Category Archives: Class News

Goodbye, kwaheri, adios, au revoir, tot ziens!

As the school year comes to an end, we’d like to take some time to thank the following:

  • The students:  Thank you for putting in continuous effort despite various challenges! You are all stars and each one of you shines in their own special way.
  • The parents:  Thank you for your continuous support!  We couldn’t do it without you.
  • The teachers:  Thank you for your flexibility and team efforts!  Together we can make a difference in many childrens’ lives.

We would like to say a super big thank you and goodbye to the following leaving Student Services teachers:

  • Tammy Schaapherder (Grade 5 Learning Support)
  • Shona Sarkar (KG EAL and French)
  • Klara Jaeger (G3-5 Counselor)
  • Heidi Fitzgerald (Early Intervention)

Thank you for your years of dedicated support.  You helped make the Student Services department to what it is today.   You will be missed!

For those families moving to new destinations…safari njema! Good luck on your new adventures!

For those of you returning…enjoy the holidays and see you in August!

Happy holidays!

The Student Services Team


Play Board Games and Card Games!!

Popular Board Games
Popular Board Games

The Benefits of Playing Board and Card Games
As we approach the long holiday, many IST families will be travelling. One of the activities on most peoples list of holiday fun is shopping, for all the things that are either expensive or unavailable in Tanzania! One of the items on many parents shopping list is toys and games for children – for their next birthday, other cultural celebration and gifts for others for the year ahead. It is easy to select popular items such as lego, sports equipment, art and craft supplies, play dough etc but forget about another type of toy that children of all ages will enjoy and benefit from too – board games and card games.

Some examples of popular board games are Monopoly, Cluedo, Settlers of Catan, Chess, Scrabble, Snakes and Ladders, Trivial Pursuit and Battleships. Some examples of popular card games are Uno, Snap, Happy Families, Go Fish and Top Trumps. The article below talks about the many benefits of playing games with your children. Benefits include mental agility, maths skills, language skills, social skills, decision making, learning to lose skills and strategy skills.

Maybe the two most important benefits are that they are a fun alternative to screen-based activities and are an opportunity to spend quality time with your child and as a family. So update your summer shopping list and include a couple or board games and card games!


Math, anyone?

Somehow, mathematics continues to be one of the subjects that students most often consider themselves to be simply “good at” or “not.”

This is really an unfortunate way for children to think, especially as recent research shows that everyone is able to achieve mathematical thinking to a high level. It’s not that some children are more mathematically inclined than others, it’s just that the skills we require to reach these levels do need practice, (like with sports, or learning a new instrument, if we would like to get better at it).

Building on Number Sense:

Number sense here is defined here as the ability to use and think about numbers in flexible ways. More on this topic can be found in the link below.


This week, we would like to share with you some links that can help students to learn to be confident using and manipulating numbers.  The links below can support any child to review number bonds, as well as strengthening their number sense through fun games available online.

Basic skills:

Basic Operations bingo


For further reading on how parents and teachers can help to promote the development of positive attitude towards math:

Please enjoy!


Living as we do in the Information Age, it comes as no surprise to see children, as young as three, quite at home in using an ipad or even a computer. Children now function in a time where technology drives almost every aspect of their lives. With this in mind, integrating technology into the classroom has now begun to play an important role in schools.

Technological integration has numerous advantages when it plays an active role throughout the process of teaching and learning. In the case of ESL learners, technological integration increases student engagement and motivation, as it helps New to English learners overcome their shyness and motivates them in their language acquisition. It ensures that ESL students become well versed in the skills and language that requires them to function in a global environment.

The use of technology offers mobility. Teachers and students are not confined to a classroom. Lessons can be planned in such a way that it allows materials to be accessed through smart phones, laptops and tablets. All the online communication and alerts keep students thinking about the material long after the lesson is done. The benefits of the use of technology in learning, is that it promotes independent learning. Text-to-speech features, interactive text books etc. enable an ESL student to enjoy and read books above their level as unknown words can be defined.

Through technology, an ESL student gets to learn the language in a meaningful way and in context. Whether they are visiting social media sites, reading or listening to the news or participating in online discussions, this experience becomes rich and meaningful.

Given below are some content specific tools for our ESL learners:

Comic Maker – a great application, which gives students the independence to create their own characters and write their own comics. This gives them good reading and writing practice.

News in levels – designed specifically for ESL students, it includes relevant videos with each article. Readers can comment via Facebook on the article.

Re-Wordify – type, copy or paste difficult texts and it translates it into simpler language for the child to understand.

Books that grow – ability to change the reading level on the same topic.

CommonLit – free collection of poems, stories, articles, documents.

Windows Movie Maker – for creating video presentations.

Prezi – showcasing their learning through PowerPoint or Prezi presentations.

Reading is Thinking!

As parents, we have all looked forward to that magical time when we snuggle with our children and a good book and transport ourselves to another world. However we have also experienced the time when after a long, tiring day at work; we have found ourselves automatically reading an entire page or two while our brain has been simultaneously making a list of jobs still to do. It is not until our child asks a question or makes a comment that we realize we have no idea what we just read! This type of reading fluently without comprehension is simply ‘word calling’.

All teachers of reading evaluate both a child’s reading fluency, as well as, his or her comprehension. Some children appear to be good readers, but are reading on ‘autopilot’ with little or no comprehension. Reading is a complex, active process of constructing meaning.

When studying the behaviors of good readers as opposed to poor readers, researchers found that proficient readers continually monitor their comprehension. Lori Jamison Rog has developed a simple metaphor of a remote control to assist readers in monitoring their own comprehension. This simple intervention can be used as a bookmark to remind children to stop and reflect as they are reading.

Remote Control Bookmark for Comprehension

We all knew there were 5 senses but now number sense?

As teachers and  parents, we may use or hear the words ‘number sense’ being thrown out a lot to describe children’s learning in Maths. This refers to the sort of intuition about numbers that we develop over time. The more we work with objects – i.e. hold them, count them, manipulate them – the better our understanding of quantities. Think of having measured a teaspoon of vanilla in about 6 batches of cookies, we tend to have a good idea about how much one teaspoon is.

Number sense also has to do with an understanding of the written number. Young children have to learn that the number ‘3’ refers to a certain quantity of objects. Later, they learn the difference between numbers like 13 and 31, and get a sense of these quantities in their heads.

The best way to develop number sense is to give kids a lot of hands-on opportunities to play with quantities and numbers.  Certain skills are considered to be an important part of number sense, which can be individually learned and practiced (at school and at home):

5 of the common number sense skills children need:

  • Naming numbers and counting: Students learn the pattern of counting numbers (13,14,15 is similar to 21, 22, 23). They learn the relationship between numbers (40 is ten more than 30). They also learn the names of numbers, and begin to have a sense of how many objects each number refers to.
  • Comparing numbers:Students look at which number is greater; 150 or 163? This is also referred to as ‘greater than, less than’. Students need to understand how numbers compare to one another and show an understanding of the words ‘greater than’, ‘less than’, and ‘equal’ and to use the symbols: <, > and =.
  • Odd and even numbers: Even numbers of objects can all be paired up; students can look at it as each number has a ‘friend’. Odd numbers, when put in pairs, have one left without a friend. Initially, students will need to physically count the numbers to see if they can be paired up. This will become more automatic when students have memorized patterns for which numbers are odd and which are even.
  • Sequencing/ordering numbers: If given the number 23, a student should be able to tell me you the next number that comes in the sequence: 24, 25. They should be able to count backwards from a number: 80, 79, 78.
  • Rounding numbers: First and second graders will learn to round 2-digit numbers to the nearest tens place using a number line or another visual. They will learn to tell which number in the tens place is closest to their number, and then round to that number.

Practical activities to do with children at home:

  • Counting activities: counting to 100, counting backwards (up and down steps, backwards jump rope), skip counting (chants, how many shoes in the house?), ordinal numbers
  • Place value activities: counting coins (in stacks of 10), objects (e.g. beans – count 10 and put them in a pile, count another 10 until they don’t make enough to make a 10s pile. Then add the leftover ones)
  • Comparing numbers: guess which is greater (introducing/exposing them to the vocabulary)


Student Led Conferences

Next Thursday, March 17th students throughout the school will be sharing their learning through student led conferences. The student support team members from English as an Additional Language, the learning support, and counseling will all have a variety of activities available in their classrooms that your child can share with you.


Please remember to allow your child to take the lead in these conferences. This is not the time to ask the teacher about the progress of your child. Please make a separate appointment on a different day to do this.


Here are some conversation starters that may be helpful:


What do you enjoy most or least from this learning activity?


What makes you proud of this piece of work?


I am proud of your improvement in…


What do you enjoy most about this class?

Learning Styles

We look forward to welcoming the children back to school this Wednesday, 24th February.  Tonnes of excitement was experienced at school, prior to the break, with Celebrating Language Diversity Week and the EPN’s Friendship Duka.  Hopefully, the short break incorporated a play-date, or two, as well as precious time spent with family.

Staff at both campuses are undergoing Professional Development before the students’ return to school.  Teachers, like students, are continually learning and, also like students, have different learning needs and preferences.  As well as providing an opportunity to collaborate, exchange ideas, expand our skill-set and increase our knowledge, days like these often remind us what it feels like to be on the receiving end of instruction, participating in learning environments that may, or may not, play to our strengths.  Do we thrive in group situations, or do we find ourselves feeling a little self-conscious and outside of our comfort zone?  Would we rather be provided with new information that we can visualise, or would we prefer to listen to an explanation, or perhaps have a direct hands-on approach, physically experiencing something new for ourselves?  Professional Development sessions, like classrooms, need to appeal to a wide range of individual personalities and learning preferences, incorporating a variety of activities, as well as providing moments for reflection, in order to engage and motivate learners.

At the start of the academic year, the majority of classrooms would have carried out activities with students, to help determine their preferred learning styles and, thereby, help guide our teaching.  The website recommends re-checking a child’s learning profile “periodically [as] exposure to different experiences as well as development itself can influence your child’s learning profile over time.”

If you are not already sure of your child’s preferred learning style, or you are slightly curious about your own, there are numerous informal questionnaires to be found on the Internet, which could provide a little insight.

The two websites that have been selected below are user friendly and free. – Learning Styles Quiz – Learning Personality Quiz

Learning Personality

Language Diversity Week

There has been great excitement this week with various activities led by both teachers and parents in the classroom and around the school, celebrating the diversity of languages spoken at I.S.T. We started the week with students of the same language meeting together for a home-language read-in. On Wednesday the students explored different languages through the language carousel: twister, Chinese whispers, dancing, singing, jump rope, hopscotch, Simon says and storytelling were some of the activities that took place during the carousel. We ended the week with an assembly showcasing the many languages spoken in our school.

Celebrating Language Diversity on PhotoPeach