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Elementary News: June 5

posted Jun 4, 2015, 10:18 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 10, 2015, 12:23 PM ]
Dear Parents,

As we enter the final days, just a few things to share from this week in the form of photos and a couple of wonderful animations from the tech classes. There is more on the last few days below, plus some important updates....


1. Moving to Semesters in 2015-16 School Year: This is a message from Alan Knobloch, Brad Bell and myself regarding a change in the ISD reporting periods for next year:

Following an extensive internal review of our reporting processes involving the faculty from Elementary and Secondary schools, the decision has been made to move from trimesters to semesters. With any change, we look at how this will benefit the students, and while this will not have an impact on the curriculum presented, it will certainly add value to the accuracy of our reporting; this in turn improves our ability to plan for academic growth. Next year, both Elementary and Secondary families will receive a midterm report in October, followed by a full report card at the end of the semester. In March, the children will take home another mid-term report, and at the end of the school year another full report card. This is a most common form of reporting in international schools like ISD.

One reason that so many international schools use semesters rather than trimesters is that this system allows for more time to accrue before the initial main report; this gives students more time to show us what they know before a major report. In addition, our community contains families who often leave mid-term; with semesters they will always have a recent set of grades for their new schools and the set mid-year will also be more current for families transitioning mid-year. Moving to semesters will not affect the After School Activities program, or the athletic/sports calendar, as these will take place for the same blocks of time as they do this year.

With regard the Elementary School, we have also just completed an extensive rewrite of the report cards, which we will share at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, and the grades will far better reflect the standards to which we align curriculum. 

This is what ISD’s reporting will look like in 2015-16:

We look forward to this increase in reporting as we continue to develop how we communicate student progress to parents.

2. Summer Camp: We are now full for the first week, and there are a few places left for the second week. Ms. Linda and her team are very excited to get goiung, and we are sure it'll be a lot of fun, as it has been the last two years. 

3. Bedtime Math: One way of countering the oft-spoken about summer slide is a site called Bedtime Mathwww.bedtimemath.org is a site that e-mails parents a daily math problem with three levels of questions: wee ones, little ones, and big ones. The questions all refer to the same story and get progressively more challenging. It's fun, and I encourage you to add it to your summer routines.

4. Snakes: Ms. Wolff has been working with the 3rd grade on snakes - we hope you also enjoyed them at the Concert two weeks ago:


5. Animations: Ms. Chantal has been working with 3C and 2S to produce some very cool animations. One of the great things about these videos is that the production stretches the younger children to think about how they present their knowledge. When we get the kids "thinking about their thinking" we call that meta-cognition, and it is very powerful:

2S sharing a plant's life cycle:

2S Plant Life Cycle

3D sharing their knowledge about landforms:

3D Landforms

6. Report Cards As I mention at this time each year, we do have an attendance policy that also relates to report cards. It states that: 

Elementary School students must have at least 80% attendance for a trimester to earn a full report. Less than 80% attendance will gain a “narrative only” report. No reports will be given for a student attending less than 40% of a trimester’s classes.

This is because, as with MS and HS students, we need a certain level of attendance to calculate and ascertain grades for the report card. There will be a letter of explanation in those report cards concerned. In addition, we do not give out report cards before June 10; they take a long time to compile and are not printed until the year's end. If a child is not in attendance on that day, they will be mailed if a forwarding address is given, or scanned and emailed. Copies are always kept on file in the office. We only give report cards to parents who have no unpaid bills or lost library books accounted for.

7. Waawzers: One last time with the current lineup:

8. Parent Book Group: Please consider joining the parent book group next year. Led by Pam Pelliccia, ES Counselor, the group meets from 8:30 to 9:30am for 3 meetings. We hope to read two books next year. The first book group will meet in September, October & November and then the second book group in January, February March. Here are the books chosen for the parent book group. You may join one or both groups. If you are interested in joining the group, please consider purchasing your books over the summer vacation: 

Group 1: Brain Child:  How Smart Parents Make Smart Kids, by Tony Buzan (Recommended by an ISD Parent)

9. Paper Airplane Contest: Thanks for the many many entrants, I hope you had fun. Thanks to Mr. Guillaume and helpers for organizing! Here are the Gr 3-5's with their second of three "distance: throws. If you want to find out how to make a plane that covers the length of the gym, speak to Mr. Aaron Robson:

Paper Airplane Contest

10. Pre-K 3 Teddy Bear's Picnic: Fun when the children brought in their animals for some role-play!

Teddy Bears Picnic

11. KG Robo-Expo: The KG shared their wonderful new benches for the playground (they painted them!), their enviro-robots and their ideas for new playgrounds with their parents:

Benches, Robo-Expo and playground Design

12. Gr 2 & 3 Francophone Visits Ouakem School: Our Francophone class delivered some books to one of our neighboring schools: 

13. Library Book Returns: Please do check your homes for any hidden library books. The library closes for business Monday, June 8.

14. Transitions NoteMany of our children's sense of home may be very different to ours as we grew up; they may be in a second country and also a different educational system to their home country. Your children may be part of a group that some term "3rd culture children", and this may be something you have thought of in the past. Here are a few sites that you might find interesting: It's about helping kids thrive during transitions.  I plan to include the website in the revised brochure I hand out next year (this year's has already been distributed): http://www.thecultureblend.com/?p=1056   

And then there is this one about expats left behind: http://www.thecultureblend.com/?p=1482

Here are two other links you may find useful that I have shared previously:  

TCKWorld.com     Interactionintl.org     http://www.ori-and-ricki.net/ (this one is also for kids)

Upcoming Events:

- June 8: Gr 3-12 Sports Awards
- June 10: ES Farewell Assembly
- June 10: 12:00 Dismissal
- June 11: Faculty Work Day

Ian Clark

Ian Clark Ed.D.

Elementary School Principal

International School of Dakar