Time for transition and projects in primary school

The week of 4th to 8th of June 2018 was an interesting one for the primary students of the International School of Samui.

The first couple of days were dedicated to "transitions" wherein students (and Early Years parents) are introduced to their new teachers. They are also given a glimpse of what it will be like when they enter their next level of learning.

This is particularly crucial to our Early Years students entering Primary School. So on Monday 4th June Mr Goode and Miss Nicole Vanhoeck, current and upcoming Reception teachers, invited parents of our students from Busy Bees in Early Years. This is in preparation to the students' move to the Primary School, specifically the Reception class.

They explained the timetable, curriculum and type of activities children will be engaging in on a daily basis. Mr Goode is an excellent teacher and he has an in-depth knowledge of the stages of young children's development in phonics, reading, maths and many more. He shared valuable tips to parents as they go through each stage.

Miss Vanhoeck has the same high standard of teaching and have already spent hundreds of hours with our young students so the young children are very comfortable learning with her. The parents participated in a mock session acting as students learning phonics and other subjects.

One of the most important takeaways from this meeting is a quote from Mr Goode: "Learning doesn't happen without the parents". And the International School of Samui can attest to this as our success is significantly attributed to parents who are focused on their children's education.

The following day, Tuesday, our pupils spent their morning visiting their new classroom and formally meeting their new teacher. Each class participated in activities that helped them get to know the new curriculum, the major changes, topics and school trips to expect in the forthcoming academic year.

The general consensus was that the children will be missing their current class teacher, whom they have spent most of their time for a full academic year but at the same time they are excited to be a year level higher.

For Year 1 students, this is also a significant move. One of the benefits of being in Year 2 is that they have a bit more freedom after lunch. They are no longer required to stay in the well guarded Year 1 play area and they can extend their boundaries to as far as the library!

Wednesday was the official beginning of "Project Week". This was an opportunity for students to learn something exciting from outside their regular curriculum lessons.

This , this year's focus was on Science and Technology and teachers applied STEM Education or project-based learning (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) on all activities. That means these four core subjects are integrated to solve a problem or come up with inventions to make our lives easier.

The idea is that first-hand experience in these four areas will develop a stronger passion than learning about them in theory.

Click here to view the entire album on Flickr

We visited each class in different times and witnessed the enjoyment of learning whether they are designing their own catapults or sewing bags for Little Red Riding Hood. Here are more details of each class' agenda for these two days:

Reception learned about materials

The children learnt about material, structure and buildings through a number of simple experiments. For example, they tested the strength of a paper cylinder, triangular prism and cuboid by putting books on.

Reception students also learnt about different building and material types, and make a building out of old materials.

Year 1 explored floating and sinking and designed their very own pirate ships!

Year 2 was about investigating

  • Air resistance in science -- making parachute for the bears to escape from Goldilocks

  • Building a robotic hand linking in with their science topic animals including humans

  • Designing and making a handbag for red riding hood to carry food to her Grandma for D&T

  • Investigating symmetry in their PE lesson

  • Making code board games (coding with out using a computer) in their ICT lesson

Year 3 created a dream project which tied in nicely with their literacy topic, The BFG

Year 4 prepared for a Mission to Mars!

Pupils will work as a three-person mission crew, each with individual roles, to plan and prepare for a mission

  • Create an individual 'astronaut profile' (Top Trumps-style card) and form a balanced mission crew.

  • Learn interesting scientific facts about the Red Planet.

  • Based on scientific reasoning, decide which equipment they will need to take and why.

  • Using balloons to create scale models, explore the relative sizes and distances between the Earth, Earth's moon and Mars

  • Create a Mission Log, recording all discoveries.

Year 5 made and tested catapults

Math Connections

  1. Students can graph distance results for all the catapults in the class

  2. Students can find the average of the 3 trials

  3. Students can determine how the angle of the launch (how far back they pull the launcher, usually a spoon) affects the distance

Science Connections: Forces and Levers

Current technology:

  1. Catapults used on aircraft carriers to launch airplanes.

  2. International Space Station uses a “cannon” to launch mini-satellites into orbit around the Earth.

Year 6 have been challenged to

replicate the circulatory system

Year 6 have been challenged to get creative, use their critical thinking skills and work skillfully in teams to

Success Criteria:

  • accurate scientific explanations

  • scientific vocabulary used accurately

  • a handmade project that exemplifies the area you are working on - ideally recreating a pump system that acts like a heart

  • labelled diagrams

  • artistic and creative flair

  • evaluation of the process - What was successful? How did you learn from mistakes and failures? How could you improve further with more time?

Click here to view the entire album on Flickr

Come Friday, our basketball court was converted into a lively gallery of ideas, creations and inventions. Each class set up tables and displays to showcase their work towards the end of school day, just as the parents start arriving. We hope it was a beautiful surprise and parents were all proud of their children's accomplishments.


141/21 Moo 6, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84320 Thailand

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