1 Issue #02 THE BRITISH SCHOOL OF NANJING DOCENDO DISCIMUS The British School of Nanjing a newsletter for parents, students and friends of our school SEPTEMBER 2013 Leadership Shared Welcome to this September issue of our British School newsletter Whats Inside? Pre-Nursery have a lot to learn. Year One Measure Up. Middle School undertake new historical enquiries! Plus much, much more! 3C India Assembly For more stories including news and events, please visit our website on
2 2 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER contents featured 03 Head s Message 06 Nursery: We are Family 10 Year 2C: Traditional Tales 16 Year Four Learn new Skills 23 Maths: Space & Shape 28 EAL: Learn In Different Ways 32 Art: Personal Portraits 34 UN Day Notice
3 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER 3 from the headmaster Dear Readers, Welcome to this September issue of our British School newsletter; the first full month of our academic year has passed and our first holiday is upon us. With over two hundred students the British School continues to grow and develop. Leadership of the British School of Nanjing has always been a teameffort with the Senior Management Team including representation from each Key Stage. However, this year the teamwork has spread wider with many staff taking on additional responsibilities alongside their teaching. From scouring websites to find out what s on in Nanjing and sharing the info with staff planning trips to ensuring break times are both fun and safe for our students, there is wonderfully shared sense of responsibility at BSN. Two new roles in particular stand out: Rebecca Taylor, Head of Languages, adds Student Support coordinator to her portfolio and Sonia Bradley, Year 5 Class teacher, ensures we keep looking at ways to push our most able students by taking on the role of Gifted and Talented co-ordinator. From enrichment programs for individual students to strategies to develop thinking skills (such as those Mr. Crook writes about in this issue), Mrs. Bradley will be sharing her experience across the school. Along with Ms. Taylor, Mrs. Bradley will be ensuring all our students live up to their potential!
4 4 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER Pre-Nursery News Lots To Learn BY KERAN JDALI CLASS TEACHER It has been wonderful to see how well the children have started to settle into our new classroom. The children are learning to put their bags into their own lockers, finding the correct basket to put their school folder into and also finding their name card and placing it into the basket. A lot to remember at their age!! We have spent the last few weeks introducing and reinforcing our classroom routines and have been encouraging the children to say good morning and goodbye to the teachers. The children have enjoyed playing on the interactive white board, our role-play Café area; and, in particular, rolling and cutting out shapes using play dough. For the last few weeks, the children have been learning All About Me. They have painted self-portraits, done some hand printing and printed into foam. We have shared family photos and learnt to name different parts of our body. Ms Judy has been singing and playing introduction games with the children in Chinese too, whilst reinforcing our topic learning by singing Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in Chinese. I would like to say a big well done to the children in Pre- Nursery for making such a positive start to the year!
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7 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER 7 Nursery News We Are Family! BY RAJ GILL FOUNDATION STAGE LEADER In Nursery the children have been learning how important families are. They have been discussing what kind of activities they like to do with their families - going to the cinema, going out to the restaurant for dinner, playing at the park, reading stories together etc. The children also talked about where they go on holiday together, how they like to travel and how families help each other; they also counted how many people are in their family. The children made some amazing family finger puppets, played hunt for the family members around the classroom (a bit like a treasure hunt!), carefully cut out chain families and played people in my family card games. They also painted pictures of their families, played the safely home game using a teddy bear to get home safely and made a family home collage. Well done everyone - you have been working hard and having fun with your families!
8 8 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER Reception News THE RAINBOW FISH BY ADELINE SUTHERLAND DEPUTY HEAD The children in our Reception class have been very busy with their learning, covering a range of topics in the past six weeks. We started the term with our All About Me topic, which covered a range of roleplay, speaking and listening activities. The children were thoroughly engaged in making new friends and learning about their families. They were able to indicate on a collage all the people that lived in their house and shared their collage with their new friends. Alongside this topic we focused on our class and school routines and leaning all about good sharing through participating in a range of activities based on the story The Rainbow Fish. The children thoroughly enjoyed cutting and sticking colourful and shiny scales on their own fish, which we displayed in our classroom. They also participated in a variety of activities about Feelings, which was also based on the Rainbow Fish story. The children thoroughly enjoyed drawing feelings on their balloons and playing musical happiness. As the weeks have progressed during the term the children have been earning a lot of smiley suns for good sharing, walking feet, kind hands, inside voice and kind words. I am very proud of all the children s achievements. Well done children!
9 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER 9 Year One News Measuring up to size! BY NICOLA BIRCH CLASS TEACHER This term the children in Year 1 have been using their skills in numeracy to measure objects around the classroom. They particularly enjoyed finding out how many cubes long their feet are! The children put the results into a graph and we created a bar chart using the information. They found out that most feet in Year 1 are nine cubes long and the smallest feet are seven cubes long. The children also learnt about centimetres and metres and estimated then measured, using a metre ruler, various objects.
10 10 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER Year Two C News Traditional tales BY CLARE CANNON PRIMARY STAGE LEADER The students in Year 2C have been learning about Traditional Tales. They have explored various stories that have been handed down from one generation to another. While reading and viewing many stories they discovered that Traditional Tales have different versions, as they were often told, rather than written. The students were able to compare the setting and characters from these tales. One of the tales the students read is Three Billy Goats Gruff. During Literacy lessons they completed a variety of activities based on this tale. The children created a story map to retell the story and they interviewed the mean, hungry troll to find out what he is really like (and yes - he is mean and hungry). The students also wrote a book review to tell others their thoughts about the book. Year 2C became authors and wrote their own version of the story with a partner, creating different characters and settings. They then published this on the computer. The students performed this traditional tale for their term one assembly. Each of the students in Year 2C had a role to play as a narrator, a goat or the troll. They utilised the skills they had learnt during practice - how to speak slowly and clearly into a microphone and how to project their voice when not using a microphone. All of the students performed with dazzle and flair, transporting the audience to the scene of a field of delicious green grass, guarded by a mean and hungry troll. An amazing performance and a wonderful team effort!
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12 12 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER Year Two D News Settling In BY LUKE DYER CLASS TEACHER Year 2D has settled quickly into the new academic year with inquiries into comparing Seaside Holidays of the past and present and investigating the artistic styles of Modigliani in which we created oil pastel self-portraits using similar techniques. Our self-portraits taught us a lot about symmetry, using oil pastel as a medium and how to use all of the canvas to get the greatest effect. The end results were fantastic and have really brightened up the hallway outside the classroom. English lessons have seen us delve into the genre of the explanation. We have looked at models of quality explanations, identified the key features, such as the use of technical language, and then have created both written and visual explanations about phenomena that interest us - such as how a bicycle moves or how a pen writes. Our first Science unit on Healthy Humans saw us look at what we need to make us healthy and well as the steps that we take to ensure that we stay healthy. We create posters using the ipads to give tips on the ways that we can keep healthy at school such as washing our hands after the bathroom and before we eat our snack or go to lunch. We have been making good use of the imac suite in the library. We are creating compositions using Garage Band and learning how to layer instruments when composing as well as choosing sounds that complement each other and make the track pleasant to listen to. The past few weeks have also provided the opportunity to refresh and cement our word processing skills and knowledge of how to use computers safely.
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14 14 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER Year Three News An Indian Odyssey BY TOM BIRCH CLASS TEACHER The children of Year 3 recently put on a class assembly based on their Humanities topic. We have been studying the country of India, and decided to teach the rest of the school what we have discovered so far. In our lessons, we began by finding India on a map of Asia. The children filled in the surrounding countries and their capital cities and produced some beautiful work. We then learnt about the Indian flag and what the different coloured stripes mean. A week before our assembly was due to take place Mrs Giri came in to teach us the steps of our Bollywood dance. The children split into 3 groups and learnt 6 different Authentic Indian dance steps, including the tricky triple clap jump step. After several run-throughs we were looking like a real dance troupe! Once the children had learnt their lines and made their props, we were ready to perform. The assembly began with a Q and A session on India s geography and culture. We then followed the story of Abubaker, who went to India to find a tiger. Along the way, he saw high-flying businesswomen in Mumbai, a cricket match in Chennai and an Indian safari. Abubaker also learned about the rich variety of Indian food. He finally saw his tiger from the back of a wonderful elephant (generously crafted by Mrs Squibb). Despite an untimely power cut on the morning of the performance, the assembly was a great success. Well done to the children of Year 3, and thank you parents for helping the children with their costumes and learning lines!
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16 16 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER Year Four News Learning Skills BY ROB CROOK CLASS TEACHER Alongside regular curriculum lessons, the students in Year 4 also participate in several skillsbased, daily and weekly activities. Sandwiched in between two core subjects, just before play time or even at the end of the day, these activities are great for the children to develop specific abilities for the benefit of their overall learning. In addition to their Mathematics sessions, Year 4 are also now timetabled for minutes of mental maths each day. This can consist of an objective-based game aimed at reaffirming or introducing numerical concepts, our weekly Race Around the Tables multiplication scheme or a weekly mental Maths test - a 15-question end of week verbal test which tests the students listening and thinking skills. Read Around the World is a scheme where the children are rewarded for their home reading. One reading session will earn the students 50 air dollars and a marvelous weekly reading activity can be rewarded with up to $250. Seven days of reading complete with a fantastic activity will get the student a weekly maximum total of $600 an impressive total received by couple of students so far this year. During our library sessions the children are encouraged make their own choices and select up to four books on a weekly basis. Alongside this idea of self-responsibility the children s reading is also monitored by the Year 4 teaching staff. Students ability to make good book choices, correctly produce phonics and sounds, comprehend and ask questions are all closely observed. Year 4 s weekly spellings tests happen on Monday just before lunchtime. The students are encouraged to practise their spelling words up to five times at home during the week. After the first few weeks of spelling assessments the word lists will be split into differentiated, ability-based groups. Another skills base that Year 4 are actively developing are those concerned with listening. A new listening skills activity has been recently introduced into the Year 4 timetable. During this activity the students need to demonstrate their best listening as a set of instructions are read out. These activities combine a mixture of numerical and colour-based concepts and are designed to improve attention and comprehension.
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18 18 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER Year Five News Science Day! BY SONIA BRADLEY CLASS TEACHER Friday the 27th of September was Year 5 Science Experiment day. The children had spent two weeks preparing their presentations at home. The brief was simple: Prepare an experiment to present to the class ensuring you explain the science behind the process. Whether the experiment worked or not was immaterial as long as each student could explain the procedure and speculate as to why it did or did not work. Friday morning was filled with great excitement as our budding Scientists arrived into school laden with all the weird and wonderful things required for their experiments. We had experiments on self-inflating balloons, lava lamps, a tornado in a bottle, how to make an egg float, a volcano, forces, sound, light, floating and of course, electricity generated from with a potato. The Students did a fantastic job presenting to the class and everyone learned lots about how to teach science using everyday objects. Here s an experiment you can try at home: Salty Ice Experiment - Why doesn t the ocean freeze in winter? Discover how salt can affect the properties of water with this salty ice experiment. What You ll Need: Two plastic cups, Water, Salt. Step 1: Fill two cups halfway with water. Add some salt to one of the cups and stir it up. Step 2: Place both cups in the freezer or outside if temperatures are below freezing. Step 3: Observe the cups. Which one freezes first? You ll find that the salt in the water makes it harder to freeze. This is one of the reasons why salt is used to melt ice on footpaths and streets. It s also one of the reasons why the ocean doesn t completely freeze when the weather gets cold. If you would like to read more experiments like this one you can log on to:
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20 20 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER English News Nothing Gold Can Stay BY MATTHEW BRADLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL LEADER Nothing Gold Can Stay Nature s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. By Robert Frost ( ) Students in Year Nine have been engaging with Robert Frost s poem, which they found in The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton. On first reading, they found this to be a very negative poem, dealing with our inability to hold on to life, suggesting how everything subsides, goes down or sank down. But, though there was a range of different ideas as to specific references, they felt there was clearly an element of hope in this poem. As they read it they saw an acceptance that things are not perfect but that there is hope in change, a value in accepting mortality and transience. In Frost s imagery there is a sense of the finite; in every hard-stopped line there is a sense of the finite yet, there is no poetic rant, merely a calm acceptance: Nothing gold can stay. As students noted, as we try to record every detail of life, in photographs, on camcorders, we risk missing life itself. But if we embrace loss, embrace transience then things move on and give way to other things, not necessarily better, not necessarily different, but just other things. Spring follows winter; winter follows autumn follows summer follows spring. Ferguson (1973) notes the felix culpa metaphor that: The subsidence, the sinking, the going down is, by the logic of the poem, a blessed increase if we are to follow the cycle of flower, leaf, bud, fruit, into the full life that includes loss, grief, and change. A refreshing acceptance of our humanity of ever there was one and one dissected, with simple tools of literary analysis, by the students in Year Nine. Frost and the Paradox of the Fortunate Fall. Frost: Centennial Essays. Copyright 1973 by University Press of Mississippi.
21 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER 21 History News Undertaking New Historical Enquiries BY LAURENCE SKELDING HISTORY SPECIALIST The start of the new academic year has seen the students at BSN undertaking new historical enquiries. Year 6 have been looking at the Civilisation of the Indus Valley and have finished their study by selecting which artefacts they would expect to see in a museum exhibition about this ancient people. They have now moved on to the Aztecs, where Year 6 discovered that the famous Aztec Emperor Montezuma liked to drink no less than 50 cups of chocolate each day: talk about having a sweet tooth! Year 7 have been looking at the theme of historical reliability and bias as they have studied widely different accounts of the Battle of Hastings and the death of the English King Harold at the hands of William the Conqueror. Year 7 are now looking at how William consolidated his control of England - especially with his use of castles. Year 8 have also been looking at the issues of accuracy and bias in their investigation of propaganda used by both the Royalists and Parliamentarians in the English Civil War. After investigating how the Royalists lost the decisive Battle of Naseby our Year 8 historians will turn their attention to deciding the fate of King Charles I: no doubt there will be blood! Year 9 at BSN have been looking at Twentieth Century History and began by looking at the reasons why women were finally given the vote in the United Kingdom in In their investigation, the students in Year Nine were also invited to consider whether or not the militant actions of the suffragettes succeeded in persuading the British Government to give women the vote. Year 9 are now studying the First World War a conflict which very much shaped the course of the last century. They are currently looking at wartime propaganda and how the public was persuaded to support the war or enlist in the armed forces. In History there is, however, a perennial question: Was anything as it seemed? Hopefully our historians will soon be able to come to their own conclusions.
22 22 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER ICT News Logical Structures! BY DR KARL EMMERTON SCIENCE AND ICT SPECIALIST All Year 6 to Year 10 students have been learning about the absolute necessity for devising a logical folder structure, and file naming appropriately! Both of which can be considered essential key skills that should aid them tremendously in creating and maintaining a systematic and logical filing system, to help them manage their files effectively throughout their years ahead. During the Year 6 ICT lessons we have been learning about E-safety and E-communications. During the E-safety lessons we have considered appropriate and inappropriate forms of behaviour on the internet both in and out of school; and we have critically assessed situations when too much personal information is made available on social networking sites and the like. We have also recently set-up the Year 6 students with their own BSN web-based accounts (having explained to them their responsibilities in respect of appropriate use); and we will soon, over the course of the next few weeks, be learning about etiquette and uploading and downloading attachments. The Year 7 and Year 8 students have been developing their eye for detail within their ICT lessons when working with spreadsheets, undertaking data manipulation, and inputting mathematical equations. We have also been learning to use a variety of keyboard and on-screen shortcuts to improve the efficiency of our time at the computer! The Year 9 and Year 10 students have been busy consolidating their knowledge and understanding of the range of computers in use, from Smart Phones to Mainframes, and have been analysing and producing formal documents based on specific criteria. Similarly, Year 10 students have also been undertaking both basic and advanced internet searches, whilst adhering to specific criteria; and have been learning about copyright, copying images and text (with files linking them to their urls), and advanced formatting techniques required for the publication of formal documents. Overall it has been a very busy and productive time in ICT, with all year groups. All students have been repeatedly challenged, and many students have repeatedly risen to the challenges presented; making good progress with their acquisition of ICT skills.
23 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER 23 Maths News Space and Shape! BY DAN MAZZ MATHS SPECIALIST During our maths lessons, Year Six have begun a new unit discussing shape and space by developing an understanding of area and perimeter. We are starting off focusing on quadrilaterals such as squares and rectangles and extending this to triangles and complex shapes. The students will be testing various shapes and measuring them to focus on building their understanding. The Year Seven students have also started a unit on space and shape but will be focusing on learning about 3D objects and the relationship between each face s area and the surface area.
24 24 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER Science News Complex Ideas BY RICHARD MANDS SCIENCE SPECIALIST The science department at BSN has seen big changes since last year. We have welcomed the new Year Six students to the Middle School. We have welcomed a number of new students to BSN as a whole across all of the year groups. And, we have welcomed a new science teacher, Dr Emmerton who is now teaching Year 6, Year 9 and IGCSE Chemistry. That leaves me, Mr. Mands, teaching Year 7, Year 8 and IGCSE Biology and Physics. The introduction of the IGCSE in particular has made a big difference to our experience of science at the school. We are now dealing with much more complex ideas and having to handle them in more detail. This is a big challenge for our students, but it is one they can handle with the right preparation. Since we are working to a higher level than previously, our pupils commitment to the subject needs to take a similar jump. It s not enough to just revise for a test on the night before. Pupils have to commit to revising in an ongoing manner if they are to develop the good habits they will need to be successful. Something I have spoken about many times before is the need to treat science like a new language. Each year, the vocabulary becomes more challenging and the way it is used becomes ever more subtle. I m glad to say that our pupils have made a very positive start to the year and I look forward to seeing their development between now and July.
25 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER 25 Geography News Looking For Nice Weather! BY FRED GREENALL GEOGRAPHY SPECIALIST In Geography, students in Years 7 and 8 prepared for their end of unit tests in September through a series of revision games. We created lessons on revision topics using our ipads, which were shared with peers through airserver. Hopefully, everyone s revised well at home because the test was on Friday 27th but at least Years 7 and 8 were able to have a relaxing holiday straight after. Years 6, 9 and 10 have been getting to grips with new, more demanding work as they have all reached important points in the syllabus. To help everyone along with this, we have purchased new equipment for the Geography department, including a full set of brand new atlases, a cloud machine(!); and a weather station comprising of numerous measuring devices - all we need now is some nice weather so we can get outside!
26 26 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER Languages News CHINESE: Moon Festival BY CHU LAOSHI CHINESE LANGUAGE SPECIALIST Learning a second language can be hard - especially when you are not using it on a daily basis. However, in this month all the Chinese elementary students enjoyed a cultural experience learning about the Chinese Moon Festival. The Chinese Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-autumn Festival (zhōng qiū jié), is held on the 15th of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. It s also known as the family re-union time to celebrate the coming harvest season and to worship the Moon. Just like Christmas and Thanksgiving in the West, the Moon Festival is one of the most important traditional events for Chinese people around the world. All our young learners listened to the traditional stories about the Moon Festival from the teacher, while older ones, researched and shared their discoveries by presenting the stories in front of the whole class. Little ones enjoyed the Moon Festival by doing activities such as colouring, matching words and word searches around the topic. Older ones showed great interest in the Chinese myths, legends, food and the traditional clothes. They discussed the impact from the traditions to the Chinese family systems, the festivals and even the structure of Chinese characters. It was rewarding to hear that some students said their impressions of China had been changed and refreshed afterward. Last but not least, The Chinese Team at BSN wishes everyone a very happy Chinese Moon Festival --- 中 秋 节 快 乐!
27 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER 27 Languages News GERMAN: My Country, Your Country BY ELISABETH ELLERMANN GERMAN LANGUAGE SPECIALIST The students in Year 6 have been learning to talk in German about some of the countries they are from or have visited. They started by finding a number of European countries on a map and then putting the English names with their German equivalents. Then we added the countries that they have lived in or visited. The students also learned to recognise the countries flags and talk about what colours are in each flag. They even created a memory game with the country names and flags to help them learn the words. Can YOU work out the German names for the following countries?
28 28 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER Languages News EAL: LEARNING IN DIFFERENT WAYS BY LAURA GREENALL EAL SPECIALIST Understanding the different ways students learn is important for all subjects, but it is especially important in EAL, as we cannot rely on a purely language based teaching-learning model. When students cannot access meaning through language, we need to find other techniques to facilitate effective learning. It has been proven that not everyone learns in the same way and as teachers we must be aware of these different styles and adapt our lessons to cater for each student s needs. These are four of the most common learning approaches: Visual learners learn best by looking, whether it s looking at pictures and videos or reading books and information on the whiteboard. Auditory learners learn best by listening. So, they respond well to spoken instructions and listening to stories and songs. Tactile learners on the other hand learn physically by touching and manipulating objects. Kinaesthetic learners learn by physically moving around, either through doing actions to a song or playing games where they use their whole body. To ensure that all students, no matter what their learning style, can access and make the most of our lessons we use a variety of different techniques and activities. Often, we can find exercises that target more than one approach, like this activity a Year 3 group tried when learning about directions.
29 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER 29 Student A chose a town place flashcard, for example the bank, and showed it the group. Student B, then had to turn around and close their eyes, as the flashcard was hidden somewhere in the room. Student B asked the question Where is the bank? to which Student A would respond with a set of directions to guide them to where the flashcard was hidden. This activity was great as it offered something for everyone; the flashcard and the written prompts on the board for the visual learners, the touching and hiding of the flashcard for the tactile learners, listening to spoken directions for the auditory learners and lastly moving around the room for the kinaesthetic learners. It may seem like a lot to ask to plan activities that can suit all learners, but our teachers are very versatile and our EAL department has a brilliant supply of resources. We have a vast selection of flashcards, games, textbooks, worksheets and even toys and puppets. In addition to these, we have access to the interactive whiteboards, which are brilliant at offering something for every learner. At BSN we strive to include and stimulate all our learners, not only in the EAL classroom but in all subjects. Our small classes enable us to understand how each student learns best, so that we can adapt our teaching styles to maximise their learning potential.
30 30 SCHOOL NEWSLETTER PE News Anyone for Tennis? BY DAN AYLWARD HEAD OF PE Students in the Middle School have been enjoying the first module of Physical Education this year, which again has been off-site at a local university, where they have been playing tennis. Students have been developing an array of skills including forehand groundstroke, backhand groundstroke, overhead serve and returning a serve. This module will continue for another two weeks, at which stage we will be moving onto the invasion games module, which includes both touch rugby and football.