference will be receiving a flier today. Finally, whether you are having a 20 minute teacher/student/parent or 40 minute student/parent conference here are some valuable questions that will always open a conversation with your child about their work:
· Can you tell me more about…?
· How did you learn that?
· Can you show me an example?
· What are you most proud of?
· How do you feel about…?
· What did you learn from this work?
· If you had to do this work again, what would you do differently?
· How do you think you have improved in…?
· What are you working on now?
· What are some things you would like to work on before the end of the year?
· Which goals did you already meet?
· What are some ways that I could help you with your work and your learning goals?
- 6-Day Rotation: Many larger international schools use a 6-day rotation, and this is the model that the Elementary School will be adopting in the 2012-13 school year. It is a 6-day version of the 2-day rotation used in the MS and HS. It will overcome the problem we have when there are occasional one-day holidays, which often fall on Fridays and Mondays - this greatly disrupts the specials schedules.
A 6-day rotation is a schedule whereby instead of having a Monday-Friday daily timetable, there are 6 days numbered 1-6, and these days run through the year. Thus August 21 will be Day 1, 22nd Day 2, and so on. Once Day 6 is reached, we begin again on Day 1. Confusing initially, (and more explanation below!), but we will have the following benefit:
· We will be adding a second Art session (we currently only have one Art per week)
· We will no longer miss a day's PE, Art, Music, Library or Computers when there is a one-day holiday
· We will still have French every day
· We will be able to have more PD afternoons on Fridays
· We add 15 minutes a week to homeroom class contact time
To illustrate further, below is an example of what the 4th Grade schedule could look like next year:
Tuesday 21st: Day 1, Wednesday 22nd: Day 2, Thursday 23rd: Day 3, Friday 24th: Day 4, Monday 27th: Day 5, Tuesday 28th: Day 6, Wednesday 29th, Day 1, Thursday 30th: Day 2, Friday 31st: Day 3, Monday 3rd: Day 4, and so on. A public holiday would be skipped in the same way as a weekend. Therefore no specials will be missed.
This would be printed on a calendar, and we have will the day numbers labeled clearly around the Elementary School- changing each day. While this may lead to some confusion about PE days, we will accommodate forgotten trainers as best we can. I will also hold another information session on this later in the year.
2. Board Elections: Board elections are upcoming, and we are looking for replacements for our board members who have to leave. Please contact Valerie Stetson, our Board Chair if you are interested in joining the board.
3. Scholastic Book Fair: We will be holding a Scholastic Book Fair on Tuesday, March 13. Please send your child in with some money on that day if you would like them to purchase a book. This has been organized by the PTO, and the classes will be visiting for 30 minute blocks throughout Tuesday.
4. World Cultural Month Country Booths: On Friday April 27, we will be having the final day of WCM. This is when we will have an afternoon of performances, a fashion show, and most importantly a chance to visit country booths. Please contact Mr. Gaucher if you are interested in being on a booth.
5. Steven Davies Book Now Available: Author Steven Davies wrote to us to say:
Just to let you know that my new book The Goggle-Eyed Goats is published today, and should be available in bookshops and online. It is available in English and French. Here is an early review (click here)
Best wishes, and happy World Book Day!
….and here is Steven reading it to the ISD children:
6. Sports Day : The date for our Elementary School Sports Day has changed to Thursday March 29. There will be more from Mr. Te Huki in due course.
7. MAP Testing Update: I will be meeting with teachers and our learning support team to discuss the recent MAP reports. We will be looking at the progress the Gr 2-5 students have been making, and seeing where the needs lie for classes and individuals. As I mentioned at the Parent Coffee, there is a lot of information that we can gain from the MAP database. If you would like to visit the web site for more information, please click HERE.
8. Read-alouds: I read this NY Times article recently, which talks of the joys of reading aloud to our kids. It also lists many recommended books for children of all ages.
9. Tardies: We are beginning a new trimester, and I would like to remind parents that the tardy list is already growing for this trimester. Please ensure that your child is on campus by 8:25. At 8:30, teachers take their attendance and will mark your child as tardy if not in the room. I will be emailing parents when tardies start to build up. Thanks for being attentive to this.
9. Kindergarten Field Trip : Here are some photos of Ms. Karen and Ms. Gina's visit, with their classes, to see woodcarvers at work:
10. Students Outside Senegal: For those of you who are not in Dakar due to the elections, please continue to work with your child on as many aspects of their learning as is possible. Reading to your child; hearing your child read to you; giving writing projects, such as keeping a diary; and continuing with the mental and computational math practices, if age appropriate will all be valuable to maintain continuity. These can all be done from home. This is a crucial time in the year, and the two-week Spring Break will be soon upon us.
Ian Clark Ed.D.
Elementary School Principal
International School of Dakar