NIS News and Notes (Oct. 1, 2017)
Posted 09/30/2017 08:36PM


What does it mean to collaborate?

We know that in order for kids to learn to read, write, add up and subtract, swim, paint or speak a language we can’t just ‘assign’ them work to do. We actually have to ‘teach’ them how to learn these things. There is a huge difference between simply ‘assigning work’ and actively teaching the skills, knowledge and concepts essential for students to be successful.

However, there are some areas of the curriculum which schools have traditionally ‘assumed’ without actually ‘teaching’. One of these is in the area of collaboration. We have often ‘assigned’ group work and expected children to be able to ‘collaborate’ without unpacking that into the skills necessary to be successful. This is why a large number of NIS teachers have spent the past two weekends learning from international expert Margaret Maclean various tools and protocols to help develop in students - and adults (!) - the skills of collaboration. Active listening, sharing ‘air time’, pausing and probing, synthesizing, paraphrasing - essential skills to energize truly collaborative learners at NIS. I know parents will want to join me in thanking these staff for giving up their weekends to invest in professional learning in support of our NIS students.

- Matthew Parr, Head of School, NIS


Living the Mission Day and the Action Expo (Oct 4)
Twice a year on “Community Learning Day”, the NIS campus is given over to a whole school student-driven initiative. This year’s first event is Living the Mission Day and the Action Expo, proposed and led by a Grade 11 student. Working through the theme “Inquire-Inspire-Impact”, students will be preparing exhibition stalls designed to increase awareness about the service-learning projects that they are involved in. The library, gym and hallways will be taken over by students sharing their knowledge, inspiring each other, and instigating positive change. Try asking your child what connections they have made. Hopefully, you will find that they feel a connection to our School Mission, and that they have real agency in the world.

Obliteration Room (Oct 4-13)
The ELC Kindergarten students have been exploring the artwork of Yayoi Kusama. They became interested in her 'Obliteration Rooms' and spent many days trying to understand how the dots were added to the white rooms. The students experimented with many techniques, and after experimenting and careful study of several photographs, they realized that the dots were stickers. They have decided that we should all create our own NIS Obliteration Room and so we invite you to visit our art installation to help us cover the walls and furniture in sticker dots. The NIS Obliteration Room will be set up in the Raymond building lobby along with a display showing the children's experiments and thought process. Please visit any time between Oct 4-13.

Parent Tea (Oct 6)
Luci Willis, Director of Learning, will host the next “Parent Tea” (Fri., Oct 6, 9:00 am) titled “What does learning mean to you?”. Please join us for a chat and some tea!

PTA Lunch (Oct 6)
The PTA will have a “Restaurant Hunt Lunch” at An Viet for a Vietnamese lunch from 11:30-1:30 on Friday Oct 6. RSVP and lunch set selection is required. See the PTA FB page for sign-up or click HERE (requires creating a free account to sign-up on “Sign-Up Genius”).

Parking Notice (Oct 7)
There is NO PARKING available on Saturday, Oct 7 at NIS. Shidami Yochien Preschool will use BOTH of our parking lots from early Saturday morning for most of the day as they have their Sports Day. Parents bringing SAT test-takers will not be able to park and students need to be dropped off and picked-up without parking. Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding as we help Shidami Preschool with their event overflow parking.

Kidzuna Event – “Fun Palaces” (Oct 8, 2-4 pm)
The first Kidzuna Community Connection event this year is next Sunday, Oct. 8. Kidzuna is an event for NIS to welcome students from outside the NIS community to come into NIS, interact with our students, and hopefully strengthen our connection between our school community and the local Japanese community.  A number of NIS students have expressed an interest in helping at this event on Sunday, but we can always welcome more volunteers, so if your child is interested in attending as a volunteer helper, please contact:  Please make contact if you are interested in helping, rather than just turn up on the day. Thank you!

Sports Day (Oct 9)
Primary Sports Day will he held on Monday October 9th. Students will spend the day participating in various events on the sports field. Parents are welcome to come along and enjoy the day! Information will be sent home regarding the specific color that your son or daughter should wear on that day to show off their school spirit! Parking will be available at the Shidami Yochien Preschool.

PTA Clothing Swap (Oct 11)
Join us for this fun event on Oct. 11 (9:30-1:30 at the PTA center) before shopping for your fall/winter clothes! Please bring gently used items (Kids or Women's clothes, accessories, books and toys that are in good condition) for exchanging. You can drop off items beginning Tuesday morning (Oct 10) where there will be a donation box outside the PTA Center, or you can bring your items between 2:30-4:00.

Gr. 3-5 Original Musical “Creature Council” (Oct 12, 6 pm)
Students in Gr. 3-5 have been busy preparing for their performance of “Creature Council”, an original NIS Musical! This musical involves all students from grades 3-5; students in grades 1-2 are not involved as their Arts Night will be later in the semester. Childcare (from 3:30-5:00) will be available at a cost of ¥500, and a small dinner can also be provided for an additional ¥500. (Payable to the office by Oct 6). Students must register for childcare and dinner HERE ( Due to limited space, each family will receive one ticket this week; one additional ticket, distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis up to a maximum of 65 additional seats, can be obtained using the same link. There will be a daytime dress rehearsal at 8:40 on Oct 12 as well, during which all younger students will be able to see the performance. Parents are also invited to this performance, and tickets are not needed.

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