Waste-Free Art in Year 5

Written by Anita Dai (Primary Art Teacher) in collaboration with Year 5

The Top 3 Reasons Year 5 went Waste Free in Art this Year

“It’s called UP-cycling… It’s when you give new purpose to old or broken things”
– Ms. Anita

Below are the top 3 reasons Ms. Anita and Year 5 were motivated to try this new and exciting approach to creating works of art.

  1. Global Goals

Did you know? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 4.5 pounds of waste is dumped by each person into landfills every day. It takes an estimated 1,000 years for this waste to decompose, in which time poisonous pollution is released into the soil and water.

Year 5 have focused on the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development in many of our curriculum areas this year. Art has been no exception and it was decided that in order to reduce the amount of waste produced by our school that we would make art projects out of recycled materials.

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The mantra during Environment Week at YCIS this year was “reduce, reuse, recycle” this basically means that we should try to reduce our waste and reuse existing things rather than throwing them away. In Art we already had a huge head-start on this goal.

Ms Anita scavenged bottles, cardboard, broken dodge balls, basketball skins and even messed-up wifi routers. Rescuing all of these items from ending up in the thousands of tons of landfill produced by people and businesses each year and instead  having the Y5 students turn them into original, awesome masterpieces, each with their own unique element. 

  1. To get creative and have FUN!

The third and most important reason Year 5 decided to take this interesting approach to Art is very obvious. It posed a challenge, encouraging us to put our thinking caps on and to get creative with the wide variety of pre-loved materials that Ms. Anita dug out of every corner, at school and home.

Some members of our class had these things to say about specific projects and why they stood out as being their particular favorite.

“My favorite project was drawing lions with soft pastels on recycled black paper. They came out very cool because we used yellows and oranges which really popped out of the black background.”

“Using recycled materials to make endangered animals was my favorite project this year. We selected our materials by “shopping” in Ms. Anita’s recycle boxes, she had the materials sorted into categories. It was really fun!”

“The coolest thing we did in art this year was making our own recycled carry bag to put our art in. It gave us a taste of designing things and having an original piece that would never be the same as anybody else’s.”

“I liked making the deep sea creatures. We reused paper and recycled foam scraps, we painted using eco-friendly glow in the dark paint. The animals turned out great and looked awesome in the glow in the dark tunnel at the art show.”

Now that you have read all about our fabulous year of Art in Year 5, we hope that you are inspired to try some upcycling of your own. Instead of throwing those jars and take-out containers away, why not give them a wash and see what kind of art you can create. If you are looking for ideas, maybe check out a couple of these websites for a little inspiration.


Happy up-cycling!! From your friends in 5A.

Bonus Feature: How the RP Art Department took their own advice to heart or “The Many Lives of the Sherwood Forest”

Why throw away art when it can be re-used and re-purposed, re-done and re-shaped again and again and again?

That’s exactly what the RP Art department did with the Sherwood Forest backdrop, originally painted for the Y5 and Y6 Spring Musical, Robin and Sherwood Hoodies.

The YCIS community may have experienced Déjà vu from seeing this familiar backdrop over and over again, from events such as the Spring Brunch to Environment Week. It wasn’t just because Ms. Anita and Ms. Amy were trying to save themselves the trouble of making new decorations, although it certainly was convenient. In fact, the idea of re-shaping an existing piece of work to fit a new purpose is a creative challenge that they relish. Efficiency and taking good care of the environment were just some of the other positive benefits of re-using the backdrop. Check out these photos and see if you recognize the original backdrop.

Sherwood Forest

Background for the prizes given out during Environment Week

Decoration outside Parent Room to showcase donations to Heart to Heart

Eco Booth at GCD                                                                Italian Booth at GCD

Background for Ms. Federica’s Recycled Art ASA project    Door decorations for Art Room

Parent Article: The Meaning of Charity

Written by Margaret Mark (POP Core Committee Co-Chair)

The definition of charity is the act of giving money, food, or other assistance to those who are poor, sick, or in need.  YCIS has supported many opportunities for our community to provide these acts of kindness through charity, and one of those charities is Heart to Heart.  Heart to Heart is a non-profit charity that funds life saving heart surgeries for poverty stricken Chinese children.  Throughout the year, we have hosted events to raise funds for this great cause.  In April, we hosted the Spring Charity Brunch and together with other POP and student-run events, we raised a total of 270,000rmb which is enough to provide 9 necessary heart surgeries.  There have been, so far, 4 surgeries that have been completed.

My boys (Jack and Henry) and I, as well as, Amy Chu and her children (Nicolas and Alison), visited the first surgery recipient on June 7. His name is Xu Zihao and he is a 5-year old boy from Jiangsu Province who was accompanied to the hospital by his grandmother.  He had his surgery on June 1 and we were his first visitors. Another YCIS parent – Michelle Chen, together with her daughter Abigail – was able to visit the second surgery recipient on June 10. Her name is Fan Yuqing, a 6-year old girl, also from Jiangsu Province, who was accompanied by her father. Her surgery was on June 8 and Michelle and Abigail were her first visitors.

Initially, there were feelings of fear, anxiety and curiosity for our own children who all range from K4 to Y6.  But after visiting with Xu Zihao and Fan Yuqing and seeing that they all shared similar feelings, albeit for different reasons, helped them relate.

In preparation of our visit, we all discussed with our children the reason and importance of the hospital trip as these children needed surgery to fix their “broken” hearts as my youngest son labelled it.  We wanted them to know the reasons why, as a school, we would have bake sales, used book sales, collect donations and raise funds at a brunch.  We wanted them to know that it just wasn’t another weekend brunch with face painting and a bouncy castle.  But more importantly, that the charity brunch actually meant something – helping those in need.

Upon arriving at the hospital, a Heart to Heart volunteer met us and gave us a tour of the Heart to Heart facility which consists of a playroom and storage room.  The playroom is adorned with a colorful, large 3m puzzle mural and houses an age range of toys and books for the children to use and to have a change of pace from their hospital room. The storage room is where the Heart to Heart volunteers sort and organize clothing, toiletries, and toys which are given to the patients and their families as many of them arrive in Shanghai with only the clothes on their back. The families are also provided with food vouchers as we were told that many come with only 20RMB for the entire week.  All the items within the two rooms are generously donated.

Being in the hospital room filled with hope and the emotional gratitude of the families, having been provided with an unforeseen, life changing opportunity, gifted us all with a better understanding of the meaning of charity.  We all look forward to continuing to provide additional support to Heart to Heart in the future.

Student Focus: Elisa Wu, Graduating Class of 2017 from ECE-Y13

Written by Andrea Griego (Student Support Coordinator)

Shanghai has been Elisa Wu’s home for the last 16 years and YCIS has been her school. Elisa moved to Shanghai from Norway when she was only 2 years old and has attended YCIS ever since. Elisa began her educational journey in 2002 as part of the YCIS Early Childhood Education (ECE) programme. Since her early days as an ECE and Primary student, Elisa has not only graduated with tops honors, but she has also made many friends and has several fond memories of her years at YCIS.

Elisa began YCIS at the ECE Puxi campus but soon moved to the ECE in Pudong the year after. She recalls that when she attended ECE classes, they where held at the Seasons Villas Campus. Elisa was very excited when in Year 2 she was able to attend classes at the newly built Regency Park Campus. She says, “It’s nice to see that it is all together and in one area,” speaking of the ECE and Primary. She says that one of her favourite years at Regency Park Campus was when she was in Year 4. Her teacher was Ms. Lydia Tkaczuk. She says she enjoyed that year and remembers one of the best days was when they had Viking Day. “We got to be Vikings for the whole day. We studied Vikings and took it further by dressing up like Vikings and making Viking boats,” remembers Elisa.  Ms. Tkaczuk also remembers that day, “We did this activity where the students made their own rune stones; they had a great time learning!” Ms. Tkaczuk taught Elisa in Years 4 and 6. “She was really eager to share her ideas and I always looked forward to seeing her group for literature circles because I knew she would have something interesting to contribute,” said Ms. Tkaczuk. She says that she still has a card that Elisa made her in Year 4 that conveyed Elisa’s enthusiasm for learning and it was evident that she enjoyed Year 4.

As Elisa moved through school, she says that many friends moved on from YCIS, mainly due to repatriation, but every year there were new friends too. One friend that Elisa has kept and will also be attending the same university is Rachel Lim. “Rachel has been a constant throughout the years of YCIS and I look forward to taking a new step together towards the future,” states Elisa.

Elisa has studied and worked hard to earn her International Baccalaureate Diploma and other awards like the DUX Award, which is the highest academic achievement award at YCIS. Elisa not only received the award this year in Year 13 but also in Years 11 and 12. She did a job-shadowing programme in Year 11 at the Body and Soul clinic and an internship this last school year at Parkway Health. These experiences have led Elisa to McGill University in Montreal where she will be studying Bio Chemistry this Fall. Ms. Tkaczuk has kept in touch with Elisa throughout the years and hopes they will remain in contact now that Elisa has decided to attend McGill University, which is not far from where Ms. Tkaczuk is from. “I’m hoping we can meet up for lunch when I’m back in Canada,” says Ms. Tkaczuk. Elisa is excited and ready for this new chapter in her life, but will first enjoy the summer in Shanghai before saying her goodbyes. Elisa is truly the essence of YCIS and we are proud that she will continue to represent YCIS throughout the remainder of her educational endeavors.

Staff Focus: Nick Adgemis – Head of Performing Arts

Written by Nadine Runkel (POP Liaison Officer)

Nick Adgemis will be the new Performing Arts Director for both Pudong Campuses, starting in August 2017. Although Nick is a well-know figure at CP where he has been the Head of the Performing Arts Department for the last 3 years, some of our ECE and Primary parents may only know him through our events at RP, where he is usually in charge of the stage programme. While Nick is always busy, I managed to catch him during a quick morning break to ask him a few questions.

Nick, thanks for taking the time to talk to me and congratulations on your recent appointment to Performing Arts Director! Let’s get right to it – I have a few questions for you…

Where are you from and how long have you been in Shanghai?
Nick: I am originally from Melbourne, Australia and have been here for four years.

What was your career path prior to becoming Head of Performing Arts Secondary at YCIS?
Nick: I was teaching Music in Australia and the UK, and I also hold a Post-Graduate Diploma in TESOL.

What do you look forward to when you come to school? 
Nick: Quite simply – Making music with students!

How many instruments do you play and which is your favourite? What is your least favourite?
Nick: Officially, I play two instruments, the bass and the saxophone. I studied electric bass and majored in Jazz Performance. Additionally, I am a self-taught saxophone player and have been playing for three years now. For classroom purposes I am also able to play a little bit of piano, drums, guitar and clarinet. I would have to say – at the moment – my favorite instrument is the tenor saxophone. As opposed to the bass, it can be a stand-alone instrument and if you’re just playing on it you can experiment more with the sax. Coincidentally, my least favorite instrument would probably be the soprano saxophone. Even though I own one, I don’t enjoy the sound of it and its high pitch, and it’s just not as fun to play, because it’s very short.

Let’s talk about what the new school year might bring and what your vision for the Music programme is. How will your role be different?
Nick: For starters, I will be doing less teaching and more overseeing. I will be overseeing all events, the new Upper Primary / Lower Secondary Music Teacher, as well as the rest of the Music and Drama team. Furthermore, I will help to oversee the IIIP and the Music curriculum from ECE to Secondary, as well as the orchestras, choirs, violin programme, productions and after school activities.

My biggest goal here and my reason for getting into teaching is to see the students’ love for music and their consideration to maybe have music as a career. This is hands down also the most enjoyable part of my career and inspires and motivates me. In overseeing both campuses now – I feel like I can even reach out to the Year 1s and give them a grasp that Music can be a career.

I would love to see an extension of the music programme, in that there are options at the end of the violin programme, that more people try to take up other instruments as well. I feel like kids should be able to try different instruments, we should be able to give them broader options for trying different instruments. Maybe in the near future we could have an instrument base or a loan programme that enables children to try one instrument per semester. They could borrow it through our library, use it and give it a go. You might develop a love for an instrument that you never would have seen coming. This is, of course, quite an endeavor regarding instrument maintenance, but certainly doable and something that can be built up over the years.

“Don’t try to teach a pig to sing – it wastes your time and annoys the pig” How would you respond to this?
Nick: All pigs can learn to sing – but in all seriousness, if a child would come and say “No use, I can’t sing” I would tell them: “Having an amazing voice is a gift, but everyone can learn to sing and enjoy it.”

Do you have any final words of advice for our students or parents?
Nick: I would always encourage them to enjoy Music, music is not a competition. We have great programmes here at YCIS and, for example, we have a pretty inclusive Rock Band Programme. Think about it, give it a try – is this something that you really love or could learn to love and then give it time. That is the most valuable thing you can give anything – your time! I think there is nothing more disappointing than people who don’t give it the time of day to develop. I also never shy away from telling the students: “If you ever want to consider music as a career, remember that you will spend the majority of your days on this – it’s up to you to decide if that is appealing or worrying. And remember – there are careers in Music that are not teaching or being a Rock Star.

Summer Fun for the Little Ones (ECE)

Written by Veronica Martin (ECE Coordinator)

Summer holidays for children are a joy, remembering the relaxing times spent in the sun. 6 weeks of fun can be taxing on parents who need to keep young children busy with a variety of activities that may or may not include technical devices. Try out some of the ECE Favorites, as well as, some family favorites that have been used by our children.

  • There are wonderful day trips you can do by visiting a local museum, going to the park, or going to the zoo to see the different animals. An extended activity after the day trip is to do a photo journal. Have the children take 5-10 photos of things they enjoyed, print them out and make a book together. Help the children to add captions to the photos. This encourages children to recall the information and also to express their own thoughts about the day.
  • Baking cakes or cookies with the children can be both fun and educational. This is always a family favorite time that any age child can join in with. Learning how to measure ingredients with cups or teaspoons can be an introduction to or continued practice in mathematics.
  • Build an obstacle course indoor or outdoor, going under tables, over chairs, and around the couch. This is fun to build and helps kids use up excess energy.
  • Take a walk together and collect leaves. When you get home, they can be pasted on some nice paper and create a piece of art work or a greeting card.
  • Throw a sheet over the table, add some cushions and you have an indoor fort to play in.
  • Play board games together either inside or outside on a picnic blanket.
  • Paint with water paint either on a piece of paper or add some liquid soap and paint on the windows. It will wash off.
  • Set up a fun DVD time, some cushions on the floor and pop some pop-corn and enjoy a relaxing movie together.
  • Set up some plastic bowls of water, add soap and a doll or cars and little children will wash their toys for a whole morning. Always watch children when they are near water.
  • Make some playdough for children to play with for hours. See recipe below, or you could buy some ready-made.

Cooked Play Dough

3 cups flour
1 cup salt
6 teaspoons cream of tartar
3 cups water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Food coloring

Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large saucepan. Blend water and oil together in a bowl. Add to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. Add several drops of food coloring until you get the right color. Cook for about five minutes. Take the play dough out of the saucepan and put it on a cutting board or counter and knead for a few minutes. Add flour if it’s too sticky. This play dough should last around three months if you keep it sealed in an airtight container or plastic zip-lock bag. It’s so smooth and fun to play with when it’s still warm.

The Influence of Culture and Art

Written by Cindy Zhang & Joan Chen (Primary Chinese Studies Curriculum Leaders)

Chinese Painting and Calligraphy have a long history, and many people around the world are deeply attracted by the beauty of different genres and styles. Cultivating student interest in Chinese culture, increasing their knowledge of Chinese culture, and creating a good environment for students to appreciate the essence of Chinese culture are our aims at YCIS.

YCIS was honoured to have Yung Ngai Ching, an artist who specialises in Chinese painting, as our guest for one week. While Ms. Yung was here, she had different workshops with Upper Primary students, as well as workshops for parents and teachers.

Yung Ngai Ching is a Chinese Painting Instructor and Artist-in-Residence at YCIS Hong Kong. Ms. Yung holds her Advanced Diploma in Fine Art and Chinese Calligraphy from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She also participated in a group exhibition in Hong Kong City Hall in 2016.

The Upper Primary students were able to try traditional Chinese painting using both ink and paints. They also had the opportunity to listen to the Artist’s feelings and understanding about Chinese painting. Daniel from Y6A said: “After the experience of this lesson, I know more about how to use ink and colour properly.”

During the week, Yung Ngai Ching had her open studio in the Regency Park Campus courtyard. During recess time, students and teachers got together to watch her paint and couldn’t wait to have a go themselves. The unique style of painting attracted everyone’s attention. Our visiting artist planted a little seed of appreciation for art that is now growing in everyone’s mind.

Parents and teachers also had a wonderful experience through the workshops with Yung Ngai Ching during the week. The artist not only brought us the joy and beauty of Chinese painting and calligraphy, she also gave us a fantastic experience of Chinese Culture.


The Rhythm of Summer Reading

Written by Tania Jordan (Teacher Librarian – Primary)

Hopefully during the summer holiday the pace of life will slow down a little and there will be more opportunities for you and your family to enjoy a good book. Slowing down a little too much over the summer and forgetting about reading altogether can result in something known as the ‘Summer Slide’. That’s when some of the progress made from consistent effort throughout the year is lost when activities like regular reading are put on hold for the summer months.

But of course there are ways that your family can enjoy the water slide park without sliding into reading decline! Keep your children interested and engaged with their reading over the summer. Become a member of a local library. Visit bookstores. Make sure they see you reading and enjoying it. Read with them and ask them about what their reading. Turn reading into a treat by packing a picnic and books and heading outdoors.

Wherever you may be, we invite you and your family to take photos of yourselves enjoying the leisurely rhythm of summer reading. Your child’s two favourite photos can be handed-in at the ECE, RP or CP library after the summer holiday. Please make sure photos have your child’s name and class written on the back so they can be returned. The photos will be put up in the new school year as a celebration of reading and an affirmation of the reading culture at YCIS.

Any questions, please contact the Primary Teacher Librarian,

Look out for these Summer Reading Recommendations in libraries and book stores:

Speaking at the Year 6 Graduation

Written by Cathal Grimes (Year 6 Teacher)

Tiffany Lo and Hui Lim Chong were selected to speak at the Year 6 Graduation,  after winning the Speech Competition that was held on May 22. That day, they spoke in front of their classmates, the Year 5 students, and of course, the judges. “I was very shocked that I was selected because I didn’t believe that my speech would have a positive impact on the judges,” Hui Lim said of winning. Tiffany felt the same, but added, “I was way more nervous on the night of Graduation though. There were so many people in the audience, and I had butterflies in my stomach.”

Both girls have been a part of our school since K2! “I have made so many great friends at YCIS. For that I will always be thankful,” said Tiffany. Hui Lim agreed, adding, “9 years has gone by so fast, but I still remember everyone that helped me along the way.”

Tiffany and Hui Lim delivered amazing speeches. Their teachers, families, and fellow students looked on with a great sense of pride, as both girls gave their thoughts on many of the challenges the Year 6 students have faced in the past, and may face again in the future. “I decided to give advice in a simple way,” Tiffany declared, “reminding the audience of the ABCs of life.” Those ABCs were not as simple as the alphabet, as the messgae of her speech was to never give up! Hui Lim has a similar theme to her speech. She spoke about the Suān, tián, kǔ, and là (Sour, sweet, bitter, and spicy) memories of her time at YCIS. “I chose these themes because I thought it was a unique way of sharing my experiences of my time here. I think many of the students can relate to this as well.”

As the students are preparing for the transition to Secondary School, it turns out both Hui Lim and Tiffany have an inside scoop on what life is like from Year 7 onwards. Hui Lim’s sisters (Hui Wen and Hui Shing in Year 9), and Tiffany’s brother (Hey Cheuk, also in Year 9) are in the Secondary School. They have passed on some priceless information on how to survive the challenges that lie ahead. “Try to remember your timetable early, because there are so many new classes in Secondary,” Hui Lim’s sisters stated.

Of their time in Year 6, both girls reflected on the times they have had and the friends they have made with smiles on their faces. “My favourite part of Year 6 has been spending so many good times with my friends.” a giggling Tiffany said. She wouldn’t elaborate on that, but a few of the girls seemed to be laughing about something… “Sharing a room with my friend at camp was great,” Hui Lim added trying to hold the laughter back, “we did a lot of fun things there! I can’t wait for EOTC in Year 7.”

Year 6 is also a year where many important lessons were learned by our students. “I will always remember the quote: ‘failure leads to success’. That really stands out for me,” said Hui Lim. “By perserverence, everything reaches its target,” stated Tiffany. “I used that in my speech, and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

This year has flown by so fast for all of us. We cannot believe  these students are now embarking on a new adventure as they leave us in the Primary School. However, we wish them every success in the future. We hope they have enjoyed their time with us, and are now prepared for the next chapter of their lives.

Good luck to all our departing Year 6s. We will miss you.

A Love of Learning in Chinese

Written by Sissy Shen (Head of Primary Chinese)

YCIS has offered Chinese learning since the school was established in 1932. Our curriculum is committed to nurturing our students’ interest in learning and using Chinese, as well as, helping students build the basic skills and language proficiency to effectively communicate, express and exchange ideas. Students are also encouraged to use existing knowledge and create new knowledge. To adapt to today’s world of rapid changes, we bring together the best practices from eastern and western education, and have developed a variety of dynamic activities in Chinese learning as well.

Lower CAL Curriculum(CAL1-3) Leader Ms. Carrie Qian: “We believe that having an interest is what counts in learning, especially for beginners. CAL1-3 teachers acknowledge the importance of learning activities. ‘The Language Study Fair’ held each semester combined traditional games with technology games, such as Simon Says, card games, pictographic character matching, iPad games etc. It helped students review what they learnt from each semester, improve their language, increase their confidence and develop their mindset. Students can learn through play and apply the language.”

Lower CFL Curriculum(CFL1-3) Leader Ms. Cathy Yang: “For beginners, Chinese characters and Pinyin are the tools of learning Chinese. Students review Pinyin by using various games aided by iPad technology to enhance the students’ interest in learning. The activity ‘Chinese Character King’ is used to guide students in using Chinese characters more fluently, to accumulate more vocabulary and to create a better foundation for reading and writing for the next step of learning Chinese.”

Higher CAL Curriculum(CAL4-6) Leader Ms. Fion Zhang: “Effective language learning should be closely related to real life. During Environment Week, CAL4-6 took on different projects according to their learning unit. In the CAL4 ‘Design’ unit, students designed some items for the “Million Tree Project”, and wrote a description to show their design. The class selected the best design for the school to put into production and the designers themselves sold the goods and donated the profits to the ‘Million Tree Project’. In the CAL5 ‘Figure Description’ unit, students interviewed various school staff, such as, teachers, Ayis and security guards, to find out how they take care of the environment in their daily jobs. In the CAL6 ‘Advertisements’ unit, students learned that advertisements are created by various methods to attract attention to a particular message. The students then used different apps to create environmental protection advertisements such as, calling for people to love the earth and protect endangered animals.”

Higher CFL Curriculum(CFL4-5) Leader Ms. Rowling Miao: “To have students show initiative in their learning, based on their  creativity and imagination, CFL4 held a composition contest, recitals and the Idiom Challenge. Furthermore, CFL4 students created their own skit “I am a little tour guide”. They chose content from the text which interested them to introduce an aspect of their favourite scenery in the skit. The CFL5 students set up a small translation team, and made use of the Chinese-English dictionary to complete a translation task. Working closely with their peers, allowed both their Chinese and English skills to improve. CFL5 students also held the Chant of ‘Three Character Classic’. By understanding and reciting it, we hope our students can realize the long history of Chinese culture. ”

Activities are not limited to games, contests, projects, interviews and inquiry, etc. We integrate learning with real life and authentic situations in order to strengthen and extend the Chinese curriculum. Activity learning has changed the way of teaching and student learning, promoting the active participation of students to explore and study, and to have the courage to practice. Through our curriculum, students acquire language ability, based on understanding and thinking, reflection and exploration, problem solving and innovation, to deal with cultural diversity and global change.

The summer holidays are just around the corner and we would like to wish you a relaxing and healthy holiday. Our Chinese teachers also have recommended some reading books and websites for students to use during the holiday. You may visit our Chinese blogs to explore and find all the resources. We hope you find this helpful and enjoyable.

CFL Blog:http://blogs.pd.ycis-sh.com/pd-pri-cfl/ (Password:RPCP)
CAL Blog:http://blogs.pd.ycis-sh.com/pd-pri-cal/ (Password:RPCP)