It is hard to believe that we are about to begin the final quarter of the 2018-19 school year. But here we are: deep in the thick of things, already planning for the end of this year and the start of the next.
International Fair I’d like to congratulate the whole AISB community, and especially our hardworking PTO, for this year’s very successful and enjoyable International Fair. The International Fair is one of the highlights of our year and of our community, and this year’s Fair was really special: happy, busy, with lots of talking, sharing and appreciation of our diverse and welcoming community. Thanks to one and all -- AISB is a great place to be.
Profile of the Graduate Revision in progress On February 7 a working group of parents, students, teachers, administration and the Board gathered for a stakeholders’ workshop to revise AISB’s Profile of the Graduate.The PoG provides the community with a portrait of the qualities and competencies AISB students will build as they move through the school’s program. This important foundational document is used by students, teachers, administrators and the Board, and guides AISB in decision-making at all levels, from finance policy to academic program design and classroom layout. The current Profile has not been updated since 2011; the information gathered at the workshop will guide the drafting of a new Profile, scheduled to be completed and approved by the Board by the end of this year.
In this newsletter... A casual glance through this edition of the newsletter will remind all of us of just how busy February was: college acceptances, 100 Days of School, Internships, Deep Dive Week, field trips, our beautiful new PreK Sound Garden, our newest Artist/Maker-in-Residence, whole- class events...and a lot of learning.
Upcoming events also discussed below include Mother Tongue Week, the Arts Career Fair, and MAP testing. Our grade 4-8 students are also busily preparing for this year’s Invention Convention/Science fair, to be held in May.
See you at school,
Mother Tongue Week...coming up
Hello Elementary (Kinder-Grade 5) Parents!
You are invited to the kick-off event for Mother Tongue Week: a breakfast in the library!
What: Reading in a "mother tongue" with your child. Coffee and pastries will be available Why: To celebrate the diversity, beauty, and importance of languages When: Monday, March 11th, 2018 from 7:30 to 8:30 Where: In the AISB library
If you are available, please come join us with a book or two in one of your child's "mother tongues!"
Also, to help celebrate the diversity of languages at AISB, students are asked to come prepared with a favorite poem, expression, tongue twister, etc. in one of their mother tongues. Your child may need assistance with this and so we ask for your help. These will be shared throughout the week.
Hope to see you there,
The Elementary Team
About Mother Tongue Week at AISB
Educators know that having well-developed literacy skills in our first language, or mother tongue, is vital for learning subsequent languages effectively. And beyond its practical purposes, children should know that their mother tongue is important -- to them, and us all: that it is beautiful, an essential part of themselves and their identity, and one of the keys with which they will unlock the world of meaning around them.
And... We encourage you to make time at home for your child’s mother tongue. Stories, songs and books are great ways to help your child learn, and learn to love, his or her mother tongue. Spend time with others who speak the same language. Encourage your child to write a journal in his or her mother tongue. Watch a movie! Listen to the radio. Play games. Have fun! And help your child build this important understanding of language and identity.
If you have questions about mother tongue, or your child’s language learning, please be in touch with the ESOL department or your child's teachers.
One way to increase mother tongue literacy is to encourage children and families to read and write in their mother tongue. AISB has been gradually accumulating Mother Tongue Library, for families, students and teachers to access. We are seeking your help. If you have books in languages other than English that you have loved and are ready to pass on to another home, please consider donating them to our Mother Tongue Library. All donations can be dropped off at the front office with Ms. Oumou.
Last Round of After School Activities for 2018-19
The last session of after-school activities for the year will start on Monday April 8, and will run for 6 weeks.
MakerSpace and parent involvement Parents are welcome in the MakerSpace! Offer an activity, or just join in the fun. We'll be happy to see you there.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with Ms. Yaa Obeng (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Arts Career Fair
We have begun to plan an exploration into life enrichment, leisure activities and the pursuit of the amateur- in the historical context:
n.,1784, "one who has a taste for (something)," from French amateur "lover of," from Latin amatorem (nominative amator ) "lover," agent noun from amatus , past participle of amare "to love" (from dictionary.com)
We are looking for those who have a passion, hobby or pursue the arts outside their career and who would like to share a part of their journey with students. This event will take place on April 18th, exact times to be determined but likely from 11-1.
We are also looking for those who may have had their passion turn into a career (or who have chosen deliberately not to go this path) and the effects on the art.
In addition to other events, we'd like to have a luncheon organized around these topics- which you may find one or more fit your personal journey. If you have an amateur art to share, or feel you would like to engage students around one of the following discussion points, please contact Terae Soumah (email@example.com) or Simone Kamminga (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can discuss details and planning further. We would also appreciate contacts for those you know who may be outside the direct AISB parent community.
We appreciate your support and involvement.
Hello AISB college community! The hard work that our seniors put into their college applications is starting to pay off! Here is a list of our students’ University acceptances that have been received thus far:
SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) University, London Bishop’s University, Quebec Arizona State University, Arizona St. Cloud University, Minnesota University of Westminster, London University of West London, London Queen Mary University, London Art of Colors, Amsterdam University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
We are very proud of our seniors. The job is not finished yet, though: our students are now working hard to finish the year strong, and ready for their University experience.
Our Juniors have also been preparing themselves for future University careers. For 11th grade students, here are some important things to remember:
SAT testing date May 4th: Registration deadline is April 5th
College counseling every Tuesday and Wednesday from 3pm-4pm
TOEFL test: Students should write this test before the end of this year (if needed)
If you have questions regarding your child’s college application process, please don’t hesitate to be in touch (email@example.com). We’ll be glad to hear from you.
Deep Dive Week
AISB held its first-ever Deep Dive Week, January 29th to February 1st. “Deep dives” give students a chance to immerse themselves in areas of learning that go beyond the “regular” curriculum. While 11th grade students were busy in their community internships, students in the remaining grades 6 to 12 chose from a wide array of Deep Dive offerings, following one course in the morning, and a second in the afternoon. These longer, highly-focused working periods meant that students were able to complete complex projects and in-depth learning experiences, in only a week.
This month, students in M. Barry’s HS Advanced French worked with British-Nigerian film director Aiwan Obinyan, producing a transcript and French subtitles for her feature film Wax Print. The film has has garnered significant international attention: screenings have been held in Japan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Ghana, and two weeks ago Wax Print was nominated for Best Feature Documentary at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Creating the transcript and subtitles was an enormous task, requiring many hours of careful listening and heated debate over interpretation and the appropriate translation of the films highly specialized vocabulary. In her video letter (check it out!) of thanks to the students, Ms. Obinyan said that their translation was “expert and wonderful,” noting that the film addresses topics that matter to Africans across the globe, and that the students’ work has made Wax Print, accessible to francophone Africans everywhere. It was a truly epic undertaking, and a very authentic, real-world application of our students’ skills. You can read more about Wax Print, and watch the trailer, here.
We are currently working to schedule a May screening of Wax Print here in Bamako with -- we hope --Ms. Obinyan attending. More to come!
New Maker-in-Residence: Katrine Lafreniere
AISB is very pleased to welcome silkscreen artist (and Grade 1 and 4 parent) Katrine Lafreniere as our most recent Artist and Maker-in-Residence.
Katrine has set up her temporary silkscreen studio in the MakerSpace and has already begun working with our HS art class as part of their unit on printing techniques, and with interested individual students.
Katrine will be in in the MakerSpace every Friday morning and will welcome any parent or student interested in learning about -- or doing--silkscreen printing. Please see her invitation below.
Katrine's silkscreen prints will be exhibited as part of the Soirée de Soliderité at Residence La Casa Blanca, on International Women's Day, March 8.
It is with great enthusiasm that I will be working at AISB as a Maker and Artist in Residence. I will be available to all students and parents that would like to learn about Silkscreening. I will be at school in the MakerSpace every Friday morning. You are all very welcome to drop by. See you soon!
100 Days of School
PreK Sound Garden
Our PreK courtyard garden has been beautifully transformed to a tranquil, colorful and joyful space. Come by and visit!
Should Babar be Burned?
Source: Wikimedia Commons
In 1995, Herbert Kohl published a series of essays that encourages people to rethink the cartoons and books we allow our children to watch and read. Kohl argues that some of the material that children watch and read highlight racism and sexism; two phenomena that we all detest!
On Thursday, February 28th, 9th grade social studies students were encouraged to revisit a cartoon character that many of us enjoyed in our youth, Babar. Students were pushed to watch the first Babar cartoon and to analyze the message that Jean de Brunhoff, the author of Babar, conveys to the audience. Below you will read some of the students’ analysis, and how they found the story of Babar to be eerily similar to arrival of Europeans in Africa during 18th and 19th century imperialism.
“Maybe we are watching this to see how people in Africa live peacefully before European arrived. There was organization and civilization, but the Europeans just came and messed it up.”-Clara
“The poacher could be the Europeans that wanted to take over African land (which would be Babar and his companions). So overall, you could say that was the way imperialism worked.”-Axel
“This shows that before the Europeans came people were happy and organized, but when they came everyone was divided.”-Soraya
“It is similar to how the ‘more developed’ countries came in and forcefully killed people to get the country’s resources.”-Mohamadou
“This Babar episode helps us visualize in a kid-friendly way what happened during imperialism. Like in imperialism, humans came into the elephants home without asking for their permission to get ivory (exploiting resources) like when Europeans and Americans created wars in Africa. In Babar, the poacher invades a peaceful, happy environment and makes it dangerous, leaving the elephants with fear.”-Mima
9th grade students will continue to study imperialism and colonialism in Africa for the rest of the month of March and will eventually decide if they agree with Kohl and if Babar should be burned.
A Collective Reflection on the annual 11th Grade Internship Experience
by Aiche Danioko
During the week from January 28th to February 1st, AISB was free of 11th graders, as we left to go to our respective internship sites for the yearly internship week. We were able to spend a week in professional settings and explore our interest in potential careers. We were all over the city, shadowing professionals and learning from them; from learning about the facets of healthcare at the “Clinique Pasteur”, the “Groupement Dentaire” and the Golden Life hospital, to exploring the workings of an NGO at the Spanish Red Cross and the “Association pour le développement durable”, broadening our knowledge in finance at the European Union and discovering that bankers can be pretty good dancers at Ecobank. Among many others experiences, we were able to witness surgeries and professional workshops, interview and write articles, try 3D-printer programming, travel out of the capital, computer programming and coding, help organize campaigns and live many other eye-opening experiences that changed our perspective on the world.
This internship experience was a great way to confirm or question our potential career choice and realize that the path in question may not be the best for us. While Dhruv and Claudia learned that desk jobs were not for them, Arnaud, Abdoulaye and Sayon reaffirmed their desire to pursue careers in finance, engineering and agronomy. Unlike Gabriel, Malek confirmed his desire to work in medicine by trying his hand at engineering at “Sitan Informatique”. Khadija, Marie, Binyam and I were able to confirm that improving people’s lives through healthcare and development was our vocation, while Dana learned that there was more to dentistry than she’d thought.
All in all, during that week we were able to build memories and relationships with our mentors, develop skills in new areas and meet people from many walks of life and learn about new perspectives all the while having fun!
HS ToK/Project Class: Targeting Critical and Creative Thinking
AISB’s high school curriculum includes a strand that explicitly targets students’ development of creative and critical thinking skills. In high school, these two essential areas of student development are explicitly targeted in the ToK/Project courses.
ToK, or epistemology, is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge. AISB’s ToK I: Cognitive Neuroscience and the Adolescent Brain, offered first semester to students in grades 10 through 12, helps students how thinking and creativity happen. The Project Class, currently underway, invites students to bring together their creative and critical thinking in an exploration of essential questions and the creation of an original project.
Components of the Project The Project has four essential components:
Extensive, self-directed independent research, that calls upon students to investigate an essential question of their choice within a particular field of knowledge
The creation of a ‘Product’ that reflects students’ learning and ideas with respect to the essential question
An extended Reflection, in which students explore their essential questions and the meaning of their projects, and
A public gallery presentation of their products.
These components are designed to work together to challenge the scope of students’ intellect and imagination.
The research component of the Project is designed to offer students an authentic project experience, honing their skill in framing (and limiting) authentic research questions, developing and revising a research plan, evaluating the worth and credibility of sources, and synthesizing new knowledge from primary sources.
Composing and defending an extended essay is a time-honored means of building students’ intellectual confidence and their sense of belonging in world of the academic and intellectual discourse. Reflections are expected to be formal in tone and execution, but always reflect our students’ individual voices and perspectives.
The ‘product’ is often the driving force behind the whole experience. Students begin the entire process by completing the sentence “I want to…” — and the range of students’ responses is as inspiring as it is delightful.
AISB’s Mission, Vision and Beliefs are deeply embedded in many of these projects, and in the idea of the Project course itself; and the Project is an excellent opportunity for students that provides them with time, space, resources and mentor support in pursuing their ambitions and realizing their dreams. It is also an authentic test of their abilities as critical, creative thinkers.
Individual Challenge Each student faces a different set of personal challenges in defining, planning and completing the Project. For some the very initial stages – choosing an area of interest and imagining a ‘product’ – are the toughest part. The Project stipulates that students should work in an area of interest sufficient to occupy their intellects and imaginations for an entire semester. Some students know exactly what they want to do, from the outset; others, faced with a world of choice, feel daunted. For these students, building the confidence they need to recognize and articulate their ambitions is perhaps the most important part of the Project.
And in a more general practical sense, the Project requires that students design and manage a large project strategically and effectively. It’s a major undertaking, to say the least, and students approach the Project with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. The Project demands a lot of students – along with intellectual independence and rigor, successfully completing a project on such a large scale requires effective problem-solving, planning, organizational and interpersonal skills, along with genuine creativity and a significant amount of courage. More than this, it requires students to know themselves as thinkers, learners, and responsible members of a global community.
This Year’s Projects Our students’ products vary enormously, as much as our students do; and taken together they offer an impressive testament to the range and depth of our students’ ambitions. This year’s products are listed below. They represent an impressive range of ideas and interests and offer an excellent glimpse into the minds and the dreams of AISB students.
These projects will be shared with the community at the end of the year, and you will be cordially invited, as members of the AISB community, to view and discuss them.
Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to ask Project students about their work! They’ll be happy to share their work in progress.
This year’s projects, currently in progress, can be reviewed here.
BYOD - Which type of laptop should I get?
AISB is a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) school for students in Grades 6 to 12. This means that families provide a laptop for their secondary-aged children to bring to school every day. The advantage of a BYOD program is that when students use a device that they are completely familiar with and control, they become “masters” of it: they can set it up exactly the way they like, and are more likely to experiment productively in how they use it for learning. In other words, with BYOD students have more opportunities for choice about how, when and where learning can happen. When choosing a laptop for your child, please follow these broad guidelines:
Each student in Grades 6 - 12 should be provided with a personal laptop
The laptop should be no more than three years old
Chromebooks, netbooks, tablets or smartphones are not suitable alternatives
Either Apple macOS or Microsoft Windows are the preferred operating systems
The minimum technical specifications for new devices are:
Intel i5 / 1.6GHz processor (or AMD equivalent)
8Gb of RAM (4GB is suitable, but can sometimes create problems)
100Gb of available storage
Camera and microphone
Battery with at least 5 - 6 hours life
Windows 10 or macOS (High Sierra or Mojave); English version is preferred
A productivity suite (Microsoft Office is preferred)
Internet security software (eg Kaspersky, Bit Defender, F-Secure)
Other accessories to consider:
Portable hard disk drive, for backing up and archiving files
Sturdy case for transporting the laptop to school, and between classes
Extra power adapter
A way to personalise the laptop and make it easier to identify; for example, protective skins, keyboard covers, decals.
A downloadable summary is here, with a more detailed explanation of our recommendations here.
Some examples of laptops that meet our minimum requirements are shown below; this is not an endorsement for any particular model. The prices listed were taken from Connection (www.connection.com) on March 5, 2019. It is worth considering devices that exceed our minimum requirements, as they are more likely to be able to keep up with changing demands of operating systems and software for a longer period of time.
On Saturday, March 23th, 2019 from 9:00 - 14:00 (the time is tentative depending on the number of students participating and will be confirmed on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019) AISB is hosting their second Z5 -- 5 on 5-- soccer tournament.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a Z5 or a 5 on 5 soccer tournament is, here are the details:
Z5 was a soccer tournament created by former French football superstar Zinedine Zidane. It is the same rules as normal soccer except you play 5 against 5. There is a goalie on each team.
This tournament will have two divisions. The teams will be organized by Mr. Ba to ensure that they are even.
This is a charity tournament. The goal is to raise money to help homeless people. Therefore, we are asking each participant to pay a fee of 10,000 fcfa. Each participant will be provided with oranges and a souvenir t-shirt. All remaining proceeds from the tournament will go to help homeless people. At the end of the tournament, the winners will be awarded a prize, but even those who don’t win the competition will be winners because they are helping their community, and someone who helps their community is automatically a winner.
This tournament is only open to students grades 5-12 who currently attend AISB. The deadline to sign up is on Friday, March 15th.
Your child received the sign up form for this tournament on Wednesday, March 6th. If your child did not get the form and you’d like for them to participate, please contact Kelly Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org.