Newsflash: March 13, 2020

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Dear CIS Community,

We are waiting for official confirmation on details, but I wanted to let you know ASAP that it has being published that Cebu City Mayor Labella has issued a closure notice for all schools in Cebu from Monday March 16 through to Sat March 28 due to the health risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please do not stress or panic! We have been preparing for this eventuality, and we are confident our teachers and students will do an outstanding job dealing with the situation. It is too bad we did not get a chance to practice our remote learning Tuesday next week as planned, but not to worry, we have been preparing for some time now, and have the advantage of the experience of other schools that have had to do it already!

More details will be communicated when we have them, for now please refer to the CIS Remote Learning Guidelines (a copy and link was sent via email to all parent and students this afternoon with this notification message).

The school will remain staffed over the closure but on reduced hours and faculty will be accessible as outlined in the guidelines. Entrance to the CIS campus over this time will be limited – please contact an administrator for permission if you have a need to enter campus so we can evaluate if it is permissible.

Students, this is your chance to shine in a new exciting remote learning forum. How well we do using this learning method will determine the need for any make up time later.

Parents and students, please do not hesitate to contact your teachers, principals or myself with any questions or concerns you may have. We will keep you updated as we proceed through the closure.

Finally, please keep in mind the purpose of the closure is to stop the spread of Covid-19. It will be challenging at times, but please keep up hygiene protocols you are all familiar with now, and follow all the health guidelines regarding unnecessary group gatherings and avoiding public areas as much as possible. At the same time, keep it in perspective, stay safe, and we will pull through this together as a strong, caring community.

Dr. Gwyn Underwood, Superintendent


*PS. We had a request to provide hospital contact details in case of an emergency. This is not an official endorsement, but here is a list of a few hospitals some of our parents frequent for your reference:

  • Chong Hua Hospital – Fuente Osmena – Tel # 255-8000
    Chong Hua Hospital – Mandaue – Tel # 233-8000
    Cebu Doctors Hospital – Osmena Blvd – Tel # 255-5555
    Perpetual Succour Hospital – Gorordo Ave. – Tel # 233-8620
    UC Med Center Hospital – Mandaue -Tel # 517-0888

Middle and High School News

by Mr. Dale Wood, Middle and High School Principal

This year, with the COVID 19 virus creating the potential for school closings in the future, our teachers school-wide have invested a great deal of time and effort into upgrading their tech tools and taking our online learning procedures to a whole new level. Specifically in MHS teachers have been working diligently over the past weeks planning and preparing to ensure that our remote learning strategies are implemented well and run effectively should we need to adopt such an approach long-term. We have been busy exploring new apps and programs to help facilitate this and train teachers to effectively use technological tools to foster dynamic learning with our students.

Next Tuesday was going to be our first full remote learning day  to prepare students and teachers and ensure that all of our tech tools are functioning well. With the closure announcement just coming out, we will now be starting it for real on Monday!

While we have communicated clear expectations for our students on remote learning days, we all need to work together as a community for these days to be effective. You can also expect each of your children’s teachers to identify clear learning objectives and assessment outcomes for each of their lessons. Teachers will also use multimedia materials to share information and create interactive lessons for our students. They will clarify assessments, specifying task requirements and length via Google Classroom. Finally they will organise their time and let students know when they are available online via Hangouts, which includes providing opportunities for students to schedule “appointments” through Google Calendar.

Elementary News

by Mr. Glenn Davies, Elementary Principal/PYP Coordinator

Dear Elementary Community,

While working hard to maintain a sense of calm and a rational perspective on the current world events, it would be foolish of us as a school not to be taking precautions and be making preparations for the possibility of a school closure. No one wishes for this to happen, however, if a closure is forced upon us, we need to ensure student learning remains as continuous and as uninterrupted as possible. [Stop Press: a closure has been announced from Monday]

Last evening you will have received a letter that provides an overview of what learning will look like should the school be required to close. Click here to view the letter.

As a principal, I am very proud of our team of dedicated and professional elementary school teachers who have worked tirelessly over the past two weeks to prepare for a possible school closure. They have spent many hours in collaborative planning and exploring the various ways in which other like-minded schools have dealt with the challenges of prolonged distance learning. A little less than one month ago a private Facebook site was started by an international school teacher called ‘Educator Temporary Closure for Online Learning’, and as of today, the group has more than 30,000 teacher members. This indicates the scale of the challenge schools are facing, as well as the high level of global support and collaboration educators are involved in. Never before have such a large group of teachers come together so quickly to collaborate around a single issue. Some of the lessons learned by various schools can be seen in the graphic presentation below.

One important factor we are considering as a school is how to minimize the amount of screen time students are experiencing during distance learning. For this reason, in elementary school we are beginning to refer to this learning and teaching process as ‘continuous learning‘ rather than eLearning or online learning. Continuous learning, while using online platforms to communicate and to engage in some of the day’s learning engagements, does not mean students should be on devices throughout the day. At the grade 5 level, we are committed to having no more than 40% of the school learning day on a device, and this percentage decreases as we move into the younger grades, with almost no device time required in the lower elementary years.

Ms. Aimee working this week with our youngest CIS Learners

As I visited classes this week, learning has continued as usual. The lower elementary classes, students remained excited and engaged in their daily routines and inquiry, while the upper elementary were focused on end of the unit assessments and their PYP Exhibition journey. Today the upper elementary students decided to hold a virtual assembly through the use of Google Hangouts Video. The students across 5 classes were able to communicate with each other while sitting in their own classrooms. Although there are still many unknowns, we are fortunate that CIS has had time to prepare, and that our CIS teachers have taken the challenge of providing continuous learning so seriously.

The upper elementary virtual assembly

Student Article

The Grade 4 Band

When I became a Grade 4 student, I started a band. I chose a clarinet for my instrument. Four of my friends also chose clarinet for their instruments. We are learning a song called Jingle Bells. Maybe we will perform this in the Christmas assembly. I feel kind of nervous but also I feel kind of excited. I like our band teachers, Ms. Arnsby and Mr. Swank. Ms. Arnsby teaches woodwind and Mr. Swank teaches brass. I like them because they’re really kind, and they know so much about music! Bands are such fun!!  – Jiwoo, Grade 4

Grade 7 Exploring Biodiversity with Biocubes

by Ms. Nice Uy, Science Teacher

Over the past few weeks, our seventh graders have been working hard in their Science classes. Students learned how classification can be used to organize living things. They explored living places, and studied the way living things interact with their environment as the class focused on the Biocubes MYP Unit this third quarter. Students examined how to construct keys to represent patterns or relationships and to identify a range of plants and animals. It was a wonderful experience for students to explore a variety of living things outside of the classroom and classify organisms on the basis of structural features to group living things. 

Students undertook their summative task – Exploring Biodiversity with Biocubes. Our middle schoolers were tasked to do the Biocube project to show how many species they could find and identify in one cubic foot and tried to answer some of the questions, “Where can they find the most biodiversity in CIS campus?” and “What factors influence the level of biodiversity in an area?” Through focusing on a cubic foot of space, students can describe populations and begin to understand the importance of a balanced ecosystem, relationships, habitats, and its interactions. While the students completed this summative task, they have also developed their communication and collaboration skills as they were using appropriate forms of writing, working in groups, and encouraging others to contribute ideas and suggestions.

Student Reflections

We enjoyed this summative because we got to go outside and explore. The summative assessment we did was called exploring biodiversity with biocubes. All the things we learned during this task are connected to our statement of inquiry because of how it says that people come from many backgrounds and different systems and diversity. We had challenges in identifying the organisms we observed. We overcame this problem by using a dichotomous key, asked people what it was, and searched the features online. We could have improved our research skills because it was a little hard to figure out which organism it was. – Avery and Sengo

For our summative assessment, we were divided into pairs and we had to explore biodiversity within our school campus with our hand-made biocubes. We had to choose an area in the soccer field which had a good level of biodiversity and that would have at least 7 species or more that would visit or that live there. Our report includes the pictures of the species and we used online identification tools, such as and other sources, and the dichotomous key to identify their scientific names as well as their characteristics. We used other sources for more information about biodiversity and factors that affect it. We learned that there is limited biodiversity in an area sometimes because of climate change or the weather, human interaction, and habitat loss. We were challenged during this project because, during our 2nd field visit, we had a hard time taking pictures of the visiting species because they would often fly away. We overcame the challenges by taking our time in taking pictures. We could’ve done better by expounding more on what affects the level of biodiversity in an area and by making sure our graph of the average of species of each group was accurate so that we could communicate our findings well.  – Fiana and Aaryan

We did the “Exploring Biodiversity with Biocubes” summative task. Our learning connected to our statement of inquiry. This summative had a connection with the statement of inquiry because Biodiversity refers to the variability of organisms in every place and time. We found this assessment challenging and very successful. This was because we followed and reached all of the requirements. We also had some stuff that we had to improve on but we overcame those stuff. We overcome our challenges by trying all the different ways we could possibly solve one problem we had to overcome. We also collaborated and also communicated. We could work more on our communication skills and self-management skills. Even though we finished our work on time and we tried our best we kind of had to do a lot of work in class rather than doing the writing at home because we didn’t plan our self-management skills very well. – Roland and Miguel

Our summative assessment was finding out how much biodiversity we could find in a biocube that we placed in the school’s field. We learnt about many new species and the types of areas where biodiversity is most common. We learnt about how many different species can be found in a cubic foot. It connects to our Statement Of Inquiry (SOI) because we are finding different types of diversity in different areas just like what our SOI explains. We found this experiment to be very educational in showing us what biodiversity is. A challenge we faced is that sometimes we could not reach our requirement of finding 7 species. We overcame this by just continuing to search and dig to find more specimens to meet our requirements. To improve our performance we would change to a more grassy area with more plants since it would be easier to find more biodiversity. We used Communicating and Collaborating ATL skills this term. – Caleb and Freya

Grade 7 Math in Motion

by Mr. Daniel Monfre, Math Teacher

This week the grade 7 math class was challenged to put their knowledge and balance to the test in a mathematical game of Transversal Twister. The students competed in groups of 4 to show their understanding of congruent angles on parallel lines and transversals. As Mr. Monfre called out statements like “Place your right hand on angle A and your left foot on an alternate exterior angle of A” students had to turn the wheels in their heads as they twisted their bodies to reach the correct angles. The students were able to have a fun time using math in an unusual way! Check out the rules for the game and play yourself here: Transversal Twister!

Final WWW Course Report (Paknaan Group)

by Ms. Jean Wood and Team

Our two student leaders for this group, Amanda and Dana, had visited the local Paknaan Medical Center and preschool prior to the news of Covid-19 breaking out in order to prepare for our upcoming WWW visit. This is a center which we have developed a connection with over the years so we were excited to continue this relationship with them. However, as a result of Covid-19, the students who signed up for Paknaan ended up experiencing both original activities and new ones related to sustainability. One of their activities included organizing the items donated to help the Paknaan community such as clothing, shoes, books, and toys; so even though we were not able to physically visit Paknaan, we were still able to contribute. The group also had the opportunity of teaming up with the 4×4 WWW group to prepare the ground and plant cocoa seedlings in the garden by the MHS school building.

We also enhanced our understanding about the benefits of eating plant-based foods at the Wellnessland Health Institute, visiting a local chocolatier to learn about her childhood experiences and successful chocolate business. Finally, students designed and cooked mainly vegetable-based meals as small groups in our own campus kitchen.  Students did a great job in designing and preparing their culminating meals. Healthy choices, respect for the environment, etiquette including table manners, forward-thinking/planning, safety in the kitchen, working together with others, and cleaning up were also good reminders and skills developed in our students during our course. A “Thank You!” goes out to our community for donating items such as clothes and books for our future rummage sale.

A Few Student Reflections:

“Education is important outside the classroom because we learn about things that  we don’t get to learn in class. We were able to learn a lot about sustainable foods that we don’t learn much about in normal school days.  I feel that I have learned a lot about sustainability. I was able to learn a lot about healthy sustainable foods at the wellness center. It was also an interesting experience to research sustainable recipes and make them ourselves.”  Hayun

“As a learner, I practiced open-mindedness and risk-taking this week since we had to change our Paknaan activities to another schedule and tried to cook different dishes I didn’t know of from before.”  – JooHa

“WWW this year was pretty fun. I learned more about food sustainability and how it affects our planet. I learned about the impact food has on our health. I learned about how cacao can be used in so many ways.”  – Kat

“The entire experience was great; I learned more about what meat can really do and I plan to lessen my consumption of meat. Casa De Cacao was the best experience for me.” – Stefen

“Overall, I liked going to Case de Cacao, and cooking the food at school.”  – Xavier

“I think that it was a fun experience and I think that we had a very different  experience from what we would have done if we went to Paknaan.”  – Danny

“Because of the cancellation of Paknaan I feel we missed out on getting to meet new people and help others out.  Paknaan was a place I was interested in seeing for myself and since it was cancelled, I was slightly sad, but excited for the new plans  ahead.” – Sean

Planting seedlings on campus
Spinning the wellness wheel
Helpful hands prepare the roasted cocoa seeds (nuts)
The most delicious hot chocolate in town
What do you prefer? milk, white, or dark chocolate?
Chopping vegetables for healthy meals
Mango salsa ingredients
Learning from a Local Medical doctor at the Wellness Center
Tasting a healthy smoothie
Filtering out the lighter husks from the cocoa nibs using tosses and the wind
Learning from the queen of chocolate
Washed hands before lunch
Banana pancakes
Blending the chickpeas for the falafel burgers
Mango float for dessert

Creativity Action Service (CAS)

by Venise T. and Dana T.

Project: Phase 1 Complete

Last February 29, 2020 (Saturday), forty (40) monobloc chairs and two foldable tables were donated to Barangay Huyong Huyong with the money raised from our fundraisers. We were able to purchase and deliver these on the same day. 

Initially, we thought of buying chairs made of recyclable materials to promote environmental sustainability. However, after deliberate thinking, we found that the prices were not so feasible. Although they were great chairs, we believed that the community only needed good quality chairs to sit in that can be easily transported from one place to another.

On the day we delivered the chairs, we also taught them how to properly use and maintain the chairs to ensure long-term use.

We also initially prepared some creative activities for the children. However, because of time constraints, we decided to postpone the activities on the succeeding Saturdays. During our next visits, we will definitely make sure to have fun with the kids. The tables and chairs were only the first steps in creating a harmonious learning environment for the Huyong-Huyong children.

We would like to emphasize that they were very happy to receive the chairs and we could not have done it without your help. Thank you very much to those who helped us during our fundraisers by donating used items that could be sold.

We are grateful to everyone who supported us and helped us secure this project’s success. We hope that the support will continue to strengthen and we will definitely be initiating “Phase 2” of this project soon. 

Stay tuned!

Dragon’s Print

Dragon Recommends is back, this time with a review of the new Japanese restaurant Menya Hachi! Three senior members of the team visited the spot in Ayala Central Bloc to judge if their food was as fantastic as Editor Dong Ha C. had made it out to be. See if the taste tickled their taste buds on

Grade 12 IBDP Visual Arts

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