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“Columbia and Barnard are the latest schools to drop SAT and ACT requirements”

As our education practices change, it is important to consider its affects on the traditional requirements of higher education.

“Standardized tests are simply one component of our holistic admissions review, in which quantitative credentials are assessed within the broader context of an applicant’s interests, background, personal qualities and accomplishments,” says Columbia Undergraduate Admissions on the change. “We hope the increased flexibility with our application will ease some of the stress students may feel when going through the college admissions process.”

To read the full article: http://college.usatoday.com/2016/07/18/columbia-and-barnard-are-the-latest-schools-to-drop-sat-and-act-requirements/

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PSA Coffee – Reading Tips

Thank you to those of you that attended the ES PSA Coffee yesterday. We were honored to be asked to help present research, ideas, and ways to support your reader at home. For those of you that were not able to join us, we offered a 4 mini-workshops rotation that focused on the following areas:

Choosing Just-Right Books

Monitoring for Understanding

Inferring – What it is and How Can I Help?

Using Home Language to Build Reading Skills

The handouts shared in the session are now available on our “Resources” page under the subject heading “Reading” (click the tab Resources, then Reading).

We hope that it is helpful and if you do have any questions or need additional resources, please contact us and/or your child’s homeroom teacher.

Happy reading, comprehending, and learning together!

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Build school-home communication – tips and prompts

From our Principal Mr. Kanabar from this week’s SIS Weekly – some helpful tips and ideas for student support at home:

“Here are some ways in which you can continue to support your child at home:

Engage in your child’s portfolio through the SeeSaw app.
Ensure your child reads with you every day and ask questions about the reading to help develop understanding and connections to the text.
Continue to expect and develop a sense of independence and responsibility.
Ask questions about your child’s school day-see the prompts below that might help.
Subscribe to your child’s blogs so that you have an overview of what is happening during the week.  This will make conversations with your children richer. ” http://share.sis.org.cn/elementary-staff-sites

Prompts to engage your children about their day at school:
1. Tell me something exciting that happened today.
2. What did you play at recess?
3. If I walked into the classroom, what would I see?
4. What made you laugh today?
5. What happened today that made you feel happy?
6. If you did today over, what would be different?
7. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

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EAL Support in Grade 1

EAL Support in Grade 1

Students in Grade 1 have shown tremendous growth in their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in addition to their increased social skills.

At SIS we provide support to our diverse groups of learners through a variety of strategies and resources. Teachers and staff have experience helping nurture our English language learners on a daily basis – they use multiple ways such as visual cues, demonstrations, repetition, songs/chants, peer support, translanguaging, and many more. We have additional support offered through our English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher support team. The EAL support teacher provides more strategies and materials, and also another teacher in the room that helps support the language development and curriculum access for students.

The English language support given is mostly in the classroom, alongside the students and teachers of the homeroom class. The students are given opportunities to build their language skills at their own pace and developmental readiness. Students are encouraged to share their thinking using words, pictures, and/or actions in a variety of settings – one-on-one, partners, small groups, or whole groups.

In a community as diverse and rich as our SIS community, it is vital to recognize the importance of each culture and language the students experience every day. At school they are surrounded by friends from all parts of the world and are learning how to build empathy and global understanding. Children need a strong home language and culture foundation where they can learn and converse in the language(s) of their family. While at school, we are working together with students and staff to build academic and social English skills. At times this may looks like a demonstration, a picture representation, or a translation. There are many ways to build language skills and growth for your young learner:

  • Read, read, read! Read the pictures in books, which means to look carefully at the pictures to tell the story through questions about the pictures – what is happening, what is the character doing, how is the character feeling, what could happen next, how would you feel if this happened to you? Read the words, in English or your home language. Reread books your child has read already to help build vocabulary, grammar, and fluency. Ask questions before, during, and after reading to build analysis, observation, and comprehension skills.
    Remember that reading is a combination of accuracy, comprehension, and fluency.
  • Keep using your home language! Continue reading, speaking, listening, and possibly even writing in your home language. By using their home language, students and parents can construct and build understanding that can more easily be transferred into English. Talk to your child about what they read/tried/learned that day. It also helps parents stay involved in their child’s learning, plus allow for the possibility of multilingual students!
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Raising a Voracious Reader – The Family Dinner Project

Dinner Time, Storytelling, and Family Conversations to Raise a Voracious Reader 

We invite you to turn your family dinner conversations into powerful opportunities to build vocabulary. Researchers at Harvard have found that young children that participate in conversations have bigger vocabularies, learn to read more easily and earlier. 

Next time you are having a shared meal as a family: 

-Tell stories 

-As open-ended questions: “why” and “how” 

-Use words to explain, remember, and tell stories. 

As you can see, the emphasis is on having rich conversations when sharing a meal with your family. Despite the challenges of coordinating family meals, the benefits will greatly benefit your child’s language development. 

You can learn more ideas at the Family Dinner Project 

https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/conversation/conversation-starters/

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Smooth Start

We have completed 3 weeks into school and routines, processes, and procedures have been established. It has been fantastic to see all the classroom communities being created; this will help the students and teachers focus their best energies into growing and learning this academic year. The EAL support teachers and the homeroom teachers have begun their collaborative work as well. We have been working closely with the teaching teams to co-plan lessons and units and meet with students to support the grade level curriculum.

As the weeks progress, keep looking to our blog for strategies, tips, and ideas on ways to help support your English Language Learner (ELL) at home!

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Reading: Multilingual Stories Online

We value all students’ native language, here are some online resources to practice reading in their first language. 

http://www.uniteforliteracy.com 

  1. Unite for Literacy shows several titles about different topics. The books are in English and you can select a second language to narrate the book in an additional language, your language. This site contains a large selection of language options such as Chinese, Turkish, Swedish, French, German, Arabic, and many more. All the resources in this site are free to anyone that wishes to access!  

http://worldstories.org.uk 

  1. World Stories is a growing collection of stories from around the world. The collection includes retold traditional tales and new short stories in the languages like Mandarin, Spanish, Polish, Danish, French, German, Urdu, and more. It is free and you may have to register your child to enjoy a free account.