Bilingual Programme - Mr Francis

UP Team and the Extreme Survivors!

It’s that time of the year again, Christmas Holidays! The last period went by so quickly. We only had 5,5 weeks between the Autumn Holidays and the Christmas Holidays, but we are happy to say that we managed to do a lot. There has always been a good spirit in Upper Primary, and with Christmas coming closer, it got only better. Pupils are supportive of each other, they are hardworking and they are happy! That’s how we like it!!

In those 5,5 weeks we managed to wrap up an entire IPC-unit. There are so many extreme places in the world, that we only had one choice: one extreme habitat per week. In this way pupils have studied deserts, the poles, deep seas, dark caves and high mountains. And, most importantly, they have studies the ‘extreme survivors’, the amazing animals that live in this world. Whether it was about the Saharan ant or the mountain leopard, the stoat or the Arctic fox, pupils carefully completed their research, wrote an explanatory texts and even drew detailed sketches of all these beautiful creatures on our planet.

In those 5,5 weeks, of course, we also continued learning Numeracy. Year 5 pupils have for example had fun with divisibility rules and they have started looking at prime and square numbers. Year 6 pupils have focused on keeping track of all the different rules and strategies they have learnt so far, sometimes even writing posters to keep track of how to multiply a fraction by a whole number, and how to find a fraction of a fraction. There are many things to learn still, but we are on our way!

What else did we do? Pupils in the bilingual program continued their weekly spelling, reading, numeracy and IPC lesson in Dutch. We are happy to see all the progress and that children are motivated to learn the native language of Belgium. They still love to play a language game at the end of class and, to the growing frustration of their teacher, they cannot stop saying the children’s word of the year, ‘Ma.. stoppeuuhh’. They have also written a text about ‘overlevers in extreme omstandigheden’ in Dutch, which they have added to their little booklet. And they promised to keep reading Dutch during the holiday!

The English group have enjoyed even more challenging verbal and non-verbal reasoning tasks, they have designed and produced posters of some of our IPC personal goals, ‘resilience’ and ‘enquiry’. They read, write, and collect words. They are supportive and kind to each other during both language lessons, numeracy lessons and IPC lessons. They also love to play a good board game every now and then, and they are starting to understand how all these different activities combined help them build knowledge, skills and understanding – and help their language evolve even more!

That will surely be everything for those 5,5 weeks, you say. Well, we also went on two trips, to the botanical garden and to Sea-Life. We celebrated Pedro’s birthday and Sarah threw a pizza party to celebrate her birthday back in August, we got a treat from Sinterklaas and we went to the swimming pool every two weeks. We recorded our Christmas songs and dances and we delivered Christmas cards to the school’s neighbours. We got to meet Emmalien, Mr Francis’ baby, something which everyone was looking forward to. And also, we managed to keep Covid out of the door, without it letting affect our positive vibe! Well done, everyone!

Before we end we would like to say a very warm ‘see you again’ (not a goodbye!) to three special people. Mirei and Yumiri have now safely arrived in Japan, but it feels as if they are still part of our group, and always will be… And Ms Laura has been such a fantastic teacher assistant. We really want to thank her for her contribution, her patience and her dedication, which has inspired us.

We wish everyone a special end 2021 and we are looking forward to more good moments together in 2022. Team Upper Primary!!


Goodbyes only mean we'll miss you until we meet again!

Happy Autumn holidays, everyone!

First, we share the good news that Mr Francis’s baby is here and that the whole family is doing fine! We are happy that baby Emmalien has arrived – and we cannot wait for covid restrictions to go away so that we can have a big meet and greet with her!

Upper Primary pupils end this first term back at school with a Halloween party – but also with a sad goodbye. We wish Yumiri and Mirei all the best when they return to Japan. We will miss you a lot and we hope we will meet again, one day!

It has been a busy term. We welcomed Henriette to our class back in September, as well as our big group of new year 5 pupils. Upper Primary pupils have now settled down in their new group. They have spent quite some time working on classroom rules and together deciding on the way they want to be treated and treat others. There is a lot of kindness, respect, and support around in this group. Pupils (and teachers) laugh a lot, sing, and dance every now and then, and – of course – learn many things!

We have just wrapped up our first IPC unit. Pupils have really enjoyed learning more about art and artists during this unit, "They see the world like this". The walls have been covered with beautiful art, all the way from impressionist self-portraits to abstract art, to cubist paintings, to prints. It has been lots and lots of fun. Pupils have also spent time researching famous artists and written biographies. Parents will be impressed when they understand how much pupils have learnt!

In literacy, the big focus has been on writing different types of recounts. Pupils have been focusing on a specific spelling and grammar focus every week and they have all improved on their writing skills. They practise presenting work in class in different ways and they share many thoughts and ideas with each other. Reading skills focus has been how to collect words to add to their own individual wordlists and they have also looked at different types of questions to ask to find out more about a book.

The first big Numeracy test showed that all pupils have made progress, that they have learnt new facts and skills and grown a bit more confident. Pupils never compete, the only interesting thing to observe is to see how much they have learnt since last time and how much more confident they are when they work on their tasks. Year 5 pupils have used compasses for the first time, and every new skill needs practise, practise, practise. It was a sweaty lesson, but they added new Numeracy vocabulary to their word list, and they did a great job! Year 6 pupils have started looking at both order of operations and algebra. They try to use different mnemonics to remember new learning. Pupils share their understanding with each other and explain ongoing learning to each other.

Pupils have done a great job! It really is time for holidays, and we wish that pupils rest, play and have lots of fun! We meet again in November! And, as we all know, ‘Goodbyes are not forever; goodbyes are not the end. They only mean I’ll miss you until we meet again!’

Take good care of yourselves, dear Upper Primary pupils, and friends!


Fond memories!

And so Upper Primary finally says goodbye… After a long and bumpy road we can say that we really have made the best of our last time together. With some more exciting memories to look back to, everyone is now finally ready for a well-deserved summer holiday. We have a lot of pupils starting new adventures, and while they are certainly ready for it, we also know that we will all miss each other a lot.

Luckily enough, we have been able to do more outside school again the last few months. As part of our IPC-unit, we cycled to a village near Ghent, Drongen, and we visited STAM, the city museum of Ghent, whilst further exploring the history and architecture of our beloved city. We also spent a fun sports day at the Blaarmeersen and at the end of the school year, UP participated in the all-school event, the ‘ISG Wacky Olympics’. We are so happy that we were able to do these things together!

In the classroom we have further investigated many aspects of architecture and city planning during the IPC-unit ‘Building a Village’. Pupils enjoyed making concrete, testing properties of materials (fair testing in focus) and researching different aspects about life in a village. They both looked more closely at remote villages as a part of their geography learning, and found out more about the history of Ghent. They had fun when they presented their history research in front of their classmates with a role play.

In Dutch class, pupils have prepared themselves as much as possible for the future. We wish all the best to the students starting in a Dutch school and for the students moving to another country, we hope that they will find a way to keep in touch with Dutch. In their assessment portfolio, pupils have a small booklet in which they look back at the Dutch class this school year: their classmates, teachers, their favourite class activities (Weerwolven!), etc.

At the end of the school year, all students have taken home their learning materials. Pupils have finalised workbooks and have also taken the end-of-year test in different subjects and handed in their last pieces of work for marking. They have their Assessment Portfolio with some important work and also the compliments they gave each other. It is really nice to browse these portfolios and see the progress since the start of the school year.

One of the last things Upper Primary pupils put in their Assessment Portfolios was a poem. Pupils chose to write different types of poems for this task. Some focused on writing rhyming poems, while others thought more about syllables and rhythm. Some chose to write their poems in the shape of a house, others again to write more symbolic poem where a house represents other things in life. Regina shared her poem during graduation at Senior Assembly, where her house poem encouraged us to use Adaptability when thinking about changes that await us all in the future. All year 6 participated in the beautiful graduation ceremony – decorating the hall, welcoming parents, hosting the event, playing the violin and making sure everyone could hear what was said. We mustn’t forget the presentation about the Pear Comics! All year 5/6 pupils sang in front of parents to wave off. Many things taking place, and there was an energizing buzz around the school that was lovely to see! We hope to have more of these events like this next school year!

We hope you enjoy the pictures attached. Again, we have so many fond memories of every pupil. Also for teachers, it is not easy  to say good-bye to so many special pupils, but we treasure all the good memories and hope to see you all in the future!

Happy Autumn holidays, human beings!

There are 17 pupils in Upper Primary this school year and they have all been very excited to be back at school after the Covid spring and the summer holiday. During the first two months, we have spent a lot of time on building routines and getting to know each other. It is nice to see that new pupils have been welcomed into the ISG family and have started to incorporate the ISG values at school, as well as the dedication to learning that we aim for at our school.

A lot of new learning has taken place, and it has been great to be back in the classroom. Pupils have been able to show the knowledge and understanding of both Numeracy, Literacy and our IPC-topic, learning about the Human body. Pupils have had PE-lessons, Music classes, Recorder group practises and much more. We have all appreciated being together at school again. We have had many Covid-safe birthday parties in our classroom since August and start of school year; Ms Jenny, Fiona, Mohana, Sarah, Mr Francis, Mr Romain, Alma, Lucia, Phoevos, Hamza have all turned one year older! Happy birthday!

We have wrapped up our first IPC-unit, ´Being Human´ in which we explored the different systems within our bodies. From the brain to the skeleton, and further down to the heart and the digestive system, we have explored it all, inside and out. At assembly, pupils have presented their learning to the whole school, and during an extended writing sample they have summarized - after plenty of drafts - the gist of their learning. On the last day before the holiday, the Queen of Internal Organs can say that she was proud of what the pupils achieved.

Unfortunately we were still somewhat constrained due to Covid-regulations (not much contact with parents, no trips and only one swimming lesson) but in comparison to a complete lockdown, this was nothing. We have been so delighted to see all pupils active, making friends, engaged in learning and developing themselves. It was also lovely that we had a chance to see our Upper Primary parents during Parent-Teacher meetings, it felt like it was a long time since we sat down together for a good chat.

In Upper Primary, there are 10 pupils following the bilingual programme. The Year 6 pupils are preparing for a possible transition to a local secondary school, learning about more complicated spelling rules, getting the word order of an ómdat-zin´right, learning numeracy vocabulary in Dutch, exploring their IPC-unit in Dutch, and so on. The group of Dutch beginners have looked at the alphabet and started to learn words and make basic sentences, so that all communication can be held in Dutch now.

During a normal school week, pupils following the English programme also focus on different subjects, and one of the favourite activities is when pupils sit down and focus on Verbal reasoning tasks and Non-verbal reasoning tasks. Pupils have improved their thinking skills, by challenging their brains with different puzzles, patterns and challenges!

After a busy first 9 weeks at school, pupils now deserve to rest and enjoy their free time during the Autumn Holidays. They are welcome back to school for more learning in November. A new IPC-unit awaits, as well as many new challenges in Literacy, Numeracy and other subjects. Every day is a chance to learn something new!

Dutch at ISG


Dutch at ISG

All pupils at ISG have the opportunity to explore  and learn Dutch. In this blog post you can read more about our Dutch language programmes. Veel leesplezier!


Leerjaar 5-6

In leerjaar 5-6 pupils pupils following the bilingual program have Dutch four times a week, in preparation of a possible transition to a local secondary school. At the moment there are 8 pupils following the bilingual program. In January and February they completed a chapter with the title ‘Je ziet er goed uit!’ about clothes, looks and describing appearances. Students with more advanced Dutch tried to read texts that are the level of peers in Dutch schools, with success.

Apart from their Dutch as a second language lessons, children also learned about their IPC-unit ‘een missie naar Mars’ about space (de ruimte). Every Thursday they also have a numeracy class in Dutch (optellen – aftrekken – vermenigvuldigen – delen) and also sports and swimming are partly in Dutch. Last month leerjaar 5-6 pupils following the bilingual program also started taking home Dutch books. They tried to read regularly (3 keer 10 minuten per week) and they all have put in a good effort filling out the ‘leeslogboek’. Dikke duim!


Leerjaar 3-4

In leerjaar 3-4 pupils are split into a Dutch beginner group (studying with ms. Adinda) and a Dutch extension group (mr. Francis). The beginner group has one lesson of 45 minutes a week and the extension group has two lessons of 45 minutes a week.

In the beginner’s group students learn about daily communication such as saying hallo, dankjewel, de dagen van de week, enz. They listen to stories and make drawings. After the holiday students will perform at the assembly with a Dutch poem.

In the extension group we mainly focus on comprehensive reading and we try to read texts at the year level of local schools. We often read texts about something in the news, for example de Brexit en het coronavirus, maar ook over de discussie of katten al dan niet buiten mogen. Year 3-4 students read one Dutch book a week and they sometimes complete een leeslogboek about this book.At the end of the class we usually play a language game – de leerlingen kiezen altijd voor weerwolven!


Leerjaar 1-2 and pre=primary

In leerjaar 1-2 en in de kleuterklas all pupils study Dutch with ms. Marjolein or ms. Adinda and playfully learn basic Dutch.
Pupils with advanced Dutch in leerjaar 1-2 also get one extra lesson of 30 minutes in which they study the sounds in Dutch. They have started in September with the ‘a’ (like in kat) and by now they have seen almost all the sounds (see picture). Two more lessons and then we can have a letterfeest!