Thursday, December 8, 2016

Introducing The Learning Pit to Grade Six

How do you know when you've truly learned something worthwhile?  What does 'deep' learning feel like? When it comes to learning, what responsibilities do we have as teachers and students?

These were some of the questions we explored with the Grade 6 students today.  We started the session by getting the students' initial ideas about what they felt were the roles and responsibilities of students and teachers. After this, we introduced the metaphor of The Learning Pit to the students. The Learning Pit is a metaphor for learning, created by James Nottingham.  It is a model that encourages a growth mindset amongst students and encourages them to seek challenges and push themselves beyond their comfort zone.
James Nottingham's Learning Pit. 

We asked the girls to look at the image, above, and to try to figure out how it could connect to learning. Some students made connections to the feelings that students may encounter at different stages of their learning; some students connected the stages of The Pit to the SOLO Taxonomy they are used to using in their units of inquiry to help guide their learning; some described what could be happening at each stage of The Pit.

After discussing our initial ideas we watched the video, below, to learn more about what The Learning Pit is and how to recognise when we might be there.  Some signs that you are in The Pit could be:

  • being 'stuck' or not knowing what to do next
  • feeling frustrated or upset
  • being tempted to give up
  • noticing that you've stopped making progress.

Mr O'Shea, Ms. Sandra and Mr. Hughes shared their own experiences of finding themselves 'in The Pit', and how they managed to work hard and find strategies to get out of it (or not, in the case of Mr. Hughes, who gave up learning the guitar when it became too difficult and he couldn't play the B or F chords!).  We talked about how not giving up and trying to figure out 'what to do when we don't know what to do' can build up resilience and stop us from becoming 'coasters' in our learning.  Students then shared their own interesting examples of when they think they've experienced The Pit in school and other scenarios (which can also be seen in the slides, above).  

We finished the session by adding to our ideas from the beginning of the session and students reflected on the roles and responsibilities of students and teachers.  They were asked, 'Now that you know the most meaningful learning happens when you're in The Pit, how does this add to or change your ideas about the roles/responsibilities of students and teachers?' 

The answers were intriguing, and can be seen in the slides, below, where students have used a different colour to show how their thinking changed from the beginning of the session.

Now the students have an expectation that their teachers will be regularly 'throwing them into The Pit'.  They will start to reflect regularly on how to recognise when they're in The Pit and start to identify strategies to help themselves - and others - out of it. They will also start to recognise when their teachers are challenging them and encouraging them to take risks by entering The Pit themselves.  One way to do this is to set challenging, or ambitious goals, rather than goals they feel will be easily achieved.

We hope this metaphor and learning tool will help students seek and approach challenges in a new way - with excitement and enthusiasm.  We hope that they start to see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than an obstacle (F.A.I.L = First Attempt In Learning).  And we hope that this will build resilience in the students that will help them as they move up the school and eventually out into the world of work, where adults are thrown into The Pit on a regular basis!  As we start preparing for the Exhibition after the Christmas holidays, the students will be entering The Pit often and we look forward to working with them to embrace the challenge of learning! 

Have you been in The Pit recently? If not, maybe you're not pushing yourself to meet challenging goals!  Why not launch yourself into The Pit?!

Current units of Inquiry

All the grade levels have now finished their 'Getting Started' phases of their units of inquiries and will continue to investigate, make connections and go further after the Christmas holidays. You can click on the links, below, to see the evidence of understanding we will be looking for at each stage of the units of inquiry.
The Inquiry process students engage with at Seisen Elementary School during their units of inquiry

Click here for the Grade 1 - How We Organise Ourselves Learning Intentions
(Central Idea - Communities make efforts to create transportation systems to meet their needs.) 

Click here for the Grade 2 - How We Organise Ourselves Learning Intentions (Central Idea - Communities make efforts to create transportation systems to meet their needs.) 

Click here for the Grade 3 - Where We Are In Place And Time Learning Intentions (Central Idea - Inventions create change and can lead to new possibilities) 

Click here for the Grade 4 - How We Organise Ourselves Learning Intentions (Central Idea - The rules, rights and responsibilities within social structures can either support or deny human rights.) 

Click here for the Grade 5 - Who We Are Learning Intentions (Central Idea - Changes people experience during adolescence can affect their evolving sense of self.) 

Click here for the Grade 6 - How We Organise Ourselves Learning Intentions (Central Idea - The way in which government systems function can influence the lives of citizens.) 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The importance of the PYP Key Concepts

The aim of the PYP curriculum framework is to develop the understanding of significant conceptual ideas.  We want students to go beyond the memorization of isolated facts and to make connections and generalizations to form deeper understandings.

During the PYP curriculum development phase, the developers of the programme concluded that there are clusters of important ideas across all curriculum areas that can be grouped under a set of eight key concepts. These key concepts are considered to be universal across all curriculums, regardless of time or place, within and across all disciplines (Making the PYP Happen 2009).

The slideshow below shows the eight key concepts (form, function, causation, change, connection, perspective, responsibility, reflection) and the driving questions that can be used along with the various topics and bodies of knowledge identified in a curriculum.

Each unit of inquiry your daughter studies will have one overarching conceptual understanding - the central idea of the unit.  This is the deep understanding - or the big idea - we want the students to be be able to demonstrate and articulate by the end of the unit.

In order to guide students through inquiries that will lead to this understanding, teachers plan the units by identifying essential knowledge that students will require in order to be able to develop  the deeper understanding.  Alongside this knowledge, three of the PYP Key Concepts are chosen, which help to focus the inquiries and guide the students towards being able to make a generalization, or understanding a central idea.  The diagram below shows how, starting with a strong factual foundation (or essential knowledge), identifying key concepts can guide students towards making a generalization to show their understanding of a particular topic (what we call the central idea of a unit the PYP). 

This particular example comes from the current Grade 4 Multi-Faith Religion unit of inquiry.  The model on the left here is Lynn Erickson's Structure of Knowledge (2002) and the information on the right shows how, starting with the identification of essential knowledge, inquiries can be planned with the aim of helping students achieve deep, transferrable understanding of the unit.  

By focusing on just three of the PYP's eight concepts, a unit of inquiry becomes more focused, allowing the students to inquire deeper and go beyond memorizing a set of isolated facts. 
The key concepts can also help the students to focus their own inquiries.  Often students will have many questions about a topic/unit that may not be uncovered during class times if they don't fit the chosen key concepts of the curriculum unit, or connect to the central idea.  Giving students the key concepts as a scaffold to help them formulate questions helps them focus on relevant wonderings that will help develop an understanding of the central idea.

Here are some examples of Grade 4 student questions that were generated in preparation for an upcoming visit to a cathedral and synagogue.  The question scaffolds worked together with the key concepts to ensure their inquiries were focused towards developing their understanding of the central idea identified in the diagram, above (People of different faiths believe in sacred places and special people).

The next step for these students will be to sort the questions and prioritise which ones they can answer together in school with the information they have already found, and which ones will become the questions they ask the Priest and Rabbi when they visit the places of worship. 

You can click here to view the details of the units of inquiry each grade level studies throughout the year.  This is our Programme of Inquiry, with each unit detailing the central idea, key concepts, lines of inquiry and PYP subject areas. 

Giving the students opportunities to interact with the these key concepts will enable them to use sound factual foundations, make connections and deepen their understandings of the unit content, depending on the particular 'conceptual lenses' identified in the Programme of Inquiry. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Three Way Learning Conferences

Next Wednesday, 23rd November we will be hosting our annual Three Way Learning Conferences in the Elementary School.

In the past we had conferred with parents and not included students in the conversations.  Parents and teachers would meet together to discuss the girls' progress and identify the next steps.  Now students are included in the conversations and are at the centre of the conversation.  They spend time in their homerooms beforehand, selecting work samples that show success, progress, higher-order thinking or creativity.  They reflect on how they have progressed using success criteria and learning outcomes, and they are involved in conversations with their teachers to set ambitious learning goals to work towards.  We hope that this process will give students more insight into their learning and allow them to become actively involved in their assessment and goal-setting.

Michael Absolum (2006) summed up the importance of involving the students in conversations about their learning in his book Clarity in the Classroom: Using Formative Assessment:

“If the focus is to be kept on learning, and the ownership of the learning with the child, then the best person to talk about the learning is the learner. Providing an opportunity for students to tell their family what they know can significantly assist with that learning.”

The main objectives of our Three Way Learning Conferences are to:

  • encourage students, parents, and teachers to engage in open and honest dialogue about student learning.
  • increase parental understanding of their child’s learning (Where is their learning going?  How are they doing?  What are their next steps?).
  • provide students with an opportunity to share and celebrate their achievements and clarify their next learning steps.
  • allow students, teachers and parents to set learning goals together.

We hope that the learning conversations can continue beyond the conferences.  Students will take home their portfolios after the conferences, where they will have more time to discuss the work samples chosen that reflect their growth since the beginning of the year.  Moving beyond the conferences as we head towards the end of the first semester, we would also encourage you to talk to your daughter regularly about how she is doing with the goals and targets she sets at the conferences.

Here are some reflections from our first Three Way Learning Conferences in 2014.  Look out for Mr Brittain on Wednesday, who will be searching for volunteers to appear on camera for further reflections and conversations about the process.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Going Deeper with Social Media & Technology in Teaching and Learning

Dr. Alex Couros presents to Seisen Teachers
Dr. Couros facilitates a discussion with
Elementary Teachers in Grades 4-6
On Friday, November 11th Dr. Alex Couros gave a series of presentations and facilitated discussion with Seisen teachers and subsequently Administrators and our ICT specialists on recent developments in technology to support teaching and learning.

Later in the evening, Dr. Couros talked with Seisen parents about "Raising the Selfie Generation." Dr. Couros argued that our focus and concern about student well-being and e-safety should be less on technological tools, for example, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat etc. as applications will continually change and be up-graded, and more on preparing students to be citizens of a digital community. Dr. Couros highlighted the need to educate students to be cognisant of the responsibilities and protocols membership of an e-community entails. He argues against sensationalising the dangers of the cyber world and scaring students in the hope they'll behave appropriately but pinpoints areas he believes all students should be explicitly taught about:

  • Inappropriate content
  • Digital Identity
  • Information Literacy (what's true / untrue, reliable / unreliable sources on the net)
  • Digital Kindness

Dr. Couros stressed the importance of students taking ownership of their digital footprint. He shared that 92% of US toddlers have a digital footprint; 34% from before they were born (with parents sharing sonograms or announcements of the happy impending event). 59% of children under the age of 10, Dr. Couros argues have their own adult social media account.

Comparing a digital footprint to a credit rating, Dr. Couros put forward, that a bad digital footprint, equates to a bad credit rating, no digital footprint equates to no credit rating, while a good on-line presence reflects a good credit rating. The importance of schools and families working together to support students as digital citizens capable of navigating and benefiting from the opportunities this global connectivity affords was a central tenant of the evening's message.

Quoting Jason Otter, Dr. Couros shared, "I'm in favour of an internal [organisational/school filter] but, I just want to have them moved from the router to my student's heads." Dr. Couros argued against Digital Dualism; an online verus on off-line citizenship and stressed the need to prepare students for an integrated citizenship where their on-line and off-line self reflected the same intrinsic values and behaviours. Dr. Couros shared the wisdom of teaching students to think before they post:

For Seisen parents interested in this topic and unable to attend the evening's event, Dr. Couros kindly compiled a list of readings and resources, which can be accessed by clicking below:

Parenting in the Digital Age: Resources & Information

As members of EARCOS, Seisen will host a Weekend Workshop lead by Dr. Couros this Saturday & Sunday. We expect about 30 visitors to the school.

Ms. Colette Rogers, Head of School
introduces Dr. Couros
Parents listen to Dr. Couros' presentation,
"Raising the Selfie Generation"

Grades 3, 4 & 5 participate in a fund-raising concert in aid of Refugees International Japan (RIJ) - An uplifting experience!


On Thursday, November 10th, Seisen third, fourth and fifth graders gathered in St. Mary's International School together with students from St. Mary's and the British School in Tokyo, for a wonderful evening of song, drama and dance in aid of Refugees International Japan (RIJ).

Jane Best OBE, President and CEO of RIJ previously visited Seisen in September, prior to our Global-Mindedness Day and spoke to the girls about Refugees. Jane's message to the girls was that refugees are often girls just like themselves, living ordinary lives until one day they are forced to flee their country because of violence, war or persecution. The girls learned that most likely, refugees cannot or are afraid to return home.

After an unsettling week when the ideals and values that we share at Seisen were decidedly challenged in media reports of the US election campaign, it was uplifting to listen to the girls sing "Just a Single Voice." The grade 5's integrated dance/drama performance, "Origins," about the life of refugees poignantly reminded us of the aims and ideals of an IB PYP education; to develop caring students "who recognizing their common humanity, help create a better and more peaceful world though intercultural understanding and respect" (IB, 2011). This piece was then followed by the elementary grades energetic performance of "Better when I'm Dancing."

Gr. 5s dance/music performance - Origins

A little over a  million yen was raised through ticket sales, donations and the sale of art work during the  concert. A very, very BIG THANK YOU to all our Seisen families - parents, grandparents and friends for their involvement in the concert. We are extremely proud and grateful for the contribution and support of our Seisen Community. Congratulations to our Seisen performers and thank you for a wonderful evening's entertainment! Congratulations and special thanks also to our  Elementary Music Teachers; Ms. Kampa, Mrs. Handel-Johnson, Mrs. Hashimoto-Uesaka and Dr. Dallaire for all their hard work and dedication in helping to bring this concert to fruition. Congratulations to Mr. Brittain, for the wonderful drama performance and stage management. A special thanks and congratulations to Ms. Diana Parker, our Elementary Art Teacher for the wonderful dolls created with our grade 3s which helped raise nearly 22,000 yen towards the final amount. Much appreciation also to our grade 3, 4 & 5 Homeroom Teachers for their invaluable support and involvement on the night. We acknowledge also the support of Ms. Amanda Marcon, HS Head of Arts at Seisen.

Please visit: to see the RIJ performances!

Thank you Seisen Parents! 

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, I'm possible!" (Audrey Hepburn)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Japanese Culture Day in the Elementary - 文化の日 (Bunka no Hi) - November 3rd

November 3rd, the national holiday held annually to promote Japanese culture, the arts, academic effort and achievement saw Seisen's Japanese Language teachers lead a day filled with Japanese delights!

Our morning started off in the gym with grades 1-12 gathering to participate in a Japanese exercise program usually broadcast over the radio. Students from Nittaidai, Nippon Sports Science University located nearby at Komazawa, led Seisen through a series of moves to music. During an impromptu House competition to see which House could perform the best moves, Ontake students emerged as winners while Asama teachers secured a win for their House. We're awaiting however, a decision from our Grade 6 Captains to see if these wins count towards House points!

We were then treated to a wonderful display of Taiko drumming.

Other Elementary activities included: Kite making, a Koto performance, the Tea Ceremony (or as we learned more correctly called, 'The Way of Tea,') and a Kendo demonstration.

I think we can definitely say, we had a wonderful day!

As well as providing us with wonderful opportunities to enjoy the delights of our host country's culture, Japanese Culture Day also reflects the school's educational beliefs and values and the philosophy, standards and practices of the International Baccalaureate's Primary Years Program (PYP).  It promotes the development of International-Mindedness and offers students opportunities to demonstrate and practice the attitudes and values explicit within the PYP: appreciation, cooperation, enthusiasm and respect. We also saw many instances of our Learner Profile evident in student interactions: open-mindedness, caring behaviours, reflective thinking and some great communication skills! Our grade 6s deserve special recognition and thanks for their leadership skills. They paid great care and attention to the younger students as they travelled from activity to activity. A day such as this enables us synthesis many of the essential elements of the PYP into action!

Congratulations to our Japanese Language Department and thank you for sharing the wealth of your home country's culture with us all! 

Elementary Halloween Celebrations!

Monday, October 31st was the time to host Halloween Celebrations in the Elementary School. We saw lots of scary outfits, cute costumes, creative and fun dress-ups throughout the halls and classrooms. Teachers and visiting parents in costume contributed to the fun atmosphere.

Lots of smiles and excited voices were evident as students enjoyed the games and craft activities organised and facilitated by Room Parents and Parent Volunteers during class parties. Grade 1 & 2 students had fun during 'trick or treat' visits along the lower corridors.

We'd like to extend a HUGE THANKS to all those involved in planning and providing this fun event for the girls to enjoy!

See if you can recognise any of the individuals or characters in these photos!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

PYP Coffee Morning - Developing Global Mindedness

At Seisen Elementary this year we are running a year-long inquiry into Global Mindedness.  As a school from grades 1-6 we are exploring the central idea of Developing understanding of other people's beliefs, values and needs can promote global mindedness.  Throughout the year we will be embedding this conceptual understanding into all units of inquiry and will plan assemblies and special events to celebrate the different cultures represented at Seisen.
Parents attending our first PYP Coffee Morning of the year.

This morning we had a small workshop with several parents to explore the idea of global mindedness and to discuss how we develop the concept at Seisen.  We started by looking at the students' ideas about what it means to be globally minded before looking at the iceberg model of culture.  In this model, the visible aspects of culture are represented at the 'tip of the iceberg'.

We talked about how, although these aspects at the 'tip' are very important, we want our students to delve deeper into the 'invisible' or 'hidden' aspects of culture.  Quite often the aspects on the 'tip' of the iceberg (e.g. fashion) are connected to some deeper core belief (e.g. concept of beauty), as explained here (from 1:50 in the video) by Sonal from Grade 6.
We examined the Programme of Inquiry and identified opportunities where these deeper aspects of cultural understanding could be developed.  We then moved onto talking about mother-tongues of students and discussed whether students should be allowed to use their mother tongue in school or not.  It's a very emotive topic and there are arguments for both sides! The IBO require Seisen to 'support mother tongue and host country language learning' (IBO PYP Standards and Practices, Standard A7b) and there is a lot of research about first language literacy and its importance in the teaching of English as a second language.  However, we acknowledged that this can often lead to students being excluded from conversations and groups if they aren't able to communicate in a specific language. During the year, as a faculty, we will be exploring these ideas and will communicate the use of mother tongue and English more clearly in our Language Policy, which will be available for parents, teachers and students. 

We would like to thank the parents who attended the Coffee Morning today for their valuable contributions to our conversations.  Below are the slides from the Coffee Morning.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

House Activities Developing Leadership and Friendships

These last two days have provided the Elementary students with plenty of opportunities to connect with students from other grades.  On Thursday afternoon the House Captains organised the first Elementary house event of the year.  Each house team met together to be introduced to their new House Captains and played a game of Pictionary and Charades before hanging out with each other on the Green Top and Jungle Gym.

Then on Friday came the big event as we hosted our third annual K-12 House Day.  Forty eight teams of mixed-age students enjoyed activities in school and at Kinuta Park.  We had students designing flags, building towers, competing in relay races and making paper cranes.  Once again, the whole school sat together in the sunshine and had lunch with each other.  Here are just a few snippets from the day, but be sure to check out Seisen's Social Media for more photographs, by clicking on the icons below.

The purpose of the K-12 House Day is to promote friendships across grades and develop team and school spirit.  It could not have gone ahead without the leadership skills of our fantastic House Captains from Elementary, Middle and High School as well as the other High School Team Leaders. We hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend after such a long, exhausting day! 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Effective Learning Through Formative Assessment

If asked to think back to your experience of assessment at school, what would you think of? Perhaps you think of being given a 'final grade' (an A+ if you were a 'high achiever', or maybe an F if you were not!).  Or maybe you're reminded of a test at the end of a unit or topic. Maybe you were ranked in comparison to your classmates, or compared yourself to your classmates? This type of assessment - assessment that looks back and reports on how well a student has done - has been used in classrooms for generations. It's what I remember from my own school days and what my parents remember from theirs.  It's what is known as summative assessment as it provides a summary of what has been learned.

These days there is a lot more emphasis on formative assessment - assessment that looks forward, rather than backwards.  Formative assessment is the on-going process used in classrooms everyday to help students and teachers answer three important learning questions:

  • Where am I going?
  • How am I doing?
  • Where to next?

'Formative assessment describes all those processes by which teachers and learners use information about student’s achievement to improve their achievements... So it’s what happens when you don’t just lecture students and rattle through the material and then ask them if they understood OK.' 
 Dylan Wiliam, Nov 2006

Every task completed by students provides an opportunity for formative assessment - feedback on whether they met the success criteria of a task and what they need to do next to improve.  As educators we talk a lot about the importance of feedback to students. Feedback and formative evaluation have been identified as two of the most important factors to improve student learning (Hattie 2012). At Seisen, teachers evaluate students' work and provide feedback that tells them what they've done well and guides them towards their next steps.  

Feedback stamps are used in all homerooms to identify what was done well and point out next steps in learning. 
Students will become familiar with the shared symbols as they progress through the Elementary School.  These can be used by teachers when providing feedback to students on their writing.  They can also be used by students when they're self-assessing, revising or editing their own work. 
The SOLO Taxonomy also provides students with a framework to reflect on where they are in the learning process. In the video below, a grade six student is using the SOLO Taxonomy to reflect on the progress she made during her Who We Are unit of inquiry where students inquired into cultural identity and global mindedness.   You can hear her talk about where she started at the beginning of the unit and how she was able to use the SOLO Taxonomy to identify next steps, allowing her to direct her own learning. 

Here is another video of three grade 4 students discussing their learning from their recent Where We Are In Place And Time unit of inquiry, where they inquired into explorations, looking at the reasons for and consequences of different explorations from the past.

Whilst this type of formative assessment is becoming the more dominant and purposeful kind of assessment in helping students progress, it's still important that we administer summative assessments (those end of unit assessments, tests and standardised assessments that students take throughout the year).  More importantly, we need to share the results of these with students and use the data gathered to help them identify new learning goals.  You can also be part of the reflective process with your child.  At home, instead of asking, 'How was school Today?' (often met with an answer of 'It was okay')or 'What did you do at school today' (often met with an answer of 'nothing'!), why not try some of these questions instead:
  • Did you learn something new at school today?
  • What do you know now that you didn't know before?
  • What are you learning to do in math / writing / reading / your unit of inquiry?
  • What is your learning goal in math / reading / writing?
  • How do you know you are learning at school?
  • What will you be learning about next?
  • What did you find difficult today? 
  • What do you want to learn more about?
The upcoming Three Way Learning Conferences (Wednesday November 23rd) will also provide an opportunity for you to talk with your daughter and her homeroom teacher about learning to identify some areas of strength and to set new learning goals to work towards. 

Parental involvement making a difference!

This morning, it was a real pleasure to meet with our new cohort of Room Parent Volunteers for the 2016/17 school year. Mrs Vandana Mahajan and Mrs Deepali Singhi, our Elementary Room Parent Coordinators, hosted a coffee morning and information session in the school cafeteria where they guided the Room Parent Volunteers through the many events and activities they have planned for students. We are extremely grateful and proud of all these parent volunteers for stepping forward to help coordinate and lead these special events. We thank them for giving of their time, energy and talents to enhance student learning opportunities. Their support enables us facilitate field trips, class parties, holiday celebrations and numerous other events throughout the year. We recognise that everyone has busy schedules and multiple commitments but we would encourage parents to connect with their daughter's Room Parent to offer support and to become involved in whatever way you can!

"In this complex world, it takes more than a good school to educate children. And it takes more than a good home. It takes these two major educational institutions working together." (Dorothy Rich)

We eagerly look forward to our first Room Parent sponsored event, class Halloween Parties on Monday, October 31st.
Room Parent volunteers gathered to hear about upcoming school events.
Thank you to our amazing Room Parent Volunteers & Room Parent Coordinators!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Student Leadership!

Through the PYP at Seisen we aim to "develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect"(IB Mission Statement, 2007).  The development of personal attitudes of commitment, confidence, empathy, respect, enthusiasm etc. are corner stones of the PYP curriculum framework.  

The action component inherent in the PYP can involve service to follow students, and to the larger community both in and outside the school. Through such service students are able to grow both personally and socially, developing skill such as cooperation, problem solving, conflict resolution and creative and critical think. Moreover, these actions are also ways in which students exhibit their commitment to the attributes of our learner profile and to the attributes that we seek to engender within our PYP classrooms.

At Seisen we seek to offer our learners the opportunity and the power to act, to decide on their actions and to reflect on these actions in order to make a difference in the world.

We had many wonderful applications from our grade six students for the positions of House Captains this year. Students created video, written and/or oral texts outlining why they would like to challenge themselves with the role. The grade 6 Homeroom Teachers, Mr Hughes, our PYP coordinator, our Elementary Counsellor, Ms. Carnright and Ms. Sandra our Elementary Principal spent many coffee- fuelled hours viewing and discussing applications. With so many great applications decisions were very difficult to make and closely tied.

We are now very pleased to share with you our Elementary House Leaders for the 2016/17 school year. These students reflect and strive to develop many of the attributes described above. We are very happy they have taken on the role of Elementary House Captains and we look forward to their student leadership throughout the year.

Asama House Captains: Yui, Maya & Yume
Ontake House Captains: Sonal, Imani & Anna
Chokai House Captains: Zarah, Ayaka & Pearl
Iwaki House Captains: Tanaya, Jiyu & Lisa
There will be lots more leadership opportunities for all our wonderful grade 6s throughout the year - our first Elementary House Event will be held in the afternoon of October 19th and the K-12 House Picnic is on October 20th.

Teachers are learners too!

From Friday, September 30th through Sunday, October 2nd, eight members of the Elementary Faculty attended professional learning workshops facilitated by presenter-practitioners from the International Baccalaureate, Primary Years Program. These IB PYP East-Asia Regional Workshops were hosted in Yokohama.

Teachers from Seisen and other international schools participating in an IB PYP workshop at Yokohama International School  
Through a variety of learning techniques and small group discussion participants acquired new perspectives, deepened previous learning and engaged in personal and group reflection with peers from other international schools in the region. A key feature of all workshops was modelling by presenters, of inquiry based strategies (approaches to teaching) which we can apply directly to our work with students.
Teachers sharing their learning from the IB PYP Workshops
Professional development opportunities are sometimes criticised for their reliance on one-shot, short-term, or episodic delivery. At Seisen, we believe that it takes sustained investment of time and effort to harness the power of professional learning to improve student learning outcomes. Seisen is proud to be part of the IB PYP network which enables us harness the power of on-going, continuous professional support to enhance our elementary PYP. Moreover, we are committed to in-house collaborative teacher practice, inquiry and discussion integrated with the day-to-day work of teaching, planning and assessment to support improvements in practice. We look forward to applying our new learning in classrooms with students in the coming months!

Teachers reflecting on their practice to see how they can implement some of the strategies and approaches to teaching from the workshops