CAMPS FOR 2013/2014

Please place the following dates into your calendar for the Year 4-6 annual camps

Year 6 Camp – Outward Bound – November 4-8, 2013.  Cost to be finalised but we expect it to be around $3500 for the 5 days

Year 5 Camp (TBC) – Scout Camp in Sai Kung (also exploring sailing at Hebe Haven) – November 6-8, 2013.  We are looking at revamping the Year 5 camp so we are trying something completely new by going to Sai Kung to a very popular camping spot (with dormitories).  This is yet to be confirmed but if it goes ahead we are looking at a cost of approximately $2500 for 3 days.  This is more than we normally charge but at this stage it looks like we are unable to benefit from the Government subsidy which we normally apply for saving us a significant amount.  More information will be shared as soon as we complete our negotiations with the camp site.

Year 4 Camp – Bradbury Camp – Cheung Chau – 6-8 November, 2013.  Cost to be similar to past years around $750 for 3 days.

As you can see we have managed to effectively have a “camp week” from 4-8 November.  We will ensure there is one LMT member at each site as well as enough staff for a safe and enjoyable camp.

PERMISSION TO ZAP!

Apparently a quick zap to the brain will improve your maths skills.  Is this the next stage in teaching maths!!

Below is an article from Newser.com written by Evann Gastaldo.

Terrible at math? No worries, it’s nothing that a little electrical stimulation can’t help. Researchers from the UK and Austria found that transcranial random noise stimulation (Popular Science describes it as “a painless zap to the brain”) helped subjects to learn arithmetic more quickly—and they retained their edge six months later. Subjects who received electrical stimulation through their scalps for five days performed better than subjects who did not receive the stimulation in two areas: memorizing facts and performing calculations based on invented symbols.

The electrical current bursts were given in random frequencies, which apparently excites brain cells, to an area of the brain that is used to do math. Those who received the mild shocks learned two to five times more quickly than those who did not. And while their memorizing edge didn’t hold, they were still performing calculations 30% to 40% better than the non-shocked six months later, Wired reports. A larger study is needed—this one only involved 25 people—and the study leader warns, “Do not try this at home.”

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GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE – INTERNATIONAL MINDEDNESS

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One of the terms used by all PYP schools is “International Mindedness”.  At a recent CPD day the staff focused on what this means for Peak School.  We will shortly come up with a definition and share this with our community to ensure a shared understanding.

I read with interest an article on the daily mail about a “global social attitudes study”.  It would appear that Hong Kong is not the most tolerant country to live in. According to the study Hong Kong is one of the least tolerant places to live as 71.8 per cent of the population would refuse to live next to someone of a different race.

There was a suggestion that some countries were more honest than others in terms of their responses and that some countries gave what they knew is the “correct answer”.
Regardless of what you think of the results or how much value you place on the study, it is our responsible as a Peak School community to ensure our children are tolerant of each other and appreciate that everyone has different perspectives based on their experiences.  This is a real strength of the school and something that we want to foster to ensure it remains strong.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2325502/Map-shows-worlds-racist-countries-answers-surprise-you.html#ixzz2U0bTlpIX

Disclaimer – I take no responsibility for the quality of the comments that others have left on the Daily Mail web link above, nor do I endorse, condone or agree with the comments that have been made.  They simply reflect the feelings of individuals that have made them and do not reflect my views in anyway.

REPORTING TO PARENTS

As I’m sure you can appreciate we have significantly increased our level of reporting to our parents this year with 3 written reports during the year.  Our third and final written report will be available to parents on June 25 at 3pm.  This will be our final end of year report that will cover Unit of Inquiry 5, English, Maths, Specialist subjects and a PSHE (social/emotional) comment.

We are setting it up so my signature is put into the report meaning you can simply print off the report and send to others as an official document.

As a school we are currently reviewing the way we report to parents and decisions will be made at the beginning of next year in terms of how often and when we report to parents (parent consultations, written reports, learning journeys etc).

SICHUAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF UPDATE

I am delighted to report that as a school we raised almost $10,000 towards the Sichuan Earthquake relief fund.  The funds have been distributed evenly between two charities (Oxfam and World Vision) whom the children selected at a recent school assembly.  I have been delighted with the children’s response to this cause and many children took action themselves, at home or in their building, by raising funds by selling food, clothing, books and DVDs.

I am very proud to be part of the Peak School community and times like this reinforce what a special place Peak School is.  My sincere thanks to everyone who contributed regardless of by how much.

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STUDENT LED CONFERENCES – FINAL REMINDER

As previously published the student led conferences run this year from May 6th to May 15th.  Parents need to access Gateway to make the bookings as in the past and the bookings will be open up until 36 hours before the conference is due to take place.

This is the first year that we are also making available the portfolios so please allow time after the student-led conference to go through this with your child.  We have set up the room in the library with laptops so that parents that are able to stay on a bit longer can go through the portfolio with their child.

Here is the timetable for the conferences;

DATE

7.50am – 11.55am

1.10pm – 5.55pm

Monday 6th May

Y4

Y3

Tuesday 7th May

Y2

Y1

Wednesday 8th May

Y3

Y2

Thursday 9th May

Y1

Y5

Friday 10th May

Specialists

 –

Monday 13th May

Y5

Y6

Tuesday 14th May

 Y4

Wednesday 15th May

Y6

Specialists

 

Below is an outline of how the Student-Led conferences will be structured and the main aim of the process.   

Student- Led Conferences  (Term 3)

The purpose of Student Led Conferences is to share all elements of the student’s learning and progress both academic and social.  The student is encouraged to lead the meeting and have ownership over sharing and discussing their learning with their parents and teacher.  The main aim is the discussion between the student and his/her parent.

The student will prepare for the meeting with the teacher to review and set appropriate next steps and targets which are to be shared with their parents when the teacher is present.

The Students are then responsible to share their work and portfolios as evidence of their learning and own self-reflection of their learning process.  The student should be pro-active in explaining what they have learned, how and why it is important and what they need to do next.

All teachers should be involved in supporting, guiding and preparing the students to share their portfolios and other relevant work ready for the conference.

In the early years the Student Led Conference may be organized more like a 3 way conference due to the students needing more scaffolding by the teacher.

However, the aim is that as the students progress through the years they will become more independent and eventually be able to lead the conference.

As with the 3 way conference, time will be made available for the parents to discuss their child’s progress with both the class teacher and specialist teachers with or without the child present depending on the nature of the discussion; e.g. 10 minutes with the student present and 5 minutes discussion with parents and teacher.

2013-2014 CALENDAR SET BY ESF

Last term we published the draft ESF 2013-2014 Academic year calendar and now that the public holidays have been finalised by the Government we are in a position to publish the final version of this calendar.  There are one or two changes from the draft, the most noticeable is the change to the CNY holiday.

Please click HERE to view the calendar as presented on the ESF official website.

As a school we still need to add two CPD days and once we have decided upon these dates they will be added to the calendar.

 

FAUST FESTIVAL

The Faust Festival is taking place from May 21 to June 16th and whilst we don’t normally promote outside providers we do have a number of our students involved. Also one group (Group P) who are performing Gulliver’s Travels are actually using our school hall to practice on a weekly basis.  Gulliver’s Travels is on June 13 and 14 at 8pm and tickets can be purchased at www.urbtix.hk.  Congratulations to all Peak School students who have been working so hard on their acting and scripts and we wish you all the very best for your shows.  Break a leg!

Please appreciate that this is not a paid advertisement and actually came from a parent of the school.  Whilst we can not accept any liability for the quality of the shows on offer, I do feel the ones that involve Peak School students will be great!!

What Happens When Students Are Simply Free To Learn?

I came across this article earlier this week about the shift to allow time at school for students to learn about something they personally are interested in.  It talks about how Google have  a 20% approach where basically one day a week the employees are given the scope to explore ideas they are interested in – that is to focus on what ever the person wants to learn more about.   Interesting to note that by 2009, 50% of new innovations, including gmail, came from this one day a week.

Schools are starting to appreciate the value in this and the article explores this further.  We have some classes at school who have set aside a small amount of time each week to allow the students to explore ideas or concepts that they are interested in.  The beauty of this approach is that it allows the teachers to focus on the inquiry cycle so it is still a very structured approach.

The article refers to an expanded KWL chart that many schools use.  Called the KWHLAQ (name probably needs work) it ensures the children follow a certain approach that will help guide their independent inquiry.  Perhaps something that could be initiated at home during the holidays or a long weekend where the children are complaining of having nothing to do!

Click HERE to read the full article.