This old show business expression captures the spirit of AISL during these unprecedented times. Many thanks to the students, staff, and parents for their hard work in supporting our high-quality distance learning program. These collective efforts will ensure that our students do not fall behind during our campus closure.
On that note, I highly recommend that you plan to visit the online opening of the IB Diploma Programme Visual Arts Exhibition, appropriately entitled The Show Must Go On. This exhibition showcases two years’ worth of work by each of our Grade 12 Visual Arts students. Although we normally host the exhibition in the Palm Pavilion, tonight’s opening will take place online from 17:00-18:00 (Central Africa Time). Many thanks to Laurey Nevers, Terry Maguire, and Tony Potts for getting creative in finding a way to support our brilliant scholar-artists. You can learn more here. To visit the show, click on this link and follow the instructions. The password is the same as for the Parent Portal and Virtual Library. You will not want to miss this great opportunity to see our senior students’ brilliant artwork. If you miss the opening tonight, you can still visit the online exhibition for the next couple of weeks.
Regular faculty collaboration is another way that the show goes on behind the scenes at AISL. Despite being busy guiding students through our distance learning program, our teachers also spend 3-5 hours each week in large and small group meetings with their colleagues. These meetings are dedicated to collaborative planning, curriculum review, instructional coaching, student support, grade moderation, special projects, upskilling, and more. Whether the campus is closed or open, our highly trained teachers are continuously working together to hone our programs.
Finally, I am happy to report that our construction project is also carrying on – and is making great progress. We have now finished our Kindergarten through Grade 3 classrooms along with our Primary tech lab and design space. These bright, purpose-built, air-conditioned classrooms with spacious verandas and communal spaces will offer the finest Primary School teaching and learning environment in Zambia. I have attached some pictures to get you excited! I can’t wait until you can see them in person.
On with the show!
This week was the first week of scheduled synchronous lessons for our Secondary students. We made the change to offering synchronous lesson times based on student, parent, and teacher feedback that we needed a system for scheduling teacher support with students.
Students are encouraged, but not required, to attend these sessions, which happen Mondays through Thursdays from 14:00 to 16:45. PSE and Advisory lessons are scheduled between 14:00 and 17:30 on Fridays. You can see your child's schedule by logging on to ManageBac.
Here are some highlights from this week in distance learning:
Grade 10 Design class
In Grade 10 Design class, students have been working to create bullet journals. Bullet journals are user-made journals that serve as a place where people can track behaviors, plan their schedules, and reflect on their progress on their goals. Bullet journals teach students organization and self-management skills while helping them express themselves creatively.
Grade 7 Mathematics class
In Grade 7 Mathematics class, students are learning about area and perimeter. They learned how to plan and create composite figures, do accurate measurements, and then use those measurements to determine the area and perimeter of their composite figures. They needed to show their plan, their composite image, and their workings.
Grade 6 ELL
Our ELL (English Language Learners) have been learning about instructional writing and command language. They received materials to make a cake or cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles, then needed to follow instructions to bake their dessert. Their parents weren't allowed to help them, but they did take a few pictures to share their hard work.
As always, please continue to keep the feedback coming! We'll continue to keep listening and working hard to improve your child's learning experiences.
Ty Smeins, Secondary Principal
Sheila Seiler, Secondary Assistant Principal
Dear Primary Families,
Thank you for continuing to be part of this journey with us as we wrap up Week 6 of distance learning. Below are some key things we wish to highlight as we look forward to the week ahead.
Synchronous sessions in Primary
As we conclude our first week balancing synchronous and asynchronous sessions for all subjects across Primary, with the exception of PE, we want to celebrate the level of engagement we have seen from students in both their homeroom and specialist classes. Our aim is to continue to make the process for joining Google Meets as smooth as possible for families. To do this, your child's homeroom teacher will include the meet times in the weekly overview board. For families that may need an additional reminder, please add those slots to your personal calendar so that you can remind your child to access the Seesaw link for that class. We will also aim to create direct links to the meets in the Seesaw classes so that it is easier for students to join. Below is the updated schedule for synchronous sessions with specialists with the new times for G5 Band.
Polishing digital protocols for students
We are very proud of the level of digital citizenship that our students have continued to demonstrate over these past few weeks. As we hone our digital practices, there are a few reminders that we would like to mention.
Though we have not been able to say hello to each other on campus each day, our Primary students, teachers, and families still continue to find ways to stay connected to each other. A glimpse into some of those ways in the recent weeks have included: engaging with live and recorded stories and songs; creating collaborative books; sharing our "laugh out loud" moments of the week; sharing the 'small moments'; sending tributes to close friends; participating in weekly live meetings with homeroom and specialist teachers; having student check-ins; providing peer feedback on work posted by classmates (i.e. science experiments, writing projects, research projects); 'observing' teachers' digital classrooms and a whole lot more. Despite our physical distance, our connections remain strong. We value these moments and view them as the foundation for maintaining a strong learning community. Thank you to our students, teachers and families for being part of this process. We are truly grateful!
Process for class lists for 2020-2021
As we near the end of the school year, we have begun the complex process of creating classes for the 2020-2021 academic year. This process considers many factors such as peer dynamics, gender balance, student support across different areas, and learning styles. Your child(ren)'s teachers have had the opportunity to watch them grow and develop over a year and will take into consideration many factors in making sure that each child is placed in a class where he/she will thrive next year. If you feel there are any additional factors that you would like the school to consider about your child's placement, please email the Primary Principal (email@example.com) before Monday, 11 May. Please know that we can make a note of the things you wish to have considered, but we cannot guarantee that all of them will be met. Thank you for trusting that we will use our best professional judgement in this process.
Please continue communicating with us
Please use our tech support form if you or your child needs additional support with Seesaw and/or Google Meet and let us know if you have any other issues or challenges.
Have a wonderful rest of your week and a relaxing weekend,
Darlene Huson, Primary Principal
Christine Kelly, Primary Assistant Principal of Teaching & Learning/PYP Coordinator
Tony Potts, Primary Assistant Principal of Technology & Innovation/Tech Integration Specialist
Welcome to Week 5 of distance learning. We hope that the Parent-Teacher conferences last week provided an opportunity to connect with your child's teacher(s) and share how things are going for your family. Below are some important notices about what has been happening this week as well as peek into next week.
Our G5 students celebrate their PYP Exhibition
Well done to all of our G5 students for having achieved the amazing accomplishment of completing their PYP Exhibition in a blended learning format. Please see our additional article dedicated specifically to this milestone event.
Synchronous sessions with specialists for this week
For Week 5, 27-30 April, as shared in last week's newsletter, we have added one additional synchronous session with a specialist for each grade level. The schedule below on the left shows the overview of Week 5 specialist sessions.
For Week 6, 4-8 May, the schedule below on the right shows our full program of synchronous sessions with specialists across Primary. This is so families with more than one child, can see the timings all in one place. We realize that not all of the timings for all of the sessions will work for every family. We have been working hard these past two weeks to create a schedule that balances homeroom small group and class meeting times as well as specialist sessions to accommodate as many of our students as we can. These additional sessions are not meant to cause undue stress for families, but rather, provide additional opportunities for synchronous sessions should your child/family be able to join them.
With mixed feedback from families requesting additional email invites for synchronous sessions to those not wanting any additional email invites at all, we will help streamline the communication process. For clarity for families, each homeroom teacher will copy the appropriate times for specialist sessions pertaining to their class onto their weekly choice board/schedule beginning with Week 6 so your child and family can refer back to them in one place. You may want to add reminders in your own calendar so that you will know when to have your child go into his/her Seesaw journal and click on the invite link. Below is a SAMPLE of what you will see at the bottom of the weekly schedule for a child who is in Grade 3 ETC:
Celebrating students' work this week
To highlight the amazing things happening, this post celebrates the learning in Grade 1 over the past two weeks. Working from their weekly choice board, readers have read aloud to their teacher from a place of their choice, identified spelling patterns in words, and noted key information in nonfiction books. They have been writers and researchers as they created their animal books by researching facts. As mathematicians, students have estimated and accurately measured items as well as explored early multiplication strategies.
Please continue communicating with us
As a place to share ongoing feedback, we are including our weekly feedback survey. We are also including our tech support form for families who may need additional support with Seesaw and/or Google Meet.
Have a wonderful rest of your week and a relaxing long weekend,
Darlene Huson, Primary Principal
Christine Kelly, Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning, PYP Coordinator
Tony Potts, Assistant Principal of Technology and Innovation, Tech Integration Specialist
As we become more familiar with the routine of distance learning and receive feedback from our students, parents, and teachers, we amend our distance learning program to ensure we are providing the best possible education within our means. As these changes occur, they are reflected in real time in our Secondary Community Daily Communications. We recommend that you book mark this page for the time being and make an effort to view it at least once a day. Linked on the daily comms, as well as the school website's COVID-19 page, you can find the Secondary Distance Learning Plan. This 14 page document goes into great detail the practical elements of our distance learning plan. It reflects our current practices and records the changes that have occurred since the onset of the program. This document is a one stop shop to learn everything you need to know about how the AISL Secondary is conducting education at this time. If there are any details that you can't find there, please let Ty (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sheila (email@example.com) know, and we will be sure to add all info that pertains to the larger Secondary community.
There is no doubt that the world has changed everything about how we work and parent. I am sure we’ve all learned more than we ever knew about ourselves and our children (and perhaps more than we wished we knew!). It may seem hard to believe, but we are in good company with over 90% of families in the same situation all over the world. But unlike the rest of the world, we truly are fortunate to be part of a great school that was far more prepared and well-equipped to transition to a new way of teaching and learning.
The key ingredient to our school’s success is our teachers. And everyday that we navigate distance learning with our children, I am so deeply impressed with the adaptability, professionalism, and compassion of our teachers. As parents, we know that distance learning is not easy. Teaching is not easy, whether at a distance or in the classroom. We simply cannot do this without our teachers. This is a difficult time for everyone, and yet our teachers have transitioned without missing a beat, continuing to support our children’s educational and emotional well-being. Even though we cannot visit them in the classroom, please remember they are always just a call or an email away. They want to hear from you and your children - that is why they became teachers!
In the meantime, please enjoy this wonderful video organized by the PTA, just before our campus closure. It is a wonderful reminder from the not-so-distant past of how much we continue to appreciate our wonderful teachers at AISL.
From the Board of Directors, we hope you will join us in letting your children’s teacher know how much you appreciate them and support them, too!
Take good care, dear AISL community - stay safe and well!
Sarah Crites, Chair
On behalf of the Board of Directors
Through parent coffee mornings, we have regularly shared information and resources about social media and balanced use and how parents can support from home, all of which can be found here on the Parent LibGuide. Now, more than ever, we are all aware of the importance of being a good digital citizen. With increased screentime at home, challenges related to balance and appropriate use are more prevalent. As a parent, you have the opportunity to support at home and even ‘manage’ the child’s iPad. Please read below for some practical suggestions and solutions:
MAKE SPACE FOR LEARNING
Your child will work best in a quiet, comfortable space that they helped design away from other distractions and in a public area of the house. Keep in mind that students will be in this space for many hours each day.
Monitor your children’s social media use, especially in a distance learning setting. Make sure that time spent on social media apps such as TikTok, Instagram and WhatsApp is monitored/restricted to help students focus on school work.
Make sure that your children take plenty of breaks in order to get physical activity and plan off-screen activities for the whole family.
‘COVID-19 and At-Home Learning’. Children and Screens, https://www.childrenandscreens.com/media/press-releases/covid-19-and-at-home-learning/. Accessed 22 Apr. 2020.
PARENT’S GUIDE TO DISTANCE LEARNING | ACS International Schools. https://www.acs-schools.com/parents-guide-distance-learning. Accessed 22 Apr. 2020.
Students are learning so much more than the content (knowledge, skills and concepts) of each of their subjects at this time of distance learning. They are practicing skills that will set them up for success for life. The Approaches to Learning Skills ( ATLs) are divided up into 5 categories: Social, Communication, Self-management, Thinking and Research. Within each of these categories are specific skill indicators.
The skill indicators in the list below that are written in bold are just some of the incredible skills your children are learning and practicing during this time of distance learning.
1. Identify obstacles and challenges
10. Take responsibility for their own actions
Happy National Library Week, AISL Community! This is a week (celebrated primarily in the USA) that highlights the ways that libraries serve their communities. We are continually trying to find new ways to promote reading, literacy, and curricular support during this unique time.
This week, AISL Middle School students and AISL High School students will have the opportunity to vote on a book for virtual book clubs: AISL MS Virtual Book Club Options & AISL HS Virtual Book Club Options. This is totally OPTIONAL as it does mean procuring the book (either for Kindle, Apple Books, or hard copy if you have shipping). We will then set a time to have an online discussion about the book. For other sources for free ebooks and free audio, see the #BookLove Libguide (password is the same as for parent portal- or ask your child for it!), which is updated regularly, and read on about Audiobooksync.
Also this month, beginning 30 April Audiosync is kicking off their annual TWO FREE AUDIO BOOKS a week: these books are paired thematically and can be downloaded and kept permanently. The two YA (young adult- roughly ages 14 and up) books available starting 30 April are both fantastic! The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater is a work of non-fiction about a hate crime toward a trans-gender teen, written in alternating points of view. Mondays Not Coming by Tiffany Jackson is a thriller / mystery centering around the disappearance from school of Monday, a teenaged girl. To download these books, students WILL need to have the Sora app on whatever device they are downloading to (this is the free student version of Overdrive). Two books will be available EVERY week through 29 July- but remember that you cannot go back to previous weeks to download ones that you missed, so download when they are available.
Don't forget that our library IS circulating books! Please fill out this Google Form by Tuesday of next week and we will have your books ready by Thursday. We have adjusted the dates for next week as next Friday 1 May is a holiday. For subsequent weeks we will revert to having the form filled in on Wednesdays, books ready for Fridays. We will see how this goes and will tweak accordingly!
We hope that in the midst of distance learning, uncertainty, travel (for some), and new routines that you are finding time to enjoy some great reads.
Dear Parents and Students,
We are excited to be bringing ASA’s directly to your home. Every week, we will be sending out videos of some drills to help practice some skills you would have learnt during our ASA program.
We hope you enjoy these drills!
Kindly click on the thumbnail below and the video will pop up for you to view .
Coach Nancy's Weekly Fitness Tips
The Leopard's Tale is our main medium to keep our families informed on such things as the day to day happenings on campus, after school activities, summaries of any arts and sports events, helpful resources, and important dates and reminders.
Parent Information Sessions
Here are the upcoming sessions – all parents are welcome and encouraged to attend:
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday: 08:00 - 15:00 / Friday: 08:00 - 13:00