Saturday, April 24, 2010

Vice Principal's update

“When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music” – Kahlil Gibran

The penultimate month of the last semester began with its unusually fast paced- long weekend, seniors staying back to prepare for their mocks, Easter Assembly, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter dawn service at St Peter’s church followed by breakfast at Benderloch, chapel service and Easter lunch.

After the long weekend the senior class got busy doing their IB mock examinations, the review time closely followed and now the IB students are on independent study time when no formal classes are held. Extra help and revision sessions were also happening during this time - generally and specifically for those students who needed it on one on one basis.

Course registrations for the new academic year were done by the rest of the school. We had orientation sessions with students and advisers. Grade 11 IB students have started their initiation with the extended essay process and grade 9 has had an initiation with their Personal Project. The Principal and Vice Principal Honors list students were invited for a special luncheon separately; this was long overdue! Meanwhile we have invited students to apply for National Honors Society membership. The subject award assembly was held on 27 April 2010 both at high school and K-8 campus.

Apart from the above academic endeavors, our congratulations go out to KIS A team for winning the exciting and the well contested Kodai Soccer Open tournament which was held at KIS Bendy Field! Then we had Earth Day celebrations, IB Art Exhibition, Group 4 presentations which were based on the UN Millennium goals, Indian music concert, western music concert, NHS and Youthrise carnivals apart from the usual Social Experience activities. Moreover on Earth Day the senior class organized Staff Appreciation assembly which had its tinge of nostalgia.

The seniors were also excited about the last prom of their school year before they bid farewell to their alma mater while the grade 8 students had their final middle school formal before joining the high school.

Finally fifty staff members from the high school and the middle school attended a fruitful full day workshop on “How to Implement Critical Thinking in Classrooms”, conducted by Dr Philip Balcean which was well received. Dr Balcaen teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Canada. He is an acknowledged authority in teaching critical thinking. Moreover, our PYP staff has had a two day off campus workshop for completion of the interdisciplinary program of inquiry.

The end of April heralds the approaching of the last leg of the semester which means only twenty days to go!

Kaisar Dopaishi


Professional Development update

How to implement critical thinking in classrooms - Dr Philip Balcaen

On 13 April 2010 fifty teaching staff from K-12 attended a full day workshop on “How to Implement Critical Thinking in Classrooms”, conducted by Dr. Philip Balcean which was well received. Dr.Balcaen teaches in the Faculty of Education at The University of British Columbia-Okanagan, Canada. He is an acknowledged authority in teaching critical thinking and has extensive experience working with educators across Canada in the US and in India.

During his full day workshop he covered the following topics:

During his full day workshop he covered the following topics:

Session 1: Introduction to teaching Critical Thinking

* Background to the pedagogy of Critical Thinking; What is it and why include a focus on critical thinking in your teaching?
* What does teaching critical thinking “look-like & feel-like”? An example!
* Three kinds of questions and considering “challenging questions” as invitations to think critically.
* Examples of Challenging questions from across the curriculum

§ Overview of the TC2 teaching model

Session 2: Teaching the “tools for thought”

* Identifying and Developing Criteria for Judgment—the key to critical thinking:
* Content knowledge as a key component of teaching critical thinking
* Teaching thinking vocabulary/concepts as essential elements of critical inquiry.
* Strategies for teaching thinking
* The importance of teaching Habits of Mind when developing a classroom community of thinkers

This workshop was hands-on and tailor-made to fit into the realities of classroom lesson planning and teaching. The staff found this workshop to be very productive and there was all-round appreciation for it. This workshop has set the ground for future advanced workshops in critical thinking.

Kaisar Dopaishi
Vice Principal


Professional Development in the ES

Teaching for Transformation through Engagement Training

At the beginning of April 2010, Kyle and Lynea Mitchell and Brian Nelsen facilitated a one day workshop to on strategies for engaging all students in learning across disciplines, content and context lines. This was the first workshop on Cooperative Learning and Experiential learning made available for both English and Tamil medium schools from four surrounding community schools. Over 30 teachers, administrators and directors met in the Spirit Splashers room on Jumisba Campus for the workshop. As we were planning this workshop, our goal was to highlight engagement methods rooted in Jesus Christ’s experiential methods of teaching exemplified in the Sermon on the Mount. At the end of His teaching, the Bible says the people left his class on the mountain inspired and in awe -transformed. The programs introduced included Kagan Cooperative Learning, Team Building and Classbuilding by Tom Jackson, Inquiry-based teaching components and IB Learner Profile and skill development.

We send a huge thank you to Zareen Babu for gathering schools together to unite in training to bring top quality education to all children of India and the world.

PYP Planning Workshop

On a sunny morning in April 2010 all PYP teachers boarded a bus for a one day planning workshop at the Kodaikanal International Hotel. Janice VanHaltren and Brian Nelsen led the PYP team through sessions on relationship building, transdisciplinary planning and the completion of our PYP Program of Inquiry to be implemented next year. At the beginning we reflected on Jesus’ miracle of the feeding of the hungry 5000 and discovered that the 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread were multiplied as his disciples distributed them to the 5000. Not only were all 5000 people fed, but 12 baskets of leftovers remained. We prayed for the same miracle of multiplication for our day of planning. With God’s help combined with the PYP crews diligent work, we completed more than expected, felt completely satisfied with the results and ready for next year and the PYP site visit with three planners ready for first semester. Thanks to Kaisar Dopaishi for approving the funds for the day.

Win-Win Discipline

Keeping in line with KIS MSA goal to improve school culture at KIS and the all school professional development focus on differentiation, Kaisar Dopaishi and Sam Balachander requested Brian Nelsen to conduct workshops for both teaching and dorm parent staff introducing a classroom management program called “Win Win Discipline.” This comprehensive, classroom management program is built upon concepts of differentiation and collaboration. Win-Win discipline believes that the reason for most disruptive behavior in school is rooted in students’ attempt to meet universal needs including attention, power and belonging. Students often break school expectations trying to meet these needs in irresponsible ways causing disruptions. The program provides tools for teachers, administrators, dorm parents and students to identify the need and use discussion models to collaborate with the student to find responsible ways to meet needs. Once students meet their needs in responsible ways, we believe a pattern of disruptive behavior is broken resulting in a healthy and happy community for staff and students. On Wednesday, 28 April, all dorm parents participated in the workshop during the dorm parent meeting and left motivated to implement next year. Teaching staff will participate in a similar workshop during one Tuesday PD session before the end of the year.

Cooperative Learning at Kombai School

Two weeks following the “Teaching for Transformation through Engagement” workshop at KIS, Heather and Brian Nelsen visited Kombai School to provide follow-up coaching, feedback and resources for their staff to continue implementation. We were overjoyed to discover 100% of teachers fully implementing the engagement strategies and making adjustments to them to better meet the needs of their context in Kombai. We believe this is just the beginning of a sustainable training project which will impact young generations to come providing quality education for all.

Brian Nelson

PYP & K-8 Coordinator


Bangalore readying for the ‘Ultimate’ challenge

Article appearing in

A new sport, played with a flying disc, is slowly beginning to attract a committed group of players in India

Preparations are on for Bangalore's first national Ultimate Frisbee tournament.
Once considered a counter-cultural sport, Ultimate, which began in Columbia High School in the Sixties, has gained enough popularity and spread in India to warrant a circuit of its own. Following a national tournament at Kodaikanal International School in March, Bangalore's Ultimate community has offered to host the next one, in late June or early July. The event - which is likely to see at least ten teams from across the country, and maybe a couple from Singapore and Sri Lanka - will be held at a specially-developed field at an adventure camp off some 30km from Bangalore, off Tumkur Road.

Ultimate began as 'Ultimate Frisbee', a team sport with elements of rugby and basketball, and played with a flying disc; players are reluctant to use the term 'Frisbee' because it's a brand name. The sport was associated with the counterculture in its formative years at Columbia High School in the late Sixties and Seventies. "It was fun for us," pioneer Joel Silver told an interviewer, "We thought we were all so hip and so smart and so with it, that we used the Frisbee as kind of a symbol of running against everything else." Ultimate has since grown into a world sport, with European and world championships, although in India it is barely three years old as a competitive sport.

Its pioneer in India was Bryan Plymale, a teacher at Kodaikanal International School (KIS). Bryan picked up the sport in his native US and is even credited with introducing the game in Brazil, Puerto Rico and Singapore, where the sport has become wildly popular. He brought Ultimate to India in 1998, and within the year had organised a tournament with five teams (including four from KIS).
"It was pretty slow in the beginning," Bryan told DNA. "Back in 1998-99, we had this programme where Ultimate players from the US sent used Frisbees and we took them to the villages to organise some kind of social interaction. I go back sometimes and the kids do remember. Some of them are quite good." Bryan has been playing Ultimate for 34 years, and is considered a brilliant 'handler' with a variety of tricks up his sleeve. Although the game has yet to become popular, it has a committed teams across the country, and the Bangalore event may well see the largest number of participating teams.

The Ultimate community in Bangalore essentially consists of two teams, Disc-O-Deewane (DoD) and Learning to Fly. Most of DoD's members are adventure professionals who took to the sport after rock climbing sessions at Turhalli on the city's outskirts; but that early version had handball's rules. Online research established that the sport in fact has some unique rules - the players themselves call the fouls, and each team of seven compulsorily has to have at least one girl.

Nowadays, both groups train together at GKVK, Hebbal, on Saturdays, and National College grounds on Mondays. To popularise the Bangalore tournament, and the sport, they are planning to stage an exhibition game in the city, either before or after the tournament.

Dev S Sukumar. Bangalore


Awards assembly 2010

High School Awards - Subject Awards 2010

Grade 11 and 12 Awards


Neema Tsering (Grade 12)

Best student in Biology - Preeti Baweja

Best student in Chemistry - Madhav Vaidyanathan

Best student in Physics - Yash Malvi

Best student in En Sys/Soc - Pearl Agarwal


English-12 – Kunchok Wangmo

English-SL – Neema Tsering

English-HL – Christopher Pramodh Marianathan

Second Language

French SL.. - Rijul Ray

French HL.. - Ludovico Baronchelli.

Hindi HL- Mehar Mallik

Hindi SL- Abhijeet Singh

Hindi Most improved student in grade 12 - Vidur Gupta

Tamil - Zachary Stengele

German SL - Dharam Kamal Kapila

Spanish B - Schultz Gesine

Spanish Ab Initio - Neema Tsering / Nairyani Veer

Social Studies

Psychology Award - Gupta, Mrija

History Award - Marzo Carter, Judith

Geography Award - Selvaraj, Kavitha

Economics Award - Malvi, Yash

Business and Management Award - Jiwrajka, Aanchal

B & M and Economics Award - Agarwal, Pearl

Social Studies Award - Patel, Shyamli

Social Experience

Grade 12: Ananda Boga

Kavitha Selvaraj, Aakanksha Mahanty [ special mention]

Grade 11: Mayin Gupta

Pratichi Mishra, Aranka Hoosein [ special mention]

Eligible for Excellence certificate - total number hours of CAS activities - Ananda Boga (264 hours)


Math Studies - Marzo Carter, Judith

Math SL- Kachalia, Punit

Math HL - Modi, Akshat

Outstanding student in Math HL – Baibhab Dutta


Fiona Dean


Kim Ju Won


The TOK award goes to Avalokiteswari Kurup for excellence in enquiry and reflection.

Grades 9 & 10 Subject Awards


Grade 10 - Mathew Joseph

Grade 9 - Benjamin Solomom

Most Improved: Young Wook Kim


Grade 9 - Diveakaash Schae

Grade 10 - Hae Ju Han


Grade 9 - Tamara Crasto

Grade 10 - Samyukta Govindarajan

Language A - English

English 9A - Diveakssh Schae

English 9 - Seo Yoon Hyun

English 10 - Jacob Stevens-Lubin

English 10A - Karishma D’Lima

Language B - Korean

Grade 10 - Hae Ju Han

Grade 9 - Yoon Soo Choi


Grade 9 - Singye Yonten

Grade 10 - Menda Karden Dorji


French 9 Standard - Atheed Thameem

French 10 Standard - Prashant Kamal Kapila


Hindi 9/10 Standard - Sanjana Gothi

Hindi 9/10 Advanced - Preet Datta

Intensive English

IE2 - Byungchan Han

IE - Jie-Hwan Yan


Tamil 10 Advanced - Akash Elango Lekshmanan


Math 9 - Atheed Thameem

Math 9A - Jie-Hwan Yang

Math 10 - Yashonandan Mundhra

Math 10A - Byungchan Han

Physical Education

Grade 9 - Ketsa Jerome & Abhilash Deswal

Grade 10 - Aparna Balanarayanan & Han Sol Kim

Religious Education

Grade 9 - L&T - Sai Allena


Grade 10 - Best student in Physics - Pranay Gothi

Grade 10 - Best student in Biology - Aparna Balanarayanan

Grade 10 - Best student in Chemistry - Trpta Bains

Grade 10 - Best student in EnSci - Samyukta Govindarajan

Grade 9 - Best student in Biological Sci - Jessica Abraham

Grade 9 - Best student in Physical Sci - Atheed Thameem

Computer Technology

Grade 10 - Stephen Das, Preet Datta & Byungchan Han

Grade 9 - Tamara Crasto


Most Promising Student in Indian Music Award – Christopher Marianathan

Most Promising Student in Grade 9 – Ji-Yeon Park

Most Promising Student in Grade 10 – Mikhail Fernandes

Social Experience

Grade 10 - Vinay Ramesh

Devraj Ray, Jee Hyun Kim, Leeseul Lee [special mention]

Grade 9: Aaron Jones

Kirsten Mendonca, Sophiyaa Nayar [special mention]


NESA news

NESA Spring Educators Conference : Bangkok- 27-30 March 2010

Over 650 educators of all grades and disciplines enjoyed the three-and-a-half-day conference, featuring keynotes, half-day institutes and teacher-produced workshops conducted by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools(NESA), at the Royal Orchid Sheraton, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok.

Three of these delegates were from Kodaikanal International School. Rathi Gopinath, Head of Learning Resources, presented a teacher workshop on Differentiated Learning, which was well received by the participants. Soumen Sinha Babu attended the conference as an observer and I attended as the teacher representative for the current academic year.

What was particularly inspiring for all of us was the atmosphere of true professionalism and the give and take with regard to sharing of ideas and professional development, with the child as the centre of the learning process. We interacted with educators from different parts of the region and it was interesting to see that no matter how different we are , culturally, we are all united with regard to educational practices. One of the key notes of this conference was the need to be innovative in a fast-paced world with all kinds of technology at our fingertips, including social internet sites like

The conference commenced with a motivating and enlightening keynote by Heidi Hayes Jacobs : “Becoming a 21st Century International School-Curriculum 21: Provocation, Invigoration and Replacement”; followed by Marcia Tate, who spoke about brain-compatible teaching strategies in “Worksheet Don’t Grow Dendrites”; Tim Tyson who discussed how to meaningfully integrate technology into the 21st century school with, “Making Learning Irresistible”; and finally, a provocative and challenging presentation on how emerging technologies are changing education, entitled, “The Emerging Culture of Teaching and Learning”, by Alan November.

It was a proud moment for all of us when the Community Service Award winners were announced at the Conference and we learned that our very own “Youthrise Movement’ spearheaded by Ananda Boga was one of the winners. We can all take pride in this colossal achievement and celebrate this moment. The Social Experience department has received a sum of $ 750.00 to use for the welfare of the underprivileged.

At this juncture, I would like to thank the school management, especially Mr Kaisar Dopaishi for providing us with the opportunity to spread our wings and come home to share what we have learned with our colleagues. The office bearers of NESA did a magnificent job in making our experience in Bangkok memorable and enriching. In particular, I would like to thank David Chojnacki, Executive Director, Jill Kalamaris, Director of Operations, Anne Marie Zafiropoulos and Brionna Lalis.

The KIS spirit of warmth and hospitality is present even in Bangkok and we were fortunate to have Mrs Maneewan Sungthongchanok, Punnamate's mother and Mrs Hunsa Thumsuwanna, KIS representative, take us on a whirlwind sight- seeing trip of the Pra-kaew Palace, Bangkok on the last day we were there. Thank you, Maneewan and Hunsa for being so kind and warm.

Marsha Joshi
NESA Representative


Kodai Open Soccer Tournament

Kodai Open Soccer Tournament previously known as the Diwali Open happens during the month of October / November every year. It is one of the most exciting and well organized tournaments in the town of Kodaikanal. This is a major tournaments where our students, staff, alumni and the local clubs in Kodaikanal come together to put up their best talents and exibit great sportsmanship. This is a knock-out week long tournament. The preliminary round happens within the school with students from grades 8-12, with a staff team playing a league to qualify for the tournament. The tournament includes 16 teams out of which 4 teams are from KIS. This year after a hard fought battle the 4 teams that made it to the tournament from KIS were the A team, grade 10 team, the X team and the grade 11 team. The remaining 12 teams were from outside. An interesting feature of this year's Kodai Open was that some of our visiting alumni who had come to partipate in a week long alumni visit had played in the A team when they were students in this school under coach Mr Sither. They made a great effort to travel from different parts of the world to come back and participate in the tournament. We also had a team from Bangalore from Indus School whose coach, Mr Gelek, is also an alumini of KIS.

The preliminary round games were officiated by Mr Sither and other staff of the PE dept. From pre quarters we had officials coming from the Dindigul football association to officiate. All matches had their share of excitement. Some did victory laps around Bendy and some shed tears of sadness. The final was a great moment of excitement for both the local crowd and the school students. It was played between our A team and the local favorites Kodai Mario Rockers. We had lots of interruptions during the game; it rained heavily in the first half but still our boys managed to score first, the opening goal was scored by our captain Varun Varadaraj. The final score was 1-1. There was absolute silence from the spectators when the penalty shoot outs were taken, and finally a huge cheer from the student body along with staff, coach and friends running to congratulate the winning A team boys. The final score was 3-1.

The chief guest was our acting Principal, Mr Kaisar Dopaishi who handed over the trophies and medals to the runners up and winners. Mr Sither HoD PE dept, made the vote of thanks and congratulated both the teams.

Marvin Ambrose
PE department


ES news

During our theme Japan the grade 1-2 students learned about Japanese culture, traditions, games, food and where Japan is in the world. They read folktales from Japan, one of which was Joji and the Dragon. For their final presentation the students performed a theatrical adaptation of this book, which included reciting a play and a song. The teachers in the music and art departments helped the students create their own backdrop and learn a new song to make the entire play a cultural success. The play was very well received by parents, teachers, and fellow students alike.

Suchitra Chettri
Grade 1-2 classroom teacher

The preschoolers and kindergarteners zoomed into the solar system, space and the planets for our theme last month. We changed a part of our classroom with the sun, stars, all the planets and asteroids in orbit. The students got good exposure around the theme and took part in many activities. The theme culminated in their play called ‘The Red Planet’, where they took off in a rocket to Mars to meet aliens there and then they come back to Earth. They also sang theme related songs and a Tamil song about it. Each student had also made a model of a planet and spoke about it with confidence to the other students of ES. I am sure they had a blast of a learning experience!!!

Rhadika Sagar
PreSchool / Kindergarten classroom teacher


May calendar dates

1 May - music concert / SAT 1 & 2
3-6 May - review days
4-21 May - IB exams
7 May - KAC dinner
8 May - NHS dinner / ACI sale / garage sale Ganga campus
14-20 May - HS / MS exams
15 May - staff farewell
17 May - ES chapel recital
18 May - Grade 8 picnic
19 May - MS awards and appreciation assembly (grades 9-10)
20 May - last day of classes / awards and closing assembly
21 May - Bacalaureate & graduation dinner
22 May - Graduation / staff meeting and departure