As a THIS tradition, the first two weeks of each school year are purposely designed to help students adjust to school, bond with classmates and staff, and acquire essential learning skills that will increase productivity. Textbooks are not assigned and little homework is given.
THIS believes strongly in a collaborative environment. The close community that THIS creates for its students and staff greatly affects students’ social-emotional development and academic performance. And with on-going COVID-19, these community-building weeks were more important than ever. Students needed time to reorient themselves to on-campus learning as well as time to re-acquaint themselves with their classmates and teachers.
Community Building Highlight
How Did We Do This?
Secondary School Math Teacher
In Algebra 2, Advanced Algebra 2 and Algebra 2 Trig, the students worked on a community week “Get to Know You” project. Each student designed their own “I Can’t Imagine a World Without…” poster. Once completed, the posters were shown and the students tried to guess which one of their peers made the poster. Afterwards, the designer would speak about a few things they could not live without. It was a fun and different way to get to know each other and the teacher!
Secondary School Chinese Teacher
“Attentive listening” is one of the agreements of THIS “Tribes learning.”. In Grade 7 Chinese classes, we helped students recognize and learn the ways and meaning of “listening” through spelling and decoding traditional Chinese characters. Students wrote in their class reflection journals the following sentences: “Today’s Chinese class taught me how to listen, not just with ears, but also the importance of having eye contact with the speaker, and listen wholeheartedly.” “When you are listening, your mind should move with your eyes; when you are not looking, you are not thinking about what the other person is saying; and vice versa. ” “Being a good listener is a valuable quality, a respect for the speaker, and a reflection of one’s own quality and manners.”
Secondary School English Teacher
My Secondary English students, in addition to a variety of “get to know each other and our class” activities, worked together in cooperative groups to develop a class “Code of Honor” or guidelines that will ensure a safe learning environment for all. The students researched and explored a number of renowned sources of moral thought from Kohlberg’s stages of moral development to Aristotle’s Golden Mean and created products such as a detailed proposal, a PowerPoint presentation and a poster. I was very impressed with the sophistication with which THIS students delved into this complicated subject as well as the group presentations.
Eastern Art teacher
Students from Fuzhong Campus and DL campus both participated in the activity of painting traditional Chinese style bamboo with ink. Our little artists learned about how to draw bamboo leaves and practiced within groups of 4-6 people, and each group made a bamboo drawing. In the end, students shared their artwork and collaboration experience in front of the class. Look how awesome their artwork is!
G7 Dual Program Homeroom Teacher
Last week the students in my class made origami Kawasaki roses together. At first, the boys were not interested in origami at very first and had clumsy hands. However, the girls in class were exceptionally good at paper folding. They designed the activity, purchased origami paper, wrote out step by step instructions to show their classmates, and taught their boy classmates one by one. Gradually as the boys witnessed the magic of what the girls were able to do with a piece of paper, they were inspired to try their best.
At the end of the activity, boys gained a new hobby. We do have a joyful time together – teaching and learning.
G1 White Homeroom Teacher
Students have been learning on how to work as a team and share in the classroom. Students were creative using LEGO, wooden blocks, and pattern blocks to build with their friends. Together, they worked on taking turns during literacy games like KaPow and Spot It. It’s been an amazing first few weeks in Grade One White!
G2 White Homeroom Teacher
During the second week of school, our class read aloud ”Our Class is a Family.” We explored how a family can extend beyond people we are related to and into our communities like school. We discussed why our class is also a family, and what we do to support each other like a family. Students then continued their exploration by gluing a class photo onto a worksheet, and answering the question, “What do you like about our class family?”
I felt that this activity was accessible and easily connected to other parts of our Community Building. After sharing their own families with the class, I felt that the read aloud nicely connected the idea of family to how our class is a family and as a community we learn and grow together.
G5 Purple Homeroom Teacher
Our Interview Project which is designed to get to know their classmates even more by through interviewing. The students developed interview questions and interviewed a fellow classmate. This activity then led students to the Community Tree Project where they learned about our school community. In addition, the students were able to reinforce their community building skills by doing academic work related directly to our core values and community-building values themselves solidifying their understanding of what being a constructive member of a community means. They collaboratively worked on their Egyptian math projects, made Word Maps together for our first Word Works unit of study, and engaged in interactive reading activities.
Primary School Art Teacher
The first and second graders worked on a “Community Paper Quilt” in art class. The students created paper quilt squares using a circular design which was cut into pieces. The final quilt with work from all three classes will be assembled together.
G5 Lavender Homeroom Teacher
We had a “Big Plans pamphlet” project for community building. This project enhanced students’ creative writing ability.
Secondary School Chinese Teacher
In the G12 Chinese class, students learned more about the class content through games of “Charades”. Each group of students divided into “actors” and “guessers”. The actors used body language to describe a word while the guesser guessed. The words selected for this activity are part of the required vocabulary from grade 12 Chinese class. The acting for some unfamiliar words made students laugh, at the same time they are curious about these new words and concepts. Students are looking forward to learning Chinese this new semester！
The new semester is a new adventure.
The community building weeks’ memories will fuel THIS students’ motivation and growth for the entire school year.