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Computer Poetry Contest at BeeHive School

In anticipation of the new computer lab coming at the end of the summer, BeeHive School held a poetry contest.

There were some very good entries, good job to all the students!

Congratulations to the first place winner, Lughano, who received a poetry book, and second place winner Chantelle, who received a water bottle.

Here are the winning poems:

Computers

Computers, what wonders of human making computers are
Simplifying peoples’ lives by basically simplifying their work,
Online shopping, online banking and one click onto the internet,
The largest database  on which you can search about anything in this world, all of this in one machine

Computers
Where you have Microsoft Word to write things like a letter,
editing options to make things better,
a place for Mr. Ngwira to form a test,
computers otherwise called a PC, a place to relax and play W.W.E.
computers allow you to make rapid calculations,
a place to keep movies like comedies or animations,
an electronic device both friendly to adults and kids,
where we can check on news feeds,
Ipod, phones, tabs are what people love,
but for me a PC is the best electronic I could have.

by Lughano (Std 6)


WHAT COMPUTERS DO

Computers are full of games
They all have different names
Computers are fun
There is one where you draw a sun
You can type stories
John typed one about lorries.

You can go on internet
Buy online at a shop called Jet
I typed a poem about a cat
Who was sleeping on a mat
You can online school
Which is really cool

On Friday when
the sun will rise
I hope I win a prize
If I win
A fish will clap
with its fin,

THANK YOU!

by Chantelle (Std 5)

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Science and Computers at BeeHive School

beehive kids 1Science at BeeHive School

BeeHive School has a strong, balanced curriculum, where social, moral, spiritual, and physical development is fostered, as well as a strong focus on literacy, numeracy and science. Despite the limited resources at the school, the teachers at the school have come up with fun, engaging and educational science experiments, ranging from chemistry to physics to computer science. The teachers’ hard work and dedication has paid off, as the students not only love science, but have done very well in science on the standarized exams.

Chemical reactionsWhen standard 7 was learning about chemical reactions in the classroom, they got to create their own volcanic eruptions! They learned about chemical reactions in the classroom, then went outside, got into teams and contructed volcanoes out of the dirt. The students carefully measured the exact amounts of baking soda and vinagar they needed, and erupted their volcanoes! The Standard 3 class was able to watch the eruptions, which created a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about science!

Conductivity

When power got installed at the school last year, BeeHive School managed to turn it into a learning opportunity and the students learned about current, power and also about safety!

Computers

Once a week, each class gets to go into the library and computer lab. Two thirds of the students go to the library to browse and read books, while the other third gets to ue the computers. Although the few computers in the lab are very old, the school is very appreciative of them and takes very good care of everything in their computer lab. The computers are valued by the students and teachers. The children love using them, and for most of them, it’s their only opportunity use a computer.

The school is hoping to increase the number and upgrade the computers this summer. This will allow a whole class to use the computer lab at the same time, with everyone having their own computer, and will allow the teacher to teach a lesson on them. Having an up to date computer lab will allow BeeHive’s curriculum keep up with the rest of the world.

BeeHive School sees the value in technology, as students need to be exposed to them from a young age in order to contribute to helping solve the world’s toughest challenges. They want to give thei students an opportunity to click, play, learn and interact with computers. Whether the students become scientists, social workers, doctors, business leaders, teachers, accountants, non-profit founders, secretaries, entrepreneurs, or the president of Malawi – early access to computers will help them be the best person they can be.

The school has raised quite a bit of money for the lab, and is hoping to reach their goal by the summer.conductivity

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Wishing all our supporters a lovely day,

The BeeHive School Community

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Happy Holidays From BeeHive School!

We Are Thankful For Our Teachers

Beehive School had a wonderful term, full of learning and fun activities. The teachers are one of the main reasons why the students have such a strong passion for learning and are so successful. BeeHive School has such wonderful teachers and staff in part because of the teacher training program the school runs.

In Mzuzu, it is difficult to find local teachers who are able to teach the international curriculum that the school follows. Because of this, the school runs a very successful internal teacher training program. This allows local teachers to learn about international curriculum and become qualified to teach at Beehive School.

Once a week the teachers and aids meet to learn and improve their teaching strategies. Niall Dorey, the headmaster, has designed these INSET sessions using his Post Grad Certificate of Education notes and following staff discussions of what would be most useful. They cover many different areas, including phonics, mental math strategies, cross curriculum learning, discipline strategies and class management.

The teacher training program has been VERY successful and teachers use the skills they learn in the training program in the classroom. For example, the teachers who have been at the school for a few years now reflect on and evaluate their teaching and try new styles and methods of teaching. They now do things like show ‘n’ tell, phonic games, and creative writing. It has allowed the school to hire local people but maintain a high academic standard.

Over the holiday break, the school organized a staff outing to Kande beach, a beach along the Lake Malawi shore. The teachers, staff and headmaster had fun swimming, barbecuing and hanging out in the sand and sun. The teachers are enjoying the break and excited about the new term in the new year!

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Teachers relaxing during the teacher appreciation beach outing

Computers needed for the computer lab

Earlier this year electricity was installed at the school! The school was able to set up the computer lab with a few computers. Most students do not have access to computers at home, so this is their only opportunity to learn how to use one.

The school is planning to purchase a few new computers with a recent generous donation, but would love to get more money to fill the lab with enough computers for a whole class. This way teachers could teach lessons and a whole class could come in and use the lab. A printer and projector would also be great things to have, so that teachers and students can share their work with other students, on paper and on the large screen.

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girls working in computer lab

Back To School!

Cambridge Exam Results Are In! 

In The Last Report We Talked About The Studious Standard Seven Class, And All Their Hard Work They Spent Preparing And Taking Their Exams.  The Results Are In – And All That Work Paid Off!  All The Students All Did Really Well, With The Whole Class Average Higher Than ‘Good’ In All Subjects. The Class Average For Mathematics Was 3.1, Science Was 4.0, And English 3.3. Each Section Is Based On A Score Of 0-6, With 6 Being Excellent, 3 Good, And 0 Poor.  Congratulations Standard Seven!

Busy Holiday ‘Break’

While the children were away for the holidays, the teachers and headmaster worked very hard getting ready for the new term. Construction was finished on the third building, the computer lab was set up, the library improved, the teachers went through computer training, and a new teacher was hired and trained.

Computer Lab Is Up and Running!

After receiving electricity last term, the school was able to set up the computer lab, for a second time. The computers were put into storage in 2010 when the school moved into their new location, without power. The school has done very well in the past three years – slowly finishing the classroom blocks, playground, bathrooms, office, library and computer lab.  Now that electricity is installed, the computers were taken out of storage and set up.

Unfortunately, only 12 of the computers are working right now.  The other 5 will not boot up, and have a problem with the capacitors.  BeeHive has found a way around this problem – when classes use the computers, they split up into two groups – half use the library, the other half the computers, then the students swap. There is plenty of space for more computers in the lab, so the school hopes to have more working ones soon!

The teachers did computer training over the holidays. Some of the newer teachers who started after 2010, when the computer lab got put away, had never used a computer, and there were some very funny moments in training!!

The children love using them.  They also have not spent much (if any) time using a computer, so they are enjoying learning and practicing their skills on them.

Library is Looking Good!

The library at BeeHive School was designed with reading in mind.  Big windows bring in natural light, and it is so inviting everyone wants to walk in, pick up a book, and read. The children are very good at following rules – one rule is the library is a quiet zone – it is amazing how quiet students can be when they are all deeply enthralled in books! Loads of shelves were kindly donated by the building company SR Nicholas (the company building reserve bank and Shoprite in Mzuzu). They were installed during the term break. The only thing a bit lacking are the books. BeeHive has quite a good collection, but more books are needed.

Construction

There are plans to build a student hall and entrance to the school.  Six trips of sand were brought to the school, and the school is in the process of finding a way to get more bricks.

Welcoming The New School Year

The good news about the exams and the improvements over the summer have helped the succesful start of a new term. This term welcomes 172 students and one new teacher. The teacher will teach Standard 7. This is great news for the headmaster, who has been teaching this class and running the school at the same time.  The headmaster is still going to teach Standard 7 English, and French to the whole school, but is excited to focus on administration and school development.

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new bookshelves in new library
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new library books
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students reading quietly
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students using educational software in the computer lab

Cambridge Students Hard At Work

Standard 7 – Work Hard Play Hard

The eldest students at the school know how to work hard and play hard!

University of Cambridge International Exam
BeeHive School’s Standard 7 class takes the Cambridge International Exam every May.  This exam covers science (biology, chemistry, physics, and scientific enquiry), math (geometry and measure, handling data, and number) and English (reading, usage and writing).  Each section is based on a score of 0-6, with 6 being excellent, 3 good, and 0 poor.

This exam is important for teachers and students alike, for it not only gives the the students and teachers feedback as to what the children know, but their results will help them get a place in a secondary school after they graduate from BeeHive School.

(see last year’s report “BeeHive School Finishes The Term with Triumph” for results from last years class!)

Studious Standard Seven
Standard 7, the highest level at BeeHive, did a lot of preparing for the University of Cambridge International Exam.  All their hard work on their science experiments, maths homework, essays, reports, reading assignments, and practice tests was about to pay off. The students were prepared!  At the beginning of May, we pulled the desks apart to make individual work stations, and the students took the multiple day examination.

We hope they did well – the results come out in July!

Standard Seven – Hadouken Style!
Now that the exams are complete, the class has a bit of down time for some fun.  They were allowed to come to school in regular clothes (no uniform day!), their teacher took a camera, and they had a ‘Hadouken’ photo shoot!  The photos were very popular among the younger children at the school!

Great Job Standard 7!!!

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BeeHive Pupils Learning About Electricity

Electricity Is Installed at BeeHive School

In our last update, we mentioned that we were planning to install electricty, thanks to a generous donation from The ESC Foundation, a small German family foundation.  It was installed last month!

A Learning Opportunity

BeeHive School does not have much in the way of science equipment.  This is due to the budget being tight, because all the construction expenses the school has had recently, and being located in Mzuzu, where resources are scarce and science equipment is expensive.  Despite this lack of supplies, the teachers are creative and come up with many out-of-the-classroom learning experiences.  The students grow gardens, have made clay structures from clay in the ground, build towers and bridges from old newspaper, and go on field trips to local shops and the airport.  Although leaning through sitting in a classroom is important, BeeHive believes learning through experiences is also important in a child’s development.

When the electricity was installed last month, the teachers thought it was a great chance to do some hands on learning.  The Standard 6 class did a unit about electricity, learning all about currents, conductivity, and being safe around electricity.  Watching the electrician install the electricity was very exciting for all the students.  Many students do not have power at their homes.

Now that the electricity is installed, the school is eagerly waiting for the computer lab!

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Electricity Will Allow Computer Lab Open Soon

Electricity (and a computer lab!) Are Coming to BeeHive 

BeeHive School has recently received a generous donation from The ESCFoundation, a small German family foundation.  These funds will be used to install electricity in one of the school buildings.  The building has the offices, library, and a space for a computer lab.  As well as better lighting, the electricity will allow us to set the computer lab back up.  The teachers and students are excited to have the computer program back in the curriculum!

Computer Program
In June of 2008, two MIT students came to BeeHive School and helped set up a computer lab in BeeHive’s old location, a house the school rented.  The students brought 12 computers and a wealth of knowledge.  They set up the lab and taught the teachers basic computer skills, how to operate the lab, and teaching strategies.  Shortly after the lab was set up, Beehive students entered the lab with bright eyes and high expectations.  The program was successful and the students were able to learn basic computer skills such as mouse movements, keyboard typing, and file structure.  They engaged with educational games and learned basic programming.

The teachers also benefited from this lab, developing computer skills themselves.  They participated in teacher training programs and learned how to use computers as teaching tools.

When the school moved to its new location, the computers were placed into storage.  Now that the third building–which contains a room for the computers–is completed, the school is getting ready to set up the lab again and integrate computers back into the school curriculum.

Connecting to the Internet
The school also hopes to eventually connect to the Internet, which they have never experienced before.  This will benefit teachers and students for countless reasons, including having access to online resources, being able to communicate through e-mail, and being able to connect to others around the world.

Free online resources, such as Kahn Academy and resources from the British Council, will be incredibly helpful for teacher training, and student learning.  E-mailing the PTA, parents, and teachers will make communication much easier.  Connecting with other schools worldwide will also allow BeeHive School to enrich their curriculum and teach their students about other cultures.

Library & Lights
In addition to supporting the computer lab, Internet, and e-mails, electricity will greatly enhance the library.  The building was constructed with light in mind, and significant amount of light comes in the windows.  Despite that, it will be much easier for the students to read with additional lights on, especially when it’s dark outside.

A photocopier for the office would be also be useful, for worksheets, newsletters, etc, but the school does not have one right now. Unfortunately, in Malawi copiers cost around 800,000 kwacha (more than $2000), so they’re likely not going to be purchasing one soon.  Even so, having electricity will mean that if the school was able to obtain a copier, they would be able to use it.

We will update with photos once the work for the electricity is done!

Children race to the finish line while their classmates cheer them on.

BeeHive School Finishes The Term with Triumph

I can’t believe it’s already time for our next update!  BeeHive School is doing great – the yearly “Sports Day” was a smashing success and the students did just as well in their Cambridge International Exams.
 
Sports Day is an end-of-term tradition for the school.  The school is broken into four “houses” or teams that compete for the House Cup – a giant trophy!  BeeHive’s Lions, Tigers, Cheetahs and Leopards strive to outperform their peers in this good-natured competition through sporting events, mental math matches, spelling competitions, acts of kindness, good manners and class participation.  During the last week of term, the houses competed in Sports Day.  Events in jump rope, soccer, netball, three legged, potato sack and running races allowed the students (and teachers!) to each points for their houses.  The Lions beat out the others, for the third straight year.

Another highlight of the last week of school was the end of term assembly where the new class captains were announced, Academic Achievement presents were awarded, and the House Cup was presented to the Lions.

The students may have left the school in early July, but the excitement did not end.  The results for the Standard 7 class came a few weeks later.  Standard 7, the most advanced grade at the school (and also the smallest) took the University of Cambridge International Exam.  The exam covers science (biology, chemistry, physics, and scientific enquiry), math (geometry and measure, handling data, and number) and English (reading, usage and writing).  Each section is based on a score of 0-6, with 6 being excellent, 3 good, and 0 poor.

Students, parents and teachers were all thrilled with the results.  The class got an average score of 4.1 for science, 4.8 for English, and 3 for math.  It’s nice to see the hard work of everyone pay off in a quantifiable way.

The school is looking forward to another great term ahead!  We’ll be in touch with more exciting updates!
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Students Sing About The Stigma Associated With HIV and AIDS

Students Sing About The Stigma Associated With HIV and AIDS
The AIDS epidemic is alarmingly  present in Malawi.  According to UNAIDS, 11% of adults aged 15-49 suffered from HIV/AIDS in 2009, but only 42% of youth had accurate knowledge about the disease.  The discrimination that still surrounds the disease in Malawi can partly be attributed to this lack of information and awareness.

Most children  at BeeHive School, aged 4 to 13, have been affected by HIV/AIDS in some way.  The school not only teaches the boys and girls about the health and safety aspects of the disease, but also about its many complicated stigmas.  The standard 6 and 7 students studied HIV/AIDS as one of their social studies topics and were also assigned to write plays and songs that explored the disease.

The song they chose to perform and record, “People Dying Day by Day Because of HIV and AIDS”  tells the story of people diagnosed with AIDS– how their friends push them away, they get fired from their jobs, become suspended from school, lose their friends, and die from the disease.  The entire creative process, from brainstorming, to writing lyrics and performing the songs, was not only educational but empowering for the BeeHive students.

You can watch their performance here:

Student written video about the stigma of HIV/AIDS


BeeHive School Celebrates
The school has finally received the official registration certificate from the Malawian Ministry of Education. It is valid for 3 years and is framed proudly in the school’s temporary office.

The certificate arrived just in time for the 2nd anniversary at the new site.  The teachers worked very hard to put on a huge celebration with the whole school and parents. Everyone enjoyed a bounce house, face and henna painting, ‘wet the teacher’ (50 kwacha for three wet sponges! Great fun (but cold!)), pin the tail on the zebra, parachute games, class performances, a talent show and a fashion parade, plus barbecue and drinks for sale. Each class had a class party at lunch.  The hard work paid off – it was an amazing day, the kids LOVED it.

Even though the school has been in the new site for two years, the construction is still in progress.  It is progressing slowly and steadily, with the admin block almost complete. The new building is looking amazing – everyone who sees it is impressed by the design and the size and light.  The window and door frames are in, the plumbing in the staff room and staff toilets are done, and the conduit has been run for the electricity.  The plastering is in progress,  followed by the finishing on the window and door frames, and putting in the floor.  After that, the doors and windows will need to be bought and installed, and it will be done!

The hope is to have the building complete by September, money permitting.  The cost of cement has risen dramatically due to the devaluation of the kwacha, so the floor is going to be expensive.  The school is extremely grateful for the generous donation of cement from the Malawian company SR Nicholas.  The company has 3 families at the school and have very kindly donated 50 bags of cement so far!  This could not have come at a better time – cement is MK 4300 a bag now (about $17) – with the devaluation EVERYTHING has gone up.

Thank you for your continued support and generosity, especially during this hard economic time.  The students are excited to be at school and are growing, learning, and blossoming every day. The whole school is looking forward to Sports Day coming up on July 5th – we are hoping it will be dry and not too cold like last year!

 

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Project Share Love

Project Share Love & Gabriella Gala

Last summer, Malawi erupted in violent riots and everyone in the BeeHive community passed through a very dark and tense period filled with sleepless nights.  Across the world, loved ones fingers repeatedly dialed the country code for Malawi – 2-6-5 in a series of frantic attempts to connect with their friends and family and alleviate their greatest fears.  Hundreds of people ended up in the hospital and a few dozen were killed on the street.

I  personally remember feeling shivers reverberate through my body when one of Niall’s nephews posted a home video of men sprinting along a paved road dragging their machetes along the asphalt to sharpen them.  Malawi is known as one of the most peaceful countries in Africa and the imagery seemed completely alien to me or anyone else who has visited this beautiful country – best known as “the warm heart of Africa” – named so for the renowned kindness and hospitality of the people.  Fortunately, the BeeHive students and teachers escaped any physical assault, but the emotional trauma was jarring and the students were in shock.

At the same time, a very passionate, talented, and lion hearted young woman in Los Angeles, CA – Gabriella Gala – was following these events unfold with a deep sense of wrenching anxiety and empathy. But sitting and watching was just not enough for her.

It was during the riots that I received a frantic e-mail from this young starving artist where she asked me for BeeHive School’s mailing address.  That was not the end of it – we connected and spent hours talking.  Gabriella is a creative genius – she speaks through her art and through her dance.  She understands how art, music, and dance can transcend language and can heal deep traumas – Gabriella herself had recently faced a devastating and near-death experience that put her in the hospital for many weeks.  But rather than let the experience cripple her, she decided to use her art to rise above it and to use that trauma as a source of energy to push against and to create beauty and inspire love around her.  She told me this was what she wanted to give to the kids – a way to rise above the trauma of the riots.

Next, Gabriella jumped into action.  With little more than an idea and her passion to create positive change, Gabriella set out to raise funds for a carebox filled with art supplies to send to BeeHive School.  With the help of her friends, she started having dancing/singing fundraisers to raise money for shipping costs and collect art supplies.  And little by little – with the generosity of the kind people around her, she raised a dollar here and a few sets of colored pencils over there, until she had the funds and materials to send a carebox across the world.

But hold on – that’s not the end – this carebox is not the end of the story.  Rather, it was the first carebox of a series of a careboxes.  You see, Gabriella, rather than feeling satisfied after sending the first carebox to BeeHive School immediately felt a hunger and need to do more – to send more art across the world to help kids.

Why art? Because art is more than the action of taking a brush to a canvas – it breaks down language barriers and is a way for us to process complex emotional traumas.  Art is a way for children to process pain and anger in a safe and constructive way.  And it’s a way for a stranger from across the world to say in a very tangible way – we’re here, we care about you, we’re thinking about you – you are not forgotten.

Gabriella’s vision has continued to evolve and this incredible young woman is determined to visit Africa and BeeHive School, as well as all the other schools where she has sent CareBoxes across Africa.  To follow her adventure, please check out her project page – Project Share Love (what a great name!):
http://www.facebook.com/ProjectShareLove

Gabriella’s vision is ever expanding and recently she has enrolled in community college in biology and permaculture – she is determined to learn as much as possible in order to be able to truly serve the needs of marginalized children all over the world.  Please like her page and learn more about her journey…I have a feeling this is not the last time you will hear about this amazing young woman.  In fact, she might be writing the next update from BeeHive School – so stay tuned!

And guess what!  After four months in the post, the first carebox just arrived at BeeHive School!  The students nearly had their eyes pop out when they opened up this amazing gift brimming with every sort of artistic goodie.  It contained more art supplies than the Mzuzu general store holds in stock at one time!  Everyone at BeeHive is looking forward to meeting Gabriella in the flesh and to giving her a very, very big hug.

 

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