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The Vientiane International School Monthly Magazine

Grade 5 Exhib ition pages 6-7

g Arts n i m r o f r e P 21 pages 20-

When it launched for the first time, it felt like anything was possible for me. I genuinely hope that one day, I will be able to go work for NASA and achieve my goal of becoming the first human to land on Mars.

Wesley Wan talks about his Science Project, page 13

Director’s Notes page 1

April - June 2013 | Issue 13

Primary News page 2

Are We G

reen or N ot? page 22

What is a Character? Early Years investigate, p. 4-5

Rockin’ With Style! Primary students express themselves p .9

How Many Trees Does My Car Emit? Adeeba inquires in CO2 Emissions p.12

Mekong Dolphins Score High Jim reports on the Swim Team’s successes at the Meet, p. 26

Secondary News page 10

Sports News page 26

VIS MISSION STATEMENT ທທທທທທ, ທທທທທທທທທທທ ທທທ ທທທທທ ທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທທ Áskorun hrífur nemendur og undirbýr þá fyrir lífið framundan.

Stawianie wyzwań, inspirowanie i przygotowywanie uczniow do życia

Paghahamon, Pagpupukaw, at Paghahanda sa mga Mag-aaral para sa Buhay

ความท้าทาย แรงบันดาลใจ และการเตรี ยมพร้อม สาหรับผูใ้ ฝ่ รู ้ที่ใคร่ คน้ คว้าในวิถีแห่งชีวติ uitdagend, inspirerend, en voorbereidend tot een levenlang leren Mencabar, Menginspirasi dan Menyediakan Pembelajaran Sepanjang Hayat चन ु ौती को सामना गनन उत्प्रेरित गर्दै (रेिणा दर्दर्दै ) जीवन जजउने कलाससक्ने

सिक्षार्थीलाइ तयाि पानेI Utmanande, inspirerande och förbereder lärande för livet Utfordrende, inspirerende og en forberedelse til resten av livet Herausforderung, Inspriration und Vorbereitung fuer ein lebenslanges Lernen 的使命是为学者们 提供一个具有挑战性,激励性及终身学习的 优异环境 Can’t see your language? Please send in your translations to

Director’s Notes

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Primary News

Primary Reflection by Jon Davidson, PRIMARY PRINCIPAL

Another academic year draws to a close and I look at how much our students have grown over the past eleven months. The way children develop and learn is a never ending source of wonder that I am sure is shared by every teacher and every parent.

ourselves. If it is raining outside then why not join your child in a book and lose yourselves in other worlds? Before you know it we will be back at school for another hectic round of math and science, reading, writing running, painting and making music.

It is a much vaunted “fact” that children will learn more during their first 7 years than they will in the next 50. As I was looking again at my daughter’s portfolio from last year I could scarcely believe the ways in which she has grown, not just physically, but moving from recognizing letters, her name and perhaps some words to reading books. It is hard to appreciate that in a few short years she will be working in a group, putting on a PYP Exhibition and preparing to leave the Primary Years Programme.

The next six weeks gives us all a chance to grow and learn with our children. Enjoy it and remember that before long you will be sitting in a graduation ceremony crying your eyes out.

Recently I was at the question and answer session set up for our Grade 5 as they look towards their transition into Grade 6. For us they are the oldest students in our Primary School, full of self-assurance and confidence. All of a sudden they did not look quite so big. They sat there with the teachers that will be looking after them next year, learning about ManageBac and homework and lockers. The way in which students grow and learn was also brought home to me at the graduation ceremony for the grade 12 students. It is hard to appreciate that our primary aged students will be standing there in a few short years. They will probably be taller than us and be planning out which university they will be attending and which courses they will be studying. Those same students who have grown so much throughout the past year are now looking forward to a long vacation. Parents often ask us what work they can give their children in the holidays and I would answer that, rather than worksheets or essays, simply fire their interest in what is happening around them. Art galleries and museums to visit; rich cultures to explore and histories in which to immerse

Have a wonderful holiday and see you all again in August.

IBPYP In Action For children the need to walk, talk and communicate is instinctive. Of course they are encouraged, and taught, along the way. By the time they come to school, and join the Grade 2 class, they are already immersed in learning through language and applying the skills of communication. As learners they bring with them a range of experiences and knowledge. Every day, as teachers, we see the qualities of effective learners as defined by the IB learner profile. There are many moments when the actions taken by the students are inspiring. Especially as they encounter an English language classroom for the first time. How do the students communicate in this environment? Given a choice they will begin from what they know. For some it is visual, for some it is non-verbal, sometimes it is through music, or drawing. For those who choose to write in their Mother Tongue they feel secure in what they know. As they acquire the language of the classroom (in this case English) it seems that suddenly a transition happens and you see a student is writing, in English, in their journals. Here is an example of one student who went through this process. When Johann came into Grade 2, at the beginning of the school year, he chose to write in German. So he could share his writing with us we had Mr. Harris and his secondary students busily translating everything he wrote. We discovered that Johann, as a writer, in German had a lot to communicate. This is what he was writing early on in the school year. Johanns Informationsbericht Herr David Williams hat das Didgeridoo gespielt und er hat ganz viele Tiere nachgemacht: ein Kaenguru, einen wilden australischen Hund, eine australische Schlange und einen Vogel. Manche durften sogar das Didgeridoo auf der Buehne ausprobieren, aber die haben gar keinen Ton rausgebracht. Und alle haben gelacht und die, die auf der Buehne waren, waren Konstantin und Richi, beide aus derselben Klasse. Konstantin hat am wenigsten rausgebracht und David Williams konnte so lange die Luft anhalten, weil er eine halbe Stunde das Didgeridoo gespielt hat. Fertig. Johann’s information report Mister David Williams played the didgeridoo and he imitated many animals: a kangaroo, a wild Australian dog, an Australian snake and a bird. Some of us were even allowed to try out the didgeridoo themselves on the stage, but they couldn’t produce any sounds. And everybody laughed and those who were on the stage were Konstantin and Richie, both from the same class. Konstantin produced the fewest sounds and David Williams could hold his breath very long because he played the didgeridoo for half an hour. The End. Translated Harris Kara

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Communication Is the Key by Catherine O’Brien GRADE 2 TEACHER

It is known that people learn best when they can make connections to what they already know or have experienced, before applying their new knowledge in a different setting or context. The Supportive Classroom by Elaine Reimann Two Poems: written by students in different phases of their English learning. OVER MY TOES Over my toes Goes The soft sand Drips, the wind Blow and the sound Comes wos wos ! Aman Singh THE GOLDEN SUN The Golden sun The blaze makes it shine Like beautiful GLITTER It makes us play All day When it falls To dusk It lets out The silver moon Sidney Lampayan This next piece is an example of Johann’s English writing; he wrote this independently: My Holiday I found out about elephants that not all elephants can walk fast. I also found out you can’t just drive from Vientiane to Luang Prabung because you need 11 hours. I found out that Luang Prabung is not like Vientiane.

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Inquiry in the Early Years

Character Inquiry by Elaine Reimann, EARLY YEARS TEACHER The inquiry was triggered by a student question: ‘What is a character? by You You. We read several familiar stories highlighting the characters and their characteristics. We then listened to the story Drac and the Gremlin, by Allan Baillie without viewing the images.

Students were guided through the process of planning, using their plan as a guide for creating and adjusting, narrating a description, and presenting their work. This process enabled exposure to and understanding of the key concepts of perspective and connection; as well as the related concepts of creativity, imagination. The process also helped developed thinking and communication skills while learning how to describe the characters and think about the things it could do. At this point connections were made to personal experiences; e.g. One student made her character a Bully, connecting to the story Mean Jean by Alexis O’Neill, two students connected to Spiderman, and another was reminded of a train ride in the UK when he was given a balloon by a clown, so his character could do that too :) !

This exploration covered outcomes directly related to the disciplines: Language, Math, Visual Arts


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PERSPECTIVE This process addresses PYP Continuum learning outcomes:

We observed each others work and had conversations about what we liked as we learned about perspective.

Differentiate between illustrations and written text.

Everyone can express themselves in writing.

Stories can tell about the imagined world.

Express an opinion about art.

We can express ourselves through art.

Our experiences and imagination can inspire us to create.

Understand that 2D and 3D shapes have characteristics that can be described and compared.

Understand that common language can be used to describe position and direction, for example, above, below, next to, behind, in front of, up, down. Upon completion of the work the students were interviewed on how they think they were being a communicator and a thinker during the process. One student answered “I was a communicator talking my story, I’m talking to you now!"

Attitudes: enthusiasm, commitment, appreciation

Learner Profile: communicators, thinkers


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What is the PYP Exhibition? “In the final year of the PYP, students engage in a final project, the PYP Exhibition. The exhibition is a trans-disciplinary inquiry conducted in the spirit of personal and shared responsibility. This exhibition is a significant event for both the school and the students, synthesizing the essential elements of the PYP and sharing them with the whole school community.” (Making the PYP Happen: An curriculum framework for international primary education, 2009)


INS PIR you about the Exhibition? ED

The whole thing was inspiring - the process, the final product and the big day. The group, the collaboration, the information research. The final product seemed so bare but when we set it up it was so AWESOME! So full of information, so full of hard work which makes me so proud! Yujin The absolute most inspiring thing about Exhibition was my group and the people who helped us. My group was so amazing and it was inspiring to see them work so hard and it inspired me to work harder. The people who helped us were inspiring because they were so confident when they presented to my group. I’d describe them as magical. Angelina

Reflection ED G N What you about the Exhibition? LLE A H C Making a plan and connecting with it. Lara

The challenging part of the Exhibition was organising to meet guest speakers because my group had to find the contact number, email them and think about where to meet. It was hard to find a good time to meet. Ritchie Collaboration challenged me. The collaboration was hard because we had to decide on things as a group. Sometimes we got tired and frustrated and just wanted it our way, so that caused the group to have issues. Sometimes it was hard to keep each other on task. Konstantin The most challenging thing for my group was that we had a lot of information but we didn’t know which bits to use and we had trouble pulling the information together. We also had trouble following our plan and dong things on time. Rora It was challenging to share the jobs out fairly because sometimes we needed to do things that nobody wanted to do and other times we all wanted to do a oneperson job, so we had some problems. Another hard thing was organising data because we got a lot of information but had trouble sorting it out and deciding what to present. Yujin

The most inspiring part for me was working on the eight piece artwork. We worked and practiced the techniques. It was very challenging too. Tomy Sometimes when we had guest speakers and we talked to them, I found that very inspiring. Also, the process of the Exhibition and all the work that went into it was inspiring. Konstantin

For me, Exhibition prepared me for good teamwork. We can’t always do things by ourselves so this was a good experience to practice teamwork. I met people who always cared for me and helped me. Natsumi

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How do you think your experiences during the Exhibition have RED you for life?

Reflecting on the PYP Exhibition

things. Trying hard pushed me. It prepared me by making me more confident and confidence helped me. Angelina

Our VIS Mission

A REP P Exhibition prepared me by making me try harder at

The Exhibition helped me with teamwork and taught me the difference between collaborating and cooperating. Koen It helped me prepare for working in a group properly helping each other, supporting the group, sharing the work around. Tomy It prepared me to work with people I don’t usually work with. Also, creating and learning about something by ourselves and sharing jobs. JT I learned a lot of new skills and a lot about myself as a learner and group worker. I think these skills will help me in my future. Konstantin Exhibition prepared me for the Personal Project in the MYP. It is going to be hard to do it by ourselves but I’m sure I’m prepared for it because I had a very good experience during the Exhibition. Ketsana Exhibition is something valuable to remember because it is a milestone and very hard work. It has prepared us for the Personal Project in Grade 10. It has also taught me to work collaborating with people I don’t know very well. Bob

by Katherine Williams, GRADE 5 TEACHER

“At Vientiane International School our mission is to challenge, inspire and prepare learners for life. We provide a safe, respectful, collaborative and sustainable learning environment, a high quality holistic education, empower learners to be internationally-minded global citizens and enrich learning experiences through interaction with the Lao community and our international communities.” A wonderful example of our VIS Mission was evident in this year’s PYP Exhibition. Grade 5 students reflected on their Exhibition experience and thoughtfully considered how it challenged, inspired and prepared them for life. Reflection helps us learn and grow. It connects us to ourselves and each other. It helps us make meaning from our learning and experiences. It informs us for the future. Read what our students said when reflecting on their PYP Exhibition… Exhibition prepared me to work well with other people and it gave me a lot of confidence because before I was shy and now I can talk to people and explain things. Victoria

Field Trips

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LEARNING FOR LIFE the case of the field trip. by Catherine O’Brien and Grade 2 Students Students constantly ask teachers, “When is the next field trip?” How often we see a group of students heading towards the school vans, clutching clipboards, cameras, water bottles and hats. Teachers in a flurry with check lists, first aid kits, mobile phones, etc., and there is always excitement. Where does the enthusiasm and excitement come from? Is it generated by thoughts of escaping the classroom? What prior knowledge, past experiences, do the children bring to the most recent field trip, which connects them to this way of learning? Students from VIS attend field trips from the very first years in Early Years through to the Secondary Grades. The students in Grade 2 prepared a general survey to inquire into field trips.

Inquiry into Field Trips in Primary Students who Students who have been on like going on more than one field trips field trip 252 students



Students who do not like going on field trips 35

The students thought that on another time they could improve the survey. They would like to ask students what it is they dislike or like about field trips. They would like to ask the teachers more questions. The planning and preparation for a field is addressed on two levels. First there are all the practical and administration considerations to be met. Then as teachers we ask the following questions: What is the purpose of the trip? What learning outcomes will be met? Does it meet the needs of the students in an inquiry process? At what stage is the inquiry cycle supported by the field trip? Linking to the host country, and culture of Laos, is enriched through first hand experiences. The school has been welcomed to many local places and often a talk or tour has been provided for us. We are fortunate that in a small city we can go out and explore or

Teachers who agree field trips help students with inquiries 21 1 : it depends where

Reflection: we did not get to ask everyone but we think most students like field trips. Most teachers agree that field trips help students with their inquiries.

arrange a visit to a museum, the radio or television station, the newspaper office, small factories, dance and music school, textile workshops, mapping office, the art school and temples. Further out is the zoo, a salt farm, rice farms, villages and of course many places along the Mekong River. Most teachers see that learning from the community, during the inquiry process, moves the students from their current level of understanding to a deeper level. The post trip reflections and activities usually reveal a lot more than we planned for. The student responses remind us that it is the engagement with life that is the reason for their enthusiasm.



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Let’s Rock with styles Let’s rock, with dance, Singing with joy, Instrumental sounds, All grades perform Each one Oh the wonderful concert We dance and sing Fun, fun, fun For you, everyone. by Sidney and Eva, GRADE 2

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Secondary Reflection by Kim Green, SECONDARY PRINCIPAL

In 1960 Bruner an educational philosopher stated that,

“To instruct someone …. Is not a matter of getting him/ her to commit results to mind. Rather, it is to teach him / her to participate in the process that makes possible the establishment of knowledge. We teach a subject not to produce little living libraries on that subject, but rather to get a you as learners to think mathematically for yourself, to consider matters as an historian does, to take part in the process of knowledge –getting. Therefore, knowing is a process not a product’ This issue of Dragon Tales highlights for you that learning is a process. This process of learning has involved experiences within the walls of the classroom, experiences that have connected to the local community resources, experiences that have used information technology as tools for information gathering and communication and experiences that have been embedded with service. Being part of the Awards Ceremony and having the opportunity to congratulate many learners who have demonstrated high levels of achievement academically, in the arts, athletics, service and citizenship over the course of the year was a true honor and I continue to be incredibly proud of our learners at VIS. We are exceptionally fortunate at VIS to have excellent teachers who are highly qualified, facilitate excellent learning opportunities and care deeply about all of our students. I thank our teachers for their dedication and enthusiasm in co-constructing, with our students and parents, excellent opportunities for all members of our community authentically engage in the process of learning. The learning outcomes that are highlighted in this issue of Dragon Tales are evidence of the increasing culture of excellence in achievement that exists within our student body. Enjoy sharing in our learning and celebrating our students achievements.

Secondary News

IBMYP In Action by Jonathan Smedes MYP COORDINATOR

A successful Personal Project process and exhibition using the new black box theatre. The standard of project this year was very high.

Continuing IBMYP monitoring of assessment at VIS. This allows schools to send samples of assessed student work to moderators and seek feedback on these assessments.

Continuing the celebration of Lao language day and Mother Tongue day. These days were coordinated between PYP and MYP mother tongue teachers and students.

The SALSA trips in Laos. This year continued the strong focus on the connection between the SALSA trips and MYP units of work.

A congratulations to our Arts faculty who piloted the new MYP Arts guide this year. We will be one step ahead when the new MYP curriculum changes occur in 2014/15 school year.

Some of the excellent Community and Service initiatives the students are making, especially with our sister school.

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The end of the school year is always a good time to reflect and celebrate the achievements of our s t u d en t s . S in c e ga i n i n g f u l l authorization from the IB in March 2011, our curriculum has continued to grow and develop at VIS and we now run a strong MYP programme that is gaining increased recognition in the region. It is evident to me that students are increasingly more comfortable with the requirements of the programme and are gaining a stronger understanding of concept based curriculum. There is much to be celebrated and some of the MYP curriculum related highlights of this school year include:

Continuing the implementation of Managebac, our online portal to communicate and manage MYP curriculum. This includes a setting up of parent accounts.

The strengthening of the co-curricular programme through deeper connections with the MYP curriculum. It is always amazing to see the number of activities on offer for our students.

The list could go on as there is much more to be celebrated. Of course these initiatives need the support of all stake holders so it would be remiss of me not to mention that all of these highlights would not be possible without the collaboration and support between parents, teachers and students. A big thank you to all!


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Real Life Examples in Mathematics by Adeeba Bajwa GRADE 8 STUDENT

The grade 8 Math Standard class were given an inquiry into the relationship between the carbon capture of trees and the emission of CO2 by cars. The only information they received was the amount of carbon an average square centimeter of leaf can absorb. All other calculations, estimations, and linkages with global warming were made by the students. Adeeba has written an abstract for the Dragon Tales about her findings and conclusions. When fossil fuels are burned, the carbon within them is released as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In this modern society fossil fuels are utilized to produce energy in order to: run vehicles, to heat and power our homes and for electricity purposes. The use of fossil fuels has increased massively during the industrial revolution about 200 years ago, and since then the concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere has increased by 30%. The increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is trapping the heat and tipping the important balance of the greenhouse effect. Global warming means that the Earth’s surface, including the air and the oceans, is gradually heating up. That doesn’t mean that the weather just gets warmer. Climate has different effects in different parts of the world and the increasing temperature is causing changes to weather patterns across the planet. In some cases these changes are responsible for ‘extreme weather events’ that can be catastrophic. Through a mathematics investigation I discovered that a family car emits an average of 3,540 kilograms of CO2 yearly based on 15.000 km/ year. Through some calculations I found that a tree with approximately 450 leaves could capture 163,593 liters of carbon yearly. The calculation leads us to an estimate that 11 trees similar to the size of a VIS tree would be needed to capture the CO2 that is

How many trees does my car emit?

discharged by a car yearly. Considering that different cars are driven different miles this estimate is quite inaccurate however it gives us an idea of how cars that we drive participate to the extra CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, which therefore leads to global warming. This also leads to an analysis that if approximately 9.28 trillion kg of CO2 is emitted every year on the planet by humans (, 29 billion trees would be needed to capture the CO2 emitted, which means an extra 87,000 square km of forest per year. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the key to solving the issue of global climate change. A major way these gases get into the atmosphere is through burning fossil fuel, oil, and natural gas for energy. Using fuels derived from plants can help us drive into a green future. Everyone uses energy, and everyone can be part of the solution!

Bibliography: "Global Warming Facts." Global Warming Facts. World Press, n.d. Web. 12 May 2013. <>. National Geographic . "Global Warming Fast Facts." Daily Nature and Science News and Headlines | National Geographic News . National Geographic , 14 June 2007. Web. 12 May 2013. <>. "Global Carbon Emissions." CO2 Now. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2013. <>.


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Personal Science Research Project Exhibition by Carol Seymour SECONDARY TEACHER

May 14th, 2013 marked the third annual Personal Science Research Project (PSRP) Exhibition. Students from grades seven through nine were assigned the task of researching a topic of personal interest from a scientific perspective. Not only does this allow students to see the universality of scientific research, but it is also allows students to develop self-management, I nformation technology and thinking skills which are essential for the IB and in particular the Personal Project in grade ten.

Xalisa, grade 8

Here are some reflections from students on the PSRP process and exhibition.

“The day was great, though it seemed long and standing next to my poster was a challenge. I was proud of my work and I loved doing the experiment with the prep and grade 1 students. The originality of the ideas and displays Bottle r te a W a r de lle were very mpressive this year.” PSRP, I ma n I was an even sma y m r fo , r This yea use, whe at could Anthony, grade 9 ade it beca terested in things th m I t. e k c d watch Ro ays very in irplanes an on a lw a r s e a p a w p I , n boy y ow video to design m fifth grade, I saw a then, I really enjoyed the PSRP as it allowed me fly. I used e th . In ever since e d m n ti a e g th in d ll go n birds a to be creative and learn about something e Moon La rocket and n th t w u o o y b a m e e , build th y a Youtub in d e e n n that I am interested in. I loved seeing what o o e mak ed to e I was inspir I was finally able to th r fo other people have learnt and achieved as it e on on. at making uild gave me so many ideas of what I could do th b y to the mo w ll e a n n k fi I e when vation to ninth grad erfect moti me, it felt like p next year. The PSRP is such a fun event, I e th e b ti ld PSRP wou unched for the first e that p o h am kind of sad that we have to ly e in la nu it. When it possible for me. I ge r NASA and stop in grade 10. fo as anything w l be able to go work st human to land Bethan, grade 7 wil the fir one day, I f my becoming f o l a o g rmstrong o y A m il e e v N ie h w ac ne d to be the on Mars an . generation de 9 ra g , y Wesle For the grade 7’s it was more challenging because it was our first PSRP. Our class had a lot of big ideas which got narrowed down so we had the main idea. We had a very wide range of experiments from perfumes to music to shoes to chemical reactions and psychology experiments. People chose to do experiments on what they liked or just something completely new. This was a hard but a very exciting experience. We had to go through all the challenges where we had a lot of mistakes but in the end we solved them and it was a proud moment to share it with the VIS community. We showed our works in wide range also some with videos, PowerPoint’s, posters and even demonstrating live experiments. It was a memorable and a very good educating and fun experience! Praneer, grade 7

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GRADE 6 POETRY These poems, from Hanna Muziol, Maria Fennema and Linh Nguyen, come from a unit examining how ‘awareness increases understanding and acceptance of others’. Students wrote a collection of poems, encompassing a range of styles, that gave readers an insight into their culture.


GRADE 9 PERSUASIVE WRITING In the Grade 9 unit examining how ‘technology changes expression’ students identified a problem or challenge caused by the emergence of new media. Jacob Williams addressed the issue of computer hacking in his letter to a government official.

English A GRADE 7 & 8 SUSPENSE WRITING Bethan wrote this chilling, finely crafted tale as part of the Grade 7-8 unit examining how ‘Audiences Can be Manipulated’. Prepare for horror.


GRADE 9 REMEDIATION TASK In the Grade 9 Unit exploring the concept that ‘technology changes expression’, students retold an existing story through an online medium. Wesley Wan’s The Almighty Board uses a series of witty and inventive Facebook posts to tell the story of a famous chess match from the perspective of the pieces. Please read from bottom to top to follow the story chronologically.



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GRADE 10 PICTURE BOOKS Grade 10 students undertook an investigation into how to research, plan and create a text for a specific audience in the unit ‘stories connect people’. After spending some time with Prep and Grade One classes and exploring some of the theory behind great children’s literature, they wrote and illustrated their own original picture books. The results were impressive. Enjoy!


The Diploma Programme English: Language and Literature course allows students to write in a variety of genres. Here we have a selection of student work addressing the use of language in mass communication, the cultural context of language and a response to colonialism inspired by Chinua Achebe’s African classic Things Fall Apart. Praew Wiriyaudomphon wrote a funny blog entry, Oda Karlsen an opinion piece for a major newspaper, Clara Lachet a feature for a fashion magazine and Aditi Shrestha a literary An A short story. into ngel Fell t Laxmi How to become of th he hands How Gay is e Fre a 9gagger Pres iden nch That? y b t by Aditi by Clar a Lac shta e by r h S Praew het Oda Karlsen Wiriyaudomphon

Alisha Mudbhary conjures a disturbingly realistic sense of vampirism in her descriptive writing response exploring the way time, place and feeling are created by writers. Alisha Mudbhary conjures a disturbingly realistic sense of vampirism in her descriptive writing response exploring the way time, place and feeling are created by writer.



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Grade 8 Focus Days by Tanh Huynh SECONDARY TEACHER


For the 8th grade Focus Days, students inquired on how agriculture impacts different areas of life. We read articles, watched video clips, and went to AgroAsie to learn about the impact of agriculture on the lives of Laos farmers. From our inquiry, the students divided into groups to create awareness campaigns that explain the impact of agriculture. Students used stop-motion photography to create their videos. The director of AgroAsie will choose a few of the student videos to be added to their website to raise awareness.







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Diploma Update by Todd Richer DP COORDINATOR The months April until June are not only the hottest months in Vientiane they are also the busiest months in the Diploma Programme at VIS.

Class of 2013 Our grade 12 students began their final IBDP exams on May 2 and these exams finished on May 22. There are a number of different possible exam combinations and a student could write 3 exams in a single day and 15 exams in May. The students reported that they were well prepared for the exams and that the experience was challenging and positive. I am very proud of how well this cohort conducted themselves Class of 2015 during exams and collaborated throughout the process. I have been privileged to work with Our grade 10 students are finishing course selection as this group very closely since they were in they transition from the Middle Years Programme grade 10 and it was a pleasure to watch (MYP) into the IB Diploma. In late March, VIS hosted them graduate from VIS on May 24 and an IB Diploma Programme Information Evening as part move on to the next phase in their lives. of our induction into the Diploma that began last

November. Short presentations were given by our Counselor, Ms. Nikki Hutchison, Ms. Julia Lachet our Curriculum Coordinator for Languages and me. This was followed by an opportunity for families to speak to our Curriculum Coordinators for Learning Areas and course representatives. The purpose of the evening was for families to gain a deeper understanding of the IB Diploma Programme and seek advice on designing appropriate programmes for students in grade 10 that will allow them pathways to further education. I wish the class of 2015 the best as they begin the Diploma in August and I know they will find the programme challenging and very rewarding.

Class of 2014 Our grade 11 students have been very busy. They are well into the 12 month process of their extended essays and will continue their research and drafting over the break as well as continuing projects with a focus on creativity, action or service. In May, they worked collaboratively on a first attempt at a Theory of Knowledege (TOK) essay which is a challenging task as it requires students to inquire into questions about knowledge that are cross-disciplinary and conceptual in nature. These students were able to complete essays that expressed conclusions reached through sustained consideration of knowledge questions. Final assessment in TOK is comprised of a presentation and an essay. Each student writes an essay on any one of six titles prescribed by the IB for each examination session. I know that they will be successful in the IB Diploma as they have demonstrated they are developing as reflective learners and critical thinkers..

Farewell Our family will be moving to Luanda, Angola in August and Alison and I will be working at Luanda International School. It has been personally and professionally rewarding being part of the VIS community and coordinating the Diploma Programme during a time of dynamic improvement. I know that next yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Diploma Coordinator, Ms. Teresa Foard, and the VIS Secondary Curriculum Coordinators will continue to move the VIS Diploma Programme forward.

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“Creativity is the greatest gift of human intelligence.” Sir Ken Robinson, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative It was a fantastic achievement when the Diploma visual art class mounted their culminating exhibition within their own community at’ i:gallery’ in March. The students have explored individual concepts as independent learners as is required by the DP Visual Arts course and each presented unique interpretations of their investigation to an audience of students, teachers, parents and community members. The work reflected very personal interpretations of aspects of their personalities, their movement between cultures and geography and the complexity of relationships and resulted in bodies of work they can truly be proud of. The students where support by an enthusiastic group who attended on the opening night and I’m sure this group could see how the VIS is nurturing creativity and were not disappointed in the ways these students communicated their understanding of their world.

IBDP Exhibition

DP Geography

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Performing Arts

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The Performing Arts Department has had several highlights in recent weeks. Firstly we welcomed a packed audience to the Black Box on a lazy Sunday afternoon in May to experience a concert, dreamily entitled ‘Someplace’. A cast of 75 performers from all sections of the VIS community treated the large audience to a variety of vocal and instrumental music, each piece chosen to evoke the images and sensations of “some place’. As the program stated… “ from cascading fountains to the walls of Jericho, from Park Avenue to tribal Africa, from laments that caution us to value our Earth to songs that speak of a yearning for homeland, we come together to use the universal language of music to celebrate our sense of place’. The event was the next in a series of Sunday afternoon concerts which we plan to continue next year.


Drama Club

Photographs supplied by Adrian Gnaegi

On Tuesday 21st, Mr Hotrich’s after school Drama Club presented a quirky and colourful production of “ Through the Looking Glass” based on the stories by Lewis Carroll. A cast of madcap and zanily costumed characters (some of them quite scary!) took us on a journey with Alice through the strange experiences she has ‘on the other side’. The performance had the entire secondary school, together with the Grade 5s, rolling in the aisles. Who will forget the entrance and exit of the White Knight?

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On Saturday May 18th, a small piece of VIS history was made when the first ever IB Diploma theatre students took to the stage to bring to life a series of short pieces in an evening of performance entitled “ A Fistful of Shorts”. The students had been exploring the various practices of contemporary actor training using Stanislavski’s System and applied their understandings to great effect and to a small but highly appreciative audience. As this edition goes to press, two more performances are in rehearsal, one featuring 8J, and one that involves the entire Grade 9 student cohort. It is anticipated that the Grade 9 piece will be given a public performance on June 6th in the Black Box. Stay tuned for more details!!

DP Theatre Arts

Photos: Top: Darren ‘Effie’ Low as Dennis Gandelmann Middle: Kevin Nam and Silayan Bertomeu in Ferris Wheel Bottom: Ben Wright and Merrilee Mills - Fistful of Shorts


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Let’s help reduce the amount of litter in VIS.


We are the VIS Green Team. Our mission is to bring awareness in our community about environmental issues and to act upon it. Last week, we picked up a large amount of litter within our school vicinities. We plea for help from the entire school community to stop land pollution at VIS. Are we Green or not? From Shawn and Bob, Green team members A team from Sunlabob came to do a pre-audit on VIS energy consumption. The purpose of this pre-audit is for the Sunlabob team to give us effective strategies to reduce VIS energy and water consumption. The Green Team will then come up with a action plan to reduce VIS energy and water consumption. The Green Team is asking the entire school community to be engaged in our combat for a better environment and better future for the next generation.

Community and Service

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Before and After by Carol Seymour and Garret Hotrich SECONDARY TEACHERS In November of 2011 the VIS grade 10 students took on the project of rebuilding a primary school in Ban Hat Vieng Kham, a small agricultural community on the banks of the Nam Ngum River, about 45 kilometers outside Vientiane. Students spent a week digging foundation post holes, digging a septic hole, mixing and pouring cement, cutting and nailing boards, and generally starting the foundation work for the new school. They also spent time with the young Lao students of the old two room wooden school house, playing games, teaching English, and just having fun. VIS students met, shared food with, and had a baci with the villagers. They also played volleyball and football with students of the nearby high school. The new schoolhouse is now complete, doubled in size, and is clean, safe, and provides a comfortable learning environment for the children in Hat Vieng Kham. VIS students are justifiably proud of their hard work, commitment, and caring in helping young Lao learners.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by Garret Hotrich SECONDARY TEACHER

As part of our final Focus days in secondary students collected the paper from around the school that had been put aside for the students and Don Koi Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Development Center. This is a relationship that we have had for the last 18 years. The paper is distributed to all at the center and they use it to draw, to write news , to make books and other craft such as bags that are sold at the Handicraft shops in VTE capital. For the last 15 years they have not needed to buy any paper.

Youth Educating Youth by Kim Green

The final two Youth Educating Youth Saturday School sessions involved both the students and parents from Ban Saphanthong Primary School. The BSST studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; parents were invited to come to VIS and participate in lessons with their children at the end of April. Then on the 8 June, 70 BSST students and parents along with our VIS Student Teachers headed to the Ban Keurn Zoo for a day of animal watching and learning. This was a great way to experience first-hand the English lessons that had been learned in the classrooms at VIS.

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Celebrating Achievements Academic Honor Rolls and Diligence honor Rolls

Honor Roll, Top Academic Student and Special Awards Academic Honor Roll recognises students who have received four 6's (or three 6â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in Grade 11-12), no other grade below a 3 along with and their approaches to learning are all within the grade level expectation bands. Honor Roll for diligence recognises students who have demonstrated excellent and very good approaches to learning across all subject areas. This is indicated by the majority of the approaches to learning criteria being in the top level of the grade level expectation bands. Golden Dragon These are awarded to students who have received Academic Honor roll for both semesters in a school year. Top Academic Student These awards recognize students who are the top academic students for their grade across the course of the School year. Special Awards These awards recognize students achievement across a variety of areas of school life from Athletics to the Arts and Service. Congratulations to our learners who have been recognized for being consistently diligent with their learning and for demonstrating excellence through their achievements across all areas of school life.

Academic and Dilligence

Golden Dragons

Top Academic

Special Awards

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Mekong Dolphins Score High at Regional Swim Meet by Jim Chamberlain PARENT and Mekong Dolphins Swim Club Chairman

On Saturday the 25th of May the Mekong Dolphins Club represented VIS at the International School of Ho Chi Minh City Invitational Swimming Meet. With nine schools competing, including the perennial powerhouse British International School, the Dolphins put on a spectacular performance against stiff competition in all age groups to finish fifth overall, and fourth for the menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team. This is a remarkable achievement, the best ever showing for VIS in four years of international competition. There were countless personal best performances from the whole club and it was great for the swimmers to receive recognition for all of their hard work in the months leading up to the meet. Among the many medalists, Ritchie Oh, age 10, winner of gold medals in the 100 meter Individual Medley, 100 Butterfly, 100 meter back, and 400 meter freestyle, received a trophy for scoring the most points for swimmers in his 9-10 age group. Other top scorers were Ritco Oh (age 8), with a silver in the 50 meter breast stroke, and a bronze in the 25; Mathew Fennema (age 9) with a gold in the 50 meter butterfly, silver for the 200 freestyle; and Vivie Chamberlain (age 11) with silver medals in the 100 and 400 freestyle, and bronzes in the 200 IM and 100 Backstroke. Other individual medal winners were Maria Fennema (2 bronze), Monica Fennema (1 bronze), and Fabian Hofmann (1 bronze). The Dolphins placed second in the Girls 8 & Under Freestyle Relay (Ritco, Jessica F, Tara, Emelia); third in the Boys 9-10 Freestyle Relay (Ritchie, Matthew, Moritz, Ji Sang), and; third in the Girls 11-12 Freestyle Relay (Maria, Vivie, Jessica M, Leonie). Watching the team swim this year was a tremendous inspiration. They received 28 gold, silver and bronze medals combined, a formidable display of technique and talent. All of our swimmers have worked hard in the build-up to this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s competition. The results they have achieved are due to their dedication and hard work, a solid platform for the coming year when we look forward to having our own pool for the first time.

Sports News

Counsellor's News

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Grade 5 Shadow Day by Nikki Hutchison COUNSELLOR

On May 21st the grade 5 students crossed over into the secondary school to shadow the grade 6 cohort. They arrived to a plenary session with big smiles, full backpacks and a few butterflies – not quite knowing what to expect. Each grade 6 student took a few of their younger classmates under their wing and showed them the ropes of secondary school. They enjoyed following the grade 6 students from class to class and learned the difference between PYP and MYP. Several of them even thought it was pretty cool to have lunch with the secondary students. After lunch, grades 5’s were in for a treat and they watched a drama production, “The Looking Glass” which was performed by the grade 8 students.

“I learned you have a bigger responsibility with your work because there is a lot more work and it's harder and it has to be a lot more detailed. I learned you will have a lot more project and exams. I also learned that you will be assessed on your movements and performance in P.E.” Marcus

Later in the week, Ms. Nikki joined the grade 5’s and talked about what to expect in high school: Advisory, what to put in their backpack, how to use break time effectively, and the importance of showering after P.E. The biggest buzz was around how to use a combination lock. They are keen to get that skill mastered before heading to secondary school!

“Wow! Shadow day was great. I think I know more not just because someone answered my questions but also because I was experiencing it myself. I know that they have projects in middle school too though maybe not as big as the Exhibition all the time.” “I found out that in the MYP the students need to go to different rooms to work and in PYP we don’t need to go to many rooms. I enjoyed it! There are different types of subjects for example: Humanities, Language B, P.E, and English.” -Syaif

Community News

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Dragon tales issue 13  

VIS Quarterly Digital Magazine

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