Newsletter 30th January

Hi everyone. Welcome to the first issue of 2015 and my apologies for not sending out an issue last weekend. A combination of sickness and getting ready for the mocks meant that I didn’t get around to preparing it. I will try not to miss out any further issues.

In this issue

  • Mock exams
  • Subject choices for next year
  • Vietnam Week
  • PTA Spring Carnival
  • Feedback from the ISA tests
  • Dates for your Diary
  • Photo Gallery

Mock Exams

Grade 10 and 12 are currently in the middle of their mock exams. For many students, this is the first time they have sat in formal examination conditions, so this is a real learning experience for them. Together with learning how examinations are conducted, they are also experiencing what it is like to revise and prepare for multiple tests covering two years of material, and what it is like to write for such extended time periods.

It is often the case that mock results are lower than students anticipate, because of the newness and complexity of the experience. This is part of the reason why we hold them early in the semester, instead of, say, in April: because by holding them early it will give students a couple of months in which to improve their performance as they head towards their finals which take place in May.

Results from mock exams will be returned to students before Tet break.

Subject Choices for Grades 8 & 10

We have to start preparing now for next year, and a part of this involves students in Grades 8 & 10 making choices about what they want to study next year. For some, this is the first time they have really been able to make decisions about what they are going to study, which can be both a liberating and an intimidating experience. Some students have clear goals in mind for careers and the future, others are still working out what they enjoy, or enjoying learning everything and anything so much that choosing between them is hard. I remember only being allowed to study 3 or 4 subjects for my A-Levels, so for me, the requirements within the IB Diploma that students take six subjects would have been ideal.

Choosing a balanced collection of courses which enables students to focus on a wider range of interests and knowledge areas is core to a successful IB Diploma Programme, and although this balance is not a component of the IGCSE curriculum, we schedule subjects similarly so as to enable a balanced programme in Grades 9 & 10 as well. Within the next couple of months we will be talking to students, and parents, about the various courses on offer, so they can make informed decisions.

Vietnam Week

During the week before the Tet holiday, we celebrate Vietnam Week in which we highlight aspects of culture and traditions from our host country. This year, we are planning to take the whole Secondary school out on a field trip to Duong Lam village on February 10th. Letters will go home to families shortly with more details. We would like to encourage students to plan to buy local lunch at the village instead of bringing a packed lunch – in addition to it being warm and fresh, it will also fit into the spirit of the day and the week.

We will also hold our traditional Tet assembly on the morning of Friday 13th. I would like to invite parents to join us but am conscious that space is limited, so I will make sure I publish a range of photos here instead.

PTA Spring Carnival

The Spring Carnival has become a traditional part of our annual calendar and this year will take place on March 27th, from 4 – 7 pm. It is our main fundraising event of the year and this year will be supporting Blue Dragon’s Children’s Foundation, Fun, food, games & performances, this is a great evening out for the whole HIS community. Look forward to seeing you there.

Feedback from the ISA tests

Last October, students in Grades 3, 5, 7 & 9 sat tests a range of Language (English) and Mathematics skills as part of the ISA (International Schools Assessment tests. This was the first time that we have administered these tests at HIS, and they will now become a standard component of the tools we use to assess our programmes and ensure that curriculum is meeting the various needs of our students.

Students have all received their test results which are very detailed and can be very helpful for identifying focus areas for individual improvement. We have identified that there is room for improvement in the reading habits of our students and our Language departments are currently discussing ways to target this, both in terms of reading in English and in home languages. This is something you can support us with at home, by promoting reading for both pleasure and learning. This article shares some ideas about the benefits of reading.

Here are a few ways you could promote reading at home:

  • Expect your child to borrow at least one book per week from the school library, and talk to them about what they are reading.
  • Set aside some family reading time, and model this by joining in and reading at the same time.
  • Spend an afternoon at a bookshop.
  • Meet your child after school and go to the school library together.
  • When you go back to your home country, make visiting a bookshop and buying some mother tongue books a priority.

Dates for your Diary

  • Monday 26th January – Wedmesday 4th February: G10 & 12 Mock examinations
  • 5th February: UKMT Intermediate Competition
  • 5-8 February: MRISA Senior Basketball @ISPP
  • Tuesday 10th February: Field trip to Duong Lam village
  • Friday 13th February: School closes for Tet at 11 am
  • Saturday 14th – Monday 23rd February: Tet Holiday. School Closed
  • Tuesday 24th February: Late Start, classes commence at 10:30 am.
  • 26-29 February: MRISA Junior Football @ISE
  • 12-15 March: MRISA Arts Exchange @SSIS
  • March 27th: PTA Spring Carnival, 4-7 pm at HIS.
  • 3-5 April: MRISA Senior Football @HIS (students hosted by HIS families)
  • Tuesday 14 April: Arts & Music Festival Evening @HIS
  • Thursday 16 April: Sports Day
  • Friday 17 April: Last day of classes for Grades 10 & 12. Study Week begins

Photo Gallery

Hmm, not having much luck getting this to work as I would like right now. Here is a link to the photos and I will see if I can get them to appear here within this post later on.


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