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IB News - 2nd December 2016

01 December 2016

Find out what's been happening in the IB Academy

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It has been a fantastically busy two weeks since our last newsletter with IB students fully involved in all aspects of school life. Year 12 students have had a fortnight of assessments; Year 13s are working hard as mock examinations draw ever closer, ToK presentations are being prepared and higher Education applications are in full flow. Our students have also been involved in fund-raising at the Christmas Fair, planning and organizing an enormously successful NAIS MUN conference, playing sport, leading the school in assemblies on health issues and Project Week; their commitment and energy is impressive! Below is an account of the week from Gabi and Lara in Y12:

This week we had a nice assembly celebrating Project week. Every year from Year 6 on to Year 12 created their own power points with pictures or videos of their own special week. We learned a lot of every years Project week and their good actions and found every single one exciting and special. Although we have to say, as soon as Year 11 got on stage and presented their pictures of the cute pandas which they were taking care of, no one in the room could hold themselves back and many ‘Awws’ and ‘Ohhs’ were revealed. As amazing as we all found the pandas, we were all in agreement that we wouldn't want to switch our own project week with any year and we were all happy with the memories which we had created. The outcome of the whole week away and doing service work, taught us all in the end, that we can all make a difference in someone’s life, if we work together. Many students showed us that they had exactly learned this by presenting us their speeches about their feelings and adventures.

Everyone in Year 12 is working very hard on their CAS, some being already professionals at it and others still having some struggles. We are all doing our best and trying to help each other out by motivation one another and sharing some great ideas. One of the CAS activities going on right now is the IB choir, which is working really hard on Christmas songs right now. We already got a small performance of them during the Christmas bazaar, which created an even more chistmas like atmosphere and got us all ready for the Christmas spirit. But one performance does not hold them back in continuing learning even more wonderful song and we are excited to see what will be shown to us next.

Another thing which also happened during the christmas fair was the Tanzania fundraising. The students were working really hard on raising money for their soon coming exciting trip to Tanzania, where they will try to make the world a better place by creating a difference in someones life. As christmas is all about giving and putting other people before you, the fundraising fit perfectly to the fair and many people helped to raise money, to fulfil others and create a difference.

As the holidays are almost here, Year 12 students are having their half semester exams, and everyone is studying hard. One special class I especially enjoyed, was our TOK lesson in which we learned about senses and whether human actions have a relationship with these. I found this interesting, because it helps us to understand others better and it can also help to even understand ourselves sometimes.


Last weekend, most of our IB students were involved in the Nord Anglia International School Mock United Nations conference. It was wonderful to see so many of our students working on the organisation of the day and the IB choir was there to get the day off to a melodic start. Ashley gives her account of the day below.

Since our last conference in 2011, MUN has now developed into an integral component of the co-curricular program at NAIS, and for many students, a strong pillar of their high school careers. It was therefore our pleasure to host NAISMUN III. It offered a platform through which students could discuss, debate, and expand their global perspectives, recognise the reasons why world leaders make certain choices, and subsequently question the implications of choices.

The NAISMUN conference, whose theme was freedom, was truly, a valuable experience for all that were involved. The secretariat did a fantastic job of planning and organising every aspect of the conference and were deeply committed towards its success. Delegates and their directors from the four schools worked hard in writing resolutions as did the chairs in preparing their chair reports. Our diligent team of administration staff, press corps and IB choir all supported us and made the conference truly successful.

On behalf on the Secretariat, I would like to thank everyone for attending and it’s our belief that they all had a valuable learning experience and are looking forward to NAISMUN IV. Our sincere gratitude to our principal, Mrs. Wallace for empowering us to host the conference and for her wise counsel during the opening ceremony. We were also honoured to receive valuable lessons on leadership from the keynote speaker prof. Warwick John Fahy. Last but not least, a huge thank you to our supportive team of teachers who were there for us before and during the conference.

CAS update

Students in both Y12 and 13 continue their work on CAS and it is often inspiring to see the service based activities in which they are involved. This includes direct fund-raising, advocacy and collaboration with local and international charities and NGOs. One example of this is the work done by Sammi, Grace, Alice and Teigan in Y13. This team has been working with local NGO Home Sweet Home on a project that they have called “Share the Warmth” Teigan explains more below.

“Last year, before summer break, the current year 13 students were asked to consider an issue that we felt passionate about, and that we could make a difference with. I, along with my team members (Aimee, Sammi, Alice and Grace), felt that the homelessness in Shanghai was a significant issue, and one that we could easily and successfully focus our efforts on assisting. We discovered that in Shanghai, the homeless population is living with incredibly low standards of clothing and hygiene. We decided that a collection drive in the school community would be the most efficient way to collect clothes and hygiene products. There are thousands of homeless people living in Shanghai, and we believe that if we can change the lives of even a select few of those individuals, we will have achieved our goal.

At the start of this year, our team started an initiative that we have called “Share the Warmth.” The aim of this initiative was to collaborate with the organization “Home Sweet Home” to collect items, such as warm clothing, that we could then donate directly to Shanghai’s homeless population. We feel that this city has had a significant impact on our lives, and has shaped the people we have become, and so we wish to give back to the local community that has always been so welcoming and kind to us. By collecting blankets and clothes, it has allowed us to share the things that we often take for granted in winter, such as warmth and comfort.  As a result of the NAIS school communities’ incredible generosity, we collected a mass amount of warm clothing and hygiene products, that we intend to donate in the coming months, before winter sets in, in order to truly help ‘share the warmth’.

We believe that during this project, we have developed our awareness of the global issue of homelessness. Next month, the ‘Share the Warmth’ team will become in direct contact with Shanghai’s homeless population through a volunteer program created by ‘Home Sweet Home’. By directly assisting the homeless population, it will have the greatest impact on us, and the way we view this issue in the future. This self-initiated project has forced our team to consider the implications of our actions and how fortunate we are to be living the lives that we do. We have learnt commitment and dedication, as we have had to take immediate action on any issues that may have arisen, and consider the most plausible way to achieve our one main goal: to make a difference. Although it has been tough for our team to achieve this and remain motivated throughout this long journey, we feel that the results that we have achieved are phenomenal, and we are so proud to have made a difference and shared the warmth with those less fortunate this winter.”

TOK news

The Year 13s have been busy with the preparation of their TOK presentations. The presentation is the Internal Assessment component of the Theory of Knowledge course. Students have been choosing real life situations that they find interesting and compelling and as a result of the contextual deconstruction identify and format second order knowledge questions. These inquiry questions then form the basis of a critical exploration. The final presentations will take place next week on Tuesday and Wednesday. We would like to wish our Year 13s all the very best with their preparations, rehearsals and presentations.  

The next step in the journey will be the Theory of Knowledge essay. The students will make a start on the prescribed titles before the Christmas holiday. We have also allocated time during the mock examinations to support the students with their essay preparation. 

The prescribed titles for the May 2017 session are listed below.

  1. “It is only knowledge produced with difficulty that we truly value.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
  2. “Facts are needed to establish theories but theories are needed to make sense of facts.” Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.
  3. Should key events in the historical development of areas of knowledge always be judged by the standards of their time?
  4. “In the production of knowledge, traditions of areas of knowledge offer correctives for ways of knowing.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
  5. Given access to the same facts, how is it possible that there can be disagreement between experts in a discipline? Develop your answer with reference to two areas of knowledge.
  6. “Humans are pattern-seeking animals and we are adept at finding patterns whether they existor not” (adapted from Michael Shermer). Discuss knowledge questions raised by this idea in two areas of knowledge. 

Higher Education update

These are exciting times for the Year 13 students with offers flooding in from UK universities, interviews with Hospitality Schools and skype calls with leading Hong Kong institutions.  All of this being skillfully balanced with ToK presentations and looming IA deadlines!  The Russell group universities feature highly on our students’ lists and we wish Alice all the very best with her Cambridge Interview next week for Architecture.

There are still some Year 13 students who have not yet completed their applications but we plan to have all of those submitted by the 16th December deadline.  Please continue to encourage them at home.

As for our Year 12 students, their Higher Education guidance will start after the holidays but we hope that they have already got their research underway.  Here is a list of websites if you are able to help them at home:

  •                   (aptitudes, careers and requirements)
  •                           (a look at the different subjects available at university)
  •                                (UK courses and combinations)
  •                          (English speaking courses in Europe)
  •           (rankings)
  •                 (US university listings)
  •                         (English speaking courses in China)
  •                              (general university information)

Christmas Fair

We all enjoyed a lovely afternoon of early Christmas cheer on Sunday last week with lots of shopping, food and festive drinks. For IB it was particulalry cheering to see the wonderful performances of the IB choir. It is worth saying that this group of students, led by Mr Graham, meet twice a week for intense rehearsal. Many of the studentsd have never sung or performed in public before joining the choir and it is wonderful to witness not only their enthusiasm but the wonderful quality of their performances. Congratulations to all!

House Update

The House System got off to a flying start this term with the opening ‘Teamwork Thursday’ house competition. Students across the Secondary School competed in many different team-based activities in which house point were awarded to teams who collaborated the best.  Dao were the winners of this competition and led the leader board for about a week until the Dodgeball competition, where De house took the overall win that boosted them to the top of the leader board!

De also won the Internationalism Quiz that was run by the Senior Student Leaders, however it was Li house that pushed into the lead. Reason;  well, it’s not simply the big competitions that put house points on the board. Students are constantly achieving House Points in class, in and around the school for good work, on an individual basis. These House Points are totalled every two weeks and added to the accumulator. Students in Li house were doing a great job inside the classroom and edged into the lead because of it!

De house soon pushed back into the lead with a win in the Perfect Pylons MIT competition. Though, once again, the battle at the top bounced back to Li after a big win in the Xmas card completion. After the count from Form Tutors this week though, it seems that De house have edged their way back to the top.

Who can predict what will happen next as students will battle it out for the best decorated Christmas tree in the house Christmas Tree competition. Over the next two weeks, students will have the chance to bring in their decorations and place them into the house box. On Friday 9th December, students will have 20 minutes to decorate their tree. The winners will be judged by Mrs Wallace, Mr Lawrence and the Senior Student Leadership team. Good luck to all! Here are the latest scores on the doors:

1st Place              De          4529 points

2nd Place             Li             4374 points

3rd Place              Qi            4095 points        

4th Place              Dao        3913 Points

Supervised study sessions

As you know, IB students are welcome to use the IB Academy workroom every day until 5.30pm. In addition to this we are offering supervised study sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. These are open to all but, in addition, staff can refer students, who may have fallen behind with independent work, to attend as a compulsory support. If this is the case for your son/daughter you will be contacted by the subject teacher.

Reminder – signing out

To enable us to fulfil our duty of care please take note of the procedures that for students signing out early:

  1. Students are only allowed to leave the site if there is sufficient justification to do so.
  2. Students are not allowed to leave the site if they have free lessons as we expect them to be making use of this time for independent study within the school environment.
  3. Mr Graham or Ms Kilpatrick must be informed in writing before a student can be given permission to leave the site. We cannot allow students to leave unless a member of the IB academy team has been informed. It is not appropriate to only inform a member of the administrative staff. Administrative and security staff have instructed not to allow any students to leave the site unless it has been confirmed by Mr Graham or Ms Kilpatrick.