ISY Elementary Blog
Lifelong Learners
Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal
November 6, 2020

At ISY, we have three ISY Learner Outcomes. We want all of our students to leave ISY as:

  1. Compassionate Global Citizens
  2. Lifelong Learners 
  3. Agents for Positive Change

Over the break I was thinking and reading about what it means to be a lifelong learner. Yuval Noah Harari’s books are excellent if you’re thinking about what the future might hold and how you might need to adapt to it. 

In Homo Deus, he wrote:

‘Traditionally, life has been divided into two main parts; a period of learning followed by a period of working. Very soon this traditional model will become utterly obsolete, and the only way for humans to stay in the game will be to keep learning throughout their lives, and to reinvent themselves repeatedly. Many if not most humans may be unable to do so.’

In 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, he wrote:

‘To survive and flourish in such a world, you will need a lot of mental flexibility and great reserves of emotional balance. You will have to repeatedly let go of some of what you know best, and feel at homewith the unknown. Unfortunately, teaching kids to embrace the unknown and to keep their mental balance is far more difficult than teaching them an equation in physics or the First World War.’

No-one wants to be learning online. As hard as we try and as good a job as we do, we all worry that our children are missing out on something. But these two quotes got me thinking that maybe we should stop worrying about what they might be missing and start valuing what we know that they are certainly getting – an education in ‘embracing the unknown.’ 

Every day, our Elementary School students see their families and teachers struggling to learn new skills, thinking of ways to overcome unexpected challenges, and adapting to meet them, all the while trying to ‘keep their mental balance.’ 

Never before have our children had such an insight into what it means to be a lifelong learner. It means being able to struggle, think, adapt and keep your head so you can apply what you know to whatever life throws at you.

It is strange to think that our children might be better for this experience if we keep struggling, thinking, and adapting with them. But if we want to develop lifelong learners, this is the time to do it!

Elementary Music 2020

I think this picture is an excellent visual representation of a lifelong learner embracing the unknown and adapting to meet the needs of our students.

Our students see examples of lifelong learning from all of their teachers everyday.


Next week is Chinthe Spirit Week! This is a schoolwide event and we have the following fun themes for each day:
  • Monday: Costume / Character Day – dress like your favorite character from a book, movie, game, or in a fun costume, anything goes!
  • Tuesday: Crazy Hat Day
  • Wednesday: Dress Like A Teacher Day
  • Thursday: Crazy Hair Day
  • Friday: Chinthe Spirit Day – dress in ISY Chinthe colors


Virtual Recess is still running from 1:00-1:30 PM.  Students should use the All Grade Specialist Link to join on their assigned day.  All activities will be student driven but will include fun and games.

Grades 4 & 5: Tuesday
Grade 3: Wednesday
Grade 2: Thursday
Grade 1: Friday
Warmly, Ms. Patty


Did you know that Mr. Zar Li, our head security officer, was a former Mr. Myanmar! He is very fit and knows 100s of different exercises to stay fit.

Mr. Zar Li has kindly offered to run 15 minute work outs for our students that will start at 8:10am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. These work outs will start next Monday. The Zoom link for the workouts will be on the Friday Family Report email that you receive from your child(ren)’s teacher. All ages are welcome and parents are welcome to join in too.

The workouts will finish at 8:25am to give students time to get a drink and get organized before joining their classes at 8:30am.

These workouts do not replace regular P.E. classese during the school day. 


Thursday, November 19 will be dedicated to Parent Teacher Conferences. There will be no classes on this day for students. Parents will be able to sign up for times to meet with teachers from Friday, November 13.


Parents will receive a written progress report on Friday, November 13 to help guide the online Parent Teacher Conferences on Thursday, November 19. The purpose of this progress report is to provide a summary of what has been covered during Quart 1 and an indication as to academic progress and learning behaviors as described by the ISY Learner Attributes. 


Next week sees the beginning of new Quarter 2 units of study in the Elementary School. All of these units link to a ‘Prosperity’ theme as supported by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The Quarter 2 schedule for our Grade 1 to 5 students has been adapted to allow for more focused Music and Visual Art instruction without taking any time away from instruction in core subjects. Students will now have two lessons of Music or Visual Art per week. One session will be with their own homeroom class and another session will be with their whole grade. Students who start with two sessions of Music per week will switch to two sessions of Visual Art per week half way through the quarter and vice versa.

Your child(ren)’s Friday Family Report from your child(ren)’s teacher lists the days that different specialist classes are happening.

Quarter 2 ends on January 29, 2021.

ONLINE LEARNING TIP: How was school today?

It can be difficult at the best of times to get our children to talk about their school day. But it is important to understand how they are experiencing learning online so we can support and motivate them. Each Friday for the next few weeks, we will post five different questions that might help your child open up about their experience online. Here are this week’s questions:

  1. What made your teacher smile?
  2. What kind of person were you today?
  3. What made you feel happy? 
  4. What made you feel proud?
  5. What made you feel loved?
Previous Elementary School Posts