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Our Biggest Ever Week Without Walls

In what should have been our Residential Expeditions week, our Year 7, 8 and 9 students instead ALL still experienced a week developing their learning skills outside of the traditional walls of the curriculum and classroom.  From the 11th to 15th January the youngest members of our secondary campus took part in a range of different activities designed by their teachers to challenge them as leaders and learners. The activities ranged in theme from STEAM MIT projects, to Juilliard collaborations, to a focus on Sustainable Development, to Wellbeing, with a lot of fun being had across the week. 
 

It also gave our teachers the chance to deliver activities where they could work with other department colleagues, take students outside of the classroom walls, and try something different themselves, as well as work with external providers. The atmosphere throughout the week was fantastic, with huge smiles being seen across the campus. A huge thank you to everyone who made the organisation of the week possible, and to our students for throwing themselves enthusiastically into all of the challenges. 

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I think the Week Without Walls was a good experience and a great opportunity to do a wide range of things. BIS HCMC Key Stage 3 Student

This year our Week Without Walls was even bigger than usual, partly due to there being three year groups involved, but also because of the 36 different activities that were available. These were delivered by our teachers and teaching assistants working in cross-department teams, as well as some external providers who would normally be running our residentials at this time. Our dedicated teams sprung into action to create a truly unforgettable experience for our students, which has enabled them to develop their communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and independence in a number of different ways. By learning to respect each other, persevere when things go wrong, and try to solve problems together, our students are now even better equipped to tackle the same challenges in their academic subjects. They have also broadened their friendships and connections with each other and the staff in school. Stepping outside of our comfort zones from time-to-time is one of the best ways to develop our skills. The atmosphere throughout the week was fantastic, with huge smiles being seen across the campus. 

It’s impossible to truly capture every moment of the week with such an array of activities and events taking place, however here is a flavour of what our students experienced:

Taking care of, and learning about, themselves 

We know that looking after ourselves is important, but sometimes we forget when we get too busy, so these activities enabled our students to turn their focus inwards. They learned about healthy cooking and healthy eating, making their own lunches with our external cooking team, and created their own soap, candles, and bath bombs with Asia Motions in the DIY Care Products workshop. Joe Wicks also played a role in our Week Without Walls as students did some work outs in the Self Care activity, and then slowed it down with some mindfulness, juggling, and making cards for our community partner children.

Healthy Cooking: “I liked cooking the best because doing it was enjoyable: we got to learn new recipes and improve skills that are very predominant in your lifetime, and learning it early can already give you a starting point to a skill that will be needed in the future.”

Self Care: “I really like how [our teachers] gave us 4 different activities in which two activities require us to be active (workout and juggling) whilst the other two (colouring and meditation) [are] very calming”

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Developing critical thinking through set challenges 

Students were encouraged to use their critical thinking skills in a variety of ways through the week, both as individuals and when working in a team. They had to solve problems in the Virtual Escape Room, travelling around the school (from the comfort of the computing lab!) to work out who stole the prestigious House Trophy. They took on their peers at some alternative board games (who was the ‘King of Tokyo’?!), and worked together to build the fastest Grand Prix car. Some of our students also worked with a team from Outward Bound Vietnam who organised our Year 10 Expedition to Quy Nhon, developing their leadership and interpersonal skills, and working together to solve a range of different problems. All of these required independence, teamwork, and a lot of perseverance.

Grand Prix: “It was my favorite because it contained collaboration, critical thinking  ... It was also fun because we got to compete with other cars, and we had to create a pitch.” 

Interpersonal Communication:  “We learned lots about the sign languages so that I can communicate… This [made] me feel very helpful and I enjoyed this activity.”

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Getting active, creative, and involved 

There were a number of active and creative activities throughout the week, with students developing good team work skills as well as some hand-eye coordination practice through Archery Tag. Some of our students experienced their first scuba diving session, tried their hand at screen golf and darts, and tested their skills on the climbing wall, all of which challenged them immensely. They also worked together in more creative ways to bake the best biscuits, perform poetry and percussion, and blend together music and drama in a Juilliard inspired workshop.

Archery Tag: “...in Archery tag, I got to learn how to use a bow and arrow. I also got to develop my critical thinking skills because I needed to quickly think about what I needed to do.”

Bake Off: “Bake Off was a really fun way for us to express our own creativity and it also needed slot of collaboration and communication during this activity”

Climbing: “It was really enjoyable to challenge myself both physically and mentally with Climbing, because I had to use a lot of physical strength to accomplish the challenges, and also critical thinking to plan the routes I would take on the wall.”

Scuba Diving: “I was able to develop new experiences which I was able to enjoy . Scuba Diving has made me take courage and try new activities.”

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Showing care and respect for others 

Our students demonstrate integrity and respect every day, and furthered these important characteristics in their activities related to our BIS Community and beyond. Whether they were working with humans or canines, our students demonstrated care for others, and grew their understanding of the wonderful country that we live in. Our Primary children were incredibly excited to spend time with our students, who had a lot of fun in the Early Years and Infants campus.

Community Activities: “The kids were cute, and I got to interact with kids that grew up in a different environment than what environment I grew up in, and also, they brightened up my day by looking at their smiles and them having fun in the games we planned for them.”

Culture Visits: “It was fun learning about the culture around me that I didn't know about.”

Dog Training: “I love dogs and I've always wanted to have one but my mom doesn't allow me to have a dog so that was my opportunity to play with a dog learn how to communicate, pet and walk with them.”

Primary: “I enjoyed this because I was able to interact with children who are years younger than me. Also, I felt good as they seemed very excited to see us and were very friendly.”

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Understanding our impact on the world around us

With our school-wide focus on the Global Goals linked to Climate Action, many of the activities had an environmental or sustainability aspect to them in order to further student understanding and awareness of issues in this area. Students were challenged with creating new products from plastic waste by creating EcoBricks to go towards the building of a new school, and turning old plastic into new items. They learnt more about the different Global Goals and the impact we are having in our local area, as well as debated issues at a global level.

David Attenborough Documentary: “The film showed lots of beautiful nature documentaries, and in the second half of the film it conveys that we should not destroy the ecology anymore”

Global Goals Film Project: “I've got to learn more about Thao Dien and was able to socialize with more people. This helped develop my communication skills, and tested my ability of leadership in a few aspects.”

Mini-MUN: “Mini-MUN was my favourite activity because I enjoyed having a taste of what a real MUN conference looks like as well as communicating with other delegates to create a resolution.”

MIT Challenge: “It was a unique experience to take on a major project with my entire form”

Upcycling: “We helped reduce and reuse clothes and it was very fun because we got to take our products home.”

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A huge thank you to everyone who made the organisation of the week possible, and to our students for throwing themselves enthusiastically into all of the challenges. As one student commented, “I would love to do Week Without Walls again!”

 

Lauren Binnington
Deputy Head Teacher Enrichment

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