ISY Elementary Blog


Sandy Sheppard , Elementary School Principal

9th September 2022

Thank you for being here and supporting the success of our Back to School event. The parents were so happy to be on campus and in the classrooms. We will be sending a survey out to parents as a follow-up. If you have any suggestions on how we can improve this event in the future, please share. 

Next week we will begin the process of professional growth using our professional growth framework. It is exciting to be moving away from traditional evaluation cycles and to be working on our growth as educators with both administration and our colleagues.

Along with this, we do need to keep talking about reading, which is our year-long focus. Please reach out if you need support to get your reading assessments completed; they are due by the end of the month. There are lots of exciting things happening in classrooms to ensure that student’s individual needs are being met. Please keep an eye on the blog for information and tips each week. The support team will also be having conversations with you about setting up your groups to ensure all needs are met. Stacey will be visiting planning meetings. I also encourage you to reach out to your colleagues to find out what they are doing; learning from each other is so important!

Please read the policy reminders in this blog and remember duty responsibilities are in the blog each week.

Have a fabulous weekend Sandy.

“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting; they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.” Roald Dahl





Why use guided reading

Guided reading is informed by Vygotsky’s (1978) Zone of Proximal Development and Bruner’s (1986) notion of scaffolding, informed by Vygotsky’s research. The practice of guided reading is based on the belief that the optimal learning for a reader occurs when they are assisted by an educator, or expert ‘other’, to read and understand a text with clear but limited guidance. Guided reading allows students to practise and consolidate effective reading strategies.

Vygotsky was particularly interested in the ways children were challenged and extended in their learning by adults. He argued that the most successful learning occurs when children are guided by adults towards learning things that they could not attempt on their own.

When readers have the opportunity to talk, think and read their way through a text, they build up a self-extending system.

The visual is hard to read you can find it here


12th September – PD

12th -23rd September – MAP testing

12th and 17th September Teacher Assitant training from medical clinic room #208 

7th October – Security bracelets issued

10th – 14th October – Thidingyut Holiday

24th October – Use of turnstiles will begin

 26th November – International Day

END SEPTEMBER – reading assessments completed


THIS Monday, September 12:

Whole Faculty Meeting re: PROFESSIONAL GROWTH PLANS from 2:45pm in the Cafeteria

Our Professional Growth Plan (PGP) Framework will be confirmed and explained.

NEXT Monday, September 19:

Grade Level Curriculum Review Meetings from 2:45pm

These curriculum review meetings serve two purposes:

  1. Sharing of ideas between teachers.
  2. Gathering information to inform our Continuous Curriculum Review.

We will meet in the grade level groups below to reflect on Service Learning, Environmental Consciousness and Culture and Diversity- how these strategic themes are being implemented and what do we want to work on?

Grade Level Room Teachers
PK-KG Ruth’s Room A102 Ruth (facilitator), Vickie, Zarchi, John.
1-5 Beth’s Room A301 Beth, Sabine, Ian, Isabel, Laura, Charlie, Dan, Brett, Bekka, Patty, Jono, Zin Wint Phyu, LuAnn, Sandy (facilitator).
6-8 Danny’s Room 405W Seba, Sean, Drew, Nick, Sara, Danny, Tom, Samia, Rosita, Nway, Stacey (facilitator).
9-10 Frank’s Room D203 Frank, Sahana, Michael R, Heather, Rentia, Dorin, Yin Mon, Graeme, Sid, Steven, Leah, Mick, Michael H, Christina (facilitator). Cassie, Ghavin, Heather, and Florent will also join as IB teachers as part of this group’s meeting will discuss connections to CAS.


  • There will be a new TV screen placed on the 3rd floor. There will also be a bird box placed with a video inside so that birds’ nesting can be viewed. Along with this the TV can be used for announcements and promoting our strategic themes.

  • Bracelets will be distributed on the 7th of October to students for turnstile use. The turnstiles will be activated again on the 24th of October. For students in Grades 2-5, they can also be used for cashless payments at the food providers. Training will be scheduled. 


    We will be starting a rotation of events that will occur on Fridays from 1:00-1:40. These may be events associated with a special day, e.g. Earth Day, or they may be an assembly or a class challenge. The first event will be an assembly, and this will be on the 23rd of September.


Attending support meetings has made us  think about two things:

The first is the language we use when students have support.  For EAL, we would like this class to be referred to as World Languages – English. We believe this puts the class in a more positive frame.

Secondly, we need to continue to really focus on student’s strengths and passions. If we can find the student’s strengths and passion, then we can highlight these and really help a student feel positive about their abilities. Sometimes to focus on strengths and passion, we need to think outside of our normal classroom routines. Along with the support team, I am happy to have conversations around any students and how we can support them with their strengths and their passion.


ROOM #203

PLEASE – put the books returned in the large brown basket so that they can be put away correctly.

Math and Literacy resources and guided readers can be placed back where they were taken from. If you need help finding books for units, please send me an email. I can easily assist in finding books from either #203 or #305.

ROOM #305

The Science resource room is ready. There are books in this room that may be useful for your units. There are some materials in this room as well.

Books on topics such as:

Water                                  Bees

Environment                     Plants/Trees

Landforms                         Ocean

Space                                   Forces/Motion

Animals                              Energy

Birds                                   Senses

Weather/Storms              Natural Disasters

Immune System               Seasons

Human Body                     Food Chain

Life Cycles                          Rock, Soil, Fossils

Machines                            Reptiles

etc, etc, etc


If you cannot find what you are looking for, you should email the office. They can then contact the science assistant. We have a large Science store room in the SS building, where all the other resources live.


Monday’s are ‘Monday Math Challenge Day’ There will be a Math question posted outside my office for the first break; students can answer the challenge on the sheet provided. 

When at recess, the students should use the bathrooms closest to the playground, which are on the ground level of the A Building (not the Gymnasium or swimming pool bathrooms)


There will be two lunchtime activities for Grades 4 and 5 starting this week that students can sign up for; please remind students to only sign up if they are serious about committing to the activity for this semester. Sign up in the ES Office:
  • Book club on Thursdays at 12:20 – this book club will be to focus on books that are related to the UN Sustainable Goals. Those involved will read, review and share books with others. Those signing up should be prepared to read a variety of books and to write and share reviews (there is room for 10 – 12 students to sign up)
  • Mini Chinthe Roar on Tuesdays at 12:20 – this activity will help spread awareness of environmentally conscious activities and news.  Those wanting to sign up should be prepared to be videoed speaking for the tv screens (there is room for 10 students to sign up for this activity).

Social Studies: Using Core Knowledge as a launching pad to learn about other cultures – especially Myanmar culture. (Mike S)

Now that we are starting to get into our Quarter 1 units, I am starting to get more emails about planning and wanting to talk through ideas. The more emails, the better. I love hearing about what you are doing in class and am more than happy to help in any way I can.

I have had a couple of emails about Social Studies and specifically around how to use the grade level content from Core Knowledge. 

Core Knowledge provides a good spread of different cultures, and because the content is organized in grade levels, students will be exposed to different cultures as they move through the grades.

Core Knowledge provides a lot of content, and it is unrealistic to try to cover all content assigned to a grade level. Instead, consider your purpose for a Quarter (standards, SDGs, enduring understandings, or interdisciplinary concepts) and select the content that best helps teach that purpose. 

One of our strategic themes is Culture and Diversity, and we really want to integrate our students’ own cultures and especially the culture of Myanmar, into our Social Studies lessons. We can do this in an authentic way by using Core Knowledge as a launching pad for students to connect to their own cultures and Myanmar culture.

The connections the students make between two cultures strengthens their understanding of both cultures. Connections can be made around the purpose of the Quarter (standards, SDGs, enduring understandings, or interdisciplinary concepts).

For example, Core Knowledge about the Ancient Egyptians and the Nile is a great launching pad for students to explore the importance of the Irawaddy to Myanmar and the importance of other rivers to other countries our students come from. Using Core Knowledge as a launching pad in this way is a great way to have every child’s culture represented in the curriculum. And having the expertise and knowledge of our Myanmar colleagues available during the planning process will ensure that Myanmar culture is integrated into our Social Studies lessons.

I hope this makes sense. This would be much better shared in person, and I’m happy to jump online if you want to talk through any of this. Here is an old blog post about learning about to learn from that makes a similar point.


There is a new duty schedule which reduces all teacher’s duties from Grades 2-5. I would like to try it for one week to see if it works better. Please review the new duty schedule below; your duty may have changed. If you have questions or want to swap, let me know. NOTE – you may be called upon to cover duties for absences.

Monday – Ian/Saw John, Tuesday – Bekka/May Zin, Wednesday – Jono/Me Me, Thursday – Charlie, Swe Zin, Friday – Isabel, Ei Ei


FYI – there is a report that comes out once a week that gives information on paper usage in the school. As a school, we are trying to reduce the use of paper wherever we can as part of our strategic goal of being environmentally conscious.


We do have a dress code at school for teachers. Professional dress is important. See below

 Faculty Dress

The International School Yangon (ISY) is judged by the appearance of its students and faculty (both inside and outside the institution). ISY is considered a professional environment and care should be taken with regards to clothing and attire worn on campus.  Jeans, shorts, Hawaiian-print shirts, and t-shirts are examples of clothing considered too casual for the environment at ISY. Care should be taken in the choice of attire to ensure discernment from the students. 

Physical Education Teachers and Coaches may wear athletic attire appropriate to execute their job effectively within the parameters of taste, appropriate length, and comfort taken into consideration.

Coaches are expected to wear ISY branded clothing when representing the school at sporting events.

We also have a gift policy; it is important to update yourself on this, especially before the holidays, which is the time a lot of gifts are given. See. below


ISY strives to create an atmosphere where all persons are treated equally and fairly with no preference to any individual or organization. Faculty have a responsibility to support this goal by being mindful of conflicts of interests relating to their employment. Faculty should not seek or suggest any personal payment, gift or benefit (including personal discounts) from students, parents or vendors associated with ISY. 

Faculty and staff may accept gifts or gifts in kind up to $75. Gifts beyond this amount must be donated or returned /refused. Failure to adhere to this procedure may result in disciplinary action.

Employees of ISY are not permitted to accept tips while performing work related services. Faculty members should refrain from offering tips to ISY support staff. 

Large expressions of gratitude to individuals or groups of individuals for work related services needs to have prior approval from the Leadership Team. 


If you cannot do your duty, please arrange to swap with someone or let the office know. They will arrange cover.

If you know in advance that you are going to be absent, let me know so that I can look at the cover.



We will be starting a rotation of events that will occur on Friday afternoons (time to be decided). These may be events associated with a special day, e.g. Earth Day, or they may be an assembly or a class challenge. The first event will be an assembly, and this will be on the 23rd of September.

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