Category: Grade 6

One Day 2018

One Day is a day middle schoolers go off schedule and design their own learning and creating for the day.  This year we changed it a bit and asked teachers to develop a framework through a guiding question.  Students should develop some new skills and have the ability to create their own designs and products within that theme.

Ski Nanshan

The topics we offered this year were:

Top Chef: How can you improvise, revise or create a recipe?

Stopmotion Animation: How do I make a meaningful stop motion movie?

Paper Quilling: How can we present traditional Chinese elements and patterns through western style art form?

Creating Comics: How can we create a dynamic comic that tells a story?

Out of the Blocks: What does an entire city block sound like? Tackle that question, by documenting the stories, voices, and people who populate the block across from ISB.

Write On!: How do you bring your writing to life? What can you create using the written word?

Make a Game: How do we create a new game, simulation, or instructional platform that is interesting, useful, and is challenging enough to offer its players multiple outcomes?

Fitness Fun: How can we make fitness fun and less time consuming? Design a fitness workout/exercise planner/new sport.

Music 4 Change: How can we collaborate,express our passions, and raise awareness for an issue through creating music together?

Making with Clay: What can you make with clay, with new skills on the wheel, with an extruder, and slab roller?

Precious Plastic: How can we give new life and utility to a waste product that is causing massive environmental destruction?

Curious Garden: How can the simple act of creating a bottled garden positively impact our mindfulness and wellbeing in our
everyday lives?

Rollercoaster Car Racing: How will the principles of physics (Newton’s Laws of Motion) affect a car running on a roller coaster track?

DIY Skincare: How can we make skincare products ourselves and what impact does this have on our health and the environment?

Handy Textiles & Giftmaking: How can you hand-craft a gift for a special someone?

Just Dance! Students will collaborate and choreograph or learn and perform a dance. They will choose a dance genre and

Shunyi Photography: How can photographs tell a story?

Ski Nanshan: How can you challenge your ski skills?

Go Karting: How can I improve my driving/karting techniques?


Previously, students were able to choose anything they wanted to do, but it was often difficult for some students due to a variety of reasons. Most commonly, students struggling without a more solid framework due to being new, language proficiency, student support or lack of ideas/motivation.  In the past we have had some great projects, but we have had a number of students playing Minecraft all day or choosing something that ultimately didn’t have a purpose or ended up in the trash.  While we can still tweak the logistics and organization of the day, it is a great day and so amazing to walk around to see what students are choosing to learn and create.  Students were focused, happy and created great things when they had voice and choice in what they could do for One Day. Depending on the activities, some teachers were even able to participate in the creating and learning.


Edison robots: intro activities

Grade 4 are practising using Edison robots, both as an engaging way to learn about coding and robotics as well as helping prepare for their upcoming unit on “Systems”.

We are running through a sequence of self-directed intro activities to help students understand:

  1. The different features of the robots, the various inputs (barcode, sound, light and digital upload via cable)
  2. The various commands & outputs (movement, sound, line tracking, stopping/avoiding lines & physical barriers)
  3. Some of the basic things Edison can do (driving, navigating, racing, tracing, sumo wrestling(!))

Shortly, we will upload some student videos, also attached are some activity sheets to give you an idea of how the learning material is structured.



While these activities are probably best suited to Grades 2-5, the learning sequence continues into more complex activities that would likely be applicable to higher grades. If you would like to know more, please get in touch!


ONE DAY or another

Grade 6 students OneDay project: Create ISB in Minecraft
One Day is an opportunity for middle school students at ISB to Design and Create their own learning for the day based on their interests.

I was fortunate this year to “take over” this event from our Assistant Principal who has facilitated this for the past few years.  It was an easy “YES” when I was asked to consider helping with One Day.

The most difficult challenge I had was trying to organize 450 students and about 50 teachers to make this event successful.  I took feedback from teachers on previous OneDays and tried to make minor revisions based on that feedback and my own experiences  with student driven project based learning, as a MYP Design Teacher and Personal Project Coordinator.

I wanted teachers to have ownership over OneDay since a lot of the success of this project hangs on them.  I led an informational session and gathered feedback and suggestions from teachers in November.  Then after One Day, I held another feedback session, where I gathered a lot (too much, maybe) information from teachers regarding strengths, weaknesses and where we want to go with OneDay in the future.









Overall, I was really happy with One Day and I felt that a majority of the student projects were done well for the amount of time that they had to create – really only about 5 hours.  I am still left a lot of questions:

Originally I wanted to try to stretch out OneDay into a week-long experience, very much like our Future’s Academy’s Ignite Weeks, but they are exhausting to facilitate and it would leave some amazing mentors out of the picture for other grade levels, like one of our grade 6 teachers who is an amazing fashionista and clothing designer.

I also love the idea of walking around school and seeing EVERY middle schooler creating at the same time, there is definitely something very special about the idea.

So, in the next month, I will meet with the middle school teachers with a proposal for next year’s OneDay…  and then start planning for next year!


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