ISY Elementary Blog

Elementary Update – April 10th, 2020

Sandy Sheppard, Elementary School Principal

Dear all,

I wish you all a happy and safe Thingyan Break.

There will be no slides posted on Friday. Slides will be posted again on the 17th of April for a start back date of the 20th of April.

We will be starting a new initiative after the break. Wednesdays will become ‘Global Learners, Virtual Wednesdays’ for KG through to Grade 5. See below for more information.

Wishing you all the best.

Sandy Sheppard


Image result for covid-19 quotes

Global Learners, Virtual Wednesdays

We will be changing up Wednesday’s by providing learning that we hope will meet the following student needs:

  • Ensure we remain connected to the ISY Mission and Vision and our ISY Learner Attributes with a focus on Compassion, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.
  • Allow for interdisciplinary learning, which is a key part of what we do during our normal school days
  • Provide variety for students to ensure we continue to spark interest and engagement in Virtual Learning. 

You will still receive slides on a Tuesday afternoon for Wednesday work, however, the expectations will differ from what normally happens on the other four days of the school week.

We hope the students will find the activities meaningful and fun. We will aim to balance screen time with non-screen time.

The first Wednesday after the break, 22nd April and will be dedicated to Earth Day.

A Musical Message
If you could do with a smile then have a look at this video made by the faculty at ISY.  Wherever you are in the world, you can count on us!  It’s on both the Facebook page and the YouTube Channel. Enjoy.
Message from the Director
Dr. Hedger has recorded a second message for the whole community.  His message can be viewed both on our Facebook page and on our YouTube Channel.
In this video Dr.Hedger talks about how we are all feeling right now and gives some ideas about how we can continue with our daily lives in our changed circumstances.

See below for information on screen time for children. The article is called – ‘Should I feel guilty about all the screen time my kid is getting right now?’

Should I feel guilty about all the screen time my kid is getting right now?
Our lives have changed quickly since shelter-in-place orders started. For parents like me (I have a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old)—who are suddenly assuming multiple roles as caregivers, teachers, and playmates—the same questions are on repeat: What in the world am I going to do with my kids all day from now until who knows when? And … how many movies is it OK for them to watch in one day?
Author Image
Mike Robb, Ph.D.
Senior director, research, father of two
Parents tend to think of screen use guidelines as a daily maximum amount that’s acceptable. But if you look closely at popular recommendations, such as the ones from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the message—even before the coronavirus pandemic—is much more nuanced, and much less focused on time.
For a while now, media researchers have been advocating for a shift from screen quantity to content quality. If kids are engaged with high-quality content that stokes curiosity and fuels imagination, who’s to say that should end when they’ve hit their screen limit? Research has also uncovered the importance of kids’ experience with media, based on who uses media with kids (siblings? parents?), the purpose of the content (school? entertainment?), and who’s talking with kids about what they’re watching (Daniel Tiger and Tiger King both make for great mealtime conversation). In other words: Context matters, too.
Key to this nuance is understanding that all screens are not equal. We shouldn’t act as though one hour of old DuckTales cartoons is the same as one hour of Zooming with a family member, or one hour of playing Fortnite with a friend, or one hour of drawing tutorials on YouTube. What a kid gets out of each is totally different, and satisfies different needs—and that’s OK.
One of the things the current crisis has really brought home is how unbelievably social kids are, and want to be. In some ways, our adaptations to staying at home have made us use technology in ways that are great for children: in service of relationships. Kids may be watching more Netflix and playing more video games than usual. But they’re also video-chatting more, playing games with schoolmates, and even enjoying online playdates. Though nothing will ever replace in-person interaction for children, using tech to strengthen relationships is more important than ever.

With that in mind, here are some recommendations when it comes to using screens during this time:

  • Don’t feel guilty. We are living through a massive cultural shock. Families have enough stress to deal with, and counting screen minutes should be very low on the list of concerns for any of us.
  • Not all screens are created equal. Worried that the online classroom is adding to your kid’s screen time? Don’t be. Screen activities shouldn’t be lumped together. Some are educational; some are just for fun. Some are high-quality; some are a guilty pleasure. What we do on screens and how we do it is more important than time spent.
  • Good content is key. Choose age-appropriate, high-quality media and tech for your kids. Use our reviews to find good content.
  • Get creative. Let kids use your phone to shoot photos and videos and then go to town with stickers, slo-mo, and other editing tools. Give them a prompt like, “Take ten pictures of something round, and then write a story connecting each thing.” Have them make their own memes, record a song, choreograph a dance video—anything that gets them using screens to fulfill their imaginations.
  • Use tech to bond. Relationships are critical to kids’ healthy development. Tech can and should help kids connect to friends and family, collaborate with each other, play, and share stories, pictures, and videos.
  • Talk about it. We’re in a unique position where kids are likely using screens more, and we may have more opportunities to join them—or at least engage with them about what they’re watching and playing. Ask questions about their favorite games, shows, and characters. Discuss ideas and issues they read about or learn about through a TV show or a game. This is an opportunity for learning about each other and sharing your values.
  • Balance still matters. We should aim for a balance throughout the week. So, more screens? Fine. But also find time to be outside, to be active (indoors or outdoors, with or without screens), eat well, and talk to friends and family (on the phone, on social media, or on video chat).

The time at home with kids presents an opportunity to bond with them, even over media. This is not the time to try to deprive kids of something they enjoy and something that research has shown to have positive effects when used appropriately. There’s a ton of great high-quality content out there—let your kids use it, use it with them, and don’t guilt yourself over something that can still be part of a healthy, balanced childhood—especially during these times of heightened stress.


13th – 17th April – no school

22nd April – First Global Citizens, Virtual Wednesday

23rd April – Progress Messages will be sent out via Seesaw.

24th April – No Virtual Learning – this day is set for an opportunity for parents to talk to teachers – more information to come from your class teacher.


Principal –

Counselor –

Office –


Happy Thingyan!  Typically, this last day of school before the April holiday would be filled with water play and celebration.  Today the campus remains quiet but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to enjoy this festival. For those concerned that their family may need some support thinking of activities to fill their days, here are some suggestions for both on and off screen activities.

 On Screen Family Fun:

 Take a virtual field trip:  The grade 5 teaching team has put together a great list of virtual field trips your family might be interested in.  Want to join an African safari?  Stroll the halls of the British Museum? March down the streets of Hollywood, tour Anne Frank’s home or check out the San Diego ZooGoogle Art and Culture gives you access to discover, learn and uncover a whole world of international treasures. takes you to live web cameras of wildlife around the globe.

 Use Google Earth to climb to the top of the Matterhorn, explore your neighborhood or explore the streets of a far off country.

 Learn a new hobbie: There are hundreds of downloadable apps to learn a great variety of things.  Further, Youtube is filled with How Tos and Do It Yourself (DIY) lessons that can explain the steps to knitting, juggling, a new language, building in a homemade terrarium or whatever your family is interested in.

 Off Line Family Fun:

 Thinking about unplugging for all or part of the holiday?  There are lots of ideas a family can do together or individually to make the holiday fun for all.

 Have an Olympics.  Each night play a different board game or a sport.  Family members can select a country to represent. With each game, award gold, silver and bronze medals.  When the week is up, see which member earned the most medals. Don’t have many board games? A deck of cards can produce hundreds of games.

 Go on a treasure hunt.  Make a list of items for your family to find, either in your home or while on a neighborhood walk.  Make sure to add some hard to find items to make the hunt a real adventure.

 Theme Nights: Make family meals fun by selecting a theme.  Design a menu, dress in costume and play the part and have fun.  

 Creative Story Time:  Expose your family to a variety of genres by reading in a variety of ways and places.  Read an adventure story in the family tent, close out the lights and imagine you are in space for a science fiction text.  Take turns when reading, choosing the book or use silly voices. Only your creativity is limiting you.

 The holiday break ahead of you may not include the travel plans you had imagined but it doesn’t mean it has to limit the fun.  Encourage your family to be creative and use their problem-solving to make this holiday one to remember.

 Patty Amundson-Geisel, Elementary Counselor is available to ISY families in need of social-emotional support during this school closure.  She can be contacted through email: 

Virtual Learning

Please feel free to send in virtual learning photos that I can put in this blog. See Nway Ei from Grade 2below working hard at home.

Previous Elementary School Posts