Kindergarten YM

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Open House SY 2020-2021

CISM had their Open House sessions last September 11. The teachers met with the parents via Zoom.

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During the Open House, the curriculum implemented by the school and some of the topics for each subject were discussed.

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The new normal for teaching and learning were also shared with the parents.

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I hope the Open House was able to help them understand what we currently do in the classroom. If they have any other questions, parents may send me a message at

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Welcome to School Year 2020-2021!

August 24, 2020

Dear Parents,

Welcome to Kindergarten!

I am Yna Mendez-Agtuca and I will be your child’s homeroom teacher this year. Though these unprecedented times have led us to begin the school year with distance learning, I am very excited at the thought of a promising year ahead, and I look forward to working in partnership with you as we develop your child’s potential. I believe our collaboration will result in an engaging and fruitful learning experience that will benefit the children in Kindergarten YM. The school year has a lot in store for us. It will be filled with a multitude of fun activities aimed at helping your child become an independent, responsible, critical, and eager learner.

Below are the class schedule, distance learning expectations, and a brief introduction of your child’s teachers. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to email me at

I wish you all good health and look forward to meeting you soon.

Looking forward,


Kindergarten YM Homeroom Teacher



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  • Work with their peers and teachers to help maximize learning.
  • Keep track of the class schedule. Be present and punctual for all classes.
  • Prepare an appropriate work area conducive for learning to avoid distractions.
  • Have all learning materials ready as necessary for each session.
  • Dress appropriately in street clothes (no pajamas).
  • Follow class rules and etiquette.
  • Uphold academic honesty at all times.
  • Meet submission deadlines


  • Partner with the school to maximise the opportunities for learning of their child
  • Create a home routine for their child that allows them to be ready to participate in class.
  • Provide access to a device and the internet for their child.
  • Assign an appropriate work area conducive for learning for their child to avoid distraction.
  • Ensure availability of resources to facilitate their child’s learning.
  • Ensure that their child is dressed appropriately in street clothes (no pajamas).
  • Assign an adult to check on their child in terms of class attendance, work submission, and/or technical concerns.


HOMEROOM TEACHER: Ms. Yna Maria Mendez-Agtuca (Ms. Yna)


Ms. Yna is the homeroom teacher of Kindergarten YM. This will be her fourth year of teaching at Chinese International School Manila. Prior to CISM, she also served as a Kindergarten teacher at Xavier School San Juan for six years. Ms. Yna is also a textbook author. She currently has five published textbooks with DIWA Publishing. Her passion in developing self discovery, curiosity, and collaboration is evident in her work as an educator and as an author. Ms. Yna graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines, Diliman with a specialization in Special Education. She has also earned units in Educational Psychology from the same institution.


MANDARIN TEACHER: Ms. Shaira Anne A. Catungal (Ms. Shaira/林老师 Lín Lǎo Shī) 


Ms. Shaira graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from De La Salle University-Manila in 2016. She got her teaching license the same year. She loves working with children; in fact, she started leading Girl Scouts at 14 years old. She has been teaching for four years and this school year will be her fourth year at CISM.


MUSIC TEACHER: Ms. Mylene D. Pastor  


Since she got her teaching license in 2002, Ms. Myles started working with students from Early Years to High School in different international and progressive schools in Metro Manila. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines (Diliman) with Bachelor of Music in Music Education, and Master of Arts in Teaching in the Early Grades (Kindergarten to Grade 2) degrees. As a lifelong learner, she finished an online course on Visible Thinking from Harvard Graduate School of Education (Project Zero) in 2018, and has attended the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) Teachers’ Conferences in Malaysia and Thailand in 2017 and 2019 respectively. She is married and has two daughters and a son.


VISUAL ARTS and DIGITAL LITERACY TEACHER: Ms.  Maria Cristina Pilar A. Lagdameo (Ms. Cris)


Cris Lagdameo is in her sixth year at Chinese International School Manila, and her thirteenth year in the profession, having taught at various schools in Manila, Philadelphia, and New York City from Nursery to Middle School. She holds a Master of Science in Education degree with a major in Reading, Writing and Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, along with an AB English Literature degree from Ateneo de Manila University.  As a lifelong learner, she has attended the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) Teachers’ Conferences in Malaysia in 2017, and continues to find ways to hone her craft through attending various professional development.


PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER: Ms. Winnen D. Chan  (Coach Winnen)


Coach Winnen is a graduate of Bachelor of Physical Education at West Visayas State University. She has been teaching Physical Education with primary students for 9 years. It’s her 12th year in teaching and 5th year at CISM.  She is also the school’s Sports Coordinator. A mother of one, she is very passionate about making learning  FUN for children!


GUIDANCE COUNSELOR: Ms. Mary Grace Orden (Ms. Gracie) 


Mary Grace (Gracie) Orden is in her third year with CISM and is in her 10th year as a Counselor. She will be working with Nursery-Grade 12 students. Prior to CISM, she was Counselor/Research Head for eight (8) years at a private school in Metro Manila. At the age of eighteen, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, majoring in Guidance and Counseling with units in Mathematics, while simultaneously obtaining her license as a teacher. After a year of practice, she acquired her Master’s degree in School Counseling and two years later, she passed the Philippine Licensure Examination for Guidance Counselors. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Counseling Psychology specializing in Clinical Counseling at De La Salle University Manila. Outside school, Gracie loves to travel and hike. To express her creative side, she does origami, video edits, and photography


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Learning from a Distance

It was the month of March, and we just had our assembly. We were so happy because we just finished a great performance. We were getting back into the groove of things — ready to get back to learning our lessons in ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies. However, cases of people with the virus that has been spreading around the world has been increasing day by day. Not only that, it is getting too close for comfort, and the people are getting alarmed.

Because of this, the government of our host country decided to close down schools and other establishments. This was done to keep the virus from spreading. However, we at CISM knew that learning should not just abruptly end. We initially used our existing distance learning practices. As time went on, it seemed that the lockdown would not be lifted anytime soon. It becomes apparent that we would not be able to have our normal classes in the near future. The teachers, then, looked for platforms that we can use to make learning much more meaningful at home. We prepared lessons and activities that could easily be done with the help of the parents.

Preparing for distance learning is not something that we just designed on a whim. The program was developed carefully with the help from teachers and parents alike. Feedback was very important to us, because we know that distance learning does not only affect the teachers and the students. It also affects the families of each one. With this, we currently have a program that seems to work well for us. We mainly use two platforms to teach and to assign work: Zoom and Seesaw. Using these platforms, we were able to deliver lessons for ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies. ELA and Math took the forefront as literacy and numeracy are two of the important skills the students must learn. Science and Social Studies were still discussed as the topics we touch on are relevant to our daily activities.

Discussions were held in Zoom. I was able to see the students regularly, and I was able to discuss the lessons to them. We were able to practice together, and I was happy to see them very much engaged. Activities and worksheets were assigned in Seesaw. I enjoyed reviewing and checking their work through the platform. I was able to provide feedback on their work. I was glad to see them really take note of it, and to make sure to do better in the next activity. All in all, even though we are apart, I felt like I could still see the students improve a lot through their hard work and practice. I am extremely grateful that we have all of these platforms where we can still connect to each other even at times like these.

In finality, distance learning was definitely not easy. It took a lot of work. It took a lot of collaboration and feedback. We could not have done it without the help of the parents at home who support the learning of their children. It truly does take a village to raise a child. Thankfully, we can still connect and work together using these platforms.

In these trying times, let’s continue to grow together as a class, as a school and as a community. By working together, we will surely be able to reach our mission to educate, engage and empower.

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Learning All About Plants in Science

Science has always been an enjoyable subject for the Kindergarten students. They get to find things out by doing fun experiments. This quarter, the kids have been learning all about plants.

They learned what a plant needs by doing experiments using seeds, cotton and soil. They observed how plants grew more when the seeds were planted in the soil rather than in the cotton.

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After making their observations, they wrote down their answers in their notebooks. This helped them remember details when the class discussed the results of the experiment.

20200120_122905 20200120_122934 20200120_123022 20200120_123043 20200120_123559Their observations lead to discussion on how the soil may have different vitamins and minerals that make the plants strong. The needs of a plant like water, air and sunlight were also talked about in class.

Aside from its needs, the class also found out the different needs of the plants. The fire in the Amazon was a great way to open the discussion on why plants are important. Through this situation, the kids were able to understand how plants clean the air we breathe.

The students also pointed out how plants are great sources of energy. Eating plants keep us strong and healthy. This encouraged them to eat more fruits and vegetables. Some proudly shows their healthy food during snack time and lunch time.

Finally, the kids see how plants make the world a more beautiful place. They observed how flowers and other kinds of plants decorated the school and its surroundings. To further emphasize this, they were able to make their own terrariums that they happily brought home.

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Learning about plants was a great experience for the kids. I’m sure their next Science lesson will be an enjoyable one, as well!

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Celebrating Chinese New Year!

Last January 24, we celebrated Chinese New Year with our CISM family.

We started the day by watching the Lion Dance presentation.20200124_081552 20200124_081746 20200124_080838 20200124_081142

The dancers also went to our classroom. 20200124_084105 20200124_083743 20200124_083752

After eating our snacks, we headed to the gym for the Chinese New Year Program. We danced our best to make our parents proud!

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Lastly, we had the chance to make milk tea. We felt happy making our own tea. The experience made the drink much more delicious!

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All in all, we had a blast celebrating the start of the Year of the Rat. May the new year bring Kindergarten YM good fortune and luck!

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All about Shapes and Measurement

Math may seem intimidating for some, but this is definitely not the case for the Kindergarten YM students. They look forward to having Math class each and every day!

For the month of November, we focused on shapes and measurement.

First off, they described and sorted the different shapes.

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The kids also formed shapes using toothpicks. It was so much fun to do!

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After learning all about the shapes, we used them to make different things. Shapes are truly all around us.

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Aside from shapes, we practiced measuring length and height using nonstandard tools. We used a variety of classroom materials to measure everything around us.


We even measured and compared our heights! We got to know who the

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Using different materials really make Math much more enjoyable and interesting. Looking forward to many more fun activities that help us learn new knowledge and skills.

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Outstanding October

We had a lot of activities this past month. Look at the pictures and see what we did for October!

In Social Studies, we learned all about the cultures of each and every one of us in the classroom. We discussed the flags, food, fashion and festivals. We even had a chance to eat and make food!

We shared food from our home countries.

We shared food from our home countries.


Making pastillas.


Yummy pastillas!

In Science, we learned about the moon. We used Oreos to form its different phases.

Oreo moons!

Oreo moons!

In Math, we went around the school to look for objects with different shapes.

Drawing our observations.

Drawing our observations.


Looking for shapes.


Working on our activity on shapes.

Aside from our lessons, we also learned a lot in our school events for this month: the United Nations Day and Halloween Celebration!


Looking cute for UN Day!


Ready to do our best in the UN Day performance.


Learning about the United Kingdom through drawing and coloring.


Listening to the upper school students talk about the USA.


Games make learning about the USA much more fun!


The upper school students shared information about Australia.


Ready for Halloween!


Working on our Halloween hats.


Making sure to follow the directions in making a bat hat.


Pin the spider on the web!


Hit the pumpkins!


Feeding the monster.


We decorated our Halloween bags.


Snacks with the Early Years!


Trick or Treat! Give us something good to eat.

We had a busy October, but it surely was a lot of fun. Yay!

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Learning all about Reading and Writing!

ELA is one of the core subjects in Kindergarten. Our goal for the school year is to let the student learn how to read simple books and to write their own short stories and narratives independently. How do we help them reach this goal?

We have story telling activities twice a week. Their listening and reading comprehension are developed through discussions about the book and engagement activities. Genres, authors, illustrators and photographers are also introduced to the students each time we have this activity. Vocabulary and grammar lessons are also integrated in these sessions, as well.

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Love for reading is also being encouraged through our partnership with the Library. The students truly have a blast during their Library sessions with our librarian, Ms. Gay.


Aside from listening to stories, we also practice reading by reviewing the letters and learning new sight words. Our word wall is full of words we thought of when we were discussing the different letters. Some of these words were actually spelled by the students themselves! 20190926_130001

We have fun games to help us further practice our reading and spelling skills.

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The students also love answering worksheets! They get to see how they can improve in their skills as they answer. Feedback is always given each and every time they finish a task.

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Learning how to read and write independently does not happen overnight. However, with the all the activities we have here in the classroom, the students will surely grow to be great readers and writers in the future.

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Welcome to School Year 2019-2020!

Dear Parents,

Welcome to school year 2019-2020!

The school year has a lot in store for us. Exciting times ahead! I look forward to getting to know you and your children. I believe our collaboration will result to an engaging and fruitful learning experience that will benefit the children in Kindergarten YM.

I am Yna Maria U. Mendez and I will be your partner in helping your children learn and develop new skills this school year. I have been teaching for eight years and this is my third year here in Chinese International School Manila. Prior to CISM, I served as a Kindergarten teacher at Xavier School San Juan for six school years. Aside from teaching, I also write books. I currently have three published textbooks under DIWA Publishing. I graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines, Diliman with a specialization in Special Education. I also have credits in Educational Psychology from the same institution.

I have always believed in student-centered learning in my years as an educator. With this in mind, I go for activities that would elicit self discovery, curiosity, and collaboration.

In our journey to acquire new sets of knowledge and skills, please be assured that I am here to guide and help your children reach their aspirations and goals. Together, we may communicate through your child’s assignment notebook or e-mail (


Looking forward,

Kindergarten YM

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Moving Forward!

As we approach the end of the year, the students were able to showcase their skills and talents.

We wrapped up our lessons. In ELA, we read and wrote independently. In Social Studies, we learned the importance of learning economics in our daily lives. In Science, we explored the sources and uses of light. We had fun looking for shadows! In Math, we measured different objects using the things we use everyday.

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We already started to practice for our Moving Up presentation. The students did their best each and every time!

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As a culminating activity of the special subjects, we celebrated the Festival of the Arts. The students sang and danced to show what they have learned in Music and PE. Their words in Visual Arts and Digital Literacy are displayed all around the school.

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Aside from showcasing their work, the students were also able to see what the Middle School and Upper School students worked on through the Maker’s Fest. They had a lot of fun!

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May was truly a great month to cap off our school year. It showed how ready the students are for Grade 1. It was a great pleasure to work and play with a marvelous bunch of students. I hope they keep letting their light shine as they move up to the next level!