In a year where very little has gone to plan, amazingly our annual AISL school shipment, which includes nearly 1500 new library titles for all our patrons, arrived with splendid timing this Thursday afternoon! We are thrilled to be welcoming the rest of our students from other grade levels back to campus across the next couple weeks, just in time for them to browse and take home some of these beautiful new books!
Several secondary students will be helping Ms. Maguire process the secondary library book order next week, as we assign every new secondary school book to a specific genre category to make it easier for our teens to shop their favorite genre shelves.
Also in our shipment are fabulous new works of adult fiction and non-fiction. If you are new to the AISL community, we encourage you to open a library account! Parents may borrow up to 10 books at a time for a two-week loan period. We have an excellent array of titles and genres.
If anyone in your family is looking for recommendations, please ask a member of our library team to assist you! We are always delighted to share some of our favorite reads with others and we stay abreast of the best voices in children's, middle grade, young adult, and adult reads.
This past Tuesday we celebrated UNESCO's International Literacy Day. This annual event, since its launch in 1966, is meant to remind the public of "the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights" (UNESCO) and to shine a light on the many people - 773+ million according to UN data - who lack basic literacy skills. Ms. Conte's Grade 6 students, during a jointly taught class with Ms. Maguire (Secondary School Librarian), were introduced to the event by watching this short UNESCO video. Students then reflected on the countless ways that literacy helps them in their daily lives and brainstormed simple ways that they could help support literacy initiatives in their communities (for instance, by helping to pass along age-appropriate books and magazines to housekeepers, drivers, and gardeners). We also discussed the importance of the UN's Sustainable Development Goal #4, which is to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all" (UNDP). We invite families to continue these important conversations at home!
Image credit: International Literacy Day from Global Dimensions
This past week students in Ms. Nevers' Gr9, 10, 11, & 12 Visual Arts classes have been exploring a wide range of issues in visual arts, together with support from the secondary school librarian.
In Grade 9, students are exploring the role of chitenge in Zambian culture, as well as the way that space communicates values. The Grade 9 Visual Arts students are in the early stages of creating their own original patterns, inspired by chitenge and incorporating their own personally relevant symbols, in order to paint new ceiling tiles for the secondary library.
In Grade 10, students have embarked on a unit about "artivism," which deals with the role the arts play in creating social change (a combination of "art" and "activism"). We read the article "Why Art Has the Power to Change the World" and shared our reactions on a padlet. We explored several examples of "artivist" works and shared findings in small "breakout" groups. Students are reflecting on issues about which they are most passionate that will lead them to create their own artivist pieces.
In Grade 11, we considered the question, "In a time of crisis, is art essential?" and explored artists of the student's choosing from among these eight artists referenced in this recent NYT "True Believers" issue. We also discussed themes and issues in art that are likely to stem from the COVID pandemic era.
In Grade 12, students have explored a range of open source on-line art resources, reviewed how to cite art, and have looked at Comparative Study exemplars to work on the development of their own comparative studies. Many resources and videos for these lessons may be found on the Visual Arts Libguide (PW: same as for parent portal).
Image citation: "Artivism" retrieved from threadless.com/artivism
During this week's digital citizenship class with Ms. Maguire, our Grade 11 students focused on proactively curating their on-line presence so that it represents their best selves. Students googled themselves and some of their friends, and then reflected on the impression that the publicly viewable posts created. They looked at ways to "bury" less favorable posts with positive ones (in cases where the post cannot be deleted) as well as how to actively use social media to show off hobbies, community connections, and personal interests. We also discussed the importance of thinking before engaging with others' posts as the friends and groups with which we associate ourselves - online and offline- say a lot about who we are and what we value. Students then examined at a case study (fictitious) of two students with roughly equal academic backgrounds applying to a competitive university. Our students played the role of admissions officers deciding which student to admit based on each student's social media posts. If you'd like to learn more about the resources we used for this lesson, here is the HS Advisory Libguide link (PW: same as for parent portal). At AISL, we approach digital citizenship in terms of what we should be doing and the powerful ways that digital technology allows for collaboration, inquiry, and problem-solving- rather than as a list of "don'ts." We encourage families to continue these discussions at home and to share experiences with these and similar topics together.
Guess What’s Back in the Library: Students!
It was an emotional day for teachers as we greeted our returning students in grades 7, 9, & 12 to campus last week. Now it is starting to feel like a school again and it’s wonderful to see students enjoying the beautiful new campus facilities and grounds! Many students have said that they are happy to be back in school. We are thrilled that they are here.
All of our community members based in Lusaka are welcome to request books from the library using the form that is right on the virtual library page. The next round of requests for secondary is due this coming Wednesday 2 September for a Friday 4 September pick-up. Students who are on campus do not need to use this form and are welcome to pick up books for siblings / parents who are off campus.
Book Returns for Those Outside Zambia
We are so grateful to our families who’ve brought back books and have even shipped them to us from other countries! This allows us to have complete series and favorite reads available to our students. Thank you!
If you are still outside Zambia and have library books with you, we would be very grateful if you could arrange to ship them to us. This allows us to have school resources available for our Lusaka-based families and helps us stretch our budget so we are not having to replace popular books that are unavailable to our patrons due to the book being in another country.
Students in grades 6,7, & 8 have been learning to use some of the tools on the AISL Secondary School Virtual Library during their classes over the past couple weeks. The password for the virtual library is the same as for parent portal. If you do not know, please ask your son or daughter or email a member of our library team. If you have not explored our virtual library yet, please take a moment to have a look! It has many outstanding resources, educational games, book suggestions, and more. You will also find handy Libguides (curated sets of resources) links such as:
Grade 8 Passion Project
Grade 10 Personal Project
Grade 11 & 12 Extended Essay
One of the tools we have been exploring in middle school during the past week is called Newsela, which is a current events-based learning platform. The articles in Newsela cover a wide range of topics with a particular focus on issues that interest children through young adults. Any Newsela article can be read on five different lexile levels, which makes this a tool with some outstanding built-in personalization features. There is also an option to listen to the article. Newsela also has a "Good News" section - a refreshing list of articles during these times!
Another tool we have introduced middle school students to is called MyBib.com. MyBib.com is a free, easy-to-use site that makes generating citations easy and generally straight forward. It integrates easily with Google Drive and students can also collaborate on citation lists (particularly helpful when they are working together on a project). We emphasize and actively teach academic integrity, which includes citing sources, across all grade levels as part of our digital citizenship instruction.
In addition to the above, many students have been using specially developed Libguides that link to different units they are studying. For instance, in Grade 8 MYP Individuals & Society, students are studying independence movements in South Central & Southern Africa, using some of the resources on this libguide. We have also been learning more about how to better paraphrase material and how to use selected graphic organizers to help us take better notes. We have more than one hundred libguides in secondary school and you are welcome to explore any of them.
Featured On-Line Reading Resources
Epic! is a wonderful collection of 40,000 eBooks for ages 12 and under. Students in Grades 6 & 7 have joined Epic using a class code. This allows them to read books on Epic for free during the school day from 06:00-15:00 (Central Africa Time).
If you would like to subscribe to Epic! so that your child may read outside of school hours, the subscription costs $7.99 a month (first month is free). You can have more than one child on the same subscription, so it is a good value. Students through grades 7 have the Epic! app on their iPad.
Simon Teen: Riveted Lit
Simon Teen is a division of Simon & Schuster publishers devoted to printing young adult novels (roughly grades 9 and up). Each month they have a selection of approximately 18 novels that people can read completely for free and the book display reads nicely on any device.
Parent & Tutor Use of the Library
We look forward to welcoming more of our community back as the situation permits. For now, however, library use is limited to the grade levels we have on campus (7, 9, & 12). We are unable to accommodate outside tutors in the library at this time. As soon as we are able, rest assured that we will welcome you back!
Welcome back to our AISL Community, families both returning and new! We are all so excited to see you and, if you are new, we look forward to getting to know you! We hope you will enjoy your time in beautiful Zambia and that your child(ren) will thrive at AISL.
The AISL Library will continue to circulate books to our patrons using the on-line request forms on our virtual library. We will fill requests for primary school students and secondary school students on alternating weeks. The links to the forms are right on the main virtual library page (password is the same as for the parent portal & the same as the password for the virtual library). Students may check out five books at a time for a 2-week loan period, and parents may check out up to ten items at a time.
We look forward to supporting student learning at AISL, promoting book love, and teaching information literacy & digital citizenship across all grade levels. We've already been collaborating with teachers to make sure that every unit is as rich as possible and to explore new ways to engage students in on-line platforms using the best tools available. We are thrilled to have everyone back this week! And as soon as the situation permits, we look forward to welcoming you back to campus and to our vibrant library space!
See you soon, everyone!
Terry Maguire, Secondary School Librarian
Jill Daley, Primary School Librarian
Lunyunge Sinyenga, Library Assistant
Secondary Library Updates: Book Returns, Free On-line YA Books, & This Week's Audiosync Free Downloadable Audio Books
Happy vacation everyone! On this last day of school we want to take a moment to thank our entire community for a great year- even with its unusual ending! Here are some updates:
Book Returns: Please Drop Off if You Haven't Already
Huge thank you to those of you who've returned books to the guard post at the Secondary School Gate. We appreciate it! We know that some of you are too far away to return books. Please bring them with you as soon as you return or send them to us if you are able. If you left Zambia with books and now do not anticipate returning, please be in touch with us so that we can issue bills. We will need to do a lot of book replacement so that we do not have huge holes in popular series or missing beloved books or ones that students rely on for MYP / DP coursework and major assessments. We appreciate your understanding.
Overdue Notices & Book Payment
Our library software system will continue to send out overdue notices weekly across the break until records are cleared. This is for your information so that you are aware of what our records are showing you as having out. Note that should you need to pay for any items that are lost or that cannot be returned, we add 30% to the cost of the books to cover international shipping, high-quality library bindings, and processing.
If you need to pay for lost books, please see Ms. Cleopatra Chabalenge in the AISL Business Office. She will assist you with payments.
Yes, you WILL be able to keep checking books out across the break! We will continue to use the book request form that is posted right on the virtual library pages & on the library page of the AISL website. The form will close Wednesdays at midnight (Central Africa Time) preceding a Friday pick-up date. Pick-ups will be Friday every other week from 09:00-18:00 as follows:
Holiday Enrichment and Activities
If you are looking for ideas for holiday fun, reading activities, and more, please check out both our #BookLove Libguide and our Holiday Learning Libguide. The password for both of these is the same as for parent portal and virtual library. Please ask your child if you need it!
Great FREE On-line YA (Young Adult) Novels
For the month of June, Riveted by Simon Teen (part of Simon & Schuster Publishers) has FANTASTIC YA reads online for FREE! It really is too good to be true- but there it is! The first book on the list, Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is incredible.
This Week's AudioSync FREE Downloadable YA Books
Check out this week's AudioSync Books: Mark of the Raven by Morgan Busse (The Ravenwood Saga #1), a work of fantasy, paired with Easy Prey by Catherine Lo, a YA mystery read. Keep checking AudioSync weekly so you can download books across the holiday. The downloads run weekly through 29 July.
Middle School & High School Virtual Library Classroom Spaces
All middle school and high school students have access to the virtual library classroom spaces I made for them. These virtual spaces include some great book suggestions, books coming out as movies (here's the AISL MS Youtube playlist of trailers & here's the HS Youtube playlist of trailers), free audio books, free on-line YA books, and more. Please encourage your son or daughter to take a few minutes to explore the spaces!
Thank you for a great year, everyone! Please send pictures of your family reading together or your son or daughter reading to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Twitter: @terryamaguire using the hashtag #aislreads.
Don't miss this week's FREE Audiosync book downloads. This week's free titles are In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira, a multi-generational realistic / romance read. The other title this week is Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin, a highly acclaimed fantasy / romance read that is a series opener. Remember that you'll need the free Sora app to download and read the books, and once you've downloaded them they are yours to keep! You are unable, however, to go back and download books from previous weeks. Enjoy these two outstanding YA books!
Our secondary students recently voted on their top choice books for our annual Leopard's Paw MS Book Award and Leopard's Eye HS Book Award. They chose some fabulous books as this year's winners! Our Leopard's Eye MS Book Award went to The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden. Our Leopard's Paw HS Book Award went to They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Looking forward to seeing what titles students nominate as next year's contenders!
Dear AISL Community Members,
It's that time of year when books are due back. Naturally, this year presents some unique challenges for book returns that we will explain in this post.
We would kindly ask that you return books by Friday 5 June to the Secondary School guard post.
If you have library books and are NOT in Lusaka, please contact us. Note that we will need to replace high-circulating items and popular series so we can be ready to start the new school year. We add 30% of the total cost of the books to the bill to cover international shipping, processing, and high-quality library bindings.
Holiday Book Circulation
We WILL be offering a more limited circulation of library books beginning the week of 15 June 2020. Book requests will be due by Thursday morning 18 June and will be ready for pick-up starting at 09:00 on Friday 19 June. The request form is right on the virtual library pages and also on the library page of the AISL website. We will offer this service every other week through the holiday as long as it is possible for library employees to enter campus.
Holiday Book Pick-Ups Dates (every other Friday from 09:00-16:00):
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: