Syrian refugees share migration story with students

Just before the Christmas break, four Syrian refugees – twin sisters Nagham and Shadan Alhamwy, their brother, Shalan, and Nagham’s husband, Hassan – visited St. John’s International School to share a personal account of migration from Homs, Syria and settlement in Belgium to Grades 7 and 8 students before the Middle School Liturgy Assembly. The teach-in was part of an ongoing Middle School education about the refugee crisis in Europe. The four Syrians spoke about a part of their life in Syria, their perilous journey from Syria to Belgium, and their search for a new life in Belgium. Our students listened … Continue reading Syrian refugees share migration story with students

Grade 8 organizes successful school-wide food drive

In the run up to Christmas, Grade 8 students organised a school-wide food drive to help out families in need. They partner with a Belgian charity that has been in operation since 1986, Banque Alimentaire, who collect and distribute quality dry and fresh food to those who are in need. The organization is managed by volunteers and is entirely financed by donations. Last year the Middle School students were able to provide food parcels to 35 families of the Waterloo Region. This year, Grade 8 invited high school students to donate as well, so that families in our community could have an … Continue reading Grade 8 organizes successful school-wide food drive

Grade 8 classes simulate refugee experiences

To begin the unit on Population and Migration, the Grade 8 Social Studies classes of Mr de la Cruz played a simulation game called “Passages”, which was published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to get a glimpse of the travails of the refugees. Seven modules were played – Family set-up, Escape and Separation, Emergency Supply Case, Temporary Shelter, Setting up camp, The Family Spokesman, and Meeting the Local Population. In this video clip you will see two modules, Escape and Separation,  and The Family Spokesman. In Escape and Separation, students were divided into different refugee families. They … Continue reading Grade 8 classes simulate refugee experiences

Grade 7 Advisory raises self-awareness about refugee situation

As part of Advisory curriculum, Grade 7 students held an Assembly on Friday, December 11 at the PAC to present what they have found out about refugees from all over the world. Mrs. Taylor’s advisory read short speeches of child refugees in first person,  explaining why they were migrating. Ms. Farrell’s advisory described relevant geographical facts and information about certain countries that have produced refugees and how the United Nations respond to the crisis. Ms. Tyson’s group simulated the experience of boat refugees crossing dangerous waters and examined what such experience does to people. (See a video clip about it: … Continue reading Grade 7 Advisory raises self-awareness about refugee situation

Grade 10 poetry project ‘A Song of Myself’

Have you reckoned a thousand acres much? Have you reckoned the earth much? Have you practiced so long to learn to read? Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems? Thus sounds Walt Whitman’s “barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world”. Poetry is notoriously tricky to teach within the confines of the classroom. Too ‘difficult’, ‘boring’, ‘irrelevant’ are just some of the complaints one hears. The 10th Grade Project ‘A Song of Myself’ was an attempt at a corrective. Students were encouraged to write of and for themselves as well as using the more conventional … Continue reading Grade 10 poetry project ‘A Song of Myself’

Visitors taste grade 6&7 food design recipes

The grade 6 & 7 Food design class shared snack foods they had each prepared for their final project. The students have been practising making and modifying recipes and their final project challenge was to design a sweet or savoury snack food. They have gone through a whole design process of brainstorming a recipe, then modifying and adapting it  from their first attempt. Their main task was to ensure that they had made an appropriate choice within the design parameters and challenges, which also included promoting their chosen snack food.  The mixed grade level grouping has meant that grade 6 … Continue reading Visitors taste grade 6&7 food design recipes

What is the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) program?

The Creativity, Activity and Service program (CAS) is a scheme of experiential learning. It is at the core of the IB Diploma and it is aligned to St. John’s core values of companionship, integrity and respect. Simply put, CAS continues a student’s education outside the classroom. It is an opportunity to develop skills and interests, and to contribute to various communities. CAS is intended to help a student develop as an individual, through a process of self-discovery, self-awareness and reflection. They will assess their strengths and areas to work on, and will reflect on the activities as they carry them … Continue reading What is the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) program?

We are awesome coders!

The first Coding Academy at St. John’s proved to be very popular with students from both ES and MS. The group started with the Hour of Code activity at and then completed the introductory course online. Over the course of the academy they have all moved on to creating their own games and web sites using the online resources available through and other online sites. The most rewarding aspect of the academy was seeing how the students worked together and helped each other out with any problems. The high levels of enthusiasm and collaboration were an inspiration. There … Continue reading We are awesome coders!

Grade 6 Principles of Design – Wire sculptures

The Grade 6 students have studied principles of design such as emphasis, proportion, pattern and balance by looking at examples of the work of Susan Graham, a wire sculpture artist. The students were given the task of creating their own 3D wire sculpture and, depending on the animal or insect they chose as a subject, to select one principal of design to focus on during the project. We had to make a wire animal of our choice, I chose to model a cardinal bird. First we made sketches from all different angles to look at the animal’s shape and then progressed to … Continue reading Grade 6 Principles of Design – Wire sculptures