ISY Elementary Blog


Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal

November 26, 2021

As I was reading Ms. Patty’s blog post on gratitude, I couldn’t help but reflect on what it is that I am grateful for. I think this is especially important when life is as complicated as it is at the moment.

I know I have written about this before but I am very grateful that I got to read The Odyssey to our students last quarter. We are still thinking about the ideas in The Odyssey but this quarter we are reading different stories each week from different cultures. 

This week we read ‘The Most Beautiful Thing’ about author Kao Kalia Yang’s experiences as a Hmong refugee and her special relationship with her grandmother. After watching a video that answers the question ‘Does Your Body Really Refresh Itself Every 7 Years?,’ we wondered if we were the same person even if our body has completely changed.

As always, I was impressed by the depth and originality of our students’ thinking. Here are some examples:

  • I am still the same person because I have special memories and people have special memories of me.
  • My body is a shell that wraps around my personality.
  • I am still the same person but I evolve (which is different to change) when I get older. 
  • I have new ideas but I remember my old ideas so I am the same person.

Our students strongly agreed that we are the same person even if our bodies change. We then thought deeper about what it is that makes us who we are.

This morning, a student said that our character makes us who we are and another student said that our experiences make us who we are. We thought of combining these ideas like an equation: character + experience = me

As I think about it now, this is a really powerful reminder. We might not be able to control all of the experiences that make us who we are. However, we can always focus on our character to make sure who we are is the best that we can be.

In this complicated time I am very grateful for the uncomplicated wisdom of our students. 

Elementary School Spirit Week

This week was Elementary School Spirit Week and we had a lot of fun.  You can see some photos of how we celebrated our school’s spirit on our ISY Facebook Page.
The Elementary School Student Council



This week in the United States, many families will celebrate Thanksgiving.  Although this an American holiday, the idea of giving thanks or expressing gratitude is common across many cultures.  Research has shown that an attitude of gratitude has been proven to improve one’s general well-being, increase resilience, reduce stress and strengthen social relationships.  Here are a few simple ideas to heighten your gratitude awareness.

  1. Start a gratitude jar.  Reflect each day, looking for 1 or 2 moments of gratitude.  Write these on a small piece of paper and slip it into a jar.  Watch how quickly the jar fills.  This daily reflection can also be done in a journal.
  2. Regularly write thank you notes.  Send a short note of thanks to those that have helped or supported you.  Service providers, friends, colleagues, relatives all play roles in our lives, without their support, where would you be?
  3. Mindfulness allows us to be present and aware of our surroundings.  Often our busy lives prevent us from stopping and savoring the good.  Regular practice of mindfulness can slow the world and allow us space to enjoy the positive.
  4. Acts of Kindness are simple gestures that not only brighten others’ day, they also help us acknowledge that we are in a position to help.  So open a door for someone, buy a coffee for a stranger or donate to a local charity.  You will be surprised how giving can help you see your own blessings.

Although American Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday in November, every day is an opportunity to enhance our attitude of gratitude.  How might you develop your attitude?

Ms. Patty is available to support all ISY families.  If you have any questions or concerns please contact me at

Patty Amundson-Geisel

Pre-K to Grade 6 Counselor

Internet Issues

Offline Learning Activities

Every Friday, your child’s homeroom teacher will email you a PDF of offline learning activities that your child will be able to do if they lose access to the internet. 

Please only use these plans if your child is unable to access the internet. If you have the internet, your child will be able to attend online classes as usual. 

To make sure the offline learning activities stay connected to what is happening in class, our teachers will review and, if necessary, update the offline learning activities each week. Please download the PDF document attached to the email as soon as you receive it on Friday. The email will also have a link to this instructional video:

Previous Elementary School Posts