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This week in the classroom - Welcome to Semester Two

12 March 2018

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Primary News

Collaborative Discussions around International Women's Day
Across the Primary school, classes joined in the discussion about and the relevance of ‘International Women’s Day’. Teachers had researched, resourced and shared in stories of inspirational women with each other during the run up to the day.
Grade 1 shares their activity with you below:
On the morning of March 9th, students from Grade 1 got together to talk about International Women’s Day. Ms. Anna introduced the background and profound influence of this day, followed by the introduction and mobilization of the Grade 1 House themed “Women” in the afternoon.

Three activities took place focusing on International Women’s Day.

Activity 1: The correct puzzle gets the points

The teachers distributed four sets of 24-piece puzzles of the photos of Chinese women from different dynasties. Each house got one set. The first house to put pieces together got 75 points, while the second got 50, the third got 30 and the last got 20.

Activity 2: Listen to the story “My Mother”

The teacher read the story which the students listened to it and discussed their reflections.

Activity 3: Say a blessing to Mom

After school, each student expressed their best wishes to their mothers and other women who they look up to.
By introducing shared topics of discussion to students, they develop a global perspective of the world around them and can make links to the inspirational women in China to those they learn about internationally.

Secondary News

Secondary Learning
In English, Grade 6 students are engaged in a unit of learning focusing on the big idea of “Risk”. The unit aims to introduce students to influential ‘risk takers’ in history who have brought about social change with a particular focus on the American Civil Rights Movement.

As future global citizens, it is important for our students to foster an awareness and appreciation of the challenges faced by many people in the world, which still hold relevance for us today.

Students began the unit by discussing what “risk” means from the risks we face every day as well as higher level risks people face as part of their jobs and/or lifestyles. Students then discussed how risk can operate at the individual level and the collective. Students have participated in debate and discussion regarding their views on racial segregation and discrimination.

This unit of work will culminate in students writing their own essays, students will be taught the skills of research to gain insight and form an argument and opinion, basic essay structure and formal language.


Welcome to Semester Two
We start Semester Two having achieved our authorisation, and also joining in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the IB. This is a good time to reflect on the purpose of the IB programme. IB programmes challenge students to excel in their studies, and encourage both personal and academic achievement. The Diploma Programme is a challenging programme, but it is also intended to be an accessible programme. Therefore, we look forward to working with each student to develop their personal learning plan through the IB. All learning in Pre-IB and IB will continue to integrate knowledge, concepts, skills (ATL) and attitudes (Learner Profile) and we continue to emphasise the idea of lifelong learning. Parents and students are encouraged to check Managebac for calendar updates, learning tasks, and student progress.
The IBDP Core
The DP Core is a very special and unique part of the DP programme. It provides students extracurricular, critical thinking and research experiences that connect to and enhance their academic learning. It is therefore very beneficial to personal development as it often helps students find their personal interests and strengths, and of course it is helpful for applications to university!
Our Pre-IB students have done very well to develop their knowledge and application of Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) in Semester One and will continue their CAS individual programmes in Semester Two using the school’s ECA programme and external activities. We are encouraging Grade 10 students to now take greater independent control of their CAS programme. Each student has a dedicated CAS Advisor who will monitor their progress and provide feedback. As the semester progresses, Grade 10 students will also receive introductions to Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and the Extended Essay (EE).
Our Grade 11 students have developed a strong foundation in their CAS programmes and TOK course in Semester One, and will continue these activities this semester. Also, they will focus their attention on their Extended Essay (EE), a 4,000 word independent research project that allows them to pursue a topic they are passionate about. The EE is as much about the process of developing advanced research and writing skills as about the final essay that students submit. The EE supervisors and the IB team look forward to supporting our Grade 11 students in this process.
All students have also started work on collaborative CAS projects that align with the Nord Anglia Global Challenge for 2017-18. There are a range of fascinating projects underway covering fashion, education, environment, and horticulture that will see our IB students create real-world solutions and products to help achieve the UN Global Goals of Goal 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production.

Courses News & Events

  • Physics – UV light project has started
  • Business Management – real-world simulation project has started, with students using Human Resources and Marketing to set up a profitable coffee shop business
  • Visual Arts – our Visual Arts students will attend the DP Visual Arts exhibition at BISS Puxi on March 19 to gain insight into the work required for the course and hear students discuss their work.

Higher Education
As Semester Two begins, we share with you an overview of our Higher Education activities and how we prepare students for the next step in their academic journey after NACIS.
In today’s environment, university choices can seem endless. However, just because there are so many options available to you does not make the procedure of selecting an institution any easier. Some students and parents, rather than creating a list of university criteria important to them, decide to focus on one which they believe will make the search process very easy. This process uses only ranking and reputation. The University and Careers Guidance Office is well aware of the various rankings and publications that year after year produce such lists. We understand how important this is to some of you, however, we advise against using such lists as your only criteria when completing your university search.
Instead we offer an efficient and effective method that starts with what your students know themselves. This procedure is very reliable, as long as you remain honest, and it produces wonderful results searching for institutions around the world. This is what we call the ‘Best Fit’: a university that is comprised of all the most important features that you are looking for. If safety, location, facilities and special programmes, for example, are most important to you, and if a particular institution satisfies these criteria, then this institution is a ‘Best Fit’ for you. 

In January we had the pleasure to host Summer Discovery at NACIS to help our Grade 10 and 11 students explore their academic possibilities as well as refine their choices. With over 50 years of experience, Summer Discovery partners with 14 universities, including UPenn, UCLA, and UMichigan, to manage summer pre-college and internship programs for high school and middle school students. One of our Grade 11 students has enrolled in a 4-week Business and Music enrichment course at the University of Cambridge. 
Last week we also hosted the Rotterdam School of Management, the Netherlands, one of Europe’s top business schools and the University of Essex, UK, which has already produced two Nobel Laureates since its foundation in 1964, as well as many social scientists who staff university departments worldwide.
Finally, as part of our close relationship with Nord Anglia schools, students attended a University Fair on Saturday 10th March at BISS Puxi. At the fair, our higher education advisors helped facilitate conversations and establish contacts between students and the universities they were interested in. The fair also gave students and parents the chance to find out what different universities are looking for in their perspective students, and how best to prepare an effective application. Our students benefited enormously from this event, and have been talking about their experiences and reflections after returning to school this week.
We will continue to facilitate opportunities for students to figure out where their strengths/interests lie and help to connect them with universities that would best fit their ambitions.

Juilliard Performing Arts Collaboration
This week, the NACIS Performing Arts department welcomed back our creative classroom specialists: Ms Andrea Lee and Ms Hilary Easton from Juilliard. This provided a great opportunity for staff to engage in continued development activities and for Andrea and Hilary to explore how the Juilliard Creative Classroom continues to support teaching here at NACIS.

Professional Development opportunities were offered to teachers as part of this visit. On Monday, teachers explored a workshop titled ‘Choreographing the Cards’, with staff learning how to create a dance pattern based upon Flamenco ideas. Tuesday saw our National teachers focus on ‘Collaboration’, working together to explore how collaborative activities support classroom learning.

Additionally, Music and Dance teaching staff worked with Andrea and Hilary to demonstrate Juilliard teaching throughout the school:

  • Andrea worked with Grade 1 to demonstrate how melodies can be easily built from small parts, before teaching Grace 7 about how to make music with only three notes!
  • Hilary worked with Grade 6 to introduce how students can break out of their ‘Kinesphere’ (the space around them that they can reach with arms and legs) to create interesting performances. Grade 3 then learned about how group-working skills are an essential part of any movement activity.

These demonstrations offered Performing Arts and Physical Education teachers a brilliant insight into how Music and Dance can be made accessible and interesting to all students. The skills gained in these lessons will benefit them in years to come.

Opportunities for teachers to receive constructive feedback on their teaching were also greatly appreciated. In Primary, Ms Sarah taught Grade 1 about how composers used simple music patterns to create music, whilst Mr Wen showed Grade 3 how to use the Violin to create interesting melodies. In Secondary, Mr Jack worked with Grade 6 to introduce Blues music. Learning to shape their own interpretations of musical phrases, Ms. Shin worked with Grade 9 to develop insights in critical listening and the different interpretations of music.  With using different technique in speech making, they understood how musicians can interpret a complicated classical music. Madame Cecile also introduced students from Grade 7 to the idea of confidence in dance, and how posture can help you to embody different types of people.

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