Wednesday, 16 December 2015

eNews Issue 18

The pace doesn’t slow at HKA, even in a short week leading up to a holiday. The Kindergarten classes wowed us all with a fantastic exhibition on Tuesday based on their unit 'Sharing the Planet', with a focus on how animals co-exist within various habitats. The Grade 5 classes also opened their doors this morning to share their learnings about inventions. And today was a great day for music at HKA with songs from Grades 4 & 5 and a real showcase of Secondary School talent at the Secondary School Assembly.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and looking forward to seeing you in January.

Friday, 11 December 2015

eNews Issue 17

Dear Hong Kong Academy Community,

Motivation is central to any successful endeavour and certainly with learning. We have to want to learn in order to stay engaged and put forth our best efforts. When we are motivated, we can achieve more than we ever anticipated and sometimes we learn that we are more capable than we first thought.

We were reminded of that this week in both the Primary and Secondary Schools. On Thursday, Grade 5 shared their circus arts PE unit with adoring fans (mainly parents!). The students’ enthusiasm for their new skills was palpable and the energy in the gym was high. The students did a great job but what strikes me most is how PE teacher Tracee Cook characterised the learning. She structured the learning to encourage students to be self-directed about what skills they wanted to learn, to form their own groups and then to choreograph their own routines. In short, they were being self-managing and self-monitoring and highly motivated in the process. Some great photos to view in the Grade 5 folder of ourPhoto Gallery.

In the Secondary School, the Grade 12 IB students are currently completing their Theory of Knowledge essays. The TOK, as it is called, is a rigorous and structured essay that explores questions of how we know what we know. The core topic is the same for all essays but the students choose the way in which they will approach the project. They start with what motivates them, whether science, art, music, etc... and use that personal passion as the entry point for the challenging questions of perception and reality. Our students’ TOK finished products are always at a very high standard and I think that’s due in part to the fact that they are motivated to answer questions that they have made their own.

Holidays are often a motivator for all of us, too! I wish you well for this break and look forward to seeing everyone in January. Safe travels!

Friday, 4 December 2015

eNews Issue 16

Who did eat those tarts? And were they raspberry or strawberry? If you were one of the lucky ones in the audience at last night’s performance of Alice in Wonderland, then you know the answers! If you missed it last night, I hope you catch today’s performance.

At HKA, when we talk about rigour, pathways to individual success and the value of an HKA education, one of the ideas foremost in our minds is student-led learning experiences. Alice in Wonderland was an incredible example of student-led efforts. Even a brief look at the programme tells the story: students not only performed in the play, they led the design efforts for posters, tickets and sets, provided the music, choreographed the dances, designed costumes, organised props and supported every technical aspect of the play. Some of them took on director roles as well. The students had a fantastic theatre experience while they developed their own voices and leadership skills.

To support students in such extensive leadership roles reflects the skill and the commitment of HKA teachers to authentic student learning. Thanks especially to Drama Teacher Jo Crimmins for her work as well as all other faculty and staff who helped make Alice not just a wonderland but wonderful.