Service-Learning Showcase at International School of Kuwait

Guest Blog by Alison Koushki, Head of Culture and Organizational Change at ISK

International School of Kuwait braved the winds of the pandemic and launched in October 2020. With service learning at its core, we soon discovered Learning to Give. With all the lessons, teaching tips and videos available on their website, we felt we had struck gold!

Learning to Give director Betsy Peterson braved the midnight hour from the U.S. to attend our first service-learning showcase. “Live to Give” chose global gratitude day Giving Tuesday, 1st December 2020, to highlight service learning in a one-hour assembly. The ISK community as well as international guests celebrated our students’ remarkable achievements as they took the virtual stage in a show with several

The assembly started with a bang at 7 a.m. local time as a fiery countdown rallied all present. We first recalled the what and why of service-learning: by serving humanity locally or globally, students learn academic knowledge and skills as well as perseverance and compassion.

Then one by one the “seven teacher stars of ISK Live to Give” took to the stage to present their students’ stellar work. KG teacher Taniya Mangaly described how her “Brown Bears” explored the five senses by helping siblings and the elderly. The poignant image of a toddler leading a blind child through the sense of touch hit home and heart. Grade two teacher Aisha Diwan described two service-learning projects coming soon to ISK. Our students will gain rich knowledge of fair trade in business and how to raise funds for orphans and refugees by distributing Jordanian dates in Kuwait.

ISK’s fifth and sixth graders next moved into the spotlight. In her Live to Give advisory, Carolyn Serrano had asked her students a simple question: who in this world needs our help? Soon well wishes and artwork cascaded forth as students tapped their innate compassion for patients with COVID 19. Thanks to art teacher Maha Agha’s design skills, the wishes are printed and on their way to patients in Kuwait hospitals. Isolated from human contact, they will be encouraged to know ISK students care. A fifth grader reminded them that “after the rain comes the rainbow.”

Next our virtual stage “erupted” volcano style. In a show of educational fusion, ISK students’ music, art, science and Latin creations, all centering on volcanoes, paraded forth. Music teacher Santiago Casalta presented students singing a volcano song in gallery view with their own spontaneous choreography. Colorful volcano paintings by Hilda Ruiz’s and Maha Agha’s art students delighted the audience. Volcano cross-sections from Ms. Carolyn’s science students were next up. Alison Larkin Koushki’s Latin students warned Pompeii’s children to take cover, speaking the children’s native language: Latin.

The Celebration concluded with thanks to everyone and Ms. Carolyn’s “Volcano Challenge:” ISK student Nyl Baltazar demonstrated how to make an erupting volcano at home, inviting her schoolmates to create their own. Teacher bitmojis then took the digital stage to wave goodbye.

International School of Kuwait thanks Learning to Give for posting our showcase among its teacher stories. It is an honor to be recognized by an organization with twenty-five years in service-learning. Still braving the winds of the pandemic, we are at the three-month mark looking ahead to smoother skies.