Newsflash: February 11, 2021

 Admin News

Dear CIS Community,

We have had another busy week at school, and I encourage you to take some time to enjoy the event reports and student work that we provide. These are submitted from various grade levels and subjects, on a cyclical basis to give you a good idea of what is happening in our remote classes.

In particular, congratulations to our G11 and 12 Visual Art students for the successful launch of their IB Visual Arts Exhibition. Check out samples of their stunning work below and on their exhibition website. 

We also kicked off our Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations this morning with the Elementary School CNY Assembly. This will be followed by the Middle/High School CNY assembly on Monday. Actually, I should not say the assembly kicked off the CNY today, as our Mandarin students have been using the annual event to learn and practice Chinese language and culture in their classes for weeks now. I should know, my daughter has been bursting into the catchy song Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (“New Year, Happy” in English), sung in the classic tune “Oh my darling, oh my darling…” for weeks now!

Finally, I wanted to comment on our upcoming CIS Virtual Open Day this coming March 5th (see poster below). As most of you already know, CIS lost a number of families following the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, as some families chose to go to their home country, or wait for us to return to campus before returning. Since then, we have managed to keep our enrolment at a fairly stable level with new families replacing the few that needed to leave, however, our total student number is still below our pre-pandemic levels. This coming Open Day is a great opportunity for existing families to help our community to recover our numbers by encouraging friends and family to attend the upcoming Open Day to learn about CIS, and consider joining us now or for the 2021/22 school year. You are our best ambassadors (students, parents, alumni, and CIS friends), so please help us to make this event successful, for the benefit of the whole CIS community. Thank you in advance! 

Perhaps it is due to being another rainy day, but I know a number of teachers and students felt like it was already Friday today, and were glad for the upcoming long weekend. I imagine many parents were too! While we enjoy work or school, it is also nice to get an extra day to get a good break from the routine of work and study, especially with the unique challenges remote learning brings. Have a restful weekend and I see you back refreshed next week!

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè / 新年快乐 / Gong Shi Fai Tsai / Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!


Dr. Gwyn Underwood

CIS Superintendent


Save the date: Parent Coffee Meeting next week

Please note we have our next virtual Parent Coffee Meeting on Wednesday, February 17, 10-11 am. This meeting will be run by the PTA Board, and is a great opportunity to meet and chat with other parents. (The link to the meeting will be emailed to registered email addresses prior to the meeting.)

CIS Virtual Open Day

We have a Virtual Open Day planned for March 5th! Please help CIS by inviting any of your friends and family to join us to find out more about our program, especially if they are considering CIS already. We will be providing information on our curriculum, introduce our various programs, and answer questions about international education. Participants may sign up using this link.

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary School Principal

Dear Elementary Community,

We recently passed 100 days of school for the 2020/2021 school year and so now find ourselves in the final third of the school year. Over the past weeks our teachers have been gathering progress data on our student’s learning, and as we see in the last third of each school year, the data is showing significant student progress, in helping with an average school year. This is what we would expect, as I know how hard each of our teachers have been working over these past months, yet it still provides a little feeling of relief knowing that the hard work is paying off.

Chinese New Year
This week comes with our Chinese New Year Celebrations. Today, Ms. Jinhua and the Elementary School Mandarin students shared an excellent Chinese New Year assembly. Please read all about the assembly below, then take a few minutes to view this if you haven’t had the opportunity yet.

新(xīn)年(nián)好(háo)!Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!

by Ms. Jinhua Zou, ES Mandarin Teacher

Chinese New Year is a traditional festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the Lunar Calendar. February 12 is the date of Chinese Lunar New Year in 2020. To celebrate the Year of the Ox on Thursday 11th February, the Elementary School Mandarin students hosted the first virtual Chinese New Year Assembly.

In the virtual Chinese New Year assembly, Grade 4&5 students created a storytelling video about the Monster “Nian” to explain why and how Chinese people celebrate the New Year. 

The Kinder and Grade 1 students sang “Happy New Year” to deliver the festival vibes to everyone, while Grade 4 hosted a great virtual quiz about Chinese traditions during the Lunar New Year. Mandarin students from different grade levels joined with our student their guest singer to sing and dance the song of the 12 Zodiac animals. Since it is the year of the Ox, the Grade 3 students and their guest singer  the from EY class taught everyone how to say Ox in Mandarin by singing the Niu Niu Niu song (牛牛牛之歌). Our EY class also joined the festival celebration with hand-made paper lanterns that they created in Art Class with Ms.Thea. Finally, the Mandarin students presented a quick language lesson on how to give the New Year wishes in Mandarin to our friends and family.

Click here to watch the Chinese Lunar New Year Assembly!

During the lead up to the assembly commemoration, the Elementary School Mandarin students also did several culture-related activities. The students visited the Mandarin virtual classroom decorated with Chinese New Year items. In the virtual classroom, they read a storybook, made lanterns, practiced writing “Happy New Year” in Chinese Characters, drew an Ox, watched the Lion Dance, watched the online fireworks in Beijing and played Kahoot. Kinder and Grade 1 also invited the Spanish language students to join the synchronous meeting for some storytelling, and get to know what zodiac animal they belong to. 

The Chinese New Year celebrations not only provided an opportunity for our students to construct new understandings about Chinese New Year, it also allowed them to enjoy the festival from the perspectives of other cultures in order to have a better understanding about intercultural communication and global awareness. 

Link of the virtual Mandarin classroom presentation: Chinese New Year Virtual Class

Student’s voice:

“I read the last one and the first one on the bookshelf, it is really fun, I really like it.” –  Jisoo, Grade 2 

“I like the story about the Nian monster because it is exciting and it shows the history of Chinese culture. The content I was really impressed about is the part of that nian monster was on the ground and people knew how to defeat the monster.” – Dammy, Grade 3

“I love the Chinese New Year virtual house! And my year is the rabbit! Tu zi. .” –  Yahvi, Grade 4

“I like how brave the people are to face the Nian monster.  They found a way to use loud noise and red color which is very smart. If there is a story about how Nian monster came from, I would really love to read it too.” Arrianna, Grade 5

The Mandarin students wish you all: Happy New Year! 新(xīn)年(nián)快(kuài)乐(lè),恭(gōng)喜(xǐ)发(fā)财(cái)! 

Sierra, Grade 1

Year of the Ox drawing:

Sooji, Grade 3
Dammy, Grade 3
Erin, Kinder

Kinder & Grade 1 Mandarin and Spanish students celebrating the festival together.

Grade 2 Students did their own Zodiac animals dance during the synchronous meet.

Happy New Year in Chinese Character: 

Jansen, Grade 3
Sooji, Grade 3
Cathrine, Kinder
Bella, Grade 3

Early Years: Exploring the world around us using our senses

Our young learners started last week by reading the story, “The Listening Walk” by Paul Showers. We explored different parts of our house by walking around and listening to different sounds. They made use of their sense of hearing as they explored and discovered different kinds of sounds around them. We talked about soft sounds and sounds that make them want to cover their ears. They also enjoyed our Mystery box challenge where our learners were asked to place an object inside a box, shake and guess the object inside. They participated and spent the rest of their time playing the game with family members. 

Our young learners reflected on how our sense of hearing and sense of sight work hand in hand to help people observe things around them. This week, we started exploring using our sense of touch by using our hands and our whole body to identify different textures. We also shared our ideas about the story, “Lucy’s Picture” written by Nicola Moon. We realized that adding texture in our artworks would help others identify pictures by touching or feeling. Our senses play an important part in our lives. Taking good care of these senses will help us with our daily activities.  Well done EY2/3s!

Kinder and Grade 1 Tamaraws 

As we enter the new year, the Kinder and Grade 1 students embark on a new unit on Where We Are In Place and Time. We started the first line of inquiry “People move for different reasons” through class discussions the students talked about how they moved from one place to another. One student said, “Other people move because they don’t have the internet” which we can relate to in our current situation. Students took photos of things in their house that move and explained the reasons why. They also inquired about different transportations and their features. Some questions that arose were:

How does it take us to where we want to go?
Is it safe to be in this kind of transportation?

The students continued to inquire and wore their thinking hats.

As the unit progressed to the second line of inquiry which is “Movement has changed overtime”,  students watched videos and read books on different transportation, how it looked like before and how it looks like now. A lot of questions were asked. They compared and talked about the differences and similarities of each transportation. One student said “The transportation before was simpler”.  Students then created their own transportation prototype during Design Day 2 which they think can help others move. It was something that they thought about for a couple of days; working on their plans, gathering the materials they needed and making their imaginations into reality. At the end of the day, they were very happy to share what they have made.

The third line of inquiry is “Movement allows us to connect with others”. Students were asked to make a travel map and a book about the different transportations. They were very excited to share some of their ideas and a sneak peek of what their book looked like, added a few illustrations and others inserted a real photo. They even highlighted some of their works using their favorite non-fiction feature which is the label. They worked all week for their book, coming up with some real series of stories about their travels, others were making their own kind of transportations with added twists and just drawing what they wanted others to see. It was fun for most of them especially during Fridays when they get to turn on their microphones and talk about their book.

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

Integrating the Visual and Performing Arts at CIS 

Our annual grade 11 and 12 IB DP Visual Arts Exhibition was launched on Tuesday this week, and provides a great springboard for us to focus on the Fine Arts as a critical subject for our students’ holistic development, combining important aspects of both critical and creative thinking. As was stated in the opening assembly:

There are many important reasons why we love the fine arts, too many to enumerate here. For me the fine arts is a set of disciplines intentionally designed as a platform for our students to be able to create. In the hierarchy of cognitive thinking levels, studies have shown that creating is the very highest and most complex level. When we create we build on previous knowledge, apply it (or the aspects of it that suit our purpose) and then we generate something new. In DP Visual Arts students certainly do conduct plenty of research into various artistic styles, movements, and individual artists, giving them a foundation of content knowledge which helps to guide them and allows them to understand the context within which they create (for none of us creates in a vacuum). But in the end it is the students who translate their ideas and express them in the visual forms we see today; these works of art you will encounter are expressions of their hearts, their minds, and their spirits.

The grade 11 and 12 IB DP Visual Arts Exhibition this year was entitled STORIES, and this year was an online exhibition featuring a preview of some of our students’ resolved work for the completion of the IB DP visual arts course. This annual exhibition is organized by the incumbent grade 11 DP Visual Arts students in preparation for their course exhibition in grade 12. As prescribed in the IB Visual Arts course guide, students, within the two year DP course, should gradually develop the skills necessary to organize an exhibition wherein they conceive a theme, prepare a body of work, and curate the resulting artworks. The grade 11 Visual Art class developed the title, poster, and exhibition statement by contemplating on the collective essence of the works that you will find in the gallery on this site.

The Exhibition began with a video prior to the opening to share our principal’s message and performances from our music and band classes, thus integrating several of our arts subjects within the event. This has become a tradition for the CIS bands- to support the Visual Arts Department in the opening of their annual Exhibition.

This year the band students put together some videos to show their support.  Upper Elementary and MHS band students recorded two new band pieces called “Rattlesnake!” and “Old Town Road.”  Although each student recorded his or her part separately, the videos were combined, Zoom style, to create the final product. The challenge with this type of video is to synchronize all the parts so that it sounds like a live band performance. This requires students to follow a backing track carefully so that the parts will be in sync when they are put together.

In addition to musical skills, editing skills are required as well to put these videos together.  Thank you to the students who participated in making these videos and to Ms. Justine Condor for helping edit the videos into a polished final product.

Typically visitors are able to stroll through the exhibition, allowing the artists to explain their artwork. This year this portion of the exhibition was conducted virtually, like everything else, but our student artists made themselves available to the visitors and were able to explain their artwork with a sense of expertise, aesthetic perspective, and a sense of purpose and deep understanding for what they had created.

This year’s exhibition poster was created by Kyoungmin Seo and the exhibition statement written by Sofia Villagonzalo and Sakura Imai

Please find a sample of each our of grade 12 student’s impressive artistic creations:

The Truth Behind The Mask – by Jieun Jeon
Small World of Imagination – by Sun-woo Lee
Eternal Sunset – by Kevin Sandoval
‘Débile’ – by Denise Heredia
My Time in Quarantine – by Zandro Jumao-as

Grade 9A Visual Arts

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

The Grade 9A class have currently been busy developing their drawing skills through a series of formative drawing exercises.  An example of this would be their Messy Origami Drawing, the goal of which is to improve students’ ability to capture proportion and develop shading skills.  The task is to get a blank white paper, crumple it up, and draw all the lines, creases, folds, and shadows that appear in the “messy paper”.

Here are some of our students’ works and reflections. 

 I think I did pretty well on this task since I thought it would be harder than it actually was. I will admit that it was one of the harder tasks that we had since it’s really structured and you had to get every angle and every fold correct. I think the part I struggled with the most is getting the shading correct since some parts were completely shaded from the light and then some were so exposed to the light. It was also really hard getting each fold to be evident in the drawing and I think that’s the part that I struggled with the most. – Natalie 

Overall, I’m happy with these drawings because I did my best and the results were good. Especially, I think I measured size well and added details. The proportion of paper and the drawing is balanced. However, I still need an improvement for the shading and I think I can improve this part if I keep practicing it. – Minseong

For my first drawing, I did really well with the folds and form as well as proportion of the paper. My feedback  was just to add more light tones and values in the drawing and next time I can crumple my paper a little differently so that my drawing isn’t as similar as my first one. I didn’t add enough light tones, so next time I could improve that. – Esther 

I think that the drawings I made came out fine, they came out better than I expected. I think that I did an ok job at putting shadow.  I struggle to make the drawing pop like a 3d version.  I think that I could improve by watching some tutorials on youtube and following the tutorial. – Clark 

Another useful exercise this class engaged in was the Dramatic Lighting Exercise:  The goal of this exercise is to improve observation skills and know how and where to place shadows in the drawing. The task is to observe the objects and note the differences between shadows and the object’s surface and shadows on the ground being cast by the object, and accurately draw them.

Here are some of the students’ works and reflections:

For some or most of the areas, trying to blend the lines together worked too well, and there was some loss of form and definition. Otherwise, I think that I just need to learn how to match the tones, because some of the shadows are either too light or too faded to really make a difference. The use of darker pencils could also help with that. – Zeke 

Overall I think I did a pretty good job with most aspects, like the shape and the proportions for every drawing. I think I can improve on the shadings of my shadows. My feedback was that I could have made the main shadows darker, and there are some visible strokes that can be seen clearly. Next time, I can improve on shading darker, and when I shade I should make less visible strokes. – Liam

The cup is a bit too small compared to the reference, but I figured out how to highlight the edges of the cup without shading in the whole thing since the cup is supposed to be white. The shadow should also be a little flatter. – Mahati

I believe that my drawings got better with every next exercise. The areas I think I did well in are the tonal value and well proportioned. Besides being told this by the teacher, tonal value has always been one of my strengths and I was able to apply it to these exercises. – Sofia

Finally, students also engaged in the Shapes and Sizes Drawing Exercise:  The goal of this exercise is to improve drawing of shapes of objects and their sizes in relation to objects around them. The task is to observe the objects and note the differences between each shape and their respective sizes, and then draw them. The forms are then filled in with just flat shading.


Grade 8 Design

The Grade 8 Design class is currently busy exploring techniques and developing skills related to upcycling through a series of formative exercises. Students created their own original Cardboard Organizer:  This task involved planning a design and creating an organizer using cardboard as the main material.  

Here are some of our students’ works.

Some skills I am developing from this task are my painting skills because when I had to paint my box I had to make sure I did not get it on the section where it wasn’t supposed to be and it was hard to do that because my organizer is pretty small overall. Another skill I think I developed from this is the cutting skills because I need to cut the toilet rolls evenly or else they would look weird together. – Avery 

To improve my organiser I have added holes in it so that it is not only a place to store things but also act like a cable sleeve. This will help in making my table look less messy. – Caleb 

One thing that I struggled with was measuring in the six pieces so they could separate the box into six parts.  I think that I developed my measuring skills because I had to measure a lot of things. – Noam

I am working on my cutting skills which is pretty self explanatory and my craftsmanship skills. I was able to cut out the 6 by 8 sides that were also on the initial design on top. – Miguel

I’m developing something that makes me more creative. The box was developed more conveniently and with usefulness. – Yeseul

The initial struggles that I faced when making this was making sure I had the correct measurements and it was really hard to cut through cardboard and some of the pieces were not straight.  The skills I am developing is measuring and cutting straight. – Elijah

Students also designed an original Plastic Container/Planter:  This task involved planning a design and creating a container/planter using plastic as the main material.  

Here are some examples of our students’ works.

I believe the skill that I’m developing in this task is originality. I did look for inspiration on the internet for ideas on how to make a plastic bottle planter, so the idea of cutting out a big opening in the center of the bottle came from a website online (Craft Your Happiness). However, the way I plan to decorate it and the idea of which materials I would want to use came from me. – Fiana

My initial struggle was that the bottom of the bottle was so hard to cut because it was so thick. Even if I used a cutter it would be hard to open. So I tried cutting through it multiple times while also using a scissor which eventually cut it. – Sengo

I am developing my painting skills. This is because I am painting the plastic bottle. This is also because I have to paint the bottle properly so that it looks good and so that nothing looks uneven. – Aaryan

The skills I’m developing in this task are analytical skills, which is when I had to analyze or think about the different step-by-step processes for each component of the piggy bank. Some of the components of the piggy bank were the ears, snout/coin slot, front and hind legs, tail, and the color patterns for the body. Another one is proportioning skills, which is when I proportioned the paper for the body, legs, and the snout as well. – Gab

Skills that I am developing in this task include focus and practicing texture. This is because you need a sense of texture in order to create a quality work of production during the session. I really enjoyed doing this task today despite the fact that it took a lot of time and patience. – Roland 

Dragon’s Print

Are you wondering what you can do to show your loved ones your appreciation this February? Dragon’s Print has got you covered! Read more about gift ideas and the meaning behind them through

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor

March 13 SAT test date has been cancelled.

Students are advised to check the university websites for Test-optional announcements. 

2020-2021 Test DatesTestRegistration Deadline
March 13, 2021SAT only (no Subject tests)Cancelled
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 or have any questions, please feel free to email Ms. Jenny Basa at

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