Welcome to IST’s Student Services Information Site


Welcome to the International School of Tanganyika’s Student Services Website. Here you will find programme information, useful articles, links to online resources and much more. Please check back often and feel free to leave us a message with your ideas, links and good thoughts. Asante!





SSP Meetings at the Elementary School


What are SSP meetings?

SSP stands for Student Support plan. It is an annual plan and the cycle runs from January/ February to January/February. The logic for the calendar starting midway through the academic year is to ensure that there is always a plan in place for new classroom and Learning Support teachers to work from in August. At SSP meetings, teachers go over each student’s Program Overview. For all level 2 LS students this includes Focus of Instruction and Accommodations. For level 3 LS students, this includes Focus of Instruction, Accommodations and Individual Goals. The Program Overviews are written collaboratively by the LS teacher, Counselor, EAL teacher (if needed) and the classroom teacher. Along with parent suggestions, accommodations suggested on the child’s external/Ed Psych report would also be taken into consideration.

 When will they be held?

SSP meetings this year will run from Monday January 27 to Tuesday February 4. All parents with students on the Learning Support register have been invited to an SSP meeting. Please be reminded that there are ongoing meetings that whole week so we kindly request that parents arrive on time. We will not be able to go beyond allocated slots, as other parents will be waiting. Thank you for your understanding.

 Where will the meetings take place?

SSP meetings will take place in Room 6.

 Who to contact with questions regarding SSP meetings?

Please contact your Learning Support teacher if you have questions regarding these meetings.

 Grade 1

Ellen Claessens


 Grade 2/3

Cody Alton


 Grade 4/5

Ellen Owen 







New Year’s Resolutions for your kids


Dear Parents,

It’s a new year and I’m sure many of us have made resolutions about how we will eat better, exercise more regularly, keep in better touch with family and friends who are far away and all sorts of other positive changes for our lives. Have we thought about what resolutions we might encourage our children to make and how we can help them achieve those?

Studies have shown that children who have well developed fine motor skills are more successful in the classroom environment. Perhaps this year, you may want to make a point of working with your child to develop those skills. Listed below are some ideas for younger children (toddlers to KG) to help improve fine motor skills.

Walking the ball for Shoulder and Finger Strength.

Use a large exercise ball (Swiss Ball) and have your child hold the ball level with their head against the wall using the palms of their hands and keeping their elbows slightly bent.  Have them walk the ball along the wall.

walk the ball wall

Use a small playground ball and have your child hold the ball against their leg using the tips of their fingers.  Have them walk the ball up one leg, across their tummy, and down the other using their fingers.  Encourage your child to use their dominant hand and not to switch hands once they cross their tummy.

walk the ball leg

Play with playdough or modelling clay for finger strength/agility. 

Sit with your child and make small objects with playdough… birds’ nests full of eggs, snakes and worms, tiny cakes and cookies, plates and silverware, you name it.  As long as they are using their fingers to mold the clay they are building muscles they need for proper pencil grip and cutting skills.


Write on the Wall for Wrist Extension.

You most likely don’t want your child writing on the wall per se but tape a piece of paper up there and let them have fun; they can draw, color, stamp, or write on the wall and build their wrist and shoulder strength at the same time.

writing on the wall

Alternatively, have your child ‘paint’ with water on outside walls and floors.  It dries up, disappears, and doesn’t leave a mess!

Enjoy these simple exercises and see how your children benefit from them in the classroom.  And HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Source:  OT Mom Learning Activities

We wish you a Happy New Year and a relaxing holiday.



Exploring Language Through Song


bird singing

Music reflects our culture, beliefs, traditions, shared experiences, rich history, and is part of the human experience. Songs are part of our language experience. Nursery rhymes, chants, and simple songs are excellent vehicles for learning languages. Most children enjoy singing and it can bring a higher level of interest in routines while helping motivate students.

Adapting songs within the classroom can be an enjoyable way to introduce vocabulary, learn sentence patterns, and sentence structures. Singing supports creating connections with a learner’s home language through the target language. Repeating songs can help young learners practice their listening skills and pronunciation, and with continued practice, students gain confidence in communicating through speaking.

Songs have a powerful way of working our short-term and long-term memory. Natural rhythms in songs help teach English rhythm and stress patterns. Recent research from University in Edinburgh shows there is a strong link between music and memory. Students singing short phrases in their target language were twice as good at speaking it later. The research suggests that learning another language through a listen-and-sing approach could be the best way to remember spoken words verbatim.

Last week a grade one E.A.L. class learned the catchy folk song, “Down by the Bay.” Later, students extended the song by making their own rhymes and creating their own lines. Grade One E.A.L. is looking forward to including more songs into the curriculum for the New Year as well.

Happy singing!


Millington, Neil T. “Using Songs Effectively to Teach English to Young Learners.” Language Education in Asia, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2011.

Gray, Richard. “Singing Can Help When Learning a Foreign Language.” The Telegraph, 18 July 2013. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10188533/Singing-can-help-when-learning-a-foreign-language.html 28 November 2013.

Language Activities for the NEW YEAR!


Depending on someone’s home culture, people celebrate the New Year at different times of the year and in different ways. What type of plans do you make when a year starts? How do you celebrate and when is New Year in your culture? In some cultures people make New Year resolutions and some people celebrate twice – on January 1st AND at another time, such as Chinese New Year or Diwali. Here are some ways you can explore the concept of a New Year with your child and develop their language at the same time!

1. Write some New Year’s resolutions!
In many countries people make New Year resolutions. Here are some common resolutions. Tick the resolutions you would like to make and write some of your own.

I’m going to………….

    • Exercise: do more/join a gym/take up a sport
    • Health: eat less chocolate/give up junk food
    • Hobbies: start a new hobby/join a club/learn a new skill (how to cook, paint, play an instrument)
    • Friends: make new friends/write to friends more/be kinder to friends
    • Studies: study more/do more homework/listen more in class/get books from the library/read more
    • Money: save more money/spend less/be careful with pocket money
    • Stress: worry less/work less/relax more at weekends/go to bed earlier 

2. Celebrating the New Year with a Song!
In the United Kingdom and in many other countries, the start of the New Year on January 1st is a popular time for celebrating. Many people go to a special party in someone’s home with family and friends. There is a count down to midnight and people sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ which is sung throughout the English-speaking world. Do you know the words? Can you sing the song? Alternatively, is there another song in your culture that is traditionally sung at the New Year? Practice your chosen song and perform to your chosen audience!

3. Prepare a Presentation About New Year in Your Country

What traditional ways of welcoming the New Year do you have in your family or in your region? How old are your New Year traditions? Did your grandparents celebrate in the same way? Are children allowed to stay up late to see in the New Year? Are there any special meals or activities for New Year’s Day? Prepare your information with your family, using  pictures and objects if you want and then share with your class.


4. Good Year or Bad Year?
Some years are better or more enjoyable/successful than others. We remember these years and the special things that happened.
Choose a good year for your family and discuss with your child why the year was special. What happened? What did you do? Who did you meet? Where did you go? Write a poem about that year or make a photo album with captions about that year.


5. 2013 Diary

Make a list of things that have happened in 2013 and reflect on the year you have had. Follow these headings to help you:

    • New friends
    • Fun things I did
    • Key events/moments
    • Fun things I heard or saw
    • Important lessons I learned


6. Birth Year Front Cover

Do you know what happened in the year you were born? Find out as much as you can and write a newspaper front page with the top stories of the year. Present it to your friends and family or even to your class.

Number Sense: an overview


downloadCan you picture 10 pencils in your mind? How about 50 pencils? About how much water will fill one cup? Which is more: 43 marbles or 34 marbles?

We have a sort of intuition about numbers that we develop over time. This is called number sense. The more we work with objects–hold them, count them, manipulate them–the better idea we have of quantities. When we have measured a teaspoon of vanilla in 5 or 6 batches of cookies, we get a good idea of about how much a teaspoon is.

Number sense also has to do with an understanding of the written numbers themselves. Young children have to learn that the number “4” refers to a certain quantity of objects. Later, they learn the difference between numbers like 18 and 81, and get a sense of these quantities in their heads.

The best way to develop good number sense is to give kids lots of hands-on opportunities to play with quantities and numbers. Number sense is woven into the other math areas (measurement, operations, shape, data handling, …), and can’t be learned strictly on its own.

However, there are certain skills that are considered to be an important part of number sense, which can be learned and practiced individually.

The 5 most common of these number sense skills children need are:

download (1)Naming Numbers and counting

Kids will learn the pattern of counting numbers (28, 29, 30 is like 88, 89, 90). They learn how numbers relate to each other (50 is ten more than 40). They also learn the names of numbers, and begin to have a sense of how many objects each number refers to.

download (4)


Comparing Numbers

Which number is greater: 181 or 179? Also known as “greater than, less than”, kids need to understand how numbers compare to each other, know what the words “greater than”, “less than” and “equal” mean, and to understand and use the symbols <, > and =.


Odd and Even Numbers

Even numbers of objects can all be paired up; each number has a “friend”. Odd numbers, when put in pairs, have one left without a friend. Until kids have memorized patterns for which numbers are odd and which are even, they will need to physically count them to see if they can be paired up.images (5)


Sequencing/ordering Numbers

If given the number 23, your child should be able to tell the next numbers that come in the sequence: 24, 25. Kids should also be able to count backwards from a number: 90, 89, 88. Second graders should be able to manipulate numbers up to 1,000 in this way.images (1)


Rounding Numbers

First and second graders will learn to round 2-digit numbers to the nearest tens place using a number line or another visual. They will learn to tell which number in the tens place is closest to their number, and round to that number.images (4)




If you would like some practical games to practice number sensse, please contact Ms. Ellen images (2)(eclaessens@istafrica.com)  there are also some great websites to practice these skills and concepts.



download (3)





  • number lines (Little monkey apps)
  • base 10 bingo (abcya)
  • math bingo (abcya)
  • banana math
  • sequencing (montessori apps)
  • Reef math 1(Frolyc)images (3)
  • Splash math grade 1 (studypad)
  • number order (smarter learn)
  • the counting game (apps for kids)
  • 100 slide (math adventures)images