ISY Elementary School Faculty Blog

Hello Quarter 2!

Mike Simpson

November 6, 2020

How to function in times of uncertainty

Your brain hates uncertainty. But the good news is that you can do something to get to the other side of ambiguity (at least for a little while).

I found this article useful and I thought I would share it with you all. And I have a Magic 8 Ball which I also find useful in times like these. You are all welcome to borrow it at any time.

I hope you’ve had a good week and are looking forward to getting started on our new units. Thank you for all the work you have put into these. I’m looking forward to seeing how they take shape over the next few weeks.

Lifelong Learners

At ISY, we have three ISY Learner Outcomes. We want all of our students to leave ISY as:

  1. Compassionate Global Citizens
  2. Lifelong Learners 
  3. Agents for Positive Change

Over the break I was thinking and reading about what it means to be a lifelong learner. Yuval Noah Harari’s books are excellent if you’re thinking about what the future might hold and how you might need to adapt to it. 

In Homo Deus, he wrote:

‘Traditionally, life has been divided into two main parts; a period of learning followed by a period of working. Very soon this traditional model will become utterly obsolete, and the only way for humans to stay in the game will be to keep learning throughout their lives, and to reinvent themselves repeatedly. Many if not most humans may be unable to do so.’

In 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, he wrote:

‘To survive and flourish in such a world, you will need a lot of mental flexibility and great reserves of emotional balance. You will have to repeatedly let go of some of what you know best, and feel at homewith the unknown. Unfortunately, teaching kids to embrace the unknown and to keep their mental balance is far more difficult than teaching them an equation in physics or the First World War.’

No-one wants to be learning online. As hard as we try and as good a job as we do, we all worry that our children are missing out on something. But these two quotes got me thinking that maybe we should stop worrying about what they might be missing and start valuing what we know that they are certainly getting – an education in ‘embracing the unknown.’ 

Every day, our Elementary School students see their families and teachers struggling to learn new skills, thinking of ways to overcome unexpected challenges, and adapting to meet them, all the while trying to ‘keep their mental balance.’ 

Never before have our children had such an insight into what it means to be a lifelong learner. It means being able to struggle, think, adapt and keep your head so you can apply what you know to whatever life throws at you.

It is strange to think that our children might be better for this experience if we keep struggling, thinking, and adapting with them. But if we want to develop lifelong learners, this is the time to do it!

QUARTER 1 REPORTS & PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES

Quarter 1 Reports

We are all on target for getting these to parents on Friday, November 13

Common Subject Comments are all good to go. Homeroom teachers, if you have not already, please get someone on your team to proofread / give feedback on your personalized comments and complete your grades on this spreadsheet. I will read these over the weekend but from what I have glanced at they read very well.

I will follow up with an email early next week with instructions as to how to put the comments and grades into the template on Powerschool.

Parent Teacher Conferences

These will be on Thursday, November 19. There will be no classes on this day.

Christina, Anshu, and I (well, Anshu mainly!) have been playing around with different ways for parents to sign up for conferences and we have purchased an extension for Powerschool which does not require much work on your part to set up. We will have parents sign up from Friday, November and I will follow up with an email early next week as to what you need to do. 

Parents will sign up for 15 minute conferences.

 

PLANNING FOR QUARTER 2: PROSPERITY

We won’t have those larger group meetings this week. Instead, please work within your grade level teams to focus on getting the unit up and running and getting into a routine of providing your CLO teacher with what they need.

Team leaders, please invite me and your CLO teachers to your grade level meetings.

SPIRIT WEEK

Next week is Chinthe Spirit Week! This is a schoolwide event and we have the following fun themes for each day:
  • Monday: Costume / Character Day – dress like your favorite character from a book, movie, game, in a fun costume, anything!
  • Tuesday: Crazy Hat Day
  • Wednesday: Dress Like A Teacher Day
  • Thursday: Crazy Hair Day
  • Friday: Chinthe Spirit Day – dress in ISY Chinthe colors

    NEW QUARTER 2 SCHEDULE – Starts this Monday, November 9

    Music & Art
    To make Music and Art classes more manageable and to ensure that every homeroom class gets one special per day, we have a new Quarter Schedule. The main change is that each Grade 1-5 homeroom class will get separate Art and Music classes plus one whole grade level class. To make this work, we have split the Quarter into 2 halves. In one half, students will have only Art (no Music) and in the other half, students will have only Music (no Art). Other specialist classes are not affected. Your team leaders know about this and will be able to help you understand these schedules:
    Morning Fitness with Zar Li
    As a morning addition, our very own Mr. Myanmar, Zar Li, will be offering 15 minute physical exercise sessions from 8:10am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. These sessions will finish in time for students to get a drink and get online for your classes at 8:30am. These sessions are in addition to regular P.E classes and anyone with the link can join including teachers. I will include a couple of sentences about this and the Zoom link in your Friday reports.

      Previous Elementary School Posts

      Elementary School Faculty Blog – March 12, 2021

      The reality of the current situation can make finding the bright side difficult. But research shows that in difficult times, it is important for our mental health to allow ourselves to acknowledge that times are difficult and to feel rather than suppress negative emotions.

      Elementary School Faculty Blog – March 5, 2021

      We have long term, yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly plans but our planning and preparation has now taken more of a day by day focus. It will therefore need to be very fluid as we plan for our students’ safety and wellbeing, connectedness, and learning.