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Bonn International School Magazine | Spring 2013 |

Front Cover: Collaborative Mural from the Creative Waves Festival The Oak tree is a common tree found in Germany and the Oak itself is a common international symbol of strength. It is amazing that such an icon of strength comes from such a small acorn. This shape was chosen for this mural as it symbolises how we all start from small things, but working together we can build something of strength. The Spiral is a visual symbol seen in many cultures - both present and ancient - all over the globe. From New Zealand, Greece, India, to several countries in South America, the spiral is seen in various elements of visual communication. In the spiral we see that all comes from the centre, and moving outward, all then returns to the centre. In our community, we work together to support our students as they “work outward” and grow. In this process, it is important that we also remember that the foundations we form suggest the path we will form as we move outward. The other long shapes in this composition are the different parts of the BIS “waves” logo. As we grow as a school, we want to remember our environment and our beginnings - the mural is a visual reminder of this.


Bonn International School e.V.,

contents 2

Coaching the U12 Boy's Basketball Team


EC Athletics and Activities




Swim Team Adventures


Community Run

Maureen Antal


BIS Band and VSA Choir

Agnieszka Boud


Bonn Marathon

Janet Hannah


UNESCO International Mother Language Day

Martin-Luther-King-Strasse 14, 53175 Bonn

Magazine Volunteers:

Leanne Jonsson


Boys & Girls

Linda May


BIS Math Club in Poland

Mariana N채slund


Career Exploration Day


Grade 12 Art


The Luck of the Irish


Advisory Time at BIS


Current Affairs: Sub-Saharan Africa


Model UN


TEDxYouth@BIS 2013


Primary German: Bonn ist eine Reise wert


Secondary German: Jugendschutzgesetz


The PV does what?


Update from the Yearbook Team


Grade 3: Wax Museum


iPads in BIS Education


Creative Waves Festival 2013


Grade 5: PYP Exhibition


Student Council: Our Call to Action


Spotlight on PYP: The BIS Primary Pop Band


Calendar Girls?

Cathy Lesh

Layout and Design: Janet Hannah Proof-reading: Rosemary Hewitt Chris Wake Printing: The Happy Printer, Bonn. Photography: Thank you to the many community members who share their photos.


Coaching the U12 boy's basketball Coaching the U12 Boys Basketball team is very similar to teaching a young child how to ride a bike. They begin with training wheels, and in no time, they are riding on their own, and then attempting to do stunts and tricks! I truly love coaching this age of kids, as you can see, week by week, the development of new skills, understandings, strategies and the ability to work as a team member. There is some great competition in the NECIS league, and it is important for our kids to feel challenged to do their absolute best. We spent the season focusing on self-improvement and the development of skills, as well as understanding the game and the rules. When I was young, I had to learn the fundamentals of basketball. You can have all the physical ability in the world, but you still have to know the fundamentals. Michael Jordan I remember our first practice when I asked the boys to dribble with their left hand, a fundamental skill, while keeping their eyes on me. Eyes darted from me to the ball. Facial expressions showed panic. Balls tumbled across the court. Heartbeats soared. It is hard to believe that these same boys, only a few short months later, were dribbling with their left hands through a strong defense to shoot a lay-up on the left side. As a coach, I have the pleasure of seeing what happens on and off the court. While competition was important to the players, the parents, and myself, we all realized that this season was about so much more. Basketball is my passion, I love it. But my family and friends mean everything to me. That's what's important. LeBron James It was a very special experience for me this year as I had players from grade six who I had taught last year, as well as players from grade five who I was currently teaching. We began the year as a group of players, but ended the year as a team. At the NECIS tournament, in the hotel, we had some free time and I threw out the option to my boys that I was putting on a basketball movie


in my room, and they could come and watch it if they wanted. I didn’t expect many boys to join me, but every single player came and I watched as they discussed the plays in the movie, cheered together and joked about who on our team was similar to the characters in the movie. I loved how much my boys learned this year, but I am also proud of how they developed as people and how they represented our school. I watched as all of them became much more confident on and off the court. I watched as my grade six boys stepped up as leaders to support the grade five boys. I watched to see my boys help other players up when they were knocked down. I watched the boys take responsibility for running the clock and keeping score. I watched as boys became more independent as well as supportive of each other, as this was some of the boys’ first time away from their parents for an extended period. At this age, the development of skills is key, but so is the concept of sportsmanship and the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. I also appreciated the opportunity that NECIS gave to my boys. When I was a young basketball player, I would be excited to travel 50 km and meet players from neighboring small towns. Our boys had the chance to travel to 3 countries and meet players from around the world. I am extremely grateful to the parents who offered housing, as well as Agnes Barry, our housing coordinator, as it was amazing to see my boys develop longlasting friendships with many of the players, as well as learn from their cultures and teach them about their own. At NECIS, many of the boys welcomed their basketball friends with hugs and high fives, and many of them had kept in contact via e-mail or Skype. I will miss the sports community at BIS and appreciate all of the people involved in supporting the development of sports at our school. Mr. Gil Grant has worked extremely hard, with the support of parents, coaches, the administration and more to offer opportunities for our students that I never had growing up. I wish my best to our future sports teams, as well as to everyone involved in continuing to support the development of the programs at BIS for our students. Jeff Hoffart


EC Athletics & Activities

The Extracurricular (EC) Athletics and Activities Programs experienced tremendous growth during the 2012-2013 school year. There are more students participating in EC Athletics and EC Activities than ever before at BIS. The new double gym in Agora has provided a huge boost to EC Athletics and the Agora Music rooms are booked until 18:30 nightly with performing students.

April 27 as students from every age group from EL3-Grade 12 performed during the Festival. The atmosphere was fantastic as our students got to perform and/or demonstrate what they learn in their EC Activities. In addition, a community art project and photography exhibition debuted at the Creative Waves Festival. Kathleen Szalay did a magnificent job in organizing and running the Festival and plans are already in motion for next year’s event.

The EC Athletics program had over 20 teams that participated in two conferences: ISST (International Schools Sports Tournament) and NECIS (The Northwest European Council of International Schools). Our teams represented BIS with great competitiveness and sportsmanship throughout the year. We also hosted 3 different season-ending events:

The enthusiasm of the students is only matched by that of the coaches and volunteers who graciously offer their expertise. As our programs grow, so will the need for more parental involvement. The more parents we have helping out behind the scenes the greater chance for success and sustainability in all that BIS offers.

Fall Season: 1st-ever NECIS Cross-Country Championships on November 16-17 were held at the Kottonforst in Bad Godesberg on a course designed by our team and their coach, Charlotte Box. Over 100 runners from 6 different International Schools competed in this inaugural event.

Finally, a huge thank-you to Agnes Barry, our Housing Coordinator, Matt DeVries, Mary Ann Mann of the Parent Volunteers and the numerous other volunteers and parents that helped to make these events so memorable for all the participants. Gil Grant Conference: NECIS - Winter 2012-2013

Winter Season: ISST Division Varsity Boys Division II Basketball Championship on March 6-9. BIS families hosted 70 visiting players from 7 International Schools over 3 days of exciting action in the Agora and Waves SportsHalls.

U12 Girls Basketball


U14 Girls Basketball


U12 Boys Basketball

9th + Most Sporting

U14 Boys Basketball


JV Boys Basketball


Spring Season: NECIS Varsity Girls and U15 Girls Football and U19/U16 Boys Rugby on May 16-18. This is a huge tournament with 27 teams from 11 International Schools participating at BIS fields and Sportpark Pennenfeld.

Conference: ISST - Winter 2012-2013

Varsity Girls Football


Over 50 different EC Activities were done throughout the school year. Every day, students and EC Activity leaders meet afterschool to engage in a diverse range of activities. BIS held their 1st ever musical, Little Shop of Horrors on November 16 and 17 at the Brotfabrik Theatre. Over 40 BIS students took part in the hugely successful production under the expert direction of Joe and Kathleen Szalay.

U15 Girls Football


JV Co-Ed Softball


The 1st annual Creative Waves Festival took place on Saturday,

Varsity Girls Basketball


Varsity Boys Basketball


Conference: NECIS - Spring 2013

Track and Field U14 Boys 1500m

Jack Lawson (Gr8)


U14 Boys 3000m

Jack Lawson (Gr8)


U14 Boys Shot Put

Anthony Veikalas (Gr8) 1st

U14 Boys Discus

Anthony Veikalas (Gr8) 2nd

U14 Boys Shot Put

Austin Ujkashi (Gr9)


U16 Boys Shot Put

Jake Lindow (Gr9)




I would like to introduce myself to those of you who have not yet become members of the Great Housing Community. My name is Agnes Barry, and as well as being a teacher assistant in grade 3, I have for the past two years organised the housing needs of the school during friendly meets and sporting tournaments. It as been a great pleasure to do this sometimes challenging job. While most housing is done within the team players, during a major event we have to rely on the generosity of the whole school community to open up their homes. For example, in March 2013, BIS hosted a basketball tournament which required housing 70 athletes (far less than the previous year when we hosted a cross country and had to accommodate almost 150 students). I am happy to say that all students were placed within our families and everyone went away with a positive feeling. Housing is a rewarding and enriching experience. We are all blessed in our school to have many different cultures and nationalities. For our students, it can also lead to new and sometimes long lasting friendships. We are always playing and competing against the same group of International schools and the students get to know each other and often make requests for me to house particular their friends in their household. What does it take to become a houser? Do you have a spare room, a few spare mattresses, or a sofa bed? Only the essentials are needed; the athletes do not require the luxury of an en-suite bathroom. They just need a nice family to board with. The visiting athletes are always housed in pairs. This is not only due to the regulations on housing by the sporting community, but it also makes the visiting students feel more comfortable to be with someone they know in a foreign environment. What shall I feed the students? This is something that all of us can relate to... what shall I make for dinner? Many housing families ask me this and I say just make whatever you and your family would eat, just make bigger portions! If you are still not sure then I have one answer: pasta! I have found that this was the best nourishing food to offer to an athlete. For their breakfast, I suggest cereals, breads, fruits. I have just one piece of advice,


don't go overboard. During my first housing experience, I raided the shops and bought just about every type of cereal, bread, cheese, ham, and fruit. The breakfast table looked like a hotel buffet and most of it was left untouched. Some families provide packed lunches for the students, however, most of us choose the BOOSTER CLUB lunch. Mary Ann Mann and her team of parent helpers provide a delicious alternative by way of lunch vouchers. The vouchers can be purchased by the housing families (â‚Ź5 per student) and once redeemed the athletes will receive a lunch usually consisting of soup, a burger or a toasted cheese sandwich, Pringles, fruit, a baked good and water. This has been a life saver to most families, not having to organise lunch bags during their busy lives. Do my kids need to be around the same age as the housers? No, when allocating the students to their hosts, I always take this into consideration and try and match the best I can. However during a big tournament, it is not always possible and I have had to house teenagers in families with young children. But the result is always successful. Many parents have come back to me saying that the students spent the whole time playing with their younger children and having a great time. I love to get feedback from housing families and one thing that I often hear is how well behaved, polite and helpful the students are (the way you would wish your kids to be all the time!). While housing is typically for athletes, we have now extended to musicians. On April 21-22, 2013, a choir of approximately 30 students visited our school as part of their tour of Germany, and they were housed within our BIS Band community. You can experience housing even if your child is not part of a team. We are always looking for volunteers and we will need many families next year when BIS hosts the ISST Varsity Girls Football Tournament in November. If you would like further information or would like to be put on the list of prospective housing families, you can contact me at Agnes Barry

In April, the swim team competed at the NECIS competition in Norway and did an amazing job. After airline delays, leading to an unexpected stay in Amsterdam, and an early morning flight, the swimmers persevered. With smiles on their faces, they cheered each other on and swam their hardest. As a result, we came away with many medals and ribbons. They truly did an amazing job and should be proud of how far they have come this season. Coach Jessica Greene

Swim Team Adventures As swimmers, we train for six months with the school team and many of us train with local clubs as well. After six months, our small but capable team, went for the championship meet in Stavanger, Norway. It was an interesting journey, to say the least. It started out with us departing from BIS on a Thursday to catch a flight to Stavanger via Amsterdam. When we checked into our first flight to Amsterdam, we were informed that our plane had experienced technical difficulties and had to return to Amsterdam. Therefore, we were stuck in the airport for three hours. We had already checked in through security, so we couldn’t even hit the Starbucks again. After three hours of waiting, we boarded our first flight. The weather was awful and there was a thick fog that caused a lot of turbulence during the journey. Upon arriving, we learned that we missed our connecting flight to Stavanger. This is where our chaperones, Mr. Grant and Ms. Greene, sprung into action. After close to a dozen phone calls, they organized a hotel for 25

people to sleep the night and for buses to get us there. We finally hit the sack around 1:00 a.m.. As the saying goes, there is no rest for the weary. We were back at the airport by 6:00 a.m. and on our way to Stavanger. In the meantime, the championship meet had already begun. Luckily, a parent chaperone, Mrs. Wiedemann, had already arrived at the meet in advance and was able to convince the judges to allow us to swim our missed races. We arrived in Stavanger, headed straight for the pool, didn’t warm up and swam our races during the lunch break. Although, our team returned exhausted on Sunday night, we performed surprisingly well and left with a few medals. The swim team may not have the number of games or meets as some of the other teams at our school, but we definitely have great adventures. Dhillon Welsh


"Running is not, as it so often seems, only about or about how many miles you ran lastwhwaeteky.oIutdiisd, iinn ayomuruclhasmt orraeciemportant way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too."

Richard O'Brien

The 3rd BIS Community Run The Community Run this year was

magical mystery tour of the field. A slightly

students and many parents and friends.

organised by Grade 10 students in Miss

longer than planned race, but it was really

The weather this year did not go to

Box's and Mr Hooper's homeroom. As

great to see the number of runners, the

plan and the race started in miserable

a grade their Community and Service

parents running with their children and the


Project was about raising money for SOS

smiles when they received their medals.

dampen spirits. The race was won this

The second race was the 2K. This race

year by Grade 8 student Jack Lawson in a

ran along the river and back to school.

time of 19:16:62. All the training that Jack

This was a highly competitive and very

is doing is really paying off and making

fast race, which contained nearly 50

him a very powerful runner. The female

Kinderdorf. SOS Kinderdorf is a charity organization that provides homes for homeless children. These children are raised by a mother-like person that takes care of them and helps them. The children





runners. Murray McMillan took 1st place

title went to Ms Jill Gozdowski with a time

receive free education, food, clothes

in a time of 07:59:84 whilst Virgile Courban

of 21:55:53. As the quote says at the top,

and fresh water. This event enabled our

maintained his 2nd place title from the

students to raise 550 euros, which will be

running is about appreciating what others

previous year. Having seen the speed

donated to this charity.

have run and this really is the case with the

of this race, I am now hoping that when

Community Run. It makes me incredibly

This year saw the Community Run

these students reach 6th grade that they

proud to see the community out running

come and join the Cross Country Team.

but most importantly enjoying running.

double in the number of students who participated. In order to accommodate all

The main race of the day was the

abilities of runners we included 3 races.

Community 5K race, which took in the

Firstly the little Race started the day. This

sights of the Rhein-park and the Rhein-

was meant to be almost 2 laps of the field,

river. The total number of runners was 53

but on the day the BIS dragon got a little

and included 2 primary students (one of

confused and took all the runners on a

who finished in the top 10), secondary


"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that." Charlotte Box

In April 2013, our BIS Band students and the Victoria Shanghai Academy Choir from Hong Kong performed a combined concert with a few important “firsts”.

FIRST BIS music assembly in the Agora FIRST BIS collaborative concert with students from another school FIRST time BIS families housed visiting music students

Musical collaboration This concert was coordinated by Cijith Jacob, Secondary

and have a real perspective of internationalism. We learned how

Subject Leader for the Arts, and Les Millard, former BIS Dean

to practice together, prepare for a concert together and perform

of Students and now at the Victoria Shanghai Academy, Hong

music at a high standard. Another positive outcome was the

Kong. The pieces played were: “You Raise Me Up” (BIS band and

homestays. Our students, who are not used to this, had such

VSA choir), Beethoven’s Finale #9 (BIS band and VSA choir) as

positive experiences that they shared with us.

well as “Da Hai” (Chinese Song), “Requiem and Kyrie”, “Miserere

Would you like to do this again?

and Sanctus”, and “Gloria and Ame”.

Yes, we would certainly do this again, as it had taught our

As expected, the acoustics in the Agora were remarkable. Mr.

students how to be independent learners and respond to a need

Jacob pointed out that “the performance made us all appreciate

for them to communicate with other students from other cultures.

that music has the power to bring people from different cultures

This kind of concert and performance experience will surely be

together.” Mr. Millard also commented for Waves the following

repeated again. Mr. Jacob is already working on ways to take

about this concert:

students out for more concerts, or travel with our students to

Why did you choose to do this concert at BIS?

other countries and looking at possibilities for a band event with

We had a vision of bringing the music programmes of BIS and VSA

multiple schools for next year. In the meantime, band students

together, i.e. the band programme at BIS and choir programme

are preparing for the Secondary Summer Concert and will most

at VSA. It demonstrates inter-culturalism and internationalism in

likely play in the Beethoven Festival in September.

practice. How did this partnership start? As teachers at VSA, some of us formerly at BIS, we thought it a great opportunity to bring the groups of talented music students, teachers and their programmes together. What did you get out of this visit? Our students were able to work with other international students

Bonn Marathon Over the weeks we spent time building up their running distance and doing shorter, faster runs. By the end of training all the students were able to run 11k at a good pace. The students completed the race as teams of 7 (3 - 5k runners, 2 - 10k runners, 1 - 7k runner and a reserve) everyone received a t-shirt and medal. We entered two teams who completed the marathon in times of 03:30:16 and 04:03:42. Since the Cross-Country season finished, I have had a hardy team of 17 students who have been training for the Marathon. As always, these students trained through winter and spent most of their sessions running in snow and rain. So it was a bit of a shock to the system when, on Marathon Day, the sun was shining!

T h e w h o l e d a y w a s a g re a t experience for the children, their parents who helped, and the spectators. We are privileged in Bonn because there is a ‘Schüle’ Marathon which encourages student participation. Charlotte Box


United Nations and Educational, ScientiďŹ c Cultural Organization

2 1 F e b r uary

a I n t e r n at io n l M ot he r

Language Day

This year, for the first time, three of the five mother language after-school classes joined in to celebrate the UNESCO International Mother Language Day. Here is what this day was about ... If a child is not immersed in the context of their mother language, he or she will tend to talk only within a limited context - with family and friends. The child is less exposed to colloquial language, the use of expressions, tv, newspapers and even books. These supports are crucial to expanding vocabulary and exploring the cultural references of the language. Language is considered, by Unesco, as an intangible part of our cultural identity - not easy to define, but essential to "who we are". It is only when we are exposed to a different linguistic environment that we realize the cultural dimensions of our language. BIS children can participate in afterschool activities, sport or non-sport. Amongst these offerings are language classes. These are lessons in a student’s mother language - the language spoken


Onomatopeas: while looking at a picture of a car or a animal, children had to make the corresponding noise, as in their mother language/culture.

Esperanto: Thanks to Conny Burkert, a fluent Esperanto speaker, students were introduced to this language. Using their language skills, they tried to translate short sentences presented to them in Esperanto.

at home with at least one parent. These courses teach students to read, write or to deepen their knowledge of their own mother tongue. During this school year, more than 150 children attend classes in Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish and Swedish. Most of these children are from BIS, but some students from other schools are allowed to join in. Classes are organized by associations, most of which received support from their mother language home government. Each language group has between 3 and 6 different classes to cater to the age of the students and to the curriculum. Young students learn to read using flashcards, games, and other pedagogic materials. The older ones practices writing, spelling and explore the literature and the culture associated with their mother language.

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) Since 1999, Unesco has celebrated International Mother Language Day on

21 February. This date was chosen in commemoration of some Bengladeshi students who died while demonstrating against the Pakistani government and its new law imposing Urdu as the official language in East Pakistan (Bengladesh) in February 1951. On this day each year, UNESCO organizes seminars and events to raise awareness about linguistic diversity in our world and cultural development. "Languages matters", said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General in this year’s opening speech. There are around 7000 spoken languages in the world today and each one embodies the culture of a specific a community. Unfortunately, many languages are endangered. Strong languages - used in globalised communication, in specialist or professional contexts - represent a threath to a large number of minority languages. According to research, "less than a quarter of all languages in the world are used in education and in cyber space".

Bingo: children were given board with 40 pictures and 120 strips of paper with the corresponding words in 3 languages. By sharing their knowledge, they could fill in the board and finish the game."

This year's theme was "Books for mother tongue education (printed or digital)". In previous years, UNESCO focused on "Education in mother tongue as part of the right to education" (2012), "Linguistic Diversity and New Technologies" (2011) and "Translation and how to bridge global and local languages" (2010). Nelson Mandela found the right words to express the value of the mother language for each individual: "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart".

IMLD at BIS 2013 As most of the mother language classes are held on Tuesday afternoon, a common lesson to International Mother Language Day was organized. All the mother language students were together and participated in a rally of three fun and interactive activities. Chantal Dwivedi

This event was fun. It was also a success as all our students had a chance to:

✩ see how many children are making, like them, the effort to learn their own mother language after school

✩ value their language and appreciate how different or similar it is from other languages

✩ listen to the older students leading the activities and presenting the games in three languages

✩ learn about the variety of languages and the link between culture, identity and languages.


Slugs and snails and puppy dogs' tails, That's what little boys are made of.


Children come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities. They grow up to develop very different passions and talents. But they all share one thing: every child has to come to grips with society's image of what is masculine and what is feminine. These expectations begin to influence them the moment a child is born; when parents pick up their baby girl and say, "Isn't she sweet, isn't she beautiful?"; when they pick up their sons and say, "Isn't he handsome? He's going to be a big, strong boy." These messages continue when boys and girls start to play separately around age three, and both the boys' group and the girls' group begin to define what boys do and what girls do. These gender expectations can be tough on those who don't fit society's model.

i XV

"You're dead!"

In their fantasy play, boys turn sticks into guns, balloons into bombs, and pencils into swords. They kill, die and get reborn in a matter of seconds, then hop right up to play some more. Many parents worry, wondering if their sons are simply normal, active boys, or turning into potentially violent men.

Sugar and spice and everything nice, That's what little girls are made of.

Parents often ask, "Why is my son racing around, not talking, and not listening? Why is he obsessed with playing war and shooting? What's happened to my sweet, vulnerable little boy who used to cuddle with me?" This is a valid question, because no one wants their son to grow up to be violent. Nonetheless interpreting play as an early indicator of violence is a misunderstanding both of the nature of boy activity and the real journey to violence that some children undergo. Anyone who spends a lot of time with boys soon sees that most boys are indeed more active than most girls. A recent Harvard University study states that, "By school age, the average boy in a classroom is more active than the girls — even the most active girls don't seem to express their energy in the unrestrained way characteristic of most boys." While these findings support a stereotype some



in our society have worked to eradicate, ask a kindergarten teacher and you will likely hear that this description is true. I've been working in schools for a while now, and I don't see that their activity levels have changed, but our expectations for how long they have to sit still have dramatically increased. That is a problem for a lot of boys. These boys simply cannot sit still as long as most of the girls. They do not have the fine motor skills girls do, so many will make big constructions like block towers, while girls will work on smaller, more delicate pictures. Experts say that you should not try to compare your child to other children and keep in mind that there are many different kinds of boys and girls. They range from the highly physical and highly competitive at one end, to the very peaceful quiet child, who prefers to read at the other. Not all boys want to compete in sports, wrestle, and shoot guns. Not all girls are focused on classic girly things. It is important to remember that there are quiet boys, studious and bookish boys, and girls who like action and adventure. It was not that long ago that boys outperformed girls in most areas of academics. This was understandable in a society where a woman’s role was seen as inferior or purely domestic. Times have however changed, and with it the pendulum in schools has swung the other way. Today there is talk of a “boy crisis” in schools – the fact that girls are surpassing boys in college attendance (about 60% of entering first-year students in the US this year are female), achievement (girls have caught up in science and math, and far outpace boys in English and language); and behaviors (boys are far more likely to be retained, suspended, diagnosed with ADHD and get into fights). Many theories have been developed to explain this phenomenon, but the clearest indication is that boys' drop in achievement is driven by masculinity that is, what boys perceive to be manly, is often at odds with succeeding in school.


Stated most simply, many boys regard academic disengagement as a sign of their masculinity. In student circles, academic engagement is too often seen as a “girly” thing.

So how can parents help their sons and daughters navigate such social pressures? It doesn't help boys to pretend that standards for masculinity don't exist. Instead, start by supporting and appreciating your child's struggle, reassuring them that some stuff doesn't really matter, while acknowledging why it is important to him or her. It also

helps to discuss, dissect, analyze and put in perspective what the search for masculinity/femininity is all about. It doesn't help girls or boys to pretend that standards for femininity and masculinity don't exist, because children will look at you like you are crazy. They know the rules and you can't give your child a waiver even if you want to. Gender expectations are socially constructed, ruthlessly enforced and powerful. We should talk with children about the reality of gender expectations, and help them brainstorm about how to negotiate this problem. If a little boy is

In March, the BIS Math Club traveled to Poland for a weekend to participate in the ISMTF (International Schools Mathematics Teachers Foundation) Senior Mathematics Competition hosted by the British School of Warsaw. This year, four students represented BIS at the competition: Tuvshee Otgonbayar, Chandan Siyag, Pavel Devyatkin and me. Math Club is a voluntary student activity for higher level math students who met every Thursday after school since September and also every Wednesday during lunch since November. During these meetings, we practiced creative math problems, with our advisor Ms. Lorraine Heinrichs, in preparation for the individual and the team competitions. The weekend began on Saturday with the individual competition, warming up with a practice round. We then were challenged with ten 10-minute rounds of five multi-choice questions each, which lasted for the duration of the first morning. Tuvshee placed an amazing 19th overall in this part of the competition. After lunch, we split into groups of three to participate in the team competition. This portion of the day was comprised of six 15-minute rounds of three open-answer questions each, plus a practice round, and the members of the team worked collaboratively to solve each of the three problems. On Sunday, we were all divided into random groups with students from other schools to participate in the Sunday Chase. The Chase involved a series of 10 questions placed separately throughout the school, that were designed to be

struggling to feel adequately masculine by acting tough, it's not helpful to criticize or mock his interests. The fact is that all men struggle with this issue and none of us has it figured out. The same goes for girls trying too hard to fit a mould. In the words of Dr. Michael Thompson, co-author of Raising Cain, “You can't push or pressure your child to be the man he isn't, or to excel in ways he can't. Love the kid you've got." Chris Müller

solved by the whole team within an hour, requiring the use of time management as well as creativity in problem solving. I enjoyed working with students from other international schools and the game-like atmosphere that the Chase provided. In both the team and individual competitions, the problems presented drew from our knowledge of all areas of the IB Higher Level Mathematics syllabus and beyond. They were typically not straightforward questions, requiring the use of creative thinking to reach the correct solution. This type of outside-the-box thinking allowed us all to apply those concepts that we learned during class to solve new puzzles, deepening our understanding of mathematics. In this way, we not only prepared for the competition during weekly meetings but also for our (then distant) IB exams. The questions asked were often more interesting and occasionally even more complex than those normally posed by exams, allowing us each to develop as mathematicians in ways that will hopefully prove helpful during exams this May. I am grateful for the opportunity to once again participate in Math Club, and I highly recommend it for anyone with a passion for math! Meghan Fox


Career Exploration Day Today’s Girls are Tomorrow’s Leaders The first ever BIS Career Day for girls in grades 9-12 was a great success! Thirteen panelists, representing a variety of professions ranging from designers to doctors, discussed their careers and gave advice. The goals of the day were to: • introduce the girls to various professions; • highlight that women can and do have families alongside fruitful careers in various fields;

• recognise that careers are not always found in a box (called university) but that sometimes careers are found through a journey. This day was organized by Caroline Kersten and Sapna Welsh, who recently published a book, “Worldly Women”, which reports on women in Senior-level Expatriate Roles. The idea came about because several mothers in the cafeteria were discussing, how many of the girls at the school are not exposed to working

women. Although many of the mothers here are educated professionals, in a community with a high percentage of expatriates, many mothers don’t work, because expatriating often requires one person to leave their career behind. The most important messages of the morning were: to select a profession based on your likes, work hard and have confidence in yourself. Future career panels are already being discussed by the school’s administration.

“Life is too short, life is yours, don’t rely on someone else to make your dreams come true.”

Be Inspired...Get Informed On the 5th of December the first ever Girls career day took place at BIS. The purpose of this day was to introduce the 9-12th grade girls to different careers and show them that it is possible to have a career besides managing a family.

was possible for me and some friends to have a look at DHL and find out a bit more about the company. So Tuesday April 16th 2013 we got a tour of the campus, a presentation on DHL and a chance to meet some successful women who also manage a busy private life. This was a great chance for us to ask even more questions, especially ones we would most likely never get the chance to ask again. It was great that all the panellists and the women who helped make the girls day at DHL were able to spend some of their time. The girls and I were very thankful.

The day started off by each with the panelists introducing themselves to the girls, and later the girls were divided into small groups for discussion. These small groups were for the girls to get to know some of the panelists a bit better and to be able to ask questions. Topics discussed were related to how they achieved their current position, career choices they made These two days have opened our eyes and shown us what and any suggestions/tips they had for the girls. Whether or not possible careers are out there. Some feedback the girls gave was: their career prospects were limited by being female was also “It was inspiring to see so many women being able to handle high discussed but gladly we came to the conclusion there were level positions and still manage the rest of their lives. It made me no disadvantages. Many of the girls were curious to find out believe that I can do it." more about everyday work life and how this relates back to their education. Some of the fields included Artist/Entrepreneur, “It opened my eyes to some fields that I had never considered, but now see as quite attractive for a person with my interests dance, dentistry, media, food/entrepreneur, marketing & sales, and abilities.” interior design, physiotherapy, management, engineering, fashion, finance, and medicine. “The most important thing we learnt during the day was to follow your ambitions and to do the things you enjoy most.” I personally became very interested in one of the careers and wanted to know more about how this looks in daily life. As we "It was important for me to hear that I should be following the were given time at the end of the day to talk to the panelists things that are my passions instead of just looking at a possible Hanna Van Holten individually, I approached a lady working for DHL to find out if it job. I needed that encouragement."


The art of the 2013 graduating class Throughout the IB Visual Arts Course I have not only learnt a lot about various types of media, but also I’ve also learnt more about myself as a person. The course really got me thinking about how an idea or opinion can connect to multiple people in order to deliver an intended message. It is a very personal course, where you choose your own path in terms of media and representation of your own work. I was inspired by a range of artists, specifically street artists and how they convey a personal message to trigger a response from society. In addition to this inspiration, I was able to investigate and tryout a variety of media, which helped develop my own personal style. Furthermore, the course also looks at how you as an artist can expand your ideas and push yourself to reach your maximum potential. I am very glad I chose visual arts as a course because it helped shape me as an individual and allow me to express my opinions through a Stuart Maughn. wide range of media.

During the whole course I learnt that the best art pieces are the ones that are strongly connected to us due to an opinion or an idea. It took me a certain time to realize my theme but once I had it, I kept it, I studied every part of it and chose what I felt was the most interesting. Art helped me to develop my interest in psychology and especially in mental illnesses. It helped me to find what I really wanted to do and learn about for the rest of my life. Art was also my way to express my opinion to people that I knew would be able to understand it. The world I was representing was the one I saw and that some people could relate to. For others, it was too hard to see the meaning of my work because the representations were sometimes too “raw” and can disturb. Art is, for me, the best way to express my opinion and to send a message only to the ones that were able and willing to understand. Charlotte Deletain.

In my artwork I explore themes mostly related to my homeland (Portugal). In some of my pieces I explore emotional connections to my family members and to my life as a student. I am interested in merging the history of my country; I extract the essence of the lessons of old times, traditional symbols and try to put them into a context, which fits our modern society. I also connect to my country through the use of language and exploration of national symbols, people and sceneries which are related to my memories, these help to emphasize my emotional connection to my culture and family. I explore space and time; this fascinates me because it helps me to identify contexts and ideas and bring into today’s world. Artists such as Joana Vasconcelos also help to explore my country tradition and culture. Margaret Scott also explores space and symbols through the sceneries and buildings of her homeland, New Zealand, which also relates to my own. Luisa Pires.


The luck of the Irish

Many people and many elements combined to create a fun, Additionally, many new friendships were formed throughout energetic ‘green’ night for BIS parents, staff and friends to these months, friendships that will survive long after the enjoy. Planning for "The Luck of the Irish/St. Patricks Night" event is a distant memory. Thank you to the school for giving event started in November, 5 months before the actual event. us the opportunity to share a bit of Irish Culture here in With officially only 6 Irish families at BIS this looked to be Bonn, it was truly a memorable experience from beginning a mammoth task. Thankfully many additional families to end. And to top it all off we will all reap the benefits of this joined our ranks – some with Irish links, others without, but fundraiser for a new green area, which will be available for all wanted to offer a helping hand., Thank You! This event all students and staff when we return in August – planning is was the work of a 15-person Planning Committee, teachers currently ongoing! and students in a number of roles, as well as Accounting, All money that was raised (€28,000) will go towards the Purchasing, Facility, and Security. Many thanks to these development of this site and the school’s Board of Trustees are unsung heroes! matching this, so we will have €56,000 towards the project!

"So many people worked so hard to make it a success, they should be proud. Thanks for letting us be part of the Irish night celebration."

Do you want to know what went on behind the scenes? Well if you do read on. I had the pleasure of taking part in many of the events prior to March 16th that took place in various houses/venues across Bonn, as well as the many events that took place at BIS. A quick summary includes the many planning meetings of the main committee and sub-committees; gathering of support from the Irish Embassy, Irish Food Board (Bord Bia) & Irish Tourist Board (Discover Ireland); mobilisation of people to seek donations for our raffle and silent auction locally and in Ireland; the coordination, gathering and displaying of the Baskets with donations from all grades; the creation of the Shamrock favours; packing of the take-home goody bags; creation of posters per Irish province; training of ‘bar staff’ and creation of O’Gora Pub; creation of the perfect ‘green’ aperitif; discussion and much practice of music/dance for the night by many groups; gathering and creation of many decorations including many, many shamrocks, bar signs, green back-drop to stage etc.; purchase, baking and selling of the vast array of items for the craft and bake sale; compilation of Irish story books to donate to Library and collection and display (thanks Jill) of the many stories and poems created by BIS children following a library run programme (thanks Cindy & Alicia). As you can see there were indeed many elements and this list is by no means exhaustive.


Creating the perfect green aperitif Now aperitif is a french word and not something we typically indulge in Ireland - we are usually happy to go straight to the main event. But nevertheless, we sure love a challenge and a chance to get creative... A pre-event get together was planned to iron out wrinkles, such as the green welcome drink and the wine tasting. Not an easy job, but we were a dedicated team after all. Lesley Anne and Thomas turned up clutching several bottles of Prosecco and some green food dye. Lindsay and Alan turn up with every blue and green liqueur known to mankind. ‘Oh Dear ... this is going to be a long night ...’ We mixed, shook, stirred and tasted and mixed and shook and tasted again. The room took on the atmosphere of a chemistry lab. Team Ireland voted on the taste with insightful comments such as "rotten", "undrinkable", "lethal" and then finally - "yes, that's nice". We decided to stick with the prosecco and food dye as we wanted our guests to be able to navigate the stairs on the way home. The colour was the trickiest of all. After much grumbling and testing we finally ended up with a result that we were happy with. The perfect green and a great team building exercise! Lesley Anne Weiling

"A really great experienc e, the night was fantastic. "

Guinness Meisters 2013

Craft, Bake Sale & Storytelling event

Everyone can pull a pint of stout, can’t they? Well that Typically our school fundraiser is a night of entertainment for depends. I rallied the men folk and managed to secure the parents. This time we thought why not organise something services of six of the best, who all claimed to be experts at our students can enjoy, and in the process raise some funds pulling pints. Once the excitement died down, however, I towards our hidden costs, in particular decorating. In the pressed each of them for confirmation of that statement. week before the event we held a bake & craft table and we Hhmmm…?, it soon became clear that none of them had ever sold items students could wear on Friday - Green School Day. pulled a pint before, their positivity most probably being Younger students could make craft items with assistance and driven by the chance to “work the bar”! So, with the help of baked goods and treats were donated and sold. A big thank The Fiddlers in Bonn, I arranged a crash-course designed you to the many volunteers throughout the school,the week both to provide the necessary training, through diligent and turned out to be a huge hit, the size of the group surrounding conscientious effort, and a certificate for their respective the table was evidence of this, often four deep. People seemed personnel files at the end. On a cold February night, we went to like how it all looked, as we had an obvious ‘green’ theme to The Fiddlers – Alan was up first and with a great deal of but also we had such a range of delicious items and everything fortitude and gusto he pulled his first pint, then his second, at a cost of €1! We raised €600 during the week, a truly then the third and kept going until the barman (Michael from great result. As an added bonus that day, Grade 4 teacher, Cork) told him to stop or he would waste the lot. Then Curtis, Matthew Friday, offered a storytelling event with ‘Irish Tales’ Thomas, Jim, Johan and Steve followed suit with outstanding as the theme. This was a great success with many families performances. The barman had said that he had never seen benefiting from this free fun event. such a bunch, so unequivocally devoted to pulling the perfect Kerry Brazil pint. In fact, Alan was so impressive, he even made it onto the pub’s website ( All six were Our very own Dads Band ‘OF’ certified and received the rather prestigious yet humble title of “Guinness Meisters 2013” and therefore they were readied The band were pretty excited when we were asked to play for for the night at hand. approx. two hours, to take the night out in a party atmosphere. A daunting task for a small ‘Dads Band” who began with five "Great beer, great music from songs at the opening of the Agora Building last year.

everybody, great venue in the Agora."

So with that being said, March 16th arrived – the bar was set up, the staff were fully trained and equipped, and it began at 7pm promptly. Thomas was up first, three customers, all looking for creamy pints of stout. I looked at Thomas, I wasn’t sure, to me he seemed to crumble and I thought I saw a pearl of sweat running down his brow, I didn’t know what to do. And then with a great deal of calm and a cheeky grin, he simply tapped his forehead, pointed to his certificate and gave me a nod of comfort, which told me not to worry. With the first customers satisfied, the night rolled on, each of the team working the bar as if it was something that they were born to do. I was delighted to see that even the untrained, such as Steve Arrowsmith, jumped into the fray and tended bar during the course of the evening. (Steve, your certificate is on its way). Niall Brazil

We practised hard to include six new songs from Irish bands, including U2 and Van Morrison. Then added some of our regular set. We practised every Monday night, and sometimes during the week as well. We always fit our band around home and work life, and it works well. We also wanted to include other musicians we knew, and encouraged them to bring an instrument and join us on stage. This was also to take the heat off us!! Luckily Niall had a few songs in mind, and he came along to more than a few practices in our drummer's basement. This added another dimension to our music, and the band got to work with other musicians. The band was auctioned off in the Party Basket, as well. So a group of lucky people who generously bid for that prize get to have the band at their party. The guys are pretty happy with this, and look forward to our next concert. Alan Bridges


The first 12 minutes Advisory time at BIS John and Al arrive sharing comments about the very cold cycleride to school, Diane enters with a bright ‘good morning’ after a birthday weekend, Nina is rushing because the 8:20 start is just approaching. Simon slips in with 5 seconds to spare, warm and rosy cheeked after the pre-school football on the playground. David, Anna, Mo and Gina are already in a corner discussing what they are planning to do for their Community and Service project work in the primary school later in the day. Bret is still away from school after breaking his an arm last week, but we are glad to have sent him a card as an Advisory Group to wish him a speedy recovery.

and Negative Comments given by teachers and those from the previous 24 hours are highlighted. This gives me the opportunity to discuss issues with students soon after they arise and deal with then before they become more of a problem or forgotten. As their Advisor, I am usually the first to receive any relevant information in the school life of a student. I get to know all the students; their successes and failures, their family and personal context and their needs, very well.


This could be describing the start of any typical day for an Advisory Group in the secondary school at BIS; a group of around ten or so students coming together with their teacher at the beginning of the day. So…. • What goes on in Advisory? • What are the advantages of the Advisory system? • How does it help our students? These are some of the questions asked by students, teachers and parents who are new to the idea. The Advisory group is a place where relationships are built and where students can feel safe, supported and looked after. This is especially important in the multi-cultural context of our school. The Advisory Group is a place where global issues and international and cultural events can be discussed, with adult supervision, in a group that is not subject based. Each student gets daily contact with an adult in school who, over time, gets to know them very well. As an Advisor myself, and like other Advisors, I start the day promptly with registration at 8:20. Our information system gives me information on my group of students and shows the Positive

Next on the list of tasks come the morning announcements, before using the remaining time productively in a variety of activities. Some days a student will talk to the rest of the group about themselves and their hobbies and interests. This works well in a small group where there is little threat, and students quickly learn to empathise with each other. Another day students may work competitively or as a group to solve a puzzle, SuDoKu or crossword. We might have a ‘thought for the day’ to think about or discuss, or we might discuss some of the quotations on the weekly page of the student diary. Time will be taken to plan and work on C & S activities and of course there is the need to discuss progress with individual students, sign the diary and of course give those important words of encouragement. There is a lot to be done before students move to lessons at 8:32 (precisely!), but as they do so they are prepared for their day and ready to give their best. Most of the activities carried out in Advisory time could not be done with equal effectiveness in a larger group. Having Advisory Groups means that there is at least one teacher in the school who knows each student really well and can offer them personal support. These smaller groups offer a ‘safer’ environment, where students can make a greater personal contribution and it is easier for students to work together and be sympathetic towards each other. Evidence shows that students behave better towards each other in school when they work in these smaller groups. Where possible Advisors will take their group through from one school year to the next, so that the good relationships established can continue to grow and develop for the benefit of students. The change to the Advisory system has been very well received both by teachers and students and it has been a very positive step forward in the pastoral and academic care that we can offer at BIS. There is much to be achieved in the first 12 minutes! Michael Bailey


Sub-Saharan Africa A Reflection by students in the Middle School Current Affairs class After spending some time looking at the news from a regional perspective, our Current Affairs class wanted to know if there was a different lens through which we could look at Sub-Saharan Africa. In the news we tended to find stories that had negative tones and not very optimistic points of view. We decided to do some investigating ourselves. Recognizing there are resources right here in the BIS community, we decided to ask people with first hand experience what progress was really happening in the region. We spoke with people who have lived in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, and Guinea. We broke our topics down into categories including Economics, Education and Culture. What we found was an optimistic attitude coupled with a real desire to let people know how truly wonderful the region is, and how truly wonderful it can become. After our interviews and research, there was one theme that became the obvious common denominator: potential. SubSaharan Africa has the potential to be many things: a viable choice for foreign investment, an agricultural breadbasket for not only the region but also the world, and a real player on the global market. Yet, another common theme that became evident was the world’s perception of the region: progress isn’t moving as fast as the current 24 hour news cycle demands, so it is often easily dismissed. “Africa’s potential is clouded by the misconceptions of the rest of the world.” Economically speaking, the region is on the upswing. It is estimated that by 2015, there will be $54 billion per year in foreign investment. The region will surpass Asia in economic growth and development, with an estimated increase of 6.1% by 2014.

Not only is foreign investment on the rise but domestic economies are prospering as well. A teacher on staff spoke to us about his home country of Zambia. He told us that, years ago, Zambia made its money from the trade of copper. He went on to explain that Zambia is currently experiencing an economic boom from agriculture. Zambia traditionally imported many food products because the belief was “imported stuff was better than our own.” Now, not only is Zambia providing food for Zambians, they are also exporting corn, wheat, beef, chicken and eggs to surrounding countries. In Zambia, “agriculture will be a force to reckon with.” In the area of education, progress is slow yet steady. Since the development of the U.N.’s Millennium Goals in 2000, enrolment in primary school aged children has risen from 58% to 76% in less than 10 years, with 43 million more children enrolled. Asked about the quality of education in his home country of South Africa, a member of our staff estimated that the quality there is comparable to many western countries. South Africa spends 20 % of its central budget on education, more than they spend in any other area. There, school is compulsory until the age of 15 and students in grades 10-12 sit nationally set and moderated exams.

With education comes a questioning spirit. Traditional ways that might have had a place generations ago may no longer fit with a population that is willing to experiment with new ideas. With improved economies and opportunities to learn, SubSahara Africa is experiencing what Western countries did over a century ago – urbanization. History shows us that it ushers in new ways of doing things, and can’t help but leave old ways behind. The increase in city populations is currently happening in many parts of the region. Although it can bring with it many negatives, there is one undeniable positive – an increase in employment and educational opportunities for women. Studies show that empowering women is the single most important step toward eradicating poverty. In Current Affairs we’ve learned that, if we let it, media has the power to determine how we think. It is up to us to investigate and draw our own conclusions. Choosing to look at Sub-Sahara from a different perspective has allowed us to develop a very different picture of the region. As each interviewee agreed, people there are happy, have a morality and a generosity that goes beyond what we know here in the West, and would appreciate not being seen as poverty stricken or in constant need of aid. Helping the world change their attitude about Sub-Saharan Africa could possibly be the most significant support we can give. The Current Affairs class would like to thank Charles Gasse, Chris Müller, Natalie Niklas, and Wayne Richardson for agreeing to be interviewed for this article. Elissa Francemone


International Mindedness and the Model United Nations at BIS

The Model United Nations is the perfect extra curriculum activity to develop an understanding and appreciation of other cultures, perspectives and values. Student must take on another identity, as they become a delegate for a member nation of the United Nations. In doing so, they come to appreciate that the same issue can be seen from a range of points of view. This approach is central to the IB philosophy of International Mindedness and the idea that “Educating global citizens means much more than exposure to many nationalities, learning about multiple cultures, or even immersion in other languages. It requires giving students the outlook and skills that equip them with mental flexibility and a basic respect for perspectives other than their own.’’ (Washington International School, 2004) This year, there were around 60 students engaged in the MUN club each Tuesday lunchtime. The group was very student lead by our two Co-Chairs Alessandro Barbieri and Harry Matthews and our two Administration Officers Melanie Wong and Ester Maria Elze. Activities included drafting resolutions and clauses on various international issues and presenting them in front of peers. Students were required to develop their skills of inquiry and risk taking as they did so. On Saturday November 23rd, we held our first BISMUN conference in the Agora Building, a perfect venue for such an event. The morning began with a plenary from Ms Amina Said from the UN Volunteers Headquarters. She spoke to students about the important role that volunteers play in UN work and the new youth volunteers programme launched by the UN Secretary General Mr Bang Ki Moon. The day was then spent in debate in two UN Committees, the UN Development Programme examining “The question of creating a sustainable future: empowering people with better job opportunities” and the Environment Committee Environment Committee considering “The question of sustainable tourism.” Many students reported afterwards that this experience gave them the confidence to attend the two larger conferences in Paris and The Hague.


From December 7 – 9th, 15 students represented BIS at the annual PAMUN conference in Paris and on January 27th a delegation of 12 attended the largest and oldest model United Nations Conference in The Hague. Mr Frank and I would like to congratulate the following students for the manner in which they represented the school and the extent to which they displayed important attributes of the IB Learner profile including being risk takers to speak publically in front of a large audience in most cases for the first time in an unfamiliar environment. Paris Delegation: Alessandro Barbieri Harry Matthews Melanie Wong Alexander Gonzalez Ester-Maria Elze Vivek Bilolikar Ruairidh Paton Jillian Fox Jake Lindow Gillan Junglas Michael Borgers Sebastiao Borges Teixeira Meghan Fox Joel Elze Hemanth Pillai

The Hague Delegation: Philip Unverzagt Pavel Deyatkin Helle Huisman Thomas Matthews Tom Hartmann Gabriel Kofi Agyemang-Bonsu Gabriella Lange Lorenzo Pasanisi Natalie Adler James Wong Dhillon Welsh Mohammed Al Haifi

This year has been a rewarding year and we look forward to BISMUN 2014 lead by Mohammed Al Haifi, Pavel Devyatkin, Philip Unverzagt, Hanna Van Holten and Gabriel Kofi Agyemang-Bonsu. Ms Teresa Foard - MUN Teacher Director 2013.

SWITCH N TO GREAT IDEAS In 2009, TED created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program

When I applied to work at BIS one year ago, my introduction

of local, self-organized events that bring people together to

to the students was the TEDxYouth@BIS 2012 talks that were

share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxYouth@

published online. The sheer zeal that BIS students communicated

BIS, where x = independently organized. In only 4 years since the

through these talks was invigorating, and I knew that not only

creation of TEDx, BIS held our third event this year! At our event,

was BIS the school for me, but that I had to get involved with this

TEDTalks video and live speakers were combined to spark deep

committee. As fate would have it, Tosca Killoran and Jeff Hoffart

discussion and connections. The TED Conference provides

were in search for a member of secondary staff with which to

general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx

collaborate. After I met with Tosca and Jeff, it was clear where

events, including ours, are self-organized. The TEDxYouth@BIS

the enthusiasm that emanated from the students in their talks

2013 event was an amazing example of the forward thinking

came from. Since then, the student speakers and I have been

ideas at BIS. Each student worked for months honing their talks

meeting every Thursday to understand expectations, narrow

and developing skills such as: research and citation, public

their topics, pitch their speeches, develop their outlines, craft

speaking, and keynote presentation in order to share their ideas

their drafts, revise their iterations, practice their speeches, and

with the globe. This year's event drew people from all parts of

inspire each other.

Josefino Rivera

Germany and was a wonderful opportunity for BIS to share its ethos with the larger learning community in our host country. This year we are sad to see Jeff Hoffart leave the TEDxYouth@ BIS Organizer Team as he moves on to other ventures, but happy to welcome Josefino Rivera as we move forward in planning the 2014 event. We are excited to continue in the spirit of Ideas Worth Spreading. If you would like to get involved with the TEDxYouth@BIS event organization or be a speaker at next year's event please visit our website at: Tosca Killoran, TEDxYouth@BIS Licensee


Bonn ist eine Reise wert Bonn is worth a visit. Our Grade 2 students have inquired into the sights in Bonn and read resources. They have gathered the most important information and have written some texts. The following are just a choice of many. Der Posttower Der Posttower steht in Bonn – in der Nähe des Rheinufers. Er ist das höchste Gebäude in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Er ist 162,5 m hoch. Man kann 41 Obergeschosse sehen. Dazu kommen noch 5 Untergeschosse. Der Posttower besteht aus Stahl, Beton und Glas. Viktor L. G2 Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven wurde im Jahre 1770 in Bonn geboren. Er hatte keine angenehme Kindheit, weil sein Vater ihn schon sehr früh gezwungen hatte Klavier zu spielen. Er lernte auch Orgel und Komposition. Als er älter wurde, konnte er nicht mehr hören. Er starb am 26. März 1827. Jacob L. G2

Das Bonner Rathaus Clemens August hat den Auftrag zum Bau des Rathauses 1737 gegeben. Auf der Treppe vor dem Rathaus standen schon viele Präsidenten. Der amerikanische Präsident John F. Kennedy hat dort mal eine Rede gehalten. Das Rathaus wurde vor kurzem restauriert und sieht jetzt wieder wie neu aus. Katharina G2 Das Rathaus ist vor kurzem renoviert worden. Das Rathaus hat das alte Wappen von Bonn restauriert. Am Rathaus stand der amerikanische Präsident John F. Kennedy. Wo ist das Rathaus? (Welche Antwort ist richtig?) 1. Das Rathaus ist in Disneyland. 2. Das Rathaus ist in Bonn. 3. Das Rathaus ist in Japan Felix G2 Das Rathaus wurde von 1737 bis 1738 gebaut. Bonn war von 1949 bis 1990 die deutsche Hauptstadt. 1963 war der amerikanische Präsident John F. Kennedy am Rathaus, und 1989 kam der russische Präsident Gorbatschow. Kalina, G2 Moby Dick Moby Dick sieht aus wie ein Wal. Moby Dick ist ein Schiff. 496 Personen können mitfahren. Kinder können hier auch Geburtstag feiern. Anusha, G2

Poppelsdorfer Schloss Das Sterntor Das Sterntor ist 800 Jahre alt. In einem von den zwei Bildern sind der Gekreuzigte und Maria und Johannes. Das Sterntor leuchtet ganz viel in der Nacht. Das Sterntor hat mehr als 10.000 Lichter. Früher, wenn man in das Sterntor rein gehen wollte, musste man bei dem Alten Zoll bezahlen. Das Sterntor ist heute im Stadtzentrum. Alessia, G2 Die Münsterkirche Die Münsterkirche hat zwei Gräber von zwei Märtyrern, die freiwillig gestorben sind. Sie hießen Cassius und Florentius. Da sind fünf Türme, vier kleinere und ein großer Turm. Friedrich, der Schöne, und Karl der IV, haben ihre Krone im Münster bekommen. Ruby G2


The developing language group applied the “Visible Thinking” pattern: “I see, I think, I wonder” when taking a closer look at one of the most beautiful sights of Bonn, the Poppelsdorfer Schloss. Here is a summary of what the children said: Ich sehe Bäume; ich sehe ein Schloss; eine Wiese; viele Fenster; den Himmel; Büsche. Ich denke, da wohnt eine Prinzessin; da ist ein Schatz im Schloss; da sind alte Sachen im Schloss; da leben Menschen; da lebt ein König; da ist ein Drachen; da sind viele Tiere. Ich frage mich: Wohnt da eine Prinzessin? Wie alt ist das Schloss? Wie sieht das Schloss in der Zukunft aus? We are curious about the answers we will find.

Youth Protection Laws

Jugendschutzgesetz It is May, and there are a lot of festivals and parties, such as Rhein-in-Flammen. Teenagers in Nordrhein-Westfalen like to attend this event and have fun with friends. What they don’t take into consideration are the laws and dangers of alcohol and smoking. At BIS there are a lot of international students who may be familiar with the laws in their own country, however, we should also be aware of and follow the German laws. In German B class we learned about Jugendschutzgesetz (the laws that apply to young people in Germany). Examples are the driving licence, drinking alcohol, or even watching movies at the movie theatre. The rights to acquire a driving licence start at the age of 15. These are the ages and vehicles people are allowed to drive: Age



Motorised bikes up to a speed of 25km/h


Mopeds up to 50km/h and light motorcycles up to 80km/h

We made a table with the teenage protection laws: Law





until 15


only with an adult


after 16

till 24:00



after 18

no time limits



no official age limit


needs permission of parents

Clubs, Churches, Public events

under 14

till 22:00

Clubs, Churches, Public events

under 16

till 24:00


under 14

until 20:00

The movie should end at 20:00


Probationary age for supervised driving


Cars (Class 3) and motorbikes up to 20KW (Class 1a)


under 16

until 22:00


Motorbikes (Class 1), provided the person has had a license 1a for at least 2 years

The movie should end at 22:00


under 18

until 24:00

The movie should end at 24:00


Lorries/Trucks (class 2)

But people must keep in mind that for each of the different classes there is a different licence that is required. There are also different licenses for manual and automatic cars. In Germany teens can drink soft alcoholic drinks such as wine and beer after the age of 14 under the supervision of an adult. Nevertheless, teenagers like to go out to these events without the supervision of an adult This can be done after the age of 16, but stronger drinks such as vodka are only sold to adults (18+). Smoking is a little bit different. Teens can smoke at home at the age of 16, but cannot buy cigarettes. You must be 18+ to be able to buy cigarettes or smoke in public. Watching movies is really fun! Many people enjoy watching violent movies, but it depends on your age whether you are allowed to watch it or not. Age limits and time limits on movies are really important, and are not respected by many people. You cannot go to the cinema after 20:00 if you are below 13, you must be accompanied by an adult. If you are 14-15, you can stay in the cinema until 22:00 without a parent being present. At the age 16-17, you are allowed to watch films until 24:00; above the age of 18, you have no restrictions.

From this table we can see that young adults are not permitted out in town after 22:00/24:00. What was really surprising to us was that children and adolescents under 16 are not allowed in restaurants between 17:00 and 23:00 hours unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or person acting with parents. In Germany the laws are very different, and it helps to know them. Of course, having fun is important and it’s always more fun with friends, and maybe you want to go against the laws to seem cool. However, remember that the law is made for a certain reason. It protects you from getting hurt, or from a dangerous situation that you might get involved in. A bit of self-control and restraint will make the festivals in May more safe, special and memorable.


The PV does what? (Parent Volunteers)

g volunteerism “I believe in role modelin home, work, in all environments – at and in my community” Mary Ann Mann Mary Ann, along with another 6 parents make up the elected 2012/13 PV Board, who then have an amazing 60+ parents who form the active core of the Parent Volunteers e.V., better known at BIS as the PV. The PV is an amazingly active part of the BIS community. Its goals are to develop a close-knit BIS community, to provide voluntary and financial support to the school through events and to support newcomers. The PV is not officially part of Bonn International School; it exists as a separate and non-profit entity. The PV is open to all parents of students enrolled at the school, although it has no formal membership. Parents are encouraged to become involved with the PV, as it is a great way to meet other parents. Throughout the school year, the PV helps with school functions like the New Student Orientation / Help Desk during first few days of school, the annual Welcome BBQ, Primary and Secondary concerts and Open House. They organize Primary room parents, the Welcome Family Program and provide assistance with Secondary dances. They host their own events like the Wine on Rhine cruise in April, St Martin’s Day parade and bonfire in November along with the German department, Halloween treat bags, Mums’ Holiday Gift Exchange, St Nicklaus, Primary Movie Night, Staff Appreciation Days, and Welcome Coffee Mornings. Probably the event that comes to mind when the BIS community thinks of the PV is International Day, the largest school event of the year and a wonderful culinary and entertainment afternoon. This is where you see a great school community, which pulls together to make this event successful. Independent of the


weather, this day is always wonderful and always a big boost to PV fundraising. Because of International Day, the PV has been able to fund projects at BIS for more than €30,000 over the past 5 years. Some of these projects over the past 4 years included: • Graphing Calculators • Lighting and Sound Equipment • Primary climbing frames (funds pending use) • Sports Banners for both gyms (funds pending use) • Partial funding of Tech Team polo shirts • Flip Cameras • Elmo Visualizers • Track Balls • Music Stand Carts • Video/DVD Recorder • Softball/Baseball protective equipment • Contributions to miscellaneous clubs and groups such as: World Challenge Teams, Prom Committee, Lego League Team, TedX, and the Agora Building Campaign While Mary Ann Mann, Chair of the Parent Volunteers from 2011 - 2013, made a conscious decision to join. Sara Wiedemann, another member of the PV Board, was volunteered by another member and was quickly drawn in. After 2 years on the PV Board, she says “It’s a great community. It is a commitment, but also a lot of laughter and fun. I love helping and I am glad that I am involved.” The Parent Volunteers are always looking for new parents and offer a wide variety of ways to become involved. Should you be interested, please contact them via email at: 2012/2013 PV Board: Jane Denton-MacLennan, Viki Johnston, Michelle Krebs, Agnes Lyden, Mary Ann Mann, Anke Vögeli, Sara Wiedemann Natalie Niklas

Update from the Yearbook Team...

BIS Yearbook

This year's Yearbook Team wor ked very hard to make the yearbook as awe some as possible! The students on the team came up with the theme, built the page templates, drew many of the designs found inside the book, and designe d the cover all on their own. There was very little help from teachers, with the exc eption of Ms. Tilton, without whom this Yearbook would still be stuck in its primitive form. The students involved with the mak ing of the Yearbook had a lot of fun des igning and building this year's book, and the weekend workshops, along with the conference in Lindau, Germany, went a


long way towards making us a team . We were united when our publisher issued us a challenge/bet that we would not be able to include a particular design element in the yearbook (we can't tell you what, it is a surprise)! The bet was that if we succeeded, Russell, our publishe r, would owe us all ice cream, and if we failed we would owe him dinner! Let's just say that Russell is going to be buying 20 ice creams! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!! ! The seniors on the team also help ed in training the younger members of the team in InDesign, Photography, Pho toshop,

Wax museum

May 2013

and how to lay up pages/build a year book. When the seniors graduate, it will be with confidence that they are leaving behind a fully equipped and prepared Yearbook Team for next year! We, the Yearbook Team of 2012-2013, are very prou d and privileged to present this year's Yearbook and hope that you enjoy the mem ories and great times at Bonn Inte rnational School that it's pages have capture d! Aiden Tansey Senior Editorial Team, BIS Yearboo k

The grade 3 students had been researching the experiences of a chosen explorer. Many questions were asked during the morning of their wax museum exhibition, one of them being: How did you become an explorer?

Bennet Flock as Roald Amundsen: My mother's dream was for me to study medicine, but when my mother died, I stopped studying medicine and went on an expedition to the Arctic as a first mate.

Wilhelm Melo as Jacques Cartier: King Francis asked me to go and look for gold and precious metals in the new world, and also to find a new route through the Northwest passage to Asia

Hope Wilson as Sylvia Earle: I had always loved the ocean and that is how I became interested in deep sea exploration.

Moriz Maier as Erik the Red: When I got older, I had to leave Iceland for 3 years for murder. In that time, I wanted to find new land. I also wanted adventure and I was curious about what I would find.


iPads in BIS what?


After months of talking and planning, it’s exciting to see the BIS iPad Initiative moving ahead. So, what’s this all about? Why a digital device? Why the iPad? What will it mean for students, teachers and parents?

BIS sees the use of digital devices as a vital element in an international move towards individualizing student learning. It increases independence and self-initiated learning in students, and extends their learning beyond the classroom. If the objective of a school is firstly to educate students and then to try and assess evidence of student learning, having a digital device creates many more opportunities for students to demonstrate and express their learning.

I remember when I was in school. The teacher taught, I listened, I did the assigned work, which was mostly written, and I took tests to show my understanding. I was one of the lucky ones because I had good teachers and my learning style was compatible with this model. I watched classmates who had strengths in areas other than the traditional “reading, writing, arithmetic” flounder in this educational setting, only to fly after being released by graduation when they could pursue their own strengths and interests. Schools like BIS are already different from my schooling, nevertheless education never seems to keep pace with the “real world.” The traditions of the industrial model of grouping students by age, teaching the same content to all, and assessing all in the same way have persisted over the years. A large amount of research has been done on what 21st century learning means and how schools need to adapt themselves to meet the requirements of today's learners. In our secondary school BIS is introducing a one-to-one program that will be phased in over time. This means that eventually every student in secondary school will have their own digital device. In our primary school we are increasing the number of iPads in each classroom.


Students who have their own device take pride and ownership over the knowledge they create, with a flow-on to more flexible forms of schooling. By engaging students to learn, today's digital tools have already changed the entire landscape of learning. One-to-one programs can extend formal learning communities to include parents, siblings and other people important in students' lives. Also, the programs can lead to initiating global communication and collaboration, as well as enhancing creative expression. Educators are now tasked with ultimately preparing children to go into the world equipped with the knowledge and wisdom to pursue an unpredictable and constantly evolving livelihood. Doing this with a digital device makes our job as teachers more relevant to students' futures and makes students' learning more engaging and meaningful.

Education how?


In 2011-12 BIS invested in 2 iPads per classroom for classrooms in Early Learning through Grade 2 as well as a cart of 22 iPads for checkout purposes. During this time many teachers have explored ways to use the iPad and started having students work with it in the classroom.

At the end of the presentation by Andrew, many teachers received a BIS iPad so that they can get started learning how to use this tool. BIS is currently running different iPad learning sessions for teachers and will continue to do so next year. We are not expecting every teacher to be an expert by Aug 2013 as BIS staff, students and parents are all on this learning journey together!

Over the year 2012-13 teachers, administrators and parent worked together on the iLearning Committee to explore this whole realm of digital learning. In all discussions the objective of increasing and transforming learning was at the forefront. A proposal was put together and delivered to the Board of Trustees, and periodically, communications about progress were put in the weekly Newsflash to keep community members informed. Parent sessions were run to introduce the program and give parents the opportunity to ask questions. In April 2013, BIS was fortunate to have Andrew Jewell, an iPad expert teacher from Scotland, give presentations to our parents, students, IT staff, and teachers. He kicked off our program and gave everyone a boost by showing how the iPad positively impacts teaching and learning. He was careful to make sure that everyone understands that having an iPad does not mean that students stop using print materials, or musical instruments, or art media, or stare at screens all day long. He showed examples of how the iPad has transformed education in his classroom by making learning more individualized, motivating and creative.

In Sep/Oct 2013, students in grades 6-7-8 will receive from BIS an iPad mini with a protective case and a core set of Apps. The plan is for students to keep this iPad for 3 years. The number of iPads in the primary school will increase so the ratio will be approximately four students per iPad. In the following years, a digital device program may be extended to all secondary students. However, as technology changes so fast, it’s difficult to say what it will look like in a couple of years! All the nitty-gritty details of the iPad implementation will be given to our community in the coming months. Stay tuned for more developments! Our world is changing so rapidly that it’s hard to grasp the implications, and we could argue the pros and cons of it all. I do know that it’s a fascinating time to be in the field of education attempting to prepare our students for this changing world. In thinking again about my schooling of the past, I look at BIS students learning in new ways by constructing videos, composing music, creating design projects, using iPads... and think, “Wow, I wish I could be a student again!” Ann Martin

(For more information about the E-Learning Proposal, please see:


Creative Creative Waves Festival

The first Creative Waves Festival was held on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Bonn International School in the Agora building. The festival was a celebration of all non-sporting extra curricular activities at BIS and provided a common place to perform, display or participate in a workshop for the BIS community. More than 20 extra curricular groups took part, including those from private music and dance lessons, MUN, History Club, Book Club, Robotics Club, BIS Band, Trumpet Ensemble, Strings Ensembles, Colbalt Blues Band, Blues Band, Pop Band, a photography exhibit and many more. Students from EL 3-4 through grade 12 shared performances, speeches and creations. After the student performances, exhibits and workshops, the last hour featured a short closing ceremony. The community art work, which incorporated the art of over 100 people attending the festival, was unveiled. This art work will be permanently displayed in the Agora building.


Waves Festival After the presentation, wine and cake were served while the International Voices Choir ended the day with two beautiful choral selections. After last year’s private voice lesson recital, Activities Coordinator Gil Grant approached Kathleen Szalay with an idea to have a recital or festival that would give more students a chance to show their work. What began as an idea for a relatively small performance with art displays, quickly grew as extra curricular activity leaders requested to take part in the festival. Between 300-400 people from the BIS community attended and many have voiced enthusiasm about next year’s festival. “The atmosphere was fantastic and so many students got a chance to demonstrate what they learn in their EC Activities” said Mr. Grant. The second annual Creative Waves Festival is tentatively scheduled for April of 2014. Contact Kathleen Szalay if your activity wants to take part!


Preparing for...

The PYP Exhibition has been described as a “project” or a “unit”, but it is so much more than this. It is truly an opportunity for students to demonstrate all that they have learned and developed in their journey through the PYP. As written in the IB’s Exhibition Guidelines, “The Primary Years Programme (PYP) exhibition represents a significant event in the life of a PYP school and student, synthesizing the essential elements of the PYP and sharing them with the whole school community. As a culminating experience it is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the International Baccalaureate (IB) learner profile that have been developing throughout their engagement with the PYP. Students are required to engage in a collaborative, trans disciplinary inquiry process that involves them in


identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real-life issues or problems.” The IB provides guidelines on how the Exhibition should be implemented, but like all curriculum and teaching, this allows some freedom in how this can be done. In January, Ms. Priestley and I had the opportunity to sit down with educators throughout all of Germany who held the PYP Exhibition in their schools. We were given some very positive feedback and offered our support and resources to other schools to help them in their journey. The key difference for our success that became evident between schools that we spoke to, as well as other schools we have worked in and have visited, is the focus in BIS on Action.

...the PYP Exhibition

One of the important components for this year’s Exhibition is that students have a personal connection to their topic. If we want children to make a difference in the world we need to help them personalize the action they take, and understand that it is not just a mandate from their teachers and parents, but a life-long mindset they develop. Although we want students to think globally, it is also extremely important that students begin with their own lives. As Mahatma Gandhi has said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Last year, students took action by creating inclusive games, creating programs in the school, teaching younger students global issues using children’s books they had created and more! You can view some of these actions on

the Action Hub ( We plan to add actions from this year’s students at the culmination of the 2013 PYP Exhibition. Our aim is to challenge children to look beyond action as a one-time thing, and begin to view it as an extension of their learning and interests, becoming a habit of mind and a way of life. Taking action can happen at any age. It's all about how we as parents, teachers, and the community, support children and youth as they begin the learning journey towards becoming adults that are agents of change! Jeff Hoffart


Student Council


Suggestions, complaints and problems are dealt with by the Bonn International School Student Council on a regular basis. As students ourselves, we listen to our peers and deal with these issues from a student’s perspective, working closely with the BIS staff. By organizing meetings with teachers, we create awareness and offer suggestions for improvement in communication. Student Council has worked to raise school spirit through a variety of ways, including the planning of school dances, support of our athletic teams and organizing spirit days. Our aim is to make Bonn International School the best it can be. As an organization, we are comprised of students in grades 6-12, with one representative from each grade, as well as our officers: • President: Geena Kloeppel • Vice President: Henry Dickinson • Treasurer: Paul Appel • Secretary: Jillian Fox • Homeroom Liason: Lorenzo Pasanisi • Events Coordinator: Jungho An We meet every Friday at lunchtime to discuss upcoming events, problems that have been brought to us by students, and new ideas for projects that we would like to develop to make school a little more fun for us kids. Throughout the year we have worked on numerous projects. The winter dance for grades 9-12, that we organized, was a huge success, with nearly 100 students in attendance. By assisting the Parent Volunteers with the dance for grades 6-8, we provided an opportunity for the younger secondary students to have a fun night of dancing and hanging out with friends. We also initiated the Dragon Sports Facebook page to foster school spirit and update students, staff and parents about the various BIS sporting activities. By providing updates of team scores and outcomes, we have increased awareness of student athletic endeavors and enthusiastically supported the BIS Dragons. Go Dragons!


We also have worked cooperatively with the teachers to determine the best possible ways in which they could help us with homework management. Students had voiced their complaints that the homework assignment due dates were crowded together, creating time management and stress issues among the student population. We discussed several possible solutions, including returning to the paper calendar of assignments for each month, and utilizing edu2.0 in a more efficient way. Eventually the resolution was that the teachers would look at the assignments due by using the “Grade X Student.” This is the profile created which includes the assignments and scheduled due dates for each grade, to help the teachers consider the due dates for class assignments based on the overall academic picture. We are hopeful that this will provide a better academic schedule and a kinder calendar – and thus make us better students! The counseling department also coordinated with us to develop a “Kindness Initiative.” After brainstorming several ideas, the counseling department created a blog where people could post “kindness comments,” where they anonymously say how someone has done a good deed. The Student Council has already been active in this initiative. The URL is, and several comments are up. As a student council and a school, we’re striving to make this community a better place by recognizing the positive and rewarding the good. We are proud to represent the students of Bonn International School, and we look forward to new initiatives and successful programs in the future. Information regarding Student Council grade representative elections will be provided by your homeroom teachers at the start of the 2013-14 school year (this fall/ autumn). We encourage you to become involved in making our school a better place! After serving at least one year as a grade representative, you can run for election as an officer. We will elect the new officers at the end of this month. Jillian Fox (Secretary)


on PYP

The BIS Primary Pop Band Kareena Welsh This school year was the first year I auditioned for something that I really wanted to be a part of. I really didn’t know if I would be a good enough singer or have the voice quality that the Pop Band was looking for.

The audition

The Band

The Pop Band is coordinated and led by Ms. Priestley

Approximately one week later, there was a list of who

and Mr. Norman. I walked into auditions and sang

made it and guess what, I was one of four singers

Rolling in the Deep by Adele and I was very nervous.

that made it to the band! The band has students

My father used to sing professionally and he is pretty

and includes Vanessa (Grade 5), Joby (Grade 5), Zoe

good and that gave me more confidence. The night

(Grade 5) and myself (Grade 5) on vocals, Jarl (Grade

before the audition both my father and mother said

5) on drums, Ludovick (Grade 5) and Varshini (Grade

that I sounded very good and that I would definitely get

5) on Guitar, Daniel (Grade 5) on piano, Caleb on the

in. I also study voice with Ms. Szalay and she said that

bass guitar and last but not least George (Grade 4)

I was ready for my audition. So, I put my anxiety aside

and Gustavo (Grade 4) on saxophone and trumpet.

and pulled on the positive feedback of my parents and

Then, the hard work began. First, we had to choose

voice teacher and sang as best as I could.

songs we could all sing and play. Our first pick was “Little Talks” by Of Monsters And Men. We practiced over and over every Monday and Thursday in order to perform at our best.

“areWea,llthfreieBnISdspop band, and band members now and we are proud to be in the BIS pop band.


? s l r i G r a d n e l Ca

Recently I received an invitation to an staying in covers everything I could event in late August because the host want in an evening? I have somewhere couldn’t find an earlier weekend free. I’m comfortable to sit, alcohol to drink and already totally looking forward to the party. entertainment on the TV. There’s nothing But I think this may be partly because better than that.” it’s a long way away. I often find that the This is why we’re so compatible: our point when I write down an event in my needs for a good night are aligned. We calendar is the most excited I’ll be about got married so we wouldn’t have to go out it. Everyday that passes, I become less to have company. enthusiastic. The day after writing it down, a small niggle in my abdomen starts to Disappointingly, the babysitter turns grow and by the morning of the event up on time. I remember my new boots, it’s like a huge lead balloon sitting in my which will complete my outfit and provide stomach, weighing me down, making me the fabulous item for other women fatter than all my favourite clothes. This to complement. Piki, the voice of my reaches its crisis point by the evening, conscience, calls to tell me Terri will drive. when I Have Nothing To Wear and All My All my excuses have evaporated. Favourite Programmes Terri is driving because Are On TV. “Siegburg is so far away, she is running in the it’s practically in France.” Bonn marathon on Take last Friday, for instance. My husband and I had separate Sunday. I’m pretty sure that about year plans to do our favourite things in the ago, Andrea called her up and said “Hey world … I was going for dinner with my Terri, why don’t we run in the marathon girlfriends, he was drinking with his mates. together next year? It’s a whole year away! We have plenty of time to get fit. But at 6pm, we’re still watching TV. And Terri thought, “Ooo, a whole year “What time is it?” my husband asks. away, I can do that”. Then excitedly wrote “Nearly six,” I reply. “We should get ready.” it down in her calendar whilst imagining “I don’t want to go,” my husband says. how toned she was going to look crossing “Neither do I,” I say. the finishing line in front of her friends and We continue sitting on the sofa. family who would be wildly cheering her “I’m so tired,” my husband says, piteously. on. “Siegburg is so far away,” I weep. “It’s When Terri comes to pick us up that night, practically in France.” “The babysitter she is wearing a new expression. It’s a won’t be on time” mixture of fear, panic, disbelief and denial. “I really don’t have anything to wear” I recognize that look. Hers is just more There’s a pause, then Jon sums up our extreme. She can’t smile, she can’t make feelings “Why did I agree to go out when coherent sentences, she can’t even drink.


Everything about her says ‘JUST DON’T DO IT’. She is the opposite of a Nike ad. It’s clear her lead balloon of dread has filled her entire being. It’s also obvious that Terri’s idea of a good time is anything that takes her mind off the marathon. I feel intense relief I wasn’t misguided enough to sign up too. We walk through Heike’s door and, instantaneously, miraculously, our lead balloons fly out through the door. Everyone is drinking and laughing. Half the guests brought dessert, which means that there are at least seven different types of deliciousness. Now my lead balloon has disappeared, I have more than enough space to try them all. Over dinner we discuss Edith’s training plans for everyone. I am very enthusiastic about his because a) after a few weeks, I’ll look like Edith (I’ve always wanted to be tall) b) I’ll do a training plan for you sounds like I’ll do the training for you. We’re having such a good time, we make plans for all kinds of other social events, which fill up my virtual calendar and then I fall asleep on Heike’s rug. The perfect night. Five hours later, I crawl into the house, hair and eyes pointing in different directions. Jon is lounging on the sofa, looking similarly disheveled. “Good night?” he asks “Yeeuuurrrghhh, Blurrry goooo nigh!’ I reply. ‘Yeeewwuu?” “All the guys were there!” he announces happily. “We drank beer, we watched the rugby. There’s nothing better than that.” “Luurrrve goin owwww” I say as I drift off to sleep on the sofa. Tanya Talbot


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