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PYP Workshop on Thursday, October 10th @ 7.20am



You are most welcome to a workshop on the LEARNER PROFILE on Thursday, October 10th at 7.20am in the Elementary Staffroom. We will explore the different traits and discuss how to live these traits every day. This is a new workshop and I look forward to seeing both new and old (well, not really “old”) faces!


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Spotlight on … open-minded


December’s learner profile attribute in the spotlight is an appropriate one for the holiday season.


 IB learners strive to be open-minded

They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.

At a time of year when many families and communities are celebrating their beliefs in a variety of ways, it is an opportunity to share our own important aspects of our identities with others, as well as to be receptive to and learn about what makes other members of our community special. Another way to celebrate our diversity, there is value in identifying some of the many similarities we share, even with our various perspectives and values.

openminded2Grade 1 students have been exploring this very idea in their ongoing unit with the central idea: Communities have different celebrations with similar features. Many of them already understand that everyone, regardless of religion, nationality or culture, has many reasons to celebrate. They are also discovering that all these different celebrations have many features in common, including decorations, special food, and symbols.

Grade 2’s recent Who We Are unit also gave students an opportunity to exercise open-mindedness. They were exploring the central idea that understanding our identities helps us to understand and respect others. They have learned about the visible and deeper aspects of our identities through exploration of the cultural iceberg.

As we share and enjoy each other’s special celebrations, let’s remember to find ways to model and value open-mindedness in ourselves and our children.

De Bono’s Thinking Hats – a tool for communication


Dr Edward De Bono is an international authority on creative thinking and the direct teaching of thinking skills. His most famous work is the creation of the Six Thinking Hats, a tool for thinking about a problem or situation from a variety of angles, one at a time. It’s a handy tool for having children think around a topic and communicate their thoughts from different perspectives.

Try the hats on while thinking around the idea of holidays:-

  • Red Hat – With my red hat on I communicate my feelings and emotions. Not why I am feeling a certain way but just how I feel right now. Holidays make me feel…
  • Yellow Hat– With my yellow hat on I communicate the good points, how something will help us and why it will work. The great things about holidays are… 
  • Black Hat – With my black hat on I communicate the bad points. I ask – Is this true? Will it work? What are the weaknesses? The disadvantages of the holidays are…
  • Green Hat – When I put on my green hat, I express creativity. I share different ideas and make suggestions. In the holidays I am going to try something new like…
  • White hat – With my white hat I communicate the facts and information. Last holidays I….
  • Blue Hat – If I have my blue hat on, I communicate my thoughts. I am thinking about what I will do in my holidays and planning my first day. I am going to do some cooking. First I will………..then…………and …………..Finally I will……………..

Maths at IST


Today at the parent workshop, we talked about the different strands that are important in Maths education. These are:

  • Conceptual understanding – understanding what multiplication is, rather than just knowing your times tables
  • Procedural fluency – being fluent with use of algorithms
  • Strategic competence – having strategies to solve problems
  • Adaptive reasoning – being able to explain you thinking
  • Productive disposition – seeing real world applications

Further, we discussed different ways to practice each of these strands. Parents came up with a variety of activities that you can do at home with your children. Some of these are provided below:

  1. Managing pocket money – learning how to spend appropriately, save, and keep track of expenses, sorting and counting change
  2. Cooking / using recipes – this can be to practice measuring, to estimate, or to shrink/enlarge recipes
  3. Keeping a notebook for a problem a day
  4. Dividing up treats between siblings. How many are there? Is there a remainder? How many does Mama get? Or do you divide the last cookie into fractions ?!
  5. Playing various board games that involve strategy or counting money
  6. Reading the luku meter
  7. Books: counting and sorting books, number of pages, time taken to read a book
  8. Look in refrigerator to see what is left, how many there are.
  9. Stick it – place the timetable all over the house
  10. Swimming: count strokes and laps, take your pulse, take seconds or minutes off your time
  11. Time: look at how long it takes to complete a task, talk about starting time and finishing time
  12. Mic colors to practice ratios

Thank you to the parents who attended the workshop! You had a lot of great questions and comments that will influence new workshops.


Bagamoyo 2011


Grade 4 Visits Bagamoyo

Last week, the grade 4 students went on an overnight trip to Bagamoyo. This trip serves as the provocation for their next unit called “Children’s Rights and Responsibilities”, where students explore more about Who We Are. Moreover, it solidifies their understanding of the effect resources have on migration, which was a key understanding in their previous unit, “Karibuni Tanzania”.

Why on Earth would we go to a tiny town north of Dar? In the 19th century, Bagamoyo was an important trade center for East Africa with Arabian, German, and British forces staking claims to the area. Bagamoyo was a significant port largely due to its proximity to Zanzibar, which was famous for its spices. Unfortunately, exporting these spices took a lot of manpower, which was solved by importing enslaved people from all over East Africa.  These captured people would walk more than a thousand kilometers from Lake Tanganyika, stopping in Bagamoyo before moving to Zanzibar where they would be sold as slaves. It was a terrible journey and many people died before they could make it to Bagamoyo. Many more died on the sea voyage to Zanzibar.

In response to the cruelty of the slave trade, a mission was established in Bagamoyo. Members of the mission would buy enslaved people from the markets with the little money they had. They would then teach them different trades to ensure that they could survive in Bagamoyo, which was far from their original homes. The mission also created an orphanage and a school for the children who had been enslaved.

In addition, many famous explorers made their way through Bagamoyo including Richard Burton and John Speke. David Livingstone, whose body passed through Bagamoyo after his death, was appalled by the slave trade and did what he could to help put an end to it. Even though the slave market was closed down in 1873, the slave trade continued to flourish for many years afterward, and Bagamoyo was heart of this trade. Both the Germans and the British opposed the slave trade and there were clashes with local businessmen. Eventually, the slave trade collapsed.

IST students toured the historical sights of Bagamoyo. First, we stopped at the Caravan Serai where traders stayed after their long journeys from the west. Next, we drove by the Customs House near the fish market to see where enslaved people would have been tied up awaiting their voyage to Zanzibar. From here, we moved to the German bomas which were the official buildings of German East Africa. Our next destination was the Old Fort. This building represents the history of this time period in Bagamoyo. It has functioned as a private home, a storage unit for enslaved people, a German fort, a British prison, and a Tanzanian police station. IST students also went to the Catholic mission to learn about how the mission helped enslaved people. They also saw where David Livingstone’s body was kept for a night before being moved to Zanzibar, and ultimately to Westminster Abbey where he was buried.

Our students learned a lot and managed to have some fun despite the somber lessons learned. Here’s what a few of them have to say:

I enjoyed listening to the slave trade book about Siwema. It was fun to act out.

I learned how the slaves were captured and how their lives were.

I enjoyed seeing the Kaole ruins. They were so old but crumbly.

I learned that the slaves had chains around the necks and on their ankles. They were attached to each other. If one fell down they would probably all fall down.

Of course, what they all really enjoyed was being able to spend a night with their friends in a new place. They loved swimming in the pool and seeing their friends’ rooms. Each class had a slightly different experience in Bagamoyo, but they all bonded with one another and their teachers.



Parent Workshops at IST


In order to support communication between parents and IST, the PYP Coordinator, Leah Bortolin, provides parent workshops on a variety of subjects. Based on feedback from parents, the following is the outline for Parent Workshops this year.


Date Workshop
Thursday, September 1 Introduction to the PYP
Thursday, September 15 Reading K-2
Thursday, September 22 Reading 3-5
Thursday, November 10 Inquiry in the PYP
Thursday, December 1 Understanding the Report Card
Thursday, January 19 Everyday Math and differentiation
Thursday, February 16 Writing
Thursday, March 8 Student Led Conferences
Thursday, April 26 Assessment in the PYP
Thursday, May 24 Holiday Activities


Please contact Leah if you have any questions or concerns.