Our secondary school students enjoyed some well-earned holiday fun in the library across this week! Students chose from a range of activities- from crossword puzzles of holidays around the world to seed-pod ornament painting to crafting with old books (falling apart too much to be donated!) and more. Just as it is important to focus and work at school, so too it is important to create, connect, and simply have fun. All materials were sanitized between users with our COVID health guidelines in place. We wish all of our AISL families a wonderful break!
Every year we celebrate Computer Science Education Week. This year's theme was "Computer Science for Social Justice." To explore this topic, our Grade 9 students unpacked the meaning of social justice, considered the difference between equality and equity, and then researched a Computer Science for Social Justice hero who inspired them. The students learned about the incredible work of many change-makers who use computer science to improve human rights, access, participation, and equity. Some people profiled included Saad Bhamia, a bioengineer and Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech who has developed a do-it-yourself hearing aid made from readily available, affordable materials. Another #CSforSocialJustice hero is Joy Buolamwini, a computer science digital activities at MIT who has developed an Algorithmic Justice League to improve facial recognition programs particularly for dark-skinned women. Please take a moment to have a look at some of the incredible people they profiled on the posters students made during advisory.
Ms. Nevers' MYP Gr10 Visual Arts students have been creating art inspired by COVID and other social issues. Students began the unit with library-based research sessions to develop a deeper understanding of their topics, and then began the process of designing and creating their pieces. Please take a moment to enjoy this virtual gallery walk of their pieces with student-written commentary about each one.
Toward a More Inclusive Society: AISL Hosts Guest Speakers to Honor the UN’s International Day for Persons with Disabilities
On 3 December each year the UN celebrates the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Disability inclusion is a core facet of human rights, yet stigmatizing persons with disabilities persists in many places throughout the African continent. Learning about the importance of inclusion for all persons connects to the goal of an IB education, which is “to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.”
To raise awareness of the importance of disability inclusion, our secondary school hosted two guest speakers for Thursday’s advisory session this week:
Ms. Gertrude Lungu from the Bauleni Special Needs Project: Ms. Lungu spoke about the role of the Bauleni Special Needs School as well as the income-generating projects they support that assist the families of children who attend their school. Not only does this project support the education of children in the Lusaka area, but they extend their services to rural communities, too, by training people This school is located right on Leopard’s Hill Road after Crossroads when you are heading toward AISL.
Mr. Kenneth Habaalu from the Apters Project: Mr. Habaalu has been the director of Apters for the past 28 years. Apters uses paper, cardboard, flour, cereal boxes, and cornflakes (yes, cornflakes!) to make walkers, chairs, stands, and other mobility aids to assist children with disabilities (most of whom have cerebral palsy). The income from the sales of other craft items that Apters sells at local markets (such as the Dutch Reform Market) pay the salaries of the 10 permanent employees, all of whom are adults with disabilities (some of whom benefited from Apters technologies as young children!). AISL has been sending its used paper to Apters for more than a decade, and we would like to increase our support of the incredible work they do.
The third option students had for this special session was to learn about disabilities in Africa and the stigmatization that unfortunately is often associated with it. If students preferred, they could focus their independent learning on invisible disabilities, such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety, ADD, and OCD, to name a few. Curated video playlists for these topics were shared with students on the Different Not Less libguide (password is the same as for parent portal if you’d like to watch any of the videos).
Following these sessions, we will be exploring how students' understandings have evolved as a result of these interactions and explorations.
“It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.”- Martin Luther King Jr.
We encourage all of our returning families to stock up on books for the December / January break and we will also have an opportunity for you to collect more books mid-way through in January. Our guidelines are as follows:
- Returning students may have up to five books out at a time
- Returning parents may have up to ten books out at a time (per parent)
If you are leaving us at the end of the semester, we kindly ask that you return all library materials to us so that they may circulate to other patrons.
If you have lost an item, please have your child see a member of our library staff for a bill, which is to be paid in the business office. Note that we are obliged to add 30% of the cost of the item to cover international shipping, library bindings, and library processing.
During the break, you may also request books for collection. There will be one collection opportunity during the break. Please fill out your request by midnight on Tuesday 5 January, and collect your books from the guards by the main secondary entrance (where the secondary students walk in) from 10:00-18:00 on Wednesday 6 January. We hope that this will keep everyone reading during the break! The links for requests are on the library page of our school website, the virtual libraries, and also posted here:
Primary Library Book Requests
Secondary Library Book Requests Form
We always welcome photos of you and your family reading! Please send them to us and we will share them at school.
We wish you and your family a healthy, joyous holiday season and a wonderful start to the New Year!
Terry, Jill, & Lunyunge
Image by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
This past Monday and Tuesday students in Mr. Mrak and Mr. Martin’s Grade 8 Individuals and Societies classes had the wonderful opportunity to interview members of our Zambian staff about different Zambian cultural groups. This event was part of a "Living Library" experience coordinated by Secondary School Librarian Ms. Terry Maguire in collaboration with Individuals and Societies teachers Mr. Mrak and Mr. Martin. The experience formed part of their unit of study on aspects of culture, which promotes the develops an understanding of what culture is, how it develops, and how it influences the world. Once this foundation is established, students begin to look at various aspects of Zambian history and culture and analyze the elements that help people understand what it means to be Zambian in all its different versions. The concept of culture is dynamic and organic. Students have been learning about the visible and invisible aspects of culture and have been building up to a summative assessment based on personal interviews.
Students have been developing the skills of a journalist as they learn to ask open-ended questions, experiment with different ways of recording information, and pose follow-up questions. This week’s learning activity provided students with an opportunity to hone their interviewing skills while learning about various cultures within our school, as they prepare to complete their summative task this month. This lesson also helped students to develop intercultural understanding, which is one of the components of Global Citizenship.
The staff members who so generously shared their cultural background with our students represented the following groups:
“I learned that respect is the most important value in Zambian culture.”
“I learned that in the Ngoni tribe they would often name their child after something that just happened before the child was born.”
“I learned that in the Ngoni tribe they don’t keep dogs as pets - they use them to hunt.”
“Today I learned about how the Bemba people swam from the Congo to Zambia.”
“The Lozi people used to wear leaf skirts before the British colonization, and after that, they started wearing modern clothes.”
“When Tonga people have a good harvest, they celebrate a festival called Lwinda where they bring food to put under a tree to thank the Lord, then they celebrate by having beer and foods with friends and family.”
Many thanks to our library assistant, Mr. Lunyunge Sinyenga, for helping with translation and thanks to Ms. Martina, Ms. Sonia, and Ms. Faith for helping us create a schedule that would allow staff members to be with us for both interview sessions.
“Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first, they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.” - Paul Coelho
Our MYP Grade 8 Students have been working on passion projects across this semester. They began in the early days of synchronous distance learning (remember those?) and recently shared what they produced with their teachers and classmates. They were supported in this endeavor by their parents, the Grade 8 advisors Mr. Mrak, Mr. Dobson, Ms. Mulenga, and Ms. Nevers; Ms. Turner (MYP Coordinator), and Ms. Maguire (Secondary School Librarian).
The aims of the MYP projects, as outlined in the MYP Projects Guide, are to encourage and enable students to:
MYP projects involve students in a wide range of activities to extend their knowledge and understanding and to develop their skills and attitudes.
These student-planned learning activities, as described in the MYP Project Guide, include:
From the Grade 8 Reflections on the Passion Project Experience: "I learned..."
Reflecting on the process, the Grade 8 students said that they learned the importance of creating a detailed planning schedule and setting deadlines for themselves to develop their self-management. They also underscored the importance of choosing a topic about which one is truly passionate. They shared some of their new learning, excerpted here below:
Grade 11 Parents: Please Join us For an Informational Evening About the Extended Essay on Wednesday, 2 December at 17:00
On Wednesday, 2 December from 17:00-18:00, Ms. Monica Murphy (DP Coordinator) and Ms. Terry Maguire (Secondary School Librarian & EE Coordinator) will host an informational evening for Grade 11 parents about the Extended Essay.
Parents can expect to learn:
Please use this link to join the Google Meet for the session.
We will also leave time for parents to ask questions. We hope you are able to join us for this informational session.
Image by Stocksnap on PIxabay.
Join Us for A Verbal Jam Conversation About Netflix's Docudrama, The Social Dilemma, on Thursday 3 December from 18:00-19:00
On Thursday 3 December from 18:00-19:00, AISL Secondary School Librarian Terry Maguire will host an on-line discussion of Netflix's The Social Dilemma for any interested parents. Note that this will NOT be a presentation; rather, it will be an opportunity for parents to share their responses to the film. If at all possible, please consider watching this film with your secondary school-aged son or daughter as it will also spark some important family conversations about the ways we use social media.
Please use this link to join the discussion via Google Meet.
To learn more about the film, which was highlighted in a previous Leopard's Tale post copied below, please read on:
If you are looking for a thought-provoking film to spark some rich family conversations around social media use, consider watching Netflix's 2020 film The Social Dilemma (director Jeff Orlowski; run time 94 minutes). This film explores social media's effects on mental health, as well as how a user's time spent on social media sites is used for data mining and surveillance capitalism. Product developers, engineers, and a design ethicist share behind-the-scenes information about social media product development at Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Youtube. Here's the film's trailer (2:34) if you'd like to learn more about this 2020 Sundance Film Festival official selection. We also have some outstanding books in the AISL Library that explore similar issues including Cal Newport's Deep Work (2016) and Adam Alter's Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked (2017). If you watch the film with your tween or teen, we'd love to hear your family's thoughts on it.
Image caption: "The Social Dilemma" retrieved from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaaC57tcci0>
This past Friday we had our first HS Coffee House since campus reopened. Due to size constraints (capped at 50), we had advance sign-ups and respected social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines during the event. We had more than 15 performances that included instrumentals, songs, spoken word, rap, and even magic tricks. We managed to hold the event outside on the beautiful deck of the Palm Pavilion and though it threatened to rain, it fortunately held off!
The Coffee Houses, a long-standing AISL tradition, provide students with a supportive venue for sharing a range of forms of creative expression. We believe that every student can grow through performance experiences and that they benefit from having a live audience. I am always in awe of how kind and supportive our students are of each other at events like this. Many thanks to the teachers who came out to support the event, to Mr. Edwin Kamangala and Etai for help with light and sound, to our HS Student Council for helping to publicize and organize, and to our Nemchem and maintenance staffs who helped with set-up and cleaning. We are already looking forward to the next one!
Photos by T. Maguire
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: