Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year

In preparation for the new school year ISB created a training module for teachers to learn about the various models of learning we will employ next year. Due to the dynamic situation of COVID-19 we need to be ready for any scenario to meet the needs of our students. I’m incredibly impressed and proud of the work our Office of Learning has done to create such robust, intentional, and thoughtful models in place. What I value the most are the decisions to update our previous eLearning model based on purposeful feedback from teachers, students, and parents. Our community leverages our strengths as professionals to be leaders in these new methods of instruction and while we make mistakes like any other organization, our ability to reflect and continually improve our practices is inspiring.

The revisions led to primarily two new formats of learning, Partnered Instruction and Online Learning. Partnered Instruction actually has two versions depending on whether you are in Beijing or outside of China. I am still unable to return and will be beginning the year with both Online and Partnered Instruction models based on our staggered start to the school year.

As a specialist teacher my scenario for Online Learning and Partnered Instruction is very similar. We added a Dragon Day into our weekly schedule for students to engage in community events and specialist classes. I’m excited about this addition and I believe it will positively influence nearly every aspect of their engagement with the performing arts and their social/emotional wellbeing. My favorite elements from teaching the Summer Online Music Institute are embedded in this Dragon Day model, mainly the synchronous lessons that lead to asynchronous activities. I’m optimistic about increased participation during this time. Below is a sample of our Weekly Planner for the first week of lessons for Early Years 4.

Professional Goals

I have chosen Care and Collaborate to focus on for my professional growth for this school year. When choosing professional goals I try to align them into two categories, one that benefits students and one that benefits my individual personal growth. Undoubtedly developing my skills in both Care and Collaborate are beneficial for all. It helps my thinking to understand the primary purpose behind both. Is this mainly for students? Is this for my team? Is this to help me? Knowing the purpose gives me clarity and helps me create benchmarks towards that progress that are meaningful.


The three pillars for creating a caring environment are identified by Cohen-Vargas and Gogolewski (2020) as: promoting trusting relationships, inclusive interactions, and creating a sense of belonging. I plan to integrate the following into my teaching based on these pillars.

  • Create a system to track non-academic interactions with students
  • Create or modify activities where students can share their unique identities and characteristics
  • In EY introduce song tales using photos or videos of their friends and family.
  • Integrate Morning Meeting greetings at the beginning of class.

This “C” is important to me to develop as helpful and supportive team member. One of the reasons I chose to work at ISB is to be a part of a team, to learn from one another, and to lend our individual strengths to support each other. From my perspective, the best areas that work well for our team to collaborate together are lesson plans/curriculum, weekly overview sheets, communications to students and parents, and assessment/feedback protocols.

The second guiding question I reflected on was, “How can we do less individually and share more collaboratively?” As the only member of my team not currently in Beijing, I want to continue contributing as much value as I can while away. A fear of mine is that I will let down my team, or my students, because I am away. I believe that the best way to share collaboratively is to clearly identify tasks each of us can do individually that best suit our individual strengths. By focusing on what we are each best at we can leverage that strength to the group and resulting in stronger results as a whole.

7c Survey Results and Reflections

This week we received detailed feedback from our student surveys for each component of the 7c framework. I chose to administer the survey to a second grade classroom. My instinct to select Clarify as my primary professional learning goal was indeed correct as it identified as the most significant area I could improve as an educator. Consolidate (which was my secondary goal) was the second most significant area in which I can improve. It is reassuring to know that my “gut” instinct was indeed correct and that.

My initial plan for Clarify was to create dual language posters to help students relate knowledge and skills in their native language. After reviewing the specific survey questions addressed for Clarify I might consider changing my goal to address these topics. The survey results listed these two topics as areas for improvement…

In this class, we learn to correct our mistakes

When he/she is teaching us, my teacher asks us whether we understand.

For Consolidate the topics for improvement included…

To help us remember, my teacher talks about things that we already learned.

My teacher takes time to help us remember what we learn.

My Professional Goal for the 2019-2020 School Year


Upon completing the self-reflection portion of the 7C’s survey I selected Clarity for the focus of my professional goal this year. The self-reflection proved helpful to target which “C”  I wanted to direct my efforts, however, the C6 training (combined with classroom experience) brought to light an enormous need to ensure I am meeting the needs of the emergent bilingual students in my classroom.

While not a dual language teacher, I embrace the philosophy that we are all responsible for providing access to the content and language objectives that is accessible to our student population. As primarily a lower elementary music teacher many of my students either were part of the dual language program, still enrolled (PK4), or classify as emergent bilingual students. These first few months have been challenging (as with any transition) to learn as much as I could about my students, the educational structures and systems of ISB (primarily our dual language program), and the best practices I can employ as a music educator to see the unique needs of our students. 

From the Clarity framework I will target:

  1. Orderly structured explanations that promote emergent bilingual understandings
  2. Employ a variety of methods and media to present and explain content and concepts. 
  3. Check for understanding using a variety of formal and informal assessment strategies.

I also hope to employ strategies from the Consolidate framework, specifically:

  1. Summarize big ideas at the end of lessons and review them periodically.
  2. Ask students to summarize and synthesize what they are learning.




Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.

  • Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
    • Self-assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards  (Tripod 7Cs)
    • Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
    • Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
  • Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
  • Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
  • Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
  • You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.

If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!

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