A simplified version of how MYP teachers plan units in the classroom
In the MYP classroom, we start with a big idea - the statement of inquiry (SOI) around specific concepts and a global context. What this means is we inquire into a big idea within each subject - take for instance 'systems'. We then make sure that we are connecting to a meaningful idea in the world. In language and literature, we might focus on systems people have to write paragraphs and essays - this is meaningful as we have to be able to organise our writing when we communicate in writing. In science, we might look at ecosystems - this is meaningful as we need to understand how to look after our world. In history, we might look at the industrial revolution - this is meaningful as we explore how to make a better world, etc. Students and teachers then decide on a summative assessment dependent on subject knowledge, skills, and concepts. Then we design formative learning experiences that help students practice the knowledge, skills and concepts and students receive ongoing feedback. We incorporate appropriate Approaches to Learning skills (ATL skills - life skills) - see the full list of ATL indicators here - and learner profile attributes, find resources, and plan our learning experiences. We are constantly encouraging students to inquire, plan, take action, and reflect.
What will August look like?
I am frequently asked what I think August will look like at AISL. There are many facets to the answer. I know for certain that school will re-open. I also know for certain that we have a strong preference for resuming face-to-face learning ON CAMPUS. In reality, the decision to re-open our campus will be made much closer to the time, most likely in mid-July. In the meantime, we will continue with weekly email updates to keep you updated on our plans.
The decision to re-open campus will depend heavily on the COVID-19 situation at the time. Much is being written and theorized about whether African nations, like Zambia, are likely to have a different experience with COVID-19 than other countries. Some argue that our climate, previous experience with disease, and overall youth will help minimize the harm. Others say that we are just proceeding a bit more slowly than other countries toward a widespread crisis. At the moment, there does not seem to be any scientific consensus.
The COVID-19 situation will influence two key factors in our decision to re-open our campus. First, like all schools in Zambia, we will need to get the green light from the Ministries of Health and General Education. Second, we will need to be very confident that we can provide a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff. To this end, we have convened a Re-opening Task Force with staff and parent volunteers to explore the complexities of campus health and safety and make recommendations to the administration.
As I explained in the recent parent meeting with the Board of Directors, we are planning for three August scenarios (see visual below). The first scenario is a fully open campus. This would mean that the COVID-19 situation will have diminished to such an extent that we can resume normal or nearly-normal school operations. The third scenario is a continuation of distance learning. This would occur if the health and safety situation deteriorates to the extent that reopening campus safely is impossible. The second scenario represents a middle ground, a hybrid between the other two. In this scenario, our campus would be open but health and safety conditions would require significant restrictions. These restrictions could include a limitation on how many people can be on campus, what ages of students are allowed, and/or what activities are permitted. As an added complication, we recognize that changes in the COVID-19 situation may require us to shift back and forth between these scenarios.
Even if August brings a re-opened campus, we expect that a large percentage of our students will have to carry on with distance learning. This would be either because their families are overseas and are not yet able to return to Lusaka or they are in Lusaka and do not feel comfortable sending their children to campus. Rest assured that, regardless of which scenario we open with in August, we will be planning to support ALL our students.
Planning for such a wide range of contingencies is extraordinarily complex. Please join me in thanking our leadership team, the Board of Directors, and the Re-opening Task Force for their hard work. They are daily faced with decisions for which there are no clear answers, no precedent to fall back on, and no agreement on what the future holds. Although I do not know which scenario will be in place in August, I know without question that school (if not the campus) will re-open in August and we will continue to offer the best education available in Zambia.
URGENT: Please let us know your plans
As I mentioned above, the COVID-19 situation is forcing us to plan for August in a situation with very little reliable information. Planning staff and student schedules under these circumstances is extremely difficult. If you haven’t done so already, please reach out to Natasha in Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know your family’s plans for August. Will you be in Lusaka? Will you be overseas? If you are overseas, when might you return? Are you planning to re-enroll your child(ren) at AISL? Even if you are not 100% sure, please let us know. The sooner we have this information, the better we will be able to serve everyone.
Please share your feedback on AISL Distance Learning 2.0
As you know, the team here at AISL is deeply committed to continuously improving our programs. Having transitioned very quickly to our distance learning program, we worked hard to gather feedback and adjust along the way. Your feedback was very helpful to that process.
Although we are hoping to return to face-to-face learning in August, we humbly request another round of feedback so that we can make further refinements to our distance learning program – for whenever we need to use it again. I would be grateful if you could share your reflections by clicking here. Your feedback will be very useful to us.
Check out our Virtual Awards Ceremonies
The end of every school year includes a series of ceremonies to celebrate our students. Events such as Graduation, the Academic and Sports Awards Ceremonies, and the Grade 5 Transition Ceremony are important rites of passage for our scholars. Although we could not hold this year’s ceremonies in person, our team has worked very hard to create virtual versions of these annual traditions. Please visit our Virtual Awards Ceremonies webpage and take some time to celebrate our students’ many achievements (password is same as for parent portal). I hope that you enjoy your visit to these ceremonies and that they demonstrate to you our unwavering commitment to create opportunities for our students to thrive.
As a fun side note, we have been tracking visitors to these sites. That information provides a great snapshot of just how international we are as a community. Check out the statistics we have logged:
Sports Awards Ceremony: 288 visitors from 19 countries
Senior Awards Ceremony: 255 visitors from 14 countries
Graduation: 384 visitors from 19 countries
Many thanks to Julie Baldry, Frank Louw, Claire and Tony Potts, and the rest of the team for creating such great tributes to our students’ achievements.
As we're sure you're aware, there have been a large number of anti-racism protests in the United States. In the Secondary school, we want to make sure we're talking about and helping students process these historic events and learn what they can do to create a more tolerant world.
Our Student Support Services Coordinator, Dr. Angela Ingram, and our Grade 6-10 Design teacher, Naomi Chevannes, are going to host an anti-racism talk that's open to all Secondary students. They will share information about the Black Lives Matter movement, how to be an ally, and what it means to be anti-racist.
The talk is on Monday 8 June at 17:30, Lusaka time. We hope all students can join us in learning about what they can do to be anti-racist.
Image source: https://depositphotos.com/vector-images/anti-racism.html
As the school year draws to a close, students are turning in summative assignments, teachers are giving feedback and calculating final grades, and we’re all planning to work together to reflect on the 2019-20 school year. Our teachers have planned the following all-school, grade-level, class, and Advisory closing activities.
Advisory for Friday 5 June:
Classes on Monday 8 June and Tuesday 9 June:
Closing celebrations by grade level:
Last Day of School:
Finally, after eleven weeks of Distance Learning, a format that was tweaked and refined over the past two and half months, we are very curious to hear your feedback on how the experience was for your family and child. We would like to ask each of you to complete this brief survey reflecting on our Distance Learning 2.0 program. Thank you for your time.
As always, thank you for your continued feedback and support to help us ensure that every student thrives. We appreciate the idea sharing, suggestions, and questions that help us reflect on teaching practices so that we can make sure that every student is successful. Thank you for being our partners in student learning.
Ty Smeins, Secondary Principal
Sheila Seiler, Secondary Assistant Principal
As we conclude our last full week of the school year, we wanted to share some important information to note:
Connecting through the virtual classrooms
While we wait for our physical campus to reopen, our students continue to use their classroom as 'the third teacher', albeit a virtual classroom environment. As teachers' Learning Boards continue to evolve, students have innovative ways to engage with new content, connect with peers, and lead their own inquiries through our virtual classrooms. In this new format, students click on different icons which lead them to various learning engagements that can be explored in depth at the child's own pace. Here are a few examples from our Librarian, Spanish Teacher and Performing Arts Team this past week.
Reading, responding, researching, and writing in the Primary School
It has been exciting to see so many reading and writing projects coming to completion in the last week. In reading, students have been responding to different sections in pictures, videos and in writing. For word work, students have been consolidating their understanding of unit vocabulary, sorting words for Word Study, and exploring similes. In writing, students have been completing fiction stories, creating non-fiction research books, and then responding to each others' efforts on Seesaw. Well done, Primary students for all of your hard work in building your literacy skills!
Thank you for your support and another wonderful week.
Darlene Huson, Primary Principal
Christine Kelly, Primary Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning and PYP Coordinator
Tony Potts, Primary Assistant Principal of Systems and Innovation and Tech Integration Specialist
Have you been wondering and wishing that there was something you could do with your recyclable waste? Wish no longer! The Bright Future Project is a local organization in Lusaka who has a collection and disposal site at Aquarius Lifestyle Center on Leopards Hill Road. You can register with them by contacting them via WhatsApp +260 96 422 1770 or email on: email@example.com. Start recycling your household items today!
Greetings AISL Community,
It is my pleasure to announce the place winners and new Poet Laureate for the 9th Annual AISL-PTA Secondary Poetry & Short Story competition! But first, I would like to thank the grade 6-12 students who took positive and creative risks to submit their poems and short stories. A big thank-you to our PTA for their ongoing support for this wonderful tradition! Also, much appreciation to the P&SS Committee, including the 2019-20 Poet Laureate, Ms Laura De Raeve; PTA member, Ms Jane Okafor; AISL’s Secondary Teacher-Librarian, Ms Terry Maguire; and our Secondary science and Physics teacher, Mr Marin Dobson! And last, but certainly not least, Mr Tony Potts for his ongoing technical support to make this year our first paper-free P&SS Competition!
All the best, stay well AISL,
Click on the links below from a laptop (or open the Google Doc directly here from an iPad/iPhone) to go directly to that poem/short story OR scroll down to read them in order.
The Selection Committee for the recipients of the 2020-2021 Merit-Scholarship for qualified Zambian students to attend the high school from August continues to progress.
This week the Committee conducted virtual home-visits with FINALIST candidates and their parents. This follows a rigorous selection process, which included acquiring teacher and community member recommendations, school reports, examination results, academic and psychosocial assessments conducted at AISL, and the submission by candidates of a home-made movie of the activities that occur in their homes.
The Committee will sit next week to make potentially life-changing decisions as to which finalists will be awarded this scholarship to attend AISL and benefit from the educational and extra-curricular activities offered by the school.
On Tuesday, the IB Diploma Coordinator, Ms. Monica Murphy, and the College Guidance Counselor, Ms. Julie Ann Baldry, hosted a live virtual presentation for our graduates and their parents to highlight steps to take when IB Diploma results are issued on 6th July 2020.
Many parents and students attended and learned about interpreting results, actions to take, and implications and interventions for college admission.
If any parents or students need additional information or assistance they know that they can contact Ms. Murphy and/or Ms. Baldry in the coming weeks.
Washing Machine Week is a tradition at AISL that has been continuing for the past eight years. This year is no exception.
During Washing Machine Week (named by Richard Carruthers, Class of 2012), our graduates learn skills for independent living.
This week started off with a Basic Car Mechanics live-virtual session hosted by Andrew Baldry, a former AISL parent and husband of faculty member, Julie Baldry.
More sessions will be hosted in the coming days.
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