Planning in the PYP

This Saturday, teachers came to school for a whole day of thinking, working and learning together! Our focus was Mathematics, as we planned Number and Pattern inquiries to be taught developmentally across the school.

IMG_5271We drew on research from all around the world to consider how the foundations of number, place value, operations (+, -. x, /), fractions and patterns can best be introduced, explored and extended on a continuum from Pre-K to Grade 5.  Most of this learning will occur outside our Programme of Inquiry, in the form of stand-alone math units. We spent a lot of time planning rich provocations, assessments and questions to ensure conceptual understanding and fluency of skill are achieved by our students.


Huge thanks to Ms Lara, our ES Mathematics Coordinator, who has led this curriculum development cycle, with extensive research, planning and coaching, over a period of 2 years. We are proud of the strong foundational Mathematics programme at BISS.

The Power of Small Schools

IMG_2381When you arrive at BISS, the sense of community is palpable.

Near the front gate, 5-year-old girls play an invented game of tag, trust and fantasy with 11-year-old boys.

Across the school, buddy language sessions allow children to work with older students who share the same mother tongue. In their dominant language, students delve into literature, work on projects and share discoveries.

Read on for more examples of cross-age learning!
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Student-teacher Relationships

Look at the connection between Mrs Baker and this young learner! At BISS, students form close, trusting bonds with their teachers, from PreK through to Grade 12.

When these strong connections are established, students feel safe to express their personalities, develop language, ask questions, take risks, make mistakes… and ultimately, achieve at their full potential.

BISS Stock 2016-56

Jacqueline Harvey asks for ideas!

IMG_6622Jacqueline Harvey is working hard on her new book about Alice-Miranda in China. She is home in Australia doing lots of thinking, planning, writing and re-writing sections of the story.

And now…she needs some help!

Jacqueline Harvey would like to ask BISS students to be her consultants.

That means, she wants your ideas, to help her make decisions for the story.


Jacqueline Harvey says:  I’ve been writing about a Chinese family with the surname Wang. There’s a grandma, a grandpa, an eldest son and a youngest son (and the sons’ wives). They are a very good family, except one of the wives might be a baddie! The family owns an amazing Acrobatic Troupe in Beijing. In the story, they are going to sell the Acrobatic Troupe and use the money to open a school, just like BISS! The school will be called The Bright Star Academy.


  1.  Can you help me think of a fantastic name for the Acrobatic Troupe?  It can’t be The Beijing Acrobats. It has to be more exciting.  Can you think of a name that has something to do with stars? Are there any English or Chinese words that have a meaning related to stars? Can you suggest a name for the acrobatic troupe?

2. Do you have an Ayi? One of the children in my story will have an Ayi. Can you tell me how your Ayi helps you and your family?  What kind of relationship do you have with your Ayi?

If you’d like to give Jacqueline Harvey some ideas, please leave a reply.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year新年快乐!

We wish our whole community a happy, healthy, prosperous Year of the Monkey!

We’ve had a wonderful week of celebration, with early morning drumming, an exciting Temple Fair, and assemblies filled with dancing and drama.

We look forward to welcoming all students back to school on 15th February.

Crime Scene Investigation Beijing

IMG_22421 crime. 4 suspects. 24 diligent detectives.

This is the case of the missing gingerbread men.

Last week, Grade 2 was outraged to discover that their baking had been stolen.

The thief left a footprint and carelessly dropped a few items, such as a scarf, coins and glasses. Clearly, the thief was in a hurry to flee the scene!  Grade 2 quickly went to work. They photographed and bagged each piece of evidence, wrote detailed descriptions and inferred meaning from each clue.

For example, from one footprint, Kurtley inferred that the thief was an adult (after measuring the print’s length and width, and comparing it to her peers’ shoes), estimated the time of the crime (based on the dampness of the print), and made an informed prediction about the type of shoe and likely gender of its owner (based on the shape of the sole).

Read on to find out who committed the crime, how it was solved and most importantly…WHY all this drama is so powerful in education!
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Celebration of Dance

The Decades of Dance Assembly took BISS on a trip through history last week!

Each elementary class used iconic music and movements to represent one decade from the 1960s to the present day. Michael Jackson, Elvis and Beyonce all made appearances, much to the audience’s delight!

During this PE inquiry, students learned about key elements of dance styles, as well as skills of planning, sequencing and timing. Balance, rhythm, confidence and collaboration were evident in each performance.

Thanks Mr T., Mr Leo and all the BISS dancers for a highly entertaining morning of movement! (Stay tuned to the PE Blog for videos and reflections.)

Decades of Dance