Headteacher's Blog

Challenging the potential of each child, Sakhalin International School is a community where a learner's reflective thinking - through personal qualities, academic rigour and international perspectives - supports their future as an accountable global citizen.

From a Shared Vision to shared behaviours...

posted 30 Nov 2017, 03:58 by Andy Freeman   [ updated 13 Dec 2017, 15:32 ]

The reason I've chosen this as the title for this blog is because there is lots going on in our school and today a teacher reminded me of words I used when sharing learning through a webinar: I'd forgotten them. Forgotten how powerful they are. Forgotten that this was what developing great learning needs. What were they?

It’s not just about having a vision but about how you ensure this vision becomes behaviour

What I haven't forgotten however, as we will see below, is our shared vision at SIS. And neither have our Curriculum and Vision Team leads.. or our teachers... or our learners. And this is why I can say that we are ensuring our vision becomes our behaviour. How we are promoting reflective thinking and supporting our learners as accountable global citizens is becoming more and more of a behaviour every day.

In just this week we have seen:
  • a local company with children at our school share learning and thinking about health, safety and environment to support their futures as accountable global citizens
  • our P3 class, with their partners in learning from a local school, present to people from various companies their findings and views on the overuse of plastic to encourage them to make a difference

Check out our UN Goal Keepers page too to see how our shared vision is becoming more of a behaviour in many other ways:  http://www.sakhalinschool.net/home/un-goalkeepers-blog

Shared Vision. Real Experiences. Great Learning... behaviours make a difference.

Trips, Visits and Collaborations

posted 29 Oct 2017, 17:54 by Andy Freeman

It's been a busy few weeks here at SIS... a busy few weeks of LEARNING!

For just over a year we have been guided in our decision making and in the learning journeys of children by a strong belief in our Shared Vision. In these last few weeks REFLECTIVE THINKING continues to be encouraged through new opportunities, POTENTIAL CHALLENGED through academic rigour, personal qualities and international mindedness, all in support of our learners as ACCOUNTABLE GLOBAL CITIZENS.

Learners have visited a local Cafe, the Theatre, a Museum, The Hub and even had a Pharmacist visit school.

A local school visited our P3 Class to collaborate on how we could encourage recyclable food packaging whilst also promoting some of the UN Goals through superhero designs - see photos.

These links for bigger and better learning, mean children are busy learning, busy making better connections with the real world for learning which lead to them being bigger and better learners for the future.

I love it!

Mr Freeman

Supporting lives as Accountable Global Citizens...

posted 12 Oct 2017, 18:52 by Andy Freeman

Last Saturday we hosted our Festival of Football with our friends at Olympia. What a great day it was!

And one made even better by our Middle Years Students who coordinated a very big Bake Sale. Themselves. From pulling students together to help sell items, to coordinating the community to make cakes and cookies to donate, our students worked hard, challenged their Personal Qualities and hosted a 'bake sale of bake sales' for over 200 people.

In doing so they showed their learning towards being an Accountable Global Citizen, raising around 70000 rubles for two local charities. Today, one of those charities joined us in assembly to receive the donation. Our school of learners used a cooperative learning tool to think of questions to ask our guests to find out exactly who they were and what they did, and then the donation was presented.

Congratulations to our students and I look forward to seeing our relationship grow with our local charities.

And what a way to start the term!

posted 15 Sep 2017, 20:44 by Andy Freeman   [ updated 15 Sep 2017, 20:45 ]

We ended last term and year with a celebration of the work that Mike Uma Okoro does with young children back in Nigeria, his home country, and the support that you all gave for this work through helping produce and buy an SIS Cookbook.

And to share in how you supported these children, below are pictures from Mike who visited Nigeria this summer to continue to support the Foundation he started and supports. A message from Mike:

Uma-Okoro Foundation Will like to say a big thank you to Sakhalin International School for supporting our mission to help children who are unable to access learning resources. Attached are some photos from our mission trip this summer. Thank you for working with us to inspire a future filled with hope.


Yours sincerely

Uma-Okoro Michael 

And this is not the end. I hear that some parents in Sakhalin are looking for other ways to support also... perhaps we can all join in and continue this support long term. I'll keep you posted.

For now, thank you.

And well done, Mike. Respect!

What a way to end the term...

posted 6 Jul 2017, 19:52 by Andy Freeman

It was a fantastic way to end our year, donating 51,000 rubles to support learning for children who are not always able to access learning or access resources for learning.

Thanks to Litska for the idea and getting our cookbook made and sold; and to Mike for his great support for friends in Nigeria who will benefit further from the work his foundation supports.

And an International Friday...respect!

posted 12 Jun 2017, 14:53 by Andy Freeman

I meant what I said on Friday (for those who were there). I 'really love the fact that our school represents so many different backgrounds' and what I like even more, is that 'we share and celebrate the similarities and differences' together. We are lucky to be amongst so many friends from different backgrounds.

Whilst there is a culture of respect in our school, we have to accept that sometimes children forget themselves. It is for this reason that we as parents, teachers and learners ourselves need to coach and share learning within our community to regularly celebrate our similarities and differences and develop that interest, knowledge and understanding of and beyond our own cultures (International Mindedness). In doing so, we develop respect.

On Friday at school, all in the space of several hours we developed that respect more.

In the morning in a whole school assembly we learnt more about Sikhism from one of our families. The learning was fantastic and as our learners asked questions, we could feel the respect in the room that our learners have for other cultures and gained an insight into how internationally minded our learners are.

Later on Friday, our Middle Years students visited the Japanese Consulate to find out more about Japanese art and culture.


And to end an international day of learning about the similarities and differences in our cultures, we learnt more about traditions in Russia in preparation for Monday's holiday of Russia Day.

We are privileged to be able to share in such a diverse community. Our experiences help us all develop more as accountable global citizens. If you can help add to our, and our learners' experiences, please let me know: andy.freeman@sakhalinschool.net

An International Week!

posted 25 May 2017, 20:28 by Andy Freeman

One great thing (of many) in our school, community and host island, Sakhalin, is the way we celebrate our diversity, the way we embrace new people we meet and how, as the British Ambassador put it this week, we are all diplomats for each of our countries. We are making links, sharing our cultural similarities and differences, respecting our different traditions and beginning to solve similar problems together.

On Tuesday we welcomed the Minister Counsellor for the British Embassy and found out about the role of an Embassy and his job.

On Friday we hosted our International Children's Day.

For both events we welcomed Gymnasium 3 who supported the events by leading a cultural song and dance and by leading craft activities. Gymnasium 3 showed our shared belief that guides our collaboration; one thought of and designed by a child from one of the Gymnasiums and selected by the President of Exxon Mobil.

International Children's Day was also supported by many volunteer parents. Without your help we could not have put on such a great event. Thanks for being all together with us.


What is an accountable global citizen?

posted 13 May 2017, 21:40 by Andy Freeman

After almost a year with a new shared vision, we are revisiting what we think an accountable global citizen is.

I found these on a website, reflecting how these related to us and you children in the future. Does someone who actively engages in these goals for sustainable development an accountable global citizen?

What's your view? Let me know: andy.freeman@sakhalinenergy.ru

Happy Holi!

posted 14 Mar 2017, 03:23 by Andy Freeman

Last week we were lucky enough to develop our knowledge and understanding of a culture beyond our own nationality thanks to our friends who shared the celebration of Holi with us at our school.

As part of our shared learning we found out about the story behind the celebration and some of the traditions associated with it.

To celebrate the 'throwing of paint' that usually happens at Holi, our friends kindly prepared 4 large tubs of shredded colour paper for us to throw.

As you can see, our children really enjoyed the celebration, developing their international mindedness and reflecting on their futures as accountable global citizens.

Thanks to Manesh, Shweta, Tanush and our friends from the Indian community for sharing this with us.

We look forward to more of our families helping us reflect on the international in future celebrations. Email me at andy.freeman@sakhalinenergy.ru if you would like to support our learners in this way.

I've been thinking... and so have you!

posted 9 Feb 2017, 11:01 by Andy Freeman   [ updated 9 Feb 2017, 11:07 ]

I shared in a previous post about how we were focusing in school on how we could provide more opportunities for reflective and critical thinking opportunities across the school. I was thinking last night about if we had been sharing enough examples of this with the wider community to help you understand/think (it's all linked!) what this is about, how it is going and what it means for learning in our context and how it is supporting our learners as accountable global citizens.

Well here's one example...

Yesterday our Milepost 3 welcomed a professional athlete into the classroom linked to their current learning about health and fitness. To support learning in this way they...

Used a Visible Thinking Tool (VTT) together to generate questions, ideas and thoughts to talk about

Used these for a very in-depth discussion/debate

Shared reflections on their learning/understanding together through an alternative VTT

I also visited a MP 2 class and wanted to share how children's learning is getting bigger and better as a result of this focus. In the class two learners had to represent something that was between 0.5 and 0.6m. Through some discussion, visible thinking and coaching (between each other, not with me!) they realised their books were not big enough and came up with this...

... they converted it to a 0.5-0.6cm ant! I love it!

(Now for me to go and think how to rotate an image stored on Google Drive so you can see it the right way up on the website... any visible thinking you can share anyone?)

1-10 of 17