After more than a year of preparation, AISB will host MSA’s Visiting Team on campus from October 8 to 11. The Team is made up of volunteers who are heads of school and administrators from sister schools in the region. They will meet with members of the AISB community and see the school in action in order to affirm our Self-Study, determine the degree to which AISB meets MSA’s twelve Standards, and make a recommendation regarding the school’s re-accreditation.
The Team will host meetings with all stakeholder groups, including students, parents, trustees, faculty and staff, and the committees for the twelve Standards. Once the schedule for the visit is finalized we will let members of the parent community know when they can meet the Visiting Team to share their understanding of the self-study process and the Objectives and Action Plans, and their experience as members of the school community.
We look forward to the Team’s insights and the rigorous-- but rewarding-- process of sharing our own analysis of AISB, its strengths, areas for growth, and direction forward.
How do we contact you in the event of an emergency? I sent out the final version of the school’s phone directory containing contact information for parents and staff. Thank you to those of you who took the time to review and update the information we have on file for you at the school. We will use this updated information to re-test our SMS Emergency Blast System this week and to make sure our emergency phone trees and email lists are current. If at any time your contact information changes throughout the year, it is essential that you let us know so we can update our systems to be able to contact you in the event of an emergency.
Professional Development AISB’s Values and Beliefs, a document that was reviewed and reaffirmed by groups of parents, teachers and students in during the Strategic Planning process of 2016, affirms our belief that “learning and growth are life-long projects, and that good education prepares students to become life-long learners. Similarly, we believe that great institutions grow and improve continually.” Our teachers embody this commitment to growth and improvement through their ongoing professional development, as demonstrated by their participation in professional conferences and workshops, courses and graduate programs. Indeed, the majority of AISB teachers hold graduate degrees. Our faculty also participate in ongoing collaborative professional development, which includes their work together each Thursday on early dismissal days and during full day PD sessions. During the most recent, held on September 24, teachers worked together to review and improve our assessment of student work and our curriculum, and to prepare for the upcoming accreditation visit. Here’s a shot of the math curriculum team hard at work.
The End of the First Quarter We have been gathering steam since the start of year and things have begun to move quickly! We are in the midst of MAP testing and the end of the first quarter is fast approaching. Below are some important upcoming events and dates that will take place between now and the Winter Break. You can find more details about some of these events in this newsletter and we will be in touch with more details by email for others, so please do read this newsletter closely and be on the lookout for any notices coming by email.
See you at school,
Calendar of upcoming events
MSA Accreditation Team Visit: October 8-11 Last day of Quarter 1 After School Activities: Friday, October 12th Spirit Week: October 15-19 General Meeting of the AISB Association (updates on the financial state of the school and accreditation): Tuesday, October 16th Last day of Quarter 1: Friday, October 19th Fall Break: October 20-28 Quarter 1 report cards go home: Thursday, November 1st Parent-Teacher Conferences: Friday, November 2nd PTO Halloween Carnival: Saturday, November 3rd Thanksgiving/Maouloud Holidays: November 19-20 (no school) Prophet’s Baptism: Monday, November 26th (no school) Winter Show: Wednesday, December 5th Winter Break: December 15-January 6
Board Presentation to Association Members on the financial state of the school
October 16th 6:30pm-7:30pm in the Library Please come join us at the meeting to hear the financial report and to get an update on the accreditation visit that will take place Oct. 8-11.
The PTO Halloween Carnival
In order to keep this a secure event, you will need to purchase entrance tickets in advance. You can buy tickets from Ms Oumou, in the school office, or by sending an email to PTO@aisbmali.org and send the money with your child. A ticket costs 5000 CFA per person; this gives you your entrance ticket and 3 food/drink tickets.
Please remember that you will need to provide the following information to register and receive tickets:
The name of each school associated family member who will attend. This includes parents and AISB students. Parents should bring their school ID badges on the day.
The full name of each guest you will bring. Remind your guests to bring their photo ID on the day.
You can order tickets, or get them directly from Ms Oumou, until Tuesday, October 30. Guests are welcome, but you must register all guests in advance, and they will need to bring their ID to the Halloween Carnival.
Please remember: No guests will be admitted without picture ID.
CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS! We are also looking for volunteers to help with the decorating, hosting a stop on the Trick or Treat route, selling tickets, baking a cake for the Cake Walk and doing clean-up after the event. If you want to help out, you can volunteer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving your name and contact information with Ms Oumou.
After-school Library “All-In”
The library has been abuzz with activity during the last few weeks. Students are meeting, discussing, problem solving and getting extra help with their classwork and homework. The After School Learning Support Program runs every day Monday thru Wednesday and Fridays in the library. Students receive help in or just find a quiet place to work on any subject. Ms. Mbaye is available for math, Mr. Barry and Mr. Sinkpon offer French and Ms. Soumah and other teachers are available for general help. Middle and high school students are welcome to stay on a regular schedule or to drop in as needed. Elementary students may attend on invitation.
We are about to enter the busiest part of the college application process. Many of our seniors have done hours of work getting themselves ready to face the challenges ahead. In order to make sure that you and your child are on the same page, you may want to have a discussion with them about their college application progress. Here are some guiding questions:
What can I do to help you prepare for the SAT?
Have you registered to take the TOEFL exam? If not, how can I help you accomplish this?
Are you comfortable with the list of colleges that you will be applying to? Have you identified a range of different schools to that are a good fit for you personally?
Have you asked your teachers for letters of recommendation?
What is your progress on your personal statement?
Are you having any difficulty in filling out your college applications? What can I do to help you along in the process?
Remember, the SAT test is on campus Saturday, October 6th. You must be on campus at 7:30am and you can expect the test to last until approximately 1:30pm. Make sure you have an approved calculator, two number 2 pencils, a piece of photo identification and your admission ticket.
Our juniors will be taking the PSAT on October 10th during the school day. They will need to have a number 2 pencil and a calculator for the test. This test gives insight on the student’s progression towards the SAT, and areas that they should be focusing their study efforts on over the next year. It will soon be the time for juniors to set up a meeting with me to discuss how they can start getting prepared for their college applications!
Thank you and as always, please contact Mr. Knazek (email@example.com) if you have any questions.
AISB Spirit Week: October 15-19
This year, AISB’s Spirit Week is being organized by the 10th graders. Show your school spirit by participating each day. Below you can find a short description describing each day.
Monday: wear your pajamas to school Tuesday: dress like a friend or two or three and be twins, triplets, quadruplets Wednesday: wear blue or white to school Thursday: dress in a formal outfit Friday: wear traditional clothes from your culture
Don’t worry; there will be more information coming from the 10th graders about Spirit Week. You’ll receive an email in both French and English to remind you and there will be posters up around the school. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kelly Owens, the grade 10 advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AISB Child Protection: Keeping Kids Safe
Keeping children safe is every school’s first responsibility. A school’s responsibility begins with providing a safe environment for learning at school, and extends to protecting children from harm at home and in the world beyond.
To this end, AISB has policies and practices that support us in maintaining a culture of Child Protection. Our approach is based on the powerful framework developed by the Association of International Schools in Africa. The AISA approach embraces three broad strategies:
Build and maintain a school culture of protection, through
Teaching child empowerment, respect and humane regard
Educating and empowering students to protect themselves from harm
Hiring and screening staff appropriately
Ensuring staff understand and comply with policy and procedures related to Child Protection
Build Child Protection into school policy (see AISB’s Child Protection Policy statement, below)
Establish effective procedures for handling, reporting and responding to signs and disclosures of possible abuse.
AISB faculty and staff engage in regular trainings, workshops and formal discussion on Child Protection and its implications for the classrooms and culture of the school. AISA’s Child Protection Curriculum is designed to teach students how to protect themselves from harm, and is implemented in an expanded form in AISB’s Child Protection Curriculum, at all levels.
In addition to the planned learning experiences, we help students learn to protect themselves through teaching the importance of self-worth, safety awareness, efficacy and empowerment, in children’s everyday experiences of the classroom, through school routines and norms, and in their relationships with adults at school. The AISB Board of Trustees has formalized the school’s measures for child protection in the policies that govern the school. Parents should be aware of AISB’s Child Protection Policy and its implications.
AISB Child Protection Policy Child abuse and neglect are violations of a child’s basic human rights and as such present obstacles to the child’s education as well as to their physical, emotional, and intellectual development. Schools fill an institutional role in society as protectors of children.
Educators, having the opportunity to observe and interact with children over time, are in a unique position to identify children who are in need of help and protection. As such, educators have a professional and ethical obligation to identify child abuse and neglect and to take steps to ensure that the child and family avail themselves of the services needed to remedy the situation.
All staff employed at the American International School of Bamako must report to the Director all suspected incidences of child abuse or neglect whenever the staff member has reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered, or is at significant risk of suffering, abuse or neglect. Reporting and follow up of all suspected incidences of child abuse or neglect will proceed in accordance with the procedures outlined in the AISB Counseling Crises Manual. Furthermore, cases of suspected child abuse or neglect may be reported to the appropriate employer, to the respective embassy in Bamako, to the appropriate child protection agency in the home country, and/or to local authorities.
This policy will be distributed to all staff annually and be included in the application packets to families. Training, guided by the contents of the Counseling Crises Manual, will be provided on an annual basis to ensure the AISB staff is informed and educated about child protection issues, indicators of abuse or neglect, and how to respond to disclosure of abuse or neglect. Every effort will be made to implement hiring practices to insure the safety of children. In the case of a staff member reported as an alleged offender, the Director will conduct a full investigation, keeping the safety of the child as the highest priority. (Approved: May 2014)
Based on Child Protection Policies from Lincoln Community School, Accra, Ghana and the American School of Bombay, Mumbai, India.
Project-Based Learning at AISB
Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a dynamic, student centered learning experience that incorporates cross-curricular content, concepts and standards in an inquiry based setting.
AISB’s curriculum includes a project-based learning strand that allows students to engage positively with challenging, real-life problems, and build powerful, 21st century toolkits in the process.
What is PBL? The overriding aim of PBL is for students to learn, and apply their learning, in authentic and real-world ways. In education contexts, a “project” is a multi-faceted, complex problem that needs to be solved, using skills and understandings student have developed in the classroom. Projects, which are commonly focused around an essential question, typically involve research and experimentation and wide range of practical and problem-solving skills, along with skills in communication, reflection and collaboration. Projects are seldom confined to single discipline, but instead require students to apply their knowledge across several disciplines.
PBL typically culminates in a product --that is, something students have made or done -- for exhibition, that demonstrates students’ understanding of the real-world and the complex problem or issue they have investigated, together with the skills, knowledge and self-awareness they have acquired in the process. Products may range from objects or machines to research papers, artistic performances, designs, games, literary works, or events -- the possibilities are nearly endless.
Mastering key skills and habits of mind Project-based learning experiences empower students in several ways. While supporting students in building practical skills , these projects help students recognize that we build knowledge and skills by tackling, not avoiding, complex problems. Because projects are complex and multifaceted, they also lend themselves to differentiation, allowing students to exercise and build upon their own unique talents and interests.
Projects may take weeks or months to bring to fruition; they may require students to learn unexpected things, to struggle, experiment, and fail many times before they succeed. And success may not look like what they anticipated. These are valuable learning experiences that teach students persistence and determination, flexibility and imagination.
Becoming participants in a democratic, global society. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, projects of this sort help students see themselves as active, effective participants in society, whose work work can have real impact in the world.
PBL at AISB AISB students at every level participate in cross-curricular and problem based projects throughout the year. We also offer project-focused courses in grades 6, 7, 8, 10, and 12. More information about the PBL program, including course descriptions and grade level benchmarks may be found here.
Learning and Homework
Watching our children seated quietly at the kitchen table in the evening with a book and a pencil, doing their homework-- thinking, writing, being responsible, and then announcing with satisfaction, “There! Done!” -- is surely one of the great joys of parenthood. And helping our children with their homework can be a great way to find out more about what’s going on in school.
At AISB we value the home-school connection, and encourage all parents to become involved in their child’s learning. And we also value every child’s individuality, and our diversity as a community. For this reason, AISB takes a considered approach to homework assignments -- which we think are better understood as “home learning”. Because every child’s learning journey is different, and every family is different, too.
Homework involves the whole family Families have different approaches to homework and different beliefs about the role and importance of homework in the family’s daily life. For some families, working together in the evenings is an important and long-established family tradition. For other families, evening is when the family enjoys other kinds of learning and family time. Some see homework as a way for their child to learn responsibility while others see it as interfering with their child’s learning of other important things.
But homework can be a stressor, too. Instead of a bonding experience, homework can become the dreaded (and for some of us, all too familiar) late-night “tears at the table,” when everybody’s too tired, voices are raised, and the only thing learned is that school can be a source of frustration for the whole family. Some days children don’t want to “do work” after school, and many parents--especially by the time students reach middle school-- get tired of reminding their kids to “just get it done.” Or sometimes children can place a mistakenly high value on homework, becoming anxious about “getting it all right” -- which can be hard to do when the teacher’s not there to clarify things. A child like this might struggle for an hour or more on an assignment intended to take ten minutes. This can lead to added pressure for students and parents, that can ultimately interfere with some children’s willingness to learn.
Some children love the routine and sense of accomplishment they get from practicing their learning at home. Other children have worked and played hard all day; they did their learning during class, and are too tired to write a paragraph after dinner. Your child may be any of these -- or several of them, depending on the day.
All of this suggests strongly that a one-size-fits-all approach to homework will not be effective in a school that values the individual child.
But isn’t homework good for students? Actually, the research is quite clear: statistically, “homework for homework’s sake” has little or no benefit on student learning at the Elementary school level. The benefits to Elementary-aged children of traditional homework --worksheets, endless practice problems, and so on -- are questionable, traditionally having more to do with providing structure for children who need it, and encouraging all young students to “get used to the idea” that they should be doing school work outside of school time.
There is some indication in the research that added practice benefits student learning, in some areas -- but nothing to suggest that this practice needs to happen at home, rather than at school.
Every learner -- every child-- is different. At AISB we recognize that every child is different. In fact, some Elementary students love their homework (we suspect these are the ones who will grow up to be teachers!), and they benefit from it. Most children will benefit from homework occasionally, especially if that homework is designed to target their individual and specific learning needs. Teachers seek appropriate homelearning/homework practices for each class and each child individually. AISB places a limit of no more than 10 minutes per grade level: that means that, if your child is in grade four, after 40 minutes of work on homework assignments, it’s time to stop with homework and do something else!
Learning is for life, and balanced school-learning and home-learning is important to a learner’s development. At AISB we want students to love learning, and to enjoy practicing what they have learned and sharing their learning with their parents and families. We also want students to understand that learning doesn’t stop when school stops; and we recognize that there is more to learn in life than the things we teach in school.
For this reason, we take an individualized approach to homework for our students in Elementary. We plan learning to ensure that, most of the time, your child does the learning and gets the regular practice she or he needs during school time. Where it seems that practice outside school will benefit a child, we assign it.
Good Homework = Worthwhile “Home Learning” We don’t eschew regular homework entirely, though: indeed, home learning is part of learning throughout Elementary. In particular, reading at home can be a big contributor to young children’s developing literacy, and Elementary teachers encourage students and families to make reading a regular and enjoyable part of their evening routine.
Depending on grade level, your child may quite frequently have “home assignments” that are learning of a sort that is best done at home. These kinds of assignments invite students to apply and practice skills they have learned in real-life ways, and to extend their learning meaningfully. Interviewing a grandparent, reading to a younger sibling, investigating garden plants, reading a good book, writing in a journal, playing math games -- these are examples of the kind of meaningful and appropriate home-learning work that will benefit most children’s growth.
And you can help, too. Invite your child to make the shopping list, read to a younger sibling, or explain the weather to you. As her to research a healthier diet for the family pet, or figure out the best route to a friend’s house. Ask him to make a vacation plan, calculate the cost of lunch at a restaurant, write a letter to Auntie to plan a visit -- these are opportunities for children to apply, practice and extend their learning real ways, and recognize concretely that their learning is useful (otherwise, why do it?). And it lets your child know that you also appreciate the real contribution his or her learning makes to the family.
Homework that does not benefit learning does not benefit your child. At AISB Elementary, we do not give students assignments that demand that they master new material outside of school time, and we do not, as a rule, assign “busy work” -- that is, unnecessary practice or assignments-- unless we have reason to believe that a child will benefit from and enjoy it. Unnecessary practice, pointless repetition and “make-work” activities can have the unintended effect of encouraging students to focus less during school time, since they know they will have to spend time doing the same thing after school anyway.
Homework, where it is assigned, should be engaging and worthwhile without requiring students to struggle alone, or requiring parents to become tutors. We work to ensure that the homework assignments we give are, to quote respected researcher Cathy Vatterott, “purposeful, efficient, personalized, doable, and inviting.”
Vatterott also stresses the importance of communication between students, parents and teachers about homework. We try to work with each child’s particular learning needs, as we try to leave time for families of young children to be together, without the added pressure of “but I have to do my homework.” And we encourage all our families to be in touch with us whenever they have information that can help us help their children’s learning. We recognize that however highly we value home learning, there will be days when a child just doesn’t have time or energy left at the end of the day. And that’s okay!
Homework in Secondary Research on the impact of homework on learning for students at the secondary level is not as conclusive as it is for elementary students. There is evidence that added learning time, including homework, has leaning benefits for many students; although the relationship between deep learning and “time on task” is unclear.
Developing “self-regulation” What is clear, though, is that for older students, practicing self-regulation --that is, making informed decisions about how, when and what they learn -- is a key to academic success. For many students, it is sometimes better to think and write at home where, ideally, they have more control over their working environment. Some kinds of thinking are better done away from the crowd. Indeed, deciding to take some of their schoolwork home is one of the ways that students begin to practice independence. Recognizing when he needs more practice, or when it will be more efficient to finish an assignment later, when she’s not tired/hungry/distracted, or has simply had had more time to think it over, is a sign of maturity and increasing independence in a student. Learning how to focus productively and manage their time outside school, and when to say “enough’s enough” is also essential for students’ long-term well-being and academic success.
It’s “home learning” -- not homework. Even better: when students want to work longer -- take more time, go deeper, explore further, polish, revisit -- and in any way take ownership of their learning, this is a sign that they are finding their individual strengths and interests, and embracing the most important attitudes of the life-long learner. Carefully designed “home work” can facilitate this kind of growth. For many educators, the term “home learning” does a better job of guiding students’ efforts than does “homework.”
Nonetheless, there is plenty of evidence to show that, far from teaching responsibility and good learning habits, for many Secondary students homework is a major cause of anxiety and de-motivation toward school and --worse-- toward learning generally.
For this reason, the kind of work students are doing at home matters a lot. Writing poetry, or reading a challenging piece of text that has him fascinated, listening to a symphony, or working on a science fair project that she designed herself, wrestling with a math problem that he just can’t let go --- are activities that have quite a different impact than, say, completing a fill-in-the-blank worksheet. In general, the work that students are doing at home should have been begun at school, so that their home-learning time can be rewarding and productive.
Some basic principles we keep in mind are that:
Homework should be do-able by students working independently. If a student is unable to complete his or her assignments or homework without additional support from an adult, the student or their parents should inform the teacher, who will arrange for extra support at school. Indeed, we offer such support each day through our after school program, in the library.
Homework should not have a negative impact on other aspects of the student’s life. If parents feel that homework is causing anxiety for their child or interfering with his or her ability to maintain a well-balanced life (including family time, pleasure reading, physical activity, time with friends and so on) parents should let us know.
Homework should be personalized as much as possible. Each student’s needs for practice and independent working time are different.
Banned Books Week is an annual event sponsored jointly by the American Library Association and Amnesty International, in addition to some other institutuons. The aim of Banned Books Week is to draw attention to and encourage respect for intellectual freedom the which seeks to promote freedom of speech and expression, among others.
Founded in 1982, Banned Books Week seeks to highlight ways in which the right to freedom of speech and expression has been infringed upon by "challenging" and "banning" of books from school as well as public libraries. It also seeks to celebrate the benefits of open and free access to print materials.
A "challenge" is an attempt to remove or restrict a book, while a "ban" actually results in removing the book from the shelves of public libraries.
At AISB, Banned Books Week was celebrated in AISB for the first time in 10 years. Students were horrified to learn that some of their favourite books, such as Captain Underpants, or Dr. Seuss’ “Hop on Pop”, and “Green eggs and Ham” have been challenged or banned somewhere in the world. Students and teachers showed their solidarity with the “freadom” of expression and speech by signing their names on the Banned Books Board.
Next time you drop by to pick up your child, visit the library upstairs to check out a book, or read a magazine while you wait! We’ll be glad to see you.
CBE Day: “Meeting the Diverse Challenges of an Ever-Changing World”
AISB’s mission statement states that the school will ensure that each student is able to “meet successfully the diverse challenges of an ever-changing world” -- in other words, be a contributor to positive change in the world beyond school. We recognize that AISB students need a sophisticated set of understandings about what the world needs, what change is, how change happens; and they need a powerful toolkit of skills for investigation, communication, planning, evaluation and reflection, so that they can imagine a better world and make it happen. Learning like this cannot occur without reaching beyond the classroom. AISB’s Community Based Engagement (CBE) program is one of the ways that students understand, learn and practice the skills and understandings called for by our mission. CBE Day, held at the beginning of each year, lets students engage with some of the theory, and practice with some the skills required by members of a diverse and ever-changing democratic global society. And it’s also fun. Below you’ll find some impressions of this year’s CBE day written by some of our ESOL students.
Mahamane, Grade 7
Last Friday, we had special day at school called CBE day. CBE stands for Community-based Engagement.
When we came to school, the teachers were waiting for us then we played 45 minutes of dodgeball. Mr. Ba organized the teams by grade level and I was in team 5. After dodgeball, we went to class in groups. There the teachers made us watch videos and work on the CBE standards ... read more
Lassana, Grade 8
Community Based Engagement Day was really fun and this is what we did that day. First, in the morning we played a game for 30 minutes. Then we split in our standard group and there were 5 standards and in each standard we learned something different about what we understood about them. Then, our teacher explained to us that we had to make a boat and gave us money to get the materials at the makerspace ...read more
Sayon, Grade 11
I’m going to talk about CBE day and in my opinion it was a great day! First, in the morning, we went to the MPR to play dodgeball. It was really funny because there were a lot students and everybody was playing. After that, we went into classes in which we were divided by standards and each one was following his standard group. In class, we watched videos and were talking about the organisation of a community, what should everyone should do for his or her community, how everyone should help his / her community ...read more
Delali, Grade 10
For me, it was my first CBE Day because we have never done this in Germany. We had many fun activities such as dodgeball, CBE standards, Raft, Cooking etc.. I really enjoyed making my friends’ sandwiches because I love cooking for other people and sharing. It was fun! When we took our raft and went to the swimming pool to start our competition, we won the second place! As CBE Day was completely new to me, I actually found it very interesting and definitely better than I expected. ...read more
Arnaud, Grade 11
I’m going to talk about the CBE day, what we did the whole day. In the morning we had 2 activities, Dodgeball and CBE standards. Around noon we made a raft and sandwiches for other students, and they were also making ours. Later, we went to have lunch and we went back to finish our raft and finally we did the race and swam....read more
Roukiatou, Grade 10
During CBE day, we have many activities such as dodgeball, learning more about the CBE standards, raft, cooking etc… I really enjoyed that day especially dodgeball because it was fun! Everybody was yelling, running and playing, we did this from 7:30 to 8:45. It was a great start to the day! ...read more
Abdoulaye, Grade 11
CBE day was a great experience and fun! We played DodgeBall after we split into groups and each group has to discuss about one of the CBE standards and share it with the other groups. During the raft activity we made sandwiches for our friends. We then had lunch and we went to the swimming pool to compete with other students with our raft. And finally, we finished the day with a swimming party. Even though I didn’t swim, it’s was fun! ...read more
AISB MakerSpace: Building, Learning
The MakerSpace is a space for developing students’ ethos of “making”: a high-energy learning environment for creative, hands-on experimentation, exploration and problem-solving activities, with a wide range of tools, consumables and encouragement provided.
Walking into the MakerSpace during the Tuesday afternoon FreeZone, an adult might be taken aback at first; the sheer level of sound and movement is impressive, and the room looks, on casual inspection, like barely organized chaos. But another look would reveal that it’s not noise, or chaos -- it’s students excited about learning: swapping ideas, asking questions, considering, evaluating materials, constructing, deconstructing and generally getting on with the delight of bringing their ideas to life. In the MakerSpace students design and create, experiment, tinker, and build solid practical skills for problem solving. On any given Tuesday you’ll find students alone or in small groups, deep in the process of learning: putting things together or taking them apart; working quietly with a pencil to make a plan or hotly debating the best way forward, or speculating learnedly about possibilities; hammering, sawing, unscrewing to discover what’s inside, taping and gluing, checking their measurements, hunting around for tools, whooping with triumph, building stuff. Nothing works out as expected; mostly it works out better. It’s really quite wonderful.
The MakerSpace is designed in the well-founded belief amongst educators that all students are creators, and should be encouraged to use what they know to solve problems through real-life design and building experiences. This noisy, energy-filled space is an exciting example of the same philosophy that gives rise to the AISB Project-Based learning strand. MakerSpace is not a “course” that students complete - it is an environment for project-based learning, to support student outcomes. Students in the MakerSpace are expected to work safely, make wise use of materials, and learn from their experiments. You’ll find the MakerSpace Safety Agreement for Elementary students here, and at the same link you’ll find the levelled assessment tasks that we use to help Elementary students keep track of --and celebrate-- their growing skills as makers. Teachers provide one-on-one coaching on demand to help students become confident and safe users of the space. Eye and ear protection, gloves and aprons are provided and enthusiastically embraced.
The MakerSpace is equipped with basic hand, woodworking and metalworking tools and equipment, some power tools, workbenches, crafting tools, kid-sized safety equipment and a wide range of materials for creating with. Families are invited to contact us to discuss items they may no longer require or are unserviceable, that we could use for activities in the MakerSpace. Hand tools, nails, screws, bolts glue, wire - these all come in handy as well, and we’ll happily receive donations of these items.
Got a skill, interest or passion that you would be interested in sharing with students? It might be in electronics, woodwork, construction, design, prototyping, robotics…...the list is almost endless. We would like to hear from you!
MakerSpace is not a new idea, and is found in good schools around the world. If you would like to find out more about the Maker movement and what it does, check out these links:
AISB Garden: a joint initiative of East of Eden and AISB
Take a fascinating field trip in just a few steps! Our AISB organic garden is a bountiful learning experience. Visitors can see how our left-over meals are used as compost and how natural pesticides are made from nearby trees. Most of all, the garden allows visitors to stroll through a wonderful array of vegetables and herbs destined for AISB’s lunch menu. Please treat yourself to a visit.
Staying fit at the Workout Room
20th Century WW1 Field Trip
On Tuesday, September 11th the 20th Century History class visited the Independence roundabout to see a memorial for African soldiers that lost their lives in the First World War. As a class, we discussed the inscription on the monument that was inaugurated here in Bamako in 1924.
The inscription reads “As a token of gratitude to the adopted children of France, who died in battle for freedom and civilization."
We discussed how the First World War actually denied Africans freedom and destroyed certain societies. This trip was a great re-introduction for students to see first-hand, in our beautiful city, how history is truly someone’s story (his story or her story), and how we need to be sure to understand both sides of the story.
National History Day
Each year more than half a million students from around the United States participate in National History Day. This year, students at AISB in grades 6 to 9 and 11 will be competing virtually with students from a few schools in Africa.
Students have been tasked with researching an historical topic related to the annual theme, Triumph and Tragedy. Students are being urged to study issues related to the their “country” and to enhance their literacy skills in their mother tongue. In the spring, the students will enter their work in the West Africa NHD contest where it will be judged by teachers from around the continent. In addition, their work will be displayed at AISB for all to learn from.
On September 7th 2018, 6th and 7th grade went on a field trip to Cafe d’Afrique. The purpose of the trip was for us 6th and 7th graders to learn how to use coordinates to find places. For most of us, it was a chance to explore another part of Mali. We all enjoyed the field trip.
Going to Cafe d’Afrique was very fun. Cafe d’Afrique was a very scenic place. There were a lot of trees, a nice garden, and the river just near it. It is also a very big place. It is located in Koulikoro region. There is even a swimming pool. The swimming pool there was very clean. So we did not have to worry about being sick.
The first activity was to find an object using a compass. It was hard but we were all able to use the compasses at the end. What made using the compass hard was keeping it pointing north. After some explanation we were able to use the compass.
We had a lot of fun but the main purpose was to learn, and we all learned a lot. We learned how to use a GPS. For us to learn how to use a G.P.S. Mr. Owens hid some treasures, and we had to use the G.P.S.to find them. It was hard, however we found one of three hidden treasures. We used a G.P.S. app on an iphone.
The second activity was swimming as we said it was very fun, and we all swam as a community. The swimming pool was also very clean so we enjoyed even more. We played Marco Polo in the swimming pool with Mr. Owens we all had a lot of fun except for the person who was in the middle for Marco Polo.
In conclusion, the field trip to Cafe D’afrique was a very nice trip. We learned a lot about G.P.S, and compasses. The field trip was very organized and we did not have any problems. We would really like to go there again because it was a really fun and educational field trip. We would recommend that restaurant to everyone because it is very nice and beautiful.