YCIS Student Makes A Noise For Autism Awareness

Written by: Ms. Skingley, Music Teacher and Elena Yu, Year 10 Student


As part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award, Elena Yu was set the task of volunteering her time to a chosen cause to experience the benefit that her service could provide. As a talented musician and IGCSE music student, Elena decided that she wanted to share her talent, and the talents of her fellow students, with the wider community. Her creative spirit and enthusiasm for all things musical led her to organizing her own concert and, on 24th April, 40 students from local special education schools came to the CP Theatre to enjoy the student performances.

Elena organised this event in collaboration with Xiersen Child Service Centre as part of their AGame initiative. AGame seeks to promote awareness of special needs issues China-wide through activities that are fun, educational and inspiring. Working alongside them, Elena was able to establish a bond with this fantastic cause and make a real contribution to their vision.

When the local school students arrived at YCIS, they were greeted by some of our Year 9 students who welcomed them and made them feel at home. The concert featured performances from the Stage and Show Band, Voices, piano soloist Mark Ma and a small ensemble playing an original composition by Elena. With the help of the YCIS students, percussion instruments were handed out to the audience and everyone joined in with the music making. Everyone wore striped arms bands to unite students from all schools and raise autism awareness. Elena was keen for the event to be inclusive and about making bonds with students from other schools.

This type of event was a first for YCIS and, driven by Elena’s caring personality, is a true realization of our school motto in aligning Love and Charity with Culture and the Arts.

Memories of Primary School

Written by: Year 6 Students

Our time in Primary School is coming to an end. We have sat through countless classes, gone on numerous field trips, met some awesome teachers, and made many amazing friends. Now, we are ready to embark on a new journey: the journey into Secondary School!

As we come to the end of our wonderful time at Primary School, we have had the chance to look back and ask our fellow students about their favourite memories over the last 6 years at YCIS.

Ian Ng has been at YCIS since he was in K2. We asked him what his favourite memories of school have been. Initially, he was unsure. He had to think really hard as, “there are so many!” Eventually he settled on Year 5 Camp. Ian loved the experience, as it was the first trip overnight away from school. “The best part was when we were on the Bridges,” Ian said. He described how they were challenging, but a lot of fun. “Like a lot of things in Primary School.”

Overnight trips were a popular choice among students when remembering their favourite times. However, Karim Daki (at YCIS since Year 1) remembers the Year 4 Sleepover for different reasons. For him, things didn’t quite go to plan. He was very excited about getting the chance to sleep in the school, but he caught a fever on the day of the event. “I was disappointed,” he recalls. “The nurse sent me home, but even then I begged my Mom to let me go.” Unfortunately for Karim, the fever meant he fell asleep at home and missed his chance to sleep at Regency Park Campus. “Who knows?” asks Karim, “Maybe one day I will go back to RP and have a nap.” Our students never do give up, do they?

It isn’t just about what happened outside the classroom though. Many students told us funny stories of friends and teachers throughout their years here. Nina Leger, who joined in Year 3, told us about her teacher that year (Mr. Ryan Kravalis). He set the class a challenge to read 100 books. If they could complete this task, he would shave a funny message into his beard. They did. “He shaved LOL into his beard,” she giggled as she traced the letters on her cheek. Laugh out Loud indeed!

The memories we have made in Primary School are unforgettable ones. We will never forget the help and support that everyone at YCIS has given us over our years here: from the bus drivers, to the teachers; the lunch ayis, to the office administrators; the librarian, to the security guards. We thank you! And we look forward to coming back and visiting soon.

Goodbye Primary School. We will never forget you!

Love and Charity in Action at YCIS

Written by: Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

If you pay attention to the people at YCIS, you may start to notice that our school is filled with many charitable hearts who care for the people surrounding them in the school or outside the school, in Shanghai or outside Shanghai, who care for the wellbeing of the country they come from or the country they live in, who care for others even more than for themselves, who care for the planet more than for their own comfort.  

This is how we have practiced Love & Charity in our YCIS Community this year:

 Great Wall Half Marathon for a Hospital in London 

I would like to thank everyone for your kind and generous donation to my charity fundraiser.  The money is going to Guys and St. Thomas Hospital in London, a hospital that is very close to my family and me.  In total I have raised 4396 RMB from Shanghai and an additional £250 from England totalling around £750.  


I managed to run the half Marathon in 2 hours and 37 minutes. It was a fantastic experience being able to run on the wall; hopefully some of you will be able to experience it in the future.  I thank you again for your kindness and support.   

Terence Moran, Design Technology Teacher

 First child benefitting from the fundraising efforts to Heart to Heart 

We wanted to say thank you again to all who have supported our Heart to Heart fundraising efforts this school year. As previously mentioned we were able to donate 6 Heart surgeries. The first recipient had surgery last week and is a little boy named Wang Hengli from Shandong Province and he is 2 years old. A couple of us were able to see him the day he came out of recovery. The family was very grateful for all all the support from YCIS. We will keep you all posted as the next 5 children come in and visiting those children will be possible at assigned times.  – Nadine Runkel, POP Liaison Officer  

We were also able to go and see the sleeping boy—who was so, so cute! We got a wonderful tour of the facility and the sorting room, and of course learned so much about the fabulous work Heart to Heart does. Highly recommend a visit when the next child has his/her surgery!  – Message from Ana Eccles, YCIS Parent 

We were told many, many times how incredibly grateful everyone at Heart to Heart is to YCIS – we are one of their biggest sponsors and supporters!  Every surgery we fund saves the life of a child who would not be able to have surgery without our donations.  This changes the lives of the whole family and also the entire village community!  And, I’m not sure everyone is aware, but Heart to Heart is 100% volunteers – no one who works there gets paid!!!  So everything we give goes directly to the families in need.  Truly a remarkable organization – so proud that our YCIS community is able to do so much for them.– Heather Louis, YCIS Parent 

2000 Km Walk in Europe to Raise Awareness for the KIM Philippines Project 

As most of you know I will be walking the 2000 Km “Via Francigena” pilgrimage beginning June 1 from Canterbury Cathedral all the way to the Vatican in Rome which I am aiming to reach by August 10.  I am very pleased that I will be joined for the launch in Canterbury and for the first few days of the walk by Sophie Che from YCIS-CQ, Chris Perks from YCIS-SH, and Karin Jensen from YCIS-HK as well as YCIS-HK alumni Diva Wong.   

I’m doing this adventure to raise awareness for Seeds of Hope as well as solicit donations for our “Common Project” with Kids International Ministries in the Philippines.  All donations received through the page will be given directly to Kids International Ministries

The donation page on “Simply Giving” is live now: https://www.simplygiving.com/seedsofhope   

I look forward to sharing with our students and staff across Yew Chung & Yew Wah the amazing “Seeds of Hope” stories I’m sure to experience on this adventure.  

Stephen M. Hackman, Head of Christian & Community Development Division, Yew Chung Education Foundation 

As you may know, this year as we celebrate the 85th Anniversary of the Yew Chung Education Foundation, the Yew Chung International Schools (YCIS) and Yew Wah International Education Schools (YWIES) have re-branded all of their charity work under the banner of Seeds of Hope (SoH).  SoH is now the overarching charity programme involving the whole school community with the aim to reach out to “love our neighbor as ourselves” and plant “seeds of hope” in a needy world. 

Our YCIS Legacy

Written by: Timothy Gartz, University Guidance  & Janelle Garrett, Lower Secondary Coordinator

This year, amongst our graduating students are several who have been a part of our YCIS Pudong community for many years. To appreciate their journey and the impact YCIS has had on them as well as the impact they have made on our campus we recently held interviews to hear their perspectives and stories.

Interviewees include these Year 13 students who began their journey at YCIS Pudong in year K4: Marcus Tan (Singapore); Y1: Anna Xie (USA); Y5: Elizabeth Robinson (Australia); Y7: Kenneth Tng (Singapore);  Y7: Lorenzo Cavalleri (Italy).

With so many fond memories accumulated over the years at YCIS, it was interesting to hear which ones really stood out. These included Global Child Day over the years; a memorable Abba-inspired performance as they transitioned from Regency Park to Century Park campus; a trip to Tokyo in Year 8 for World Scholars’ Cup with outstanding older students who inspired them; Student Council elections; performing onstage in school musical theatre productions of Godspell or You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; a first stage-kiss in Romeo and Juliet; and several incredible moments on the many YCIS trips over the years from Seeds of Hope service trips to sports and academic competitions to EOTC trips all over China and especially the Year 12 trip to Thailand.

They credit these experiences with shaping who they are today:


“My experience at YCIS so far has been my whole life, so I don’t know anything else. I’ve met great people in this school and developed a passion for art inspiring me to pursue real world applications of design to hopefully make a career out of it.” (Marcus)

“YCIS CP allowed me to get involved in a wide range of activities to become a more balanced person…I would like to continue to be a lifelong learner in a breadth of subjects. I don’t wish  to be narrowed down to one area and plan to study a dual degree combining the Sciences and Arts.” (Libby)

“YCIS has shaped me into a more outspoken and questioning person. The small and inclusive class sizes are able to create the perfect environment for in-depth discussions between teachers and students, be it about curriculum work or international affairs or life.” (Kenneth)

“I learned the importance and value in having strong relationships with teachers and asking help whenever I needed it. I’ve also become a more adept and concise writer, which will help as I study film at NYU.” (Anna)

“YCIS has helped me become a confident public speaker, having the opportunity to speak in front of others for a variety of purposes and audiences has made a big difference.” (Lorenzo)

The legacy the Class of 2018 leaves behind at YCIS extends is well beyond the awards they achieved, the trophies in the display case, the murals they painted on the walls of the corridors, the clubs they founded and shaped, the service projects they led, the traditions they helped establish with different Student Council events, and the leadership they inspired and nurtured in their fellow students.

The kindling power of the relationships forged at YCIS cannot be underestimated and will surely continue to inspire as they go around the world to pursue their dreams.

Senior Class of 2018 Look Aheads to Studies at Top Universities

Written by: Timothy Gartz, University Guidance 

As IB Examinations at Century Park Campus draw to a close, much excitement and joy are felt for this impressive cohort of IB students as they prepare to graduate, heading towards outstanding university opportunities. Led by Head Prefects Lorenzo Cavalleri and Cindy Liu, this group will no doubt leave a lasting impression on Pudong Campus. Several have been with us since commencing in ECE, with all growing into students who have fully embraced the academic, extra-curricular and leadership opportunities offered at YCIS. Importantly, they have truly become caring and critical ‘thinkers’ actively promoting, and educating their peers on the attributes of the IB Learner Profile, and modelling ‘global citizenship’.


Embracing the wide array of learning opportunities at YCIS has led to impressive university offers. With a class of 14 graduates, these offers already extend to 6 countries across the globe even while a few of these students have yet to apply or receive offers due to later application deadlines to Singapore and Australia. Impressive, our Year 13 graduates are averaging more than 5 offers per student and include some of the very best universities listed in US News and World Report, The Times Higher Education World University Rankings and The Russell Group such as: Science Po in France and The University of Durham, King’s College (2), University College London (2), and University of Warwick (3) in the UK. In North America: The George Washington University, Sarah Lawrence College, University of Rochester, University of California Santa Barbara, and New York University in the USA and McGill University (3), University of British Columbia, and University of Toronto (5) in Canada.


Closer to home, students have earned acceptances to Hong Kong University (2), HKUST, and Hong Kong Polytechnic and in Japan: Keio, Sophia University (2) and Waseda University (2) to name a few. Because of the caliber of our students, several have earned prestigious scholarship awards that offset some of the tuition and costs of higher education. Within this cohort, we have potential Scientists and Chemical Engineers, Computer Technicians, Artists, Veterinarians, Philosophers, Economists, Business Managers, one who is interested in Film Studies and another with so much talent she remains undecided. Working closely with them, we see their futures bright with limitless potential. We congratulate our Senior Class on their outstanding achievements in academics and for the way they have led our school this year in service, extra-curricular activities, sports, and in a powerful demonstration of friendship. Your impact and legacy has been and will remain extra-ordinary. Congratulations YCIS Pudong Class of 2018!

Arnav Patel and His Love of Minecraft

Written by: Andrea Griego, Primary Student Support Coordinator

Arnav Patel is a Y9 student who started at YCIS in K3. His love of learning and gaming has finally come together and the primary students are receiving the benefits through the Minecraft CCA. Because his CCA has been so successful, he was asked to be a student presenter at the ACAMIS Spring Conference in Macau this last March to tell teachers and school leaders how he got started and what he’s learned. Read more about Arnav’s journey leading the Minecraft CCA below.

When and how did you become interested in Minecraft?

My interest started when I was about 8. Minecraft was very different to most games that kids of my age were playing, and I decided to give this new game a try. Eventually my entire friend group got into it too, and that was how I came to love playing.

Why did you want to extend your learning and experiences with Minecraft to Primary YCIS students?

It initially started with me wanting to earn CAS hours in a different way than just participating in a bake sale or charity drive. I wanted to do something that was both interesting and allowed me to learn something new. I decided to do this by starting a CCA for Primary kids, I thought it would be something that the kids could both enjoy and learn from.

How did you get your CCA started?

Even before the first class, I had to make detailed lesson plans for each session. This involved a lot of planning and time to set up my Minecraft world. To plan, I followed the UBD Atlas planning template that professional educators use. It really gave me an inside view of what it’s like to be a teacher.

At the beginning, it was pretty hard to get the CCA started, but after a while I managed to get the hang of it. I learnt to just keep it short and simple. The students would sit on the carpet, I would give a quick introduction of what we needed to do and my expectations of the task. Then it was off to the computers to play.

What have you learned about younger children through the CCA? About yourself?

Younger children can, of course, be quite emotional and get mad at each other or the game easily, and sometimes even start crying. I remember there was a time one student nearly started crying because she didn’t find the right colour for building her house. I learnt that the students can be really creative and can do things that I would never think them able to do. A team of students came up and showed me what they were working on and I was amazed. It was an entire castle with dozens of rooms and watch towers, all built by nine students working together. Students’ leadership and cooperation skills really shine doing activities like this. I also learnt that I could be quite patient while teaching and it was a lot of fun too.

Can you tell about one experience or interaction that surprised you and why?

One time a Y2 student was building her house and she wanted to make a bathtub in her house, but in the game, there are no such things as a bathtub. I explained this and told her maybe she would want to do something else. But she was adamant on making a bathtub so I said she could try making one out of the materials that she had. Fifteen minutes later she came to me saying she wanted to show me something. She had managed to create her bathtub using staircases; fences and blocks. I was amazed on how resourceful the students can be.

How will you apply what you have learned during the CCA to future experiences or opportunities?

Running this activity has helped me develop many real-life skills. I’ve learnt to manage my time responsibly. I’ve learnt to troubleshoot and be flexible and resilient as I’ve encountered times when students can’t log in or their computer isn’t working. I’ve also learnt leadership skills instructing twenty students in a classroom.

Staff Focus: Anita Dai, Primary Art Teacher

Written by: Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

Have you ever been a fan of a rock star or a football player? Have you ever admired a person so much that you would like to show your best to please him or her?

As for me, the more I am impressed by a person, the higher the pressure I feel to make a great impression on this person. Therefore, in this case, writing this article about Ms Anita has been extremely challenging, because she is not only an amazing teacher who knows how to inspire students and engage them in their learning in art, but she is also such a helpful, modest colleague and a well-rounded person. In addition, she really cares about the environment and tries to make a difference for our planet. Let’s meet Ms Anita Dai, our Primary Art Teacher!

Anita, it is such a pleasure to be able to interview you!

You have been present everywhere through your work for the Winter Concert and Year 5-Year 6 Spring Musical sets, the wonderful Primary Art Show during the Student Led Conferences and now Environment week! How do you juggle so many different tasks and responsibilities?

Roseline, you always praise me so much, it’s embarrassing!

First of all, you know that I don’t do all of this by myself, right? I have fantastic helpers, including many of our great YCIS parents who devote their precious time to helping with special projects. For the rest, well, if there’s a project to do, I just do it. I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact, I feel like all I ever do is work or think about work. With so much to do, I really need to stay focused.  Just like I say to my Running Club CCA students, willpower is a muscle that you need to exercise and train regularly. Even when you are tired and you think you cannot make it anymore, if you have that mental willpower, you will just make your body finish the run.

Oh, wow! I forgot you were also doing that. You are involved in so many different projects at school and outside of school, professionally and personally. I know you will tell me that you work with the amazing Amy Chu and that you receive the support of all the incredible parent volunteers…but you are also such an amazing teacher, a talented professional, and a great parent for your two sons. You teach, you paint, you run, you sing. I mean…how do you do all of that? And especially, how do you look so relaxed and happy all the time.

Roseline, you are so funny. You make me sound like I’m some sort of superhero (laughs). Well, I have been reading all your Staff Focus articles in the newsletter. So, I know what you might be looking for. Let me share with you my story. You will see that I am just a normal person.

I was born in Taiwan but I grew up in the USA. I am from Maryland. I come from a modest family and I was the youngest of three children in the family. My grandmother was a Chinese painter and teacher. So, I was painting even before I could write my name. Let me rephrase. I was painting, but not well. This, I need to emphasize.

So, you haven’t always been an artist?

Well, not really. Actually, compared to my two older sisters, I was kind of the black sheep of the family. I was just the wild child with different ideas. Family and friends would make fun of me, especially when they were comparing me to my sisters who excelled at everything they did. They were great musicians, perfect students. They could also draw and paint so precisely, while I’d be making a total mess on my papers.

So, how have you become an artist?

Actually, my mom was my best supporter. I wonder now if I really showed promise as an artist or if she just praised me to counteract the negative effects of what I heard others say about me.  When I was little, we couldn’t afford many toys, so my mom set up an art table for me and let me paint and colour right in the living room. Also, instead of focusing on my sisters’ ability to colour inside the lines, she praised me for choosing strange and unusual colours and never told me I needed to stay inside the lines.

How did you come up with your ideas for the beautiful presentation of everything, especially the cupcakes display that highlighted the student artwork so well?

This is a process. When I am making preparations for the Art Show, I spend a lot of time thinking and planning out every section.  I think about it when I bike to and from school. I think about it when I go for runs. I think about it when I’m sleeping. I talk to Amy (my assistant) or Federica (supply Art teacher) about it. Then they think about it all the time too!

Just like I tell my students about doing Art, it is truly a process of trial and error. Taking the cupcakes display as an example, what I did was to take all the random pieces of trash I had in my storage and set them all out on a big table. I had coffee tins, egg crates, yarn, fabric, cardboard, empty plastic containers, foamboard . . . I tried combining a lot of different things to see what worked and what didn’t look quite right. Actually, before I ended up with the final version you saw at the show, I had spent a long time trying out about 10 different versions that I later dismantled. The perfect combination of shape, color and texture is never something that can be conjured out of thin air.

The week before, you were busy setting up the backdrop for the Spring Musical, and the very next week you had one day to set-up the Primary Art Show! How do you do everything with such attention to detail?

None of this would have been possible without the help of my assistant, Amy Chu. Also, I owe a big debt to the amazing parent volunteers at YCIS who had been working for over a month to help mount the student artwork.

When did you arrive in Shanghai? What made you go to Shanghai?

Back in 1999, I followed Iain, my husband, here as a trailing spouse. The contract was for 1.5 years in Beijing. Obviously, things worked out differently from what we imagined . . .

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to spend time with my family. We all like similar things: reading, running, rock-climbing. On weekends and holidays, we like to go hiking, swimming, and rock climbing. As much as possible, we like to be outdoors doing active things such as stand-up paddle boarding, back-packing, white-water rafting and anything else thrilling.

When did you join YCIS and what brought you to YCIS?

I joined YCIS in 2008, and at first, I worked as a long-term supply teacher in a Y1 class.  When my older son, Zeke, was ready for Y1, I had the opportunity to join YCIS as a part-time Art teacher. A few years ago, I decided to go full-time.  Happily, I have been able to teach Art to both my sons.

Oh yes, what is your education background actually and what were you doing before?

Well, let me just say that, much as my parents anticipated, if you study Art in college, you might end up selling ice cream when you graduate.  I also have a MA in Chinese literature. Sold smoothies after that degree. Finally, I had some sense and studied Special Education.  Unfortunately, the day after I graduated with that MA degree, I boarded a plane to follow my husband to Beijing. Thus, I have never really worked as a teacher in the US. I did teach at both ISB and SAS, but by far, my favourite school is YCIS.

What do you like about YCIS?

I love the school community.  Expat families choose this school because they’ve made an active decision to make their children global citizens.  The Chinese language teachers and co-teaching system is the main reason I chose to send my boys here, but since working here, I’ve discovered that there’s even more to like about YCIS. The teachers work so hard and really care about each individual student. The administration is so supportive and the children are happy, well-behaved and enthusiastic.

Last question! What advice would you like to share with parents?

I’m always worried about parents’ tendency to focus on the end product. In my mind, what really counts is the process through which the students go while they are creating a piece of art. Usually, when someone only sees the end product, they don’t understand what learning went into it.

Yes, I totally know what you mean (giggle). It’s like me last year when during Parent Teacher Interview you told me about how special my daughter’s drawing was, while I had just been focusing on the fact that it was not finished yet and I was comparing it with the more finished-looking works of other students.

One thing that really sticks in my mind about how you inspire all those around you comes from one of your students during Art class:

 “This is the best mistake I have ever made. I hope that I will be able to make more mistakes like this!”

In art class, students are not provided with erasers. There is no one right answer when making Art. What we perceive as mistakes are simply opportunities to practice the problem-solving process and explore different possibilities.

Thank you so much again for all your time and talent!

Million Tree Project

Written by/Contributed by: Costanza  Rheanna, Oliver, Max, Cindy and Leo (Year 12 students)

Fight climate change and stop deforestation by planting oxygen-producing trees!   This describes the Million Tree Project which YCIS has supported for many years.  This article , written by a group of Year 12 boys and girls, recounts their amazing experiences during the four days they spent planting trees in Tongliao, Inner Mongolia.

Day 1: We flew from Pudong Airport at 8.00am and after landing in Shenyang Airport we met up with all the students from other schools for the first time and took the bus to our hotel in Tongliao, a four-hour journey. At the hotel we were welcomed with dinner and a show. We were treated to lots of traditional Mongolian food, with local musicians playing in the background. We ended dinner by taking part in a local ritual as a sort of ‘welcoming’ for us as guests. After dinner, tired from our long journey we decided to call it a night and headed back up to our rooms.

Day 2: There was snow everywhere and the temperature was -2C; great start to the day! After a nice hot breakfast and a 2 hours ride by bus, we found ourselves in the desert. We spent an hour and a half walking in the desert and experienced the harsh conditions first hand…. very tough! After that, it was lunch at a local restaurant where we again ate traditional food. This was followed by a talk on deforestation and the importance of planting trees to stop soil erosion. We werethen off to visit last year’s planting sites. When we got there, everyone was given tools to trim branches off the young trees. All of us worked very hard and the task was completed in no time. It was then back to the hotel for a well-earned rest. During dinner we had a great time talking and laughing with the boys and girls from the other schools. By 9.00pm we were ready for a good night sleep.

Day 3:It was a nice sunny day, and we were all eager to get going on planting trees. By midday, we managed to plant 250 trees and by the end of the day we were up to 480 trees. It was amazing how much we managed to get done in those few hours and how much of an impact we made.

Day 4: Departure day. Sadly, it was time to say goodbye and go back home. We had four brief yet exciting days, where we did made a contribution towards the environment and have gained a fuller understanding of what the million-tree project is about.

A Student’s Perspective on the Year 5&6 Musical: “Superstar”

Written by: Julia Shih (Year 6C student)

When our Music teacher, Ms. Skingley walked into our classroom one morning, I could tell that there was a new bounce in her stride. Then she told us: auditions for the Spring Musical were nearing; anyone interested in trying out follow her outside the classroom. A low murmur broke out through the class. Slowly, I pushed in my chair and, along with some other kids, went to go join my teacher outside.

Leading up to auditions was and is scarier than actually performing. Walking into the audition, I shared a nervous but excited air with the rest of the to-be cast. We played some games, and shortly began the auditions. We read parts of the script aloud, each speaking as the character we were trying out for. Tryouts flew by like the wind on a chilly winter day, which described the weather as we left school then, the wind in our faces.

Time slowed, however, in the weeks before Christmas; every last one of us was desperate to know if we ‘got the part’. One lunchtime during our rehearsals for the Christmas Concert, the Director, Ms. Livermore, called us together. As the list of roles was announced, each was followed by numerous squeals and groans. When my name was called, I sighed with relief.

Christmas came and went. Each rehearsal seemed more intense than the last, each more exciting. Being on stage gave me a leaping feeling inside, and the show was really starting to come together. I just didn’t realize how soon I would be on stage, performing.

Before I knew it, I was already sitting in a chair, in costume, makeup being applied to my face. Our first show was starting in one hour. We walked single file, heading towards backstage, and for the first time, my smile faltered. Would everything go smoothly?

Just then, the houselights dimmed. An overture began. And just then, I smiled, restraining myself from peeking out onto the stage. In the blink of an eye, the show was over, and the cast was assembled on stage, singing the last chorus, a sea of colors and people. I couldn’t stop smiling; no one could. And the lights were extinguished.

That was my experience of the Spring Musical, Superstan.

Year 8 and K4 English Project

Written by: Julie Greenall, Secondary English Teacher and Veronica Martin, ECE Coordinator

The K4 students were very excited to recently host the Year 8s for an afternoon of reading together. The Secondary students are interested in Project Based Learning, the idea being that the students work together to produce something that not only builds their English skills, but also focuses on 21st century skills, such as working as a team, effective communication, problem-solving etc. The ideal scenario is that the final product is trialed in a real-life situation. So our Year 8 students had to work together to decide what sort of story would interest a K4 child, research the kind of language that they would enjoy in a story, think of ways to illustrate it, write and re-write it. They had to focus on writing for this particular audience and make sure it was entertaining.

The trip to K4 was not only to see if they’d been successful, but also to develop their communication skills. The project also involved writing an email to the ECE Coordinators, building formal writing skills, as well as writing an imaginary blog post giving advice about writing for young children. The next step is reflection, with an emphasis on What Went Well and Even Better If. We’ll also be focusing on the Learner Profile to see what 21 Century skills they’ve built on.

It was nerve-wracking for the Secondary students to read their stories to the K4s. They were very nervous and at first they held back a little and were shy. However, after a while they relaxed with the K4s students and everyone had an afternoon of bonding over stories. The bus back from RP was full of chat about the different children they’d met, and the K4s were all very eager to share their experience with the Secondary students with their families. Coming together as a community of learners is something that is important at YCIS and something our younger and more experienced learners will always remember fondly.