15 May 2019

Stick Together: Collaborative, Creative Fun

Our students in the ES Library are always ready for something new and fun - but we did not anticipate HOW much our students would love StickTogether projects!

Last week, we placed our first StickTogether poster on a board flat on a table. We organized the stickers to help students find the correct color for each letter. And that was it. No instructions were needed. A few students got started straight away in the morning before school and once the first examples were stuck down, there was a frenzy of activity. Students worked together throughout recesses and after school. Students from K2 - Grade 5 placed stickers on the grid. In 24 hours it was complete!

Here is how it works:

The StickTogether team tell us that the idea is simple: "Grab some stickers, check the color key and apply the stickers to the color key coded grid to reveal an eye-popping image. Create a shared magical moment that actively involves everyone and ignites enthusiasm and fulfillment. Perfect for any group setting!" And they are true to their word!

Watch our time lapse video to see how the image comes alive:

And, stay tuned for our next StickTogether poster...

1 May 2019

Poetry-A-Thon 2019

The goal was to read poetry all day long in the ES Library. Thanks to many, many of our wonderful students and teachers, our mission was accomplished! Seven hours of poetry reading took place in our library throughout the day on Tuesday, April 30. 

A range of original poetry and selected favorites was read by students from K2 through Grade 5. And, students of all ages joined us to listen and gives snaps to their peers. 

Highlights included the K2 Forest Friends class' presentation of color poems, 2H and Ms. Wallin's sharing of their original poem and song about treating our Earth with love and compassion, and Mr. Brown's sharing of "Characters Change."

Thank you to all who joined in the fun celebration of poetry.

24 Mar 2019

Visiting Authors Spark Inspiration

Our first week of workshops with Laura Vaccaro Seeger and William Kamkwamba were nothing short of AMAZING! Students were inspired to write, draw, design, build and inquire. 

With Laura, many students created cut-out books inspired by the books The Hidden Alphabet and First the Egg. Laura challenged our students to think differently, to think about the "empty space" and design a letter hidden within a picture. Some students drew portraits using the letters in their names just like Laura did in her book Walter Was Worried. We were all thrilled to learn more about Laura's creative process, intentional design and the meaning behind many of her beautiful picture books.

William's workshops gave students the opportunity to build side-by-side with him. Students were asked to consider a local problem in the UAE and to design a prototype to help solve the problem. Some of the students ideas included litter management, stray pet solutions, water conservation, and ocean cleaning. Of course, many students also wanted to build prototypes of windmills, just like William. Students loved asking William questions about his life in Malawi and his design process.

14 Mar 2019

Visiting Authors Celebrations Starting Next Week

Our Visiting Authors celebrations kick off next week! Students are buzzing with excitement and anticipation of meeting Laura Vaccaro Seeger and William Kamkwamba.

We are thrilled to offer several opportunities for families to enjoy together.

Books for Sale and Signing

A range of titles available from AED 30 - 70 by both Laura and William. You may also bring in your personal copies and we will have them signed for you.

Special Film Screening of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Tuesday, March 19
ASD Theater: 6pm  
Q&A to follow with William Kamkwamba
Free Admission

Family Book Making Workshop with Laura Seeger
Tuesday, March 26 
ES Library: 3:30 - 4:30pm

Our students showed their readership of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by creating an origami windmill. Each windmill on the windows of the the library represents a reader of the book. Please come by the library to add to our growing collection.

We also created a piece of art inspired by Laura's book The Hidden Alphabet. Each student wrote his or her name on the "ASD Hidden Alphabet" canvas. Come and take a look!

26 Feb 2019

Visiting Authors: Community Opportunities

Visiting Authors Book Sale and Signing

The Elementary Library will have a limited selection of books by our visiting authors available for sale from March 4-8. We have several titles available by both Laura Vaccaro Seeger and William Kamkwamba, some hardback and some paperback, ranging in price from AED 30 to AED 70. Students and parents are welcome to visit throughout the school day to purchase books.

Would you like to have your books signed by our visiting authors? When you purchase a book, we will label it with the name that you would like to include in the dedication. The books will then be delivered to your child's classroom before March 28. If you have books at home or would like to purchase them elsewhere, you may also bring these books into the ES Library to be signed.

Film Screening of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

We are thrilled to offer a screening of the newly released film adaptation of William Kamkwamba's The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Join us on Tuesday, March 19 at 6pm in the ASD Theater. A Question and Answer session will follow with William Kamkwamba himself. Families of students Grade 4 and up are encouraged to attend. Please note that the film has a US rating of PG11. Watch the official film trailer here.

Family Book Making Workshop with Laura Seeger

Join us on Tuesday, March 26 in the ES Library from 3:30pm - 4:30pm for a Family Book Making Workshop with Laura Seeger. Children will have the opportunity to create and cut-out or flap book in the style of Laura's work. It will be a fun, hands-on opportunity for families to be book makers together.

14 Feb 2019

Breakout Edu: Unlocking Learning as a Team

This week, Grade 4 students have been engrossed in problem solving using Breakout Edu. Students worked in groups to solve a series of puzzles based around our visiting author Laura Vaccaro Seeger's books. The puzzles revealed the codes needed to unlock a series of padlocks and open the breakout box. A fun surprise of origami materials was hidden inside each box.

Breakout Edu kits aim to help design learning experiences that "bring the 4 Cs alive: critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication." The student groups that were the most successful with the Breakout challenge worked together as a team, carefully read the clues, checked for understanding with their teammates and recorded their thinking as they worked through the puzzles.

Teams were jumping and cheering with joy as they solved each lock code. The excitement was tangible in the room. Many students asked, "When can we do this again?!" Some students also wanted to know how to set the locks and wondered if they could try designing their own challenges.

This is just the beginning of the powerful learning that we can experience with Breakout Edu. We can't wait to do more!

12 Feb 2019

Visiting Authors Coming Soon

We will soon welcome our Visiting Authors, William Kamkwamba and Laura Vaccarro Seeger. From March 17 - 28, William and Laura will engage our learning community with workshops and presentations.

William Kamkwamba's memoir, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a New York Times Bestseller and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, is uniquely available in three formats - a picture book, middle grade novel and adult novel. William's story has inspired many as it shows how even in the face of hardship a child's idea can change the world. We invite our ASD community to participate in a One School, One Book celebration - a shared reading experience - with The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

When fourteen-year-old William’s Malawi village was hit by a drought, food and money were scarce. Unable to attend school, William spent days in the library, researching and dreaming of bringing electricity to his village. William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps and became a hero who harnessed the wind.

After an invitation to join TEDGlobal as a fellow, William graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014 and began work at William's time at Ideo focused on Human Centered Design and sent him around the world working on projects ranging from sanitation in India to gender-based violence prevention in Kenya. He is now working with WiderNet to develop appropriate technology curriculum that will allow people to bridge the gap between "knowing" and "doing". WiderNet will distribute the content through eGranaries around Malawi and across Africa. His Moving Windmills Project uses donations to support community initiatives in Malawi.

Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a best-selling and award-winning creator of 19 children's books. Her books such as Green, First the Egg, What If? and Lemons Are Not Red are full of surprises that delight her readers. With features including flaps, cut-outs, and hidden pictures, each book is unique and interactive. 

Laura is a two-time winner of the Caldecott Honor Award, winner of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book, and a 2-time winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award. She is also the recipient of both the Massachusetts Reading Association and the New York Empire State awards for “Body of Work and Contribution to Children’s Literature”.

Laura’s paintings have been exhibited at many museums and galleries including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the Mazza Museum of Picture Book Art, the New York Public Library, and the New York Nassau County Museum of Art. Laura earned her BFA degree at the School of Fine Art and Design at the State University of New York. She began her career as an animator, artist, designer, and editor NBC and ABC and won an Emmy Award for an opening animation for an NBC Special.

Look out for more information about our Visiting Authors celebrations in the coming weeks.

27 Jan 2019

Maker Mindset in the Library

Our Elementary students have embraced the maker mindset in the library. Students visiting the library during class time or in their free time are diving in to investigations and play with a variety of materials. As a school, ASD has defined what "maker" means to us:

Maker Mindset @ ASD:

Question everything. Be curious. Think with your hands. Embrace failure.
Explore. Create. Tinker. Invent. Design. Experiment. Construct. Play. DO!

And how do we bring this mindset to life in the library? Through student choice and agency; students can drive their own learning and pursue personal interests. A variety of books, digital tools and materials are available and the students bring their own ideas and questions.

Over the first semester, we observed students elevate their creativity, work cooperatively and push their play to new heights. They are often using multiple materials in their creations such as building mazes for beebot robots, making tents to climb inside and read, designing a soccer game with Spheros and Keva planks and building a Christmas tree with dowels, rubber bands and art materials.

When classes visit the library, students choose from our "ASD Library Daily Menu." Students are able to make a choice as to which activity is right for them on that particular day.

Students practice making choices - one day may be book selection, another may be continuing a project with a friend and another it may be some independent exploration. Teachers and librarians support students in finding a balance that is best for each individual learner.

Libraries around the world are expanding learning opportunities for their patrons - both school and public libraries. As a K-12 Library team, we continue to research best practice for libraries around the world, and we continue to listen to and observe our unique community of learners. 

An article from Edutopia by Josh Weisgrau outlines some important reasons why libraries are becoming champions of the maker mindset:

  • Makerspaces and libraries are sites of informal learning.
  • Libraries and makerspaces are inherently interdisciplinary spaces.
  • Libraries and makerspaces provide equitable access to materials and resources.
  • Makerspaces and libraries are more than just resource closets.
  • Libraries and makerspaces serve the common goal of building community.