SEK Qatar in WISE Summit 2019: An experience to reflect on

With the slogan “UnLearn, ReLearn: What it means to be Human”, the WISE Summit 2019 saw masses pass by Education City last week. From November 19th to 21st, adults and children eager to learn focused on why and how individuals, societies and ecosystems can unlearn, learn and relearn to become lifelong-learners in our rapidly changing world.

Our participation in the event began with PYP students performing a cheerleading and gymnastics routine, as well as an upbeat dance show for the Doha Learning Days event that served as introduction to the summit -special thank you to Ms Natalie and Ms Alex for their hard work in preparing them! The girls rehearsed and performed at school before the big day so teachers, staff and many other students got a chance to support them and enjoy their efforts. 

Later on, at WISE Summit, almost seventy SEK Qatar students from grades 7, 8, 11 and 12 engaged actively in sessions and learning labs that offered a wide array of relevant topics to this day and age. Conferences and hands-on experiences that sparked conversations around artificial intelligence, mindfulness, technology, ethics and sustainability, amongst many others, gave our students plenty to reflect on.

We’re excited that all the newly acquired knowledge will pass on from the attending students and teachers to their peers, helping to accomplish the goal of strengthening the curiosity and collaboration skills we try to encourage in our learning community every single day.

Grade 5 and 8 students become part of “Farm Your Country”

Al Faisal Without Borders Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani, came to SEK Qatar this Wednesday November 20th to begin with the execution of the program “Farm Your Country”, an initiative dedicated to spreading agriculture and preserving the environment as part of the implementation of Qatar National Vision 2030.

The Foundation cooperates with the Department of Public Farms and the Ministry of Education to reach the goals of educating students on how to cultivate and produce healthy foods, as these actions represent a way to care for the environment -think about buying less, consuming less plastic and overall producing less waste, some of the reasons why we’re excited that students from grades 5 and 8 are taking part in this initiative.

An engineer came to our school and guided the students in how to plant some vegetables and decorative plants. Our students will now need to water the plants and study the process, as the engineer will visit us periodically and students will meet with her to talk about their observations and insights.

The program enhances the cooperation and collaborative skills of students, as they need to work together to do tasks such as mixing soil and periodically caring for the plants, increasing the student’s sense of responsibility towards others and the planet.

Cyprus Trip 2019

Fourteen students from grades 6 and 7 took off to a 5-day field trip to Cyprus this past November 10th, and we can say they have learned, enjoyed and grown so much from this short yet enriching experience!

The trip focused on exploring the island, visiting its breathtaking coasts and mountains, and on learning about the geological history of Cyprus and its traditions. Along with teachers Riadh and Harang, the boys and girls hiked more than 20 km in total, allowing them to put into practice their navigation skills by using a compass, and planning and following maps and trails for the hikes, which took them through beautiful forests and waterfalls. The stunning island and The Youth Development Agency provided a true education without limits.

Students also had a very meaningful reflection time talking about their emotions and personal growth throughout the trip, highlighting empathy, resilience and their desire to explore.

We feel grateful and proud that all of them are developing into adventurous learners.

Innovation Camp 2019

Today our Grade 10 students had the opportunity to participate in the Innovation Camp (I-Camp) led by Injaz Qatar, as part of the Doha Learning Days taking place during the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). The half-day program allowed the students to learn about entrepreneurship, collaborative work and identifying business opportunities focused on improving the environment.

From 8am to midday the participants had a motivational experience that culminated in a competition for the best business proposal. The group was divided into 5 teams that competed against each other -games and dynamic activities included. Each team chose an environmental issue and developed a business proposal. After doing a brief presentation about their idea the jury selected the best project, with the winner being a system to reduce food waste.

We’re convinced the I-Camp equipped our students with new entrepreneurial and team building skills.

DCMUN 2019

Over the weekend of 7th-9th November, SEK International School Qatar participated in the 15th annual DCMUN conference here in Doha. Our students represented the delegation of Morocco and spent many of hours trying to find effective solutions for global work problems. Some of these topics included protecting journalists’ rights to speech and distribution of information, taking measures to prevent an arms race in outer space and overcoming the long-term impacts of the Gulf War in Iraq and Kuwait. Students completed research, openly shared their ideas with others and collaborated with each other to find plausible solutions for current global issues. We are happy to congratulate Najah Al-Resheq on receiving an honorable mention for her efforts in the International Labor Organization Committee and commend all students on their efforts.

United Nations Day 2019

SEK Qatar celebrates UN day. Our SPARK club students from grade 7 have initiated this fantastic event that will commemorate and inspire our unique worldwide student community. Our students from grades six to ten in the Middle Years Programme have opened their classroom doors today for other students wishing to learn more about their own cultures. Flamboyant decorations, typical tasty food and engagingly interesting facts and quizzes have kept our students exploring and learning more about their peers’ multicultural backgrounds.

United Nations day was an empowering day that has led our student community to travel across different cultures and countries in a day. The best way to learn is when you have fun. More days like these. This is what education is about. Explore, inquire and learn. We are SEK.

PYP Arts Week 2019

Day 1 & 2:

Arts Week kicked off on Sunday 13th October with the wonderful Preschool 5 event. They celebrated their first Unit ‘Communities’ by performing a song and dance about the various jobs and roles of people in our community. The showcased their learning from Spanish class and Arabic class by presenting what they want to be when they grow up through the different languages. The parents then joined the students for a painting task, where they created watercolour paintings of themselves inspired by the title ‘When I grow up, I want to be….’.

On Monday 14th October, Grade 1 began the day with an exciting presentation of what they learned throughout their unit ‘Let’s Stay Healthy’. They performed a song that they had prepared in music class with Ms. Jenny. This was followed by some interactive games and exercises that the students had invented in groups in P.E. class. In art class, the children had created clay sculptures of the healthy foods that can be found on a ‘balanced plate’. During their arts week celebration, they painted their clay sculptures together with their parents.

On Monday afternoon, Grade 2 took to the stage to present the learning and ideas they had developed during their unit ‘Patterns’. To begin, they performed some awesome gymnastic routines they had prepared in groups to various songs in P.E. class. This was followed by a musical performance inspired by the patterns the students had observed in the Star Wars theme song. Following their performances, the students brought their parents outside to participate in a colourful and creative ‘Tie-Dye’ workshop. They showed them the different ways Tie-Dye can be used to produce patterns on clothing and they each created their own Tie-Dye t-shirt to take home.

Day 3:

On Tuesday, Grade 3 began the day with an awesome performance of the song ‘One Day We’ll Be Together’. Their unit was ‘Our Place in the World’ and they had choreographed a routine made of traditional dance moves from their home countries. Following their performance, their parents joined them to take part in two stations. Their music station was a traditional stick game from New Zealand. This was followed by an art station where they created drawings inside maps of their home country celebrating its cultures and traditions, and then painted them with watercolours.

Day 4:

The Preschool 3 students had their arts week showcase on Wednesday morning.  The students celebrated the completion of their unit “Me and My Family” by participating in a visual art activity with their parents.  Students had an outline of their body which they were able to paint and get creative with feathers, googly eyes, and other decorations.  The end result was colourful and fun for parents and students alike.

For the Grade 5 Arts Week activities on Wednesday afternoon, Grade 5 had an amazing culmination to their “Literature Unit” that really highlighted their flair for drama.  After reading the novel, The Secret Garden, the students came up with their own skits which contained many connections to the novel.  They performed these for parents in the auditorium, working together with their classmates to create very engaging scenes that were at times funny, mysterious, or even spooky.  For their visual art activity, they painted Modroc masks they had designed and built in art class. The masks were characters they invented based on the theme “If you go down to the woods today…”

Day 5:

On Friday morning, Preschool 4 had their Arts Week presentation which showcased some of their learning from their unit ‘All About Me’. They sang and danced to a wonderful song about body language, celebrating all the things they learned about their body parts and the things they can do. For their art station, they created mosaic art with their parents. Each child and their parents made a drawing of one of their interests or something they like. Then they filled their shapes using brightly coloured pieces of paper.

For the Grade 4 Arts Week celebration, each performance and presentation was inspired by their unit ‘Conflict Resolution’.  The Grade 4 students entered the stage wearing some creative and colourful t-shirts they had designed themselves by painting symbols of peace with fabric paint. They sang a beautiful song they had prepared in music class entitled ‘Light a Candle for Peace’. The atmosphere was heartwarming, with the main hall lights turned off and each student holding a battery operated candle. After their performance, the students brought their parents around 4 art stations. They painted a brick to build into a peace wall, they made portraits of peacemakers they had researched, they created a ‘peace around us’ mural and they created chalk pastel backgrounds that they wrote inspiring quotes about peace onto.

Lance King – “Teaching with ATL in mind”

Have you heard of ATL or Approaches to Learning? This groundbreaking framework designed by Lance King for the IB curriculum focuses on developing 21st Century skills in students that help them learn how to learn. It is a true honor to have Lance King at SEK International School Qatar, as his venture has been transforming and shaping the direction of especially the MYP and DP programmes -over 4000 IB schools in 150 countries are implementing the ATL curriculum.

Lance King’s ideas revolve around developing resilience and guiding inquiry learning in the classroom by activating a cycle of implementation based on Thinking, Planning, Doing and Reflecting.

Almost 50 international teachers that live in Doha learned from Lance King in his two-day workshop “Teaching with ATL in mind”. The workshop outlined the ATL framework and provided hands-on opportunities to incorporate a focus on developing these skills into regular classroom practice.

Some of the topics included the purpose and need of 21st Century skills; thinking and learning skills selection to match student needs; identifying the Cognitive, Affective and Metacognitive ATL skills; teaching time and task management, goal setting and motivation skills; developing self-regulated learners through helping students to take responsibility for their own skills assessment and development, and so much more.

Furthermore, important questions were being answered throughout the workshop, such as what skills and teaching strategies give students advantages in specific qualification examinations, what are the steps of development of the Cognitive ATL skills across a student’s school life, how can teachers raise meta-cognitive awareness in students, and how can students (and teachers) learn how to “fail well” -amongst many others great inquiries!

The workshop was a “hands-on” style full of activities for participants, designed to give schools clear practical strategies. 

You can find out more about Lance King and ATL here https://www.taolearn.com/

Lance King workshops for MYP-DP students

Today we had the pleasure to have Lance King in school, a worldwide recognised writer and an expert in Approaches to Learning skills. Our grade 9-12 students had the opportunity to choose to attend one of two workshops: Future Proofing and Academic Success Skills.

In the first workshop, students learnt how to set their personal and academic goals, looking at the difference between making good and bad decisions and exploring career choices. Students were also reminded about the importance of creating an online identity focused on strengths, goals and exemplifying their virtues.

On the other hand, the second workshop was focused on learning about failing well, finding strategies to be successful academically and trying to find ways to deal with procrastination. Student also explored metacognition, looking at how their brain works in certain situations and investigating about ways of thinking and memory strategies.

It was a very interesting experience for our students and we are glad that we had the chance to have this special guest in school today.

Qatar SportsTech Hackathon V. 2.0

We would like to congratulate Hyder (Grade 11) and Hasan Jinnah (Grade 7) who have won the second series of Qatar Sports Tech (QST) Hackathon competition held 26th-28th September in Doha.

Entrepreneurial minds of Doha had the opportunity to get together and put their ideas into practice finding solutions for the sports industry, especially now with the World Cup so close. Over the weekend (48 intense hours), participants went through all the stages of forming a company.

Hyder & Hasan’s team came up with the idea of an indoor navigation for stadiums, which can also be used for big malls. The app name is “NavBuddy”. This initiative was appreciated by the judging jury as it is a solution based on technology, which can be used in the future.

We are very proud of these two young innovators. Congratulations!