ISY Elementary Blog

How are we doing?

Mike Simpson, Elementary School Principal

4 September 2020

It feels good to have finished our first week online. There is a real positive energy around campus. That energy comes through online from our students and our teachers are building on that as they implement our planning and adapt it to engage and meet the needs of our students. Also, we are very proud of our Chinthe Learning Online coordinators and students who are all over the world and getting things done. Our teachers developed that program from scratch over the summer and we are very proud to see our students working through it.

We are thankful for all of the supportive messages from families and the feedback that we have received during the week. As I wrote last week, feedback from our students’ families is key to meeting our students’ needs online. Be sure to complete our Online Learning Survey to help us keep adapting and improving our programs. This survey will be emailed to you directly from our Communications Coordinator.

Kind regards,


Elementary School Family Forum 

6:30 – 7:00pm – Tuesday, September 8

This Tuesday, September 8, at 6:30pm, I will host an online Elementary School Family Forum. This will be a chance for us to introduce me to you as the Elementary School Principal and to share with you our vision for the Elementary School this year. It will also be a chance for you to ask us any questions that you may have. Dr. Hedger will also be in attendance.

If you have questions that you would like us to address, please email them to me at

The Zoom Link for the meeting is shared in today’s email from me Elementary School families.

This Week’s Online Learning Tip: Learning Environment

My favorite part of the day is walking past classrooms at about 8:25am to see teachers getting ready to go online. It looks like they are getting ready to read the news on television! They are making sure they have all they need near them – papers, pens, coffee…

I know our teachers have been sharing tips with students about making sure they are also ready to learn each day and our students seem very organized when I pop into classes. They are seated in front of the camera with everything they need near them. Some students are really personalizing their spaces which is lovely to see.

One thing I have noticed and reminded of as I read this article from is the importance of lighting. If your child’s image on the screen is dark and blurry, it is easier for them to drift off. Seeing people’s faces is an important part of keeping us all connected online. Try to keep light sources behind the camera, away from the lens and avoid having your child’s back to window.

Another tip that I got from watching our teachers is to have your child elevate their computer. If they are hunched over a low computer, they might end up with headaches or a sore back. You will see from the pictures below, many of our teachers put their computers on piles of books or a box so they are sitting up straight and their screen is close to eye level. 

Culture and Communication Studies

Last year, we introduced a Cultural Studies studies class from Kindergarten to Grade 5. This year we offer the same class but we are aligning it more closely with our French and Mandarin language programs. We have renamed the class Culture and Communication Studies and the purpose of it is to help our students develop an understanding of the nature of language and culture and important intercultural communication skills. Culture and Communication Studies classes will develop these skills by focusing on the culture, identity, perspective, and experience of every child in the class and will draw from their cultures and mother tongues. Their understanding of the nature of language and culture will then be applied to the language of their choice – French or Mandarin. Students in Grade 2 to 5 will begin their French and Mandarin courses this week. These students will be using a platform called Education Perfect to practice their French and Mandarin skills following a weekly Culture and Communication Studies class. Our Grade 1 students will spend more time developing their understanding of culture and language by focusing on their culture and languages and those of their classmates.

Click on an image to see a slide show.

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