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The Importance of Learning Habits

Distance learning, hybrid models, grade level bubbles, Google meets, staggered starts and the pleasure of face to face teaching and learning.  If the past year has taught us anything, it has reinforced the importance of developing and refining strong learning habits. In many ways these are the building blocks or supports that every student needs in order to maximise their learning, regardless of the situation they find themself in. At AAS, the IB Diploma and the High School Diploma are the pinnacle of each student’s academic endeavours. To attain these levels, the IB  identifies a number of skills as fundamental for every student to practise and refine in order to be successful at school and beyond. These skills or attributes are commonly known as approaches to learning and underpin work that is started in the Middle school.  At AAS we have our own set of descriptors that we call our learning habits. These appear on every report and I would imagine for most parents and some students are only looked at fleetingly, as the grade is actively sought out. …

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Yoga Gives you Time to Work on Yourself

I was a yoga skeptic. ​​​​​​​As a cardio addict I found the thought of slowing down, breathing or lying still to be seriously boring.  Being a keen runner, I was devastated about 6 years ago, when I was experiencing back pain and found out that I had dehydrated discs in my lower back.  I went to my first yoga class immediately after my physiotherapist suggested it.  I loved the stretching, the poses, but the Savasana at the end… I couldn’t stand it! I had to just lie there, completely still? Were they crazy? My mind went into overdrive thinking of all the things I had to do. With 3 young children, I realized I never ever stopped apart from sleeping.  I seemed to be the only adult in the class who wriggled around and moved. Who couldn’t find peace. Why? What was wrong with me?  However, after only a few weeks my spine felt so much better, I felt so much better. So I persevered… Eventually I found myself lying still. Eventually I found that during a hatha class with one yoga teacher, I would occasionally switch off and silence my thoughts. …

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Winning or Learning ?

AAS recently earned LEED Gold Certification for the Rila Renaissance Centre (RRC). LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it recognizes buildings that meet high standards for being “healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings.” The RRC is the second AAS building to merit LEED Gold Certification. It is something the AAS community should be proud of as it highlights our commitment to sustainability. Though LEED Gold Certification is not an award, it feels like an award. This feeling got me thinking about awards. I haven’t gotten many awards in my life–I’m not sure what that says about me. When I was about 10 years old, my younger sister, Amie, and I spent a summer with family in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. (Nelson is a wonderful city on Lake Kootenay in the Selkirk Mountains. If it is not on your travel list, it should be.) My sister and I participated in the Nelson Summer Family Olympics. It included events like the sack-race, three-legged race, and running-across-the-field-with-an-egg-on-a-spoon race….

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Why am I so happy my children are learning here at AAS?

Why am I so happy my children are learning here at AAS? Since beginning my career in education 19 years ago, I have worked in many different schools in many different parts of the world: US public schools, charter schools, and other international schools.  During that time, I have also become a father and have watched my two sons grow and learn their way through elementary school then on into middle and high school.  Together, these experiences have caused me to re-examine and ultimately change some of my beliefs about education and its role in preparing our children for life. Why am I so happy that my children are here at AAS instead of any other school?  In short, AAS keeps the focus of learning on the most important values and traits my sons will really need to lead full, healthy, and happy lives.  …

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The Invaluable Lessons of Today

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” -John Muir Last night on my drive home from work, I had to slam on the brakes when a large creature emerged from the trees and ran across the road in front of me. At first I thought it was an odd looking cow, then I thought it might be a Warg (from Lord of the Rings). It was a wild boar. It was massive.  I saw two wild boars once before, while mountain biking in Hawaii. They were relatively small, but aggressive. They made noise and moved around like they were ready to attack me. The boar I saw last night didn’t appear to want to attack. It ran across the road more like it was late for dinner and worried that it would be in trouble for being tardy. For how big and intimidating they are, boars have tiny little legs that don’t seem very efficient. They run like they are wearing Ugg dance slippers that they don’t want to get wet. Last night, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could follow the boar to a stash of truffles; or how many barbecues a boar that size would provide. …

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What Superhero would you like to be?

I’ve never been a fan of comic books. But as a kid, my favorite tv show was the Super Friends. I looked forward to tuning in each Saturday morning to watch Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, and their super hero friends battle super villains from the Legion of Doom. I was always especially happy when Flash had a main role in an episode. (For those of you who know the series well, I was never much of a fan of Wendy, Marvin, the Wonder Twins, or Gleek.)  The Super Friends super heroes are a product of D.C. Comics. They were easy to like and root for because they never did anything wrong. They made mistakes sometimes, but they were never mean and always did what was right. They were perfect. They fought villains who were equally perfect at always being bad. …

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Extrovert or Introvert?

Extrovert or introvert? There is nothing better about being one or the other. Each simply exhibits different preferences. Read our Director’s thoughts on the balance between these two personality types…

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