We Learn, therefore WeChat

wechat_official_logoIt has been exciting to watch the evolution of WeChat as a tool for communication and community-building at BISS this year. WeChat is a social networking app used by over 650 million people in China, with 1.1 billion active accounts.

Thanks to dedicated Class Parents, who initially set up, moderated and posted content, BISS now has 7 thriving grade level communities. (And more! WeChat is also used extensively by the Athletics Department, the PTA, and many students in informal social & academic groups.)

In the Elementary School, the power of instant translation, just-in-time reminders and media sharing has strengthened our sense of belonging and connection within class communities.

Teachers have enriched the experience, by posting photos and videos throughout the day, creating a real-time window into life at BISS. The separation between home and school is ever diminishing, as parents gain insight into inquiry learning, appreciate joyous moments, see discoveries happen, and understand their child’s day-to-day experiences.

Read on to find out what happened next!
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Student-Led Conferences


Peek into Grade 1A! Photo credit: Annie Madigan

This week, we marvelled at reflection, responsibility and independence, as teachers sat back, parents leaned in, and children took charge of assessment in the PYP!

With parents in tow, students from Pre-K to Grade 5 conducted conferences about their growth as learners. They shared  portfolios, as well as authentic inquiry experiences from daily life at school. Math investigations, writing activities, coding, blogging and even drumming ensued. BISS was buzzing with proud children sharing what it means to be an ever-improving learner.

Thank you, parents, for listening, asking questions, and affirming your child’s reflections. We hope you gained insight into their developing knowledge, understandings, skills and attitudes.Thank you, BISS teachers, for facilitating such a successful day of reflection.

School closed? Learning is OPEN!

Last week, I wrote about the power of digital communities at BISS.  And yet, I did not envisage how important these could be!  Just days later, Beijing schools encountered temporary closure, which was sad for students, teachers and parents alike.

learning is openBut, at BISS, learning, communication and connection kept our community thriving!

For 3 days, our devices did not stop buzzing. With great delight, we watched WeChat groups, class blogs and student blogs come alive with text, audio, images and videos of BISS students communicating their learning.

We saw children work on puppet shows, patterns, writing, reading, building, counting, cooking, dancing, research and more! Their minds were active and engaged.

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Parent-Teacher Partnership

IMG_1079Thank you to all parents who attended Parent-Teacher Conferences last week. Across the school, BISS parents were deep in conversation with teachers about our highest priority: student learning.


Teachers were thrilled to celebrate progress, answer questions and share information about each student’s strengths, needs and goals. There were nods, smiles, tears and laughter, as parents realised just how well BISS teachers know and care for, their child.

Thank you, parents, for reading the Progress Report, sharing information and asking insightful questions. We are proud of our students and thrilled to have dedicated parents supporting our practice. Please feel free to make additional meetings without your child’s teachers as the semester continues. We love talking about learning!


Math teachers come in all sizes!

mathLast week, Ms Lara Ronalds and 40 parents discussed ways to recognise, talk about & investigate Mathematics in daily life, through counting, cooking, shopping, travelling and budgeting.

Suddenly…a team of mini-teachers arrived!  BISS students from Kinder to Gr 5 took charge of the workshop. They taught games to play at home, using counters, dice, cards and strategic, mathematical thinking.

Thank you, Ms Lara!  Thank you, student teachers!

It was a great morning of learning for us all!