The Tiger, 30th September, 2022
Dear Stonehill Community,
I’d like to thank all those who participated in our fifth annual Stonehill Founder’s Day Run on the 25th of September. We had an overwhelming response with over 1000 participants! Stonehill will donate the funds raised to Morning Star Ashram, a home for underprivileged children with physical and mental illnesses. The Stonehill Founder’s Day Run is an annual event that celebrates our Founder, Mr. Jitu Virwani.
I’d like to wish our entire Stonehill community Happy Dussehra holidays! Our school will reopen on the 6th of October.
Please note, on Monday, October 10th, our PTA will be running a Pinktober event. We encourage all of you to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness.
As a reminder, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com. We will respond to your queries and in a timely manner.
Dr. Brian Brumsickle
Head of School
Dear Stonehill Community,
Stonehill International School will come together on the 10th of October, 2022 to support the global Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. We request the whole community to support this initiative at School.
As global citizens, it is always important for our children to be empathetic and understanding to various issues around us.
The Pinktober Campaign will kick start in School on the October 10th, 2022.
Time: 7:30 am onwards and likely to run until lunch break.
You can pre-order Pinkober T-shirts. Students can wear these to School on October 10th. Parents are welcome to order a T-shirt for themselves too!
Please click the link below to order your T-shirt now. Last date to order your t-shirt is September 28th.
There will be a sale of all things pink in School, a bake sale, scrunchies, stickers, nail painting and more!
All parents are cordially invited to come and support this charity event. All proceeds generated will go towards cancer treatment assistance for those sections of our community who are most in need.
In today’s digital world, music students are required to learn basic reading and writing of music on a digital platform. This year, I have initiated the use of Musescore for my students which is a free and easy to use professional music writing software. With a little practice, anyone can edit and convert their music into a pdf.
The purpose of a music exam is to systematically test the students’ abilities and skills. I have always believed that music exams help with practice and students tend to overcome stage fright. Performing in front of an audience is essential in building their confidence and presence of mind. In a group, they learn to listen to others and apply proper dynamics. The ASA’s for Orchestra is one such evidence of performing music in a group of students. I have a few slots available for Violin, Viola and Cello lessons. Hurry up and sign up! Let your child experience the joy of music like never before!
As a teen, I always felt a sense of disconnect between sheet-music, and actual music. To me the notes resembled an army of ants on a sheet of paper probably composed by revered musicians centuries ago. But when MTV released a new Daft Punk music video, I was ecstatic! Even today, a lot of students feel the same about learning a new music piece.
Assessment as our annual Programme Development Plan
IB demands constant improvement from schools. With this in mind, we have an annual focus.
Unanimously, the Primary School chose Assessment because of our decision related to the implementation of the SOLO Ladders of Success.
SOLO Ladders of success
As many of you know, we made the move to SOLO Ladders of Success last year. These assessment tools ensure that we can see student growth over time. Our goal this year is to have them on Toddle so you can access your child's growth after each Unit of Inquiry - whether that is a part of the transdisciplinary programme or a stand alone unit.
As you know P4 through P8 have taken their MAP assessments this week. We assess in Reading, Language and Mathematics. This information is used in collaboration with the in-school data and documentation that we collect every day, to ensure learning for every child is on track for success. We look for anomalies, look for reasons for those anomalies and in some cases follow-up with further in-school assessments/implement interventions and extensions.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
PLC’s meet every two weeks. These collaborative teams collect and record data and documentation on student learning across the grade. We discuss every child during these sessions. Some examples of the data we collect are - reading scores, word-study scores. This information is recorded on one spreadsheet per grade. All teachers involved in a grade have access. They can add data or documentation at any time. The most important elements of this process are:
Every teacher in the grade knows everything about every student
Students become our collective responsibility - we work together to ensure students are successful
This week, I have been collating and disaggregating this data/documentation. I will use it in the cross-referencing activity with MAP scores to come up with generalisations for the future growth of our school at the systems-wide level.
Grade Level Assessments
Assessment in a PYP school happens during every single learning experience. Data and documentation is collected, recorded and used to give feedback to students throughout the school day - teachers who are moving throughout a lesson, meet with every child in order to encourage continued growth.
The student role
Assessment is NOT something that is done to a learner. They are a part of the process - and the outcome. Every student has to be assessment capable.
Primary School Principal
The P4 students are discovering who they are by exploring emotions and nurturing relationships.
As we inquired together, we focussed on fostering friendships, teamwork, collaboration and finding ways to support and care for each other.
We explored different emotions through reading stories and playing games. We learned more about each other by sharing personal stories and digging deeper into the emotions we feel in different situations.
We worked on a variety of learning engagements to discover how we can be successful while working together. We shared our ideas and our stories during the Writer’s Workshop and compared different strategies while working on Mathematical problems.
We learned about the Zones of Regulation. Different colours represent different groups of emotions, for example we are in the yellow zone when we feel frustrated or worried whereas we are in the green zone when we feel calm, relaxed and ready to learn. We discussed strategies that help us move, for example, from feeling frustrated to being calm. Being able to identify and regulate our emotions is vital in building positive relationships.
The P4 Team
3 - 2 - 1 Reflection
This week’s Governing Council retreat offered us an opportunity to reflect on highlights, challenges and future aspirations in the Primary school which are summed up in the attached video featuring our learners, teachers and parents. Here are our highlights so far:
Building a belonging school: As human beings, one of the most essential needs we have is the need to belong. In school, children need a sense of belonging to be able to be productive learners. When we build a belonging school we pay attention. We listen. We are really invested in what the children tell us. Our aim is to make our learners feel loved, nurtured, safe and make them feel like they have a place at school. It activates their brain cells. Sense of belonging is one of the most important activators of a child’s engagement in learning.
Creating a thinking culture that challenges learners to deepen their understanding of the world around them and become lifelong, independent learners. Here are some ways that we are committed to in order to create the culture of thinking at Stonehill:
We model thinking.
We show that we value thinking.
We allow thinking time.
We provide opportunities for thinking.
We use visible thinking routines.
We give learners something ‘worth’ thinking about.
We focus on big ideas.
Collaborative learning community leads to development of a higher level thinking, improved communication, self-management, and leadership skills. A collaborative approach puts our learners at the centre and aims to ensure a holistic, transdisciplinary and coherent learning experience for them. Through sustained collaboration, members of the learning community develop:
openness towards other perspectives
engagement with ideas different to one’s own
respect for the contribution of other subjects to the inquiry
appreciation for rigour in debate and discussion
appreciation for collective interpretation and reinterpretation of knowledge.
Helpful Hints for Talking to Kids about Tricky Topics
Answer your child’s questions about the issue/topic honestly and patiently. Whether it is about gender or racial equality or diversity in families, if you don’t know the answer to their question, let them know you will find out more and get back to them. Follow through with this!
Don’t be the only one talking. Listen to your child and listen with empathy, not judgement. Try not to shut them down if they say something that hurts or irks you. Be patient while addressing their questions and concerns, even if it is about a topic that makes you uncomfortable.
Start early and keep the conversation going
When it comes to body safety, online safety, consent, boundaries, etc., it is important to start having conversations early on.
You don’t need to wait for something bad to happen to educate/empower your child.
Rather than having one-off pep talks/chats, have ongoing conversations about the tricky topic you wish to address.
Help develop their “feelings vocabulary”
No matter how young your child is, it would be good to encourage them to verbalise/express how they are feeling. Teaching them to use I-statements is a game changer. An example would be: “I felt scared when X tried to hug me.” or “I feel worried that the new baby is going to make you love me less”. When your child is able to express how they feel, you are in a better position to have a conversation with them about what might be bothering them and then come up with a solution that would make your child feel safe and comfortable.
As always, if you need my support, please feel free to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Parent Sessions on Campus
Over the past month, we have been running a number of parent workshops on campus. These have included an introduction to the Middle Years Programme (MYP) by Mr. Jitendra (in person and online), an introduction to the Diploma Programme (DP) and College Counselling by Ms. Manpreet and Ms. Praseeja, and a session on Guidance Counselling and Support by Ms. Amanda and Ms. Venmal.
Extended Music Programme
I have enjoyed meeting with our four Extended Music Programme teachers recently. As you know, they offer extended music lessons in keyboards, guitar, drums and violin. The music teachers’ schedules are now about 80% full, but there is still room for four or five more students. Competence with a musical instrument helps develop confidence and has also been linked to academic success, particularly in mathematics. In Secondary, students have thirty minute lessons every week, and due to our rotating schedule, they only miss each class for thirty minutes once every month. Please encourage your child to take advantage of this opportunity. I’m happy to provide contact details of the relevant teacher if your child is interested.
Last week, we completed our September MAP tests for all students in M1-M5. Our students have performed well again and our grade level averages are above global averages in all cases. As usual, our M4 and M5 students have performed particularly well with many students achieving in the top 10% globally for both tests. We’ll be sending individual reports home to parents soon along with an explanation of what to look for when you read your child’s report. Our Math and English teachers will also be working with the Secondary Leadership Team to analyse the data to determine how we can better support individual students where necessary.
One of the most fun things I’ve experienced here recently was the noise in the MPH when our Middle School Girls’ basketball team played against local rivals, Canadian International School, last week. The volume was deafening and it was a sure sign that the Stonehill Community Spirit is back. Both our Girls and Boys teams represented our school really well and came away with well-deserved victories. This week sees the final friendly/league games of the first season. Our basketball and football teams will now start preparing for the end-of-season tournaments in early November.
Thank you to everyone who completed the CIS Parent survey this week. All of our admin staff and faculty members are involved in self-study groups for different aspects of school life. They will begin the process by analysing the feedback in the surveys from parents, students, teachers, GC members, admin staff and alumni. Hopefully, the responses will provide us with a clear direction for future developments at the School.
The Holiday Season
Today is the end of the first chunk of the academic year. It’s been very pleasant to get back to normal on campus for the first time in two years. We have a short Dussehra break followed by twelve school days before a longer Diwali holiday. Please make sure that if your child needs to miss any school days due to travel, you contact his/her teachers in good time to let them know. We don’t want to lose any momentum this school year and the year will inevitably fly by for all of us.
Deputy Head of School & Secondary School Principal
MYP & DP Science
"What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand." - Xunzi (340 - 245 BC)
With Inquiry at the core, the MYP Sciences framework aims to guide students to independently and collaboratively investigate issues through research, observation and experimentation (Sciences in the MYP guide).
After an absence of two years, our MYP students have been able to start the year using all the resources and apparatus that our Science labs have. All our students are predicting, measuring and recording observations while learning how to work scientifically and accurately. This has helped them develop an understanding of Crit B - How to design experiments and Crit C - Analysing and Processing Results.
The M2 students have all established a long term Design project, ‘Grow Your Own Food’. They have found it is not as easy as they thought.
The heavy rains in August and September created challenging environments for our M2 farmers but they are recording useful growth and we hope to eat the food grown in December.
The boarders are using the school grounds but all other students have pots planted at home.
Through this unit they learn to appreciate the incredible biodiversity we have in India. They are also investigating the tensions and threats to the Western Ghats and other ecosystems in Karnataka. From this they develop a sense of responsibility as members of the local and global community.
Food production and photosynthesis are closely linked. The M2 students visited two organic farms in Bangalore to interview the farmers on how they remain productive and sustainable. It has been very rewarding to learn how local farmers in Karnataka use Science and maintain community and cultural traditions.
The students interviewed a Sri Lankan tea farmer to compare different farming practices. They are currently completing their research essay which looks at how science supports, or in some cases harms the ecosystem required for sustainable farming. In this way, the M2 students are reflecting on the implications of using Science amidst the economic, environmental, political and cultural factors that affect farmers.
The M4 Biology students recently completed a part of the unit on Nutrition. They looked at the macronutrients and micronutrients in food and the impact that food (and sleep) have on the brain. A talk with a nutritionist was organised. The students had to then apply their knowledge and understanding of good food habits to suggest changes to their own personal food journals.
The D1 students are learning about Stem cells and their ethical implications. The students worked in groups on their respective case studies to complete the script and enact in class. As a continuation, to create an awareness on the ethical implications associated with the use of human embryonic stem cells for research, they shared their knowledge and understanding with the M5 students. This helped the M5 students on their assessed task in Criterion D. (Promoting Global Citizenship).
Finally, a big shout to students, who took part in the MYP Science Bowl 2022, Amshel, M3, Phurpa, M3, Akhilesh, M3, Jaiveer, M3, Shaurya, M3, and Dev, M3. They faced the competitive world bravely and narrowly missed five points to make it to the finals. A word of appreciation to the commendable work done by Kriti, M5, Siddharth, M5, Aryan, M5, Srividya, M5 and Gaangey, M5 along with the D1 students for organising and making the MYP Science Bowl 2022 a success!
HoD - Science, MYP and DP Physics
MYP Physical Education
It is fantastic to see our students back in physical school and able to participate fully in our PHE programme. Physical activity is vital to a young person's overall health, physically, socially and psychologically.
The year began with a week of various team building and problem solving challenges among all the different groups. This allowed our large number of new students to integrate into their PHE classes and for the returning students to refamiliarise themselves with the PHE lessons.
The first major focus in middle school has been the topic of invasion games. Invasion games are games in which the aim is to invade an opponent's territory and score a goal or point. These are typically fast-paced games that need teamwork in order to control the ball, keep possession, move into a scoring position, and prevent the opposition from scoring.
The general focus is to develop essential and transferable skills such as different types of passing, receiving, dribbling, tackling and shooting. There is also development of strategy which can apply to all games.
Marking an opponent, zonal defence, quick passing and counter attacking are some examples.
Typically, these activities are introduced through small sided games which have certain constraints that allow the students to develop these skills in game situations. An example of this would be a 3 v 3 Ultimate frisbee game whereby the aim is to connect five passes without your opponents intercepting. This promotes passing, keeping possession and moving into a space to give your teammate a passing option.
Examples include a fast break in basketball and man to man marking in football or handball. Further to this, the students have been introduced to some alternative roles within sport, these roles include officiating a game, video analysis and recording statistics. Particularly in M5, the students take much more responsibility for the design and structure of some of the lessons.
Criteria B ‘Planning for Performance’, particularly M3-M5, will be assessed through student-led lessons and the creation of invasion game videos, evidencing examples of skills and strategies. Criteria D ‘Reflecting and Improving’ gives students the opportunity to analyse their strengths and areas for improvement. Depending on the year groups, the students will be assessed in some or all of these criteria.
Swimming this year will take place on a rotational basis throughout the year in twelve week blocks. Some classes have begun their swimming units and are focusing on improving their swimming techniques across all different strokes, life saving skills and alternative water based activities such as water polo.
Swimming is an essential life skill, so we encourage all students to make the most of this opportunity.
MYP Physical Education
The two day online event concluded with Team Sunboys from Bangalore International School winning the bowl and team Dopplers from Hillsprings winning the MPRMS round. The runners-up were Team Kestrel from Indus International School, Bangalore and Team Metamorphosis from Pathways School, Noida placed third.
The Stonehill International Science Bowl 2022 team would like to thank Beaconhouse, Oman, Sekolah Cikal Amri, Indonesia, Genesis Global, Hillspring, CS Academy, Neev Academy, Sharanya Narayani International School, Indus International School and everyone who participated and made this event possible. Thank you, to the science department at Stonehill for your continuous encouragement.
HoD - Science, MYP and DP Physics
Inspired by the success of the High School Science Bowl, the DP students wanted to be a part of the organising team for the MYP Science Bowl. The Middle School Science Bowl had an amazing response of eighteen teams participating from schools across Bangalore like Canadian International School, Neev Academy, Bangalore International School, Indus International School and Stonehill International School.
The Middle School event, held on campus on the 28th of September, was the first social event post-covid where students from different schools were meeting up. It began with an assembling of a quiet group of students who went on to create a wonderful energy at the end of the day. The students were thrown a couple of STEM challenges like making the tallest paper tower which could hold up a tennis ball. They also had to design and create a roller coaster using scientific principles with bare minimum materials. The day concluded with Canadian International School winning the Bowl.
After a tense buzzer round, Canadian International School came first, followed by Neev Academy in second place and Indus International in third place.
MYP Science, MYP & DP Chemistry
Activities at Boarding
It has been an awesome, busy, productive and active weekend in the boarding house. Friday night boarders watched the movie, “Top Gun: Maverick”. It was another opportunity to come together as a boarding community to relax and enjoy the evening.
The M4 and M5 students went to Orion Mall. This was followed by a ‘MOMO’ making session with Ms. Tenzin. The fifteen students who signed up learnt to think creatively. We were all so impressed with the quality of the momos which looked amazing and tasted great. It’s no wonder that so many weekly boarders opt to stay on weekends as well!
Have a nice weekend!