News from Alfonso - 8/22

Dear Friends,
In addition to reading voraciously about inquiry, collaboration (among kids and among adults and among kids and adults), and scientific inquiry for children, my mind is now thoroughly swarming with all the details of the start of school. Just one more week and the teachers will be back for inquiry week. And then another week or so and we will all be back for another inquiry year. The journey continues.

I have to especially commend Linda and Maria for their work on the class schedules this year. As enrollment moves higher it becomes increasingly difficult to fit everything and everyone in, but through sheer ingenuity they have managed the following for students to meet with our specialist teachers:

3rd-5th graders will have:

  • Art 2 times per week,

  • PE 2 times per week

  • Music 1 time per week

  • Library scheduled through English class

  • Assembly on Tuesday mornings

1st & 2nd graders will have:

  • Art 3 times in 2 weeks

  • PE 3 times in 2 weeks

  • Music 3 times in 2 weeks

  • Library scheduled through English class

  • And yes, assembly on Monday afternoons!

LowK (4 year olds) and kindergarteners will have:

  • Art once per week

  • PE once per week

  • Music once per week

  • Library once per week (with their teacher)

PreK (3 year olds) will have:

  • Art once per week

  • PE once per week

  • Library approximately twice per month (with their teacher)

I am particularly happy about this addition of Grade 1-2 assembly because these gatherings help create community; they provide an opportunity to share learning or listen to a guest presenter; they allow students to show how learning is becoming action in community projects, fundraisers, or correspondence with the Mayor; and most importantly they offer students an opportunity to be risk takers, public communicators, and leaders.

While we have had a good number of responses to host interns from abroad, someone suggested wisely that more people might participate if the term of stay were shorter. If you would be more inclined to host an overseas teaching intern for say four or 6 months, please let me know that too.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a nice chart I came across in a book called Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action (Harvey and Daniels,Heinemann, 2009) It nicely distinguishes what happens in classrooms using an inquiry approach as compared to those which used the traditional factory model or the “coverage approach.” It is a good reminder to us all of why we have implemented the IB PYP at TIS.

I miss the teachers and you and I really miss your children.

See you soon,

Dr. Alfonso Orsini, Head of School,, 503-226-2496 x109