Monday, October 2, 2017

Grade 3 Talking Service Learning!

Grade 3 has started off the year of service learning early this year!  Part of their work has been focused studying the initiatives of other children who have become change makers (see Campbell's story and Milo's story) and recognizing that each of us has a "role to play" in making the world a better place. 

But what is also important is an understanding of service learning and the multi-directional relationship between service and learning. How do we define service learning? What can we learn from serving others?  How can we serve while learning?  What might that look like?  Those are questions that grade 3 students are currently answering as they build their skills in communication, presenting, collaboration!

The pictures above are indicative of the learning experiences that students are involved in as they gain a deeper understanding on what service learning is, how it is structured and the many forms of learning that take place through service.  Then, as they relate that to our examples of young change makers (above), we allow them to generate a much more solid understanding of the change that one can make in his/her community.

All great things with our young learners!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

HS Students Start Their 2017-18 Engines

It's the Saturday of the first full week of school. Do you know where your children are? We do!  They are busy developing their leadership skills either as facilitators of learning or as participants in learning. 

Last weekend brought with it the enthusiasm and energy of over 100 HS student leaders who took part in the 2017 Student Leadership Retreat. This year's theme - Collaboration and Cohesion - focused on uniting HS student leaders in ASDs 34 service, academic and leadership organizations to share pertinent information, best practices and generate plans for the year ahead. For those in pilot organizations it also provided planning time to work on developing their mission statements, their constitutions as well as structure their organizations. 

The day itself included some inspiration from Mr. Ataya, CEO of BAYT.COM (and ASD parent) and our new HS Associate Principal, Kevin Brawn before the requisite "nuts and bolts" by Mr. Myers. Students then participated in sessions related to their organization as well as hugely popular job-alike sessions before being given time to plan and collaborate with the support of their advisors. 

All in all a great start to a year of contribution focused largely on collaboration between organizations and cohesion as a community!  A big thank you goes out to the organizing committee (comprised of member of the SGA, GIN and NHS)!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Scout Uniform Sales Set the Tone

They say the best way to do your part for the planet is to "reduce" what you use. Certainly with an item such as a school uniform - where its use is limited to this time and space - it makes perfect sense to expand its use and keep it out of the landfill. 

The Scouts do a wonderful job with collecting uniforms from those who have left the school or have outgrown their old clothing. For several years they have been integral in running the used uniform sale, and you would have seen them already at work at the first day of school!  Anecdotal accounts would suggest that hundreds of uniforms get reused in this manner. What a great way to "set the tone" for a great, more sustainably minded, year at ASD!  

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Welcome to a New Year of Contribution!

A very warm welcome to the ASD Community from the Office of Service Learning!  As the year quickly starts up, we are eager to continue our work from the previous years in offering authentic learning opportunities to both student and adult member of our community!  From our perspective it's important to share our goals for the year and to invite you all to the table of service learning, sustainability, global citizenship building and making the world a better place!  

Service Learning Priorities 2017-18

  • Expand partnerships (NESA, Dubai-based)
  • Increase authentic student learning experiences (experiential ed., field trips, etc.) 
  • Support MS Week Without Walls through sustainability & service learning focus
  • Engage in ASD strategic planning
  • Develop sustainability-related action plans (data, best practices, etc.) 
  • Create Professional Learning Communities to support teaching & learning
  • Collaborate with KHDA to streamline student organization events & activities
  • Expand collaboration with parent organizations

Sustainable Garden Priorities 2017-18
  • Increase signage in the gardens
  • Develop garden school tour program
  • Increase awareness of garden-related programs
  • Increase use of garden spaces by all community members
  • Increase composting system 
  • Generate mechanism for data collection of composting
  • Establish a new ES mud kitchen
  • Introduce a new garden for Global Issues in Action (grade 9)
  • Expand use of MS, Grade 2 and Maze gardens.

The items listed above, of course, are in addition to the already-established programs and learning opportunities we offer at ASD. We invite you to become involved, to share your thoughts, to give us your ideas, to be part of contributing to a rapidly changing world!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Appreciation, Grade 4 Style!

It was perhaps a heavily guarded secret but for those fortunate enough to visit Ms. Wilkgen's grade 4 classroom as a visitor on any given Thursday during the year were greeted by a surprise cupcake!  How fun!  And for those "in the know" it was no surprise that, when talking later in the year about how best to show appreciation for the workers on our campus, they wanted to make cupcakes for them.  The idea built up steam quickly. 

For those who are aware of the service learning cycle investigation is what starts it off. The assumption that cupcakes would make a good culinary gift were slightly challenged when Ms. Carden was brought into the conversation. Given the varied cultural backgrounds of our workers, it was determined that the best approach was to interview some of them directly. What ensured was a deeper engagement based on inquiry. 

When it was all said and done the students had collected information from the Facilities Office and from some of the workers themselves. Then, guided by Ms. Carden (in the kitchen), Ms. Wiltgen and Ms. Zara, they did pretty much everything - from identifying an appropriate time and date, to finding Bangla music to share during the event, to decorating the tables in the ES cafeteria, to identifying the menu, preparing the food and serving those who so often selflessly support our collective learning!  The final result was near perfect!  

Students sitting and sharing conversation and great food with people they often don't have the opportunity to really get to know so much. The final touch was a rendition of We are the World due largely to one student's passion for Micheal Jackson. Even when it was over the details were thought of... nearly everything left over (which wasn't much) was composted or recycled!  

This was not a planned event. It was a spontaneous thought which caught on, supported by great educators, to allow our students to follow their dreams. What wonderful student-initiated learning and community engagement to finish off a year of contribution at ASD! 

And how does this impact student "critical consciousness"?  Well, below is the reflection of one student; one of many thoughtful reflections shared with us following the event. 

"This is what I learned:
During the project on making the workers food for a day it was a great experience for me because I had to live in their shoes. I realized that it is very difficult job to do what the ASD staff and janitors do. For example, we had 20 people cleaning after 50 people but for the workers one or two people have to clean after 120 people.
Now I have a huge amount of respect for all of the workers and when I was walking in the hallway one worker said "Hi Samir."  That really shocked me and I was so happy he new my name and I knew his. In another example of learning, we did math problems.
For example, when we had to know how many plates and how many samosas per plate. That shows that we had to do multiplication and devision problems.
Thank you Mr. Myers for helping us plan.
Thank you Miss.Black for also helping is plan and believing in us.
Thank you Miss.Carden for helping us cook and for bringing the fruits and vegetables.
Thank you Miss. Zara for helping us organize the whole thing and doing the posters and the snow flakes.
Thank you Miss. Wiltgen for making this possible.

                                          Samir 4WL. "

Monday, June 5, 2017

New Grade 2 Garden Tables, Courtesy of PTSA!

A while back the grade 2 students celebrated a change they initiaties in the second floor garden space. It was after their request to Mr. Advento that they were granted a new spigot. Well, they're back!  After their early success, they children opted to make the space even more suitable for use by all. After some further in-depth conversations with Ms. de Leon and Ms. Carden the students decided on a set of new tables (with umbrellas) to be set up in the same space. That will allow students a chance to benefit from share and workspace as they interact with their growing plants. It also creates a new space for respite for the rest of the community!

In a small opening ceremony today the children shared their story while developing their skills in being good hosts, speakers and collaborators. They also had a chance to write an article (shared as photos above for full effect) to share on this blog!  All in a day's work for these action planners!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Demonstration of Service Learning at the ES

Earlier this month elementary school teachers (and some students) were called upon to "share out" their work with regard to service learning. It was a chance for educators in all elementary school grades to celebrate their membership in our community of learners!  The share out included a short overview of the curricular connections of service learning experiences at each grade level (highlighted in the pictures above) as well as short presentations by the service learning team leads. The highlight - as one might suspect - was the presentation for grade one which was done by a small and enthusiastic group of first graders!  In service learning it is important to demonstrate the process and the learning and this was an opportunity to do just that through providing evidence of learning, curriculuar connections, learning experiences and and skills learned and developed over the course of the year. All great things to celebrate!