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Secondary School Updates (08 Otober 2021)

Chris Newman
Chris Newman (3 posts) Head of Secondary View Profile
Weekly update from Head of Secondary

Dear Parents,

Next week we celebrate our annual International Festival, a timely reminder that at BIS Hanoi we are global citizens learning together.

Global citizenship for us, as a starting point, is about acknowledging the diversity in our community and respecting the multiple perspectives that exist about local and global events. But it is more that; it is also about celebrating the values, morals, and traditions that unite us. As an international school, delivering the International Baccalaureate Program and certified by the Council of International Schools, we also commit ourselves to encouraging the development of a range of language and cultures, including the support of mother-tongue languages. We also dedicate our work in service to the local community and those in need abroad, as well as to the global sustainability goals.

The theme for this year’s International Festival is connections, which is about exploring the ways we are interconnected with our family, community, and the wider world. We know that students will enjoy the variety of learning opportunities of offer during the International Festival. 

International Festival 2021 banner

Yours sincerely,

Chris Newman

Head of Secondary


Key Dates
  • Wednesday 13 October to Friday 15 October: International Festival

  • Monday 18 October to Friday 22 October: Half-term  Holiday

  • Tuesday 26 October: Year 7 Parent’s Evening
  • Tuesday 2 November: Year 12 & 13 Parent’s Evening
  • Thursday 11 October: Year 11 Options Evening
  • Tuesday 23 November: Year 9 Parents’ and Options Evening
  • Tuesday 7 December: Year 10 Parents’ Evening
  • Friday 17 December: Last Day of Term 1
International Festival

The International Festival launches on Wednesday 13 October with a whole-school virtual assembly at 8:50 AM. All parents are welcome to also watch this assembly. A link will be sent via email next week. 

To celebrate the festival, Secondary School students will be involved in a program of learning activities beginning on Thursday 14 October.  A full timetable with links to lessons and activities will be shared with students shortly. Please note that attendance will be taken and monitored as normal.

International Festival Learning Program

International Festival Timetable

We look forward to celebrating the International Festival with you. Thank you for your ongoing support of learning in our school during this time.

Borrowing Library Books 

Between now and Wednesday, 13 October, Secondary students can request up to 4 library books to be prepared for them to borrow over mid-term break.

•    If you request books BEFORE 6 PM Monday 11 Oct, you can collect the next day (Tuesday) AFTER 2 PM.

•    If you request books BEFORE 6 PM Tuesday 12 Oct, you can collect the next day (Wednesday) AFTER 2 PM.

•    If you request books BEFORE 6 PM Wednesday 13 Oct, you can collect the next day (Thursday) AFTER 2 PM.

The books will be available on tables in the BIS foyer near Joma. The student’s name will be on a paper on the books.

But how do you request books?

1. Go to the BIS Library site 

2. Enter a title into the FIND A BOOK box in the top left and hit ENTER. 

3. This will take you to Destiny Discover, where you need to click on the Login button in the top right. 

4. Click on the blue SAMS-SSO button on the left, enter the student’s school email and password. 

5. Click on a wanted title to see details of the book, including if it is available or not (IN or OUT). 

6. Click on the Hold button if you would like that book. 

Here is screencast showing exactly what you need to do.   

Nerilee Hall 


Pastoral Update

Over the course of the week, Year 11 have been taking part in their Progress Check Tests (PCTs). More than just knowledge checks, they are an invaluable opportunity for students to develop resilience, explore a variety of revision strategies and reflect on their approach to managing their well-being during exams. 

Throughout Key Stage 4 (KS4) well-being and tutor sessions, students have explored revision and productivity strategies, including pomodoro and Flipd, flashcards and flashcard apps such as Quizlet and Anki, mind maps and Seneca. The way we learn is as unique as we are. Through trial and experimentation, students look to identify and reflect on the right revision and productivity pathway for them. PCTs are the perfect opportunity to experiment with different strategies, so that by the time students come to sit their IGCSE and IB exams in the future, they will have a good understanding of what is effective for them.  

In addition to revision and productivity, well-being and in particular sleep is paramount in the approach and during PCTs and exam sessions. In KS4 we have focused on developing an understanding of the importance of sleep particularly for recall and emotional well-being. Students have completed sleep inventories as well as reflected on creating conditions for good sleep. However, this remains an important area of focus with work still needing to be done. 

20211008 Pastoral Update

Similarly, exercise and mindfulness are effective tools in developing resilience during stressful periods. NAE Global Campus provides access to yoga sessions, mindfulness and meditation techniques, as well as weekly workouts and cooking challenges. Each Thursday, we spend time trialling different ways to manage our well-being. The importance of including these strategies into a revision schedule has been highlighted and emphasised to students. Revision is more effective when we take regular breaks and care for our well-being. 

Finally, this PCT session is like no other we have had before. It is the first formal session during Virtual School Experience which required an additional layer of preparation from the students. I feel incredibly proud of the adaptability, care and maturity Year 11 have shown during this period. 

Marie Price
Head of Year 11


English Key Stage 3
In English this week, Year 9 have been looking at descriptive writing. After studying some examples and techniques from the book we are reading, the students did a great job at writing their own descriptive paragraphs. Later they were given feedback and targets and had time to reflect during which they rewrote their paragraphs with improvements. Well done Year 9!

20211008 English

Michael Tchakov

Secondary EAL Teacher



Spotlight on Art: Key Stage 3 Art Week outcomes

After a week of celebrating Art and Sustainable living, I am so excited to share the outcomes from our talented Key Stage 3 students. The Key Stage 3 students demonstrated excellent effort and creativity last week while working on their Art challenges. 

Year 7 had the choice of creating an Artwork out of recyclable materials, or in the style of an Artist. 

Year 8 created typography posters to communicate the need for us to live more sustainably so that we can protect our world for future generations. Their work was so thought-provoking that we hope to display their work around the school. 

Year 9 chose an artist and created architecture sculptures using recyclable materials, particularly cardboard. 

Well done to all the students that took part in Art week. We hope that you enjoyed it and that you learned a lot in the process. 

  • 20211008 Art
  • 20211008 Art 2
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  • 20211008 Art 4

Eibhlin Goppert

Art Leader


Whole School – Black History Month Assembly 

Every October since 1987, the UK has celebrated Black History Month and therefore we feel it is important to do so also here at BIS Hanoi. This topic was the focus of our assembly this week, which was led by our History teachers, Ms Peters and Ms Black, but also included contributions from many members of our school community, both students and staff. The assembly was for students to discuss the term ‘diversity’, what it means to them and how they have seen diversity within their lessons at school. It was a chance for us to consider recent successes in the strive towards more equality but also to consider how we can improve in the future. Students were then given ideas of how they can better ‘diversify’ their environment to ensure we are all working together in our strive towards racial equality.

20211008 History

Sophie Peters and Victoria Black 
History Teachers


Our Year 8 students have been busy exploring the coastlines of the world this week. They have shown superb creativity to apply their knowledge and understanding of how coastal processes affect the coastline. Whether it has been producing imaginative comic strips about coastal erosion, using digital software and videos to explain how coastal spits are formed, or creating their own edible caves, arches, stacks and stumps out of cake! We have been truly impressed with the effort and engagement of the work we have had submitted. Keep it up Year 8!

20211008 Geography

Shaun O’Callaghan
Humanities Leader


In Maths lessons at BIS we try to give our students as many opportunities as possible to explore their learning collaboratively. Group work is very useful, allowing different students to fill varied roles depending on their particular strengths: those with Leadership as a high VIA strength will likely take a coordinating role, those with Creativity might explore different ways of presenting work, and those with Humour might generally motivate, or take a lead in the face-to-face presentations.

Online learning brings certain challenges to allowing effective and interesting collaboration and group work. Although there are several platforms that can help facilitate group work online, they still depend on the willingness of the students themselves to have their cameras and microphones on to give a more personal interaction. Fortunately, the majority of our students enjoy such collaborative work very much and are keen to interact in small groups with common goals (particularly if they are competitive) as much as possible.

The Accelerated Year 10 class have recently been exploring, and proving, circle theorems in their online lessons, and working on solving problems for homework. Today it was their turn to provide the problems. Working collaboratively in breakout rooms and using their own pages in their online class notebooks the groups had to design their own circle theorems problem – a puzzle where angles need to be logically deduced using different clues and relationships within circles.
Examples of discussion and collaboration:

  • 20211008 Maths
  • 20211008 Maths 2

Some nearly finished questions.

The practice of designing your own questions related to a topic you teach is a good one for aiding memory retrieval. Of course, to design a question you need to understand the maths, and to be able to find the answer yourselves! It was also hoped that the groups would attempt to be as fiendish as possible, as their classmates would then swap problems to try to solve each other’s.

Robert Airdrie
Mathematics Teacher/Head of Sixth Form



Over the past two weeks, our Key Stage 3 students have been involved in a lot of fun projects. Year 7 and 8 were taking part in a cross-curricular project involving Art and languages. Our students in Year 7 created the pet of their dreams, designing it and presenting it to the class in the target language (French or Spanish).

Our Year 8 students had a slightly different project, both linked to the cultural aspect of the language they study. The Spanish students were trying to solve the following mystery: ‘Who stole Las Meninas?’, and learning more about this famous Spanish painting while the French students were trying to find out ‘Who stole Mona Lisa?’, which is one of the most famous paintings in history, found in Le Louvre Museum in Paris, France.

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All of the students really enjoyed working in these projects especially when working collaboratively. They had a wonderful time and have proven to be incredibly imaginative but also great communicators in the target language. Last but not least, they have started to demonstrate true inquiring skills, which are really important attributes that we, at BIS Hanoi, want our students to achieve during their journey with us.   

Emilie Lounis

MFL & Art Teacher



Year 10 Korean students enjoyed a sense of learning poems by using Onenote. They have created a story based on the poem called ‘a visitor’ and recorded their voice after feeling the persona’s attitude and circumstances in the poem. After learning all of the elements of poetic analysis techniques, they have written personal responses on understanding of the poem by connecting the theme with their real-life experiences. Students in Year 10 were exposed to the value of learning poetry and discovered how reading a poem enriches their reading life.

20211008 Korean

Seyoung An and Unju Song

Korean Teachers



Year 7 Vietnamese students have been exploring how poets use sound in their poems. After looking closely at some examples and identifying the techniques used from several poems, students went on to make their own poems using the same techniques in both structures and language features. They must be very proud of themselves.

20211008 Vietnamese

Hai Nguyen

Whole School Vietnamese Leader



Year 12 CAS students have been busy preparing for our International Festival next week. These students have been tasked with creating workshops to educate our younger school community based on the Sustainable Development Goals. On Thursday afternoon of this week, each group of CAS students shared their plans with Ms Black and Ms Miller for feedback ahead of next week. We were really impressed with the level of detail that has been applied to this project so far and are certain that it is going to lead to some extremely high quality learning opportunities, leading to positive global change in the long term. Good luck next week Year 12!

20211008 CAS
Reading in Key Stage 3

Some of our strongest readers in Key Stage 3 have been taking the opportunity to develop their reading skills by joining our reading clubs. This year, we have advanced reading groups in Years 7,8 & 9.

Year 7s have been reading with Ms Shepley Clarke, they have been exploring a range of different short stories. Last week, they tackled 'The Blue Carbunkle' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Year 8s, with Ms Hall, have begun reading the gothic classic 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I have been reading with Year 9s - we are enjoying the considerable challenge of reading 'Les Miserables'. Although we're still near the start, we're enjoying exploring a different kind of text, and the historical context for its production.

20211008 Reading