Culture of Learning @UP

Welcome to the Upper Primary Coaching Team Website. Our team is committed to supporting and promoting a culture of learning at HKIS. Here you will find Our Stories, information about Our Team and coaching at HKIS as well as resources for teaching and learning. Come visit us in the Think Tank in the Upper Primary!

Our Stories

Celebrating and sharing stories of teaching and learning in the HKIS Upper Primary

Media Mentor Month March Recap

March 30, 2022

Today wraps up our month-long initiative (inspired by the work of Keri-Lee Beasley at WAB) to engage our community in healthy dialogue around technology and media use and well-being. Throughout the month, families were invited to engage in daily prompts ranging from questions about interesting apps or resources to explore together.

Each week, there was a series of parent education sessions focusing on essential topics such as Finding (Media) Balance and Media Making. A parent dialogue session was facilitated by our Administrators and UP Coaching team; providing parents time to hear from one another; to share ideas and experiences with each other.

We even had two incredible Student-Led sessions led by Grade 4 and 5 members of our SDLT on topics ranging from a tour of key learning apps such as Google Classroom, Seesaw and OneNote to how students are using technology as a tool to create using iMovie, Canva, Procreate and more. They did such a fantastic job! A great opportunity for our SDLT members to step up and shine and lead in our community.

There was a positive response from these sessions and we’ll be exploring how we can continue to empower our student leaders through opportunities like these and facilitate more parents dialogue sessions in the future.

Throughout the month, Upper Primary classrooms have also been engaging in Class Chats on targeted topics, taking lead inspiration from the themes in Google’s Be Internet Awesome curriculum. This month helps us circle back intentionally to the topic of Digital Citizenship. While we start the year exploring topics through the Common Sense Media digital citizenship curriculum lessons, we know that it is essential to continually come back to these topics on a regular basis. Media Mentor Month provides us a great opportunity to unify our focus and re-enforce those important lessons of digital citizenship that are ane essential part of our students’ lives.


March 16, 2022

While we all wished we could be out in the woods hiking, pitching tents and making smores in person, our virtual camp last week was the next best thing! Just because camp is over, it doesn’t mean you can’t sprinkle in more of the fun activities into your Zoom time. Need some inspiration for ideas? Check out what the other grade levels offered during camp and contact the teacher listed for more information.


Finally, huge kudos to the planning and organization team for the time and thought that went into all of the logistics and communication to run this hugely successful and memorable event! Check out some of the highlights like the G4 Dance Off video, UP Camp Flipgrid and Art Barn Padlet. Add photos and check out what was shared in the Camp Photos Folder.

Mid Year Update: Goals

March 2, 2022

Teams across the Upper Primary have been making progress on the goals set at the start of the year in support of our divisional goal and work happening school wide. Dedicated conversations at team meetings, work happening in the classrooms and intentional focus on the key areas -all in support of the divisional goal- are moving our teaching and learning forward in so many ways!

UP Mid Year Team Goal Update March 2022

Pear Deck to fight Zoom Gloom

February 16, 2022

Are you and your students suffering from ‘Zoom Gloom”?

Imagine engaging every student in your class, every day….. What if you could instantly see who’s confused and who’s ready for more? That’s the power of Pear Deck. New for educators is Pear Deck for Google Slides Add-on. You can add the formative assessments and interactive question templates to your presentations right from Google Slides….. AND it’s free! Caught your Interest right?? Read on for more information.

CREATE CUSTOM QUESTIONS: Choose text, number response, multiple choice, or web slide questions to engage your students with a free account. If you are really keen, signup for a free 30 day Pear Deck Premium account and get access to drawing and draggable response type slides plus audio!

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS: There’s a library of templates to use at the beginning, middle, and end of your lesson to support learning. You can also choose from a large range of templates for subject specific slides. Simply drop in one of these templates (edited or not) and watch your students engage in learning once more!

TEACHER DASHBOARD: You can quickly see what each of your students thinks, feels, and understands (based on their responses) on the Teacher Dashboard and then use that information to plan next instructional steps.

TEACH WITH PEAR DECK: As you advance your slides, students will be prompted to answer your questions. Their answers can be displayed anonymously, allowing all students to feel safe participating. The interactive slides promote rich discussion and students have more opportunity to learn from each other on Zoom.

Cameron and Brandon were so eager to try out PearDeck they used the math template slides to launch their math unit with the team. Now all 3rd grade teachers will be checking out this cool tool for teaching!

Joe has something to show you about the power of PearDeck. Click the video below to check it out. Knock on Joe’s door 5th grade teachers to find out more!

And 4th grade teachers, if you want a few hints on PearDeck use, have a chat with Hyun, she’s a pro!

Check out PearDeck for GoogleSlides TODAY!

Professional Book Clubs

January 19, 2022

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our book tasting in December. We had a great turnout and response to the selection of professional books available. Everyone enjoyed food together (some several times throughout the day, *ahem* Cameron Holt” ), decorating cookies and taking fun holiday photos together.

Many teachers have been enjoying the books over the holidays and are eagerly awaiting a second choice. Click here for a list of books available to borrow.

Based on the interest and teacher sign ups, we are excited to offer the following 2 rounds of book clubs this spring! Group members will determine frequency, format, location, and libations for book club meetings at the initial meeting.

If you are interested in joining a book club, please sign up on this Google Form. Summaries of each book are provided in the form. Books will be ordered for those who sign up (paper or digital), as indicated in the form response. We look forward to the conversations with colleagues around these books!

Happy Holidays from your UP Coaches!

December, 2021

Digital Publishing

December 15, 2021

Digital publishing provides students with purpose and an intentional authentic audience for who they are writing. Your students could transform their work into an engaging podcast on Anchor, online digital magazines with Book Creator, or easy-to-use student-friendly templates on Canva. And there are many other possibilities to choose from!

Several teachers have already begun to experiment with digital publishing in their classrooms. Listen to the “Kickin’ it with Karnitz” podcast that features their narrative stories grouped by theme for each episode. Or you could check out the feature articles that Susan’s or Rachel’s class created with Canva and published on Book Creator.

Here's what students had to say about publishing their writing with Canva:

Canva made me feel like a real writer.- Liam

My favorite part is that there are so many ways to express your personality while writing in Canva. - Lexa

Canva is really fun! You get to choose all these designs for your article. Canva like I said is also very easy to use. I think Canva would be a good app for school or home projects. - Kiara

Interested in learning more? Connect with MaryAnn or Amy for support and ideas to plan and implement digital publishing in your classroom, check out the self-paced resources in this newsletter's professional learning opportunities and mark your calendars for the Digital Publishing PLL in January when we return!

UP Team Goals

December 1, 2021

Upper Primary Team Goal Setting 2021-2022

For a second year, teams in the Upper Primary went through a collaborative process of goal setting facilitated by the coaching team. Each team spent time reflecting on specific ways they could support the UP divisional goal focused on student

self-evaluation, reflection, and feedback (UP Divisional Goal). The goal setting meetings were full of rich conversations and professional growth.

Team Goals:

Chinese Studies Team Goal: As a team we will develop a shared understanding of effective feedback practices to guide and support students’ self evaluation and reflection.

Specialists Team Goal: As a specialist team, we will intentionally engage students in authentic reflective practices that guide self-evaluation.

Learning Support Goal: By the end of the year, the Learning Support team will explore different ways to provide students with feedback and come to a common agreement about tools for student self-reflection.

Counseling Team Goal: Upper Primary students will regularly self-reflect on their social-emotional learning and growth.

Grade 3: As a team we will collaborate to promote student self-regulation and agency in the evaluation, reflection and feedback process.

Grade 4: As a team, we will intentionally focus on the integration of TTG’s in our classroom practices to promote student agency through self-reflections.

Grade 5: G5 teachers will build a shared understanding of student self-evaluation and reflection to embed in their instruction.

Coaches Team Goal: Coaches will develop a professional learning system to support the work of Upper Primary in teaching and learning.

Moving forward, teams have the option of collaborating with coaches to help facilitate their work on the action steps and measurements of success. To make our learning visible, the 5th floor hallway outside of the Think Tank will be used as a continuous learning space for teams to share and interact with the work happening in UP. We look forward to seeing the documentation process come to life!

Kid Kitchen is Up and Running!

November 18, 2021

Over the past year and half teachers on The Kid Kitchen Task Force have worked with Melissa Au, founder of Munchkins Kids, to develop Grade Level Culinary Competencies and Skills and plan two integrated culinary units per grade level to trial this year with students. The Kid Kitchen task force includes the talented and dedicated: Cameron Holt (G3), Linette Perez (G4), Dillon Robertson(G4 & G5), Sarah Deaver (G5), Jesse Meyer (G5), Jinfei Zhang (Chinese Studies), Katrina Williams, Wendy Smith, Amy Robinson and Kristi Granquist.

While we have begun teaching in TKK, it still feels a bit like we are building and flying an airplane at the same time. We still have lots to accomplish but we’re happy to be cooking and learning together with students. We’ve created a sound foundation to our culinary program which include common agreements about organization, teaching philosophy, routines and student chores. We recognize that our teachers and parents have a broad range of experiences with food and cooking and have developed and offered teacher and parent workshops to create a common understanding of our philosophy and skills taught in TKK. Upper Primary has a new parent training and volunteer program called Dragon Chefs. Sixteen grade 3 parents have volunteered to trial this new program which provides assistance to teachers and students in The Kid Kitchen. We’re excited to launch units and the Dragon Chef program with grade 4 and grade 5 in the new year.

Our culinary program is already beginning to impact the attitudes our students and families have about food, cooking and chores. After a recent lesson where grade 3 students explored taste, a parent commented:

“We really love the curiosity, wonder and joy you inspire in the kids! We applied taste tests on all of our dinner dishes this evening at home.”

Student Leadership Opportunities

November 3, 2021

We love supporting and providing opportunities for our students to grow as learners and leaders. This year, in addition to the Student Council, we are thrilled to have our first Student Digital Leadership Team! StuCo and SDLT are up and running with representatives from all grades.

The mission of our Student Council is to represent their classmates as we work to dedicate our minds to inquiry, our hearts to compassion, and our lives to service and global understanding. They had a leadership retreat in October where students came together in Grades 3-4-5 to learn about the UN Sustainable goals as they envisioned ways they can help fulfill their mission. The Student Council has 60 student members (2 from each homeroom) and Teacher Advisors including Allison S., Dan, Linette, Stan, Erik, Beth and Kristi.

Here’s what they have to say about Student Council:

I'm glad we have StuCo because we get to help each other. One thing I'm really excited about for StuCo this year is that I have a lot of new ideas and I love working together with people and helping people and learning new things. Like I am very interested in gender equality.- Savanna, G4 Representative

My favorite thing about StuCo is that we get to learn about the world and dedicate our lives to service and global understanding. Because of COVID-19, the Student Council could not really go out of the school and help clean up beaches and ect. I am very thankful that in SC this year we could help more. At the retreat we got to learn more about the world and how to succeed in the StuCo mission-Myles, G4 Representative

“I'm a teacher advisor for StuCo because I absolutely love to work with students that want to bring positive change and help others” - Stan, G4 Teacher

“I'm glad we have StuCo because it is a great opportunity for UP students to use their leadership skills to help the community in powerful ways. One reason I became a teacher advisor is that I wanted to find a way to incorporate my passion for helping others in a meaningful way. I'm really excited about the chance to get to know students from other grade levels through StuCo!” - Linette, G4 Teacher

The mission of the SDLT is to LEARN about technology, HELP others with technology and LEAD with technology use! The Student Digital Leadership Team has nearly 80 student members across grades 3-5 and teacher advisors including Allison L, Cameron, Andrew, Sarah D, Joe, Kevin, Nick and Amy G.

Here’s why students wanted to join SDLT:

As I saw on the video, they were helping people with technology. And that’s a connection with me, because I also like helping people!- Kenny, G3 Member

I would make a good SDLT member because I love technology, know a lot about technology, and love helping people with technology.-Alan, G5 Member

I’m empathetic and like helping, and I would enjoy coming up with new creative ideas for the tech system throughout our school! - Carla, G5 Member

Grade 3 students are meeting weekly at recess to learn new Seesaw tips and tricks to share with their classes to support their portfolio reflections. Grade 4 students are creating member profiles and designing tech tip signs to show their classmates know how they can help.

In addition to making member profiles, Grade 5 SDLT students tackled their first project last week: forming a voluntary media crew who documented our amazing Dragon Day! They filmed and edited footage and created this video to share with you. This project required high levels of creativity, collaboration and resilience as they worked in pairs, learned about technology and helped one another make this video.

Huge thanks to our teacher advisors for their time, energy and support of these student leadership opportunities! We can’t wait to see all the creative and caring ways these groups lead and support our upper primary community this year!

Lab Sites are Happening in Upper Primary!

October 20, 2021

Rachel hosted a literacy lab site in her classroom the week before fall break! She has been doing work for years on incorporating the guided reading texts we have as a resource for the school for small group instruction. During the lab site she demonstrated how the texts could be used for strategy groups and Katrina modeled how to facilitate a guided reading group with students on the same instructional level. Thank you Rachel for getting lab sites started!

Lab sites are a great way to see instructional practices in action. In a lab site teachers are able to come in, observe and debrief what they have seen on specific concepts and/or strategies to be able to take ideas back into their own classroom.

If there are topics or ideas of something you or a group of teachers would like to see modeled in a classroom, feel free to reach out to a coach so we can set up a time for a lab site of interest.

Exploring Chinese Culture

September 29, 2021

Last week to celebrate the Moon Festival, Chinese Studies teachers came together and put up lanterns everywhere bringing a festive feel to the entire 8th floor! Attached to each lantern was a riddle about Chinese Culture. Students were able to explore around the hallway and rooms using their knowledge, peers and resources to answer the riddles. The riddles were differentiated to where students, no matter the level of language, could have access to be able to participate in the activity. It was such a beautiful way for students to learn more about the holiday and explore Chinese history.

Take a look at the video clip above to hear more about the experience.

Digging into Collaboration

September 8, 2021

Who knew that worm farms could bring people together! Several grade 3 and 5 teachers have partnered their classes to build community, spur curiosity, and engage students in sustainable practices around composting and gardening. Students will explore key science concepts of life cycles and traits, as well as cycling of matter in an ecosystem through their worm farm partnerships. Some teaching partners are using passion projects as another opportunity for their students to collaborate, inquire, and explore together. There are so many possibilities for these partnerships to grow and flourish beyond the classroom and we are excited to see the positive impact on both student and teacher learning. Check out the video below to hear more from your colleagues and UP students.

Cam and Sarah, Ged & Brian, Joe & Allison S., and Erik & Dan have partnered up with worm farms and or passion projects and Jesse, Michelle and Dillon have farms and are open to having partners as well. Contact Wendy if you are interested in digging into this collaboration.

We can’t wait to see what other creative ways Upper Primary can build community across grade levels through engaging learning experiences! If you need support getting connected or thinking through your ideas, the coaching team is happy to help.

Where are we going?

August 25, 2021

Ben, Genta, and Kristi chatted with the coaching team, reflecting on our school’s work from 2020-21 and shared their thoughts.

Looking back:

  • Teams felt empowered and invested in their goals and engaged in meaningful work that was directly connected to UP and schoolwide goals.

  • Faculty demonstrated their professionalism as well as willingness to be risk-takers and vulnerable as they shared their expertise and experiences through professional learning sessions.

  • Through all of the adversities and challenges we encountered during 2020-21, our faculty modeled the dispositions of creativity, collaboration, and resilience (TTGs).

Looking forward:

We are in a really good place to…...

  • build more capacity for continued teacher autonomy and agency.

  • explore student empowerment, voice, and leadership to put students at the center of UP.

  • continue goal setting and reflections with students around creativity, collaboration, and resilience (TTGs).

Our coaching team is excited to partner with you this year to continue to grow our strong culture of learning in the Upper Primary!

Check out this entertaining ​​movie montage showing the many roles instructional coaches can have as they collaborate with teachers and administrators.

Stories from 2020-2021

UP End of Year Goals Celebration

May 28, 2021

On Thursday, May 20, 2021, Upper Primary teachers gathered to celebrate all the learning and hard work put in over the course of the year. A tremendous amount of work went into setting team goals and working collaboratively towards those goals. Teams grew individually and collectively, and there was such positive growth thanks to the connection to divisional and school-wide goals as well as a united focus within teams in specific relevant goals. The impact was seen and felt in professional practice and student learning.

We can't wait to see what will be accomplished in the new school year!

Link to Upper Primary Divisional and Team Goals

Influencing Teaching Practice: Teachers Teaching Teachers

May 12, 2021

Influencing Teaching Practice: Teachers Teaching Teachers

"When respected peers teach something they are obviously excited about, it generates excitement throughout the entire staff."

-Education World

In April, many teachers were fortunate to have a GLM opportunity to learn from their colleagues. Jesse Meyer and Beth Karnitz shared their excitement around feedback and student choice in math class.

Empowering Students Through Positive Feedback

A blog post by Dan Meyer inspired Jesse to think more deeply about mistakes versus errors and how the kind of feedback we give students can help students grow more independently.

The Grade 3 team used a “proficiency feedback model” to practice new ways to help students think about their errors in order to self-correct, to develop conceptual understanding, and save teachers time.

Teachers wrestled with the idea of errors vs mistakes and how knowing the difference allows for powerful feedback.

If teachers look for student thinking and understanding, they might redirect learners to further figuring out rather than reteaching. Below are a couple of samples to illustrate the idea:

This form of feedback helps students analyze whether or not they made a mistake or error, which then gives them a chance to deepen their understanding of skills or concepts independently. Often, re-teaching is not even required.

When students have answered questions correctly, one checkmark will suffice. Time saver!

Students in the Driver's Seat in Math Class

Beth began this year at HKIS wondering how best to meet the diverse learning needs of students in her math classroom. After wrestling with a few models of differentiation, she came to a realization: I want my students to make their learning visible to me…....What if I make my teaching visible to them? From there a new approach took hold.

Both 4th and 5th grade teachers had the opportunity to hear about Beth’s journey in math teaching and learning this year.

Beth shared the idea that allowing students to make decisions about where they are in their learning and offering choice would enable them to move at their own pace, incentivise independence, and motivate all.

^Knowing that....

Beth had students begin with their Unit Screener and learning target for the day (each day) to identify their next steps.

Students made decisions about their starting places, knowing the model was fluid and they could move freely from stage to stage during each class.

Students looked to the teacher lesson guide slide to find daily resources and took unit checkpoints when they felt ready.

After some initial time with this process of teaching and learning, students in Beth’s classroom easily made decisions about their learning on a daily basis. Assessment scores increased for students who received regular direct teaching and these students shared a strong sense of ownership over their learning. Those working more often independently continued to show solid understanding of skills & concepts, and appreciated the independence and trust they were able to show as they worked to extend their learning.

Thank you to Jesse and Beth for your willingness and excitement for sharing your learning and teaching practices with your colleagues. We are blessed to have such a highly-skilled, passionate, professional teaching team here at HKIS. There is always so much positive feedback from teachers when learning from one another. Check out the article at the end of this newsletter with more creative ways to share your thinking with others!

Operation Extraordinary

A collaboration between Art and Science

April 28, 2021

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One of the really important things to me, in my role as an art teacher, is to help students to see Art (the Arts) as a lens to explore and better understand the world around them. To find the extraordinary in the ordinary, to notice the things we are often too busy to see. So I have sought ways to integrate with other subject areas and create opportunities to connect students' learning in art to other content areas.

Our 3rd grade project 'operation extraordinary' was a collaborative effort for teachers and students with planning, coordinating, creating and reflecting! After some initial brainstorming with the coaches and grade level teachers, we began to develop plans to integrate a sculptural art project into a Grade 3 science unit. We set it up so that students would first have their science investigations in the STEM lab, dissecting plants and identifying key steps and in life cycles and pollination and then transfer that knowledge to their sculptural art projects.

Utilizing our entire innovation wing, students brought their new knowledge gathered from discoveries in the science lab,and started their collaborative sculpture project plans in the art room by designing their flower sculptures to include the important parts they had identified. Two classes were responsible for the pollinators, focusing on the anatomy of a flying insect, and it's design as a pollinator. After selecting and finalizing their group designs they visited the garage to create a wire framework, covering this with tissue and glue. It was a chaotic, messy and fun couple of weeks in our wing!

Finally, students brought their pieces back to the art room where they painted them, careful consideration again going into the design of their flowers so that petals were arranged with a repeating pattern. They were finally arranged and assembled to create the final colourful and vibrant and large scale models. I really wanted to display them in a unique and immersive way, so the art team installed them outside the library as a forest of flowers and pollinators flying about the space to engage and invite questions and wonderings from viewers. With Dustin's help we created a virtual tour using a 360 camera and shared the learning with the community through this video. It was such an engaging and memorable experience for students and teachers! I look forward to more and more of these cross-curricular learning experiences in the Upper Primary moving forward!

Please enjoy our 360 virtual tour of operation extraordinary - click on the icons to take a close look.

Read Aloud Revolution

April 14, 2021

A group of teachers met for the “Read Aloud Revolution” before break to have organic conversations about representation and explore literature written by own voice authors featuring diverse characters. It was an opportunity for teachers to familiarize themselves with picture books with the goal of understanding the importance for reading culture, student identity, and global understanding.

This idea about changing the way we present and represent literature to students sparked during some conversations about books at the beginning of the year with Dillon, Sarah Deaver, MaryAnn and Amy Robinson. They wanted to find a way to bring current, diverse books into the hands of children with which students could identify.

Dillon and Sarah have begun this work in their own classrooms and shared out their experience and resources with the teachers who joined the session.

If you missed the last session we invite you to join us next time:

April 26th - Suggested read alouds on controversial topics

May 17th - Suggested read alouds to start the year

It's Phenomenal!

April 1, 2021

After the Level 1 NGSS Workshop, the grade 4 team jumped right in to using phenomena routines in their classrooms as a key element of their new Earth Rocks unit. Students’ questions and sense-making have been made public in their classrooms and teachers have been excited about the process and the collaboration with colleagues. By centering instructional practices on a phenomenon that sparks students’ curiosity and then guidinging them along a path of inquiry, the classroom shifts to a place where students are “figuring out” rather than “learning about”.

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Here are a few reflections about the process from members of the 4th grade team.

Having the opportunity to learn and practice the phenomena routine at our NGSS Level 1 workshop was a practice-changing experience. The actual document that outlines the order and potential questions has become an important tool for me to use when planning lessons and next steps. Using the routine feels organic and student-driven. I can see an increased level of engagement when I use the components of the routine on a regular basis.

After the PD I felt excited to try it out... and it has been phenomenal! Wendy gave me advice: "Try it out this year - see what works"... this has been the best advice as some parts of the routine worked well and some things I tried didn't go as planned and I will change it slightly next year. The engagement from students was high. Many of my students mentioned how they look forward to science and how they are enjoying the unit.

The fourth-grade team jumped right in with the phenomena routine. It was great to see other teachers try it first and then get ideas from them. We often popped into each other's classrooms to see what successes they have had and what they found challenging. It was great to have conversations across the grade. Would be great to have kids collaborate across the grade!

Introducing the unit with a phenomenon has been a powerful way to get the students thinking about science in the natural world. It has resulted in a much more student-centered approach. Students are asking more questions as they attempt to make sense of the phenomenon.

The detailed look at the NGSS philosophy is imperative for anyone teaching science at HKIS. It's a very different perspective from simply having engaging activities.

Here are a few suggestions for getting started using the phenomena routine from members of the 4th grade team.

Use the Level 1 training experience as a guide. Also, the Phenomena Routine Google Document has now become a "starred" file in my Drive. Finally, you learn best from just getting started and trying something...and making sure to share and reflect with teammates.

I would say: Just try it! You will learn through the process.

If you’d like to chat with a G4 teacher or visit some of the classroom displays to learn more about getting started with using the phenomena routine, contact one of the coaches and we’ll get you connected.

Learning from Each Other: Sharing Assessment Practices

UP Faculty Meeting March 11, 2021

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Our amazing UP teachers offered 12 professional learning sessions at our March 11 faculty meeting focused on assessment practices. It was a positive, empowering experience for all, generated lots of excitement, and many teachers wished they could have attended more sessions.

Check out some participant takeaways from the sessions:

  • How empowering students to teach can impact them in other ways, such as helping them with empathy, gaining confidence.

  • Instead of only focusing students on reflecting on what they learned, they should also reflect on how they learned.

  • The interconnectedness of our identity specifically to assessment--something that seems so obvious but not one I had deeply considered before. I have tried being mindful of feedback but perhaps it's the actual assessment I need to reconsider.

  • The importance of "outsourcing" our learners to provide feedback to one another helps them be more reflective on their own learning.

  • How to respond to student's "mistakes" vs "errors".

  • It was interesting to see how the learning support assessments support what we do in class.

  • Math is fun! And this activity lets you do and see so much : assessment, collaboration, practices, skills.

  • Loved the updated version of "I do, we do, you do" - getting kids to see that they can decide if they want to be independent and/or a leader in their thinking was a meaningful shift.

  • A few ways to engage the students with Pear Deck, such as mind map and polling.

  • I appreciated seeing the examples across multiple contexts and that there isn't one "right way" to do this. I loved seeing the thinking and work of the students in the hallway connected directly to the EQ and supporting questions.

  • The video self-reflection is a great way for the kids to talk about their learning pathway.

And here are some reflections from our presenters on their experience:

  • Chatting about how others have tried/used a similar approach is uplifting. Hearing how they might adapt for themselves helps to refresh my own thinking. And questions help give me ideas for renewal or revision. Overall, a very positive opportunity.

  • It gave me an opportunity to reflect upon my own practices and hear ideas I hadn't considered.

  • I think learning from my colleagues was very valuable - gathering ideas to add to my “toolbox” was great. We often don’t have the time to get together in various grades.

  • Sharing amongst colleagues is powerful and benefits everyone involved.

We would love to have these sessions regularly in the Upper Primary as a powerful professional learning experience. Unsure about presenting? Here are some words of encouragement from our presenters:

  • Every teacher who has been hired at HKIS has something interesting to share with his or her colleagues. Think about a teaching practice or aspect of your philosophy that makes you feel most proud. If it makes you feel proud, your colleagues will be interested in hearing about it as well.

  • Give it a go! As a "learner," I've always found these to be the most meaningful PD I attend and am in awe of the passion of my peers.

  • If you are passionate about something you are doing in your classroom / with your students and you think it will have a positive effect on student learning, please share. The more we learn from each other, the more it will benefit the students. It will have a trickle down effect. Also, the UP members were very supportive. This made it easier.

  • There is so much knowledge, creativity and expertise amongst our faculty and I would recommend the 'Ideas Collective' style of presentation to anyone who was feeling daunted or hesitant to have to make a 30minute presentation.

Click Here If you’d like to read the session descriptions, get in touch with a presenter and or view shared resources

Makers in the UP

March 3, 2021

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Making, designing, and problem-solving are not skills limited to a single space in the school like the Garage. Making is happening all around the Upper Primary! In Dillon Robertson’s classroom, 4th graders have an opportunity to “Try This...” and tinker with something new weekly. Recently, they created plans for a project during a Zoom day and then brought those plans to life in the Garage and their classroom.

Allison Little’s third graders have a regular Mind Time when they can independently select a project or activity. She supported her young engineers and helped them create their very own Maker Corner in the class. Here’s what some of their students shared about making:

Why do you love making?

I love making because we get to build with our imagination and without any instructions. When I get to a problem I don’t just give up and I find a solution to it. For example, once I had a problem because the yacht was not moving with the wind so what I did was I tied the string to a clip and it was moving with wind. I didn’t even push it. I just placed it!

You can make whatever you want. You don’t have to follow any rules.You can use your creativity. You can mess up and keep trying. You have lots of things to use!

I like to focus in on making – I can clear my mind of other things. I’m not sure how to solve a problem when I am making, but by playing with it I get more ideas.

When building, we don’t give up! We figure it out with some help from a friend or friends.

Why is self-reflection so important?

February 2021

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Research shows that a combination of student self-reflection and peer review is most likely to result in deeper learning. To help students develop as independent learners who are capable of monitoring and regulating their own learning, teachers should create opportunities for them to set learning goals, engage with assessment criteria and feedback, and evaluate their progress toward those goals.

Some of our colleagues have been trying out new ways to engage students in self-reflection this year. Have a look at their process, student samples and new learning:

G5 Unit 2 Math Screener Student Sample

Using these slides has provided an opportunity for me to observe my students' ability to reflect and notice areas of success and areas for growth. I've referenced them during conferences with my students and we often follow these reflections with Personal Practice opportunities, and students are able to choose "what they need."

- Sarah Deaver

G4 Unit 5 Math Portfolio Slides

I love how well it shows a student's progression through a unit. Such a powerful reflection tool and it's informative for parents as well.

- Danielle Bedard

Bringing Guided Reading into Level Chinese

January 17, 2021

Guided Reading has been a big topic of conversation recently with the Fountas and Pinnell resources that we have here at the school. Many teachers have started to implement the practice within their classrooms even over Zoom.

The Chinese Studies team have also been piloting a new resource called Level Chinese. It is similar to the F&P Guided Reading sets in that it provides texts (digital) on a variety of levels for students learning Chinese. Teachers have used this platform as a way to gather data on their students and provide accessible texts.

Over the past couple of months, the Chinese Studies team have been delving into the program on how to incorporate guided reading using this resource. Teachers have gone through the process of identifying standards, differentiating groups, and planning for instruction to align with the books.

Melissa Shi is working alongside a small group of students as she guides them through a Chinese text. It is exciting to see guided reading groups in action all over the school!

WeDo LEGO Robotics

November 2020

Robotics combines creativity with engineering and technology resulting in students having full control to create something interactive and meaningful and fun. When learners are able to do cool stuff, they naturally want to develop more innovative features.

After attending the November Professional Learning Lab on LEGO WeDo Robotics, many teachers in grade 3 jumped on the chance to try them out with students as part of the Life Cycles and Traits unit. LEGO WeDo Robotics provides a low floor, meaning it is easy to get started with, and a high ceiling, meaning opportunities for increasingly complex explorations over time, Whether they were building and programming a pollination model, a model of a frog’s metamorphosis, or more open-ended challenges, students were developing their creativity and resilience. We look forward to seeing what students and teachers will create and program next!

Virtual Field Trips

November 2020

Students have been buzzing about the new VR Goggles across the UP division! Following an exciting Professional Learning Lab October 22 where teachers had introduction into immersive learning experiences and hands on practice using Google Expeditions to lead class tours, teachers at every grade level have been checking out the VR Goggles for their class to take engaging virtual field trips (particularly wonderful given our current Covid reality cancelling most field trips).

Mr. Holt jumped right in and took his students on a tour of Hong Kong the very next day following the PLL and word quickly spread as teachers and students began dreaming up creative curricular connections. Grade 4 teachers have been exploring religious sites of Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism, including the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple. These virtual field trips have prompted rich discussions on the question "if God is everywhere, why do people visit places of worship?".

Grade 5 have been exploring immigration and why people chose to leave their home for a new country. Their virtual field trips have taken them to visit Ellis Island in New York USA and Angel Island in California; two key immigration entry points for the US. These case studies have provided eye opening insights on the immigration process and a look into the realities of immigrating to the US.

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Team Goal Setting

October 2020

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During the month of October, teams in the Upper Primary went through a collaborative process of Goal Setting Protocol facilitated by the coaching team. Each time spent time reflecting on specific ways they could support the UP divisional goal focusing on assessment. After reviewing the AGR and UP Divisional Goal documents, teachers brainstormed areas of focus for the goal. Placing them on sentence strips and placing them on the wall, they formed groupings based on similarities and connections. Each teacher placed dots to allow the top priorities to visibly surface and then crafted their team goal. Teachers worked in small groups and with team leaders to determine measurements of success, action steps, measurement tools and check in dates to track follow progress throughout the year. The goal setting meetings were full of rich conversations and professional growth.