Baker Book Fair – orders due by May 1!

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Read on for a chance to order books from the UK, to arrive at IST before the end of school.

Baker Books International School Book Club offers books for readers from ages 3-16, to schools in 100 countries. Prices are in USD and shopping and paying is available online, via this secure website. You can shop by age-based catalog or book category. The Funfare catalog is for younger children (3-9), and the Book Zone catalog is for older children (9-16).  Once on the Baker Book website, please put in your child’s name and find their class in the drop-down menu to the right.

A small number of paper catalogs will be distributed to each Elementary class.  Please ask your child’s teacher or a librarian for one, if you prefer a paper catalog.  Price-lists in Tsh are also available in the library, and cash payments can be made in the library.

The books should arrive by the end of school, just in time for the June break!  We are allowing a longer shipping period than we did with the December order.  The library receives a 20% commission, in books. These are new and updated titles since the last orders.

Happy Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 3.20.19 PM shopping!

No Disposable Plastic Initiative

A Grade 5 Exhibition Group and a teacher group are both working towards no more disposable plastic forks, spoons and knives at IST Elementary.

The grade 5 group presented at Friday’s assembly, asking children from Kindergarten to Grade 5 if they used plastic utensils.

“How many people bring plastic forks to school?”

They then asked students to bring metal or reusable forks, spoons and knives instead.  They explained that plastic that ends up in the earth or sea never decomposes, and that the BPA that leaches out of thrown-out plastic hurts people and animals.

There will be a few metal spoons and forks to borrow in the student canteen.  Parents, can you please help by putting a reusable utensil in your child’s lunch?

The teacher canteen has also stopped providing plastic spoons and forks, and teachers are bringing their own.

Please help us stop single-use plastic at IST!




PYP advocates use of student-led conferences as powerful tool “students… take responsibility for their learning by sharing the process with their parents. Students demonstrate their understanding through a variety of different learning situations.”

The countdown has begun for this year’s Student Led conferences!


On Thursday 17th March 2016

Your children will lead you through their classrooms and specialist areas, share their work and portfolios, share a task or activity, discuss their strengths and goals and take you on a tour of their workspace: IST Elementary

What’s so good about Student Led Conferences?


  • demonstrate learning or understanding
  • encourage student responsibility for academic performance
  • promote student reflection
  • give students increased ownership of their work
  • develop organizational and communication skills
  • honor all subject areas
  • offer an interactive alternative to Parent Teacher Conferences

Following is the information to look out for-

A letter from the Grade Team

A time allocation for the day

An invitation by your child/class

Support your child by giving them the opportunity to let you know how well they are doing!

Be positive and smile!

This is not a regular school day for students.

Supervised child-care is available for siblings while they wait.

For EC/KG/Gr1/Gr2 – EC-KG Playground

For Gr 3/Gr 4/Gr 5- Covered court

Visiting Author Presentation for Dads, and Books for Sale

John Coy, the author of 14 books, will be with the IST Elementary and Secondary community for a full week in February 2016, from the 1st to the 5th. He visits Elementary from Wednesday-Friday.  John has written picture books and chapter books, often featuring sports as a theme.

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John regularly offers sessions to fathers, on how important dads are in helping their boys and girls develop a love of reading.  He’s offering this session to Elementary and Secondary dads, from 7:20-8:10 Thursday Feb. 4, in the Elementary library.  Please join us for treats and talk.

Find more about John and his books on his website.  Books are on sale in the Elementary library, from Wednesday – Friday, Feb. 3 – Feb. 5.  Please drop in for prices (exact change appreciated!).   There is a book-signing session from 11-11:40, on Friday Feb. 5, also in the library.

Home Language Read-in

A Home Language Read-in is coming up, to kick off Language Week, which is from Feb 8-12.

The Read-in will be held Monday morning, Feb 8. Students from KG-Gr 5 will spread out across the Elementary campus, in designated classrooms. Each room will host one or more of the 45 languages our students speak at home. Older students will read to themselves and/or to younger students. Teachers and parents will also be spread out, to support each language.


Please watch for emails or notes coming home for some (not all) languages, asking to borrow Home Language books, to arrive at school by Friday, Feb 5. The library will be providing books for 20 languages – we’ll ask for student and parent help for the rest. Some students in Grades 3-5 will be asked to bring in a book.  Some parents in KG-grade 2 will receive an email asking for the same.  Please put your name in the books, if you receive a message.  We’ll take good care of them!

EC will be staying in their rooms and having their own Read-In.

Celebrating Language Diversity, 8-12th February

Celebrating Language Diversity  8th – 12th February.

Monday, Feb 8 from 7:20 – 8:00 (Period 1)

  • Home language read-in for students KG- grade 5.

Wednesday, Feb 10

The language exploration day– Languages carousel .

  • EC- Grade 2 from 7:20 – 8:40
  • Grade 3-5 from 9:40 – 11:20

Friday February 12th (period 1)

  • Celebrating Language Diversity assembly
  • EPN Friendship Duka with language diversity flavours ( break time)

Ongoing activities celebrating the diversity of language will continue during the week in the classrooms.

We are still looking for parent volunteers to help at the read-in and the carousel sessions. Thank you to the parent volunteers that have signed up already. Please contact Shonali Sarkar if you would like to help

Poster Celebrating Language Diversity

Student-led Inquiry at IST

Since its inception, the PYP has been infused with a spirit of inquiry. The ongoing implementation of the PYP is framed by means of questions such as “What do we want the students to understand and be able to do?” In seeking to answer that question, there is a commitment to refining what is significant and relevant, and to quality rather than quantity. It is believed in the PYP that meaning and understanding are undermined by an emphasis on coverage; and that students will become more enduringly skillful when the learning is authentic and in context. The curriculum in a PYP school should emphasize the active construction of meaning so that students’ learning will be purposeful.

(Making the PYP happen-A curriculum framework for international primary education; p. 28, 2009)

An example of what student-led inquiry looks like at IST:
Grade 4 Unit of Inquiry

Central Idea: People communicate and reflect on thoughts and emotions through art.

Lines of Inquiry:

  •  Elements of art
  •  Interpreting art
  •  Communicating a message effectively

At the beginning of the unit students are exposed to a variety of ways in which artists communicate a messages and express themselves. This year these included: music, photographers, dancers, poetry, print making, sewing and drama. During this time students also inquired into how artists use the elements of art to communicate and interpret art and made connections to the performances they were seeing.

Aaron Kelly and Steve Loschi, both teachers at IST secondary, performed with Jad from 4R a song they co-wrote. Aaron Kelly  is Jad’s father.
Daniel Haduck, a professional photographer, showed the student how he communicates messages through photography.









Rebecca Gilman, a secondary school teacher, came and conducted a Spoken Word Poetry workshop.
The IST Hip-Hop dancers showed the G4’s dances moves that expressed different emotions and messages.









Students were then given the opportunity to choose the direction their learning would lead. For their ongoing and final assessment students chose an art form in which to express themselves. For example: A student who chose dance would then inquire more deeply into the elements of dance and how messages and emotions are expressed through it. Throughout their chosen inquiry students used the design cycle as a guide to continuously reflect on their creative process.

Design Cycle

The aspect that makes student-led inquiry so powerful is ‘choice’. When students are allowed to pursue areas they are interested in, or passionate about, the learning becomes more authentic because the students are ‘constructing their own meaning’.  (click on the link to learn more about ‘Constructing Meaning)


Some people might read all of this and think, ‘It sounds like a lot of fun, but what are they learning?’ The answer is, they are learning how to learn, while at the same time developing skills that will be useful for the rest of their lives.

Skills students learn and develop through student-led inquiry.

Research skills: Formulating questions, observing, collecting, organizing and synthesizing information.

Self-management: Gross & fine motor, spatial awareness, organization, time management.

Thinking skills: Acquisition of knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, dialectical thought and metacognition.

Communication skills: Listening, speaking, reading, writing and non-verbal

Social skills: Accepting responsibility, respecting others, cooperating, resolving conflict, group decision making and adopting a variety of group roles.

We are all looking forward to seeing what the students produce by the end of this unit, but more importantly we will celebrate their journey, the learning, and knowledge they construct along the way.

Mike Mansell

PYP Coordinator

Multilingual Living

To have another language is to possess a second soul.
— Charlemagne (742/7 – 814), King of the Franks

Multilingual Living is one of my favorite terms as it encompasses so much! We live in a world of great linguistic and cultural diversity. More than half of the world’s population grows up with more than one language.  There are, on the other hand, language communities that are monolingual too. Many adults speak more than one language, and some “mix” those languages when speaking, a practice called “code-switching”. Don’t be worried if you hear you child switching languages as they speak- it is not due to lack of vocabulary but very often, code-switchers are very highly proficient in the languages concerned.

Being in a school community, like ours, consisting mainly of expats separated from their core families and cultures, families are thrown into different cultures, social class, traditions, and languages. It is important to learn the language in order to accelerate the integration and decrease the sense of insecurity felt when one moves to a new country. Language barriers often exacerbate intercultural misunderstandings and can be frustrating.

Without losing sight of one’s own cultural identity and cross-cultural exchanges one must foster mutual understanding between expats and the host population.

This is our opportunity to forge a new identity in which language is one of the cornerstones of inter-penetration into a different culture.

As we all know, studying a language is different from living a language.  There is a very directed and purposeful process that occurs when we study a language. At IST (Elementary) we have made a conscious decision to live the host country language. As you walk around the school you will see Happy New Year in Kiswahili


Since the beginning of the school year our Languages department along with the teaching assistants have been working on raising the profile of Kiswahili.

Phrases of the week have found themselves tagged to the end of emails and memos, up in classrooms and used by adults and students.

Some classes have created Kiswahili corners in the classroom with artifacts and labeling done in Kiswahili


There are new signs in the non-fiction part of the Library in English and Kiswahili. These will make it easier for pre-readers and Kiswahili speakers from our local school visitors to find books.

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Friday 15 Jan- our designated Furahia Siku focused on the

Kiswahili Culture and Language. The staff and students were encouraged to wear traditional Tanzanian dress or the colors of the Tanzanian Flag.


The morning assembly was a full on event with a khanga fashion show. The Khangas carried different messages and the students loved the catwalk. The choir sang beautifully. The assembly finished with a Ngoma dance to the traditional African drum beats.

Following the assembly all grades had a carousel of activities and teachers accompanied their classes to the stations being run by the Teaching Assistants. Teachers and kids were engaged in the activities and thoroughly enjoyed the morning!

A plethora of activities included-

  • Display of Tanzanian artifacts
  • Playing games like- Kioo, simba game
  • Songs and actions to Ukuti Ukuti,
  • Khanga demonstration
  • Plaiting and braiding
  • Traditional dances
  • Weaving
  • Storytelling etc.

Do remember to talk to your children about it over the weekend and you could have them teach you a game or a phrase that they have learnt.

Look out for our upcoming theme week- Celebrating Language Diversity in the second week of February. More information about this will be coming your way soon.

On a lighter note- “Only in English do you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway!”

Photographs from our Kiswahili Language and Culture Day