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.

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.

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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!


Let it snow!

What a surprise!  Early November snow brought sensory delight to our students (and staff) this week!  It was wonderful to watch from my window all morning, as teachers invited children to use their senses to observe the seasonal change, inciting awe and wonder at our natural world.  It was especially apt for our Pre-K class, as they trudged through a real snow storm, straight from the pages of their favourite book, Going on a Bear Hunt.  Seasons and weather cycles offer authentic opportunities to observe, question, research and learn, for students of all ages.


The Curiosity Curriculum

DSC04037Children are innately curious! From birth, they watch, listen, taste and touch the world around them. As oral language develops, toddlers ask up to 300 questions per day.

At BISS, we capitalise on curiosity by keeping questions at the centre of our curriculum. Children stay motivated as their own wonderings drive personally relevant learning at school.


In each Unit of Inquiry, students’ questions direct the teacher’s preparation of resources, content and experiences. The teacher guides skill development and broader conceptual understanding; however, children retain great control over the direction, depth and diversity of content they explore.

Read more about the curiosity explosion in Grade 3 this week!

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While you were gone…

BISS teachers spent the whole day learning!


Dylan Wiliam is a leading researcher and author in education. His current world tour started today, right here at BISS! 125 teachers gathered to listen, learn, discuss and reflect on how to become better teachers for our students.

Dylan Wiliam explored the challenges of educating students for an unknown future. He focused particularly on the power of formative assessment to improve teaching (and student achievement), through engagement and responsiveness.

Read on to see Ms O’Dwyer’s highlights from a BIG day of thinking.
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Happy Teachers’ Day!

… to the team of talented BISS teachers!

IMG_7676Every teacher is dedicated to wellbeing and academic success . BISS teachers view every child as a capable, unique person and build relationships of trust & empowerment. They spend their days questioning, supporting and extending students’ thinking. They spend nights/weekends planning, reflecting and growing as professionals.

Today, BISS students delivered handmade, personalised cards. The children’s words expressed a great awareness of and appreciation for their teachers’ work. Thanks to Li Laoshi & Wu Laoshi for bringing this beautiful Chinese tradition to BISS!