Primary School: 24/04/2020

Welcome to the next edition of the PYP Blog and a big welcome to the summer term of school! We have lots of exciting events coming up this term and whether they all happen in Virtual School or actual school we do hope your children will enjoy them.

World Book Day


Thank you to everyone who participated in the World Book Day Dress Up and to children who completed activities on the World Book Day Padlet. I hope your children enjoyed the experience and had a moment to reflect on how lucky they are to be surrounded by books of all sorts. Please encourage them to share stories to see if it really is possible to share one million stories? A record chart of stories read and told can be found on the World Book Day Padlet:


Sports Day

Ms Steph and Mr. Ruben would like to welcome all PYP families to the PYP Virtual Sports Day. We are really excited to see students and their families participate in a range of indoor sports activities.

  • Early Years Sports Day Monday 27th April at 10:00 am
  • Grade 2,3 & 4 Sports Day Tuesday 28th April at 9:30 am
  • Grade 5 & 6 Sports Day Tuesday 28th April at 11:00 am


What do your children need?

  • Children should be dressed in PE kit with any decorations they have made with their teachers for the day e.g. a Team Flag. There is also a medal template if you wish to give your child a medal at the end of the Sports Day.
  • A small space to complete the activities – please ensure tables and precious items are moved out of the way to avoid accidents to humans and belongings!

Sports Day will be through Zoom and all the details will be added onto the daily timetable. Children will follow instructions live and also through the Padlet presentations.

Good luck to all our students and parents who may also wish to participate!

Grade 2-6 End of Unit 5 Reports

We will publish End of Unit 5 reports on ManageBac and a communication will be sent when they are prepared. Each class is working on a different timeline so I will communicate to each grade level separately. The format will be slightly modified but the report will outline your child’s achievements and areas to develop in the final unit.

Parent Teacher Conferences

These meetings will happen this term in order to give parents an opportunity to discuss the progress of their child with the teacher – more information on how to sign up for meetings will be coming soon.

Term 3 Timetable

School timetableThank you to PYP families for adapting to the Term 3 timetable. Ms Ferloni and I have met with HR Reps and will meet again as required to answer questions or concerns about the timetable.

The guiding principles of the adaptations to the timetable are to:

  • Allow some specialists to be more active and to explain their subject in real live time
  • Extend Live lessons to include Unit of Inquiry lessons to spark discussions and allow for more depth to the unit
  • Ensure children have the opportunity to ask questions to their teacher and be able to share their work in live time
  • Give allocated time to Guided Reading rather than independent reading only
  • Provide small group sessions in the Early Year
  • Provide longer screen time breaks and to start the day slightly later to give children a chance to prepare their materials and be awake for the day!
  • Place resources on Padlet or Google Classroom rather than Class Dojo to avoid too many platforms.

The new timetable has brought up some important questions and I have tried to answer these below. However just as in school, there is not a “one size fits all” answer to these questions. Virtual School can never replicate actual school but it can be as flexible as school in terms of meeting each child’s needs. If you have questions about how to get the best out of this new timetable for your child please contact your child’s Homeroom Teacher or myself.

Are the Zooms compulsory?
Ideally, children will attend the introduction of the lesson to get a sense of what they are doing and why! Teachers may then direct some children to stay on Zoom to work with support but there is always the option to turn off Zoom and work independently. Some children need the interactivity of the Zoom sessions – they need to ask questions in live time and are perhaps Auditory Learners who learn best when things are explained orally. Other children don’t need the Zoom session as they are more happy working independently or with a parent at home.

Ideally in G2-G6 children will all come onto Zoom for the start of lessons and in Early Years joining one session a day will ensure your child has some teacher input and has a chance to communicate and see their friends. Following this method screen time is very minimal.

What if my child doesn’t finish the work – Grade 2- Grade 6?
I will be discussing this with teachers to ensure appropriate time is given to complete work and that expectations on what has to be completed in the time set is made more clear. Some families are using the extended lunch to complete unfinished morning work and if your child is not in the afternoon Guided Reading session they could also use this time to finish off work so they have a sense of completion of the day. But just as in normal school, if your child does feel overwhelmed with the amount of work please contact the teacher.

Should we use the Learning Packs to limit screen time?
The Learning Packs are designed for children who do not have access to a device. If your child prefers a completely off screen approach then this is the option. You may also take a blended approach of Zoom, Virtual Packs and using the Padlet resources.

With Zoom live lessons, Padlet and the Learning Packs there are many options to select from. How you choose which to follow will depend on your child, your family schedule and your device allocation. Please do ask if you would like to talk about what is best for your child.

Should I feel guilty if my child misses the Zoom in Early Years?
No! Please do not worry, we understand that each child has their own routine and how busy family life is. Please do the best you can but children should not feel forced to join the Zoom.

Is Guided Reading compulsory in G1-G6?
Yes please do make sure your child is present for their reading time as times cannot be recuperated as teachers have a very busy schedule.

Is Reading Eggs preferred over real books?
No, again this will depend on your child and the resources you have at home. Reading Eggs is ideal for children learning to read and for families who do not have access to English books at home. Reading in your child’s home language remains very important.

Parent role during Zoom:
As your children become more confident with Zoom, it is not necessary to sit with your child for the live session (for some children it is required for an adult to be present – you know your child!). However we do have some children who do not talk to the teacher and talk through their parent. The Zoom sessions are for children and we do kindly ask that parents take a supportive role and not an active one within the Zoom unless directed by the teacher.

Zooming, Padleting and back to Zoom!
I am currently working with the teachers to find a more efficient way for children to switch between Zoom and Padlet and we will communicate any tips we find on this to allow your children to be independent with this.

Student Teachers: Dundee University

We are very happy to welcome student teachers from Dundee University into Virtual School. The student teachers will take a passive role and observe lessons – they will not be teaching. They will attend staff meetings and school events to have a very small window into the world of the PYP. We are very sorry not to be hosting these students at school but hope we can still support them with their training in the virtual world.

And finally, screen time

I think everyone, children and adults is concerned about the amount of time they are now spending on the screen. What is very important is rest breaks and correct posture.


When there are the breaktimes, please close devices, your child can play with a toy, relax on the sofa, play with a pet, get outside if they have a safe space. The breaktimes should be off screen. Please also make sure your child is sitting properly in lessons, not straining their necks and placing their hands on the keyboard properly in the upper grades when typing to support the wrist.
After school, I am sure the children may want to play their video games but this adds to screen time. This is much easier said than done, but please talk about the Learner Profile of Balanced and Principled with your child. Ask them to set a timetable with you of when screen time can be used in the evenings or reserve it for weekends. Remind them of the implications of watching busy screens and flashing symbols for extended periods. It is also very important that devices are taken away at bedtime.
I will address this in my assembly too.

At the heart of everything has to be play. Play is so important – building dens in the house, role playing scenes, board games, jigsaws, teddy bear acting, playdough, shops, baking… it is easy for me to write as I don’t have to clear up the mess, however in all seriousness, please think about the opportunities your child has for free play and using their creativity and imagination. There is a very helpful document published by the IB which is attached here: Inquiry through play supporting pyp parents
It was written in response to Virtual School and as a way to support parents on different types of play. I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you so much for everything you are doing to bring the PYP to life in your homes! I cannot imagine how many things you are juggling to make this happen and I am very grateful to each of you for your support and dedication to Virtual School!

Ms Jane Whittle