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Our Mission: ACS Athens is a student-centered international school, embracing American educational philosophy, principles and values. Through excellence in teaching and diverse educational experiences, ACS Athens challenges all students to realize their unique potential: academically, intellectually, socially and ethically - to thrive as responsible global citizens. Reception Desk: Ext. 206, 233 Office of the President: Ext. 201 Office of Enrollment Management, Communications & Technology: Ext. 263 Admissions Office: Ext. 263, 251 Finance: Ext.202, 207 Business Office / Procurement: Ext. 207 Human Resources Office: Ext. 204,256 Cashier: Ext. 208 Bookstore: Ext. 214 Transportation Office: Ext. 239 Health Office: Ext. 217 Cafeteria: Ext. 236 Academy Office: Ext. 222 Academy Discipline: Ext. 404 Middle School Office: Ext. 261 Middle School Discipline: Ext. 267 Elementary School Office: Ext. 229 Office of Student Services: Ext. 226 IB/AP Programs: Ext. 247, 248 Academy/MS Library: Ext. 219, 220 ES Library: Ext. 293 Athletic Office: Ext. 327, 401 Institute for Innovation and Creativity: Ext. 402 Optimal Learning Support Program: Ext. 237, 265 Theater Office: Ext. 331, 302 Security: Ext. 240 Night Entrance Security: 210 6393555
Ethos is a bi-annual publication of ACS Athens showcasing the life and activity of the Institution. Publisher: ACS Athens Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director: Leda Tsoukia Co-Editors: Peggy Pelonis John Papadakis Production team: Frances Tottas Melina Vassiliadis Copy editing: Valerie Alexopoulos Contributors: ACS Athens Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents and Alumni Concept and Publication design: Leda Tsoukia Copyright ÂŠ2017-2018 All rights reserved. No part of this magazine (text or images) may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher
ACS Athens (American Community Schools) 129 Ag.Paraskevis Street, GR 15234 Halandri Athens, Greece E: email@example.com
T: +30 210 6393200-3, +30 210 6016152
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Letter from the Editor by Leda Tsoukia
Q&A with the President Living without a soul; Learning to be brave by R. S., ACS Athens Student
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“The House, the House, the House is on….. reboot!” Reintroducing a long standing tradition of Houses at ACS Athens by Danai Papaioannou
Welcome to ACS Athens Academy 2017-18 by Anthony Vandarakis
by Yi-Nai Wang
“We are all learners, doers, teachers”
Celebrating Cultural Diversity
Learning & moving on!
by Irini Rovoli and Sophia Moros
Raise me Up by Chris Korovilas and Ioanna Lamprou
May the Art of Innovation be with You
by Dr. Maria Avgerinou, Sophia Moros and Leda Tsoukia
by Stavroula Salouros
Business Fair, 2017 by Jenny Grigoropoulos
“Existential concerns” IB Visual Arts exhibition 2017
by Sophia Soseilos
Design Thinking 101: Our 1st and 2nd Graders’
The Napoleon Trial: Past Meets the Future
by Hrisi Sandravelis
by Dr. Maria Avgerinou
The 16th Annual Truman Trial at ACS Athens
Design Thinking in an Animation Class: Empowering
Creating experiences that allow students to con-
Creative Independent Minds
by Leda Tsoukia
by Dave Nelson and Hercules Lianos
Middle School Spotlight: Service to Society
by Rebecca L. Meyer
Excellence and Pride Blend with Glow of Fellowship at ACS Athens Alumni Award Dinner
Applying the Aesthetic Experience in Teaching
by Dean Sirigos
a Greek LA Literature and Language Course in a
Creativity and Innovative Ideas: the framework of
collaboration between ACS Athens ISCI* and Hisar
by Maria Anna Sidiropoulou
Setting Learning on Fire Middle School Project Based
by John Papadakis and Melina Vassiliadis
“Choose not the Life of Limitation”:
by Dora Andrikopoulos
Class of 2021 “Next Step: Academy”
by Rebecca L. Meyer
Commemorating the Graduating Class of 2017!
78 Graduation 2017 80 by Evelyn Pittas and Frances Tottas
Letter from the editor Serving Humanity by Leda Tsoukia, Editor in Chief, ACS Athens Creative/Art Coordinator
e only have what we give» (Isabel Allende)
It is very interesting to hear inspiring speeches delivered by writers, politicians, philosophers, educators, leaders from all fields. There is always a sense of common purpose and a collective “we” in such speeches: a hidden yet perfectly clear idea that WE can succeed when we work together for the common good. Inspirational words that influence people’s lives and create new mindsets have often a common denominator: kindness, caring for others, serving others. It is also common for an educational institution to engage its students in volunteer work, charity, or activities to help people in need. Planting trees, environmental activities, helping animals, soup kitchens and so on, are all beautiful gestures that steer students towards a more human perception of the world around them. ACS Athens has always been very active in gestures of giving to the community. We see this everywhere we look around our school. In the Learner’s profile characteristics, the words used in the vision of the school, even the name of our magazine: Ethos. The message is very clear and examples are found in our school, at all grade levels. What has changed lately is a more extrovert approach concerning the aftermath of these “gestures”. There is a certain will to try to transfer this approach and this knowledge to others, instead of keeping it to itself. Do we cure hunger if we just help one person on the side-
walk? Do we really save the planet by planting one tree? Do we really change the world by educating only our students to act every time as the benefactor to help others in need? These are obviously very important activities and they should always be encouraged, but is this enough? We are now trying to pass on, beyond the confines of our school, the world view that we follow. We are making a concerted effort to share with others how we develop the mindset of looking outside oneself and caring about the needs of the community. It is about “sharing”, not just food or clothes, but sharing the mentality and influencing other people to do the same. This year a beautiful project has continued to evolve on our campus which has made a difference for so many people around us. The Youth to Youth project, an ACS Athens service project in collaboration with the HOME Project, designed to assist unaccompanied-refugee children in adjusting to the local community through education. These children will not stay with us long, but the impact on their future, I think will be significant. They came to our school, became a part of the ACS Athens family and adopted the special mindset of helping others. Would it not be amazing if we see them sharing this mindset wherever they go and continue living their life while “serving humanity?” In April, another major event took place in New York. ACS Athens honored 2 prominent alumni, Dr. Scott Parazynski, a member of the US Astronaut Hall of Fame who received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Dr. Anna Kaltsas, an infectious disease specialist with teaching appointments at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. They both graduated from ACS Athens and dedicated their life in service of humanity. “The first spark though, started in ACS Athens” Ms. Kaltsas said. Dr. Parazynski added: “There are so many reasons to be hopeful for the future, especially with institutions like ACS Athens....” These are ways our school’s philosophy becomes an example to follow, the way ACS Athens embraces the idea of serving humanity with the ultimate goal of creating a 21st century school with a unique educational paradigm. This is why ACS Athens is recognized as one of the top K-12 institutions of the world and how it is perceived as a singular “hope for the future” in the minds of our community. ■■
Q&A with the President, Dr. Stefanos Gialamas
Celebrating Cultural Diversity
18 Learning and Moving on!
31 Design Thinking 101
Applying the Aesthetic Experience in Teaching a Greek Course
Business Fair 2017
62 The Napoleon Trial: Past Meets the Future
Creativity and Innovative Ideas: the framework of collaboration between ACS Athens ISCI and Hisar School IdeaLab
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to improve a condition and thus the individual takes responsibility for part of the solution. Social Devotion: is the commitment and participation in improving a person’s life. This way of thinking becomes a way of life for individuals as they develop a positive mindset towards building a better society.
Serving Humanity Q&A with the President, Dr. Stefanos Gialamas
he goal of K-12 institutions is not only to assist students in acquiring all necessary and sufficient skills to be successful in society, but also in becoming leaders to serve humanity.
We define “Serving Humanity” as the cognizant devotedness to Social Interest, Social Engagement and Social Devotion. We lead by example, so engaging students in caring about others is something that can be attained by being the example, as parents and friends, but also by creating a school environment where students feel genuinely cared for. ACS Athens is a unique educational institution. It has a long history of academic excellence, but what is most important is that the culture of the school fosters and empowers students to serve their community in many different ways. Q: How can we define the different components of Serving Humanity? What is the school’s responsibility in instilling this mindset in today’s students? A: Social Interest: Social Interest is an extension of one’s self into the community. It may include caring for people, but even beyond that, for example, the environment and the planet. Social Engagement: is the ability to put interest into practice by first becoming aware, and then active in solving a social problem or improving a social situation. Social Engagement forces us to figure out ways
In addition to providing the best educational experience to students, today’s academic institutions must inspire and instill a devotion to Serving Humanity. A well rounded personality with ethos is a necessity for today’s global citizen. Educational leaders are in the unique position to contribute shaping a student’s personality, interests, and mindsets. It is imperative to teach students to respond to multiple societal changes, to become proactive and care about the community the live in. Students today live in a fast paced, constantly changing environment. The ability to respond to change effectively but also to initiate change, when needed, is very important. It is the only way that students avoid becoming overwhelmed with change and see it as a challenge rather than an obstacle. It is my distinct belief that today we do not have an economic crisis but a crisis of being citizens without principles and values. We are observing behaviors which indicate selfishness and opportunism, without any consideration of our fellow citizen, environments or other living creatures. Q: How has the Global Morfosis paradigm helped in guiding students to Serving Humanity? How has it evolved over the years? A: The Global Morfosis Paradigm (gMp) philosophy was born by influences from educators dating back to Ancient Greece to modern day. It is thus fitting, that we call this educational philosophy and educational paradigm Morfosis from the Greek word (Μόρφωση) meaning to morph or shape. The Morfosis paradigm has been a cornerstone guiding model for preparing students to Serve Humanity. Serving Humanity is the ultimate goal through the progression in mindsets and movement in the continuum of Social Interest to Social Engagement to Social Devotion and this can be achieved via the gMp . The gMp is comprised of three inseparable, interconnected and interrelated components. 1. 1. The Morfosis Educational Philosophy is defined as a Holistic, Harmonious and Meaningful educational experience guided by ethos 2. 2. I2flex Delivery Methodology is a teaching and learning approach comprised of face-to-face and non face-to-face teaching and learning. The non face-to-face learning includes independent, inquiry based student learning guided by faculty. While the face-to-face component includes student and faculty engagement with-
in or outside of the classroom in an interactive form. Avgerinou, M. & Gialamas, S. (2016)) 3. 3. Aristeia leadership is the continuous act of effectively engaging all members of an organization, or community, as well as utilizing their differences, their authentic energies, creative ideas, and diverse qualities primarily for the benefit of their constituencies. (Gialamas, Cherif, Pelonis, Medeiros 2016). It is comprised by three entities: ◉◉ (i) The establishment of an Authentic Leadership Identity (ALI) ◉◉ (ii) The creation of a Collective Leadership-Partnership Approach (CPA) ◉◉ (iii) Serving Humanity 21st century academic institutions should adhere to the ethical responsibility of promoting these universal values. Curriculum focus should be on the interdependence of cultures and nations through teaching world history and world literature. Most challenging for such institutions is the ability to instill the wisdom to use knowledge effectively in a world constantly changing. Student’s ability to discover creative solutions to societal challenges will be a barometer for measuring wisdom. This can only be accomplished within a culture that cultivates innovation, respects differences and is strongly committed to universal
principles and values. In such institutions faculty are student advocates; not only enouraging, but also empowering students, by providing challenging and fulfilling educational experiences firmly grounded in innovation to promote learning experiences. In order to raise awareness and empower today’s students and tomorrow’s (global) citizens to truly understand today’s global challenges such as poverty, famine, population displacement, as well as to equip individuals with effective tools to find solutions we must bring the problems to our doorstep. Q: Can you give us an example of how the global Morfosis paradigm can empower students in Serving Humanity? A: The current refugee/migration crisis has posed tremendous challenges for Greece. It is natural for national and international schools in the region to rush to the rescue, by donating time, money and goods toward alleviating the suffering of the people involved. This was the case with ACS Athens as well. But, what began as a project of the most privileged helping the less fortunate, evolved into an educational experience meaningful in magnitude for those who could give as well as those receiving. The faculty and the leadership of ACS Athens responded to requests for offering charity with challenging questions, keynote speakers, workshops and research projects aimed at answering these questions, some of which included the following: Why do we want to give? Who
are these people? What do you know about them? Where do they come from? Why are they here? What does displacement mean? What does “home” mean to you? What does it mean to lose a home? How does history repeat itself in relation to this issue? The projects resulted in a school-wide program, voluntarily organized by ACS Athens leaders, faculty and students, called “Make a Child Smile, Keep the Hope Alive”. The program took on many facets resulting in the ‘adoption’ of four refugee children to attend ACS Athens, free of charge. Following these events, the “Youth to Youth” program was developed in association with a local non-profit organization which houses unattended refugee minors. Refugee children were paired with ACS Athens students to attend a series of classes including language (fundamental Greek and English), music therapy, sports activities and mathematics. The aim of the program was to assist in the integration of such children within their new ‘home’ and to help them develop skills useful for their survival. The outcome was outstanding. Refugee children, anonymously reported higher levels of self esteem, confidence and renewed feelings of hope. Most significant findings indicated that their perception that someone cares enough to help in meaningful ways made them feel they “must try to succeed” and the desire to succeed so as to help others as a result of the experience. What was most promising and particularly enlightening however, was the response of the ACS Athens students who reported such things as: “it was the most significant experience of my life” “I have learned so much from this experience and I want to continue to help in any way I can” “I have a much better understanding now of what is really happening” “I am determined to make a difference now” “I came to know these people, who I can now call my friends, and I realize that they are just like me in many ways” “I realize how privileged I am and that I have a huge responsibility to give back to those whose lives were disrupted because they happen to live in that region of the world”. Whether such learning experiences will have an everlasting impact remains to be seen but we are convinced that this has been a significant starting point for promoting awareness and instilling the desire to impact change. Uneducated children, without Morfosis can be easily manipulated and taken advantage of and can become tools to dangerous movements encouraging conflict and violence. Offering students an educational experience that creates positive mind-
sets and instils the foundation for them to become tomorrow’s leaders with ethos and responsibility, helps people move from feeling victimized to gaining some kind of control of their environment. This can produce leaders capable of giving back to society by becoming catalysts for making innovative, educational experiences available to more and more students, free of national biases, religious fanaticism and racial discrimination. Programs such as the above can help prevent isolation and can be vehicles for re-integrating children and youth into society. Ultimately, even if few lives are changed, it can only benefit the community and the society at large. It is in moments such as the above, when students speak from the heart, that the idea of world peace and an Eupsychian Society seems a bit closer. In closing I would like to remind all of us “In life ... hours are long, the days and months are longer, but life is very short”. For this reason we should spend every day in our life wisely… ■■ Avgerinou, M. & Gialamas, S. (2016) ed. Revolutionizing K-12 Blended Learning through the I2Flex Blended Model. Ch. 9 Gialamas, S., Cherif, A., Pelonis, P., Medeiros, S. (2016) Aristeia Leadership in Revolutionizing K-12 Blended Learning through the I2Flex Blended Model. Ch. 9 Gialamas , S. and Pelonis, P. “Providing Exceptional Educational Experiences to Students with Financial Need: A modern challenge for International K-12 Schools”. International Schools Journal. Volume XXXlll, No. 1, November 2013 Gialamas, S., Pelonis, P(2009) Academic Leadership The Online Journal Volume 7, Issue 2. Gialamas, S., Avgerinou M (2015) Aristeia Leadership: A Catalyst for the i2Flex Methodology
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past 2 years as everyone here is friendly and hospitable; especially the people in the islands. But more importantly and, apart from my great life in Greece, the biggest gift that I have received in life is being born and raised in a truly amazing and caring family; my family.
Living without a soul; Learning to be brave
A Comparison of Eastern and Western Women’s Rights by R. S., ACS Athens Student
he educational system in Europe is totally different from the one that exists in Asian countries and in particular from the one I have experienced in my home country, Afghanistan. In Europe everyone has the right to education no matter if the student is a girl or a boy. People in Europe simply focus on learning, getting to know new ideas and researching. They spend most of their time trying to develop themselves without comparing to each other because they believe that all people are equal. In Afghanistan very few people have the privilege of receiving proper education and society is not as open as in European countries; men are considered more powerful than women and they only accept others who have the same religion, nationality and color as they have. In Europe on the other hand, people respect diversity and welcome foreigners. What I like about Europe is that people can freely learn throughout their lives, live new experiences and have less stress and fear than Afghans. I consider myself lucky for living in Greece for the
As a girl who has lived in two continents I can definitely say that there are great challenges for Asian women. They cannot have the life they want and they cannot do whatever they have dreamt of; the main problem is that they are not equal to men and have therefore developed a totally different mindset. From simple things, like wearing the clothes they want to more complicated, like getting married when their father decides it’s the right time for them, Asian women are forced to go through predetermined lives. In worse cases they are sometimes being harassed and since they know that this is acceptable in their society they can do nothing about it. I have met many women in my country that have sad stories to share as they are oppressed by their male relatives. In Europe, people under 18 are considered children and their families protect them no matter what. They don’t have other obligations than doing their homework for school. In Afghanistan on the other hand, girls at the age of 14 might even be married and have their own house, taking care of their husband and children. In extreme cases that I have heard of, outside the capital of my home country, if a couple disputes the man can cut the wife’s nails, ears or even her nose. These all may sound terrifying to you but I assure you these are true incidents that have marked many women’s lives. In Asian families, women are not as important as men; if a woman is born the family is not as excited as when a man comes to life. If a girl is raised with other male siblings, her brothers control her and are always better than her. The girls are always in charge of the household and their only role is to please the men around them. Boys are allowed to go out and play with their friends while girls should stay behind and offer them a nice meal and refreshing water when they return. This is the situation currently in many Asian countries and this is why although, I terribly miss my country and my family, I feel very lucky that I live in Europe. I know that things won’t change from one day to another. I also know that in order for men and women to be considered equal a significant amount of time has to pass. What I want to suggest is for men to start educating themselves. By sending boys to school and by encouraging them to be more open minded the society’s priorities will change and people will spend more time reading books, gaining further knowledge and exploring new ideas and beliefs. I don’t want to see Afghanistan separated from its religion and traditions, losing its identity; I simply want to see
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my country developing into a more diverse perspective. As long as I live in Europe I will do my best to let everyone know how things are back in Afghanistan in order for them to understand how gratitude they must feel for being born and raised in such a tolerant and cultivated environment. ■■
Water Color painting, by R.S., ACS Athens Student
Service Leaders Club - Spring Highlights by Sevasti Koniossis, Club Advisor & Middle School Teacher
T IT IS NOT HOW MUCH WE GIVE BUT HOW MUCH LOVE WE PUT INTO GIVING Mother Theresa
he Service Leaders Club is a service-based Middle School initiative inspired by the education principles of Aristotle, who stated that, â€œeducating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.â€? It is also a continuation of the Middle School Project of 2015-2016, a large scale movement that incorporated a thorough education of the current refugee crisis, empathy based activities, and hands-on community outreaches. This year, students made a longer term commitment to outreaches and service based support opportunities towards refugees, as well as meeting local community needs. Members of this club have one thing in common: the desire to serve and meet the needs of others. Below are a few of our spring highlights! Expert Guest Being informed is key to being useful in the refugee crisis. Service Leaders keep up with current events and stay in contact with organizations that support refugees in Greece. From time to time, we also have experts visit us for some face-to-face discussions and informative sessions. An expert guest that honored us with his visit in the spring semester was Mr. Rafik Halitim, the Cultural Mediator for the British Council at the Skaramagas
Camp, introduced to us by Ms. Meyer, Middle School Principal. He works closely with refugees and displaced people at the camp and was able to provide students real insight on how to better serve and meet these people’s needs in a sensitive and culturally appropriate way. Mr. Halitim also shared some of his own experiences regarding the challenges that cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity can bring about in a refugee camp. Students asked insightful questions and were very engaged in the process. Hope School Collection Drive The Hope School provides an education to refugee children residing at the Skaramagas Camp. It is an inspiring endeavor initiated and run by Syrian refugees. The Hope School bridges the educational gap for children who have not been in school for a long time due to war and other conflict in their home country. The teachers at the Hope School, however, are in dire need of school resources. These resources include basic stationary supplies, as well as books in the children’s na-
tive languages such as Arabic and Farsi. The Service Leaders Club organized a successful collection drive for children’s books in refugees’ native languages as well as school stationary materials in February. Middle School and Academy students pitched in to gather thousands of stationary materials necessary for learning. Furthermore, Arabic speaking students in the Service Leader Club were able to gather boxes of schoolbooks in Arabic, both from Mr. Samad’s Arabic class, as well as from friends and family. Aside from children’s fairy tales, there were also a couple of class sets donated. Seeing that there was still a need for Farsi books, teachers personally purchased several storybooks in the Farsi language for donation to the Hope School. The Service Leaders Club had been in frequent communication with the Greek Ministry of Immigration to allow us to visit the Hope School in the Skaramagas Camp, so that we can deliver our donations and
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organize some games and lessons for the children there. Our request was unfortunately denied. Thankfully, a kind representative from the Hope School was able to pick up and deliver the school items. We were told that the materials were a real blessing to the students and teachers.
shirts and pants appropriate for summer, according to size. They worked nearly non-stop for over three hours without complaining. Their diligent work ethic and positive, humble attitude was remarkable considering that we were working under uncomfortable and exhausting conditions! ■■
Organizing Donations at the Refugee Donation Warehouse at the Old Elliniko Airport The Service Leaders Club has been in frequent contact with the organization Refugees Welcome GR throughout the academic year. Representatives of the organization explained to us that donations from Greece and around the world remain unused in boxes because of the lack of workers to sort through them at the warehouse. Service Leaders went to this location and helped pack and organize boxes of clothing donations that were to be sent the following day to the Chios Eastern Shore Response Team. Service Leaders were asked to pack boxes of men’s
Mr. Rafik’s visit at ACS Athens
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Students exchanging ideas from their field study notebooks in the cloister of Kaisariani Monastery
Top left: Childrenâ€™s books and other supplies donated to the Hope School Collection Drive
Top right: Students organize boxes of clothing donations at the Warehouse
Celebrating Cultural Diversity ACS Athens Celebrating Cultural Diversity “Chinese New Year Festival” by Yi-Nai Wang, ACS Athens Faculty
he teaching of Chinese as a foreign language has existed for ten years at ACS Athens. The students who choose to learn Chinese language are not particularly many in numbers, but the overwhelming common characteristics that they have include their genuine interest in Chinese culture, their independence in having chosen the language by their own free will, and their eagerness to take the challenge and face the difficulties of learning Chinese which is not a simple task. In the classroom, these students like to help and support each other and we always have a good positive atmosphere. Students are very proud of themselves for taking this challenge. As of two years ago, our school started to have an increased enrollment of Chinese students, most of whom have very low English proficiency. Due to their limitations in the English language and the challenges of adapting to a new school environment, culture and customs, the Chinese students seem to be hesitant toward engaging in school life. Even trying to approach some non-Chinese students to make friends seems complicated to our newcomers. Students sharing their field study observations in the
Musee d’Orsay in to Paris It is important consider not only the English lan-
guage barrier, but also the educational background of Chinese students coming to the independent learning environment of ACS Athens from a very different education system. In China, the teaching method is only one-directional and always comes from the teachers to the students. The role of the students is to listen, accept and follow what the teachers say. Also, unfortunately there is usually only one correct answer for each question. This school year marked the first time that I have Chinese Language Arts class in the Middle School for students of Chinese origin. In my thoughts this new class could also serve as a nice opportunity to help broaden the Chinese students’ understanding of a different education system by enabling them to adapt faster, while at the same time maintaining their cultural background. Therefore, in our Chinese Language Arts class, the students worked on author and background research, text and character analysis, power point production and presentation, essay writing, peer discussion and assessment. They have had very little exposure to these types of exercises in China.
Whether teaching Chinese language to non-Chinese students or to students of Chinese origin, I always include Chinese history, geography, customs, society, family relations, etiquette, and facts about economic change and developments in China in our lessons. Of course, we also discuss ways of thinking and Chinese mentality. In Ms. Gakiâ€™s Social Studies class, the students of Chinese origin have had the opportunity to be exposed to both the Greek and the Chinese civilizations of ancient times. They have worked on comparing and contrasting the cultures, philosophies, historical figures that lived in approximately the same era, yet in such distant places. They found out that there is a lot that unites us. In Ms. Zamanisâ€™ Language Development classes, students have improved their linguistic competence and built skills to articulate their ideas in a language which used to be a barrier for them. They have learned the fundamentals of English grammar, consolidated the use of tenses, expanded their reading and vocabulary skills, found opportunities to engage in fruitful conversations and practice their speaking skills, at the same time embarking on the journey of writing in English. Research skills, analytical skills, oral / presentation skills, cooperation skills, writing skills, and critical thinking skills have been practiced in all classes to equip our students the best way possible for the future. The preparation and presentation of the Chinese New Year festival is the highlight of an extended collaboration between the Chinese classes and EFL-ESL classes in both middle school and high school. It is the outcome of colleagues, Ms. Gaki, Ms. Zamanis and myself, working together between schools to set the stage for our High School and Middle School students, while also inviting Elementary students, to showcase their work and celebrate cultural heritage and diversity. Students learning Chinese language and students of Chinese origin united to present what they have learned in their classes. Non-native speakers of Chinese and non-native speakers of English were engaged in productive collaboration proving that neither language nor culture can ever be a barrier in communication and learning. Students worked with each other, with their teachers, and with the theater staff, Ms. Voulgaraki and Mr. Meitanis, to create a final performance and festival for the whole community to enjoy and treasure. They presented Chinese history through video and PowerPoints and discussed the differences and similarities between Alexander the Great and Shi Huangdi; Socrates and Confucius; traditional Chinese music and Greek music. The audience marveled at student presentations of the architecture of the Parthenon and the Great Wall, and found out more about two of the View of themathematicians Imagine A Palm Tree which opened a greatest ofmural, the world, Pythagoras new perspective for students as they prepared their group and Zu Chongtzhi. The arts were celebrated through projects on Islamic Fine Arts
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a video of students engaged in Chinese Brush Writing, a touching performance of Chinese Drama – Liang Shanbo yu Zhu Yingtai and a modern Chinese dance with elements of ancient Chinese music. All our students were responsible, respectful and ready throughout our preparations. They dedicated much of their free time to work with me in rehearsals. Some students worked closely with Ms. Gaki to create an exhibition of their work in the theater lobby and extend their knowledge to visitors. Others worked tirelessly with Ms. Zamanis on the final PowerPoint design for the show and speech training. Students not involved in the performance assisted with receiving guests, distributing the student-created programs, and offering Chinese treats and refreshments after the performance. The presentations were done in both languages through which students had the opportunity to demonstrate their progress in language learning. Moreover, the whole process was a unique cultural experience. The diversity in cultural backgrounds motivated all students to gain a better understanding of the two cultures and appreciate one another. Within the two months they worked together they enhanced their ability to be receptive to a multitude of ideas and cognizant of each other’s working habits, mentality and ways of thinking. These abilities were further developed through the various experiences of learning combined with the collaboration between students, teachers, and our theater staff. I have always encouraged my Chinese students to develop friendships with students of other ethnicities, but it has not been easy due to the cultural and language barriers. Through this project students understand that ACS Athens is an international school with respect for cultural diversity. This celebration honored Chinese and Greek culture in an English speaking educational environment and was one step towards our students’ preparation for international mindedness leading them to become knowledgeable global citizens. I would like to thank Ms. Gaki and Ms. Zamanis for their collaboration, as well as the theater staff for their support and expertise. Last but not least, I would like to thank Dr. Gialamas for his vision to open the Chinese Program at ACS Athens. ■■
Elementary adventures Learning & moving on! Reflecting on Behaviors at ACS Athens Elementary School by Irini Rovoli,Elementary Interim Vice Principal & Sophia Moros, Elementary School Principal
t ACS Athens Elementary School, we encourage students to follow the 3 R’s: Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Ready. These are the 3 R’s used in building citizenship skills. They are the key traits towards creating positive learning behaviors and healthy social relationships that extend beyond the school day. When students are exposed to these skills on a daily basis they are guaranteed to become dependable and considerate individuals in any given situation. No one ever accomplishes anything without hard work and accepting responsibility for his/her actions. As teachers and parents, it is our duty to instill an understanding in our children on how to accept consequences for the decisions they make, otherwise we inadvertently teach them that they are not accountable or liable for their own actions. A special component when modeling the 3R’s in the ACS Athens Elementary School is ‘The Reflective Process.’ This is a powerful means of communication that
we provide our students with when helping them learn about individual actions/reactions. Taking the time to walk through a sequence of events allows children to make light of individual tendencies and helps them realize how they can react under a various moments of stress. Helping kids see that there are both negative and positive consequences for their decisions helps them become more successful adults. Therefore, entrusting students to build authority and awareness in their own behavior is another way to life skills. Although the emphasis in our educational approach is on making the right choices, an inappropriate choice can also be seen as an opportunity to learn about individual stress. We use “Think Sheets” as a part of the Reflective Process so children can retell their version of a situation as they remember it while including their feelings and actions taken during the event. Regardless of the outcome, every child spends time reviewing & reflecting on their behaviors and walk through a restorative means to make sure they will be prepared to handle new situations as they arise. By focusing on the uplifting benefits of this process, the Think Sheet provides an area where students delegate an individualized and appropriate consequence for themselves. This helps students focus and identify the inappropriate action/behavior and not on the student themselves. Rather, it provides a solution and options for children to identify ways to deal with mistakes or unpleasant events, too. Guidance is always provided in order for the child to make the most of the restorative process. When a child does make an inappropriate choice, he or she uses the Think Sheet to reflect on each of the following steps: Own it: identify the action and accept responsibility: What did I do? Fix it: come up with a plan to make the situation right: How will I fix it? Learn from it: find out what we can do in order to make the right choice: What have I learned? Move on: Having taken responsibility for the action, I am now ready to move on and never repeat my mistake! Students’ developmental level is evident when going through these Think Sheets. Think Sheets also reflect students’ challenges and personal decisions when they get to the 3rd part, What have I learned?: The truth lies in their own words as seen below: KG “I’ll never push anyone again.” “I will use good words from now on.” 1st “When someone bothers me, I will go to the teacher.” “I will listen to the teacher.”
2nd “Never hit, kick and make people feel sad.” “I will follow directions.” 3rd “To not embarrass people.” “I will be helpful and ready.” 4th “Respect other teams especially when they are guests.” “What I said was not good sportsmanship.” 5th “Set a homework reminder on my iPod.” “I have to think first and then do what I want to do.” “I will think of what effect my words will have on others’ emotions.” Overall, “Think Sheets” are highly effective and are built on a framework that provides students with a way of thinking deeply about their choices. A citizenship education platform of this type makes students accountable and enables them to recognize individual power over their own actions and helps in shaping future decisions. Taking the necessary time to review the Restorative Process with children has proven to be highly effective at ACS Athens Elementary School. Once students have learned to consolidate what they have learned and have realized how various situations affect others, they are more likely to alter their behaviors creating more considerate and highly alert children who visit the office less frequently. Better yet, they acquire the necessary skills to communicate effectively and can successfully stand up to new situations as they arise. ■■
Current Page: Building citizenship
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Serving the Community with Quality and Care for over 30 years
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its students, then one could confidently talk about a holistic educational approach. Such an approach has the potential to transform education into “morphosis”, and guarantee that students will become architects of their own future.
Raise me Up! by Chris Korovilas and Ioanna Lamprou, ACS Athens Faculty
by Chris Korovilas
t has been about three years, since the project Raise Me Up commenced in 1st Grade at ACS Athens, not even having realized what was meant to follow! Ioanna Lamprou, a 1st Grade teacher, and I started building on a unique idea, unable to imagine yet the extent of its impact on our students, their parents, and teachers. What we knew for sure was that whenever discussing our project, feelings of joy, excitement, and creativity would fuel our desire to apply our ideas into practice. Having spent several hours brainstorming, discussing, and engaging in meaningful communication, we discovered that although we come from different educational backgrounds, our passion for issues on “human development”, and more specifically on the disciplines of education, child psychology, emotional intelligence, neuroscience, and biology, gave us a new focus for communication. We could discuss our students needs appreciating both their cognitive and emotional demands. We very soon concluded that a simultaneous reinforcement of children’s cognitive and emotional intelligence could potentially facilitate a well-desired goal: Children with greater psychological resilience, greater confidence and faith in their strengths, and talents; children inspired to see a positive outlook for the future, who eventually bare the hope that this world will become a better place. We started building on the belief that if the school could constitute a cognitive-emotional experience for
Essentially, our idea had to do with the aforementioned concept. We created opportunities for cognitive-emotional development through education, in the classroom. We then methodized our efforts and devoted an hour per week for activities, and relevant conversations that had the potential to support our students’ cognitive-emotional development. Our weekly meetings were welcomed with a great response, and over the following two years they acquired greater structure, were given the name Raise Me Up, expanded in all four first grade classes, and took the form of a specific, but simultaneously flexible curriculum. We soon realized that we had developed a social and emotional learning program from scratch, which keeps filling us with emotions of creativity, and excitement! However, what is this fuss and excitement all about? It is well known that over the past few decades there are systematic efforts to create and apply social and emotional learning programs in American schools, and there is a big body of research showing the impressive benefits of relevant programs (including Yale University, Duke University, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Chicago-based Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning). Indeed, research has shown that students who are emotionally skilled perform better in school, have better relationships, and engage less frequently in unhealthy behaviors later in life. Thus, it is our firm belief that emotional learning can be as important as the ABCs. We believe that our excitement is well justified. Indeed, it is impressive and touching to watch children’s responses during Raise Me Up classes. They display genuine interest, they manage to express their needs and feelings, they engage with story sharing, they regulate emotions and feel soothed from tension, they learn to explore and integrate their body and mind, senses and feelings, they can attribute meaning to life experiences, they learn to communicate and connect with other people in more effective ways, they cultivate empathy and compassion, and ultimately they build the foundations for stronger psychological resilience. While the above are enough to justify our enthusiasm there is something more. We believe that Raise Me Up, having all the benefits of a social and emotional learning program (as research and experience shows) stands out from relevant attempts. We feel that it is unique, and in our opinion innovative. This is because Raise Me Up, is based on three disciplines, namely brain science, multiculturalism, and systems. In future Ethos issues, we will elaborate on each principles, but for now, we are happy to announce that Raise Me Up attempts to involve, our students’ parents through a simultaneous program, called Raise Me Up - Parenting.
Raise Me Up – Parenting Raise Me Up - Parenting provides specific training opportunities for parents and educators who aim to create a secure emotional bond with their child or student, and enhance their cognitive and emotional development. Parents get familiar with practical methods and techniques based on the latest neuroscience findings on early brain development and the attachment theory. This knowledge can be very powerful for the parent who is trying to teach, discipline, and love. ■■
Current Page, Right: Exploring the world of emotions I Johnny using the Map of Emotions Current Page, Left: An inside-out approach
Introducing emotions by tracing Sophia’s body
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By Ioanna Lamprou
eaching the students of first grade, elementary school here at ACS Athens, for the last seven years and reaping rewarding experiences from the students themselves through hands-on experiences, I realized that most students need - if not all of them– meaningful psychological support.
Research indicates that emotional learning instruction in schools helps students perform better in academic areas and are able to handle emotional states like anxiety and depression in more effective ways (Peter Jaret, 2016). Not being aware of different feelings, not being able to acknowledge them and deal with them, result in poor academic performance, problems in relationships and frequent involvement in unhealthy behaviors inside and outside of the classroom (Grace Rubenstein, 2017). Using this evidence that psychological support promotes the academic career of all students; Chris Korovilas, an experienced child psychologist and I decided to add an hour long session in my own class. This is how the original idea became a pilot program on a trial basis in my own first grade class, three years ago. A pilot program continues even today and positive outcomes are not only realized by me, but also by my colleagues in regards to the students’ academic and psychological progress. In regards to my contribution, its nature is educational and the goals that were initially set and achieved for the students are the following: educational empowerment of the students, psychological support in order for the students to understand their feelings, improvement of their sociability, self-regulation and self-monitoring of their ‘inside’ world as well as self-discipline. This three year project with all the positivity it inspired, could be expanded time wise by setting even more specific goals; short and long term. In other words, placing long term goals will help in building the foundation of a true original action plan. Setting long term goals is a constructive way to map out this program as students will be building day by day and week by week (short term goals) skills that will prepare them for the next school year. Short term goals like recognizing their feelings, learning to deal with them and creating equal social relationships inside the school environment; either through handson activities or hands-on interventions will take place every week of every month. Having implemented this project for one and a half years, evidence showed that in some cases, students’ progress was clear and measurable. For this reason, the program was expanded to the other three sections of first grade for the duration of one school year (2016-2017). The trigger for the expansion was a special case of a particular student in my first grade class who, because of his intense tantrums, continuously experienced learning challenges. This student’s daily school life was characterized by negative emotions which reached extreme proportions while he was re-
sorting to tantrums full of anger and sadness. When this student took part in these sessions along with his classmates, he exhibited a desire to talk about his negative emotions. His verbal ability to do so and his willingness to open up and share these emotions with his classmates and his teachers helped him in relation to his peers. His peers were more able to understand and empathize with him. With time, Raise Me Up became the catalyst and an avenue to express his feelings, to understand them and to deal with his negative thoughts that derived from his negative emotional state. Raise Me Up gave him the secure space to go beyond his fears and express himself. In the case of this student, as in other cases, throughout the past three years, Raise Me Up’s effectiveness was evident. Substantial evidence confirms this since Raise Me Up was able to improve the students’ emotional world by ‘unlocking’ their mind and as a result improving their learning progress daily. In conclusion, based on this evidence but also based on the evolution of the educational research that we as educators need to take into consideration in a world and era where everything evolves rather quickly, we couldn’t ignore the importance of the emotional/psychological nature of interventions which give meaning to our pedagogical (educational) goals; because they are truly effective as they help educators transform students into independent, confident and emotionally positive individuals, with an open path to constructive and meaningful learning. This transformation can help us secure in the best of ways the implementation of our school’s philosophy: Students can become architects of their own learning and future. ■■
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sult in the creation of physical objects with the needs of the end-user in mind. Going along with the 21st Century educational frameworks and their mandates for such skills as innovation, problem-solving, and collaboration, a growing number of schools around the world have incorporated Design Thinking into their inquiry-based curricula. Their goal is to empower students to find innovative and meaningful solutions to authentic, real-world problems.
Design Thinking May the Art of Innovation be with You: Mindsets of Creativity-Spaces of Possibility in our Elementary Design Time Classes by Maria D. Avgerinou, Director of Educational Technology & eLearning, Sophia Moros, Elementary School Principal, Leda Tsoukia, Creative/Art Coordinator
According to Design Thinking for Educators (2017), DT is a human-centered, structured approach to generating and implementing ideas. It “begins with developing empathy for those facing a particular challenge. It serves as a framework that helps to define problems, empathize with others, develop prototypes of possible solutions, and hone those prototypes through multiple iterations until they have generated a viable solution to the challenge at hand”. It is thus self-evident that Design Thinking inspires “a bias toward action and, because of its reliance on rapid prototyping, frees practitioners to embrace the notion of failing forward because it’s OK to make mistakes -- that’s where breakthrough ideas are born”. The Design Thinking Process (Design Thinking for Educators, 2017) What exactly do students and teachers gain from DT? As the literature on Design thinking reports (Design Thinking for Educators, 2017; Stevens, 2013), DT is an effective means of differentiating for student strengths. It fosters 2D and 3D spatial reasoning, sparks creativity and inventiveness, promotes collaboration, and fosters empathy and resilience. It encourages self-direction, independent thinking, and ideation. Design thinking can become a part of one’s teaching toolkit. It encourages a trusting relationship between a teacher and their class, and may even provide opportunities for differentiated assessment. It also helps students develop a growth-mindset (Dweck, 2006).
ureka! can be taught: The Design Thinking Approach
By Maria Avgerinou The latest trend in Education is a variation of problem-based learning. But, essentially it is much more than that: it’s a mindset and a way to be! It is called Design Thinking (DT), and as the name suggests, its main thrust is to help us think as designers! Designers, though they may seem to always wave a magic wand, in reality have learned to approach every task through a very specific process, through systematic steps, and iterations that propel innovation and re-
Perhaps most importantly... “Design Thinking is the confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future, and a process to take action when faced with a difficult challenge. That kind of optimism is well needed in education.
Classrooms and schools across the world are facing design challenges every single day, from teacher feedback systems to daily schedules. Wherever they fall on the spectrum of scale—the challenges educators are confronted with are real, complex, and varied. And as such, they require new perspectives, new tools, and new approaches. Design Thinking is one of them” (Design Thinking for Educators, 2017).
I’ve heard from naysayers who think that elementary-aged students simply don’t have enough experience to engage in empathy or define problems. I don’t agree. Young students may not be able to grapple with huge issues (how many of us can?), but they are well equipped to use the design thinking process for smaller ones – like my anti-litter crusader or these students who identified a problem in their school bathrooms. 5. It includes individual and group work Many design thinking experts encourage individual idea generation before group discussion – and this is important. By building in time to document ideas individually and then coming together, all students have more chances to participate thoughtfully. The Span™ visual collaboration system is one tool that’s helping teachers hear all their students’ voices. 6. It gets students to take action
Why try Design Thinking in Education Whenham (2016) advances nine reasons as to why educators should try design thinking in their classrooms: 1. It isn’t what you might think When you hear the word design, it’s easy to assume it means coming up with striking images or new products. But design thinking – both in the work world and in education – goes far beyond the creation of physical objects. So while it might be a natural fit when it it’s time for your students to build bridges or prototype Lego robots, design thinking is equally useful when you want them to take action on a pressing problem. 2. It combines structure and creativity There are many myths about creativity, but I think the biggest is to place it in opposition to process. When we tell tales of creative inspiration – Archimedes shouting Eureka in the bathtub, for example – it’s easy to leave off all the steps that went toward the solution. Design thinking’s clear process – empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test – equips students to be better creators and innovators. 3. It builds empathy When I was teaching, I felt like I tried everything to get my students to develop empathy. We passed around a talking stick and shared perspectives. We read novels and discussed how characters felt. But I never thought about how something like design could build these skills. And yet, getting students to create with others in mind is the ultimate in getting them to see beyond their own limited views. 4. It can start small As design thinking has become an education trend,
When I taught fifth- and sixth-grade, some of the best learning happened when my students prototyped battery powered machines and then designed and tested them. I wasn’t surprised – after all, what you find when you try something yourself resonates in a way that a lecture never could. This kind of experimenting, which is a big part of design thinking, stops kids from relying solely on outside sources of knowledge and puts the focus on forging their own understanding. 7. It develops a growth mindset It’s rare that any design (or anything at all, for that matter) is perfect on the first try. So a huge part of the design thinking process is helping students embrace challenges and learn from failure – developing what Carol Dweck has termed a growth mindset. As students learn to give and receive feedback, from peers and others, the focus of school can shift from attaining excellence to continual improvement. 8. It’s important I was struck recently by new research suggesting that the ability to work together toward a common goal may be one of the defining features of humanity. As our new digital connectedness has torn down barriers that in the past kept us isolated, we’ve never had more opportunities to come together. Teaching students that they have the ability to identify needs, enact change and learn from the experience at a young age might be one way we give them the tools to later grapple with the world’s biggest problems. Design Thinking Project Examples The D-School of Stanford University (2017) offers the following projects as a lesson-based way to explore the concept of Design Thinking. Educators may select from this list according to the specific skill or combination of skills that each of the projects may highlight and support more readily. ◉◉ 5 Chairs Exercise - Students design and create 5 chairs for a user
◉◉ Spaghetti Marshmallow Challenge - Students build towers using only spaghetti, marshmallows, tape and string ◉◉ Wallet Project- Each student builds a wallet for their partner
Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.
◉◉ Welcome to Middle School- Students role play how to make transition to Middle School easier
◉◉ Car Maintenance Redesign - Students redesign the car maintenance experience based on video interviews
Children as Unique “Industrialists” with no Limits
◉◉ The Special Olympics - Students develop a sense of empathy for people in the Special Olympics
When I experienced Design Thinking as a classroom teacher, I found this time to be the most vigorous and lively opportunity for our students’ involvement and teachers, too! The idea behind Design Thinking or Design Time, as we refer to it at ACS Athens Elementary School, is that students are provided with time to apply their existing talents in an activity that quenches their wish to learn more about a specific topic, trade, craft, books and so much more.
◉◉ The Classroom Redesign Project - Students redesign a classroom ◉◉ The Morning Routine - Students redesign their morning routine Design Time: The Design Thinking Process at ACS Athens The concept and process of Design Thinking has been introduced to, and embraced by the ACS Athens Elementary School teachers a couple of years ago. And although the steps manifest themselves as in the Design Thinking for Educators aforementioned visual, the concept has been renamed as Design Time. In their article Design Time: An Elementary School ‘Genius Hour’ (Ethos, 2016) ACS Athens faculty Christina Birbil and Alexander Hoc, who have piloted Design Time in their Elementary classrooms, describe Design Time as «a block of time dedicated to student-initiated learning, in which students themselves take charge of what they want to learn, and how they wish to go about it» (p. 76). They further report that this block of time was piloted by the entire ES during the 2015-16 year. Indeed, children were so engaged in their self-inspired activities, that Design Time went on to not only to be implemented in 2016-17, but has also been selected as one of the central foci and goals for the Elementary School’s current academic year. ■■
by Sophia Moros
ACS Athens Elementary School has a set time that is carved out during the week for a 45-minute session where students communicate and share work collaboratively towards the same goal and theme. The way our team kick started this was by questioning student’s interests. They were asked to create lists of topics, ideas or something they may not have tried in school. Then, students were provided with the opportunity to meet as an entire grade level and asked children to create partnerships by discussing these common interests based on predefined topics. Once themes were coordinated, teams of students partnered up and took time to Discover, Interpret, Explore and even Evolve on their personal interests. Some of these curiosities revolved around playing guitar, gymnastics, singing and writing lyrics, tailoring clothes, and crafting 3D shapes or objects with various materials. The greatest component of Design Time is the process that takes place throughout the experience. The foundation of this idea is based on providing students with opportunities to learn from mistakes, share ideas with peers and finding common desires based on the needs of the an existing classroom or community. As it is defined “the design-thinking ideology asserts that a hands-on, user-centric approach to problem solving can lead to innovation, and innovation can lead to differentiation and a competitive advantage” (Gibbons, 2016). Watching what children can produce when given basic directions and little guidance, was proof that children are unique “industrialists” with no limits! Their approach to problem-solving is comprised of novice ideas and built on innately trusting each other’s opinions and directions. It is truly one of the most innovative times of their week as they step out of their contentment of classroom work and begin to think out of the box based on topics they have an interest in specifically. ■■
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Reflections of a Designer
artwork has a tiny bit of every artist. It is a reflection of their mind, of their «ecosystem».
by Leda Tsoukia The very first time I was asked to think of the different steps I go through every time I need to deliver a creative project, I was actually surprised! After a long research on how other artists work and looking into the creative process other designers follow, I realized that we all follow the exact same plan!
The Creative Process No, nobody teaches you that in school. Nobody explains to you the order or gives you guidelines on how you should work as an artist, yet, the steps we all follow are identical!
Aristotle used to say that the soul never thinks without a mental picture! Our intellect follows the same rules to understand a concept as our senses do to detect a visual stimulus. So, visualization, helps us make hypotheses, research, think, make assumptions and finally create ideas. Visualizing the creative process of an artist, dissecting the path into steps, and applying them to different fields, has led us to very innovative ways of thinking and has freed our minds from barriers created by limiting our thought only in one subject, by thinking inside the box of only one related field.
Team Building and Research
Do we serve the needs? Or: Have the needs changed?
Constant c h
The perfect chaos: Questioning
Empathy Understand the goal and the needs of the project
ing ckDo we serve
Communication and Reflection
Do we serve the needs? Or: Have the needs changed?
the needs? Or: Have the needs changed?
Constant c he
Do we serve the needs? Or: Have the needs changed?
The Creative Process Model By Leda Tsoukia
C o nstan
Test all different approaches and techniques. Create sketches, quick drawings Check all visual elements, do they convey emotions that resemble the ones initiated in the first step?
g kin ec
Brainstorming and Experimenting
Co checking tant ns
Explore Inspirations Understand the culture Immerse yourself in the new ecosystem
Erase all unecessary /redudant elements Communicate the idea to the audience Eolution
Finalize mock ups. Abandon weaker ideas Final concept
The reason that this is common is because, I think, all designers share one common trait. Our brain has one shared attribute: We connect the dots of a really complicated puzzle and we bring elements in our work from areas that other people think are unrelated. Because we know, that everything is connected around us, that the inward significance of things lies underneath and it is always interconnected in subjects that seem so strange one to the other.
The amazing thing about this shared creative process we all follow, as if we have graduated from the same school, the minute we are born, is that, very far from producing the same thing, it is always molded in every artist in such a way that the outcome, the final artwork becomes so personalized, so unique, while serving the talent and personality of its bearer, producing original images and concepts. Because every
This process is called Design Thinking and its application in education is not something new; a lot of research has been done, papers have been written and today, it has become a trend with many followers in the education field. The perfect chaos The first thing a designer/artist does when a new idea is thrown on the table is that s/he starts asking questions. Hundreds of questions start appearing in their head, How? Why? When? and the questions start forming a concept. There is no sequence order in our thinking, at that time. There is only energy that needs to be channeled, creativity arises, and everything exists in their mind, at that moment, in perfect chaos. Soon, questions start generating answers and the answers create more questions and more questions and answers create images and images start putting things in order. And that’s where it all starts...
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◉◉ Empathy What are the needs that we have to meet? Who are we designing for? Far from designing for the sake of design, there is always a service we need to provide, and in order to accomplish that, we need to deeply understand the target, we need to get to know our client, understand their behavior and their personality and be immersed in their «culture». If that process was a shape, it would be a spiral, and this particular first step (understanding the needs) would be in the center. There is a reciprocal relation between the first and the rest of the steps. Not only does it influence the function of the following steps, but, far from being rigid, permanent, and unchangeable, that, too, is flexible and can be changed to lead the whole project to a different path, if there is such a need. (see the Creative Process graphic above) ◉◉ Team Building & Research After understanding the needs of the project, we start thinking of a plan. We build our team. Collaboration is one of the most important elements of a complete project. Knowing the needs of the end goal, can help to choose the people who are going to contribute more efficiently and deliver a highly professional result. We seek inspiration in experiences (in the same, or even completely different fields) that have created emotions that resemble the ones initiated by the first step (see above). ( D-School Stanfrod, 2017). We start researching. The more information we gather, the more ideas arise. We deeply plunge ourselves in the «cultural life» of the end project, absorbing everything that would help approach our minds in the deeper meaning of things and the better visualization of the goal. At this stage, I always leave room for random experiences. Ideas could pop up anywhere. By interacting with a colleague, by visiting a Museum or by just reading the news of the day! ◉◉ Brainstorming & Experimenting The next step is the most rewarding one. It’s when ideas start taking shape and everything has to be put in front of us to constantly check the «big picture» (the end goal). Sketches are drawn, brainstorming and quick drawings can give a general view of each alternative path to be followed. We test different techniques and we try to put together all the different visual elements that will build the final artwork. Everything has to have a common denominator and that is the goal defined during the first step. ◉◉ Prototyping The following step consists of the actual production. That is where all ideas reach the point of acceptance or rejection. Everything is being
molded into one final concept and weaker ideas are abandoned. That is where we finalize mock ups and everything starts falling into place. There is still room for experimentation. In art, we constantly change the way we look at things, change the angle and keep our mind open to new things that can be discovered any time, right in front of us and could actually take the whole project into a totally new path. «It is a process of surrender and not control» (Cameron, 1992). ◉◉ Communication & Reflection Last step is when we reach the final point. This is a very important stage of production because it is when we have to erase all unnecessary elements, all excessive details that instead of making the goal more clear, make the artwork busier and the meanings are smudged underneath redundant elements. This stage is when we prepare the final presentation and we communicate our idea to the audience. It is the time of reflection, pondering, and contemplation of the aftermath. We move forward and start thinking of the work’s impact and how it can be shared in different forms or evolved into different entities. ■■ References Birbil, C., & Hoc, A. (2016, Fall). Design time: An elementary school ‘genius hour’. Ethos, 76-77 & 104-105. Cameron, J. (1992). The artist’s way: A spiritual path to higher creativity. Penguing Group. Design Thinking for Educators (2017). Available at http://www. designthinkingforeducators.com/design-thinking/ D-School Stanford (2017). https://dschool-old.stanford.edu/ groups/k12/wiki/956b6/Design_Thinking_Projects_and_Challenges.html Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House. Gibbons, S. (2016, July 31). Design Thinking 101. In Evidence-based user experience research, training, and consulting. Available at https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ design-thinking/ Riddle, Th. (2016). Improving schools through Design Thinking. Available at https://www.edutopia.org/blog/ improving-schools-through-design-thinking-thomas-riddle Stevens, A. (2013). How to apply Design Thinking in class: Step by step. https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/06/26/ how-to-use-design-thinking-in-class-step-by-step/ Whenham, T. (2016, May 31). Empower your learners – 9 reasons to try design thinking in education. Available at https:// www.nureva.com/blog/empower-your-learners-9-reasons-totry-design-thinking-in-education
Team Hug-a-Paw in action!
Design Thinking 101: Our 1st and 2nd Graders’ “Hug-a-Paw” Project by Maria D. Avgerinou, Director of Educational Technology & eLearning,
s a manifestation in action of the Design Thinking (DT) concept, in response to the Young Entrepreneurs/Kids in Action call of our School’s PTO for the 2017 Spring Fair, but also in support of the ACS Athens House System revival initiative, four DT coaches and themselves ACS Athens parents (Dr. Maria Avgerinou/ACS Athens Director for Educational Technology and e-Learning, Ms. Leda Tsoukia/ ACS Athens Art Co-ordinator, Ms. Maria Nounou/ Event-Planner, and Mr. Panos Simonetos/Illustrator) collaborated with 22 children volunteers from the 1st and 2nd Grades to design and implement the “Hug-APaw” project. From the learning perspective, there were three major goals underlying the children’s involvement with this initiative: The opportunity to learn and apply the Design Thinking steps (discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation, and evolution) to their project, and see for themselves how they can transfer this knowledge and skills to other projects they are involved with. The obvious exposure to the surrounding ecosystem, and the needs of others; the cultivation of empathy, and social responsibility; the encouragement and ad-
Team Hug-a-Paw in action!
vancement of collaboration, research, as well as problem-solving skills; and, finally the ignition of curiosity that led to innovative ideas and experimentation with specific deliverables in mind. The authentic learning that can spearhead volunteering which in turn is associated with “ownership”, and leadership, but also with the notion of appreciation and the points that each of the ACS Athens houses can earn as a result of their good deeds.
References Design Thinking for Educators (2017). Available at http://www. designthinkingforeducators.com/design-thinking/ vanOosterom, A. (2017, June 13). On the meaning of design thinking, purpose & the art of innovation. Available via https://www.impactboom.org/blog/2017/6/13/arne-van-oosterom-on-the-meaning-of-design-thinking-purpose-the-art-ofinnovation
The coaches met the children on two consecutive Fridays (May 5th and May 12th) during their Design Time classes where, via various and multi-leveled processes, they all came up with the team’s concept and name, designed our logo, as well as all promotional material (posters-sandwich boards-booth decoration), and the team’s memorabilia. Further, the children discussed and decided the budget and sponsoring aspects of the project, and finally discussed and developed the important rules and processes that would apply during the team’s participation at the Spring Fair later in May. In a fairly structured learning environment with some guidance from the coaches, but also with many opportunities for creativity and innovation combined with strategic thinking about the project goals and deliverables, in self-selected groups or individually, the children were able to design and develop an entire project from scratch in order to share a hands-on version of the concept of “community service” with those attending the Spring Fair, and actually raise as much funds as possible for a good cause. The Spring Fair (May 20th) proved a very successful day for our team: everything went according to plan! We were able to raise as much funds as to cover all marketing expenses, and at the same time donate both a respectable amount to our selected Animal Shelter (that of Nea Philadelphia), and also an instamatic camera and film to the 1st Grade’s Reading Club! On Friday, May 26th we were visited by the Director of the Animal Shelter of Nea Philadelphia, who had with her two dogs as representatives of the shelter. The Hug-a-Paw team presented the donations to the Director, as well to Ms. Birbil and Captain Chip (representing the 1st Grade Reading Club). This event endorsed the real-world dimension of the children’s work, and brought closure to a successful project that had been student-driven and thus much enjoyed throughout! We are very proud of the leadership, the commitment, the teamwork, and the effort that our Huga-Pawers displayed throughout the design, development and implementation of the Hug-a-Paw project! The Design Thinking framework definitely worked for this group which proved in action that indeed this concept “is a mindset not a toolkit or a series of steps” (vanOosterom, 2017). ■■
Current Page: Team Hug-a-Paw in action! 1st and 2nd grade students at the Hug-a-Paw Booth during the Spring Fair 2017
Opposite Page: The Hug-a-Paw Project: Following the 5 phases of the design process
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channel their excitement into certain steps that would eventually lead to producing a visual story, while teaching them the importance of storytelling in general. So we set our goal. We were going to take part in the Literacy Festival that would take place in ACS Athens after about 2 weeks. The students had a very specific goal. They were all asked to produce a 12-frame storyboard and tell a story following the narrative structure, the same narrative structure that all screenwriters follow when they write scripts for feature films! Design thinking in action. Step 2
Design Thinking in an Animation Class: Empowering Creative Independent Minds by Leda Tsoukia, Creative/Art Coordinator
ast year, I had the opportunity to teach as an after school activity, an introductory animation class to students in grades 3 trough 5. Animation is such a fascinating field and since the early stages of the moving image, at the beginning of the 20th century, many artists have created masterpieces using all kinds of different mediums. My goal was to introduce them to all different aspects of animation and open their minds to what other artists have accomplished in the past, by showing them as many animated shorts as possible. The problem we encountered though, was that the field is so vast, the individual components so many, that there was no way to include all that in an one hour class each week for the semester. So, I had to be flexible. I had to understand the needs of my class, and focus on my students. Design thinking in action. Step 1 After getting to know my students, I understood that they were all very eager to tell stories! Elementary school students are very enthusiastic when it comes to animated movies. But, it was very important to
The students were asked to think of an idea. They were asked to seek inspiration and to try to define the story they wanted to share, in 6 rough drawings. They were asked to research and find images on the Internet, visit areas where they wanted their story to unfold, talk and interview people who they think resemble their heroes, and anything that could help them better define their characters. The first assignment aimed in helping them enter the fictional world of their stories: Assignment No 1: Tell a story in 6 frames! Start by thinking: what story do I want to tell? who is my audience? what do I need (materials etc.) to tell my story? Now, look around you. Can you find some things that might be able to help you? Could these objects/images/photos, be part of your story? Think of what you â€˜d like to say with your story. Who is the main character? What is he/she trying to do? What happens at the end? Sketch a rough storyboard. You are only allowed to use 6 frames. Add a title; Add text on each frame (if needed) Design thinking in action. Step 3 They brought all gathered material to class. We then started working on the ideas they already had, and elaborating the assignment mentioned above. They were asked to make certain decisions based on their story. Some decided to work on black and white, some others decided that their storyboard should be colored. Some created fictional stories from old times with knights and witches; while others chose to work on an everyday story with elements they see around them. Some stories were romantic, others adventurous, some funny. They really entered the world of their heroes, empathizing with them, maybe sharing some personal traits with them, giving something of
themselves in their characters. Finally, they worked extensively on the main character, describing him/her in full detail. Design thinking in action. Step 4 All rough drawings then gave place to the final artwork. It was on an A3 white paper, separated in 12 frames. All students redesigned their storyboard following the rules of the narrative structure (see graphic on the right) The final storyboard had a beginning, middle and an end. Their hero had gone through an adventure, had fought and at the end, a new lesson had been learned. The hero was a new person. Design thinking in action. Step 5 The students had the opportunity to present their work during the ACS Athens Literacy Festival 3 weeks later. They were all very proud of their work, and had the opportunity to explain that to all parents that came to visit. A very interesting fact is that some of them, had grown to love their hero so much, that they continued using the same character in all the assignments I gave them, throughout the semester. Working on a charac-
Current Page, Top: The 12 Frame Storyboard assignment
ter and immersing themselves in the fictional world of their character’s fight, brought them closer and created a certain kind of proximity that they refused to let go until the end of the semester! Design thinking is a fascinating new trend that can be applied in so many different areas. Its success, I think, lies in the fact that the “end user” but also the artists, students or others become the center of the production, which, magically, brings up all their hidden talents, and helps everyone involved to “treat” the project as if it was a part of them. It encourages the student to demonstrate empathy towards other students/co-workers and towards the needs of the whole team. The ultimate goal becomes the component that unites all elements and all people. ■■
Current Page, Bottom: Finished storyboards presented at the Literacy Festival
all of our classroom teachers and know that this impact will never be forgotten. ■■
Christina Bakoyannis, Middle School and Academy Faculty (JK-12 Science Coordinator). Hired in 2000, 17 years experience:
adventures Middle School Spotlight: Service to Society by Rebecca L. Meyer, Middle School Principal
he influence of a teacher can never be erased.” –Unknown
The single greatest impact to any educational system in the world can be found within the classroom teachers. Middle School serves as the bridge towards high school and where students are introduced to fundamental life skills. Adolescent students may have disdain and even wish to bypass this time of their lives. Therefore, Middle School educators can face many obstacles when striving for the goal of building students to be humble and responsible global citizens. Fundamentally educators at ACS Athens value students to develop Ethos. Our institution’s goal is to serve humanity as an international component where students envision a world beyond their classrooms, gates of ACS Athens and borders of Greece. Especially in today’s modern world, where individualistic mindsets appear standard, educators are required to seek into their broad repertoire and develop creative ways to engage 21st century leaders. To teach this age-level, a very specific type of educator is necessary: one with patience. At ACS Athens, I have witnessed teachers that have this quality. The following four educators describe their own unique perspectives of embedding positive ideals into young students’ minds. As we recognize our institution’s service to humanity, let us not forget the importance of
“The Cosmos of Teaching Science to the Middle School Child” Science is really about building understanding and asking questions about the cosmos around you. It is about making your own discoveries. My first encounter with middle school students was in 2002. I have been privileged to be part of this Middle School science adventure since then. The universe of the Middle School child expands at its fastest rate during this time and is wonderful to observe as a teacher. The Middle School bubbles with energy and when this energy is tapped into, it can be converted to memorable teaching moments. My best teacher moments have actually been the moments that students discovered something for themselves, were engaged in the process and asked questions. Whether that meant looking closely at something under the microscope, meticulously performing an experiment, brainstorming a science fair project, re-doing an experiment that did not work, building models to demonstrate a scientific phenomenon or coming up with intriguing and open-ended questions. Furthermore, it has also been the sense of care and sensitivity that students have demonstrated towards their natural environment and others that has touched me over the years. I recall moments when students have been carefully trying to assist a sparrow make its way out from the classroom, get excited when they see the green parrots fly by from the window and overall seeing students serving their natural world and being sensitive to the environmental issues that they are posed. Looking forward to experiencing and sharing these moments with the future Middle School students of ACS Athens. ■■
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Tonia Firigou, Middle School and Academy Faculty, (JK-12 Languages Coordinator) Hired in 1999, 18 years experience: ACS Athens and 21st Century Education When Albert Einstein said: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination” he could probably not predict that the 21st century’s learning would be so much related with imagination and creativity, where, creativity would be the center of the world. At ACS Athens, according to our philosophy, we challenge our students to use their unique potential and create their own learning. Having that in mind and at the same time, realizing that in our days we have a new model of learners who prefer hyperlinked information, and enjoy working in teams collaborating, sharing and exchanging ideas, we understand that the teacher gets a more demanding role, as she needs to prepare students not only for their university studies but also for the future as global citizen. Therefore, a lifelong learner teacher, who wants to have a proactive role, needs to take the risk and try innovative methods of teaching and learning. When a few years ago, we had been exposed to theFlex methodology, I could not imagine that this methodology would change so drastically the entire learning concept and my teaching philosophy. For someone who didn’t have the chance to get exposed to this fruitful methodology, the definition of Flex is clear if we have in mind that the first i stands for independent student learning, the second i stands for inquiry based student learning and by Flex we mean a face-toface, flexible, guided student learning supported by technology
direction. The shift from the old traditional classroom where the teacher was the center of the world to a new inspiring and interactive class where the student is the center of attention moved the learning process closer to the global morfosis paradigm, which means an educational philosophy promoting a holistic educational experience for all young people. It also means understanding and successfully combining the academic, emotional, physical, intellectual and ethical components to ensure a healthy, balanced individual. An individual who will successfully cope with the changes involved when entering higher education as well as the changes that life brings. Following all the above, it is clear that according to Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, the Educational Paradigm of Morfosis is based on three basic educational principles which are holistic, meaningful and harmonious guided by Ethos which is described by C. S. Lewis as “doing the right thing when no one is watching” (ACS Athens website) I personally feel lucky and honored to be a member of the ACS educators’ family serving students’ learning and promoting educational and ethical excellence! ■■
The expectations I had from my students changed as the expectations from myself as a teacher changed. The picture of the active learner I had in my mind, has been replaced by a new model of the engaged student, who completes a part of independent work and uses creatively teacher’s guidance to complete successfully the learning process; it’s the student, who, when, meets with his teacher in the face to face part, is able to engage an interactive discussion at the higher levels of Bloom’s revised taxonomy. The Flex came as a gift to meet the new generation’s students’ needs, moving teaching and learning in a different refreshing
Middle School Principal Rebecca Meyer (center) and educators Sevi Koniossis and Christina Bakoyannis show their House colors during House Kick-Off Day
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Irini Rovoli, Elementary Vice-Principal/Elementary and Middle School Faculty Hired in 1995, 22 years experience:
Starvoula Salouros, Middle School and Academy Faculty Hired in 1999, 18 years experience:
Being an Elementary teacher for almost two decades, it felt like a real challenge to be assigned a Middle School Greek language class four years ago. It really has been a great responsibility ever since but at the same time a rewarding experience for me as an educator.
“Why I Love to Teach”
I think one of the biggest compliments I have received in my teaching career so far comes from two highly- critical and hard-to-please 8th grade girls: As I was taking attendance one morning, they raised their hand and said: Miss, can we ask you a question? (Now what’s on their mind? Was I prepared to answer?) When I replied yes, this is what I heard: Miss, every time we come to class you look so happy. How does this happen? This is when I realized that as in our own homes, looking happy (let alone feeling it as well) and showing a positive attitude sends perhaps the most powerful message to our teenagers. Along with this, my experience in the Middle School has taught me that the students need:
Why I love teaching Middle School you ask? Well, sit back and be ready to gasp! It is not for the glory and the fame Or the magnificent thrill of a game. I teach because I love children you see, Who always place their faith in me. I teach to shower children with love So to show them they are all above. I teach to show children they can if they try Even though they must let out a sigh! I teach to bring out each child’s best And for them to believe special is not being like the rest. I teach to make sure every child gets my hug and a smile Since maybe they have not seen these in a while. I teach to make learning interesting and fun To keep children in school and not make them run!
To be listened to To be recognized for every effort they make To feel respected by having a well-structured lesson To look up to their teachers To be provided with hope and dreams for the future ■■
I teach for the children to gain self-esteem For them one day to achieve their big dream. I teach because my love for children is profound And I am confident this can rarely be found! ■■
ers “confronted with practical decisions” (Connelly, 2008 as cit. in Uhrmacher, 2016, p.615) need to combine eclectically elements from all the pedagogical theories. All the above worked as an object of creative preoccupation that every teacher would try to challenge.
Applying the Aesthetic Experience in Teaching a Greek LA Literature and Language Course in a multicultural environment by Maria Anna Sidiropoulou, Faculty of Greek Language and Literature
ntroduction The question of why a teacher may use art to teach a language course appeared after the first two weeks of contact with Greek LA 7 students. It was based on the hypothesis that 12 year old students exposed to art may be more excited to participate in class, learn relative skills in an indirect manner, enhance their vocabulary and learn to cooperate with their new teacher. The hypothesis became more concrete when the sensitive issue of learning difficulties interfered; how a teacher would support his students more effectively, how best to reach the subconscious of the student; how native speakers in a multicultural and international environment could be exposed to stimuli of learnin in their mother tongue without raising the level of their panic, especially when the transition to Middle School seemed difficult. Teach-
Bibliographically, the value of aesthetic experience has first become a subject for study by Kant and Dewey in relation to teaching. It is perceived as an emitted stimulus to be decoded. In case of difficulties when interpreting the work of Art, a new mechanism on the observer’s part is activated1. The aesthetic experience offers the chance to organize cognitive skills in a manner different to what is common in their use to perceive the empirical reality. An alternative, creative approach is applied. The use of various symbolic systems is able to activate multiple intelligences and to fulfill the needs of the individual for a holistic personality development. The people who study communication in Palo Alto support the importance of art2. As verification of the arguments for the value of art in the literacy programs in Brazil, Freire suggests contemplative and critical dialogue and the transformation of mental habits through its observation. However, we need to study the techniques applied to make the best use of art, so that we can strengthen the efficiency of the transformation of our thoughts and our evaluations3. Aesthetic experience and Results of aesthetically oriented teaching Aesthetic experience offers the ability to organize cognitive skills differently from the way they are used to perceiving the empirical reality. An alternative, creative perspective is applied (Hegel & Schelling, as cit. in Raikou, 2011). The use of various symbolic systems is capable of activating the multiple intelligence and meeting the individual’s needs for holistic personality development. The creation of a work of art concerns the subjective view and expression of the world and the psyche, rewarding individuality rather than the conformity of expression. In analyzing works of art, we can discover that reality is not one-dimensional. There are different ways to perceive the world and to express behavior. Art functions as a means to imagine the ambient environment in an alternative, different manner than the one we take for granted and which has been imprinted in the collective unconsciousness, either by 1 The observer experiences confusion and is entangled in disorienting quandaries. He wonders what is the “fact” behind his observation and is unable to perceive and comprehend the hidden meaning of the work. He also wonders which of the ideas up to the present moment is valid in his system of perception or is not compatible with the work of Art he examines, so that he can understand or interpret it. 2 Examination of brain functions has proven that for a fully developed personality there should be, both cultivation of logic and of imagination and expression of feelings, which is best served through interaction with art (Kokkos, 2011). 3 Tisdell (2008) who deals with how systematic observation of pop culture and mass entertainment works can lead to critical learning, concerning both social relations and issues.
the dominant culture or by the society’s conceptual consensus. Τhere is, therefore, room for diversity, heterogeneity and an intercultural approach, without their being inculpated. According to the bibliography, the effect of aesthetically oriented teaching shows many advantages compared to traditional teaching4. The difference lies not in the practice of the evaluation of the work based on some artistic code of values; it lies in being involved in questioning that will advance a contemplative dialogue with ourselves and with others, so that stereotypical, ineffective convictions and frames of reference can be reshaped. Perkins (1994) suggests a progress of stages of analysis and observation of the works of art5 that will facilitate contemplation and activate the recipient to ask questions that would favor multiple interpretations. Teaching through a work of art is synonymous to an experiential process. The contemplations and experiences that arise are lived in various new ways and cause alternative reactions to the new state. Opportunities for change are created, not just through a personally different view of things but also through teamwork. Living the experience and the alternative ways of interpretation by other “co-learners”, adds sparks for critical contemplation and new plans of action.
axe of the vocabulary enrichment as an objective set in the Course Syllabus. After some time, students are in no need of the word banks. At first, the students focus on and observe an object of their research - painting (engraving paintings or paintings) which is related to the topics of discussion met in Literature and the Novel Alexander the Great. From the observation of the whole painting they proceed to the parts. Students may be fascinated with either pleasant or unpleasant feelings or both. They are asked to justify their points of views and emotions- feelings based on bipolar descriptors (Marković, 2014), positive and negative ones expressing their aesthetic experience, as well. Aesthetic experience is identifiable with two meanings: “preferences” and “states of mind” (Marković, 2010, p.47) induced by scenes, observed objects included in the work of art and facts from the Novel. This is in compliance to the notion of flow (Czíkszentmihályi & Robinson, 1990, p.9), a mental state in which the person is immersed
Applying an aesthetically oriented lesson plan In order to organize the Greek LA 7 lessons, we used the theoretical approaches to the learning function of art. We organized our thoughts on the basis of a table corresponding to the stages of transforming learning, Perkins’ observation and the implementation stages of the workshop for the exploitation of art for educational purposes (Kokkos, 2009). We were assisted by our Principal, Ms. Meyer, to use the OPTIC Approach6. The OPTIC Approach is a combination of practices based on observation and empowering the student’s active engagement in the learning process. It numbers the stages of Observation, Parts, Title, Interactive Feelings/ Thoughts, and Conclusion. The stages meet the advantages derived from the aesthetic experience and its emotional content. Figural and semi-figural paintings are selected as stimuli, because they can be defined as “realistic, unrealistic, more or less realistic” (Marković, 2010, p.53). The approach is applied after one month of classes. The units of Description Skills and the related Vocabulary are preceded according to the Course Syllabus. To better assist the expression of the above, the students are provided with word banks either produced by their teacher or produced in cooperation with their peers and teacher. They are regularly used, recycled and added to a Glossary, which is a collective project running throughout the school year. The word banks function as sets of descriptors selected by attributes. Students may provide short descriptors- mostly adjectives, as met in research (Marković, 2010, p.49), but these descriptors also support the 4 5 6
See Appendix 1 See Appendix 2 See Appendix 3
in the process of the activity and is characterized by high focusing and concentrating or mindfulness (Teasdale, 2008 as cit. in Marković, 2010 p.48) and is combined to Dewey’s aesthetic experience and appreciation of beauty (Uhrmacher, 2009). Students give a title to their analysis, which includes their observation and comments so far, and proceed to the interactive feelings as met to Dewey’s idea of interaction. In this stage, they are involved in dialogue and the process of justifying their points of views allows them to build arguments in reference to the text previous analyzed with the aid of their peers and teacher. In this stage, writing skills may be also applied emphasizing the strategy of supporting a thesis. Students’ participation in this stage is elevated as class observation provides proof that the whole class is activated. It is the moment for our introvert students to unfold and express their points of view, Current Page: Phillip the II Assassination, Engraving Painting
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rare. It seems that there has been an increase of joy in the learning process for both sides of participants; the paintings were transformed into the space where students and teacher met to share ideas, recall and promote cognitive experience and even enjoy the sense of humor tactfully expressed. One of the students was always sharing a mocking mood but meaningful and creative comment, which was welcomed by peers and concluded the class discussion. Students were supportive of learning through this process.
students with OLP accommodations to betray their potentials of oral skills and those with artistic inclinations to take over. It is a pleasant surprise to have the low achievement students motivated and willing to participate. An interesting case to see that it’s the time when everyone at his 12 debates to everyone and uses concrete arguments to justify ideas and prove himself true. All the above, lead to various taxonomies of aesthetic categories which reflect students’ positive and negative emotions but also meet the analysis of aesthetic categories created by Eco (2004, as cit.in Marković, 2010, p.50). In the end, students provide a conclusion of their own. The indicative lesson plan is in relation to the Novel and the Chapter of Philippe II Assassination. It was taught one week earlier and there has been text analysis in class. When met again with the class, students were exposed to the following engraving paintings to connect the previous lesson and further analyze the tragic position of Philippe. The main topic of analysis was to imagine Phillip’s state of mind and feelings at the time of the assassination. Students were asked to produce a text (150-180 words) describing and expressing Philip’s last thoughts and feelings. Indicative discussion A summary of observations of the above aesthetic oriented lessons led to the following conclusions: The preoccupation of the degree of student engagement displayed in classrooms is often discussed among teachers and the methods for teaching applied are meant to provide occasions for meaningful satisfaction and excitement. An aesthetic oriented lesson reveals the students’ sensory experience, which, in its turn, provokes active engagement and mental connections by the students’ part. In our case, motivation was strengthened and class management was greatly improved, as redirections to students were
Current Page: Detail from engraving painting Phillip the II Assassination
Aesthetic experience is connected to long-term memory and that of “episodic” memory (Conway, 2016) because: The essential reasons why some events are remembered better than others are that the better remembered occasions involve more intense and varied sensory experiences and produce more connections among cortical neurons.... thus, sensory experiences are crucial for long-term memory… in addition to joy in learning, we should also find an increase in episodic memory retention (Mark, 1992 as cit. in Uhrmacher, 2009 p. 631) As the aesthetic experience encompasses descriptors, vocabulary enrichment is ameliorated. Students used a range of words and adjectives to describe feelings, responses, ideas, integrated conclusions and were more detailed in expressing themselves. That is compatible to the growth of perceptual knowledge met by Uhrmacher (2009), who states that the more someone distinguishes, the more he comes to know—literally (p.631) and confirms Wittgenstein’s motto “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”. Usually in teaching, the learning goals seem to embrace the positive contribution of the subject to the student. In our case, the reverse happened. Students’ reactions, facial expressions, body language and comments-language used, showed a meaningful added value to what was learnt during the sessions on their part. It was the time when the activity sparkled their imagination, obliged them to make connections and references to the novel and they took the risk of exposing themselves in supporting their points of view. Supporting their thesis equals to creative argumentation, an objective regularly pointed out during school meetings. After this experience, the teacher’s point of view is that art functions as a tool to assist teaching language but it would take the teacher some time to organize a gallery of paintings to support the learning goals. It seems that aesthetically oriented lesson plans are indeed an object of research to continue.
ETHOS • FALL 2017 REREFENCES Connelly, F. M. (Ed.). (2008). The Sage handbook of curriculum and instruction. Los Angeles: Sage. Conway, M. A. (2009). Episodic memories. Neuropsychologia, 47 (11), 2305-2313. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Robinson, R. E. (1990). The art of seeing: An interpretation of the aesthetic encounter. Getty Publications. Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED388602.pdf Eco, U. (2004). History of beauty. Rizzoli International Publications [Storia della belezza] Kokkos, Α. (2009). Method of using art in educational practice. Directorate of Secondary Education of Eastern Attica and Eugenides Foundation, 475-479 Kokkos, A. (2011). Modern Approaches to Adult Education. Patra: OUP Marković, S. (2010). Aesthetic experience and the emotional content of paintings. Psihologija, 43 (1), 47-64 Marković, S. (2014). Object domains and the Experience of Beauty. Art & Perception, 2, Issue 1-2, 119 – 140. Available: http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/ journals/10.1163/22134913-00002020 Perkins, D. N. (1994). The Intelligent Eye. Learning to think by Looking at Art. Harvard Graduate School of Education. Available: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED375069.pdf (01/03/2016) Raikou, An. (2011). Adult Education and Tertiary Education: Investigating Capability to Develop Critical Reflection through Aesthetic Experience in Learner Teachers. Dissertation, OUP Tisdell, E. (2008). Critical Media Literacy and Transformative Learning: Drawing on Pop Culture and Entertainment Media in Teaching for Diversity in Adult Higher Education. Journal of Transformative Education, 6, 48-67. Available: http://jtd.sagepub.com/content/6/1/48.abstract (02/03/2017) Uhrmacher, P. B. (2009). Toward a theory of aesthetic learning experiences. Curriculum Inquiry, 39 (5), 613-636.
APPENDICES 1. When taught in an aesthetic manner, the subject brings to educator and learners:
2. Table of observation of a work of art
Observation of the work of art
Creative observation with
several interpretation parameters observation
Detailed examination and
Holistic approach of the work
and synthesis of interpretations
3. The OPTIC Approach stages Students take notes on and develop arguments about: OBSERVE: student’s observations on the background, figures, facial expressions, anything the student evaluates as important to him PARTS: what the student likes and dislikes and why TITLE the student gives to the painting
*Satisfaction: learning through the senses and in a pleasant manner.
INTRACTIVE FEELINGS: student’s positive and negative ones and why
*Honing of perceptive skills: the work of art transmits messages, the decoding of which activates perception. Perception activates abstract thinking so that bonds of senses-thoughts and facts are formed.
CONCLUSION made by student ■■
*Meaning: any person involved, depending on their experience, perceptive system and senses, attributes meaning to the stimuli he perceives. *Memory recall: we recall previous personal experiences or connect memories with a work of art. *Creativity: personal criteria for evaluation and production of meaning.
Opposite Page: Vertical Motion
fter Spring Break, as the Algebra 1 Curriculum was almost completely taught to my wonderful, extraordinary Grade 7 class, I decided to film the process of Project Based Learning as the students were designing and creating models that represented their understanding of the concepts taught and presenting problems that their models could solve. Our students once again created the most phenomenal models: board games, 3D figures (houses, castles), puzzles, research reports, secret codes, handson activities, power-points, sports videos, vertical motion investigations, musical compositions, scale drawings, posters, space models, etc. The goal of this unit was to demonstrate how implementing Project Based Learning in our teaching:
Setting Learning on Fire Middle School Project Based Learning by Dora Andrikopoulos, Mathematics Faculty and JK-12 Math Coordinator
◉◉ enhances conceptual understanding in mathematics ◉◉ strengthens problem solving and critical thinking skills ◉◉ individualizes learning ◉◉ helps differentiate instruction The curriculum presented to students is always in alignment with the COMMON CORE STANDARDS The processes are based on NCTM PRINCIPLES TO ACTIONS addressing Aspect 1 8 MATHEMATICS TEACHING PRACTICES The process also includes the research on Project-Based Learning; Constructivism; Peer Evaluations and Self Assessments.
(See References) The Process A. Introduction Teaching Practice 1 Establishing clear mathematics goals to focus learning Constructivism is a process. The instructor provides multiple modes of representations / perspectives on content and creates new understandings Jacqueline Grennon Brooks and Martin G. Brooks B. Designing and Creating the Assessment Rubric Teaching Practice 2 Facilitating meaningful mathematical discourse When teachers involve their students in monitoring their own progress, students become more autonomous and are able to accurately predict their performance Kathy Dyer C. Planning and Designing Teaching Practice 3 Implementing tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving The student is a member of a community of learners; collaborates among fellow students;learns in a social experience; appreciates different perspectives and takes ownership and has a voice in the learning process Penelope Eckert Shelley Goldman Etienne Wenger D. Creating the Project Teaching Practice 4 Using and making connections among mathematical representations Constructivism Shifts emphasis from teaching to learning. Uses authentic tasks to engage learners Individualizes and contextualizes students’ learning experiences. Helps students develop processes, skills and attitudes. Considers students’ learning styles; Focuses on knowledge construction; Provides for meaningful and extended problem‐ based thinking; Constructivism says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. Janet Giesen
Supporting and providing students individually and collectively with opportunities to engage in productive struggle in learning mathematics Students benefit from a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach not only because of the connections they find among content ideas, but also because they thrive on the coherent development of their creative and independent learning skills. Inspiring Middle School Students to Engage in Deep and Active Learning NYC Department of Education F. Peer Evaluations (Using a Protocol)
Teaching Practice 6 Posing purposeful questions to advance students’ reasoning
Teaching Practice 5
As students become more active participants in the
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assessment process, they begin to evaluate their strengths and attitudes, analyze their progress in a particular area and set goals for future learning. Mick Healey, Abbi Flint and Kathy Harrington G. Self Assessment Teaching Practice 7 Building procedural fluency from conceptual understanding Teachers need to empower their students and give them a leading role in their own education. By engaging in the process of thinking about and assessing their own work, they act on the evidence of their own learning and take responsibility for it. Kathy Dyer
H. Final Product-Presentations Teaching Practice 8 Eliciting and using evidence of student thinking to assess progress and to adjust instruction As teachers evaluate these projects, they become more knowledgeable about both the standards and how to teach to them. They also become more aware of their studentsâ€™ learning needs. Thus, the process improves the quality of teaching and learning. by Marietta Saravia-Shore Students spent time evaluating and reflecting on this process.
Current and Opposite Page: Secret Code
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Reflection Questions: ◉◉ How are you using the rubric in the process of designing and creating your project? ◉◉ What problem are you creating for your model to solve? ◉◉ How are you making the connections between Performance Indicators and your mathematical representation?
can American Collection.” African Studies Companion Online (n.d.): n. pag. Web. “Self-Regulation of Learning Leads to Student Performance Improvement | KLT Blog.” Teach. Learn. Grow. N.p., 23 Nov. 2016. Web. “Student Self Assessment and Self-regulation for Successful #FormativeAssessment.” Teach. Learn. Grow. N.p., 23 Nov. 2016. Web. “Supporting Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners.” Issuu. N.p., n.d. Web.
◉◉ What difficulties have you encountered so far in the process of designing and creating your model? ◉◉ How does working outside of the classroom make you feel? ◉◉ How do Peer-Evaluations help you develop your work further? ◉◉ What is the purpose of Self-Assessment? ◉◉ What have you learnt throughout this experience? ◉◉ Do Student-Designed Projects enhance Problem Solving, Critical Thinking and Conceptual Understanding in mathematics? How? Integration of a variety of assessments and conducting investigations into the curriculum creates stronger learning for both students and teachers Linda Darling-Hammond ACS Athens Grade 7 Algebra 1 Middle School Students 2017 Dora Andrikopoulos , ACS Athens Mathematics Teacher and JK-12 Coordinator ■■ References: American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association, n.d. Web. Ascd. “Chapter 2. Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners.” Diverse Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners. N.p., n.d. Web. Ascd. “Chapter 4. Power in the Classroom: Creating the Environment.” Power in the Classroom: Creating the Environment. N.p., n.d. Web. Authentic Assessment of Teaching in Context. N.p., n.d. Web. “Building a Community of Self-Motivated Learners.” (2015): n. pag. Web. “Constructivism: A Holistic Approach to Teaching and Learning.” PDF. N.p., n.d. Web. Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning. N.p., n.d. Web. “Constructivism.” Key Concepts in Teaching Primary Mathematics (n.d.): 36-39. Web. “The Importance of Student Self Assessment #edchat.” Teach. Learn. Grow. N.p., 23 Nov. 2016. Web. “Inspiring Middle School Students to Engage in Deep and Active Learning NYC Department of Education.” N.p., n.d. Web. Mantai, Lilia. “Leading and Changing Learning Through Engaging Students in Research-Based Experiences.” Academia.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2017. “Northern Illinois University, Founders Memorial Library, Afri-
Current Page: Board Game Medieval Castle House Model
Department awards were presented by faculty. Other awards that were presented to students included: Principal’s Award- presented to a student that could always be relied on and consistently showed the institution’s theme of: “Be Ready. Be Respectful. Be Responsible.” Counselor’s Award- Presented by Mr. Stelios Kalogridakis and awarded to a student that is an exceptional role model for all students during the school year. This was awarded to student Raneem Ghoneim. U.S. President’s Awards- Given to students that received a 3.5 or above in their first semester grades and had recommendations from both school counselor and a faculty member.1 Service Awards- provided to students that modeled consistency in serving others throughout their middle school career. 2
Class of 2021 “Next Step: Academy” by Rebecca L. Meyer, Middle School Principal
record number of 89 students graduated from ACS Athens Middle School on Friday, June 16, 2017. Ms. Maria Monahogiou and Ms. Yi Nai Wang, both faculty and staff members which had graduating sons, completed a heartfelt performance of “You Raise Me Up.” Mrs. Sofia Kouvelaki, Executive Director of the HOME Project, served as commencement speaker. The HOME Project is a non-profit organization that provides support, protection, education and social integration services to unaccompanied minors. She shared a personal story of a twelve year old boy’s flight from Afghanistan to Greece. She mentioned being “Very grateful to ACS Athens for joining us in this effort to create platforms of inclusion, skills-building, and employment. That’s the only way we can fight fear, racism, xenophobia, and violence… But to do that, we need you- tomorrow’s leaders to be engaged in this… To create an environment of support and love for the children of the world.” 2016 Warren Shepherd Award, Miss Marina Polios awarded the 2017 Warren Shepherd Award Recipient to Miss Stella Argentopoulos. Each year the Warren Shepherd award is given to an ACS Athens Middle School student who displays the characteristics most similar to Warren Shepherd, a former ACS Athens Middle School student who died of a rare disease. He had been an outstanding student and made many contributions to the school, known for always lending stability to any group he joined and being helpful to all students.
Cultural Awareness- given to students which participated in the Cultural Diversity/Chinese New Years’ celebration, a highlight of the 2016-2017 school year3 Academic Challenge Award- students recognized for going above and beyond the standard Middle School Curriculum by completing 3 Academy courses during their 8th grade year.4 Transformation & Growth- highlighting positive change seen during the school year. Lorenzo Furnari received this award. Ms. Elina Pipa who served as the graduating Class of 2021’s Student Council President called the roll. The event ended the year the way it began: with a class selfie. Students were also challenged “to never forget their potential” as they progress in their Academy studies. ■■ 1 Stella Argentopoulos, Dimitrios Athanasopoulos, Constantinos Barmpouris, Maria Bitsikas, Christina Bourtzonis, Jakob Braad, Konstantinos Chasiotis, Michael Chatziantoniou, Alkiviadis Chitos, Evmorfia Dimitriadi, Panagiotis Drakos, Raneem Ghoneim, Gregory Gregoriou, Alexandra Gregoriou, Michaela Gregoriou, Ming Guo, Lizhou Hu, Yorgos Harry Kontoyiannis, Evangelos Koutsourakis, Kewei Li, Abaigeal Lorge, Nestor Macdonald, Kristina Domna Papadopoulou, Paraskevi Peskia, Styliani Adamantia Pipa, Efstathios D. Plessas, Chengjie Qiu, Cristian Rogers-Romero, Euthymia Soulanticas, Michaela Vonatsou, Bryana Webb, Jiahao Weng, Yixiao Wu, Yun Zhang, Ziyue Zhang, Daniil Zorzos 2 Raphael Schlierf, Raneem Ghoneim, Natalie al-Maleh, Alexis Papadimitrou, George Giomataris. 3 Dimitrios Athanasopoulos, Constantinos Barmpouris, Kewei Li, Chengjie Qiu, Wenya Yu, Yun Zhang, Daniil Zorzos, Huan Zhu, JiaHao Weng, and Elina Pipa 4 Constantinos Baumporius (Courses: Algebra 2 & Trigonometry Honors, Biology 9 Honors, Chinese 4 Honors), Ming Guo (Geometry, Biology 9, Fitness), and Pandelis Sfinias (Geometry, Computer Science II, Greek 4).
Current Page: Principal Meyer ends the 2016-2017 school year the way it began: a selfie with the 8th grade!
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The House System “The House, the House, the House is on….. reboot!” Reintroducing a long standing tradition of Houses at ACS Athens by Danai Papaioannou, Student Affairs Officer
CS Athens is comprised of a student body and faculty with great diversity; students represent more than 58 nationalities and our faculty consists of pioneering educators who are global citizens of the world. Our school community celebrates this variety, encouraging school spirit, building a sense of belonging and creating a sense of permanence beyond ACS Athens. This year we are reintroducing the House System, an ACS Athens tradition since 1950 that consists of four Houses: The Athenians, The Corinthians, The Spartans and The Trojans. The House system was originally introduced in British schools; students were allocated to a House and competed against each other in order to earn points for their contribution, loyalty and mutual support within their group. Traditionally, these competitions were primarily athletic, however ACS Athens aims to also promote academic compe-
titions as well as community service opportunities through this system. Each House is identified by its own color, logo and anthem, bringing together students from diverse backgrounds and encouraging them to develop their appreciation for other cultures. ACS Athens aims at connecting new with older students, making them feel a part of the community. Unity and dedication empower children to be successful academically, socially and ethically. According to this tradition, students are divided into their Houses randomly. However, those who have family members already assigned to a House (whether an alumnus parent or an older sibling) are automatically allocated to their family member’s House. Special attention is paid to the balance of girls to boys in order to avoid univariate teams. Through their participation, students take on different roles and responsibilities, enhancing their communication skills, further exploring themselves and exceeding their limits. The faculty is also actively involved, divided into the Houses, guiding the students in implementing their ideas. They share their enthusiasm with the students; develop the leadership capacity of their House members and monitor participation. ACS Athens primarily emphasizes the importance of creating smaller “family” groups within its larger community. A series of “House events” are organized throughout the school year, fostering a spirit of friendly rivalry and allowing students, parents and faculty to develop a sense of pride in working for others as well as for themselves. “Houses Kick off Celebration” stands among the greatest events that ACS Athens hold the past year, inviting students, faculty and administrators to get excited and support their House by participating in dancing, singing and other artistic activities. House points are awarded based on participation at various events and the most distinct House members are recognized for helping at school functions, showing around new families, or simply being supportive toward a peer or a classmate. One of the school’s greatest events the year that passed was the Houses Kick Off celebration The House system is designed to provide opportunities that challenge every student; an array of competitions as well as the dynamics of the House community provide the mechanisms for this, promoting collaborative working communities and building on this long-standing tradition of our school. It is an open, interactive system that keeps evolving and expanding in order to sustain the ACS Athens values of Excellence, Ethos, Areté and Global Mindedness. ■■ References: Frankfurt International School http://www.fis.edu/page.cfm?p=1100 Harrow International School Bangkok http://www.harrowschool.ac.th/The-House-System.aspx
International School of Luxembourg Jackson Road Elementary - House System http://www.jacksonroadelementary.education/pages/Jackson_Road_Elementary/Students___Families/ PBIS_House_System/Resources/House_Information MaryMount International School London http://www.marymountlondon.com/House-System The House System https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_system The International School of Turin http://www.isturin.it/campus-life/the-house-system
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cratic Discourse with others we stretch our lens and feel what our fellow human experiences. And with compassion and wisdom we act to make this school/ city/continent a better place.
Academy Welcome to ACS Athens Academy 2017-18 by Anthony Vandarakis, Academy School Principal
verything changes and nothing stands still.” Those timeless words were spoken by Heraclitus of Ephesus almost 2,500 years ago and they ring as true today as they did in Ancient Greece. Some of us are joining the Academy this year from other continents, a cadre of you are matriculating from the ACS Athens Middle School, others are beginning the Diploma Program, while a special group of you are starting your final year in high school. Our families find themselves in a state of evolution as well. Greece herself is changing: the return to the markets, with a hope for fiscal recovery and eventual prosperity, is balanced with the great humanitarian need of this decade, the migrant crisis. Time and again the ancient proverb holds firm. Knowing what to expect, which is to say we must be ready for anything, we would do well to focus on acquiring and refining the necessary attributes: the ACS Athens Academy will center learning through time honored philosophy and by putting into action our school’s mission: these two foci will help prepare us for the world we have not yet met. The word philosophy comes from the Greek words for “love” and “wisdom” and generally refers to the pursuit of wisdom, moral discipline and knowledge through logic. It is here in the quiet, contemplative moments that we see the world and our place in it. Through So-
ACS Athens has always been, and continues to be, a student-centered international school, where American educational pedagogy is embraced. It is our mission that “through excellence in teaching and by providing diverse educational experiences, that ACS Athens challenges all students to realize their unique potential: academically, intellectually, socially and ethically — to thrive as responsible global citizens.” Even here, in the lofty heights of sustained excellence, ACS Athens must also grow. No longer is it enough to provide top-level classroom instruction, but we must marry blended and flipped methodologies (i²Flex) to student choice and self-determination. “Change is the only constant.” That is a law. Through dedication to “love and wisdom” and a commitment to our mission, ACS Athens Academy students, faculty and parents will successfully navigate learning and find a way to contribute to a world that is evolving at an accelerating speed. ■■
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sponsibilities. It also inspires and motivates the need to expand the limits of the self.
“We are all learners, doers, teachers” by Stavroula Salouros, PE Faculty
earning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. We are all learners, doers, teachers.” Mrs. Stavroula Salouros As an educator for twenty-one years, I can definitely say that my teaching philosophy has evolved to better fit the needs of the students, the community, and the world. It has also evolved so to help students become better citizens of the world, and more humane individuals. I see teaching as a process by which a person helps others learn. Teaching helps students gain the knowledge and attitudes that they need in order to be responsible citizens, to survive, and to lead a useful and rewarding life. Teaching also provides a mean of passing knowledge on to the next generation. I also see teaching as the relationship between teacher and learner. This relationship is both pervasive and personal. When teaching takes place, a special and unique human connection evolves which affects the learner and the teacher. Both of them are encouraged to share information, to gain knowledge, to discover and acquire new information, to place faith in each other, and to create thirst for the unknown. This relationship develops feelings of cooperation, acceptance, happiness, and communication. It challenges both the teacher and the learner to participate in an environment filled with rules, regulations, and re-
I create a positive teaching environment for students to learn in, and I help them acquire the knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and behaviors that they will need so to examine alternatives and make responsible decisions while considering their surrounding environment. Teaching and learning ultimately become spontaneous and student-centered when moved from the confines of the classroom into the world at large. I challenge students in creating relationships with people outside the community, and considering the various processes in which they can guide and offer aid to those in need. From the collaborative learning atmosphere that results from the unique relationships developed outside the classroom, to the deep learning that occurs when students must put into practice “in the real world” what they have theorized about from behind a desk, field experiences are unmatched in their learning potential. Field experiences early in a student’s career can be formative and can inspire students to continue in a field. The “1.50 club” was created to support the “Diatrofi” program, which has been implemented by Prolespis, the Institute of Preventitive Medicine Environmental and Occupational Health, which gets its main funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Its President is Ilia Sharp, one of my long-term ACS Athens students, and a student of ACS Athens for about thirteen years now. The club aims to raise awareness and funding for the “Diatrofi” program which in turn supports students in primary and secondary public schools on socioeconomically vulnerable areas throughout Greece. The program provides food aid, and it promotes healthy eating. Basically, the program provides students with daily nutritious and healthy meals while encouraging the adoption of healthy eating habits that will affect them for a lifetime. Ilia took the initiative to form this club as he felt the need to give back to the community all he was taught about through his educational years. He wanted to help the local community children get at least one proper meal a day, because he did not want them to suffer from malnutrition. He felt the need to offer his services and to help spread awareness as it was the humane thing to do. Together, he and I, along with other club student members, have raised about 3,000 Euro in total over the past two years. This means that about 25 students have received meals for one entire school year (120 Euro cover the meals of 1 student for 1 school year). 25 students have received a proper and appropriate nutritious meal. In conclusion, educators need to prepare students for the future so they may create a kinder and more compassionate society. Educators must teach students how to think critically about world issues and to respect and care for all life on earth. Educators need to empower students with knowledge skills and tools so they can willingly provide aid to their respectful community. Together, educators and students can become world citizens by creating little humane mir-
acles. “The purpose of education is not in keeping school, but in pushing out into the world young citizens who are soaked in habits of thoughtfulness and reflectiveness, joy and commitment.” –Sizer ■■
Business Fair, 2017 by Jenny Grigoropoulos, Academy Faculty
CS Athens is an international school that aims to empower individuals to become architects of their own learning. In this context, it offers the opportunity to Grade 11 and Grade 12 students to showcase their work on a business organization of their choice, which includes investigating a decision or an issue that it is facing, and providing solution(s). Every year our students share their business projects with their peers, teachers, parents, and the greater ACS Athens community during a Business Fair that celebrates systems thinking, shared learning, academic rigor and community values.”
Current Page: “The 1.50 Club Members” Top Left to Right: Dimitris Panagiotopoulos, Dinos Karydas, George Venetopoulos, Ilia Sharp, Zuhair AlSourani, Stathis Fragoulis, Mrs. Stavroula Salouros, Thania Sbarouni, Eugenia Lampiri. First Row Left to Right: Ilias Fafalios, Alexandra Demetriades, Sophia Bachtalia, Chryssoula Synodinou, Ismini Papaspyrou. Not Pictured: Takao Yatagai, Arthur Aharonian, Alex Marianos.
Above is the beginning of the e-mail forwarded to the ACS Athens community and the five judges who would be honoring us with their presence during the Business Fair 2017. Our judges dedicated their entire day to spend with the student-participants to share their work. The judges in the evaluating committee were: Ms. Gina Mamidaki, owner and CEO of BlueGr, luxury hotels and resorts, and keynote speaker for the day, Dr. Andreas Papastamos, economist and writer who believes that only education and young people can bring change, Mr. Evangelos Koromilos, manager representing the pharmaceutical industry, Ms. Evdokia Simon, interior designer and decorator and alumna of ACS Athens, and Ms. Aimilia Drogaris, faculty of ACS Athens. The students undertook a project, which would lead them to their Internal Assessments for their IB compulsory work. They had to decide on an organization of their choice, investigate a decision or an issue that it was facing based on data and information collect-
ed, and suggest solution(s). This project is a major assessment component for the Business Management course. The Business Fair event is an annual one, during which business students share their business projects with their peers, teachers, parents, and the greater ACS Athens community. The Business Fair celebrates systems thinking, shared learning, academic rigor and community values. This year there were 21 projects on display.
The Business Fair day approached. The event took place on Thursday, May 25, 2017, at the Lobby of the Theater at ACS Athens. Students eager to present their projects were working tirelessly to produce the best outcome possible for months. Students exhibiting their work arrived well before the designated time. Their stress levels were quite high, but so was their anticipation and enthusiasm. Not knowing exactly what to expect, the surprise factor was evident as well. The feelings were mixed, pleasant and curious, at the same time.
demonstrated by the students’ work and the actual presentations were quite overwhelming. They could not reach a decision on who should be the winner. One of the judges-professionals honoring us with their presence proposed that each student received an award for his/her presentations. Although inspiring as a thought, it was suggested that only two winners should be announced. Over an hour was dedicated to reach a decision. Painstakingly, they decided that two students were the ones fully displaying the requirements and expectations of the assignment; Malou Xepapadaki and Dinos Karydas were the winners for the Business Fair 2017. They were the students who were awarded the internship at the BlueGr Luxury Hotels and Resorts.
The two students were given the opportunity to present their work to the audience and were awarded a dynamic round of applause. The event was a celebration of hard work, dedication, good sportsmanship, and The event started. Evprofessionalism. Everyeryone at their stations, one present acknowlwell prepared, profesedged the commitsionally dressed and ment, perseverance, enthusiastic to particand expertise revealed BUSINESS MANAGEMENT IB STUDENTS ipate in the event and by the participants. All present their work. Ms. students were winners; Gina Mamidakis, stood of the experience, the next to the podium and generosity, the fellowpresented her genuineship, and the collaboraly powerful and inspition, which resulted in rational while informative PowerPoint presentation, the celebration of work done in the spirit of altruism, concluding with her presents to the two winners; an teamwork, and ethos. internship for twenty one days in one of the BlueGr resorts. The excitement and zeal was now amplified. I would like to thank my students participating at the Business Fair for their hard work and dedication: The presentations were initiated. The students stood next to their well-prepared projects presented their Ali Mohammad work, their reasons for undertaking the process, re- Aravantinos Konstantinos search conducted, findings, and recommendations. Bachtalia Sofia The judges were impressed by the professionalism Fragkoulis Eftathios and hard work demonstrated on the posters and dec- Kalpinis Andreas orating the tables in the Atrium. The Media Studio Karydas Konstantinos Specialist recorded the students responding to ques- Mamidakis-Venetopoulos Aristea tions during an interview held. Once the judges had Mamidakis-Venetopoulos George visited the different stands, it was time for them to Negiris Niovi meet and discuss the presentations, evaluate them Panagiotopoulos Dimitrios based on the rubric supplied to them, and decide on Papaspyrou Ismini the two winners. Plessas Angeliki Students working on a probability Investigation Prapas Ismini Flexibility of i2Flex methodology Their remarks about the absolute professionalism
"Businessfair – Poster by Jenny Grigoropoulos." – Poster by Jenny Grigoropoulos. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2017. "Diverse People in a Meeting and Teamwork Concept." Shutterstock.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2017. <https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/diversepeople-meeting-teamwork-concept-217486570>. Success - Google. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2017. <https://www.google.gr/search? q=success&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjFgLq35uLTAhVMK1AKHXiiBzAQ_AUICigB&biw=1280&bih=894#imgrc=1QRxSyacDeiOOM:>.
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Pressas Rafaella Proiskos Alexandros Sharp Ilia Sideri Georgia Stavrou Marina Tsourekas Christos Xepapadaki Malou Zhou Shan And our judges for contributing their entire day to spend with us: Ms. Gina Mamidaki Dr. Andreas Papastamos Mr. Andreas Koromilos Ms. Evdokia Simon Ms. Aimilia Drogaris
“Existential concerns” IB Visual Arts exhibition 2017 by Sophia Soseilos, Academy Faculty
he 2017 IB Visual Arts exhibition was held between the 28th of March and the 6th of April at the school’s Theatre Lobby. The participants were May Apostolou, Athena Iliakopoulos, Nikos Lagarias and Sofia Pipa. The opening reception took place on the 28th of March. Many came to honor their work, family, and friends of the participants as well as faculty members of the school. IB Visual Arts consists of three components; the Process Portfolio, the Comparative Study and the Exhibition. The exhibition is an internally examined assessment task worth only 40% of the total grade but it is in a way the most important compartment since it unfolds the psyche and the major concerns or preoccupations of the students. The students should also show technical resolution, successful communication of ideas and synthesis of form and function. Part of the students’ task is to accompany their works with exhibition texts (which state the title, medium, size and a brief outline of the original intentions of each selected artwork) as well as curatorial rationale. The explanations need to justify the selection, arrangement and exhibition of their artworks within the designated space and reflect on how the exhibition conveys an understanding of the
relationship between the artworks and the viewer. This year our IB visual Arts HL students were only four but they managed to fill the Theatre Lobby with outstanding exhibits. Each one of our young artists had their own distinctive identity. All of them were not only technically excellent but also deeply thoughtful in existential concerns. May Apostolou’s artworks deal with the concept of abnormality. The following text is part of her curatorial rationale: “The frequent exposal to the abnormal depiction of human nature in my body of artworks, eventually lead to losing the sensitivity towards the matter of the abnormal. In other words, visuals that could have been considered ‘undesirable’ or ‘scary’ and fairly distant from the common man from the viewers are depicted as images triggering an existential identification or a mental turmoil that many human experience. This exhibition therefore is not a construction of images aiming to depict the concept of the abnormal. The aim that is indirectly attempted to convey is to debunk this concept by exploring how an abnormality can be used as a vehicle to express an existential perspective. This existential perspective accepts and treats humans as equals due to the common inevitable faith. The debunking of the fear and threat that is experienced by the majority due to abnormalities holds great significance while it rejects social schism and disunity and it accepts and treats humans as equals irrespective of any abnormalities they might have and human nature.” Sofia Pipa’s exhibition theme is about the cycle of life. The following text is part of her curatorial rationale: Through my art, I try to answer the question: What is human nature and how does it develop through time? I try to reflect on the theme of human actions; how one action causes an event. As an art student living
in a developing society I feel that the newer generations forget the importance of the older ones. Every generation is dependent on its past; that is how we develop as a race. Moreover, through my artwork I want to show how one’s life may change and develop. More specifically, I have drawn inspiration from personal experiences, opinions, and memories. Throughout this exhibition, I wanted to show the circle of life, from the early creation stages, to completion…We live in a developing society, which is subverting and merging into an industrial and materialistic world; as a result, the newer generations forget and change intertemporal values. Through my artwork, I want to show the importance of connecting older and newer generations, and how unique and unpredictable one’s cycle of life may be.” Nick Lagarias’ preoccupation is the journey through life. The following text is part of Nick’s curatorial rationale: “The work I completed during the IB Visual Arts course represents the journey of the soul, and the journey of individuals through life. The human being, I feel, connects to architecture, as both begin as an idea, which later becomes the plans to a design (DNA being the plans of the human body and blueprints like the ground plan are the designs of the house). Those plans lay the baseline: the skeletal system, the foundation. Once this is set, the form is created by muscles, skin, organs, pillars, cement and steel. In the end, the finished product is always unique, due to the ‘soul’ and ‘personal environment’ of both the human being and the building. The journey of the soul of begins from the birth of the being and ends to an unknown destination, the afterlife.”
Athina’s Iliakopoulou main focus is the notion of distortion. This is part of Athena’s curatorial rationale: The entire body of work concerns experimenting with disfiguring the human face. However recognition needs to remain, but as the image is constantly distorting, this recognition becomes abstract. I therefore experimented throughout discovering the boundaries between recognition and distortion. The works are divided into six warping categories; emotional distortion through extreme feeling, through reflection/ refraction, color, abnormalities, and replication of movement. The viewer must feel that there is no concrete reality. ■■
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and closing statements and testimonies. This experience proved fruitful for students and teachers alike, but most importantly, the level of enthusiasm about the content proved to Mr. Dogherty and I that this approach was yielding results. Roles: Having the ability to make personal choices, participants were assigned a variety of roles; judges, lawyers, jurors, witnesses and media team representatives. All students were asked to indicate their top three preferences in terms of trial roles. To the extent that was possible, the trial role-assignments were derived from this list.
The Napoleon Trial: Past Meets the Future by Hrisi Sandravelis, Academy Faculty
ackground and Course Information:
In an on-going effort to maximize the learning experience, this year’s ninth grade combo class turned to technology. The combo course is an inclusive, interdisciplinary, team-taught fusion of English and History. This recipe allows for the creative delivery of a holistic curriculum. This student-centered method of instruction encourages students to construct knowledge by understanding the historical influence of literature and literary influence over history. The potential for learning is limitless. Unit of Study: The fifth unit of study this academic year, “War and Peace in the 20th Century,” encompassed several topics, but focused specifically on Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Revolution. It was within this context that our 78 ninth-graders carried out the trial of the century, charging Napoleon with: “Crimes Against Humanity” and “War Crimes.” Students were allowed to use evidence existing only up to 1820. In preparation for the actual trial, students were provided time and resources to work through a myriad of activities. Some of these included: understanding courtroom procedures, learning trial-specific vocabulary and signal-words, completing OCVPL (Origin, Content, Value, Purpose, Limitations) charts, delineating between primary and secondary sources, preparing court documents and evidence, and writing opening
In an effort to blend the traditional curriculum with cutting-edge technology, the English/History combo class was the first to make use of the state-of-the-art Sabbagh Media Studio. For this task, there were several phases. The students assigned as media-specialists from both classes worked with the studio personnel to design practical and relevant sets, videos and newscasts. These students created presentations which aired before, during, and after the trial and helped the witnesses and jurors to get a big-picture perspective. For the actual trial, approximately 10 students were situated in the green room. These students performed the trial based on weeks of preparation and a dress rehearsal. The students acting as the media worked with the experts in the technology room adjacent to the green room. Those assigned as witnesses and jurors watched the trial via livestream feed from the second floor of the Sabbagh Learning Commons. Reflection: Integrating history and literature with the progressive technology we have available to us at ACS Athens has allowed the combo class to put a unique spin on an age-old lesson. Our students were able to bring the trial to life and were excited to do so. ■■
Napoleon being questioned during the final hours of the trial.
Current Page: As is clear in the images above, the audience was enthralled by the trial unfolding before them
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Current Page Top: Anastasia Nikolaidi: News Anchor
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Trial evolves, providing new questions for students to solve and innovative avenues for them to display knowledge. This year the trial involved the largest number of students from all skill levels as two separate Combo classes clashed to persuade the student jury of the innocence or guilt of President Harry S. Truman for “Crimes against Humanity”. By adjusting the date of the trial, we as teachers change the scope of the research question for each side as we only allow sources that exist prior to the trial date. This year, for example, the Trial took place on May 4-5, 1962, which is the latest we’ve ever placed it, encouraging students to consider decision in WWII, the Korean War, and the Cold War.
The 16th Annual Truman Trial at ACS Athens Creating experiences that allow students to construct learning! by Dave Nelson, Social Studies Faculty, Creator of the Truman Trial c. 2001 and Hercules Lianos, Literature Faculty
s the year comes to a close, many alumni swing through the 10th grade Combo room to reminisce about their time at ACS Athens. Inevitably they ask, “Who won the Truman Trial this year?”, and are also eager to remind us of the outcome of their class’s trial. Years later, many students still remember their line of questioning, the controversial moments, or the things they wish they had done differently. Students remember because they were engaged in learning at a very different level than traditionally takes place in many educational environments. The Truman Trial continues to challenge students in ways that expand the scope of this 10th Grade integrated performance assessment and involves more students along the way. Every year, for the past sixteen years, the Truman
Essentially, the date is the only thing that we as the teachers set; the students do the rest. Teams of student lawyers lead the class through designing a case line, developing witnesses and formulating the entire case structure to ultimately persuade a jury of their peers. Not only do students apply their historical interpretations of the research, they also create lines of questioning and testimonies that utilize persuasive techniques learned in literature. Furthermore, student witnesses are put to the test when the opposition lawyers cross examine them, requiring impromptu responses that exhibit their ability to anticipate and think on their feet. Throughout the process, students are truly architects of their own learning. Ever Evolving A constant challenge educators face is accommodating a variety of learning approaches and skill levels. With increased school registration resulting in over one hundred and thirty students participating in the Truman Trial this year, meeting this challenge was imperative. We realized that the new Suheil Sabbagh Media Studio could provide us the opportunity to add a new dimension to the Trial. The formation of news teams would assist in cultivating three major skill areas: student independence, critical reception of information and critical communication of information. News teams were given a topic related to the time period between the end of World War II and the trial date. Same as the lawyers and witnesses, the news teams only used primary and secondary sources from within the timeframe given. Throughout the research process, information was gathered and evaluated until the broader context of the topics became clearer. Students then honed in on an event they felt would strengthen their case to make a news broadcast, assigning the roles amongst themselves and creating the script and visuals. Having studied figurative language in literary texts and persuasive language in political speech and campaigns, they employed devices that would persuade the audience of their perspective. A major aim of this process is for students to understand the relationship between communication goals and use of language. Additionally, the Prosecution and Defense Teams each create a website hosted on the ACS Athens Digi-
2017 Team Defense with President Truman
2017 Winning Team Prosecution with President Truman
Defense Attornies take a Stand for Truman
Fidel Castro Testifies for the Prosecution
Odysseas for the Prosecution in the Cross Examination of Churchill
Testimony of Douglas MacArthur
Ioanna and Aristotelis for the Defense playing General MacArthur and Winston Churchill
Getting Ready for the 2017 Truman Trial Lydia and Alexandra
cation platform. All students create a webpage for their characters, displaying research of their character’s background, an overview of their testimony, as well as an evaluation of two sources that they used during the trial. Ultimately when the preparation, leadership, and enthusiasm of the students meet the technology of the Suheil Sabbagh Media Studio as well as the professionalism and modern technology of the Theater at ACS Athens, the 10th Grade Truman Trial comes to life! The Trial not only attracts parents and visiting classes, but also online viewers who stream the experience over the live internet feed. This added challenge of public performance is yet another reason that students respond to the Truman Trial with such high expectations and work ethic. You can view many of the past trials directly on the school’s YouTube station or simply search “ACS Truman Trial” on YouTube to see for yourself. A School Philosophy At ACS Athens we strive to create learning experiences for students that pose just as many questions as they deliver answers. The 10th grade Truman Trial is designed to challenge students to interpret and evaluate their research to collaboratively create a winning case for their side. Ultimately, the goal of the Trial is to educate ACS Athens students to broaden their perspectives when investigating the nature of “historical truths”, as well as to critically decode and communicate information so they can better serve humanity as informed citizens. In the end, we as teachers and they as students, realize that learning never gets old when we are constantly reinterpreting it!
Historical Judgments: Not Guilty: 7 years Guilty: 9 years Not-Guilty: 10th Grade Combo Class of 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015 Guilty: 10th Grade Combo Class of 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 2017 Trial President Truman: Stavros Dimitriadis Team Prosecution Lawyers: Odysseas Digbassanis , Maritina Naoum, George Dougalis and Hadeel Ghoneim View from the Prosecution
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Team Defense Lawyers: Ilia Ioannidis, Maira Pyrgioti, Alex Bofilios and Madina Abbasova
Extensive research had to be done and evidence had to be provided for everything.
War is a crime against humanity and thereâ€™s only so much you can justify.
If I want to, I can handle any topic if I practice well enough. Context is everything and each side can be extremely biased to their cause. History is not as simple as I originally thought. Regarding the nationality and the context of the person and source the perception of an event changes. There are many different factors that play role in a trial, and it takes a lot of work to be successful. I can be better at something if I try really hard, and I could try and be calm throughout the trial.
Despite our personal opinions, there is always context to an event. No single side can be completely wrong, and the trial was simply the process of deciding which side had done more wrong. I also learned that people we learn about in history are much more complicated than we realize. I really enjoyed researching my character and discovering how his opinions came to be. This activity helped me realize that presenting in front of a group isnâ€™t that big of a deal, especially if you are well prepared and can focus on a single person instead of the crowd watching. Context is very important!
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Learning through creative ways is way more effective. This activity helped me to realize that when confronted by an obstacle it is better to face it head on, than let it control you. Since I saw both my sisters do the Truman Trial, I was always frightened at the thought of being on stage. After having done a great amount of research, I though that I would not be able to do it as successfully as they did. Though I did do it, and I may not be fully proud of how well I may or may not have done, I am happy that I faced a fear. History is not a stagnant subject and it constantly requires reconsideration and analysis. The Truman Trial was an amazing experience! ■■
Celebrations Excellence and Pride Blend with Glow of Fellowship at ACS Athens Alumni Award Dinner by Dean Sirigos, Director of Outreach and Development
ACS Athens Global Association May 2017 Special Edition
EW YORK - One of Manhattan’s most enchanting spaces was filled with appreciation, inspiration, and fellowship on April 30 when the American Community Schools Athens hosted its first Alumni Awards Dinner at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park.
Guests who learned about the school for the first time that day marveled at the affection among alumni and faculty for the Halandri-based school and for one another which was reflected in conversation at tables and on the video screens. A video and photo montage highlighted special moments - from its 1945 founding through the past 12 years under the presidency of Dr. Stefanos Gialamas - of the distinguished PreK-12 school based on American principles and English language of instruction. Pride was also the order of the day as two beloved alumni were honored. Dr. Scott Parazynski, a member
of the US Astronaut Hall of Fame, received the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Nick Karambelas, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees in the USA. Dr. Anna Kaltsas, an infectious disease specialist with teaching appointments at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was presented the Emerging Young Leader Award by Timothy Ananiadis, Vice Chairman of the Board for Greece. One of the highlights was a moving address by George Logothetis, Chairman and CEO Libra Group, the international conglomerate whose website leads with words that also reflect ACS Athen’s mission: “Responsible. Thoughtful. Global.” Emcee Yanna Darilis, President and Managing Partner of New Greek TV, set the tone as she moved the program forward with enthusiasm and grace. There was humor too. Suheil Sabbagh, chairman of the ACS Athens Board of Trustees, welcomed the guests and declared “ACS Athens has attained such heights that the sky is the limit now... thanks to the leadership of Dr. Gialamas – and my guidance,” triggering laughter and applause. During his remarks Dr. Gialamas noted that “ACS Athens today is a different institution from what many of you remember. There are students from 62 nationalities. Our vision over the last ten years is to develop tomorrow’s leaders with Ethos – to serve humanity. We believe there is no economic crisis... We believe there is a crisis of ethics, of principles and values,” and he declared, “tonight we couldn’t have a better example of serving humanity than Mr. George Logothetis.” The progress ACS Athens has made under Gialamas did not come easily, he said, “because you have to leave the comfort zone of preaching and move into the uncomfortable zone of doing.” He credited “a very open minded and supportive Board of Trustees.” He took a moment to acknowledge “key people who made quite a difference over these past 12 years and helped me to make a difference, citing Dr. Peggy Pelonis, Dean of Student Affairs, Academic Dean Steve Medeiros, Cathy Makropoulos, Chris Perakis, and Helen Maravegias – and thanked Yanna “for making this evening so wonderful.” The heart of the evening was the presentation of the Alumni Awards. Timothy Ananiadis, who is also General Manager of the Hotel Grand Bretagne, thanked Dr. Gialamas, faculty and staff on behalf of the Board before introducing Dr. Kaltsas. “I am very humbled to be the first recipient of this award” Dr. Kaltsas said with emotion, and first thanked her parents, who beamed with pride as they looked on.
adding that her love of learning was nurtured by her teachers. “It was my ACS Athens teachers who provided me with the love, the patience, and the inspiration to pursue a career in medicine. There are so many that to name only a few tonight would be unfair to many others. And they all inspired me to be a better teacher myself, as I too struggle to be an inspiration to others.” The compassion that was also nurtured at ACS Athens complemented her passion for learning, and she extended her thanks to her patients, from whom she learns every day as they battle cancer and other diseases. Dr. Kaltsas concluded philosophically by noting “in the end we have five or six people who will remember us, but teachers have thousands of people who will remember them for the rest of their lives. I thank each and every one of mine.” Nicholas Karambelas, an alumnus and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees in the USA, began on a humorous note by wondering out loud how he came to be selected for the Board, evoking laughter among classmates when he said, “back in 1971 no one would have predicted this.” Karambelas spotlighted the life and achievements of Dr. Parazynski (Class of ’79) who went on to attend Stanford University and Stanford Medical School and in 1992 was selected to join NASA’s astronaut corps. Looking at the crowd that filled the landmark Boathouse, Parazynski, a physician and inventor whose life includes five shuttle missions, seven space walks and climbs to the summit of Mt. Everest, said “I have never been more proud to be an alumnus of ACS Athens.” Parazynski said, “I’m thrilled to be here – primarily to honor the teachers and staff who helped launch my career. These are legendary teachers who inspired and challenged me,” and then read off a long list of their names and sports coaches’ who had enriched his life. He acknowledged his parents, who were present, saying, “They always supported me and were catalysts to my native curiosity.” He said of his wife, Meenakshi Wadhwa, “she looks like a super model but she is actually a world renowned planetary geologist and my best friend in the universe.” He then sang the praises of Greece and spoke of how wonderful it was “coming of age in the cradle of civilization, from where I was able to travel around the world and interface with different cultures – it shaped all the interactions of my life,” and added “seeing the Earth from space has been a rare gift for me…ACS Athens gave me the keys to the space shuttle and I am so grateful.” Parazynski concluded by saying “There are so many reasons to be hopeful for the future, especially with institutions like ACS Athens, and in closing I gratefully accept this wonderful recognition on behalf of the teachers who enabled me to live out my boyhood dreams.”
Get your commemorative album today www.acs.gr
“I’m a full-blown product of ACS Athens from first to twelfth grade… the spark started there,” she said,
While he did not study there, elements of Logothe-
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ACS Athens Board Trustees Tim Ananiadis, Suheil Sabbagh, ACS Athens President Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, Honoree Dr. Anna Kaltsas, Honoree Dr. Scott Parazynski, Global Trustee Nicholas Karambelas
ACS Athens President Dr. Stefanos Gialamas
MC Yanna Darilis
Guest speaker George Logothetis, CEO and Chairman of Libra Group
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tis’ presentation reflected the spirit of ACS Athens and the lives of its alumni. He began by saying, “I am grateful to you, Dr. Gialamas, for all you and your staff do, for the positive impact on the lives of many. ACS Athens is an oasis of possibility and opportunities in a sea of economic crisis…a worthy blend of the best of Greece and America, a bridge between both countries that breeds socially conscious and virtuous young men and women.” He continued with a story: “Many years ago a young boy arrived in Greece having grown up in Tanganyika …whose family fled as refugees from a ravaged, starved and destitute Greece in 1945.” He paused and noted: “Greek blood is refugee blood.” This young boy was sent to ACS Athens - and it changed his destiny. He entered a world he never experienced, from seeing sliced bread, to drinking Coca Cola, and having teachers give credit to kids. An occasional bravo does wonders to kids’ confidence,” he emphasized. That boy was my dad. By the 1970’s that same boy made something out of nothing. He built a shipping company…and what he saw and learned at ACS Athens, he instilled in his family and his children.” Logothetis made a fascinating connection between Aristeia - excellence, and deinopatheia, described as “the highest degree of suffering before death. Aristeia had a moral dimension in ancient Greece, the ability to constantly inhale injustice – yet never waver from exhaling goodness and grace.” The humanitarian response, despite their own suffering, of the Greeks today – especially young children - to the refugees, instantiates the connection. Maybe the purest form of aristeia he said, is simply, giving, listening, and showing compassion to those who ‘deinopathoun’ - the merger of two ancient Greek words in a modern way.” Logothetis praised ACS Athens - staff and students alike – for being part of the humanitarian response to the refugee crisis by welcoming and educating unaccompanied refugee children. “Greece is on the front lines and ACS Athens is on the front lines,” he said, “and I’m very proud of the work we do together, including the Libra Group’s Home Project which recently built five shelters in 120 days for 120 children.” Logothetis praised Dr. Kaltsas and Dr. Parazynski for “living exemplary lives every day – thank you for your service to humanity.” Darilis concluded the program by noting that with all its growth and attainments through the years, ACS Athens “remains a community school, a school that embraces others, and provides a place of belonging, often, a home far away from home. We hope you will continue to be a part of this journey,” and she thanked the event’s organizing committee, including Paola Bruno, Belina Korovessis, George Kantrantzos, Helen Maravegias, Chris Perakis, Maria Sewell, Christopher Nicolelis, Yanna Darilis and Dean Sirigos. She made a special mention to Artie Gyftopoulos for his contribution to making this event a success! The evening before the awards dinner, Greek Consul
General Dr. Konstantinos Koutras hosted a special reception for ACS Athens at the consulate that was an occasion for Dr. Gialamas and the Board of Trustees to honor four Americans who have presented commencement addresses at ACS Athens: Dr. Ioannis Miaoulis, President of the Boston Museum of Science, Dr. Edward Burger, President, Southwestern University, Dr. Julie Wollman, President of Widener University, and Dr. Hank Cram - President of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools which accredits ACS Athens. Koutras said, “This is a wonderful event for a very important school that has raised educational standards of Greece. I congratulate ACS Athens for taking the initiative to honor these important people, who become the best possible ambassadors of Greece in the USA. I learned today that all the Americans that we have met who have relationships with ACS Athens adore Greece – and I congratulate ACS Athens for that.” It was a wonderful element of the celebratory weekend to welcome important officials, Presidents and Provosts of universities from all over the USA who came to celebrate the success of ACS Athens,” Dr. Gialamas said. “It is a wonderful honor for us that the Consul General had the great kindness to invite us to the consulate. I personally thank Dr. Koutras, who has the sensitivity for, and understanding of the importance of bringing leaders of American universities and institutions closer to Greece.” ACS Athens takes pride in having doubled enrollment during the past 12 years, the growth of its scholarship program, its academic programs, which expanded in unique ways, including the development and implementation of an educational paradigm called Global Morfosis, and in its partnerships with universities in the US and Europe that have led to a plethora of joint programs. Darilis added her admiration when she informed the dinner guests that Mr. Sabbagh had financed ACS Athens’ new state-of-the-art Media Studio. ■■
Academic Dean Steve Madeiros, Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Peggy Pelonis, and Artie Gyftopoulos, Board Trustee, Atlantic Bank VP
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Parazynski, Dr. Wadhwa and honoree Dr. Scott Parazynski
Incubator Zone Creativity and Innovative Ideas: the framework of collaboration between ACS Athens ISCI* and Hisar School IdeaLab by Melina Vassiliadis, Communications Officer
SCI News (Incubator of Students’ Creative Ideas)
For three days in September 2017, six of ACS Athens’ student-members of the “Incubator of Students’ Creative Ideas - ISCI”, accompanied by the President Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, and Mary-Ann Augoustatos, Director of Academics, JK-12 Research and Learning Studios @ the ACS Athens Learning Commons, visited with students at Hisar School in Turkey, who explained the process of how their IdeaLab was created. The team was able to learn from the experiences of the Hisar School students and share ideas through workshops and introductory activities which had been organized for the benefit of the ACS Athens team. The students from Athens watched the Hisar School students in action as they shared their knowledge on 3D design with programs such as Autodesk Fusion and
Maya, video editing with Adobe Premiere and programming with Processing. They also discussed subjects such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Swift. Students began to collaborate in the organizational plans for the inaugural ISCI Summit due to take place in December 2017 at ACS Athens and ideas were discussed and pondered upon. In addition, our ACS Athens students had the pleasure of touring Istanbul’s Sultanahmet region, with Serdar Uluer, Hisar’s Computer Science teacher, and the students of the IdeaLab. Our students were graciously housed by families of the Hisar School. This three-day experience paved a wide avenue of communication for the collaborative benefit of students from both schools. The ACS Athens team returned inspired and ready to connect with ambitious peers who wish to make their ideas reality by being passionate architects of their own learning. “The ISCI”, says Dr. Stefanos Gialamas, President of ACS Athens, “is a place where students, with their faculty as mentors, can experiment, design and create -
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turning their ideas into viable products, projects and initiatives, allowing them the opportunity to become true entrepreneurs in a wide variety of scientific and technical, cultural and artistic, and social and humanitarian realms.” The ACS Athens ISCI (Incubator of Students’ Creative Ideas) is a student-led, student-run, project-based learning hub that is using the design process to promote, support and guide students’ creative ideas in all disciplines. The ISCI space in the H.J.Sabbagh Library of the Academy has been up and running since the beginning of this academic year with many students showing an interest in exploring their intellectual curiosity. The team of students responsible for running the ISCI has been busy organizing this initiative and September was highlighted by a visit to Hisar School’s IdeaLab in Istanbul Turkey, where peer-to-peer learning was exemplified. ■■
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dreams - or simply to survive. One of the most remarkable and intense narratives illustrating the strength of the human spirit and the triumph of survival is that of Aron Ralston who recounts his extraordinary ordeal in his autobiography Between a Rock and a Hard Place (published in 2004). Ralston’s odyssey began in April 2003 on a carefree desert hike through Blue John Canyon in Southeastern Utah, a not so forgiving landscape. As he was climbing through a 3-foot-wide slot canyon, an 800-pound boulder came down and smashed both his left and right hands, pinning his right hand between the boulder and the rock face.
Graduation 2017 “Choose not the Life of Limitation”: Commemorating the Graduating Class of 2017! by Evelyn Pittas Academy IB Faculty, Senior Class Advisor and Frances Tottas, Assistant Director of Enrollment, Senior Class Advisor
For hours he tried to free himself by throwing his body against the boulder and by pushing at the boulder with his knees and shoulders but still he could not free his hand. He was completely trapped in a hidden canyon 100 feet beneath the desert surface, 20 miles from the nearest paved road and surrounded by hundreds more miles of uninhabited desert. Worse still, he had not told anyone exactly where he was going and he was not expected back at work for days, so he knew that no one would be coming to rescue him. As the days wore on and Aron’s water ran out and all of his efforts to free himself failed, he realized that his chances of survival were slim. At this time he picked up his video camera and began recording messages that he hoped would be found after his death. Five long days after becoming trapped, Aron lost hope... He had managed to free a pocketknife from his pack and he etched his name on the rock face, his date of birth, “October ‘75,” his time of death, “April ‘03” and the letters “RIP”. Then he recorded his last message to his family, asking to be cremated, and instructing them where to spread his ashes. He prayed to God, and found peace. He was ready to accept death. His last message was, “So again love to everyone. Bring love and peace and happiness and beautiful lives into the world in my honor. Thank you. Love you.”
eigh Atkinson of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has been quoted as saying, “Choose not the life of limitation.” What he is saying is that we all must believe in our dreams and ourselves and make plans to achieve them, no matter how difficult that might sometimes seem. We must not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of excusing our failures by saying, “I’m not good enough, or smart enough, or talented enough.” If we limit ourselves like this, we will never discover just how far we can go.
On the morning of his final day trapped inside the canyon, Ralston knew what he had to
Of course, there are times when we will fail, and times when we will face personal, academic and professional setbacks. However, if we choose to see setbacks as temporary and use them to learn so that we do not make the same mistakes again, we empower ourselves and are able to move forward.
65-feet to the desert floor. Starved, dehydrated, close to shock, and with his right arm bleeding profusely Ralston then hiked seven miles out of the canyon in the direct mid-day sun. Then there was an 800-foot vertical climb to the trailhead and his truck. Assuming he did reach his truck, the nearest hospital was several hours’ drive away. By this time people had started to worry about him and a search party had begun looking for him on Wednesday evening - a few
There are many, many stories of people who have overcome seemingly impossible odds to achieve their
do to survive. He had to cut off his arm that was pinned by the heavy boulder. Painstakingly he used his, by now, blunt pocketknife to amputate his trapped arm until, miraculously, it came free. Then, with only his injured left arm to assist him, he rappelled
hours before the time on Thursday morning that he walked out of the canyon and met them at the Horseshoe Canyon trailhead. Aron had survived five days of pain and terror because he simply refused to give up by embodying tenacity and courage. He simply did choose not to live a life of limitation! We certainly hope that none of you will ever have to face the challenges faced by Aron Ralston; however, we do hope that his story will inspire you never give up your dreams no matter how impossible they seem. The U.S. (Spanish-born) philosopher, George Santayana wrote in The German Mind: A Philosophical Diagnosis: “Our character...is an omen of our destiny, and the more integrity we have and keep, the simpler and nobler that destiny is likely to be.” So, as you continue this journey which started when you were just a small child and now sees you move into your young adult years, watch out for the steps along the way that will lead towards deciding who you will be – and remember that whatever decisions you make, there will always be a choice. You will choose whether you accept others as individuals and stand up for the right of all people to make their own journeys free from harassment; or whether you choose to bully and be unkind and heartless. You will choose whether you will be honest and truthful; or whether you will allow others to take the blame to get yourself out of trouble. You will choose whether you will feel compassion for those less fortunate than yourself; or whether you will berate those who have not had your advantages. You will choose how you react to failure - and we should tell you that it is impossible to go through life without making mistakes and failing sometimes – whether you choose to accept failure as something to learn from and move on; or whether you will blame everyone but yourself. We hope the journey you are about to take will be full of fun and adventure and challenges along with lots of love and laughter and honesty! As you leave us today, the love and best wishes of all of your teachers goes with you. Good luck to you all! ■■
Commencement Speaker Class of 2017 Dr. Daniele C. Struppa, President, Chapman University