Category Archives: Information

Davos and Student Led Conferences

Yay! Davos! Yay! 7:00 in the morning! Yay…er…ya…um…YAY! Small price to pay for world class skiing and bonding time. Check the Grade 5 blog for more details about the trip.

Also, Student Led Conferences are coming up. You’ll receive more information about that important day later, but for now, we just need to think scheduling. Please indicate your preference at this link.

Thanks! See you bright and early!

Twin Day was a Success

And of course, what would a sunny Friday be without our favorite song from Frozen?

Good Deed for the Day

Many people know of the partnership between ZIS and the Bosomtwe Community School in Ghana, but few people understand just how much Ibrahim Oubda, our beloved PE teacher, does for the school. Every construction project, teacher salaries, materials, etc., are in some way funded by Ibi, usually directly from his own pocket. This morning, we were honored to help Ibi load a shipping container with donations from the ZIS community. In the video, you’ll see our students loading donations around and within a truck, one of several that Ibi has purchased and sent back to Ghana for the benefit of the BCS community. Good way to start the day!

Sleepy Start

Lots of yawning this morning…and unconsciousness.

Happy New Year, everyone! We will get back into the routine…eventually.


How the World Works

Big bold title, huh? That’s the theme for our next unit which will focus on electricity. What is electricity? How does it work? In groups, students came up with a presentation to share their thoughts on those two questions. While they were preparing, I asked a few groups about a set of wires and some connectors and a battery and a light bulb – why doesn’t it work? Interesting to see what the kids already know about circuits without knowing that they know what they know. 🙂

Food Documentary Contest


Mrs. Sikora’s class is hosting the next edition. What’s the theme? Food! We have been talking about sustainability issues related to food, local food, food miles, how food is produced and distributed, and the future of food. All terribly interesting stuff. But what has really stuck with the students? What is really important to your child? As they plan for their documentary, students should ask, “What has stood out to me in our discussions of food? What does food mean to my family? Has my attitude toward food changed? What does sustainability actually mean?”

Parents, please ask your child about his/her ideas. Feel free to make suggestions and offer your video-recording services. More details below.

food awards


Possible ideas: (We have discussed these and others in class…any others? Great opportunity for our videographers and food advocates to be creative!)

  • Document your family’s food culture – good opportunity with upcoming holidays.
  • Analyze our school’s food practices, kids’ eating habits, how much food is wasted, etc. – put together a provocative video to inspire change.
  • Make a video of you cooking with local ingredients in the style of a famous chef (I love Gordon Ramsey’s brief clips…lots of angles and different shots…hilarious, dramatic voice over)
  • Conduct further research on one of the many topics we’ve discussed, come up with an entertaining way to inform and inspire others through video.
  • Visit a local farm, interview the farmer…or buy food from the farmer, go home and cook it, and enjoy a family meal…document the whole process.

Sharing the Planet

As we finish up group and individual projects, mostly focusing on digital citizenship and cyber-bullying, for our “How We Organize Ourselves” unit, we are also inquiring into food, finite resources, and sustainability as we move into “Sharing the Planet.”

This is a huge topic, one that started a few years ago as our focus for Grade 5 Exhibition. And those who watched the video from last week of our students sharing their understanding of these and other issues, surely noticed a limited understanding of food – a seemingly simple topic. Definitely something we take for granted, and children are not the only ones with little to no understanding of the implications our food production/distribution practices have on the environment, humans, and systems.

So we need your help!

Family discussions will be crucial during this unit, more so than usual. We all eat differently, and we all have our personal beliefs about food. My request is that you simply talk about these beliefs, the norms and rituals that have developed for your family, while simultaneously asking bigger questions, “Where does this food come from?” and “Why do we buy certain kinds of food?”

A good family discussion might result from taking this “Food Quiz” as a family. The questions are challenging, as we discovered when we did the first three as a class, and they’re from a U.S. perspective, but they’re important questions, ones that raise some interesting points and reveal common misconceptions. I urge you to take this quiz and then leave a comment for this post summarizing the resulting conversations. And for all those grandparents and various relatives out there, as always, feel free to leave your own comments and opinions.

One of the main goals of this unit is to develop the idea of being a “systems thinker”. I hope that the students start to understand that complex systems – nature, food, sustainability, water, etc. – can be affected by the decisions and behaviors of humans. Being a systems thinker involves keeping track of some important elements/concepts:

  • Seeing the big picture – stepping back and seeing how things work together
  • Change – realizing that issues change over time
  • Connection & Causation – seeing that each decision is connected to something else
  • Perspective – realizing that different people have their own feelings about issues

Hopefully through discussions happening at school and at home, the students will see that decisions are rarely “black and white”, that we need to consider various perspectives and potential results of our actions, and we need to be informed in order to make the most appropriate choices. And while action is important, we’re not expecting 10 and 11 years old children to change the world. Understanding, as always, is key. What the kids do with that understanding is up to them. This funny video portrays that point in an entertaining way, that decisions and choice can be more effective than life-altering, impossible actions.