IGBIS Newsletter, Issue 251

Mrs Anne Fowles

Wishing all Malaysians who were celebrating Thaipusam last Thursday, Happy Thaipusam! I hope that everyone else enjoyed the holiday. It was very welcome, though the city was so much quieter than it usually is during the Thaipusam festival. 

Thank you to our teachers and others involved in the ‘invitation conferences’ that took place on Wednesday this week. I know that some of the conferences involved several colleagues at one time so that parents could gain a wider perspective of their child’s learning and any challenges they might be facing.

I would also like to thank the whole community for their support at present. It has been a very difficult week for us all, but none more so than the Rowe family. The outpouring of support and care has been gratefully received and is yet another example of how our school community comes together in times of need.

Simon Millward

There is certainly some excitement around the school. Today as the KG students arrived they proudly told me that they were recording their Lunar New Year assembly item. They had brought in clothes, some had asked their parents to prepare their hairstyle in a particular way, some were nervous and excited. As I listened in to the students’ conversations it brought a smile to my face. I am looking forward to seeing their performance, although I will have to wait until 10th February for this.

I am fortunate enough to have access to every class Seesaw posts. I am always amazed by the variety of learning engagements that are happening and I am proud of our teachers for creating and engaging the students in their learning. I have seen writers workshop posts, visualisation posts, unit of inquiry tuning in engagements, unit of inquiry research and discoveries shared, maths array diagrams explaining mathematical problems, sharing mathematical thinking, storyboarding and planning, and this is not even mentioning the wonderful single subject posts! I am also proud of our students as they navigate these distance learning times and get involved in posted tasks as well as their ‘live’ sessions. The more involved students are the more they will benefit from these engagements. Thanks also goes to you as parents for supporting your children during these distant learning times.

On Wednesday we had our invited conferences and I know from being involved in a few myself these were valuable meetings to help students get back on track or even to share some of the challenges you may be facing at home. Thank you to all of those who were involved in those meetings, working together we can help our students achieve their potential.

I hope you all have a relaxing weekend.

Dates for your diaries

  • 10th February: Lunar New Year Assembly: 2.15 – 3.00 pm
  • 11th – 16th February: Lunar New Year holidays

Sandy van Nooten

Week three of semester 2! I hope everyone managed to enjoy some downtime during the holiday on Thursday. I’m all out of whack today. It’s actually Friday, but feels kind-of like Monday. To add insult to injury, I forgot to turn my alarm back on and had a mad flurry to get myself here (nearly) on time. Fortunately everyone else seemed to have no such issues.

It was lovely to see parents and students joining our teachers at the Parent Teacher Conferences by Invitation (PTCI) on Wednesday. I hope that each student involved has committed to (at least) one change (to attitude, attendance, collaboration, engagement etc.) to address the concerns that were raised. 

  • A reminder to all parents that you are welcome to contact teachers directly (at any time) to request a meeting about your child.

We’re planning the Gr.12 Mock exams. Our plan A is to have them onsite from Wed Feb 24th to Fri March 5th. Mr Drechser will be sending the detailed schedule to Gr.12 students and parents in the next few days. We will use large venues where we can keep students 2 metres apart. Of course, if the MCO changes, we’ll adapt our plans accordingly.

Gr.10 course selections for next year. Our Grade 10 students are starting to make plans for their final two years of high school. They have already submitted their preliminary subject selections. We will use these selections to create blockings for the final subject choices. There are a few important dates to be aware of

  • Mon 8th Feb – Gr.10s will visit Gr.11 & 12 classrooms (physically if they are in school, online if not) throughout the day to get a feel for each subject. The Gr.11 & 12 teachers will not be putting on a show, the Gr.10s will get to see a real classroom in action.
  • Wed 10th Feb – All Gr.10s (and their parents) will be invited to our virtual option fair. There will be 6 to 8 short blocks for students to visit teachers to discuss the subject, ask questions, get advice on suitability etc. More information to follow.

Assessment Procedures and Behaviour Grid. Next Monday, we will be introducing all our students to our new assessment procedures and our new behaviour grid. I’d like to invite parents to an online meeting (next Friday 5th Feb from 8 to 9am) to walk through the changes. I’ll record the meeting for those who can’t make it.

I hope you have a lovely weekend. 

Stay safe.

Aga Chojnacka

As we continue distance learning we want to best support of families in their daily learning from home experiences. Please see the infographics and short video below for the latest tips on how to best support your children through their daily learning.

Video:Active Parenting: The Do’s and Don’ts in Times of Distance Learning

If you would like to receive infographics or mini-webinars/tutorial on other topics or questions you may have related to wellbeing, parenting or education please email me at aga.chojnacka@igbis.edu.my.

J Lennan MacDonald 

The kavadi (“burden”) itself is a physical burden, the bearing of which is used by the devotee to implore Murugan for assistance, usually on behalf of a loved one who is in need of healing, or as a means of balancing a spiritual debt. 

Surely this has been a year of ‘burden’ as we near the anniversary of the day the world changed – which was a little different for all of us – but no less real. But like the kavadi is designed to pull healing and forgiveness from suffering, so too perhaps we can find some silver linings in the cloud that is COVID.

These ideas were explored in a few ways this past week. On Tuesday we had a whole staff session after school where I had the privilege of leading our team’s exploration into CARING and WELLBEING as part of our school self-study. I thought leading a search for wellness in the school should begin with a moment of wellness for my team. We looked for this by breaking into online groups of 4 or 5 and sharing something that brings you joy. The 3 prompts were:

  1. A book (or movie or Netflix series) that you recently enjoyed that we might enjoy too.
  2. Share your inspiration for going into education or,
  3. Pull a silver lining out of the cloud that is COVID.

While more people shared books and movies and series (see Shantaram by the man with three first names David Gregory Roberts, I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Charlie Kaufman and Schitt’s Creek by Eugene and Daniel Levy), and stories of truly inspirational teachers, there were some COVID ‘silver linings’ too. Without a doubt, we are all so much better at delivering online lessons – and finding ways for those who can’t be in class to access the material explored there than we were a year ago. That positive will undoubtedly be helping kids learn remotely, for whatever reason, long after COVID is nothing but a bad memory.

Likewise, we just finished three-way conferences for ‘students of concern’ this past Thursday. Granted there were no students or parents or even teachers who would have chosen to be a ‘student of concern’ or have a child or student who was. From the outside looking in it seemed to be all cloud. Undoubtedly online learning has been harder on some students than others, and a few of our kids are really struggling. But the sessions I was a part of were far more a coming together than a tearing apart, far more support than labeling, and far more beautiful than I anticipated. They were reflections of the amazing students and families and teachers and administrators at IGBIS and what can be accomplished when we all get together for the love of a child and do what we can to get them back on track. Now I am not so naive to think we solved any problems on Thursday, but I do believe we planted the seeds for change that very well might see different outcomes this semester than last. I also believe there was a profound realization that three components of the three-way conference are truly better together when we harness the power of those three horses pulling in the same direction we can indeed move mountains.

It left me with greater hope for these struggling students and more hope for myself who was able to get a glimpse of what this amazing school can be when this cloud has passed and our community is able to truly come together. It also helped me to realize that we may very well have more silver linings than the dark clouds of COVID are allowing us to see.

Adam Gagan

Grade 8 are currently studying the Renaissance. As part of this unit, they have tasked to research Florence and advertise the city to 14th and 15th-century tourists. Their focus was to communicate their knowledge and understanding of the Renaissance and to think about the intended audience too. Both classes produced posters for this assignment and there were some excellent examples. Unfortunately, Grade 8 are not in school at the moment but, if and when they return, they will see most of their posters on display outside the I&S classrooms. 

Mark Parratt

In PHE, the wheels keep turning and despite the new MCO, we are still doing our best to deliver Physical and Health Education (PHE), not just movement.

However, for one of our staff, Wei Jun Thong, the wheels stopped turning when he had a nasty fall off his mountain bike. He is now nursing a broken arm and some torn ligaments, making his movement rather limited and painful. We wish Wei Jun a speedy recovery. Despite this setback, Wei Jun is still taking live lessons for his grade 1 and 3 classes. That’s tough! We would also like to thank our fantastic AT’s, Rizal Mohd, Ihsan Nadzri and Yati Akhtar for covering Wei Jun’s ‘face to face’ EY and KG classes in school. They are doing a top job of keeping the little ones active and exploring the basic concepts of simple games and motor control. 

Our Grade 2 – 5’s are working on developing their health related physical fitness through track and field, and circuit training activities.  Grade 7’s are exploring how they motivate others to improve fitness by designing their own fitness workout videos. Grade 8’s are exploring how they can communicate ideas through an aesthetic movement routine that is based on an image of choice, Grade 9’s are exploring the concept of homeostasis and energy systems within invasion games, while Grade 10’s are exploring the influence of structure and function on performance. 
And no, I haven’t forgotten the grade 6’s. Our grade 6’s have been exploring how we can achieve a balance of physical, social and mental health in our activities. They have been exploring how many physical activities also have a range of mental and social benefits, and for some, these are more important than the physical ones. This week, we celebrate Thaipusam. Devotees undertaking a pilgrimage and carrying a kavadi in order to worship Lord Murugan believe it makes them physically and mentally healthy too.  With this in mind, I encourage you to undertake your pilgrimage to whatever place helps you show an appreciation of your faith, and helps you maintain or develop your physical and mental health, be that carrying a kavidi, attending prayer recitals, completing a daily journal, doing yoga, walking the dog or trying to do a pull up or going for a run. If you have the chance, it would be great if you could also be a ‘chanting helper’ who supports and encourages others who are ‘carrying their kavadi’, and trying to attain their physical, mental and social health. We are always more likely to achieve success when we are supported by loved ones.

Below is Maloe Bourquenez (left) and Wen Yi Tan (right) of Grade 6 doing yoga.

Grade 8 

Hello everyone! 

We are Sophie, Aisha and Isabel from Grade 8, for our community project we will be helping underprivileged children across KL. We will host an event in February and are promoting SHELTER throughout our instagram. They are an organization who help underprivileged children in Malaysia. Please follow our instagram account! 

And here is the link to our Instagram – 4the.children

It will be greatly appreciated if you follow us! Look out for some great events coming up! 

We will be hosting a 5km run the last week of Feb, it will be an event that you can do anytime, and anywhere, run 5km, send us any sort of evidence, a certificate will be handed out to you! Do it for the children! More information will be shown on our Instagram!

Any more questions? Don’t hesitate to email us! 4thechildren21@gmail.com

Over the past year, we have seen multiple faces of distance learning – some of them were not so pleasant to look at, some downright scary.

Instead of struggling alone to make out what distance learning and hybrid learning should look like and most importantly what roles should be played by the school, parents and students – join us in conversation.

Next Saturday, February 6, 10 am our IB Coordinators Magnus Drechsler(DP/CP) and Aga Chojnacka (PYP) will share their insights and expertise with you during our Facebook Live.

Here is the link for the stream: https://fb.me/e/14dh3b7p8

Feel free to fill in the form for us to understand you better.