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ELEMENTARY SCHOOL - Ms Mignon Weckert


Monday, 12 to
Friday,  16 May (Week 5)

Anaphylaxis and Allergy Awareness week

 

Wednesday, 14 and Thursday, 15 May

Allergy-free cupcake stand

Lower Elementary School Canteen Area 2.30pm - 4.00pm

Monday, 19 to
Friday, 23 May (Week 6)

NAPLAN testing

 

Tuesday, 27 May

Year 1 Swimming Carnival

AIS Pool

Thursday, 29 May

Upper Elementary House
Swimming Carnival

Yio Chu Kang Swimming Comple
Ang Mo Kio Ave 9
9:00am – 2:45pm

Wednesday, 11 June

Prep Swimming Carnival

AIS Pool


This week AIS hosted a group of school leaders from high performing Australian schools, on their Asian Education Foundation Tour as part of AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership). These senior leaders visited classrooms and took part in sessions where AIS staff were able to share with them how we address intercultural understanding in Singapore, and as an Australian school how we incorporate engagement with Asia as part of the ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority) curriculum focus.   From an Elementary School perspective we were able to share the philosophy and practices of the PYP, which support the development of international mindedness as well as engagement with your host country’s language, history and culture.

In the afternoon each of the curriculum leaders provided examples of how this is embedded in what we do. Kirsti Hitz-Morton shared the diversity of cultural backgrounds of staff and students in Preschool as well as the way in which Mandarin is used to support learning in a range of subject areas. Megan Howard shared how units within the Programme of Inquiry in Lower Elementary focus on the local environment in Singapore to develop understanding of History, Geography and Culture. Danica Holloway in Upper Elementary shared the way we use all learning opportunities, including camps in Years 4 and 5, to explore important concepts such as beliefs and values and migration through visits to various locations in Asia, with a strong commitment to the use of primary sources for learning.

We are very proud to be able to share our practice with leading educators in Australia as well as develop networks and learn what other schools are doing to ensure the development of intercultural understanding and a strong focus on Asia.

While it is great to share our practice as a high performing school, I am also thrilled to share with you information about an outstanding achievement of an AIS staff member. Luc McKay, who joined AIS at the start of the year as Mathematics Coordinator, has received the tertiary award to the highest achieving student in the Master in School Leadership program (2012) from ACEL (Australian Council for Educational Leaders). We congratulate Luc and with the focus of his course being on Leadership in Mathematics education we are privileged to have him in such a pivotal role in the AIS Elementary School Mathematics Project.

Mignon Weckert
Head of Elementary


Elementary School Notices / Announcements

Over the past three year AIS has invited leading educators, Archie McGlynn and David Coles to be our ‘critical friends’, providing feedback on the School’s development and progress.

This year David Coles and Archie McGlynn were back to conduct another review. Throughout the visit, David Coles worked with various members of the Elementary School team, gathering feedback and information in order to gain an understanding of the way in which AIS has grown and changed since the last review in 2013, as well as provide feedback regarding our school operations, teaching and student learning.

We had a number of students from across the Elementary School meet with David over his three day visit. I was fortunate to sit in on one of the student meetings. David Coles, James Harrison and I were very impressed with how articulate and perceptive our students were when discussing the changes, challenges, positives and negatives of AIS.  I would like to thank all of the students involved in these meetings; your insights and feedback are greatly valued and we look forward to David and Archie’s feedback as this will help to guide our pathways forward.

Lester Stephens
Assistant Head of Elementary

Upper Elementary School Swimming Carnival

On Thursday, 29 May, the annual UE House Swimming Carnival will be held at Yio Chu Kang Swimming Complex. In preparation for this event, we require all students wishing to compete in the Competitive ‘A’ Events to pre-register so that we can enter their names into the Meet Manager Program. This is an intensive process so we seek your assistance in providing us with this information by Wednesday, 14 May. To access the Upper Elementary Swimming Carnival Survey please click on this link.

Please note that ‘A’ events are for competitive swimmers. Students should only select to participate in an ‘A’ event if they are a competitive swimmer and capable of swimming 50 metres competently in the strokes they select. Students choosing not to swim in an ‘A’ event will still get the opportunity to compete in Freestyle, Backstroke and Breaststroke ‘B’ Events on the day of the carnival. There is no sign up required for ‘B’ Events.

*Please note students may be required to trial for the ‘A’ Events of 50m Butterfly and 200m IM dependent on entry level numbers. 

*Students competing in the 200m Individual Medley will need to be transported to the venue by a parent/guardian to arrive at 7:45AM

Please take the time to discuss this with your son and daughter and consider all factors before completing the survey. Once the deadline has passed, we will be unable to make any changes or additions to the program. Students who miss the cut off for ‘A’ events can compete in ‘B’ events on the day of competition.

The emphasis of the carnival is participation and every student has the opportunity to compete on the day.

For more information regarding the UE Swim Carnival click here

Miranda Teves
Elementary Sport Coordinator


News from Preschool

Positive Preschool External Review
At the end of Term 1 an external review of the Early Childhood provisions at AIS was conducted.  Observations were carried out in all areas of the Preschool, conversations were conducted with class teachers, specialists and the Preschool Leadership Team.    We are delighted to share with you that the report was overwhelmingly positive, particularly with regard to leadership, pastoral support, planned and purposeful professional development and a clear articulation and delivery of the curriculum, within a well-resourced learning environment. Highlights from the report include:

  • The Mathematics Coordinator, Inquiry Centre Librarian and the Mandarin Teachers, provide outstanding contributions to high quality practice.

  • Development of early literacy skills and enhanced use of mathematical language and a flexible approach to involving children in developing their understanding of another language is observed. 

  • Consistent behaviour management is displayed with the children exhibiting negotiating skills, highlighted by effective welfare policies and essential agreements created within the classrooms.

  • The clear ethos of learning through play is articulated by all staff.  Effective incorporation of the Primary Years Program linked with the Australian Early Years Learning Framework outcomes with the principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy is another area of strength.

  • There is a pleasing balance between child-initiated and adult-led activities to consolidate children’s learning.

  • Effective transition and collaboration with Lower Elementary also exists. 

  • The partnership with parents and carers is noted via the outstanding information communicated regularly in the form of reflections, newsletters and children’s records.  AIS staff know families well and have an open door policy reflecting a strong community spirit inclusive of celebrating cultural diversity.

These findings of the Early Childhood Reviewer validate the quality of the Preschool in which we work.  We thank our hard working and dedicated staff for all they do for your children each day in AIS Preschool.
Luc McKay’s Congratulations
As Mignon shared with you, our Specialist Release teacher, Luc McKay, has received accolades for being the highest achieving student in the Master and School Leadership Program for 2014.  We are fortunate in the Preschool to have Luc working with our staff and children on Thursdays as our Specialist Release Teacher in three classes.

Also on Thursday afternoons Luc is involved in our collaborative curriculum planning.  He leads and facilitates discussions pertaining to Maths and its integration within our program.  On professional development days we continue to utilise Luc’s expertise with both teachers and teacher assistants in Mathematics workshops. 

Luc has quickly become a valued and energetic member of our staff with the children enjoying his unique style and planned experiences in both the Older and Younger Groups on a regular basis.

Global Perspectives in the Preschool
Earlier this week an Asian Perspectives presentation was made by Kirsti Hitz-Morton to a group of leaders from schools in Australia.  Kirsti began with a brief introduction on ‘Who We Are’ as a culturally diverse Preschool community.   Kirsti shared a video snapshot of Ms Leng with the Echidnas’ class leading an inquiry into the scientific principle of water displacement.  The video presented, showed Faith using the target language of Mandarin during the entire lesson.  The Australian Leaders were impressed with how authentically our Mandarin program connects with our Units of Inquiry.

Have a lovely long weekend.

Judy Eveans and Kirsti Hitz-Morton
Head and Assistant Head of Preschool


News from Lower Elementary

When we talk about embedding global perspectives within our units of inquiry, what does that actually mean and what does it look like? How does this develop international mindedness?

One of the strengths of the PYP is that the education that we provide works within global contexts. It increases the understanding of language and cultures and explores globally significant ideas and issues. The six Transdisciplinary Themes within the Framework provide us with the opportunity to incorporate local and global issues into the curriculum.

Eighteen months ago, the Elementary School embarked on a journey, reviewing of our Programme of Inquiry (PoI). During this time all staff reviewed, revised and developed new units based on recommendations from the IB evaluation and staff contributions. Throughout this process, we were also able to ensure that there were more explicit opportunities for students to explore issues on a more global scale. The alignment to the Australian National Curriculum for Science, Social Studies, History and Geography also occurred during this time.

In order for students to be more globally/internationally minded, they need to first have an understanding of local issues, in particular, historical, cultural or geographical features. The units of inquiry that were refined and developed allow the progression and development of understanding locally before branching more globally. The examples highlighted below, fall under the Transdisciplinary Theme of ‘Where we are in place and time’.

In Prep, the focus is on developing understanding of personal histories and the relationships between past generations and the present. Students inquire into what life was like in the past, looking at artifacts, talking with mum, dad, grandpa and grandma about what life was like when they were young. Students brought in artifacts, went on an excursion to the Singapore Toy Museum to gain an understanding of what types of recreational activities and toys were available in the past.  Below are some of the artifacts that the students explored as well as some images of their excursion to the Toy Museum.

In Year 1, the focus shifts to looking at homes and the cultural and geographical influences on homes. Case studies occur in Singapore in looking at the students own homes and the different types of homes that are in Singapore – condos, shophouses, black and whites and kampongs. Once the students have an understanding of the influences on their home and those around them, they will then explore homes on a more global scale; looking at nomadic homes, mud brick homes etc., and the cultural or geographical influences on those respective homes. Below are some examples of students constructing homes based on their knowledge and understanding of homes within Singapore and globally. Students then articulated the cultural or geographical influences that guided the design of their home.


The Year 2 unit has a spotlight on delving into locations and the historical and cultural aspects that assist us in discovering how people lived in the past and the impact or influence that has had on present day life. We are fortunate to live in a culturally rich and diverse environment, where different cultures merge or coexist. The experiences and knowledge that the students have gained in visiting different landmarks or areas within Singapore on a day to day basis assist in inquiring further into the actual historical or cultural impact and what life was like within that area previously and understanding how it has helped to shape life as we know it today.  As a result, an element of this unit is to embark out into the community to look at significant locations and their historical and cultural significance. Last year, the students went to the Singapore National Museum to learn about the history of Singapore. They took part in a re-enactment of a story about early travelers to the island to Tamasek and then toured the gallery to inquire into the life and culture of Singapore’s early days. The students also visited Fort Canning to explore the historical significance of the park, in particular during WW2 and the impact that has made on life in Singapore today. The knowledge gained from this experience consolidated understandings formed in class, but also sparked further wonderings and inquiries, which they were able to take back to the classroom. Using the cultural and historical landmarks in Singapore as a source of information about past lives and how they shaped our present day Singapore is also a major focus of the unit.  Students unpacked the significance of various landmarks around the city – the Merlion, various cultural temples to gain a deeper understanding of the reasons as to why historically or culturally, the landmarks serve as a reminder.

Our challenge to you as families is to take some time when you are next out and about in Singapore, stop and look at the significant landmarks or areas and ask yourself ‘why is this significant? What happened in the past or what was life like in the past that was so important to shaping Singapore as we know it today?

Year 2 Swimming Carnival
The AIS pool was alive this week with the Year 2 swimming carnival on Tuesday morning. The focus was very much on maximum participation and maximum fun.  Over the past few weeks the students in Year 2 have been honing their swimming skills in our Swim Scheme and the carnival was a chance to show off every that they had learned.

The students were involved in a series of races; including noodle, kickboard, freestyle and backstroke races. It was encouraging to see the large number of students who participated in every race. It was also inspiring to watch the caring way that the Year 5 House Leaders encouraged the swimmers in the pool; at times jumping in to swim alongside or to gently support them to ensure they were able to finish the race.

The carnival moved quickly ensuring that students spent more time in the water than out of it. When in their House areas, students excitedly cheered on their team mates or busted out their best Gangnam-style dance moves!

Whilst the day was not about winning – the element of competition is very exciting for the students. Here are the results of the day:


A huge thank you to Mrs Miranda Teves, the PE team and the AIS Swim Coaches for their organisation and enthusiasm to ensure the carnival was a success.

Megan Howard and Nick Martin
Assistant Heads of Lower Elementary


Sailvega ‘Teddy Voyage” Update

As one of the Secondary students in the Sailvega CCA so eloquently put it, “AIS has the most amazing Elementary students!”

The pre-loved plush toy drive across the Lower Elementary School last Wednesday and Friday was a huge success! Along with the stationary we are collecting in the libraries, the old AIS back-packs will be filled with educational supplies, along with a plush toy, and delivered by the Vega to some of the remotest communities in Eastern Indonesia. In fact, the drive was so successful, there are also enough ‘plushies’ for the Year 8 and 9 students to take to an orphanage in Lombok on the Indonesian trip in July!

The time, care and attention to make sure each plush toy fitted our requirements was really fabulous and certainly made our job of sorting them a lot easier! Thank you so much Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 students. Your generosity and philanthropy at such a young age was overwhelming.  For those of you who wrote your names on your donation, excitedly chatted with the Secondary students about how many you donated while they emptied the collection tubs, and those who shed a few tears when you gave your plushy its final hug; rest assured your kind donations will receive yearsof love and hugs to come and are truly appreciated.

You are making a big difference to another person’s life. Thank you.

If you are interested in the Vega and her work, the historic vessel is currently docked at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club, or log on to www.sailvega.com .
Ms Cristy Gover
Sailvega CCA


News from Upper Elementary

The Australian National Curriculum recognises the significant relationship between Australia and Asia, and as such, has incorporated ‘Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia’ as an important cross curricular priority.  As a globally focused, distinctly Australian school, located in Asia, we have enormous opportunity to develop our students’ global perspectives and international mindedness.

Last week’s Newsletter highlighted how learning outside the classroom is both beneficial and necessary for our students to become lifelong learners.  Recognising the importance of this type of learning, we ensure we maximise our location to extend our student’s understanding of Asia and the important relationship Australia has with this region.

Incorporating the use of primary sources into our curriculum; through school camps, excursions and incursions, provides us with opportunities to participate in learning which cannot be duplicated in the classroom setting.  Working outside of the classroom enables students to expand their learning, by giving them access to primary sources. 

Why Primary Sources?

Engage students

  • Primary sources help students relate to the ideas in a personal way to promote a deeper understanding

  • Primary sources are snippets of information, they encourage students to seek additional evidence through research

Develop critical thinking skills

  • Primary sources provide information that is often incomplete; therefore students must use prior knowledge and work with multiple sources to make connections; also building their capacity to identify and understand different perspectives

  • In analysing primary sources, students move from concrete observations and facts to questioning and making inferences

Construct knowledge

  • Integrating what they glean from comparing primary sources with what they already know, and what they learn from research, allows students to construct their knowledge

The recent Year 4 Camp to Johor Baru, promotes international mindedness and an appreciation of other cultures through the Inter-School Cultural Exchange Program. This year we are excited to build further on our camp program through the development of the Melaka Camp for our Year 5 students.  Utilising the unique and diverse migration history Melaka has, the Year 5 camp has been planned to enable students to gather information, during the ‘finding out’ phase of the ‘Where We are in Place and Time’ unit of inquiry.  Investigating significant geographical areas of Melaka, students will be given the chance to develop the conceptual understanding of migration through the lens of, the key concepts, change and causation.


Through such learning experiences, the Year 4 and Year 5 students will develop an understanding that peoples and countries of Asia are diverse in ethnic background, traditions, cultures, belief systems and religions.  Engagement with primary sources during camp help support our students in becoming effective global citizens, encouraging connections between the peoples of Asia, Australia, and the rest of the world.

Danica Holloway and James Harrison
Assistant Heads of Upper Elementary


Single Subject Spotlight: Visual Arts Newsletter

The Elementary School Visual Art Department’s area of focus this year is to ensure that we provide the opportunity for students to explore interesting artist practice experiences. Students across all age groups, in the Elementary, are working in a variety of art medium to produce creative and unique art pieces. Here is a sample of the Art focus, early this term, for each year cohort:

Our Prep students have been inquiring into the role of camouflage in Art. As a component of this unit the students are making three-dimensional paper-mache dragon lizards. Students began the unit folding, scrunching and molding paper into various shapes for the body, head, tail and legs of the lizard. This artist practice was, for many students, a new and challenging experience working with the glue and paper in such a tactile way. Many students have found that sculpture is something they are naturally good at. Students who found the task challenging are gradually gaining confidence and are looking forward to painting and decorating the dragon lizard in the coming weeks. It has been a pleasure overhearing students talking with each other about the process of their art making, with one students stating today that, “this is the best ever!” when referring to their paper- mâché experience.

Year 1 are onto creating their final art work in the Art of Movement Unit. In this unit they have been exploring and representing movement of both non -living and living things. The final art piece in this unit requires the students to create a paper mâché flying bird. Students were excited to be involved in creating a three-dimensional sculpture.  The students started with the construction of the bird by scrunching, molding and taping together shaped pieces of paper to create the body, head and tail form. Students then traced and cutting wing and beak shapes from thick card was next and these were taped to the body. Students are part-way through the paper mâché process and have enjoyed the experience of "hands on" artist practice. Once the paper- mâché process is complete, the students will be painting and decorating their birds the wings with feathers.

Year 2 students have been inquiring into representing ‘Earth Changes’. One of their Art representations focused on ‘Blizzards’ and how they affect the environment. Students represented a Blizzard by using collage technique and were required to use torn paper only. Students used a ruler to assist them to tear straighter lines. Students were challenged to find ways to tear paper into shapes as they were not allowed scissors. As such the students became aware that their shapes could not be overly detailed. The students’ unique and beautiful art pieces were completed with the use of ‘Cool colour’ emphasis onto grey paper backgrounds.

Year 3 students have been inspired by our new unit onAppropriation in Art’.The students have demonstrated fabulous understandings and knowledge regarding the iconic painting of the Mona Lisa. Many of the students have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to visit The Louvre in France to view this masterpiece. The students have applied appropriation techniques (creating their own version of an iconic art piece) by selecting a character of their choice and illustrating a background to match the character. We have had a diverse range of Mona Lisa personality changes with some examples including Mona Lisa Lego and Minecraft, super heroes, princesses, cats, eighties singers, vampires and aliens. The students found using images from the iPads particularly helpful in providing them with ideas for characters and backgrounds. Most students are well on the way to completing these artworks using water colour pencils, water colour paint and oil pastels in combination. To complete the Art pieces students will consider creating gold ornate frames, made from paper, to add that finishing touch to their Mona Lisa Appropriation. Keep an eye open for these works to be exhibited and displayed.

Year 4 students were charged with the responsibility of taking a photograph over the Easter break that is representational of Culture, Belief or Values. These images are now being enlarged and manipulated using oil pastel blending techniques. Students have been required to consider composition and colour representation when working-on and editing their images. The students will also add a rationale gallery tag to their own work that explains what the image is and why they selected the image as a representation of the theme. The students work (together with their rationale) will be displayed in the Year 4 cluster area upon completion of the Unit.

Year 5 students have been inquiring into the ‘Art of Expression’ and looking specifically at the difference between ‘Art that represents what we see’ VS ‘Art that represents how we feel’. Students looked at iconic Expressionist Artwork and considered adapting components of these into their own representations. The students were required to emulate ‘The Scream’ and create their own Expressionist Art based on the iconic painting by the artist Munch. Students had to consider image composition and a text statement (of what makes them scream) when creating their expressionist piece, arranging their image and text to clearly express their message. This unit will culminate with a research and reflection component requiring the students to compare and contrast Expressionism with another art form.

Look out for examples of the fabulous art pieces from each of our Year Group Artists displayed in classrooms and throughout common areas within the Elementary School.

Elementary Art Department