Grade 2’s journey of discovery
In Grade 2, the students have been hard at work using their inquiry skills in both English and thematic sessions to discover how chocolate is made and why it is more than just a simple, delicious snack. Throughout the semester, students have been learning about the history of chocolate and how it was originally discovered in the Central American country of Mexico during the Mayan civilization. The students were shocked and amazed to learn about the differences between this ancient civilization and how we live today. “Mayans were so cruel!” howled the class when they were told of the ancient tradition of human sacrifice.
This semester the students have also been showing off their creative and collaborative skills. They were archaeologists for the day hunting for ancient Mayan artifacts and even spent the day as chocolate tasters! As well as learning about the Mayans, they have also learned how the manufacturing of chocolate has helped many people work their way out of poverty. Students have learned about the importance of fair and ethical trade and how farmers are working their way out of poverty through the farming of Cacao. This was evidenced in their amazing trip to the Zotter Chocolate factory in downtown Shanghai. They learned about how the cocoa beans have been ethically sourced from Nicaraguan farmers enabling them to have a better life and giving them the opportunity to pay for their own children’s educations. The students were amazed that in some countries children were not able to go to school and were happy to learn that there are ways to help.
The Zotter chocolate factory is not the only factory they have learned about this semester. The students have also been getting acquainted with every teacher’s favourite author, Roald Dahl, and his most famous book ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. Their imaginations have been running wild and they have learned how using adjectives and time conjunctions in their stories, just like Roald Dahl, can really improve both the structure and quality of their descriptive writing.
The students have also worked on enhancing their Chinese language skills by taking a look at traditional tales and using drama to be more expressive and build on their confidence. It is in this way that students better understand the meanings and moral behind the each story and develop a love for reading.
Rockets at the ready with Grade 4
In Grade 4, students have been using their inquiry skills to get stuck in to their new thematic topic, Space. They have used collaboration and creative thinking skills to design and make rockets, and have consistently demonstrated how open-minded they are to the astounding concepts of outer space and space exploration.
Last week, the students communicated their current understanding in our ‘Knowledge Harvest’ and thought about questions they would like to research further during the course of the topic. “How is a black hole so powerful that it can suck in everything – even light?”, is just one example of their wonderment. In addition, the students really enjoyed creating their own scientific apparatus to safely and accurately measure the size of the sun.
The week concluded with their amazing adventure to the Neighborhood Earth Space Exhibition. Students were filled with excitement and anticipation, hoping to expand their knowledge. It was heartwarming to witness the childrens’ passion and curiosity for learning outside the classroom, and hear them ask such insightful questions to enrich their minds.
In Chinese language learning, to help students develop good reading habits, they have recently carried out some personalised guided reading. From the beginning of last week, students were split into four different reading groups; each one studying one of the classic books. Students are given the opportunity to feedback their learning in their own way, allowing them to think critically and creatively about the book. They are also developing their communication skills by sharing their love of reading.
Learning and Developing with Grade 7
This week, Grade 7 students will continue with their new reading unit focusing on Tang Dynasty poetry. In this unit, students have been looking at different classics of the period including ‘ShiHaoLi’ from the poetry master, DuFu, and ‘BaiJuYi’, as well as ‘MaiTanWeng’. Both poems bring us to a period of time where there was war and where the people lived with starvation and in destitute conditions. Whilst students appreciate the beauty of those famous works through reading and understanding, they have also learned to understand the spirit of society during that period by designing their own scripts and acting them out through drama.
In French, Grade 7 are focusing on grammar. They have learned how to conjugate a verb according to the subject of the sentence, the tense (past or present) and the gender (feminine or masculine). Ms. Cecile has high expectations for students and they showed resilience when asked to apply their grammatical knowledge to enhance their writing skills. By the end of this module, students will be able to write longer sentences using: sentence starters, connectives and opinion, confidently and accurately.
In English, in their current unit called Resolutions, Grade 7 students have been responding to a text. In this unit, students have begun to investigate the features of narratives that are involved in developing conflict - problems, disputes or contentious issues in a story’s plot. They read, write and discuss literature to show how characters reach the point in a story’s plot line where conflict is solved or resolved. Many students are reading the text Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo, while others have been reading an adapted version of the Jungle book by Rudyard Kipling. There has been a big push on both comprehension and grammar in the current units trying to get students used to the complexities of the English language.
Students are also focusing on descriptive elements from the story and are working towards producing their own descriptions using a variety of literary devices. Students have engaged well with the new curriculum that has been brought in, and have begun to use Firefly effectively to review and complete homework tasks that have been set.
In Science, students have been working hard to learn about their bodies and how to best look after themselves. They started doing this by characterising and organising what makes an individual healthy – making them think critically about themselves and others. They have measured their heart rates, lung capacities and begun to look at their own and others work life balance, and what impact this can have on an individual’s health. They have also looked at the importance of exercise, rest and being healthy, as well as knowing what role different food groups play and being able to scientifically test for: carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins and salts.
In STEAM, students have been designing realistic bases and transport for living on Mars by researching and applying technology and proven science of today to help a team of humans survive on this planet. Currently, they are in the last stages of the project – they are putting everything together to be displayed as a scientific poster and used within a presentation to their House teams in the following weeks. They have been working in teams of 3 to 6 students; finding problems and their own unique solutions; and integrating elements from different classes such as art, IT, DT, Geography, Biology and Physics.
In PE, the Grade 7 girls are coming to the end of their Handball unit. They have demonstrated excellent learning over the six week course. As a result, there will now be a Friday lunch time handball club as well as a handball ECA on a Tuesday which have both proven very popular with the students. After the Winter break, the NACIS ‘Handball Team’ will be established and we look forward to communicating with you about this in the near future.
Charity Initiatives with CAS students
The four student House organized charity events came to an end last Friday with the Bake Sale organized by Integrity. As a result, students have been reflecting on the importance of these activities and others similar and how they link to their CAS studies. Here is more of what the students have to say:
“I joined the Shanghai High School Drama club as part of my NACIS CAS programme. The reason why I chose this experience is because I love drama so much. What we have to do is to write our own script, prepare our props and attend rehearsals in order to deliver our performance at the Shanghai High School Drama Competition in December. Through this CAS experience, I can improve my script writing skills, improve my performing skills, and improve my skills of collaboration and teamwork by working with my fellow club members”. (Michelle, Grade 10)
“This year we won’t go to Tanzania ourselves but we still did the Tanzania Fundraising during the House time. This year we also supervised the younger students to organise the donation activities. For our House, Integrity, we planned a whole school bake sale. To help with the arrangements, we had three departments: snacks, desserts and drinks. All the money (including the costs) will be donated to the Tanzania community action fund. The bake sale was for all students and teachers to enjoy and to make sure it went as smoothly as possible, we made detailed arrangements with the help of NACIS members of staff and our Form Tutors. We had a very successful bake sale!” (Emily, Grade 10)
“The Sony World Photography Award is a worldwide famous award that takes place every year. I will take the award as a chance to challenge myself by working on photography projects of all kinds of themes, subjects and categories and as well as a motivation to keep doing photography. Getting a prize is not necessary. I will choose my best work of the year to submit for the competition. My aim is to have considerable progress in composition, hue and the building of my own photography style”. (Charles, Grade 10)
We would like to congratulate our students for their outstanding social commitment displayed during the organisation of the recent fundraising events. We would also like to thank teachers for their encouragement and support as well as parents for your generosity towards this worthy cause. It has been a truly ambitious learning experience for all involved.