Newsflash: August 28, 2020

Admin News

Thank you all for your feedback on our updated Remote Learning 3.0 program. After almost a month, we are pleased to note that feedback on the updates has been overwhelmingly positive! We will continue to seek ways to improve, so please do not hesitate to send any feedback via a teacher or principal. As our students and faculty continue to learn how to perfect their use of new apps and systems, we expect learning will settle into a new routine, where student progress is possible without having to spend extra energy on setting new processes up!

Virtual Parent Coffee meeting

Thank you parents for your role in helping our students to focus on their learning. This is a challenging task, so the focus for our next Virtual Parent Coffee meeting next Wednesday, Sept. 2nd at 10 am, will be exploring ways to help you do this. I hope you can join us! (A link to the meeting will be emailed to your registered email prior to the meeting for security.)

CIS Corporation AGM

The Annual Meeting of the CIS Corporation will be held via videoconference on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 5pm. In order to attend, parents need to become Corporation members. As outlined in last week’s Newsflash, all parents are eligible to become members. Please contact Ms. Azela Diapana adiapana@cis.edu.ph. (Superintendent’s Secretary and CIS Corporation Secretary) for registering details, or for more information.

(make sure you’re a registered Corporation member!)

We encourage you to become a Corporation member and support CIS through the election of Trustee members, and fulfilling our company requirements for the SEC.

Have a wonderful long weekend!

Class of 2020 IB DP Results

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 for achieving impressive results in the IB Diploma Programme even during a world pandemic!

Overall, despite a smaller cohort than in the past few years, and an unusual exam session (which did not actually involve any external examinations), our students continue to perform well in the IB Diploma Programme.

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal

Dear Elementary Community,

Thank you for another week. There is no doubt that Remote Learning prompted CIS to adopt a new teaching pedagogy. It has been discussed before that between March 16th, 2020 and June 5th 2020, CIS was engaged in what we describe as Emergency Learning. However, with a lot of summer holiday upskilling we have now adopted a new approach to learning and teaching.


The SMAR model was made popular by Dr. Ruben Puentedura with the goal of transform the way learning happens in order to achieve;

    • deeper student engagement
    • personalise learning
    • authentic learning

At the lowest level, educational technology tools are used as a substitution for traditional teaching approaches, for example an iPad may be used to directly replace the page of a text book, or a laptop may directly replace a pencil and paper when writing an essay. However, at the highest level of redefinition we see educational technology being used to engage learners in ways that were previously not possible. In schools such as CIS, many of our learning technology used often hovers around the modification zone, occasionally touching redefinition when we provide students with the inspiration and agency to really explore authentic possibilities.

Some may ask, “Why is this important?” “Why is my child not being taught to memorize math facts or rote learn spelling words?” They are learning these things, maybe not in the same way you may have. However as parents it is so important for us to realize that the world we now live in, and used to live in, is not the world our children will live in. COVID-19 has been a reminder of this. If we do not prepare our children with the ability to redefine the way they learn, it is likely that one of two things may happen;

  1. either our children will not be prepared for the world that is coming
  2. or they will chose to separate themselves from our current institutions of learning, making traditional learning institutions irrelevant, and they will develop their own more authentic modes of learning.

There is no doubt that Covid-19, and the resulting remote learning environment has been difficult for each of us, but out of this we have all been forced into a new learning and teaching pedagogy that would have otherwise taken a lot longer time to achieve. In the book, Disrupting Class, Clayton M. Christensen discusses the impact of disruption Innovation on education and the future workforce. He explains that everything that can be automated will be automated, completely disrupting the future of the traditional workforce. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be able to do a lot more than we think it can, and will do it faster and more accurately than humans. Clayton does not say this to scare us, but rather to prepare us. It might be good to ask ourselves the question, “What place does rote learning math facts play in such a world?”

At CIS we seek to honour the traditions and experience of those who have gone before us, while also asking the questions and redefining the learning that will enable us to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world.

Mandarin and Spanish Remote Learning

During our first and second week, Spanish and Mandarin elementary students continue their foreign language journey. The KG/G1, students have reviewed numbers and colors, they joined the Google Meet for color games, counting numbers from 1-10 and even 100. KG/G1 students also learned how to express their feelings by reading The Color Monster. The Grade 2 and 3 students have introduced themselves and their families, their age, and favourite color. This week we have been working on expressing feelings, they made an  emoji poster and practiced writing the words in Spanish and Mandarin. The Grade 4 and 5students have shared all  about themselves by completing the Know Me and All about me charts. Mandarin students wrote a greeting letter and made a Flipgrid video to introduce them for their Pen Pal collaborative project with another international school in India.


Grade 5 Remote Learning

The Grade 5 students have been learning how to stretch their brains by taking risks, developing new skills, diving deeper with their thinking, and showing persistence by continuing with difficult challenges. Through literacy, students have learned to enhance their writing through the use of powerful vocabulary, and they are learning that patterns are a significant aspect of mathematics. Another aspect of the Grade 5 remote learning has led them to explore the world of advertising and identify many techniques that are used to persuade people. We want to learn to be discerning consumers, responsibly taking our place in the world.

Several of our Grade 5 students have developed additional skills during remote learning. Haesueng has taken up cooking, check out his video!

PE Remote Learning

This week marks our fourth week of remote learning. Despite the circumstances right now, students were still able to enjoy, socialize with classmates, move and do several active games and activities. One of the PE highlights was the ‘60- second Fitness Challenge’ which motivated everyone in class to give their best while doing the challenge. This also helped them understand and realize their strengths and weaknesses. Our PE synchronous sessions helped a lot with students’ social-emotional skills.

Here are a few responses from our Grade 5 students:

  • “I loved how GOOD it made me feel, one or two days later! Just like Coach Jay said! Thank you Coach Jay!” – Sinead
  • “I like it because it’s a good exercise.” – Kuto
  • “This is so funny some people were kicking balls and some were kicking stuff animals haha but it was really fun.” – Ariann
  • “This made me crack up I look hilarious This exercise was awesome!” –  Savannah
  • “I like it because it keeps me fit.” – Aryan
  • “It was fun and really tiring but I kept trying and I’m pretty happy with 23 points.” – Daniel M.

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

Digital Well-being, Part II

As I shared two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend several virtual courses over the summer specifically focused on effective on-line instruction and the implementation of technology to help our MHS navigate this season of remote learning. As parents, screen time is one of the challenges we may encounter in general and may particularly struggle with within the scope of remote learning as our children are now, by necessity, spending so much time with their screens. 

Key question: How much screen time is too much?
This is a difficult question to answer and, as parents, we must negotiate what is right in meeting the unique needs of our respective families. A good rule of thumb, though, is that it likely is too much when the online activity, regardless of length of time, interferes with other aspects that are essential for a whole and balanced life, like spending time with the family. If other priorities fall by the wayside, or if your child’s sleep or exercise are suffering, then it may be that a child has a problem with too much screen time or with managing the amount of time they have. Another related factor that may help in answering this question is to look at how screen time affects your kids emotionally. If you find that your kids are moody after a lengthy session of gaming or chatting online with friends, then it might be too much.

It’s also important to remember that our kids have been cut off socially for several months now, and in our case here in Cebu, not even allowed to leave their houses except for emergencies, not even able to go out to a restaurant or see a movie. Our children haven’t been able to do what they are used to doing and so they are socializing on their devices as a default. We return to the idea of balance and having the wisdom to choose our battles carefully and also show understanding and empathy for our children’s situation.

Another important question to consider is: “What are the kids doing online?”
Some online activities are wonderful, and even educational. Pause and ask yourself whether your children are using what they are encountering online in a purposeful way. Also inquire and reflect on how they are interacting with the online content. 

All to say, with regard to screen time, it is important to pay attention to what our children are actually doing when they are online. It could be helpful to become familiar with the games your kids are playing so you can understand them and set reasonable boundaries (they might get really excited that you want to try playing with them). This will help you to be more understanding but also recognize if your kids are making unjustified excuses. For example, if they are playing a multiplayer game, they might legitimately need “just 5 more minutes” (i.e.  legitimately need a bit more time to be fair to the other players in the game who may be collaboratively resolving the scenario they are in).

It is important for us to recognize that screen-time is not monolithic, not summarily good or bad. As with most tools and blessings in life, some online activity can be very useful and even help our children learn, while other activity may be unacceptable or even harmful to them.

Starting the new year in the DP

by Emily Cornet, DP Coordinator

For our 11th graders, these first few weeks of the new school year have been all about the introductions to their new courses in which they will be enrolled over the next two years. Some students have been working to find the right combination of classes, while others are settling into their schedules and beginning their exploration of Mandarin, Physics, History, among others.

Our 12th graders have picked up where they left off at the start of the summer, with many courses continuing their work on their IB Internal Assessments. 12th grade students are building their knowledge and depth of understanding, while at the same time adapting to the new adjustments set by the IB that changes some of the expected topics of the course (for the May 2021 exam session only) in light of remote learning.

While the 11th graders are just now starting to learn about the Extended Essay, a key component of the IB Diploma Program, many of the 12th graders are getting closer to completing their Extended Essay journey as they move towards finishing their final copy for submission to the IB as well as completing their viva voce interview process.

Learning Engagements in MHS

by Ms. Gerri Ancajas Jumao-as, Visual Arts Teacher

Grade 9B Visual Arts Class

The Grade 9B class has been investigating ‘composition’ for their unit on Still Life Drawing. Students have been exploring various techniques on how to approach still life drawing, specifically composition. They experimented with different ways to arrange and place visual elements in a piece of work using very simple shapes as the building blocks. They had to grasp the techniques in drawing through a formative exercise on composition using simple geometric shapes with IT integration. They applied their skills in creating different compositions showing different moods such as happy, lively, lonely, sad, tension, angry, congestion, and strength.

Here are some of the students’ products:

Maki: Order
Bella: Congestion
Dennis: Order
Jandra: Angry
Bryan: Increasing
Marianne: Strength
Seohyun: Tension
Max: Lonely

Psychology 10 Presentations

Psychology 10 is a semester-long course designed to give students a basic overview and understanding of the subject; this will help students to make an informed choice if they select Psychology as one of their DP subjects entering Grade 11. The students have learned that psychology aims to be empirical, and that there are many approaches to understanding behavior; thus, students have worked on guides to organize and review different approaches and research methods. The Unit One global context centers on identities and relationships. Students will explore identities, different beliefs, values, and approaches.  Part of their learning engagement task is to research the different approaches and analyze how these approaches reflect and explain human behavior and mental processes. 

Here are some of the students’ sample slides and reflections:

I think I have learned the basics on a topic I was very excited to learn. I think sociocultural psychology tells me also the process of culture being assimilated to different countries, so I can definitely say this topic was very useful. ~ Jun Jang

From my presentation I undoubtedly learned a lot about the ideas and the focus around the Cognitive Approach. Through this project, I learned all about the area of psychology I focused on. And by going into detail to talk about the main theories and key figures that surrounded this subject, I fully grasped the purpose and objective of the Cognitive Approach. ~ Sean Killen

While making this presentation, I learned a lot about structuralism and functionalism as two schools of thought in Psychology. I learned that the psychologist at that time treated thoughts and mental processes like how they would treat rocks and compounds which, as we know now, isn’t the proper approach to how our thoughts and behavior work. I also learned that these schools of thought influenced methods of analyzing the mental processes and the educational system in general. – Julianna Chan

Starting off the research was a pretty hard process. I wasn’t sure how to start or where to start. I began watching videos of my topic (Watson Behaviourism). Once I started understanding my topic more I started having fun learning and understanding more about the subject. I learned a lot about Watson’s theory of behaviour and I gathered that a lot of people, myself including, disagree with his theory, which is that we should only concern ourselves with what we can see and not concern ourselves with mental events and physiological processes. ~ Lea Fridrich

At first, I wasn’t sure how to start the given assessment. It is better to do something rather than do nothing, so I started to search about my topic (B.F.Skinner). After I started to understand the concept of the assignment, I learned a lot more about my topic than I expected. From my topic, I learn Skinner’s theory of behaviourism and his different results of experiments. Not many, but some people had disagreed with most of Skinner’s theory, which represents limitations of behaviorism. ~ Chewon Yang

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College Counselor

Tip for the Week

In a webinar hosted by UKEAS on Writing Effective Personal Statements , Lesley Thirkell of the University of St. Andrews shared statistics on the number of students who started their personal statements with these phrases. 

Tip:  Use an opening phrase that is unique and catchy.  Refrain from using the examples below.  The number shows how many times these opening phrases have appeared in essays over the past couple of years. 

The Student World Virtual Fair

Connect with 80 universities from all over the world on September 3, 2020 at 5:00PM (PH time).  Find your university overseas! Chat live with top international universities and government agencies.  Have your questions answered on programmes, application processes and moreRegister for free using this  link.

Find out how to navigate a Virtual Fair:

Japan University Consortium


Upcoming webinars

Study in Japan
August 30, 2020 Sunday
3:00PM PH time

To register, click here: https://japanuniconsortium.typeform.com/to/drhPRY

The webinar will last 1 hour with a 30 minute presentation covering applying to universities in Japan – How to apply: standardized tests, deadlines, AO (Admission Office) Entrance Exam and more! There will be 30 minutes at the end for Q&A from a panel of experts from member universities listed below.

Scholarships and Financial Aid
September 30, 2020 Wednesday – 3:00PM PH Time
To register, click here: https://japanuniconsortium.typeform.com/to/drhPRY

Kyoto University of Advanced Science (KUAS)

KUAS Webinar: Information Session
Date: September 4th (Fri)
Time: 16:00 – 17:30 Filipino Time
Registration Form: please register using this Link

SAT Update

Please note that most universities have gone test-optional.  This means they do not require test scores for students to be eligible for admission.

Below are the future test dates which may be subject to change till further notice from the College Board due to quarantine restrictions.

2020-2021 Test DatesTestRegistration Deadline
August 29, 2020CANCELLED
September 26, 2020SAT only (no Subject tests)August 26, 2020
October 3, 2020SAT & SAT Subject TestsSeptember 4, 2020
November 7, 2020SAT & SAT Subject TestsOctober 7, 2020
December 5, 2020SAT & SAT Subject TestsNovember 5, 2020
March 13, 2021SAT only (no Subject tests)February 12, 2021
May 8, 2021SAT & SAT Subject TestsApril 8, 2021
June 5, 2021SAT & SAT Subject TestsMay 6, 2021

To register for the SAT, you may click on this link.  If you need assistance, please feel free to email Ms. Jenny Basa at jbasa@cis.edu.ph.

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