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Integrated Music and Arts with Orff-Schulwerk Approach
Specials Sum-Up 2017-2018
What does an Artist really do?
Thai Language, Thai Culture and Thai History blog update!
Industrial Arts and Agriculture
More Learning through Orff Schulwerk Music Classroom
Visual Art Update
Thai Language and Culture Blog
Learning on the Move

Integrated Music and Arts with Orff-Schulwerk Approach

At Magic Years International School, we offer the music programme based on the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education, in which teacher and students interact as partners in music-making. Singing, moving, dancing and playing instruments are treated as regular ensemble experiences. The Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education was carefully chosen in order to closely reflect the type of hands-on learning practices in the classroom. The Orff-Schulwerk allows for active music-making for all age-groups and abilities, along with a historical and theoretical music education.  This approach builds musicianship through the integration of music, movement, speech, and drama.

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In music classes, we begin with what the children do naturally: play, imitate, experiment, problem-solve, and express themselves in a natural way.  Singing and playing the musical instruments, along with movement and dance, are combined with dramatic elements in order for the students to see the music as an expression of the human experience.  Moreover, the visual and creative arts are also integrated in the music learning environment. Visual and performing arts affect our emotions and senses. We can listen to the music or look at the artwork to inspire our movement.  Music is the artful thinking of sounds organized in rhythms, melodies, harmonies, texture, forms, and timbre. Similarly, art elements are visualized with color, form, design, and texture.


Teaching music with traditional methods often start by focusing on the technical steps of instrumental playing and notation reading.  Interestingly, in our Orff-Schulwerk music class, we start with what children do best – move, play, say, sing. Through imitating, exploring, experimenting, creating, and improvising, the children enjoy learning music with a deeper understanding with music through play.  Adding movement, game, drama, the visual arts makes the musical learning experience be more creative and artful. The children chant and sing their favorite rhymes and children’s songs while they play the musical instruments with steady beats. Some of them may imitate the teacher’s playing or feel the inner beat and are able to present through playing the instruments.  Then they take ownership of musical understanding when they make the connection with the songs and visualize the musical elements on their artwork.

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Specials Sum-Up 2017-2018

PSPE: This is the last month for physical education. Everyone who has studied physics in this semester will have better development in jumping, swinging, and rolling. In addition, children are involved in the analysis of the situation. I look forward to the concentrate instruction on playing activities. Finally, I hope to meet you again the next academic year.


Music: Let’s create a Musical Environment at Home!

I’m really enjoying teaching and watching how the students grow their musical experiences during the year.  It would be a benefit of your child to continue this growing at home with the parents and family. I would like to share a few ideas to promote a musical environment for your child at home.

– Explore rhythm around the house, for example, in the bedroom, living room, kitchen and toilet! Learning to follow and move to a beat can also help the little ones to express his or her emotions, and it’s a great way to release energy in creative ways.  Check this out for fun rhythm around the house:

– Make the instruments together: The children will enjoy exploring the different sounds from various materials that they choose for their DIY musical instruments as well as training their motor skills in a creative and fun way.  Here is the useful link for DIY musical instruments ideas:

– Listen to the world music: World music can introduce new sounds and noises and can help inquisitive children learn more about other cultures and traditions. World music can also help a child develop strong listening skills that he or she will benefit from in other learning environments.  Here is the sample music:

Musically yours!


Art: It has been a fantastic first year of Visual Art in MYIS. Not only have I truly enjoyed working with all of the very unique and creative students it has been such a joy to watch the artistic skills develop throughout the year. Together we have explored drawing, painting, collaging, printmaking, and sculpture  and in doing so students have become familiar with the artroom and the many tools we use when making art. Just like our students, the artroom and the artwork within is always evolving! I look forward to coloring in my second year with MYIS.

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Thai: A year passes very quickly, This year is very challenging and very fun for me as a Thai teacher whose goal was to have students enjoy learning Thai language, Thai culture, and Thai history.  I was very proud when I saw a student progress in Thai language. I was very happy when I saw children smile, laugh, and actively play in Thai class. I so glad when I met student on the playground and they called my name or said “Sa-wad-dee”. Even when I asked them to write a reflection for Thai class, I see how much they’re enjoying an activity they have learned. Next year, I promise I will do my best and to set up activities students will enjoy in Thai class.


Woodworking: Industrial arts is an educational program which features fabrication of an objects in wood, plastic, rubber or metal using a variety of hand, power, or machine tools.

In Term 1, we focused in on our central idea “Characteristics of matter determine their use” and “How the world works” as our transdisciplinary theme and in Term 2 we focused on our central Idea “People learn through communication and expression” with the transdisciplinary theme “How we express ourselves”.

As a teacher, my objective is to encourage the students to take ownership of their learning by means of constructive learning, gain an understanding of the things around them’ and prepare them to put what they have learned to practice in their real life situations.

I believe that learning by doing is more effective for students at Magic Years because we value meaningful learning. For this to happen, I get the students involved in different activities such as: cooking, planting seed and harvesting, taking care of our school animals, and producing useful products for our school community to use.

What does an Artist really do?

Brainstorm, collect materials, consider the steps, create, revisit, engage, and share!

The focus of Term 2 has been thinking deeply on What it means to be an Artist?  

To begin the term we were preparing for the Art Exhibition that was held March 28-30th. The exhibition was a HUGE success, teaching the students what it means to be an artist. Together we went through the process of brainstorming, making, revising, and preparing for presentation.  It was more than evident that the students were pleasantly surprised when they saw the exhibition for the first time, realizing that their works of art could look so amazing when matted and hung from the wall.


After the exhibition students continued to deeply explore what it means to be an artist as they embraced a choice-based classroom broken into 5 different mediums: Collage, Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, and the Think Tank. Before starting a project students were asked to really consider the project they wanted to create, the materials needed, and the steps involved. They also became more involved in their own personal assessment by filling in a chart after each class period that shares what station they visit each day. This allows Ms. Jemina and the students to visually see what the students true interests are, while also pushing them to try new techniques that they have not yet explored.


Earth Week was a really fine time to explore new art making techniques that were all based on nature. We used sand and leaves to make texture drawing, prints, and clay plates. Students really enjoyed looking at how artists have made art with the earth and than trying it themselves!


May is managing to fly by too! To conclude the year students are being asked to reflect on what they have learned and put together all of the skills that they acquired this year to make a final project that they are truly passionate about. It will be interesting to see what they come up with at the End of the Term Celebration, see you there!

Thai Language, Thai Culture and Thai History blog update!

Many things happen in Thai class, we work very hard to support differentiation in a child’s language learning and also make sure that students who came to Thai class enjoy learning the Thai language.

Divide children into subgroups.

In order to support the differentiation in student’s background knowledge in Thai language we divide student into subgroups and set up different activities for each group.

In kindergarten, Thai native speaking students focus more on listening and speaking skills, Thai alphabet recognition, and basic Thai alphabet handwriting practice. For Non-native Thai speaker we focus on listening skills by using tasked-based or TPR techniques to help students learn simple Thai vocabulary such as “Ra-by-Si (color), Din-Sor (pencil).


Native Thai speakers


 Non-native Thai speakers

             In primary years, native Thai speakers are focusing more on Thai lessons in reading and writing. The Non-native Thai speakers are focusing on listening and speaking skills in basic Thai vocabulary that students can use in a social context. To support all the different student interests activities such as reading, reading comprehension, and letter writing are offered at the different centers.




Non-native Thai speakers


Book making


Thai lesson based in thinking routines

Learning Thai languages and culture through hands-on activities.

In Thai class student have a lot of opportunities to do hands-on activities such as cooking Thai food and creating Thai art and handicrafts.

Thai food.

All students love to cook, this is a good opportunity to integrate Thai language and culture. Before cooking, students learn about the ingredients and steps by first watching a video or reading a story and then creating a cook book or mind map that helps explain the steps. The students favorite part is cooking the food and eating it after.

Making an omelet.

Step 1: Listen to the story then discuss the ingredients and how to cook.


Step 2: Making a cook book.


Step 3: Cook then eat.


Making a green mango with Sweet fish sauce.




              Thai art and handicrafts.

Working on arts and crafts in Thai class is one activity that student love to do, especially in kindergarten. The first question the students ask when they arrive to Thai class is “Do we get to make something today?” This opportunity is good for young learners because they are using their fine motor skills. These fine motor skills use the same muscles we use for hand writing and this will be applied well into the futureง Creating arts and crafts in Thai class is one of the first steps that we use to develop a sense of art appreciation for  the Thai culture.


Industrial Arts and Agriculture

Industrial Arts & Agriculture

When children engage in woodworking projects, they have the chance to learn how to use the tools, machines, materials for creating their own Projects.The measuring in woodworking can improve both the sense of numbers and space for kids and the construction and design factors of woodworking help to exercise kids’ visual skills. In addition, constructing objects from toys and play with the properties of matter will help kids improve their self-reliance. Furthermore, woodworking is a great chance for kids to bond with their families.

Materials and Tools

Materials that are easy to cut are ideal, especially for younger kids with no previous experience. Some good examples of these are cutting and pounding on fruit, melon, and zucchini. For the older kids, they can use the real tools with adult support then they can do gluing, sanding, hammering, screwing, cutting and drilling.. Tools that are off-limits for kids until they are better trained and experienced are power tools, because of the level of danger associated with handling them.


Safety First

Any time that kids are involved in a woodworking area, added safety is always necessary. Before the kids arrive, the area has to be set up with nice and safe environments. Next, the safety focus should be on the kids themselves. Make sure that any kids will focus on the sequence of using tools, for example, using google and helmet during their cutting the wood, putting shoes on and work on the working table.


We strive to learn about recycling.Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects( reduce, reuse, recycle).We collected wood, glass, metal, cardboard/paper, plastic and rubber for our users.


What is agriculture?

Agriculture and farming are the simplifications of nature (living things and non- living things). The children that participate in the garden will help with the planting, weeding, feeding and be caring for our garden and goat farm. The kids will be able to gain valuable information about agriculture through classroom tools and hands-on gardening.








This year Magicyears’ students, parents and staff gathered excitedly for the annual Sports Day at the new campus on Friday 2 February 2018. What a way to spend a day!

Sports Day allowed children to showcase some of the skills they have learnt in P.E with Mrs. Bee, Mr. Chairat and Mr. Emmanuel such as soccer, basketball and Sprinting. Other events included the dodge ball, tug of war, sack race and some other parlor games prepared. Every class is divided into two teams (yellow and blue). Walking around the field, you could not help but be drawn in by the infectious energy. As each race heat came and went, the excitement grew. Kids stood all around the track cheering for their teams, screaming as the runners went by. With perfect weather conditions, our students didn’t disappoint putting in excellent performances in both the gym and field events. Many of the children commented that ‘this was the most challenging sports day ever’.


This day was made extra special by the fantastic turn out from the parents and the effort and enthusiasm shown by the children. All the children had been allocated a circus show to represent and turned up on the day wearing colours and dance (in collaboration with our Music class), the Art Department providing colorful shirts and most importantly, the students encouraging each other and showing their true sporting attributes, whether winning or losing. Students we’re given certificates at the end of the day in celebration for their efforts in accomplishing the tasks assigned.

With thanks to the staff of Magic Years for their help in organizing the day, the PE staff for pulling together a full programme of events and to all the staff who so willingly assisted throughout the day.


-PSPE Team (Mr. Chairat, Emmanuel and Ms. Bee)


More Learning through Orff Schulwerk Music Classroom

“Elemental music is never just music.  It’s bound up with movement, dance and speech, and so it is a form of music in which one music participate, in which one is involved not as a listener but as a co-performer.” – Carl Orff-

The Orff Schulwerk, this approach to learning, developed by Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman, builds musicianship through singing, playing instruments, speech, and movement.  Active music making is the core of this philosophy, supporting both the conceptual and affective development of children.  Active learners develop more thorough and better long-term understanding of the material and ideas involved. Children who regularly improvise and create their own dances and musical settings are uniquely prepared to solve problems in many other contexts.  


In MY music classrooms, students begin with what they do instinctively: PLAY! –play with the rhythm, play with the music.  Imitation, experimentation, and personal expression occur naturally as students become confident, involved, socialized, life-long learners/musicians maybe and creative problem solvers.  Orff Schulwerk Approach contributes to development of the individual far beyond specific skills and understandings in the arts.  These skills and procedures have a wider application and value in several areas:

  • Intellectual: The critical-thinking and problem-solving tasks involved in Orff Schulwerk call upon both linear and intuitive intellectual capacities.  The carrying out of creative ideas calls upon organizational abilities as well as artistic knowledge and skill.
  • Social: Orff Schulwerk is a group model, requiring the cooperative interaction of everyone involved, including the instructor. It is important that artistic development occurs within a satisfying and supportive human environment.  Tolerance, helpfulness, patience, and other cooperative attitudes must be cultivated consciously.  The ensemble setting requires sensitivity to the total group and awareness of the role of each individual within it.  Problem solving, improvisation, and the group composing process provide opportunities for developing leadership.
  • Emotional: The artistic media involved—music and movement—provide the individual with avenues for non-verbal expression of emotions.  The exploration and improvisation activities can provide a focus for emotions, a means for release of tension and frustration, and a vehicle for the enhancement of self-esteem.
  • Aesthetic: As knowledge of and skills in music and movement grow, students will have opportunities to develop standards of what is considered “good” within the styles being explored.

We apply the Orff’s philosophy of music education to MY because it supports the IB learner profile, attitudes and skills within our music programme.  You may find more about how the children learn through music and art with Doug Goodkin, an internationally recognized teacher of Orff Schulwerk and my teacher in USA and Austria, from his TEDTalk.  Enjoy the Show!

Visual Art Update

With the New Year arrives the new term and also a new theme, how we express ourselves. In the art room we will use our theme from last term, who we are, to guide us as we use visual art to communicate ideas and experiences creatively. Students will consider how they can creatively transform their ideas into art, share their unique views with others, while also reflecting on why they made specific choices in the way that they did to expressive themselves. Students will begin to understand themselves better because the art making process will push them to be risk-takers who are committed to being creative. Before, while, and after the students create a variety of different art works they will reflect on their choices, likes, and dislikes to further develop an understanding of who they are.


To conclude I would like to take some time to reflect on Term 1. I’ll let the images do the talking…

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Thai Language and Culture Blog

Welcome to the Thai Language and Culture Blog.

         This academic year 2017-2018, the Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC) added Thai History to the Thai Language and Culture  Curriculum.  In order for students at Magic Years to gain a deeper understanding of Thai History we have carefully created a Central Idea that explores Thai Language, Thai Culture and Thai History simultaneously:


‘Learning about Thai Language, Culture and History will help us to appreciate a local and global perspective’


          To support International Mindedness we aim to expose students to additional languages, and provide an insight into other cultures and perspectives. Students can experience Thai Language and Culture through a carefully designed environment showcasing local artifacts, crafts and visuals. With an aim to nurture curiosity students are encouraged to explore and investigate the different centers in the classroom.


To begin our inquiry students have been Tuning in to our Central Idea and exploring some of the unique attributes of Thailand and its Culture:


  • Thai National Anthem
  • Thailand Flag
  • Thai Greeting
  • Thai Custom
  • Thai Culture  
  • Thai Traditional Beliefs


            For our Early Years students we encourage exploration and discovery through our Dramatic play center, Language center, Math center, and Writing center, where students can learn about the Thai alphabet, letter names and sounds and practice writing their name in Thai.

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           Our Primary Years Students also get to explore the different centers as well as having focused time allocated to reading and writing in Thai. Native Thai students develop their reading and writing skills whilst non Thai students develop their listening and speaking skills. Thinking routines such as the 4’Cs, CSI, See-Think-Wonder are often used to encourage reflection and deep level thinking, as well as for organizing our work and establishing class agreements and expectations.

Grade 1-2


Grade 3


Grade 4 &5


Learning on the Move

This morning, I have been watching the students playing together in the playground, one is spinning in a circle, creating a narrative about a princess as she twirls. The other group of students are jumping in and out, climbing up and down at the jungle gym as a guard at a castle in the story.  What seems like a simple story involves sequencing, character development, and empathy for the brave princess stuck in the tower.

This kind of experiential learning, in which children acquire knowledge by doing and via reflection on their experiences, is full of movement, creativity, and imagination.



Movement allows children to connect concepts to action and to learn through trial and error.  Research has shown time and again that children need opportunities to move in class. Memory and movement are linked, and the body is a tool of learning, not a roadblock to or a detour away from it.  Ben Mardell, a professor of early-childhood education at Lesley University and the project director of the Pedagogy of Play initiative at Harvard’s Project Zero, observes that even when adults do incorporate play into learning, they often do so in a way that restricts free movement and agency. “The idea that there should be formal instruction makes it no longer play,” says Mardell. “In play the player is choosing to participate, choosing a goal, and directing and formulating the rules. When there is an adult telling the kids, ‘This is what we are supposed to do,’ many of the important developmental benefits of play get lost.”

Creativity is one of the most essential tools for a child to develop. However, the education specialist Sir Ken Robinson says that our current systems of early education are killing creativity. We often punish kids for making mistakes and discourage them from acting or being different. Current education emphasizes imitation, memorization, fixed rules, and pre-established formulas and beliefs about the way the world should work. Children need to learn to follow directions, to know how to replicate what they see and hear, and to be able to participate in coordinated group activities, but those practices do little to encourage creativity.


Unfortunately, children restricted to those frameworks alone will have a much more challenging time coming up with new ideas, mastering self-expression or finding innovative solutions to problems on their own.  The good news is that we can help turn this around through music, especially by integrating music back into the education. In addition to stimulating creativity, music can help contribute to the development of a more creative mind.

Playing music – especially improvisation, and creating music – musical composition, are highly engaging processes that activate multiple areas of the brain and help us to develop greater creative capacity.


Simply listening to music can help relax us, and relaxation is key to creativity. Jonah Lehrer, a neuroscientist and author of the bestselling book Imagine, says that moments of insight, or creative moments, usually correspond to a steady rhythm of alpha waves emanating from the brain’s right hemisphere. And that is stimulated by relaxation. Why is a relaxed state of mind so important for creative insights?” he writes. “When our minds are at ease, when those alpha waves are rippling through the brain, we’re more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward. In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward.”  And Lehrer agrees that one of the oldest and most widely available resources to help the mind relax is music. Music can alter the state of our brainwaves, as well as trigger neurotransmitters, like dopamine, that alter our mood and reward us for creative breakthroughs.

Music can also help stimulate our imagination, one of the key components of the creative process. Just now, you may listen to a song that you and your child which shift your mood, create images in your mind, impact your limbic brain and open you up to new ideas.  Have a nice musical day!