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This week in the classroom - Using Art To Inspire Writing

26 March 2018

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Primary News

Grade 1 Thematic Learning - "Green Fingers"
This week, Grade 1 children have been very busy learning about plants during the topic “Green Fingers”. They have been studying what is important for plants to grow. They had the opportunity to grow their own plants. Each morning, students monitor their seeds closely, checking if there is enough water for plants to grow. They now understand that plants need water, sunlight and air to grow. Some of the children are really excited to see how much their seed will grow over the next few weeks and it won’t be long until they turn into a big plant! Their skills in thinking, inquiring, caring and reflecting have been developed during the study of this exciting topic.

Primary Reading Week
When we return from the April holiday, we will have a week of special activities to promote reading across NACIS Primary. Activities across the week will include:

  • The ‘Design a Bookmark’ Challenge
  • The NACIS Book Swap
  • The return of the Primary School’s ‘Readathon’
  • An author visit from Ms. Chunhua Zheng
  • A ‘Bring Books to Life’ event where children and teachers will be encouraged to dress up as their favourite character from a book

Secondary News

Grade 7 experiment with water rockets
In the science course of grade seven this week, the students explored the factors affecting the launch of water rockets. After data query, rocket production and other group cooperation, the students tested out their own team's water rocket on the football field and tried to figure out what is most important thing among the launch angle, water loading, air pressure and other factors. On the basis of the data obtained, our students constantly adjusted their launching arrangements. Some teams have achieved excellent results over 100m.

Grade 8 use their creativity skills to write short stories
‘Interpretation’ is the title for the present unit of work in Grade 8. It is a concept which is bringing out the imaginative talents of our students. They have responded to surrealist paintings by Dali and Magritte in extremely creative ways and have explored the way individual perceptions are influenced by culture, language, family, beliefs and geography amongst other things. Their discussions and artistic interpretations have led them to a piece of creative writing: a short story with a word limit. This is a challenging task but our students have proved themselves more than able to deal with it. Their teachers have been very impressed with the depth of their thinking, their ability to express complex ideas in English and their ability to see different points of view. Their difficulty was in keeping the story short as many wanted to keep going!

Poetry from other cultures is the next ‘Interpretation’ challenge for Grade 8, where they learn about the way life in other cultures informs poetry from different countries.

Geography ECA explores the universe
For the first time in Geography Club, we presented our students with a magnetic levitation globe. The magnetic levitation globe uses magnetic technology to float a replica Earth in the air unlike a common globe which needs to rotate an axis through the sphere. The students are full of curiosity and are eager to explore. Each student has tried and successfully suspended the globe from its base. This successfully promoted the students’ understanding and exploration of the earth while having fun.

In addition, the students also collaborated to create a planetary model of the solar system. While feeling accomplished and proud, they also understood the vastness of the universe more intuitively, and thus deepened their respect for nature.
This was a great experience integrating entertainment, knowledge and interest.

Grade 10 Language – English
Focus is given to the Learner Profile attributes of inquirers and reflectors during this current module for students in grade 10. They have been tasked with developing an essay, paying attention to writing skills through a research project.  Students are able to choose their own question and must prepare a researched and resourced 2000-word essay.  The main aim of this course component is to prepare students for the Extended Essay that will take place during their future IB Diploma Programme.  Essay structure, researching and referencing are being taught in-depth and students are beginning to use and refine these skills. The students themselves have selected a fascinatingly wide range of topics ranging from the nature of medieval art, to the exploits of T.E. Lawrence in World War 1, to the impact of Hong Kong’s reintegration in China’s economy. Once complete, these will be compiled into a mini library, where students from other grade levels will be able to read these essays for inspiration.  We are all looking forward to some interesting reading.

Grade 11 Language – English
Grade 11 students are considering the learner profile attributes of open-mindedness and thinking, through their literary exploration of the text ‘The Outsiders’.  Focusing on the nature of sub-cultures and their formations, the text allows students to explore American youth culture of the 80’s, poverty and its impacts on young people, and the social institutions that try to support the impoverished.  

Teachers specifically aimed at creating a topic for the students to engage in a responsive piece of prose, so the students will have ample opportunity to explore different narrative perspectives.  This will allow them to create a variety of texts to meet the assessment criteria of the Written Assignment, a 500-word response that can take any form the students would like, be it diary entries, obituaries, journals or alternative endings. With such creative opportunities we are really excited to see where the students will take this!

Higher Education
At NACIS, our higher education guidance team not only helps students discover their inner self and true passion, on the basis of which to facilitate their individual university choices, but also provide them with rare opportunities to have access to outstanding teaching at the university level. We believe that a variety of exposure to higher education at school will better prepare students for the kind of rigorous academic challenge ahead. In other words, it will benefit students in the form of a smoother transition from school to university life. Our higher education advisors have unique access in academia and have hosted two university taster lectures so far, both delivered by prominent professors with extensive industrial and policy making experience.
Earlier this semester, we were visited by Professor Ian Taylor from the University of St Andrews.  The University of St Andrews is Scotland's oldest university and one of the best in the UK. St Andrews also has many notable alumni, including Prince William. Our guest speaker, Ian Taylor, is Professor of International Relations and African Political Economy at this university, who also holds many professorial positions around the world, including a chair professorship at Renmin Univerisy of China. Professor Taylor is considered one of the most authoritative academics on Sino-African Relations who would only give lectures at a handful of elite universities, but the Higher Education team at NACIS secured this opportunity to invite him into a school.

His lecture was about China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative and the responses to it from China’s neighbouring countries.  This was the first time our Grade 10 & 11 students met a university professor and experienced university-level teaching at a school – both of which were purposely planned to prepare them for rigorous academic training at foreign universities. Professor Taylor’s engaging teaching about real-world affairs deeply interested our students. Owing to an international curriculum and our constant effort in nurturing global citizenship, our students were able to ask meaningful questions about issues such as sovereignty, and relate the content of this lecture to BBC documentaries they watched. Professor Taylor was impressed by the intellectual curiosity and studiousness of our students, as well as by the rich curriculum, high quality teaching and state of the art facilities that we offer to our students at NACIS.

Most recently, last week, we hosted Professor Teerooven Soobaroyen, Head of Accounting, Essex Business School, University of Essex, who also chairs the British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA) Accounting and Finance in Emerging Economies (AFEE) Special Interest Group. He gave our students a stimulating talk, titled ‘Accounting: more than (just) numbers?’ which enhanced existing interest in the subject among our students. He opened the lecture by emphasising how important and powerful accounting is in our society with reference to Dilma Rousseff, former President of Brazil, who was removed from office because of breaching budgetary laws. During the course of the lecture, he made our students think hard about what accounting can do for and to us, and our students responded with well-thought-out answers. He went on to explain the difference between financial accounting and management accounting, and what this difference implies when it comes to choosing the right course and career path thereafter. In the Q&A session, students asked questions such as ‘How can accounting inform corporate decision making?’ and ‘In order to become an accountant, do I have to be good at math’? The lecture was replete with intellectual stimulation and Professor Teerooven Soobaroyen spoke very positively about the curiosity and studiousness of our students, as well as the range of guidance we provided to students on higher education. We look forward to hosting more higher education events like this to broader your children’s perspectives and prepare them for post-secondary success.

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