Thursday, October 12, 2017

We Have Moved!

Are you wondering why there have not been any recent blog posts from us?  All of our Elementary blogs are now located on our official school website.  You can visit the ES Blogs by clicking here or visiting:

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bring Your Own Device in Grade Six

This week we are hosting two information sessions on the Bring Your Own Device initiative we run in Grade Six.  We encourage all parents to attend to discuss and explore:
  • What is BYOD? 
  • Pros and Cons 
  • ICT At Seisen: Communicate | Organize | Collaborate | Create | Investigate 
  • Becoming responsible digital citizens 
  • Care of Devices 
  • Q&A Session
Session 1 was held on Monday 29th May in the morning.  Tonight (Wednesday 31st May) we will hold the second session at 6.30pm in Ms. Naini's 6B classroom.

Below is the slideshow we will be using during the meetings and you can download a copy of our Phase 4 (Grade 5 and 6) ICT curriculum outcomes by clicking here. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Congratulations Grade Six!

Last Friday Grade Six students hosted the 2017 PYP Exhibition at Seisen.  The evening started with some snacks (very generously provided by SPA) and a welcome address in the Cafeteria, where we were shown a short video clip of some of the preparations that had been happening the previous week.

The students then invited parents and guests to the Grade Six building, where they showed off the Exhibition spaces they had created to demonstrate and celebrate the skills they had used, the knowledge and understanding they had gained, and the action they had taken over the course of their eight week independent inquiries.

After having time to browse and interact with the students' exhibits, guests were then invited to listen to some of the students' oral presentations, where they were able to listen to the various talk shows, skits and interviews the students had prepared.
We are very proud of all the hard work the students have put in over the past eight weeks to enable them to share these in-depth inquiries and wonderful finished products.  Thank you to all of the families who were able to come and support us on this special night!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Exhibition Surveys (Final)

Here is the third and final batch of surveys from the Exhibition students. We would really appreciate five to ten minutes of your time to help the girls out and give them your perspectives on their chosen issues. They're all excited to analyse the data.

Please feel free to forward and share (facebook, twitter, etc.) as the more responses they get, the better.
Animal Abuse

Future Inventions
Medical World

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Happy Easter

Students have been reflecting on the Easter Story and Holy Week during their religion classes this week.  They have been learning about the events of Holy Week and the significance of these events to Christians.  Students in grade 4 connected their learning to their current unit of inquiry - Expression Through The Arts.  They looked at various symbols and tried to connect them to significant events from the Easter Story.  Have a look at the symbols below and see if you can connect each one to the true meaning of Easter.
How are these symbols connected to the Easter Story?
Thank you to all the Room Parent Coordinators, Room Parents and volunteers who took time out of their schedules to organise the class Easter parties. This involved decorating rooms, organising games and crafts for the students, as well as providing delicious Easter treats.

We would like to wish all our families a Happy Easter and a relaxing long weekend. You are all invited to the Liturgical services that will take place over the coming days at the Seisen School Chapel: 

  • Holy Thursday (April 13) 7:00 pm  - Mass of the Lord's Supper 
  • Good Friday (April 14) 6:30 pm- Way of the Cross 7:00 pm - Celebration of the Lord's Passion 
  • Easter Vigil (April 15) 7:00 pm - Blessing of Fire, Baptismal Liturgy 
  • Easter Sunday (April 16) 11:00 am - Resurrection of the Lord
Happy Easter !

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Exhibition Surveys (2)

Here is another set of surveys from our Grade Six Exhibition students!  Please click on the links, below, to complete some short surveys.  Our students want to gather data from different gender and age groups to enable them to slice and analyse the data so they can interpret the data and use it later to guide their action so please feel free to forward these survey links to family and friends!

All surveys are anonymous and your email address will not be collected.  Read more about our PYP Exhibition journey by visiting our Official Exhibition Site here.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

PYP Exhibition Surveys (1)

As part of the Grade 6 Exhibition process, students are collecting and interpreting data on the perspectives of their chosen topics. We would appreciate if you could spend five minutes filling out these short surveys to enable our students to collect as much data as possible.
Please feel free to forward these survey links to family and friends as the groups would like to gather as much data as possible.

Thank you for your support!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Science Skills in the PYP

If you drop by some of the Elementary hallways this week and next you would be forgiven for thinking you had wandered into a research facility.  As the students come to the end of their current unit of inquiry, they are all busy applying the science skills they have been developing over the past six weeks.

In the PYP, science is viewed as the exploration of the biological, chemical and physical aspects of the natural world, and the relationships between them. It encourages curiosity and ingenuity and enables students to develop an understanding of the world. Reflection on scientific knowledge also helps students to develop a sense of responsibility regarding the impact of their actions on themselves, others and their world.  In each grade level, scientific skills are developed leading to increased independence and understanding of scientific principles  These skills are:

  • Observing carefully in order to gather data
  • Using a variety of tools to measure data accurately
  • Using scientific vocabulary to explain their observations and experiences
  • Researching and exploring possibilities
  • Identifying and generating a question or problem to be explored
  • Planning and carrying out systematic investigations
  • Manipulating variables as necessary
  • Making and testing predictions
  • Interpreting and evaluating data gathered in order to draw conclusions
  • Applying understanding to create and innovate 
  • Considering scientific models and applications of these models

See how many of these skills you can observe yourself in the video of our students, below.

The summative assessment tasks the students will complete are designed by teachers to allow students to apply the skills they have learned throughout a unit of inquiry.  These includes grade 1 students using their knowledge of light and sound to create their own instruments and bounce and block light with their Light Challenge; grade 2 students applying their knowledge of forces and materials to design and build their own strong and stable structures; grade 3 students developing their own compound or complex machines and grade 4 students using their understanding of energy transfer to design and create toys from electrical components and circuits.

In addition to this, we had the fifth and sixth graders take part in Big Science Day, presenting their learning to parents this morning.  Grade 5 students formulated their own testable questions which allowed them to manipulate variables to investigate the properties of matter (click here to view their blog!).  Grade six students also  presented their scientific investigative skills as well as showing off the diseases board games they'd created using their new found knowledge of microbes and global access to medical care. 

Check the grade level blogs out over the next week or so to see these experiences in more detail.  And don't forget to attend the Middle and High school Big Science Day exhibition this evening, where there will be some guest appearances from some of our own grade 5 and 6 scientists!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Professional Development - Teachers as Inquirers!

Last Friday 24th February, the Elementary hallways were abandoned as the students stayed at home to allow teachers to attend a professional development workshop.  All homeroom teachers were fortunate enough to attend the Japan Association of Curriculum Design (JASCD) two day Spring Conference, hosted at The New Sanno Hotel and the International School of Sacred Heart.  There were two presenters at the conference: Dr. Mary Ehrenworth and Jon Nordmeyer.

Dr. Mary Ehrenworth is Deputy Director of the Reading and Writing Project, a not-for-profit think tank at Columbia University. Mary shared a vision of how we, as teachers, can turn writing into a transformative force, and ensure that each and every student becomes powerful at narrative, information, and argument writing. Our teachers who attended the workshop were given practical tips on how to focus their mini lessons and conferences with students, and were given the opportunity to practice and share techniques for the teaching of reading and writing with other professionals from international schools across Japan.

The Reading and Writing Workshop was hosted at International School of Sacred Heart last weekend.
Seisen teachers reflecting on their practice. 
Seisen teachers practicing a book club read-aloud and discussion. 
Jon Nordmeyer is an ESL/ELL specialist with an MA in TESOL and is the International Programs Director at WIDA, a research centre at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jon shared his belief of how English language learners can often be associated with their limitations rather than their potential. Below is a provocative video clip of Moises, an English language learner, trying to solve a mathematical problem.  As you watch this short video clip, try to identify some of Moises' strengths - what strategies did he use to help him solve the problem?  Then think about the reaction of his classmates and teachers - were they aware of these strengths?  

The EAL workshop focused on how we must transform the conversations from focusing on what EAL students can’t do, to building on what they can do.  A recurring theme of this workshop was that there needs to be a shift from viewing multilingualism as a problem, to viewing multilingualism as a right, and eventually as a valuable resource for any classroom.

We are looking forward to further developing the areas of reading, writing and EAL in the future and are all excited to see what new experiences we can bring into the classrooms from our weekend of learning.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Semester Two Learning Outcomes

Below you will find the intended learning outcomes for all subject areas from Grades 1 to 6.  Click on the links to view and download the documents.  If you have any questions about these learning outcomes, please contact your child's homeroom teacher, the PYP Coordinator (Michael Hughes), or our Elementary Principal (Sandra Mulligan).

Click here to view the Grade 1 intended learning outcomes for Semester Two

Click here to view the Grade 2 intended learning outcomes for Semester Two

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Engaging Parents with the Writing Workshop

We had a good turnout of parents for this morning's PYP Coffee Morning. Our phase level leaders (Mr. Brigham, Mrs. Mollie and Mr. O'Shea) engaged with parents to explain our new approach to teaching writing in the Elementary School.  They started by introducing what a mini lesson looks like and showed how teachers model and teach specific skills to the students, then allow them to actively engage in the process.  In the video, below, you can see an example of a mini lesson from Mr. O'Shea's Grade 6 class.

We then moved on to look at the main part of the workshop - the independent writing.  In this section of the workshop students work at their own pace to progress through the writing process (collecting ideas, planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing) on topics of their own choosing. During this time, the homeroom teachers confer with individuals or small groups to offer feedback and advice on their next steps. Each unit ends with a celebration of the writing, where students get to share their work as authors with an authentic audience.  In the video below, you can see Mr. Brigham conferring with one of his Grade 1 students.

Parents then had a chance to take a closer look at writing checklists and work samples at the grade level of their daughter.  Mr. Brigham sat with the parents of grade 1 and 2 students, Mrs. Mollie with the grade 3 and 4 students, and Mr O'Shea with the grade 5 and 6 parents.  Here, they had a chance to discuss the work samples, use the student checklists and learn how to support their daughters' writing at home.

Mr. Brigham with parents from grades 1 and 2

Mrs. Mollie with parents from grades 3 and 4

Mr. O'Shea with parents from grades 5 and 6

The session ended with parents using the online tool to reflect on the session (you can se these reflections in the slides, below). We would like to thank all parents who took the time from their busy schedules to come along and learn about the writing workshop today. We look forward to continuing to work closely with you and your daughters! We would like to say a special thank you to our Phase Level Leaders for putting together and facilitating such an informative parent workshop!

PYP Coffee Morning:  The Writing Workshop at Seisen (slides)

From the Elementary House Captains - a BIG, BIG, BIG thank you to the Seisen Community!

As Elementary House Captains we would like to thank the entire Seisen Community - students, families, faculty and staff for their participation and contributions to our fundraiser for our Seisen Sister School, St. Raphaela's, Naga City, the Philippines.

We are excited to share that a total of 341, 760 yen was raised from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

These funds will be used to support rebuilding efforts for families and to repair the damage to the school building caused by Typhoon Nina.

Thank you Seisen!  
(Elementary House Captains)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

New Units of Inquiry - A Scientific Focus

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 over the coming weeks. 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.  All the current units have a scientific focus and will allow the students to develop their scientific inquiry skills as they discover science concepts through a variety of hands-on activities and investigations.

You can take hard copies of the learning outcomes from the bulletin board next to the Cafeteria:

Learning progressions for the units of inquiry are available for parents to take from the bulletin board next to the Cafeteria.

Click here to view the Grade 1 possible learning outcomes for their How The World Works unit of inquiry (Central Idea - Light and sound can be produced by different sources and can be changed.).

Click here to view the Grade 2 possible learning outcomes for their How The World Works unit of inquiry (Central Idea - The properties of materials and the forces acting upon them can influence the design of buildings and structures.).

Click here to view the Grade 3 possible learning outcomes for their How The World Works unit of inquiry (Central Idea - People apply their knowledge of forces and energy to create physical applications.). 

Click here to view the Grade 4 possible learning outcomes for their How The World Works unit of inquiry (Central Idea - Scientific processes can be used to investigate how the forms of energy are stored, transformed and transferred.). 

Click here to view the Grade 5 possible learning outcomes for their How The World Works unit of inquiry (Central Idea - People use their knowledge of properties of matter to suit specific needs.). 

Click here to view the Grade 6 possible learning outcomes for their Sharing The Planet unit of inquiry (Central Idea - Access to medical care around the world varies and can influence how diseases are spread.).

Friday, February 3, 2017

Fund-Raiser to Support Rebuilding Efforts for St. Raphaela's School, Naga City, Philippines

What a fantastic day!

Seisen was awash today with students & faculty dressed in blue, red, white & yellow - the colors of the Philippine flag. We'd like to convey HUGE thanks to all our Seisen families KG - Gr. 12 for their kind & generous donations to support rebuilding efforts for St. Raphaela's School, Naga City, the Philippines.

You'll see Ms. Kampa's Elementary SASA dance troop contributed to the day's festivities with their energetic performances of traditional Philippine dance during the Elementary, Middle and High School lunches. Great to see Filipino Staff from Cezars Kitchen and Seisen join in the fun. Thanks to the ladies in Seisen's Kitchen for the yummy Filipino themed lunch.

Congratulations to the Elementary House Captains for organising and advertising the event!

Watch this space for news of the total amount collected!

When the Day Makes You Smile!


Happiness for a principal...when what you collectively strive to create as a faculty and what you see
happening in school are in harmony...

Happy Friday!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Chinese New Year at Seisen!

What a treat the Elementary Students and teachers had during their lunch period on Friday when renowned musician Ms. Chen Min and mother of On in 2B visited with her students to play traditional Chinese Music to mark the beginning of the Chinese New Year!

Our Chinese mums collaborated with Ms. Ingrid Chen from our Media Centre to hang Chinese New Year decorations in the cafeteria and to organise a traditional Chinese game and New Year's sesame dumplings for the girls to experience and enjoy. A big thank you Ms. Chen and our Chinese mums!

Thank you to the staff from Cezars' Kitchen who arranged a special Chinese themed lunch for the day!

View a video of the performance  here

To view more from the day visit the news section of the Seisen website here

Chinese New Year celebrations at Seisen

Ms. Chen Min & her students 

Ms. Chen Min introduces her Erhu

Ms. Ingrid explains the origin and significance of the color red in Chinese culture

On introduces the pieces her mum and Grandfather (a musician and Chinese Opera singer) will play to the elementary students 

The Seisen sisters enjoying the music and New Year Dumplings

Ms. Chen Min, her students and our Chinese mums share some Chinese food

Naga City, Philippines hit by typhoon Nina!

In the midst of settling down to create a Blog post to thank our Seisen families for their generous donations during Carol Night and throughout the December Classroom Coin Drive...happily planning to post holiday greetings shared between St. Raphaela's and Seisen Elementary (below), we sadly learned...

On January 15th, when power and Wifi was restored, that St. Raphaela's had been hit by super typhoon Nina (Nock-ten) over the holidays.

Nina, a category 4 typhoon with wind speeds of 155 mph flattened the homes of 5 students and damaged walls and roofs of other families homes. The roof, ceiling and some windows in the school were damaged as well as the homes of some of the teachers.

Sr. Francia, Head of School shared:

"We were badly affected by the typhoon, it was terribly strong, our convent was flooded inside, some of the windows and part of the roof of the school was destroyed but worst was the destruction to the small houses of our children and also some of our teachers. We have 5 cases - homes totally damaged, nothing left for them and a number of them where roofs and walls are gone."

Ann, Curriculum Coordinator at St. Raphaela's wrote:

"I can't explain the experience, this was the worst typhoon. The wind was so strong and the rain so hard. In school, some of the ceilings were destroyed. But the homes of some of our pupils and teachers were really damaged. I've sent some photos..."

Devastated homes of students from the St. Raphaela Community

Happily, from Seisen's Social Justice Committee's reserve fund, we were able to make an immediate initial contribution which the sisters are using to begin reconstruction efforts. We would like to do much more to help rehouse these students and get the school up and running to full capacity again.

The Elementary House Captains are organising a whole school (K-12) fund-raising dress day on Friday, February 3rd. Students and teachers are encouraged to come to school dressed in red, blue, yellow and / or white, the colors of the the Philippine flag. Further information will be emailed directly to families from the House Captains on Monday, January 30th. The House Captains also plan to set-up iPads at locations throughout the school where members of the Seisen Community can send video greetings and messages solidarity to 
St. Raphaela's.

House Captains meet with Mr. Brittain, Seisen's Communications and Public Relations Coordinator to plan how to communicate the impact of typhoon Nina on St. Raphaela's with students and families at Seisen.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Our Approaches to Teaching Writing Are Changing

Over the past twelve months all homeroom teachers, along with the Principal and PYP Coordinator have been involved in an internal inquiry-based self study.  We have been examining our own practice with a fine-toothed comb to try and understand how our teaching is impacting students' writing development. As a result of this self-study, teachers have been analysing student work samples and data, observing each other's classes, and participating in professional development to identify ways of improving our students' writing.

As a result of this ongoing inquiry, the Writing Workshop model is the approach we have decided to implement across all Elementary grades. Since August 2016, all classes have been using the Writing Workshop model with their students.

On Friday February 10th we will be hosting a Coffee Morning to explore this Writing Workshop with parents.  This will be held in the Multi-Purpose room from 8.45am - 10am. The workshop will be hosted by our Phase Level Leaders:
  • Mr. Mat Brigham, Phase Level 2 Leader (Grades 1 and 2) 
  • Ms. Mollie McAllister, Phase Level 3 Leader (Grades 3 and 4) 
  • Mr. Mikie O'Shea, Phase Level 4 Leader (Grades 5 and 6) 

Upper Elementary students working on their independent writing

Feedback cards help students in Phase 2 (Grades 1 and 2) to identify their next steps

Below is a brief summary of the Writing Workshop model.  However, for an in-depth explanation and exploration, we would like to encourage all parents to attend the Coffee Morning to learn about:

  • The structure of the workshop
  • How it will affect your daughter's engagement with the writing process
  • How you can help support writing development at home. 

What is the Writing Workshop?

The Writing Workshop is a daily structure that allows students to inquire into specific genres of writing.  Students work for a sustained amount of time inquiring into a specific genre.  During these inquiries, teachers explicitly teach students techniques for developing the structure, elaboration, craft and conventions of their writing.

How does it work?

Each workshop session starts with a short mini-lesson, where teachers connect the session to previous skills taught, teach and model a specific strategy and actively engage the students to try the strategies. However, for the majority of the workshop the students are engaged in independent writing.  Students work at their own pace to progress through the writing process (collecting ideas, planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing) on topics of their own choosing.   During this time, the homeroom teachers confer with individuals or small groups to offer feedback and advice on their next steps.  Each unit ends with a celebration of the writing, where students get to share their work as authors with an authentic audience.

Why are we changing our approach to teaching writing?

The workshop model has been used successfully by PYP and non-PYP schools across the world.  It allows students to see what successful writing pieces look like through the use of mentor texts, and gives them very explicit genre-specific goals to work towards in the form of student checklists.  The shared approach also provides us with more opportunities to strengthen the connections between grade-levels since the workshop provides us with a continuum of student work samples at different levels.

We hope you can make the time in your busy schedules to join us for the Writing Coffee Morning and look forward to working with you to share some samples and student writing journeys!