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Grade 6: Poetry and Learner Profiles

The grade 6 classes are quickly warming up to the wonderful world of literature! We welcomed the 2nd semester with the poetry unit and with the new unit comes new IB Learner Profiles to develop and to integrate.

Knowledgeable: More literary terms and poetic devices are introduced to our students this quarter.  Practice exercises are provided to reinforce their knowledge in identifying figures of speech and sound devices as these would be helpful when they carefully analyze the meaning of poems.

Reflective: Through discussions and written practices, students are trained to put together elements of poetry to understand the meaning of the poem.  In giving reflection exercises, they are given time to look more deeply into the message of poems and connect them to real-life situations.

Communicators:  As they develop the necessary skills in analyzing poems, students are gaining more confidence in discussing these poems to the whole class.  Through this activity, they are able to put together what they have learned so far and are immediately given feedback to ensure that they are on track.  As facilitators, students are given freedom to enrich discussions through warm up activities as well as develop skills in making relevant questions, explaining ideas, and responding to questions from the audience.


“Change” by Charlotte Zolotow


“Message from a Caterpillar” by Lilian Moore


“Fog” by Carl Sandburg


“Fall” by Sally Andersen

It is interesting to witness how students become more adept in literature.  Seeing these kids get more and more familiar with the the language of poetry is truly remarkable.  As topics range from caterpillars turning into butterflies to being bullied and standing up for yourself, there really is so much to look forward to in the coming days! :)


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Grade 9 Creative Writing



The Grade 9 read and studied Nick Joaquin’s famous short story, May Day Eve. Spanning three generations and revolving around an urban legend, it tells the tale of young Agueda and her future husband, Badoy. Told in a series of flashbacks and flashforwards, it opened up a nonlinear plot example to the Grade 9.

After some exercises on character and plot analysis, it was time to introduce the class to the other side of fiction – the world of creative writers. The students were grouped in three’s and were told to write a story together. They were provided with writing prompts which included:

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The students struggled a bit, constructing their stories but they were able to produce their own creative fiction pieces:

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Grade 8 English: Channeling Anne Frank


Anne Frank remains one of literature and history’s most famous diarists and the Grade 8 students read through excerpts of her extraordinary journey: in hiding, in an attic during World War II. They learned about how the discrimination and murder of the Jews at this time made this the Frank family’s only course of action.

The class read a bit of Anne’s life before she went into hiding – she was a typical student with favorite subjects and fights with her mom. Then they learned about her life in the Secret Annexe: living in silence, sharing one toilet with two other families and interacting with characters she disliked. They also read about her opinions and her dreams.

To give the students an idea of how it is to write such a diary, they were given a similar scenario: they have to hide with two of their classmates, in a 21 square meter space, to hide from menacing agents of society.

The students were told that while provisions would be allotted every week, they were limited to four sets of clothes and to board games and books. Gadgets are banned as they are easily trackable.

The class threw themselves enthusiastically to the project, asking if they can pretend to not know each other at the outset, if they can pretend the delivery man of their weekly food drop is named Bob and so on. They wrote about learning how to prepare meals and how to cope with boredom.


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Grade 12 SL Paper 2 Preparations

When school opened in January 2018, the seniors hit the ground mind-mapping their way through two classic plays: Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children and William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.






It is challenging to be able to write a paper on two plays, written four hundred years apart, with one on war and the other on courtship. However, the SL students tried their best to study both works:

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After presenting their mind maps to the class, we came up with these giant versions of the same:


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Grade 7 Literature Discussion Circles

This semester, the Grade 7 class embarked on a journey with Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, the fantastical trip through space and time taken with three unique children.

As the students read the novel, they were divided into literature discussion groups. For every round of reading, each student would be assigned one of six roles: Discussion Facilitator, Commentator, Illustrator, Language Finder, Reflector, and Summarizer. Roles were rotated, so that each student was able to experience four of the six roles. This led to student-led and student-driven discussions that focused on developing their ability to analyze the novel part by part, coming together to form a deeper understanding of what they had read.





By the end of the novel, the students were well-practiced in leading and taking part in meaningful small group discussions, accepting other’s opinions but also arguing their own.

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Grade 12: Introduction to Ha Jin

Before the December break, the IB Lang Lit HL class began their introduction to their next novel, In the Pond by Ha Jin. In order to further understand the context from which Ha Jin writes, it was important that the students get an idea of who he is. Below is a presentation created by the students that act as an overview of the author, his life, and his other notable works. (Click on the image to be redirected to the presentation.)

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Grade 10: Introduction to the Holocaust

As the Grade 10 prepared to tackle Night by Elie Wiesel, they were tasked to delve deeper into the Holocaust by creating learning centers that revolved around topics of their choice. Two groups were asked to create physical learning centers, while the other two needed to create digital learning centers.

Physical Learning Centers


The first physical learning center focused on the effectivity of gas chambers in the annihilation of the Jewish people. Students presented comparative data and also tried to replicate what the gas would have smelled like.



The other physical learning center presented the lasting effects of the Holocaust on the German psyche and national identity. It explored how the generations of Germans born after World War II have dealt with the stigma of Naziism.

Digital Learning Centers

The first digital learning center sought to explore who among the Nazis in power was most responsible for the horrors of the Holocaust.


The second digital learning center focused on the resistance efforts that existed during the Nazi regime.

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Grade 7: Reviewing with Quizlet

This semester, the Grade 7 class were introduced to a number of new vocabulary and terms that they needed to review for their end of semester exams. One tech tool that the class really enjoyed using was Quizlet, a free-to-use website where users can create sets of digital flashcards.

quizlet 1 While there are other sites that do this, what sets Quizlet apart are the fun and interactive ways in which students can review, such as the Match, Gravity, and Live games.

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The Live game in particular proved to be a fun and effective way to review the terms in class. Teachers can host a live game, sharing a code with students that enables them to join a game. In each game, students are grouped into teams and have to work collaboratively to answer prompts before the other teams do.



It isn’t often that students look forward to reviewing vocabulary and terms for class, but the Grade 7 students thoroughly enjoyed studying with Quizlet.

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Grade 5 Novel Study: Parent Talk

The fifth-graders enjoyed reading “Number the Stars” and learning more about the Holocaust. I’m so glad that there’s a myriad of activities that can be integrated with this lesson. Perhaps, one of the most memorable we had was having a parent talk about the Holocaust.


The students got to learn about heroic Resistance fighters and see first-hand some memorabilia dating back to the war.


Here are the kids looking so intent:




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Grade 9 Macbeth

In studying Shakespeare, it has become increasingly important to not just read the text but to stage it as well.

This year, the Grade 9 students were divided into 5 groups and each group staged their interpretation of each Act of Macbeth. They were also required to create a poster which captures the essence of their selected Act.

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The experience allowed the students to revisit the text and to integrate their own understanding of the play. Here lies the classic quality of Shakespeare’s works – that these can be studied from a twenty-first century perspective and still retain the essence of their themes.