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

Makers in the UP

March 3, 2021

Carousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel image

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

Carousel imageCarousel imageCarousel image

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.

Carousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel image

Team Goal Setting

October 2020

Carousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel image

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.