ISY Elementary Blog
The Tao of Pooh: Lessons from a simple bear in an uncertain time
Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal
25 September 2020
I hope this finds you all well after navigating another week that I am sure had a few twists and turns. Below, I have written about how Winnie the Pooh might provide us with some guidance in dealing with these uncertain times.
Continuing with our focus on connection, it was lovely to see some of you in our first virtual parent social last night. This was an opportunity for parents to connect with each other and to hear how we are keeping your children safe and connected online.
I can’t speak highly enough of our counseling team of Mr. A-G, Mr. Fast, and Elementary School’s very own Ms. Patty. They are working very hard as a team and with our teachers to think of creative ways to keep us all connected in a socially distanced world.
Thank you again to those of you who have provided messages of support and feedback via our online learning surveys. Your feedback confirms to us that developing and maintaining connections between students, teachers, and families remains the main focus for us.
Connections around learning through personalized feedback, children sharing their work, and purposeful group meetings is important to you as is creating space for social connection.
In response to this feedback we have increased the number of meetings that we had originally planned for our self-paced Chinthe Learning Online program. Teachers that are based here in Yangon in our synchronous learning program will also be joining at least two meetings per week to say hi and help in any way they can. We are covering the same material in both programs so plenty of connections can be made.
In synchronous learning, we will continue to vary the types, lengths, and sizes of meetings we use for different purposes – academic and social. Now that our students have settled into their online learning routine and learning together, our focus sharpens on the individual needs of students. As noted in your feedback, this can be challenging in online classes. Teachers will continue to use smaller breakout groups to differentiate instruction for students during our regular schedule and will reach out to students and families as needed in the afternoons to provide additional support or extension. Please also reach out to our teachers to help them identify and meet your child’s needs.
Last night, Ms. Patty outlined the ways that we are developing and maintaining social connections between students and their teachers in the Elementary School:
- Classroom Morning Meetings to connect with each other before we start our day.
- Compassionate Class Agreements as to how we work together and keep connected.
- Virtual Recess continues this week (see the schedule below).
- Mindfulness Lessons focus our minds and help develop a sense of community.
- Counselor Check-Ins continue with Ms. Patty regularly joining classes and meeting with students.
- Counselor Appointments are available for individual students and small groups as needed.
- After School Activities start this week and provide an opportunity to connect and socialize around common interests.
Closely related to connection is the need for clear communication between school and home. We welcome families to contact our teachers in both programs at any time. Our Friday updates are proving popular with our synchronous learning families.
We continue to work on creative ways to ensure that feedback on learning is as accessible as possible within our learning platforms. We also appreciate the need for this feedback to be as specific as possible. Students sharing work and communicating directly with each other is something else that you would like us to create more opportunities for and we continue to think of creative ways to do this.
We seem to have adapted well to the technology that we are using although there will always be a need to keep on top of this to maintain the flow of lessons and ensure that students have access to everything they need when they need it.
We will send another survey out at the end of next week to check in with you as to how we can keep improving. In the meantime, you are always welcome to reach directly to your child’s teacher, Ms. Patty or I at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for your support.
VIRTUAL RECESS WITH MS. PATTY!
Virtual Recess will be offered again this week 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.
AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES (ASAs)
Online After School Activities (ASAs) begin next week. Confirmation emails will be sent to students and parents this afternoon. These emails will include the ASA’s Zoom link.
Please contact Ms. Isom on email@example.com if you have any questions.
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:
- What made you smile today?
- Can you tell me an example of kindness you saw or showed?
- What was the book about that your teacher read?
- Did anyone do anything silly to make you laugh?
- What did you do that was creative?
THE TAO OF POOH: LESSONS FROM A SIMPLE BEAR IN AN UNCERTAIN TIME
A colleague recently gave me a book about Winnie the Pooh as a Taoist master. I still have a lot to learn about Taoism but I have a new-found respect for this simple bear. In fact, I think he is exactly who we should be modelling ourselves on to get through this year:
If you are looking for something to watch with your children during this period of lockdown, may I suggest ‘Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.’
Previous Elementary School Posts
This was always going to be a year like no other but no one could have predicted just how ‘like no other’ it was going to be.
It goes without saying that this has been a very challenging year. We did a lot of things right. We also discovered that we could do a lot of things differently.
This week, I thought that I would share with you a fun resource that some of our students are enjoying. It is called Freerice.
A New Zealand story about an 82 year old retiree earning his PhD 60 years after graduating with his first degree got me thinking last week.
Students need to know that comparing their lives to others will not bring as much happiness as contributing to the lives of others.
Even reputable and more traditional media outlets seem to focus more on the mistakes people make rather than what people achieve. Why?
The International School Yangon
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