Unit 2 in MYP Individuals and Societies

Dear Parents and Guardians,

In the interest in student learning and transparency, please see the following documents for our next units of study. In partnership with you, I am honored to communicate to your families:
  • Our standards and lesson content.
  • Our class identity, culture, and community work.
  • Our summative assessments, creativity, and critical thinking tasks.
  • Our “approaches to learning” – embedded academic and social skills in our learning tasks.

I’ve been listening to your children, and so many of them have taken proactive stances for their education, asking the hard questions, and challenging our community to be better organized and attentive to their needs as learners – what a wonderful opportunity to grow with them!

Please click the following links.

As of this week, all learners will have had this information given to them to support their organizational habits, self-management, and excitement for learning.

Please email me at gulas@kas.tw if you have any questions!

Unit 1 Student Learning Showcase I&S 7G

It is my honor to step away from my stance as a “Teacher” and share our transferrable learning and highlights of our class’s most recent projects on Globalization.

Please click this link:


The following page will show… 

2. Select “Enter your guest password.”

3. Enter the password: gulasclassroom!

Enjoy our reflections and learning from our projects!

Fiona questions the global impact of fast fashion (Zara)!

Alexander explores reforming Man-Go-Eat with an analytical essay on Globalization. 

Is Starbucks harming us? Andrew H. takes a look.

Apple and its globalization effect by Geoffrey. Password required to login: BIGdragons

Alvin explores the negative impact of Fortnite. Password required to login: BIGdragons

How gaming addiction is connected to Globalization by Jasper. 

How is UNIQLO leveraging Globalization by Summer. 

Our learning in Unit 1 followed a cycle of inquiry pedagogical framework; all MYP Units in I&S7 are designed as such.

Source image: Open University

Unit 1: Student Learning Showcase I&S 7E

Candace, Claudia, Emma, and Janet discuss the outcome for their project.

It is my honor to step away from my stance as a “Teacher” and share our transferrable learning and highlights of our class’s most recent projects on Globalization.

Please click this link:


The following page will show… 

2. Select “Enter your guest password.”

3. Enter the password: gulasclassroom!

Enjoy our reflections and learning from our projects!

Karen looks at Acer electronics. 

Vanessa wonders how Uni-President has made Taiwan food so beloved all around the world. 

Jestine explores Apple Products in a Globalized economy.

Macarius investigates the impact on Tik Tok. 

Kevin H. creates a Social Justice plan to prohibit the spread of Globalization on personal identity. 

Kellen takes a deep dive into how casinos impact culture. The password to access Kellen’s site is: BIGdragons

Evan explores Facebook and identity. 

Nicolas looks at the cultural imperialism of Nike. 

Our learning in Unit 1 followed a cycle of inquiry pedagogical framework; all MYP Units in I&S7 are designed as such.

Source image: Open University

Never Miss an Opportunity: A Feel-Good Moment on Teacher’s Day

Many years ago Cho-liang Lin came to perform at the University of Rhode Island where I attended as an undergraduate. During that time, my father, also a Physical Chemistry Professor at the university, went to watch him play. It is Mr. Lin’s ability to express himself and his unique identity that touched his heart the most.

In many ways, Mr. Lin manifests a Taiwanese sensibility through music that is adored by the world.

This commercial, done in collaboration with Mr. Lin, accurately captures the role of a teacher’s sensibility during turbulent and uncertain times.

From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy a feel good moment!

Authentic Learning Part I: BIG Understandings in I&S6

The vision statement and matra of Kaohsiung American School is “Think BIG!” Our collective commitment to students is to facilitate them into becoming Balanced Individuals, Independent Learners, and Global Citizens.

Our students, through their work and thinking, challenge and encourage me everyday to think about how we do this, and how do we know, really, that we are succeeding at it?

More importantly, can students articulate it? From an academic and pedagogical standpoint, the connections between learning pedagogy, our school vision statement, and our MYP curriculum point to the work of Grant Wiggins.

At our MYP program we teach SOI statements of inquiry, and these questions are the primary drivers of the critical thinking skills that lead to transferrable essential understandings – genuine ideas, if you will.

As Wiggins writes,

A genuine idea is thus not a “mere” idea. It is not abstract in the bad sense, it is concrete; it is a useful theory; it has real impact. For example, consider a detective trying to make sense of many puzzling clues whose meaning and relationship are unclear. Any theory as to “whodunit” will relate to motive.  A good detective has some big ideas about motive to bring meaning to what might otherwise seem like odd, isolated, and unique little facts to the rest of us. The “big idea” (whether it is “Look for love triangles” or “Follow the money”) is thus quite practical: it helps distinguish clues from unimportant facts, and shows the way toward more facts – and a persuasive narrative.

What is a BIG idea is a crucial read that guides many successful and authentic pedagogies in the education field. I highly recommend this article!

In I&S 6 MYP Y1 this year we are in the midst of developing essential understandings. We are investigating what truths maps tell us, and how we make sense of these truths. Again, as Wiggins notes, there is a difference between covering facts vs. uncovering understandings.

Soleil makes a point during a public presentation of her Google myMap.

I am honored to bring some student thinking to the forefront and share how we are doing this BIG work in class as we enter into the third full month of the academic year.

Student survey data reports high degree of care and challenge.

I learned that land is precious in this world.

I learned that some places are being controlled by other countries, while their cultures are being effected.

Thank you for joining us in our journey of essential understandings…onward!


On the teacher administration side of things, I am proud to report that all students who submitted their formative assessments have received full and personalized written feedback within three days of their submission date.


Monkey Mountain

Dear Families,

The MYP Y1 and Y2 students recently took a trip to visit nearby Monkey Mountain. I am honored to share the slideshow of photos taken by our educator team that facilitated the trip.

Here is the LINK to our SLIDESHOW. Please feel free to share this video with your friends, and family.

The students, as always, were amazing, supportive, and showed great teamwork, companionship, and encouragement of each other.

THANK YOU to Mr. Barnaby Payne, Ms. Jessica Huang, Ms. Lulu Chen, and Ms. McGinnis for leading our student teams up the mountain!

Thank you for your continued partnership in our learning!

Formative Excitement!

Hot on the heels of big understandings, our I&S classes are pulling together their developing knowledge of globalization and maps as they work on formative assessments. These formative assessments will give us useful data to refine, expand, and deepen our learning experiences as a KAS learners as we march towards our summative. Our summative assessment will be provocative; it will challenge our learners to think critically, but most of all position them to exhibit compassion towards human identity, diversity, and culture. The overall outcome I hope to facilitate as their teacher is a change of perspective – stay tuned!

Our L&L classes have been doing reciprocal teaching, close reading, and developing evidence-based conclusions to question the meaning of heroism in contemporary society through the novel Refugee.

Questions we are asking-and answering-include:


  • How has globalization shaped who we are
  • What are the causes and consequences of globalization?
  • How has globalization affected language, business, and sport?


  • What truths do maps reveal? 
  • Why are maps created? 
  • To what extent are maps used?


  • What are the qualities and characteristics that make someone a hero?
  • How do readers build meaning and sense of what they read?
  • What does it mean to “read” the world?

Of course, we are integrating essential skills, building academic habits, and reaching into global contexts. By doing so, we are challenging ourselves to think deeply about how the content we learn and the perspectives we gain can be used to change the world. We wonder: how can we make a difference in our own lives and the natural world we inhabit with our talents, resources, time, and energy? This will be a yearlong journey for us, and our students bring their joy, innovative thinking, and creativity to their tasks every day. Please enjoy some images of journey prior to reading our creative work.

Thank you for continuing to support our deeper learning through feedback, support, and encouragement!

Beautiful Middle School Minds in I&S Y2

Ah, those middle school years! Middle school is often a time when children, as humans in the making, are least difficult to comprehend. As children gain increasing exposure in a globalized world and absorb its positives and negatives – as well as the cognitive abilities to make sense of it – one may often wonder if the child one is meeting today is the child one knew yesterday.

Over the past several years as a teacher-researcher, I’ve conducted professional data gathering through interviews, work analyses, conferences, and collaboration with families. The most prevalent theme that arose was the search for personhood in an increasingly visual, digital, and connected world.

Students of the 21st century are saturated with information; the need to make sense of information overload is their greatest challenge.

It’s those middle school MYP years version 4.0!

A former mentor of mine and social-emotional specialist once said that students must “reflect, even when [they] don’t want to.” This, I believe, is central to the pedagogy of the future and our main entry points into the type of critical thinking that the MYP program encourages us to do, and that students deserve to be their best selves.

As Adam Y. wrote recently, “spreading culture is teaching other people what your culture is, but creating culture is making a new thing that you just started. It is a positive thing for my identity because I can learn more from them and not just use things I have now.”

In our MYP program, we aspire to give children the space to ask the difficult questions, provide overexposure to perspectives they may not be considering, integrate the important “who are you” questions into collaborative efforts, and face the facts, ideas, and figures, that guide us as we make sense of our lives. It is in the safe spaces of classrooms that the courageous work of the middle school education lives. Embedding academic and soft skills into this exploratory mission is our skillset.

The middle school years is a phase of life where every young person deserves the opportunity to emerge stronger, more well-rounded, and optimistic than when they entered it. Indeed, they will continue to question, explore and test the boundaries of personhood. Classrooms are spaces where we can make it safe for them.

Below are a compilation of highlights from a recent post-formative reflection activity. We are learning about multinational companies in our globalization unit and its intersection with identity. Our students generate brilliant ideas, right where they should be – in a safe, nurturing, environment. How we turn these ideas into actions will be the challenge of our summative assessment in our Individuals and Societies Year 2 course.

Thank you for joining us in the adventure!

Please click below to see the following reflections about globalization from:

  • Candace
  • Macarius
  • Emma
  • Alvin
  • Casper
  • Justyna
  • Adriana
  • Andrew


Multinational and transnational companies have changed us in ways such as the way we think about their brands and what we wear due to their advertisements. For example, many people now think that having brands like Ralph Lauren and other luxury brands make them look rich and professional in certain countries. multinational and transnational companies have also changed who we are by using celebrities as walking advertisements. Thus, making many people believe that they could just be like them if they wear those brands ( basically messing up our thinking of what is good or bad). 

A great example is the UTE in Australia. Somebody famous declared the only “ real men drive UTE”. After that, the sales of UTE increased so much that it was impossible to order. Basically, that means that one sentence from a celebrity could literally spin people into buying this company. I severely disagree with this idea because I just don’t get how people would do whatever a celebrity does, especially if he/she is only advertising. But this shows how people would do whatever a celebrity says, including spending money on a product a celebrity is wearing/using.

Spreading culture is when somebody shares their ideas, religion, and beliefs with others that could lead to more people believing in the culture. Creating a culture is when you create your own unique religion and beliefs and ideas. The “culture” that companies are trying to establish is basically something along the lines of: ” buy our products and you will feel that you are better than other people without this product.” This has been seen through the major sales of major brands and how people think that they are better than others by just wearing rich brands like Rolex and channel and they think they are “cooler” or “better”. 

This is not a positive spread/invention of culture since the companies are only inventing it to make money and to make people hook up with their brands and that is not good since that would just make more people think that buying the specific brand is better. Thus making them spend more money on it. People who don’t believe the company’s culture often get bullied by the people that do believe it. For example, Many fortnite players thought that spending money on fortnite and getting skins make them look cool. And the kids that do not play or didn’t spend money would get bullied and called a default But the thing is that skins cost about 300 TWD each and some people don’t want to spend money. And then they would get bullied because they are not cool and are defaults. It basically means that you would be bullied by the “ cool” kids that have skins because you don’t have one since you don’t want to pay the company. In my opinion, this type of marketing strategy is very bad since it could turn non purchasers into targets and victims of purchasers since they are “not as good”.  

Many often think ( companies make many think) that they need to be up to date once a company makes a new product. For example, many people would rush to buy the newest Apple product the day it is out and would just “ ditch” the old phones they have owned so they could get the new one. This shows how people would get another newer version of a product because of their want to get the newest on and stay up to date. I severely disagree with this practice of staying up to date because unless the new products have some new important features in it that could help me. It isn’t worth it to buy a product just to keep up to date since I believe in the reliability of the product. Not its ability to boast because it is new ( many people buy the product just for that purpose). All these show that the invention of culture in multinational companies is negative and the only sole purpose of the invention of that culture  is to brainwash people to think that they need to buy the product to keep up with the community.

Admittedly, there are many negatives to the advertising of multinational companies. But on the other hand, we can now get things globally of the same brand and could get many of the same things in the same country ( basically meaning that we can have everything if we have the money thanks to globalization.). Advertising could also mean more money and for advertising and a boost for production from the factories that make the product, thus benefiting many people in many countries. 

 I am a person that wears brands such as Nike and Adidas not because I want to be like some athletes but because they are comfortable. To follow that up, I am not a person that likes sports alot and would much prefer to just read and do math in my free time. I also do not have any sort of beliefs so I would not spread or create any. I am sometimes also unemotional or emotional depending on the event and I am semi-good with controlling/hiding my feelings. I am also a person that doesn’t like to have products to boast but much more for reliability and durability. Finally, I am a person that has these things because there are multinational companies and that gives me the ability to get many things that are provided by multinational and transnational companies and is bought by my parents. I do not support multi and transnational corporations because I do not like the way they operate and sell products to customers and consumers although the rest of my family are quite different. But in general, we are all consumers that depend on many different companies and even some multinational companies. Basically, I have been changed by multinational companies because of their convenience in which I  have many of the things I “own” now. It has also changed the way I believe in things since the way they operate makes me wonder what their true purpose is, thus not believing in their culture. All in all, Multinational companies have changed us all no matter if they change the way we think or the convenience they offer us.

Disclaimer: Please note these informal reflections have not undergone the writing process, so they are complete ideas that still in development!

A Celebration of Identity

During a recent staff professional development session led by our fearless Principal leader Barnaby Payne, teachers discussed the importance of celebrating students’ unique stories in the classroom and how classrooms can be made to be inviting and safe spaces for their “whole” beings; a tremendous amount of research points to the positive developmental impacts of inclusive and culturally responsive teaching.

To merge theory with practice, our classroom community is designed to be a place that looks, sounds, and feels like our students’ identities, thoughts, and experiences.

Identity matters. It always has.

Here are a few ways your children will “live” culturally-responsive teaching this year:

  • Utilize classroom space to celebrate the imagery that comprises our student family;
  • Integrate student work in lessons often and purposefully;
  • Provide choice and voice to students in well-structured, criteria-referenced learning activities;
  • Default to student identity, personal histories, and academic dispositions when trying to solve challenging issues;
  • Publicly celebrate student work and make learning transparent;
  • Encourage and promote the celebration of authenticity;
  • Develop and facilitate a variety of proven culturally-responsive instructional routines, such as collaborative reading activities and peer-to-peer feedback.

Janet, Jestine, Jack, and their group are positioned to teach each other new material.

  • Model my own heritage as an indigenous Taiwanese Pangcah Amis, and strong heritage in the academic and professorial field (my father, his family, and grandfather were noted academics).
  • Ensure that the texts students read, content they interact with, reflect the sort of people they are and the type of people they will meet and collaborate with in the future.

Geneva and her friends examine our wall and provide us with feedback on aesthetics.

  • Ask provocative questions such as “why?” and “who benefits?”

There are many opportunities to celebrate identity this year at KAS.

Asian-Americans and international, global, citizens are poised to lead the charge towards a more integrated and collectivist society.

I am excited to integrate our MYP traits in these important aspects of your children’s development through my courses this year. Indeed, this is what it means to think BIG!