All of our MYP Grade 7 students have begun their Passion Projects. During three recent advisory sessions, students have reflected on their interests, wonderings, and concerns and have turned these into possible project ideas. They have been developing Passion Project Plans and learning about different ways to gather information through the MISO Brainstorming Document. During our next sessions together they will be finalizing their plans and researching their topics. Please ask your son or daughter about his or her project idea! This is a wonderful opportunity for students to develop ATL skills such as research, self-management, communication, and critical thinking by delving into an area of personal interest.
Students have a huge range of goals that reflect their diverse interests as learners: learning Japanese, developing a teen-friendly cookbook, creating dry-land training for water-skiing, following a training program to run a 5k, and learning to code- just to name a few!
The resources we are using for this unit may be found on the Passion Project Libguide (password is the same as the one for the parent portal).
Image credit by Marija Zaric on Unsplash
All students in Grades 6 and 11 had Digital Citizenship classes this week. The Grade 6 students, in a class facilitated by Mr. Tony Potts and Ms. Terry Maguire, learned how to use the SIFT acronym to analyze news claims. SIFT stands for Stop, Investigate, Find, and Trace (see SIFT acronym infographic below). Using a case study of COVID vaccine efficacy and safety, students looked at two different websites and used the SIFT acronym to evaluate each source. Increasingly, it is not enough to evaluate a source on its own; triangulating information by looking for support for evidence in at least two other mainstream news outlets is more useful.
In this Wednesday's Grade 11 Advisory led by Grade 11 advisor Ms. Terry Maguire, students read this recent New York Times piece about the resignation of Alexi McCammond from Teen Vogue as a result of racist tweets she posted ten years earlier, when she was seventeen years old. Students shared a wide range of their perspectives on whether or not they felt that her resignation was warranted, and then discussed take-away lessons from this cautionary incident. We then talked about the importance of proactively cultivating a positive digital footprint as a part of beneficial, engaged digital citizenship. We also connected our discussion of this current event to our school focus of anti-racism. This article promotes great discussion and might be one you'd enjoy reading to continue the conversation at home.
Digital citizenship has shifted away in recent years from being a list of "don'ts" and things to avoid, and instead emphasizes the pro-social ways that we can harness the power of technology to amplify our voices, to join important causes, to create safe spaces for ourselves and others online, and to be informed and engaged. If you are interested learning about this newer focus, you might be enjoy watching this three-minute video titled "Make Digital Citizenship About the Do's, and Not the Don'ts" by Richard Culatta, CEO of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education).
We look forward to continued Digital Citizenship classes with Grade 8 next week.
Image credits: SIFT Acronym infographic created by Suzanne Sannwald based on research by Mike Caulfield (CC License); ISTE Infographic of the New Digital Citizenship Competencies
Our next high school coffee house will be held on Friday 9 April from 19:00-20:00 on the deck of the Palm Pavilion. Students in grades 9-12 will have the opportunity to share many forms of creative expression in a safe, supportive manner. Our most recent high school coffee house, held November of last semester, was a huge success and we were all thrilled to be sharing a live experience amidst the pandemic. To ensure everyone's health and safety during this event, we will once again follow these protocols:
1. Temperature screening and hand-sanitizing upon entering campus (as usual)
2. Maximum capacity limited to 50 high school students based on a first-come, first-served Google Doc students access via the Student Portal (priority goes to students who are also performing)
3. Socially distant seating
4. All audience members AND performers will wear masks properly for the entire event
Sometimes young adults need a gentle nudge to be an IB risk-taker and share at an event such as this. If you feel that this applies to your son or daughter, please consider encouraging him or her to perform. In the past, students have shared in many ways: poetry, prose, improvisation, music, song, juggling, stand-up comedy, and dance (to name a few!). Every time a student has mustered the courage to share at coffee house, they have been glad they did and have grown from the experience. The High School Student Council is coordinating this event with support from Secondary School Librarian Ms. Terry Maguire. Should you have any questions, please reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reflection is an integral part of both teaching and learning at AISL. Not only did our Grade 10 MYP students include a section in their personal project reports reflecting on their growth as IB learners, but we also take an entire advisory support class after the personal project sharing to review the entire experience. Students provide feedback on the support they received from supervisors and the support classes, comment on skills and areas where they would like to spend more time, and share suggestions for next year's cohort.
Here are some aspects of the process that students found most valuable:
"The most enjoyable part of my project was working on something that I was passionate about; moreover, getting to know the community and learning about Zambia was also really enjoyable."
"I enjoyed having the independence to set my own deadlines and control my pace."
"The research for the project was an enjoyable part of the process because it was the main part of learning about our topic, and it was fun to choose the sources we use to find our information."
"I found the opportunity for growth and the ability to pursue something completely personal interesting to me."
"I enjoyed being able to take all my research and make a podcast. Being able to make a podcast is something new to me and I enjoyed the experience even though it was difficult."
Reflecting on what they might have done differently, several students said that they felt they were "too ambitious." Other students shared that they appreciated being able to delve into an area of interest. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many cited time management as a skill they would like to improve on, though many students said they have better learned how to break down long-term projects into more manageable steps.
In spirit, the personal project is meant to be an independent project representing 25 hours of work. Through support classes, we aim to scaffold this experience for students and are always looking for ways to improve this support. We are excited to see Grade 10 students sharing some of their projects during all-school assemblies, and are eager to embark on this process with our Grade 9 students during the Personal Project Retreat in May.
*Image credit by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash
Hello everyone! I've noticed over the past couple weeks that sometimes when parents of secondary school students are requesting books for themselves, meant to be brought home by their son or daughter, that sometimes the student is forgetting to collect these books. If you have not had any issues with this, no need to read on, but if you have had issues, please continue reading.
You are very welcome to continue using the Book Request Form that is right on the Secondary Virtual Library main page (password is the same as for parent portal- ask your child for it if you need it). The process is simple: fill out the form by Fridays at 09:00 (sooner is helpful if you are able), and then you may collect your books from the guards on Fridays between 12:00-18:00. All parents may have a free library account and may have up to ten items out at a time for a two-week loan period (and we are happy to renew as long as we do not have other patrons waiting for the item).
We do hope that the time is not long off when parents will be able to pass through campus and the library again. We miss seeing all of you so much! But for now, if the above service would be helpful to you, please avail yourself of it. Happy reading!
This past Wednesday evening our MYP Grade 10 students shared their personal project journeys and products in an on-line format. In Google Meet "rooms" of approximately six students, students shared their inspirations, research processes, discoveries, and reflections. The projects ranged from art meant to raise awareness of depression to a documentary film based on interviews conducted with women and teenaged girls at a nearby safehouse.
Students shared clips from their videos (where applicable), photos of their final products, and more based on the Personal Project website designed by Gr10 student Sara. To view a student's project, simply click on the image of the student on the website. You are also welcome to leave comments on the student-created Personal Project Instagram page.
The Personal Project Evening was the culmination of a process begun in May of students' ninth grade year. This year's cohort persevered through nearly five months of distance learning and many were moving between Zambia and their country of origin as a result of the pandemic. The beautiful work they shared is a true testimony to their resilience and ability to self-manage, which are important life-long Approaches to Learning skills (ATL's).
Many thanks to our faculty who served as supervisors for the personal project or facilitated the breakout rooms, to Ms. Chevannes (MYP Design Teacher) for helping students organize their digital posters and create the format of the evening, and to Ms. Turner (MYP Coordinator) and Ms. Maguire (Secondary School Librarian) for weekly Personal Project support classes. It takes a village to realize an undertaking of this scope.
The final part of this journey will comprise student reflections on the whole process, which will allow us to improve the program for next year's group. If you attended the evening and have any suggestions you'd like to share with us, please reach out to either Ms. Ingrid Turner or Ms. Terry Maguire.
We invite you to take a few moments to browse some of the beautiful student work linked to each student's name on the list here below.
Andrea: artwork and information shared on her blog meant to raise an awareness of the contributions of women throughout history
Ashutosh: a TED-talk based on research connected to happiness and daily life
Braam: a self-made documentary about unhealthy versus balanced digital interactions
Chris: waste disposal in Bauleni
Clara: recipes and blog for sustainability in food
Cross: golf information systems
Deborah: struggles faced by girls in safe houses
Emma: social status and wealth in criminal cases
Florence: Eastern vs. Western ways of teaching math & combating stereotypes
Gulsher: website to raise awareness of fitness and health
Jeanne: a brochure to teach basic first aid techniques for local community members
Jordan: podcast on racism & racial inequalities
Joshua: computer-generated skate park design
Joy: Artivism: art meant to raise awareness of mental health & mental Illness
Leo: Self-created infographics meant to teach primary school-aged children about history
Lola: wrote a short story meant to raise awareness of Down's Syndrome and autism to help children like her cousin
Lovis: created a blog about Lusaka meant to help newcomers explore the city
McKenzie: created an independently programmed website to raise awareness of gender inequalities and discrimination females face in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Education, & Mathematics)
Mehdi: to enhance communication in the healthcare sector, Mehdi taught himself Flutter, a Google object-oriented programming language that aids in creating mobile apps with efficiency
Merle: crocheted a beanbag using secondhand clothes, in hopes of raising awareness of the fast fashion industry. Merle sought to inspire people to mitigate their fast fashion consumption for a more environmentally friendly approach.
Neelay: explored how music can be used to tell a story
Payton: created a social commentary mural on availability issues
Rachael: explored using art as social commentary to raise awareness of race and Black Lives Matter
Rohan: created a website to raise awareness of poaching issues in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks
Sonji: created an adolescent mental health web comic and through this sought to improve her digital drawing skills
Thandi: designed a new athletic kit for AISL varsity basketball
Thelma: created musical jazz pieces based on remixing songs from Hamilton
Vivian: creating art to raise awareness of mental health
What is a social issue you care about and would like to learn more about?
What is the last thing you learned that no one told you to learn?
What are some of your hobbies?
What do you wonder about?
What is a problem you wish you could solve?
These are just some of the questions that our Grade 7 students explored during advisory & library sessions this week and last week as they prepare to create a passion project.
In keeping with our commitment to student-driven inquiry, grade 7 students will work to narrow down their ideas and will then spend the next three months (approx.) delving into a passion and producing a project connected with a personal interest. Engaging in a passion project affords students an opportunity to develop important ATL (Approaches to Learning) skills, among them effective researching, time-management, communication, and perseverance.
During one of our first advisory sessions devoted to the passion project, students explored a range of videos meant to provide them with inspiration. One of the videos we watched as a group was about this one about a young man who created his own Lego robotic arm.
Next week, students will narrow their passion project ideas and start to develop a plan for pursuing one idea. In subsequent weeks they will start creating it. If you would like to explore some of the resources we will be using to support this project, please have a look at our MYP Passion Project Libguide (the password is the same as the one for the parent portal).
Our students have many opportunities for rich inquiry at AISL. Here is a partial list of some of the in-depth, passion-style projects students do at AISL:
Grade 1 Genius Hour
Grade 4 Genius Hour
Grade 5 PYP Exhibition
Grade 7 Passion Project
Grade 8 Passion / Community Project
Grade 10 MYP Personal Project
Grades 11 & 12 DP Extended Essay
Image credit: Sasint on Unsplash
At AISL we strive to celebrate and honor the diversity of all our students and their backgrounds. During the month of February, we highlight the achievements, struggles, and triumphs of black persons in particular as part of Black History Month, which is celebrated increasingly throughout the world.
During our secondary school assembly on 17 February, we all watched a spectacular spoken word piece by 22-year-old US National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman titled "Earthrise," and reflected on what we want to stand for as individuals and how we might go about working to protect our fragile earth. If you haven't heard Ms. Gorman perform this deeply moving poem, please consider giving it a watch- it's only 4:30 long. (Interesting fact: Amanda Gorman had a speech impediment as a child and has an auditory processing disorder- and look what she has achieved!)
In middle school, grade 6 students explored Black History Month by engaging in several of the activities in this book creator book and grade 10 students explored similar themes using resources in this book geared toward an older teen audience. Our grade 7&8 students will engage in similar activities across next week. You are welcome to peruse these resources, too!
We will continually seek out ways that we can learn about and honor the history and achievements of groups that have been marginalized in the past as we strive to create "a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect" (IBO Mission).
Image credit: Amanda Gorman retrieved from <theguardian.com>
Requesting Library Books With Our On-Line Form
Keeping our community connected with great reads is important to all of us in the AISL Library!
To that end, please keep requesting books using this on-line book request form. The process is simple: fill in the form by Friday at 09:00, and then collect your books the same day between 12:00-18:00 by the guard post where secondary students enter campus. The link to the form is also on the virtual library landing pages.
We also have other great tools to keep our students reading!
Epic! eBooks for K-8
For middle school students, the on-line ebook library Epic! is fantastic. The display is attractive and it's very easy to use. In addition to eBooks, there are also videos and books that can be read to the user ("Read to Me's"). Epic! is free to students during the school day (Central Africa Time zone). To have the complete functionality of Epic, for just $5.99 a month parents can activate a subscription ($72 for the year). This provides unlimited access and you can have more than one child on the same account. I have a subscription for my own children and they love it!
Tales2Go Audio Books
For audio listening, we have our fabulous Tales2Go audio book collection, with more than 10,000 audio books and new ones added every month. Every student at AISL has a unique log-in (the app has a nicer interface than desk top). The log-in pattern is as follows:
User name: graduation year + first initial + last name (example: 2027jsmith)
When first using, select "schools & institutions" (not "individuals").
Our middle school students are familiar with both Epic and with Tales2Go, but it's always worth promoting again.
RivetedLit by Simon Teen: Free eBooks & eBook Excerpts for High School Students
For our high school-aged students looking for eBooks (and all other YA fans in our community!), the monthly selections on RivetedLit by Simon Teen are fantastic. The monthly offerings are a combination of both free excerpts and some ebooks available in full. The selections will change again on 28 February.
As always, if you are looking for any recommendations or need assistance, reach out to any member of our library team!
The American Library Association announced the 2021 Youth Media Awards this past Monday 25 January. It's an outstanding list of award winners. We have some of these titles and honored books already in our library, and the rest of them are on our big annual order that arrives each August.
Of particular interest to parents might be the Alex Awards, which are one of the ALA categories. These are books published for an adult audience but that are of particular interest to teens. I often find these to be outstanding reads, particularly for book clubs or for parents and teens to read together.
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: